NAOS : Notes and Materials for the Linguistic Study of the Sacred. Vols. 5 to 6.

[named for Hellenic /naos/ "dwelling, temple or shrine" (Vol. 4, No. 1, p. 15)]

(N.B. : beginning with Vol. 5, Numbers of each Volume were neither separately published nor are separately paginated.)


Vol. 5 (Winter, Spring-Summer, Fall 1989)

pp. 2-17 Jill Leslie Furst : "The Identification of a Plant Spirit in the Mixtec Codices".

p. 12 calendar-names of pairs of goddesses of plant-species





5 Flint

7 Flint

hallucinogenic mushroom

4 Alligator

11 Alligator


2 Flower

3 Alligator

(2 plants)

(tree of origin) 9 Reed

(maguey) 11 Serpent

p. 13 deities wearing intertwined-serpents as headdresses, and flinted clothing

f 11 Serpent

f 9 Reed

m 4 Serpent

p. 15 the 2 souls


"soul that appears in the night"

"rational soul" "knowing from within the laws or justice that are taught and recorded from old."


tonalli "traveled to Mictlan beneath the ground"

teyolia "joined the sun god in the sky"


pp. 18-27 Anatilde Idoyaga Molina & Celia D. Mashnshnek (transl. by Elizabeth Guzma`n) : "The Sacred among the Chaco Boreal Ayoreo". [Zamuco linguistic family, in Bolivia & Paraguay]

pp. 18-21 terminology





kuc^a`de ki`ke uha`idie







therapeutic formulae



rhythmic recitation of formulae



formula "which is sung to a jar so that its content can be transformed into a remedy." {cf. Catholic mass}






therapeutic formulae "recited rhythmically which deal with the mythic cycle of Asohsna`."






"everything that exists"



trace, track, footsteps






power acquired through being covered with blood {cf. baptism in the "blood" of Christ}






power inhaerent in "the feathers of birds of prey that in ancestral times were fearful and dangerous killers."



"the specific power of the shaman."

p. 24 dreams & the insane

the dreamer is able "to foretell the future, ... and even succeed in getting rain, favor hunting and the harvesting of fruit and honey. But he is not allowed to exercise therapy, since it is an activity pertaining to the shaman".

"The insane person is someone who is possessed by Asohsna`and his followers who objectives is [are] to transform his mind, which slowly stops working in a human manner and acts like that of an animal."

pp. 21-24 shamanism




"Pohupie` can also predict future events, find favorable hunting and harvesting spots, and see mythical ancestors – the nanibaha`de – with human features, that is, before they change through metamorphosis."


"Initiation may be ... offered by the shamanic assistants {deities} who announce to him though a dream their desire to transmit pohupie` to him. ... the prospective shaman starts to have frequent dreams of the assistants to the point that, while being awake, an assistant shows up to offer his services to him".


"The paraphernalia ... consist of a pipe, ... some red or black paintings in the form of circles, a cap made of tiger fur and feather ornaments of powerful birds, such as those of Asohsna` and the Co`ndor, and a stick (tunukusna`i), a painted post which is stuck in the ground to foster rain".


"If the purpose is to rescue a soul, the shaman’s soul follows that of the sick person ["the entities which detach themselves in order to make the trip are oregate` (shadow, soul), ahipiye` (external or double soul), and pohupie` (power)" (fn. 11)], even to the place of the dead, and makes it return to earth."

pp. 22-23 myths of origin of shamanism




"According to legend, pohupie`, in the beginning of times, used to be a person. He was ... due to the spots on his body, similar to ... the jaguar. The character sought refuge in a tree, but ... the hunters ..., since they found him to be a feline, decided to kill him. They speared Pohupie` and his blood splashed on the bodies of his aggressors. ... They had thus become shamans by acquiring pohupie` (power) upon their contact with the blood of the character. ... these men were later transformed into animals and vegetables, keeping the pohupie` they had acquired."

"Worm, while being a person, successfully cultivated


tobacco. ... Therefore, he introduced himself into the tobacco plants until he became a worm."

"only birds of prey possessed pohupie` ... . Once, the female Fox discovered one of these characters smoking a pipe. ... she immediately let men know of her new discovery, generalizing its use."

p. 24 "the shaman ... does not surpass the sage (igasita`i) who, just by posssessing the knowledge of the majority of the myths and their corresponding formulas and songs ..., has the power to ... control certain phenomena ... even more so than a shaman."


pp. 36-42 Buenaventura Tera`n (transl. by Joseph Castino) : "Figures of the Toba Pantheon".

p. 36 "They call themselves Kom or Komlek ... . Toba is a Chiriguano term."

the 3 heavens ["arranged from bottom to top." (p. 36)] & 3 underworlds




"Kharta lives in the third heaven. The entrance is guarded by a large puma."


"Nowek ... is ... ascribed to the second heaven, the Dangerous Heaven. In this heaven ..., [felines including] the extremely dangerous jaguar (Kiyok) ... are found."


"the inoffensive first heaven, where Vizacha Corral, the Chiflon and the Manik (n~andu`) constellations are found.


Further below Moxan (quirquincho bola or tatu bolita) and Kaygala (green snake) are found, which are in charge of rounding up the clouds."


Alwa-Lek (/alwa/ ‘land’ + /lek/ ‘of the’) "is found in shallow ground. His domain encompasses the first layer of the earth below napiagnate (where we tread)." ["when Alwa-Lek emerges from the ground and speaks with a shaman. He appears in human form down to the waist, the rest of his body remaining below ground. This theophany is both one and many."


