In Ladakh, Tibet and throughout the Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom, there existed lay men and women oracles for ages that played an important role in healing the patient both psychologically and physically in the past and still continue to render their services to this very present 21st century. Besides healing job, they can be consulted for predicting the auspicious time for starting any enterprise, whether ploughing the fields, harvesting or any other farming activities, arranging a marriage or going on a journey- and advice as to the auspicious way of going about it. Lay men and women oracle hold one of the respectable parts of the Ladakhi society, although they aren’t revered highly as the monastic oracles. In the Ladakhi dialect “Male Healer Oracle” is known by Lha-ba and “Female Healer Oracle” as Lha-mo.
Healer Oracles belong to families, in which there have been several such receptacles of spirit forces. Others are diagnosed as such without any hereditary back ground. Once they have accepted, however, they undergo a process of initiation and training by monks and senior oracles, and only after this is completed may they start practice. The effectiveness of their spirit- healing is an article of faith with the Ladakhi masses. It takes the Healer oracle about 15/20 minutes of chanting, ringing bells, praying, and beating drums to possess the wandering Holy Spirit. It is said that when oracle gets into a trance, a spirit enters oracle’s body. The spirit possessed by Healer Oracles during trance state is usually said to be wandering holy spirits.
Once possessed Holy Spirit, Oracles perform therapy by sucking out disease-causing substances from their patients and later they show these substances-usually black mucus or little tar-like pieces to the patient and audience, and then spit them into a bowl. Oracles also use straws or pipes for sucking out substances from patients.