Korea Postscript: The Story Behind the Shamanic Shrines

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I later learned who was responsible for the candle shrines I described in my previous blog on Wednesday ("Korean Cites Tour: Changwon").

Both nights I stayed in Busan, there were candles in small sand pits and candle-lanterns placed as shrines in the rocks next to the breaking waves outside my hotel window, on Korea's rocky Pacific Coast.

The second night, I came across some women who placed the candles there and witnessed their ceremony offering blessings to the gods/ goddesses of the sea (see photo). Now in their fifties, sixties and seventies, these are the last of Korea's famed shellfish divers preparing for their sunrise dive the next morning.

women shell divers

Using no air tank and risking the elements whenever weather permits, the country has about 5,000 of these brave spirits left, with 3,000 of them on the southern island of Cheju Do, and the other 2,000 on the nation's mainland. 

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About the Author

    Warren Karlenzig
Warren Karlenzig, Common Current founder and president, has worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (lead co-author United Nations Shanghai Manual: A Guide to Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century, 2011); United Nations Center for Regional Development (training of mayors from 13 Asian nations on city sustainable economic development and technology); provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong, China (urban sustainability master planning and green city standards); the United States White House and Environmental Protection Agency (Eco-Industrial Park planning and Industrial Ecology primer); the nation of South Korea ("New Cities Green Metrics"); The European Union ("Green and Connected Cities Initiative"); the State of California ("Comprehensive Recycling Communities" and "Sustainable Community Plans"); major cities; and the world's largest corporations developing policy, strategy, financing and critical operational capacities for 20 years.

Present and recent clients include the Guangzhou Planning Agency; the Global Forum on Human Settlements; the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bureau; the US Department of State; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the non-governmental organization Ecocity Builders; a major mixed-use real estate development corporation; an educational sustainability non-profit; and global corporations. Read more here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Warren Karlenzig published on March 17, 2008 8:58 PM.

Korea Cities Tour: Wrap-up was the previous entry in this blog.

Post-Carbon Institute Meeting: Preparing for A Future of Uncertainty is the next entry in this blog.

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