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August 28, 2012
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The Shaman and the Goose-Wife by charcoalfeather The Shaman and the Goose-Wife by charcoalfeather
The third story of the epic myth cycle.

Reference for the shaman came from this old photo ([link]).

This picture attempts to illustrate a part of the story of Kiviuq, an Inuit hero, who married a goose, while presenting a Yup’ik counterpart of the same story. The Yup’ik man is usually unnamed, and marries the goose when she is in human form. Her feathers were actually her coat that gave her the form of a goose, so whenever she took off her feather coat, she became human. After marrying the man, she continued to eat grass, as she had done as a goose, and one day, she disappeared and flew away with the geese.

In the Kiviuq tale, the goose flies away with her children (who inherited their mother’s ability to transform) after Kiviuq’s mother expresses her frustration at her daughter-in-law’s unwillingness to eat human food. Kiviuq then goes on a quest to find her, and eventually, with the help of the mysterious Fishmaker and a giant fish, finds himself in the south, where there are no Inuit and where the geese nest every year. This southern land has trees—and this is where our hero finds himself staying for the rest of eternity. His goose-wife loses her ability to transform back into a human, so Kiviuq remains in the south. With each passing year, it becomes more difficult for him to move, as he gets older and lichens grow all over him. It is said that when he dies, there will be no more air to breathe and it will be the end of the world as we know it.

It is strongly implied both men (Kiviuq and the unnamed Yup’ik man) are shamans, because shamans are closely linked to the animal and spirit worlds. As such, they often take animal “wives”, although they did not actually have intercourse with them. Unlike Siberian shamans, who are chosen by sprits, Inuit and Yup’ik shamans choose to become shamans by learning rites and interacting with the spirit world. And that is why I chose to draw the character as a shaman.

2 hours, moleskine blank notebook, coloured pencil, ink, and copics.
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:iconcharcoalfeather:
charcoalfeather Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! I actually started out drawing traditional, focusing a lot on pencil crayons. I later shifted on to markers and then combined it with pencil crayons, like in this picture.
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:iconpictureonprogress:
PictureOnProgress Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm, sounds like quite a mix.
Any special papers you used?
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:iconcharcoalfeather:
charcoalfeather Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just moleskine paper (like the moleskine notebook). I always draw pictures in the notebooks now.
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:iconpictureonprogress:
PictureOnProgress Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm.
Guess I'd have to use a different kind of sketchbook then.
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:iconcharcoalfeather:
charcoalfeather Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What's your current one like?
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:iconpictureonprogress:
PictureOnProgress Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Uses bond paper.
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:iconcharcoalfeather:
charcoalfeather Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, I see. 
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(1 Reply)
:iconcharcoalfeather:
charcoalfeather Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! Yeah, it does indeed exist. And I think there are many similar variants of this story in other circumpolar cultures, like those of native Siberia. 
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