Marind-anim mythology


pp. 74-75 mythic voyage in two successive canoes, the latter whereof was assaulted by a sea-snake

p. 74

"A number of dema [primordial creator-beings] came by canoe ... In front sat a dema-bird, Yowi, the white heron ... . The name of the canoe was Diwa. ... Yugil’s genitals were of extraordinary size; he had to carry his penis slung over his shoulder. ... an old woman ferried him across the Maro in her canoe. The old woman sat in front, her daughter in the middle and Yugil aft. During the trip, Yugil molested the girl with his long penis, but the mother ... cut off the penis, which dropped overboard. ... The Diwa-canoe arrived soon afterwards. ... Zawi had to get off because he had eaten too much sago and the canoe became overloaded. ... the canoe struck upon the cut-off penis of Yugil, which stuck to the bow ... . After some time another dema was turned out because he wanted to eat himself. ...

Further downstream ... a sea-snake bearing the name Salendo approached the canoe and stirred up a strong eddy. {cf. [in Kemian mythology] the river-snake <PP (Apophis) which daily assaulted the barque of R< the sun-god} The canoe, which slowly followed Salendo down the river, had to be relieved of its load and

p. 75


a sago-pounder,

an old woman (who changed into a tortoise) {cf. Aztec goddess Ayo-pechtli},

a couple of fishes ...

were thrown out. ... Salendo reappears and capsizes the canoe, and other demas were stranded at various places."

p. 81 myth of origin of rite of sexual promiscuity {SCNGC, p. 137 : "During the promiscuous heterosexual intercourse of the myth-enacting rituals, the serial sexuality of the Marind was that of the dema themselves, and the children born to unmarried woman as the result of such sexuality ... were not human but were dema-children."}

"Uaba was among the initiates. He had brought an iwag, a woman of his age-grade, to participate in otiv-bombari, the rite of sexual promiscuity.


Her name was Ualiwamb. ... The next morning Uaba was found ... in copulation with Ualiwamb, unable to extricate himself.

{This is a temporary conditions of certain flying insects, which remain stuck together in copulation for some hours, during which they may fly about.}

A dema, Rugarug-evai, ... told the people what had happened to Uaba. Some of them ... laughed at and mocked Uaba. ... Uaba first killed Rugarug-evai.

{Ares and Aphrodite, while they were held together in copulation (by the net of Hephaistos), were laughed at by the theoi.}

Then Aramemb came ... to Uaba’s hut where he was still locked in copulation. Aramemb seized Uaba, shook him, and turned him over to disengage him. Suddenly, ... flames flared up. The friction of their parting had produced fire. {"Flame shoots from Waliwamb’s vulva (the origin of fire)" (SCNGC, p. 143).} Ualiwamb gave birth to a cassowary and a stork. The cassowary and stork owe their black feathers to the fire. Moreover, the stork has burned its legs, and the cassowary the lobes of its neck. These are still red. The fire ... spread all along the coast. All animals fled into the water, but the lobster burned itself and turned red".

{cf. S^into goddess who was burned by giving birth to the fire-god}


p. 85 myth of origin of head-hunting

"Sosom came from the far east ... in a beautiful dema-canoe, the gaream-canoe. He arrived at ... where the people only had the uga-canoe, and where they bartered their canoes with Sosom.

{cf. Irish god Bran, who undertook a voyage by sea}

Continuing on his journey by uga-canoe, the sea became turbulent, so he disembarked ... and continued on foot, his footsteps raising the waves of the sea.

{cf. Irish god Bran, who waded through the sea}

His nakari [young women of one’s totem group] named Nagi and Runggu accompanied him.

He went westward ..., but the people ... killed him. They cut off his head, but the head ran off and went eastward under the ground. ...

{cf. Irish god Bran, whose head continued living after it was decapitated}

Sosom himself became a hais, a spirit of the dead. He returned by land to the east. ... Here, unnoticed, Sosom entered the vagina of an iwag (in effect, a married woman) named Wanumb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, Sosom. He ... went to ... a swamp ... and the women ... took their nets and tried to catch fish. Thus they caught Sosom".


p. 86 "Sosom is also the Marind-Anim word for the bull-roarer."

pp. 88-89 myth of swallowing of women by female python; mythic origin of coconut

p. 88

"the mayo boys went westward with their mother, a python of the variety called bir. ... she is known as Nangewra, Wangor, Wangus, and Kadubar. ... One of the little boys ... changed into an Inocarpus edulis, a fruit-bearing tree ... . ... the python became pregnant. She bore a son, Yawi, who was found by two females ... . They took the child with them to the village, but the python tracked them down by their smell. She circled the hut and the women chased the python away, throwing glowing charcoal at her ... . ...


The python proceeded to swallow a number of women who were fishing in the swamp. The last to be swallowed by a pregnant woman, ... who stuck in the python’s throat. Later, the men killed the python and slit her open. All the women emerged alive".

"In the meantime, Yawi grew up into a very handsome boy. Aramemb heard about him and wanted to steal him. ...

{cf. Murnin (of Arnhem Land, northern Australia) myth of the women of were swallowed by the Rainbow-snake; a woman giving birth was among those swallowed by the Murnin Rainbow-snake}

p. 89

... a boy was sent back to the village to fetch fire. Astounded at the beautiful decorations which Aramemb had exhibited on wooden puppets, the boy forgot everything. The same thing happened to each boy who was sent to fetch fire by the puzzled village people. ... The excitement gives Aramemb the opportunity to seize Yawi.

