NAOS : Notes and Materials for the Linguistic Study of the Sacred. Vols. 7 to 8.

[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. 7 (Winter, Spring-Summer, Fall 1991)

pp. 3-10 Mary H. Preuss : "The Persistence of the Sacred in Yucatec Folklore".

p. 8 spirits

"seven spirits of seven days"

"spirits of the guardians of the hills"

pp. 8-9 re-incarnation

p. 8

"Many Yucatec Mayas believe that souls are reborn in bodies of butterflies when they want to come back and visit their relatives who are still alive."

p. 9

"In an account about Aj Tomochi>, the text says that when he died, his soul went to live in the stomach of an owl".


"In a second tale, the soul of a lad’s mother is reborn in the form of a very clever rabbit who leads her lost son out of the forest".

pp. 9-10 prophecy

p. 9

"The Chilam Balam or Jaguar Priests had the duty of delivering the most important prophecy, the one for the katun [= 7200 days; 20 katunob = a baktun], a period of 144,000 days."

p. 10

"Aj Tomojchi> ... said that although the Mayan temples would be destroyed, they would be built again and would speak, along with the bones of the dead Mayas. He also says that the souls of the defunct aluxo>ob will enter their bodies again".


pp. 11-19 Buenaventura Tera`n (transl. by Juan Scha:ffer) : "Some Figures of the Mocovi` Pantheon".

p. 11 "Their self-designation is Mokoit."

dreams about deities




"Kota>>a sometimes becomes present in the shamanic dream-voyages (defined as "I was between sleep and waking, but it was real"). In the account of one of these dream-voyages ..., the shaman reaches Heaven in order to see Kota>>a. He undertook the voyage under the impression that he was about to die. He describes the home of Kota>>a in Heaven as a palace with columns. The piogonak clapped his hands, and Kota>>a answered. In the ensuing dialogue the shaman asked Kota>>a whether he was about to die. The god answered that his time had not come and sent him back to continue healing people."


"To sit on the roots of the ombu` may bring Naiapek to appear in dreams."

origin of shamanism




"naserek (tobacco)" : "its use ... is essentially shamanic."


"When a man is to be a shaman, Naiapek makes him lose his way in the forest three days, teaches him to heal, initiates him in the "secret knowledge", and gives him a chant."


[legend of origin of shamanism :] The primaeval piogonak Salc^aro` "acquired the power to transform himself into a regat (jaguar) and bequeathed it to the latter-day shamans."


"Sometimes Nowet will teach a specially endowed person to become a piogonak."

the 4 healing chants




"There are four such healing chants, and they are used by turns, one each year. ... The initial chant of the cycle is the Chant of Kota>>a ... . ... The chants that follow are those of the theophanies Naiapek, Nogevagi`, and Killigay."


"In the four-year cycle of chants, the Chant of Naiapek is the second."


"The shamanic Chant fo Noguevagui` belongs to the third year in the four-year cycle of healing chants."


"The shamanic Chant of Killigay belongs to the fourth year in the four-year cycle of healing chants."

major deities




"Kota>>a ... is held to have created ... the guazuncho (a Chaco cervid), the forest pig (collared peccary), the Moorish pig (lipped peccary), and the pollock (ocelot). ... Kota>>a makes a gift to the Mocovi` of the San Javier River ...; it flows into the ... Setubal Lagoon. He is a witness to all that man says ("He sees what one speaks"), and gives man Faith and Patience".


"After creating the world, Kota>>a remains in Heaven and leaves Naiapek on Earth ... . ... Kota>>a creates Nowek and charges him with watching over mankind and reporting to Naiapek".


Naiapek / Laiapek "is the Master of Masters, commanding the other Masters of Beasts ... . ... Naiapek is the creator of ... the bat, the vampire bat (nananaga), the puma [sawayk], the large gray fox, the skunk, the aguara`-guazu` (maned wolf[, kaalak]), ... the belfry owl, the black owl."

"Naiapek appears in human form, but his face cannot be seen; ... he may further appear as an iguana ... . ... He is the dust devil ... . ... Mushrooms are regarded as Naiapek’s excrement."

"Naiapek also was, in ancient times, Master of Fire. The carrion vulture (Vakare`) ... stole the fire and gave it to mankind. The carrion vulture managed to get hold of the fire ... during a moment of inattention due to a fight between the rattlesnake and the eagle." "In other versions, the carrion vulture ... steals the fire from a series of birds : the sparrow hawk, the raven, the little falcon, the fork-tailed duck, and the chimango, a small Argentine raptor. ... [In yet other versions,] it is ... the vizcacha, a South American burrowing rodent, that is the Master of Fire, and the carrion vulture steals it".


