Cubeo Hehe`newa Religious Thought, 7-10


7. Death & Mourning

pp 237-242 myth of death of Mavi`c^ikori




"In ancient times, Vare`bori {cf. names Pauran.ic god /VARIYAs/ and Polynesian deity /WARi/; and Niger river-valley possessing spirits /BORI/} lived ... on a hill in Urania. {cf. name of /URANtIA/ Book} At that time, a female ainku:, called Tepatete had five daughters. ... The great ... Uraburaku lived in Urania and Mavi`chikori lived in Uaracapuri. [Mavi`c^ikori was afterwards buried at Uaracapuri (p. 240).] ...


The songs taught by Tepatete are the sounds of animals. ... But when Mavi`chikori {cf. name of Polynesian hero /MAUI-tikitiki/, pronounced /Mo-C^IKC^IK/ in Micronesian; and /ORI/ ‘head’ in Yoruba} put on his crown of macaw feathers, it cracked his skull so that the top lifted off his head." {"opening the head" is a frequent South American Indian metaphor for the effect of psychedelic drugs.}


"Mavi`chikori appeared before them ... as a deko`ku: [ghost]. ... then they went to Taku, a high hill near Yurupari` ... . FromYurupari` they went to Carayu and then to ... the headwaters of the Vaupe`s."


"In those days, there were no people, only beasts and birds. ... When Mavi`chikori and his brothers donned ma`pena for the first time, Mavi`chikori’s head was crushed by it." {cf. [Maori myth of] the death of Maui-tikitiki by being crushed (in the vagina of goddess Hine-nui-te-Po)}


"Vare`bori, the Evening and Morning Star ... carried ... umari` seeds that were also hearts. ... But ... the tapir seized the largest of the umari` seeds. ... Mavi`chikori had sent for the songs of the animals and the birds. ... All the songs are strung together on a string as on a necklace."


Places of successive celebrations of funeral-festivities for Mavi`c^ikori :

"the high hill at Pacu.

... the hill ... at the head of the river Numada.


... the sabana at the head of the Cuduiari`.

After the bones were lost, people could no longer be recreated. When Uraba`kori ["The Great One"] came home, ... he thought he would like to make new people ... . He did ... . ... He took shells of muha`rio from which people prepare red pigment and blew ... upon each pod ... . By late afternoon, people had appeared from the pods."

p. 249 "The immediate concerns of the corpse (yai`bu:) are attended to by ... shaman, who ... recite chants that loosen the spirit from the body. They accompany the soul on its way".

pp. 265, 267, 269-271 masked dancers; abu`huwa




"the hiva`vea who head the delegations of masked guests."


"The jaguar masks made a spectacular entry ... ....


Butterflies follow the jaguars. ...


They are succeeded on the central dance floor by larvae (caterpillars) ... . ...


There are six waiting to bring dupu`, a large bark lizard suspended from a long pole. ...


Parrots (veko`a) sing first ... . ...


The next scene (2 A.M.) is of twankata dancing ... while carrying lighted torches ... . ...


In the meantime, comic abu`huwa entertain the women with mildly lewd antics that are directed mainly toward the elderly, who are less decorous than younger women. In Tukanoan folklore, abu`huwa are mischievous ... forest demons who ... seduce solitary women."

pp. 277-278, 281-287 tawu: -- masks repraesenting deities {cf. Kogi deity-face masks}




"dance mask, the taku: (tawu:, pl)".


"Tawu: prototypes were made ... from the first trees, called "pudjoko," or blowing woman," primordial trees ... . ... Tawu: were seen for the first time ... as they drifted from the tops of the tall pudjoko, humming".


twankata a juvenile species of fish ... . {would these be aequivalent to the catfish twin-brethren of the Popol Vuh?...


The twankata ... with a motif of alternating black and yellow {cf. black-and-yellow Tezcatlipoca} ... lozenges".


"In the dance order, the caterpillars ... sing their songs right after those of twankata".


Hiva`vea, the "faces" ... dance ... with ankle rattles. {cf. the khadi ‘anklets’ of the Marut-s} ...


