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The Collaborative International Dictionary
Toli (shamanism)

A toli is a round, ritual mirror used in Shamanism in some parts of Mongolia and in the Republic of Buryatia. The mirror, ornamented on one side and polished on the other, may be made of bronze, brass or copper.

Toli are traditionally worn as part of a shaman's attire around the shaman's neck or in quantity on the shaman's kaftan or apron, to help ward off evil spirits and to signify the shaman's authority. They may have additional purposes as well. Among the Daur people, they were also used to purify water, to collect spirits or spiritual manifestations like the magic of the sun or moon and to divine the prognosis of a sick patient. Walther Heissig, describing shamans and their incantations in Hure Banner in the 1940s, remarks that one shamaness indicated that the toli contained "the white horses of the shamans"; the mirror itself was seen as a vehicle for the shamans.

Toli may be used in different sizes; among the Daur, the front and back of the shaman's costume was covered with small toli placed like overlapping scales while the front might also feature eight large mirrors and one medium-sized mirror to protect the heart, the neker-toli; according to Heissig, in Hure Banner shamans wore nine mirrors, nine being a particularly meaningful number in Mongolian religion and mythology. The neker-toli might be plated in nickel. The number of toli collected by the Daur shaman was an indicator of his or her level of power.

Usage examples of "toli".

Still, she thought, as long as he is with Toli no harm can come to him.

The act was such an exact parody of the King that Toli chuckled behind his fist in order to keep from laughing aloud.

As they talked, Quentin looked for Toli, who usually sat beside him, opposite the Queen.

He found Toli saddling his mount for him, examining each tack item as he placed it on the horse.

Quentin and his son would lead the procession on horseback, followed by Durwin and Toli and as many of the noble visitors as had not already left for the field.

He knew the forest well, and had a hunch where he might find Toli and Gerin, for he had seen them pushing a southerly course just before he and the King had entered the meadow.

There before him he saw Toli and Prince Gerin on horseback, with three men in dark clothing around them.

In a moment the quiet green glade hummed with a gentle sound as Toli raised the ancient Jher song for the dead.

Quentin lowered the body of the hermit carefully to the ground and, with Toli, arranged the limbs.

The long, ringing note was sounded from far-off, but the tone lingered in the air and gave Toli all the direction he needed.

Alert to the minute signs of the hunters' passing, Toli followed the party unerringly through the thick, woodsy tangle.

The others saw the steed's white-lathered flanks and shoulders and knew Toli had come on an errand of some urgency.

Those who had ridden through the night with Toli took their leave also.

She wished nothing more than to be able to go to Toli and comfort him.

They hesitated when they saw Toli, but he made no move toward them, so the forest dwellers advanced.