Spears of Twilight [Ac^uar of the Ecuador-Peru` border] – myths

pp. 86-7 myth of hummingbird-deity

p. 86

"weeds that are competing with ... cultivated plants ... developed from the down covering Hummingbird, who strewed them over the earth’s surface to punish human beings ... . After being disobeyed by two sisters,

p. 87

Wayus and Mukunt ..., Hummingbird had pronounced a curse".

p. 87 In "a garden ... groups of plants ... are set out, according to their affinities, in beds separated from one another by little sandy paths as carefully raked as those in a Japanese garden."

pp. 90-1 myth of tapir-goddess

p. 90

"a woman went off to collect shrimps in a little river. ... Making her way upstream ..., she saw a woman peeling manioc. This woman was Nunkui. ... Nunkui ... said, ‘... take my daughter Uyush (sloth) with you ... . ... you must tell her to call the cultivated plants by their names.’

The woman did so and the child Uyush named ... all the garden plants, and then did they truly exist. ... there was no longer a lack of food. One day when Uyush found herself alone with the other children of the household, they asked her, for fun,


to call into existence

{cf. (similar to />uYuS^/) />IS^/ ‘THERE IS’ (Strong’s 786)}

p. 91

a spider, which she did. Then a scorpion, which she also did. They then insisted that she call the harmful Iwianch spirits. At first she refused, but at length gave in to the demand, and some horrible Iwianch invaded the house. ... Uyush took refuge on the roof of the house. There, she began to sing softly to the giant bamboos, the kenku ... : ‘Kenku, kenku, come and fetch me ... .’ ... Uyush caught hold of it. ...


Then Uyush slipped inside the bamboo,

{cf. Pueblo Indian myths of the people’s taking refuge WITHIN A GIANT BAMBOO}


defecating regularly as she went. Each of her excrements formed a knot in the bamboo."

p. 92 Ac^uar "regard manioc as a living being, possessed of a soul, wakan, and leading an altogether regular family life ... . ... most of the anent are addressed to this little manioc community, to encourage it to ... multiply ... .

p. 93 "These leafy children, who are devoured by those who raise them, ... find compensation for their fate. Like the Nunkui stones, manioc is believed to suck the blood of human beings ... . The manioc .... roots streaked with red ... interpreted as traces of the blood that the plant had sucked."

pp. 95-8 myth of facial-paint goddesses

p. 95

[myth about "two sisters, Ipiak (rocou) and Sua (genipa)" :] "there was a young woman called Sua, whom we now know as a plant for painting out faces; and she had a sister called Ipiak. Both were unmarried ... . ... They had heard tell of Nayap [a black martin with a forked tail] ... . They met him on a forest path, on his way to hunt birds with his blowpipe ... Then Nayap told them, ‘... on the path that leads to my house there is the tail feather of a yusa parrot and on the path that leads to my brother Tsuna [pus], there is the tail feather of a cuckoo, ikianchim. ...’

p. 96

... But Tsuna was behind them and had heard everything. ... he ... rushed homewards to switch the tail feathers around. The young women took the wrong path. ... the two young women ... arrived at the home of Tsuna’s mother. ... At last, in the middle of the night, Tsuna arrived. ... he had caught ... a few river crabs ... . Then Tsuna went off to sleep between the two sisters and the whole night was passed in caresses and erotic games. ...

p. 97

The two sisters decided to go to Nayap’s house, but ...


he realized from their nauseating smell that the young women had slept with Tsuna. ... Nayap repulsed their advances. {NaYaP was displeased with his two betrothed brides having committed ADULTERY with another man.}

{cf. /NI>uP/ ‘ADULTERY’ (Strong’s 5004)}


Sua and Ipiak then set out in search of another man. Then came to the house of an old woman who had a monster-son. He was of minute stature but had a gigantic penis that he kept wound around his body like a rope. His mother kept him shut in a large jar set in a grid above the bed. ... Now, every night, the tiny man poked his huge penis out of the jar and unwound it, letting it down to the bed below, where he copulated with the two sleeping sisters. In the morning they realized that they had been penetrated, but could not make out how it had happened. While the old woman was out in her garden, the two women set about searching the house and discovered the jar and the monster-son. ... They boiled some water and poured it into the pot and the son died, boiled alive. ...

Sua drew herself up to her full height and set her legs apart. She gave

p. 98

a loud cry and became the sua plant (genipa).

{cf. heroine /S^U<A>/ (Strong’s 7774), whose name signifieth /s^awa</ ‘SHOUT’ (Strong’s 7768)}


Ipiak squatted on the ground and became the ipiak plant (rocou). That is why rocou is a low bush, whereas genipa stands high. ...