The actual masks are ornamented ... with rubber latex". {cf. the rubber latex coating the idol of Tlaloc}

p. 281 heads of the tawu:








waracu` fish, protohumans


"sardines," the young of fish




Master of the butterflies






dung-beetle (scarab)







pp. 286-288 myth of origin of trumpets




"as twelve- to fifteen-foot-long double-tubed trumpets ..., the Ju:dju:ko and her consort ...


became trumpets because they had caused the death of women in the mythical era and were deemed too dangerous to be looked on by contemporary women. ... There was once ... Uraboru who was also the Master of Death; he requested that a woman, Ju:dju:ko, be made. She was made ... at Impenani`, where the people first emerged. ... At the same time, ... a younger brother of Uraboru, who was ... majyoru, ... ascended the Cuduiari` to its source, which was then named towaharia, where he located a very tall tree, the tuwa`hu:meniku: [green-bark person], from which he


thought to make the masks. As soon as the thought formed in his mind, the masks floated down from the top of the tree of their own accord, twisting and turning in the air as they drifted slowly down making a humming sound as they fell."

p. 294 musical instruments

kena`inye (long flutes)

pidi`wa (panpipes)

kuma` {cf. name of /CUMAna`/ in Venezuela} / yarumu {cf. name of /YARUMal/ in Colombia} (drumming-staves)

hanhan (hand-rattles)

pp. 295-297 dances by ritual dancers




dance-director : "only he wears the pamu`ru: that appears in mihi` visions as a ring of singing human heads." {cf. goddess Kali’s garland human heads, which repraesent (sing out) the letters of the alphabet}

"They move like long-legged birds, reminiscent of


herons, knees raised high, trunks thrust forward, and they call out the typical spirit cries : "ho, ho, ho, hi, hii, hi.""


"from the Anacondas, they also learned ... how to dance the yaimuria in honor of mihi` along with the pidi`wa. Yaimuria ... was a favorite dance of Anaconda women."


8. Shamans & Thundrers

pp. 303-309 legend of the 1st paye` (shaman)




"A youth named Djuri wishing to become a paye` went to the forest [du`pa] from the cachua du`pa tree [Virola], which he prepared as a snuff and inhaled through his nostrils. ... Onpo`nbu: [Thunder Man], the owner of du`pa appeared. ... That night he had visions, and he then understood how to make thunder. ... He slept and ... he heard the first thundering in the East where the rivers fall off the earth. {What the rivers must fall over the brink of, namely a ‘cliff’, is the meaning of /S.UR/ (Strong’s 6697), an etymon for his name "Djuri".} ...


Onpo`nbu: presented him with a tu:ri torch of great brilliance ... . Onpo`nbu: ... gave him lightning contained in the kena`doi [quartz] ... . Onpo`nbu: explained that the thunder he had been given would sound not from the sky, but from below the earth. ... Onpo`nbu: appeared again to advise him ... . "... In your dreams ... pineapples {known as "kanaima`" in Venezuela} ... you dream of ... . ..." The words ... were being spoken by Onpo`nbu:. ... Onpo`nbu: continued to prepare the body of the yourth. He inserted duva`iyo spines into his forearms ... . Then he gave him a rattle with small stones inside. "With these treat the sick." ...


Onpo`nbu: appeared to him in a dream and said, "In your dreams you will see a small box that is tied with a long worm. You will open this carefully and ... take out a small hand rattle, which is the representation of the worm. Then you will begin to sound on all sides. When you sound, the creatures will hear you ... and they will grow." ... In those days, none of the fruits we now eat had appeared. It was he who made them appear. ... He also ate worms, and they were also good. ... This boy, the first paye`, ... decided he would make fish available. In his vision, he saw the fish living in houses like people. He opened their doors so they would come out and be eaten by people. ... He gave people the good food, such as ... berries, and fish. Before that, they were living on mosquitoes {only dragonflies eat mosquitoes}, ... waiwa`ri [a tuber], and pikowa [beetle-larvae]. ... Onpo`nbu: gave the boy "existence" [pwenku:], which until now he did not have. {The term srid-pa, translated ‘existence’, is likewise used with the meaning ‘[a place in the] physical world’ in Bodish.} Now that he had been given pwenku: [a male being {a physical body}], he could found a line of successors. He took a wife and founded a lineage of paye`s. ... Ten men from ten different tribes were his pupils ... . ...


He ... told them. "... You are not to go to sleep until the middle of the night ..., and you are to waken two hours later (three A.M.) to bathe in the river ... and exercise. ... You are never to catch a bird ... ." He continued to instruct them for one month and sent them home, ... reminding them that he would watch over them in his dreams. Two of his pupils had sexual intercourse with their wives. The teacher saw this in his dreams. {So, taking Virola can enable its taker to view the waking world from the dreaming world.} ... He snuffed du`pa, and ten clouds settled on the ground in a row before him. ...


