The Friendly Yeti
Most images of yetis in Western popular culture and scholarly literature portray them as secular, predatory monsters. These representations overlook important religious dimensions of yetis that are hidden in the current literature, so I take a new look at yetis in Tibetan religions in order to clarify our understanding of these legendary creatures. Following a phenomenological approach that sets aside the issue of the ontological existence of yetis, I examine texts, art, ritual, and folklore in order to propose four yeti personal ideal types: the Buddhist practitioner, the human religious ally, the friendly yeti, and the mountain deity yeti. These ideal types enhance earlier scholarship by demonstrating that yetis may appear in friendly as well as dangerous guises, may play religious roles even when they are not venerated, and may embody numinosity even when they are most fearsome.