Image: Guillaume Megevand
Here, skewers are one of the more conservative piercing implements.
Not just anybody can be a mah song. For starters, these practitioners must be morally “pure” and unmarried. They are called to the ritual for various reasons, such as a bad dream foretelling their deaths (which only the ritual can postpone) or because they are especially virtuous and were chosen by the gods. “Sometimes, the old people who work at the shrine ask me to invite the god to come into me because there are people who need to consult with him,” says Khun Uten, who has been a mah song for many years.