The images of the jaguars showed up in the clouds. ... These jaguars ... were their image spirits. They were jaguars of du`pa. ... In his dream, he saw the children ... had now become the children of du`pa ... . In his dream, he took them out of the paye` house. ... At the house of the jaguars, the children had eaten the food of the abu`huwa. ... They had eaten kamuchichi [a fruit] and vahu. ... . ... his pupils ... heard all the jaguars of the forest calling "hi hi hi." These were the paye`s speaking through their dreams in the language of the jaguars. ...


At the end of the three months, ... he inserted pu:ru:duvai hand spines into their forearms. ... Onpo`nbu: lived in a certain palm tree called "yavi` kumu` yanyu:." It is the tree from which the black duvai spines come. ... the paye` can hear them sing "toon toon toon." ... While they were still in trance, the Master ... inserted the first spine into the left forearm, the second into the upper left arm, the third at the left breast, the fourth at the right breast, the fifth at the right upper arm, and the sixth at the right forearm. ... These are for ... the paye`s ... in their dreams.... He gave them further instructions : "You must never pass beneath the hammock in which a woman is lying. ... Avoid pregnant women and menstruating women ... . Avoid the pubescent girl who is passing out chicha. {cf. Hebe, who was serving liquor on mt. Olumpos}


... You must ask the women of your house to make no noise, such as dropping firewood. {[Na-i-Tahu] "firewood timber, which he carried on his shoulder to the marae (open space in the midst of the settlement), where he threw it down with a great crash. Hearing the noise, they were greatly startled" (AHM, vol 1, p. 61).} ... At the river, no kinsman is to strike a fish forcefully on the head. {Ainu, on the contrary, are required to kill fishes by forcefully striking them on the head.} ... You must eat apart from all the others and only from your own plate. ..." ... The Master seeing that they could not cure took them on a trip around the world. He brought them to the hill called Kuhidiku: on the Vaupe`s. There they slept. In their dreams, they found themselves in yavi` kena`mi. They saw themselves drinking ... rainwater, which ... came from a cloud that rested on the hilltop. ... The Master saw a vision in which he saw all the people. They were all at the "place of the sun" [avyadoribu]. ... Traveling with his ten disciples, he came to the place of the fish trap. The force of the current drew him into the trap, and he was swallowed by it ... . The trap was, in fact, ... the Anaconda who can swallow the sun."

AHM = Ancient History of the Maori.

pp. 311-312 another legend of the 1st paye`




"Djuri was the first paye`. ... He then went to look for nyamakuria`ku [snuff of the deer] tree. This had sap, which was ... kurya`pena. When he prepared it as snuff, he saw visions ..., and he fell into a trance. He entered the tree ..., and, from within it, he shouted. ... He went to look for another tree. He came upon the proper kuria` ku tree, which was singing like a paye`. ... He took the snuff from the yavi` kuria`ku tree and dreamt of Ku`wai kena`mi [the house of Ku`wai]. ... He returned to the forest and found the maku:ku:ria`ku tree, which was thundering. The tree had sap ..., and it became a paste ... to inhale the paste and get more power [pari] for understanding. Now he had a vision of the mist of the dawn. From this mist come all the pains and infirmities of people. As he watched, each illness came drifting down in a spiral ... . He saw all the duva`iyo. ...


When Djuri inhaled du`pa, he knew everything. ... With du`pa, he saw himself in his vision entering the House of Jaguars." {This "House of Jaguars" is mentioned in the Popol Vuh.}

pp. 310, 320-321, 323 nature of the paye` : concommitants of shamanhood




"The father who is paye` can always see the visions of his son."


"Eagle down that has lodged in his brain gives him access to the mind of the eagle ... . Besides these granted gifts, the paye` acquires kurya`, a tree resin made into a snuff ... that allows him through its visions to see the spirits of fish in their underwater houses."


"The soul of the Thunderer, who is ha`boku: or Master of all the jurisdiction, takes the paye` to a central tu:ku:bu: [‘realm’], which is a gathering place of the visionary souls of all existing paye`s. There they confer".


For the paye`, "his ultimate destiny after death is in abukena`mi, that is, with the abuhu`wa and not with Ku`wai."