Nowet : "This theophany is both one and many. There is one Nowet, and he has his "hands" – the many Nowet."

pp. 14-15 patron-deities of regions




Kuayak Leek (= /kuayak/ ‘water’ + /leek/ ‘power’) – "Kualek Leek’s habitat is the lagoons, and he keeps them supplied with water. ... his more basic form is that of a stork of as a tuyango, another wading bird ... . ... He also appears as lightning". {cf. [Xhosa] lightning-bird Impundulu (VU, pp. 157-60; N&S, p. 5)}


"Nanayk [‘snake’] Kalo ... is ... the First of Serpents, a gigantic reptile crawling under ground ... . ... when Nanayk Kalo drowns a community because of an infringement of the menstruation taboo ... after five years ... the drowned ones may emerge up to the navel ... . ... voices and music are heard the evening before, emerging from the drowned place."


Nanayk Kalo "also abhors the odor of the siporo (tuco-tuco, a South American rodent : Ctenomys). ... [According to a legend,] the queen of the siporo ... , who was menstruating ..., proceeded to run around a lagoon".


Nonga (‘a field, a plain’) Leek "holds mastery over the plains and the forest edge."

VU = Jonathan Maberry: Vampire Universe. Citadel Pr, 2006.

N&S = INDO-PACIFIC JOURNAL OF PHENOMENOLOGY, Volume 7, Edition 1 May 2007. Petrus & Bogopa : "Natural and Supernatural".

pp. 15-16 guardian-deities ["leta>>a : master, king, lord, father"] of particular species of animals




Kaygeta (‘guazuncho’) Leta>>a


Koz (‘collared peccary’) Leta>>a


Man~ik (‘rhea’) Leta>>a


Piok (‘hound’) Leta>>a


Kopiaga (‘capybara’) Leta>>a – "he has a special whistle."


Netise (‘nutria’) Leta>>a


Sogona (‘guinea pig’) Leta>>a


Nanuk (‘caiman’) Leta>>a


Nkogak (‘cicada’) – "She is ... the Mistress of the Watermelons. The cicada is the sacred animal of the Mocovi`." {maahu ‘cicada’ is likewise a sacred animal of the Hopi (K, pp. 61-80); and of the Navaho & Zun~i (CT&L)}

K = Ekkehart Malotki : Kokopelli. U of NE Pr, 2004.

CT&L =

pp. 16-18 ogresses & ogres




Konase : "She takes the form of a tiny woman. During the siesta she has sexual intercourse with the men she encounters.


Afterwards, the man’s penis acquires gigantic dimensions and remains erect. It returns to normal if Konase calls the man and he turns towards her." "Mocovi` women are members of a secret society established by Konase."


Noiogonak : "This is the night whistler, a nocturnal being. ... One must not answer the whistle; other wise it will follow one threateningly and make the one who imitates it mad. The little burrowing owls are regarded as protecting mankind against the attacks of the whistle".


"Nezogoy (Greedy Old Woman). ... A Nezogoy is created by the violation of a menstrual taboo, which forbids a menstruating woman to eat meat. One myth tells of a woman who, during her menstrual period[,] accompanies her husband to hunt parrots. The man climbs the tree where they nest, and throws the chicks down to the woman. She eats them and, being in her menstrual period, becomes a Nezogoy. She kills her husband and devours him. She then wants to continue devouring people in her encampment, but they all flee. The men dig a pit and make her fall in and burn her." {same myth (where the woman is called /Neso`Ge/) for the Pilaga`, in MN, p. 2}


"Katley (Jumper). ... When shamans make contact with the Powerful Ones (sometimes going into a trance with the help of hallucinogens), Katley may appear, jumping among the three branches, with clownish behavior."


"Loverayk (Black Ones of the water). ... One account tells of some women who were washing clothes; the Black Ones of the water sent them a whirlpool. The women fled just in time, but the whirlpool carried the clothes away.

MN = LATIN AMERICAN INDIAN LITERATURE JOURNAL, Vol. 1 (1985), pp. pp. 1-12 Anatilde Idoyaga Molina : "The Myth of NesoGe".

p. 18 atmosphairic deities

Nonot (‘wind’) Leta>>a

Nakolan~a (‘lightningbolt’) – "a female theophany ... over the lightning bolt, sheet lightning, and thunder. She is ... a woman tiny as a doll, with long, fair hair. ... She is married to ... the Thunder of the West ...; storms are ... fights between husband and wife."

pp. 18-19 astrologic deities




"The Sun (raaza) is ... a female being, while the Moon (sirayo) is ... a male."


