Bariyachi- Midwives

Bariyachi means “the one who takes hold”. The bariyachi’s job is part physical and part spiritual. Along with the usual midwife duties, the bariyachi ties the umbilical cord with an animal’s vein and then washes the baby in salt water. Visitors are not allowed during the birthing unless they are purified by fire.

Because men are not allowed to be present during births, bariyachis are women. Bariyachis inherit their calling from their maternal line.

Bariyachis invoke the spirit of Auli Barkan in their work. The name means “mountain spirit” but it is the name of a wild fox. The spirit of the fox is the power of the bariyachi.

Of the different spiritual callings, bariyachi have the least prestige. The fox spirit that serves them is believed to cause madness. Foxes are also often considered were-animals and it is the only animal that is taboo to kill among the Dagurs.