"The du`pa shown was reddish in color, ... du`pa is a "gift" of the eagle."

pp. 325-326, 328 fishes’ magical projectiles : shamanic vision




"The spiny projectiles ... are, in fact, the "arrows" fish shoot at humans that cause pain and illness. {Some species of spiny fishes can produce temporary paralysis in humans on touching them; this effect is to create (by the pufferfish) a zombie.} The word "duva`iyo" may mean "the knowledge of the paye`." Those projected directly by fish, actually by fish spirits at humans, are fish bones, while those discharged by the paye` ... are, in fact, dance ornaments that fish wear beneath their waist girdles ... . ... Each spine has its own ume` and its own voice that sings "too oong" when it is in flight. ... When fish bones have entered the novice, his learning has advanced one stage."


hallucinogenic vision deko`boino : "The Ku`waiwa, the spiritual prototypes of animals, had limited vision until they were given mihi` by the Anaconda."


"Paye`s exchange visionary details and knowledge among their colleagues either in person or through the vision itself." "The instructor knows his pupil’s visions and knows what he is thinking."

pp. 312, 337 dreams by paye`




"The paye` himself never becomes a jaguar ... . In his dreams, he has a jaguar as a dog."


"When the paye` dreams, he enters into another world. He goes to tu:ku:bu:, which is the gathering place of the paye`s. He travels. In his travels, he visits kentu:ku:bu:, dupatu:ku:bu:, and kuryatu:ku:bu:. It is his ume` that travels to these different worlds."

pp. 339-340, 343-344 curing of ailments




"the two categories of healers, the Blower (pupuwenku:) and the Water Pourer (okohadjupwenku:). {Water Pourer = baptiser} ... A full Blower may have to be from another sib ... . If he fails, the Water Pourer is called. ...


The good Water Pourer has diagnosed the affliction before he has arrived, and he can instruct the patient ... . Then the Blower ... relies on his dreams and snuff visions for accurate diagnosis and appropriate selection of chants."


[text of a spell] "There was once a black butterfly [bedebu: nyemiku:] that turned itself into the illness of the cough. ...


We are speaking of the little red fly, which sucks in the vine called othyaime. This vine has a raspy substance, which he is removing. ... He gets rid of the cough little by little ... . The little red deer flies ... have little rasping spheres ... . The white and red flies of the armadillos ... The big and the small flies of the giant armadillo ... shows the way to the doorway."


9. Power

pp. 348-349 spiritual substances : souls & names

p. 348

"Imagined as air, ... ume` ... is concentrated in the heart (ume`ndu:) and flows outward to become the energizing force of each organ. Reaching the brain, it causes it to think; reaching the lungs it causes them to breathe."


"it is the personal name (amia`) that gives ume` its destination and identity ... . ... The name stabilizes the original ume` that the infant acquired at conception, helping it to resist ... the malice of fish that would steal its soul and hide it along the river, though they cannot use it for themselves."

p. 349

"The paye`s meet in secret conclave with the Masters of fish and forest animals ... to agree on quotas for a periodic allocation of souls."

pp. 358-362, 365-367 effects of mihi` (Banisteriopsis caapi)




"Pili grants powers of vision and knowledge ... into the otherwise closed realm of the Anaconda. It can do so because of properties in the extract of its vine (janahu-bwamu)".


"visionaries ... spoke of seeing anacondas {perhaps rainbows?}, considered a good and indeed a necessary sight in a mihi` vision."


"The gift of mihi` ... passed from the Anacondas to Mavi`chikori and then to humans." "People benefit from being "joined" to the Anaconda body and ... they experience an Anaconda youthfulness.{"Be ye wise as serpents" (Euangelion of Matthaios 10:16).} Of this, it is said, the visionary feels he has "become a child again."" {"Be ye children" (1st Corinthians 14:20).}


"in the time before people, when only birds and beasts existed, Mavi`chikori came among Anacondas to look for mihi` and its songs and dances. At that time, it is said, no one else knew how to sing or dance."


"Vare`bori (Venus) ... holds two cuyas [‘gourds’], which are hearts filled with mihi` extract. ... Mavi`chikori sends for the songs of birds and beasts. The songs arrive strung together on a necklace".


"The visionary imagines he is within the Anaconda, and "if he is not used to it he will be afraid.""


"It is said of Mavi`chikori that he "lived the duration of a mihi` vision.""


"when combined with coca, tobacco conveys ume` ..., evoking dreams (kankwainanaino) ... . Such dreams settle dances and songs into the mind."

p. 373 the 3 aspects of the mind

"reasoning (amiro) ...;

remembering (da`puwu: ...) ...; and

nya`nka, the bringing into mind of sacred ancestral images."


10. Gendre

p. 388 women

"Repeated menstruation implies an undesirable erotic obsession with the moon".


Irving Goldman (ed. by Peter J. Wilson) : Cubeo Hehe`newa Religious Thought. Columbia U Pr, NY, 2004.