Sis Yis

The first shaman in Hmong tradition. In the beginning, the Lord of Death, Ntxwj Nyug, killed humans faster than they could reproduce. When the beneficent Saub saw that there were only a few humans left, he gave some of his medical instruments to a mortal man named Sis Yis. Endowed with the power to cure illnesses and diseases, Sis Yis brought mankind back from the brink of extinction.

Just before he died, he promised to return to earth on the thirtieth day of the twelfth month (New Year) to further help mankind. He kept his promise and on New Year he descended from the celestial ladder that joins the two worlds. When he was half-way, he noticed that mankind was still fast asleep and that nobody was there to welcome him. In a fit of anger, he threw down his instruments and returned to his heavenly abode.

The instruments were found by various people and they soon discovered that they could be used to cure the sick. These people became the first shamans and the instruments are still used by today's shamans. A shaman in trance refers to himself as Sis Yis, but refers to the real Sis Yis as "Nyiaj Yig."



  • Cooper, R., ed. (1998). The Hmong. Singapore: Times Editions Pte Ltd.