VIDEO — EXPLANATIONS
Kobyz is a Shamanistic instrument that is passed on from one generation to another in a healers' family and allows the healer to communicate with the spirits. In this video, Bifatima blesses a kobyz that was made specifically for one of the visitors. In this way she creates a special bond between this kobyz and her holy patrons.
A few years ago Bifatima herself established a new holy place, a place for prayer and healing in the south of Kazakhstan — a hill that is called Dragon Mountain. She says that she had a dream that this place would heal people coming there to pray. When she came to this place, she was at first distrusted by the locals — but since then Dragon Mountain has become a famous place of pilgrimage in Kazakhstan. It was included into the “small Hajj“ route, and it sometimes sees several hundred visitors a day. In caves and by stones of the mountain, and at the top and the bottom of the mountain, prayers are read and rituals conducted.
In certain cases Bifatima conducts a ritual that aims at improving the “energy“ (“energy“ is here a concept somewhat similar to “karma“, but concerning a family, not an individual) of a family through purification by blood — the blood of a sacrificed animal. This is done for those seriously ill, or for people that have consciously decided to change their life and begin something new. It is believed that one cannot change unless one is blessed and supported by one's ancestors and family spirits. Therefore, it is recommended to go through this ritual together with one's family.
People in the pit are covered with blood of a sheep being killed. A man recites the Koran, and Bifatima calls the saints and the spirits to forgive and protect the people undergoing the purification and help them get rid of misfortune. The people undergoing the ritual ask God to forgive the sins and the mistakes of previous generations of the family. Then they wash off this blood in the river and return to the house, never looking back at the water that takes their past lives away.
The sacrificed animal is cooked with prayers, and the food is served to visitors, pilgrims and neighbors. Then the person undergoing the purification ritual is wrapped into the skin of the same animal. In the video, this is done to a young woman. Inside the skin, the body starts to heat and sweat intensely, and the person stays in this way for up to twelve hours. Often people see visions, they say prayers, and ask for their sins to be forgiven.
This ritual is considered a new birth of a person. When the process is completed, the person is told to dress warmly because after rebirth he or she is vulnerable like a newborn baby. The person is also told that for next forty days he or she is not allowed to quarrel with anyone, and should not consume alcohol or tobacco. Those who follow these rules have a good chance starting a new life.
Often Bifatima performs the final part of this ritual in the morning, at sunrise.