The Mortar (with Pestle) "ascended in its shape to the sky, to serve there a group of old women. These women would grind there carobs and jujubes".


Rapiralagc^i` "are the Pleiades, ... the origin of the graying of the hair."


Man~ik (n~andu`, rhea) "in days of old, "ate people". This monster is killed ... and remains among the stars."


Natognay Koparit (= /natognay/ ‘armadillo’ + /koparit/ ‘corral’) – "When the clouds move slowly, the herder is Natognay; when they move rapidly, it is Kaygebala [‘green snake’] that herds them."

"The Mocovi` regard their myths and the recital of them sacred. ... whenever one begins a recital, no one in the audience may withdraw".


Vol. 8 (Winter, Spring-Summer, Fall 1992)

pp. 3-7 Ruth Gubler : "The Ritual of the Bacabs".

C^ilam Balam

p. 3, fn. 3

"the Books of Chilam Balam can be divided into two groups :

those which like the Chumayel, Mani and Tizimin contain primarily ... myth, prophecies ... (among them katun prophecies), ritual, etc., and

those which like the Ixil, Kaua and Nah consist primarily of prognostication and almanacs and herbal curing."

p. 6

"The Book of Chilam Balam of Chuma-yel (Roys, 1967 : 99-100) describes the struggle between" the heavenly and underworld sets of deities (Oxlahun-Ti-Ku & Bolon-Ti-Ku respectively).

p. 6, fn. 9

"The Book of Chilam Balam of Mani (Craine and Reindorp, 1979 : 65-66) describes their descent from the heavens, occasion on which the priest Chilam Balam fell into fell into a trance, serving as a medium to transmit their message to the other priests congregated there."

p. 5 Popol Vuh

"In the Popol Vuh (Recinos, Goetz and Morley, 1950 : 110, footnoes 10, 11 and 12) various disease-causing gods are mentioned :

Ahalpuh and Ahalgana caused a kind of dropsy and jaundice ...;

Lord Chamiabac and Chamiaholom carried bone-staffs and made men waste away ... and

Xic and Patan caused sudden death by blood-vomit."

Ritual of the Bacabob (portions translated by the author from :- Ramo`n Arza`palo : El Ritual de los Bacabes. Universidad Nacional Auto`noma de Me`xico, 1987.)




"the shaman’s journey to ... outer ... space" : "How is it that all by myself I reached the hidden sky to call Hunac Ah Uenel ‘He of the Profound Sleep’?" (Arza`palo, p. 341)


"my standing up to undo the knot of the ix hun pedz kin" (Arza`palo, pp. 340-1) ["a lizard, Heloderma horridum ... exceedingly poisonous." (p. 4, fn. 4) {similar to the gila monster Heloderma suspectum}]


Jaguar-Macaw-Frenzy, whose father was "Chac Ahau (... Red Lord)", mother was Is^ C^el, tree was "Tancasche" [= Zanthoxylum fagara (p. 5, fn. 5)], plant "kantemo" [= Acacia angustissima (p. 5, fn. 6)] (Arza`palo, pp. 270-1).


incantation to cure the Nicte Tancas (Erotic-Frenzy) seizure (Arza`palo, pp. 313-5) : "Three times I called you with my flute, Oh, Bacabs" (Arza`palo, p. 314)


incantation to exorcise "Oc Tancas! (Roving Seizure)", whose bird is the Oo, mother is "Ix Kak ... (She of the Fiery ...)" (Arza`palo, p. 277)


"The shaman speaks of his struggle against the disease which has been caused by the wind, by ... banishing it" : "That is why I stood up to seize the wind that is in the center of the flower. {cf. wind-channels centred in waterlily at nerve-plexi, according to Tantrik physiology} I have hurled you to the center of heaven, to the center of the underworld. ... thirteen times I seized [the wind] ... . That is how I kicked that wind".


pp. 8-20 Ana Ferna`ndez Garay & Mari`a Ine`s Poduje (transl. by the editor [Juan Adolfo Va`zquez]) : "The Sister Who Married a Puma". [Rankel "dynasty of the Gu:or (foxes)" (p. 8, fn. 4) at Leubuko` (= La Blanca), by the river C^adileuvu`]

p. 19 epew (‘myth’)

"The motifs of the marriage of a woman with a puma, ... her giving birth to puma cubs, ... are also found ... among the Tehuelche of the Santa Cruz province, in Patagonia."