{cf. the abduction of the body Ganumedes by Zeus}


When he is grown up, Yawi commits adultery with his foster-mother. ... The five men, Mangasesse, Mangaueru, Ueru, Doyam, and Enod-anem, ... are the mythical kambara-anim, and they kill Yawi with their magic (kambara). ...

Aramemb ... wants to restore him to life, but it is too late. When Aramemb returns with his medicine, he finds that the boy has been buried already. Thereupon, Aramemb takes the bowl of medicine and pours it over a snake. ... Ever since, snakes have not died."

{cf. [in Keraki mythology] Gufa, who after having been resurrected, was buried alive by Kambel, on account of Gufa’s incest with his own mother (MCM, p. 492)}


"Yawi’s head, severed from his body before it was buried, sprouted the first coconut."

{"In Lambumbu (Malekula), after the death of Hambat ..., the coconut, also called Hambat, sprang from his skull." (MCM, p. 110)}

MCM = The Megalithic Culture of Melanesia. Brill, Leiden, 1950.

p. 94 origin of bodily apertures & limbs

"imo canoe" : "The dema ... traveled by this canoe underground ... . ...

{cf. Micmac myth of voyage via canoe underground; and the voyage underground via raft by Sindbad in the 1001 Nights}

they encountered ... floating in the water ... creatures ... fishlike in appearance. They were the anda-fish, "in reality human beings whose arms, legs, fingers and toes were still one with their bodies, and who had neither mouths nor ears". ...

{cf. Chinese god Hun-dun (Hun-tun), who had no bodily apertures until these were opened by surgery}

The dema ordered the stork to place these creatures on dry land. Then the dema made a big fire on ... bamboo-stems. [Successive explosions bamboo-sectors exploded into existence the first human ears, eyen, nose, and mouth.] Now the dema cut them their arms, legs, fingers and toes with a bamboo knife".

{cf. Zulu myth of origin of first man Unkulunkulu from bamboo’s explosion when burned}

James F. Weiner : The Lost Drum. U of WI Pr, 1995.


p. 144 Mahu {cf. the name of the West African god /MaHU/ (/MAwU/)}

"Mahu ... has exceedingly large genitals and copulates frequently with his wife, whereupon she bears him a litter of dogs ... . One of these dogs copulates with Mahu’s wife ... . ... Mahu finds one his wives stealing food, so he ties her up and later gives her to Geb as a wife." {cf. name of Kemian god GB[B]}

p. 144 Nazr {possibly cf. the name of the <arabian god /NASR/}

"Nazr changes back and forth from pig to man ... . The local people dig a pit-trap, catch Nazr as a pig, and kill and eat him. The bones complain of the cooking heat, leave to bathe, and attack the people of the village. ...

{cf. Hawai>ian boar-god Kama-pua>a}

When he finds a dema he cannot kill, he shoots a pair of copulating snakes and uses them to tie the dema up."

{cf. [Norse] the snakes which were used to tie up Loki}

p. 146 Opeko-anem

"Uaba asks Opeko-anem to fetch an additional woman for the heterosexual rites ... . When Opeko-anem returns with ... the young woman ..., the woman resists and stabs him ... . She carries him off along with the sunburst ... to leave ... Opeko-anem upstream.

A woman said to Harut and Marut : "I went and urinated into the oven and I saw a horsemen wearing an iron mask come out of me and go up to the sky" (H&M, p. 28). {Is this iron mask magnetic, so as to have magnetic "lines of force" arranged similarly to a sunburst?}

Dema-women who are angry at Opeko-anem for having coerced women into sexual ties tie him upside-down to ironwood pillars in the middle of the river. ... the dema-women settle nearby to keep watch on their prisoner, remaining there to the present day."

Because they had sexual intercourse with the woman Zuhra (RM, p. 147), the male angels Harut and Marut "were condemned to hang by their feet in a well" (SG&DM f). Harut & Marut are derived from the Armenian deities Horot & Morot (SI). They are assigned to Babylon ("Bab-El" – OT, p. 65) in the Qur>an; but the "Whore of Babylon", as described by Herodotos, was actually in the district Akilisene of Armenia, as mentioned by in Strabon 11:14:16 ("CPNTE", p. 448) for the goddess Anahita.

H&M = Mohamad Yasin Owadally : Harut & Marut.

RM = Road to Mecca.


SI = W. St. Clair-Tisdall, The Sources of Islam.

OT = Nathan Haskell Dole : Omar the Tentmaker. Boston : L. C. Page & Co, 1899.

"CPNTE" = S. M. Baugh : "Cult Prostitution In New Testament Ephesus". JOURNAL OF THE EVANGELICAL THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY, vol. 42 (1999), pp. 443-460

p. 151 "promiscuous heterosexual intercourse took place between imo men and women in attendance. ... The meat from the coconuts was then mixed with mingled semen and vaginal fluids (collected during the promiscuous sexual intercourse of the preceding night) and eaten in a feast."

Bruce M. Knauft : South Coast New Guinea Cultures. Cambridge U Pr, 1993.