Pumi of Lanping there are two kinds of ritual specialists. One is called
shibidai or big sorcerer. He acts as a psychopomp, accompanies
the souls in the afterlife and presides the ceremony of giving a sheep
to the dead (to guide his/her soul to the land of the ancestors), and
the ceremony of opening the way (for the soul to return to the land of
The shibigece is considered inferior in rank. He usually performs
divination to heal illness, worships gods and spirits, dances with spirits,
expels and beats spirits, and goes in search of the soul. Usually they
don't wear any special dress though in some ceremonies they can wear a
yellow dress. He usually carries some magical instruments, as knife, drum,
cymbals and a branch of a peach tree.
In Weixi and Lijiang the Pumi people call their priest dongba (due
to Naxi nationality's influence) and their sorcerers, shibi. The
dongba perform the afterlife ceremonies, as the shibidai in Lanping,
though their ritual dress and instruments reflect Naxi's influences).
The shibi performs the same ceremonies than the shibigece.
In Ninlang, Muli and Yanyuan the Pumi call their sorcerer hangui,
that means the "parrot of beautiful words", because they
dress with red clothes and a green headdress during their ceremonies,
and they are good praying and singing. The Pumi worship parrots because
they think that after dead, the parrots can guide the souls to the land
of the ancestors. Parrots, as their sorcerers, are natural intermediaries
between the human and magical realms.
These hangui always are male. They are more related with the Tibetan
religion (most of them study in Tibetan areas) than to the religious specialists
of the Yi, Naxi or Moso. They know both the Pumi's original religion and
the Tibetan Buddhism. They are called haba in Tibetan, and are
held in great esteem by the people. They perform a variety of ceremonies
to the Pumi people, as heal illness, divinations, expel the spirits, and
carry on funerals, marriages and feasts to the ancestors. They solve some
conflicts among the members of the community.
They have also some lesser ritual specialists called hasibi and
bizha. They are helpers who assist the hangui in the ceremonies.