Napalta (/napal/ ‘dead’ + /lta/ ‘king’) "is the king of the dead. His habitat is the pagn~i, the second division of the earth, in depth. He is personified as a skeleton that lives under the earth. ... Napalta ... is the Father of the Nikiy (ghosts). This theophany has a feminine and complementary companion." {cf. [Aztec] Mictlan-tecuhtli & Mictlan-cacihuatl}


"Salamanca ... an early loan from Spanish" {or pun on the Spanish city-name?} : "It is the third layer under the water. ... He is the lord of the aquatic underworld, of music, and the initiator of shamans who accede to the underworld by the aquatic route, ... carried by an alligator. Salamanca is the father of L’Aranak (the queen of snakes) and of Niaj Late (the queen of the fish)."

major deities





Enawakna = /enawa/ ‘everything’ + /kna/ ‘everywhere’

[according to prophecy, "the earth will tremble because of an earthquake produced by the primordial Tatu`-Carreta, and ... Kharta, from the third heaven, will throw a star at her and it will kill her." (p. 37) {cf. meteors thrown at devils by >al-Lahh, according to the Qur>an}]


Kharta = /khar/ ‘our’ + /rta/ ‘father’


Nowet / Noet / Nowea

"lord of kiyok (jaguars), of the little virin birds (messengers of the shamans), of the shamans (piogonak) of which he is the initiator, and of felines in general ... from Kopayk Kalo (... ocelot) to Kopayk (wildcat)". "Nowet, married Nimsy Late, mother of the guazunchos (deer of the Chaco)."



"lord of the forests."


Avia-Lek = /aviak/ ‘forest’ + /lek/ ‘of the’

guardian-deities ["lords (... lta) and queens (late)" (p. 37)] of particular species of animals




Kalak (‘awara`-wazu` = maned wolf’) Lta


Manik (‘n~andu` = American rhea’) Lta


Koz (‘collared peccary’) Lta


Walikiaray (‘carpincho, capibara’) Lta


Mapamalo (‘tatu`-carreta’) Lta -- "in addition, is lord of the malita (tapinek), of the bolita (moxa`n) and of the armadillo (napam)."


Wuoiem (‘caraya` = howler monkey’) Lta


C^eganigo (‘swamp deer’) Lta


C^eganigo (‘swamp deer’) Late`


N~imsy (‘wazuncho’) Late`


Palc^elarga (‘spider’) Late` -- "The shamans have recourse to her to cure torn wounds. ... She brings many little spiders who close the wound of the patient".


Nowet Late` -- "A cudgel blow that she gives Koleksak (iguana) causes him to possess two penises."


L’Aranak (/aranak/ ‘snake’) Late` -- goddess of male snakes


Niaj (‘shad’) Late` -- mermaid, "she is represented as a woman from the waist up and a fish from the waist down".

[each guardian-deity hath the form of a white (albino) member of that species : "weapons do not harm him and when he is seen in a band, a hunter must abandon the hunt." (p. 38).]

guardian-deities ["late` = mother." (p. 40); "lta = owner, father" (p. 41)] of particular species of plants




Dapik (‘honey’) Lta – "he is represented as a man from whose head emerge branches full of leaves." {flowering plants?}


Amap (‘fruit of the carob bean’) Late` -- "(mapik is the name of the tree)"


Nasirk (‘tobacco’) Late`


Kosisigem – "She is ... personified as a fallen tree with mushrooms. She should be pacified upon passing the spot".


Wela`n ("a force that takes possession of those who are being initiated and makes them ... climb trees.") Lta

p. 40 deities of atmosphairic phainomena

Kasogonaga ‘thunderbolt’ – "myth that tells of a native hearing he is being called in the forest. The caller was a little honey bear {kinkajou} ... Kasononaga, who had fallen and could not return to the clouds where he lived. He asked the man to make a campfire with a weed called escuadura; through the smoke he returned to the clouds, and from there he loosed a storm. The man returned to him home ... as a shaman and remained in contact with Kasogonaga."

Koomonalo` ‘rainbow’ – "the rainbow is a giant and powerful serpent. He lives in lagoons and in swampy or marshy land, and the odor of menstruation disgusts him. {[in Australian myth] menstruating women anger the Rain Serpent (BR, p. 108)} ... The catastrophe that Koomonalo` produces is a combination of a whirlwind and an earthquake." {[/Xam/ myth] "A female initiate, unhappy in menarcheal seclusion ... sneaked off to the waterhole ..., an angry !Khwa enveloped her in a whirlwind" (DM&WS).}

BR = Barbara Ehrenreich : Blood Rites. Macmillan, 1998.

DM&WS = citing Bleek and Lloyd 1911:198-205

p. 41 deities of diseases

Dalgo (‘black smallpox’) Lta

Llaga (‘venereal disease’) Lta

pp. 41-42 astrologic deities




Nala` ‘Sun’ goddess


Kagoyk ‘Moon’ god – "He causes the first menstruation of women; this is conceptualized as a sexual act carried out by the moon (Kagoyk) with a young woman."


C^iisi ‘planet Venus’ goddess


Dapic^i ‘the Pleiades’ – One of them is a god who "produces grey hair in people"; another is a goddess who "gives women a man, together with the nuyvike (a violin with only one string)."


pp. 44-46 Dick Edgar Ibarra Grasso : "The Name of the Inca God Wiracocha".

p. 45 Quechua divine names

/Wira-koc^a/ = /wira/ ‘grease, foam’ + /koc^a/ ‘lake, sea/ : this "requires an inverse construction" {thus, would mean ‘sea of foam’ rather than ‘foam of sea’?}

/Tokapo/ "embroidery of little multicolored squared (a feature of the World Center)"

/Illa Tiksi/ = /illa/ ‘starlight’ + /tiksi/ ‘depth, nadir’ (the opposite of /tiksi/ ‘nadir’ is /tikni/ ‘zenith’)