Otoshi- Healers

The word otoshi comes from otachi (doctor) and okin (daughter/ girl). Unlike the bone-setters and midwives, the otoshi do not inherit their calling from family lines but from the will of the spirits.

Otoshis are almost always female, but males are also known to have been called. These healers specialize in fertility and child health issues but also tend to other physical ailments.

Otoshis wear a skirt made out of animal hide and a distinctive coloured hat. Instead of a drum, they would often use a colourful fan with silk strips. Some also carry prayer beads.

These healers are guided by the spirits of the wind and the trees. Because of this, they are not buried in the earth but given a “wind burial” by placing them in a tree.

Otoshis have always been strong feminists. They were hated by the Buddhists who believed that feminist views challenged the social order. Because of this, Buddhists destroyed them in great numbers throughout Central Asia.

The mass destruction of otoshis caused great imbalance and spiritual loss to the world. Because of this, the spiritual calling for medicine women (and men) has become strong over the years. Luckily, there are many fine herbalist schools to help future healers start on their spiritual path. For those who have been called to be an otoshi- send us your story!