{cf. Church-Latin name /JACOMus/, perhaps from <ibri^ /YAHH QO^Mah/}


(‘howler monkey’) was smeared with rocou by Ipiak, as was


Kunamp (‘squirrel’). {When pursued, squirrels WITHDRAW to trees.}

{cf. /KaNAP/ ‘to WITHDRAW/ (Strong’s 3670). /KaNAP/ is ‘wing’ (Strong’s 3671); and there are winged so-called "flying-squirrels", but they dwell in New Guinea.}


Chuu (‘wooly monkey’) was nicely decorated by Sua, who put genipa on his head, hands and feet."

p. 95 According to Ac^uar belief, "anopheles and sand-flies live in great numbers on animal-mothers that resemble hug dogs, with which they cohabit in a state of symbiosis, forever pumping out their host’s blood and reinjecting the blood they have taken from other creatures."

p. 95 "Wayus ... leaves are used for the infusion consumed before dawn."

p. 99 "the forest trees ... are the creatures of Shakaim {cf. ancestor /S`uKAt/ (Strong’s 7756), meaning /s`o^k/ ‘bough’ (Strong’s 7754)}, Nunkui’s brother ..., who cultivates the jungle as a huge plantation".

pp. 227-9 myth of extinction of the Ajaimp

p. 227

"The Ajaimp ... used to make gardens ..., but they planted kurikri thorn bushes all around them, and whenever people passed that way


they got caught on the thorns. Ajaimp came regularly to see if any animal had fallen into the trap.

{"a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. And >abraham went and took the ram" (B-Re>s^it 22:13).}


If it was a man, the Ajaimp killed him ... to eat him. ...


Basilisk [sumpa] ... was learning to use the tashimpiu [a curved musical instrument played with a little bow]. ... Ajaimp did as Basilisk bade him, but


with a clumsy movement of the bow he pierced him belly and died. ...

{According to the R.c Veda, Vis.n.u was killed by his own BOW-string’s breaking.}


Cricket [tinkishapi] ... would sing shir-shir. ...

{cf. /S^IR/ ‘song’ (Strong’s 7892)}

p. 228

Cricket advised Ajaimp to wrap himself ..., but his [cricket’s (p. 227)] carapace caught fire and he [Ajaimp] was burned to death.


Sapajou monkey [tsere] ... wandered around ... singing krua-krua-krua. ... Sapajou .. had replaced the hard stone axe-blade with one of pumice stone. ... Then ... Sapajou hurled Ajaimp’s axe into the river ... . ...

{According to the Rama-ayana, the MONKEY-folk came (to Lanka) over a floating bridge of PUMICE-stone.}


Sapajou was eating the fruits of the caimito tree. ... .

{[Wakue`nai myth] "Made-from-Bone ... secretly moving the monkeys’ favorite fruit tree" (MFB, p. 21).}

p. 229

... when all the Ajaimp had climbed into them, the caimito trees crashed down into the ravine under their weight. ...


The Ajaimp had split their skulls and their brains were spilt all over the rocks. Still mocking them, Sapajou ... licked it. That is how that Sapajou now has such a large brain."

{The female sapajou hath a very large clitoris, like unto that of the female huaina.}

MFB = Jonathan D. Hill : Made-From-Bone. U of IL Pr, Urbana, 2009.

p. 239 myth of constellation Orion

"a group of orphans, the Musach, were fleeing on a raft to get away from their stepfather. Eventually they reached the spot where the river joins the vault of the heavens, which they proceeded to ascend. The Musach became the Pleiades and their raft became Orion."

p. 324 myth of Sua & of Tsunki

"the woman Sua ... One night ... dreamed of a very handsome man ... . This man ... Tsunki ... carried off the woman Sua and took her to the bottom of the lake. There ..., Tsunki seated her on a cayman. ... Tsunki gave her a stick with which to tap it on its nose every time it opened its jaws. Seeing that the cayman was becoming annoyed, Tsunki then

seated the woman Sua on a charapa tortoise ... .

{cf. Aztec goddess Ayo-pechtli, who is SEATED UPON A TORTOISE.}

From there, she could watch ... all the animals that lived with Tsunki, the ‘midnight-blue anacondas’ in compact coils, the black jaguars tethered to the posts with chains : ... Tsunki kept talking to them, telling them not to try to eat her. ...

But after a while Sua came back. She told her mother, ‘Tsunki carried me off; now he has bidden me to visit my family.’ She described how, under the waters, in the depths, there were great towns built of stone ... . ... no one would believe her. Then she invited her relatives to accompany her to the lakeside ... . Back she went into the lake, without getting wet. Just as the top of her head was about to disappear, she asked for the door to be opened. Everyone heard the creak of the door opening and even the dogs barking in the depths of the lake. Much later she re-emerged from the lake, ... not at all wet. ... before that there was no maize, and it was the woman Sua who brought it from the depths of the waters."

p. 325 "women shamans ... are usually widows, or have remained old maids out of devotion to their calling, but they compensate for ... celibacy in this world by a union with Tsunki".

p. 346 myth of origin of [medical use of] nettle

"Nettle was a uwishin. ... Those who were suffering from the spells of the ‘people-of-stone’ [kaya aents] were cured by him; he restored life to them. ... In the olden days, when men died, their bodies were placed in a little hut, specially constructed at the top of a high tree. The dead man was seated there on his chimpui, ... wearing his tawasap crown. After a while like this, the dead man began to live again. ... The man would go home and explain that

he had been fishing,

{"The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish." (Ys^a<yah 19:8)}

and his wife would serve him ... for the occasion. ...

Now, a man fell sick ... and they even sent Sesenk [a coleoptera] to fetch the people-of-stone. ...

In those days, when people died, their hearts continued to beat. Amaran ... plunged his spear into the heart and that is how definitive death came about ... .

{When a vampire dieth, the vampire’s heart continueth alive, until a definitive death is brought about by transfixing the vampire’s heart.}

After this, Nettle arrived, but it was too late. ... With that he presented his nettle as a gift and ‘blew’ on it."

That is why we use nettle for healing.

{Nettle is useful for healing arthritis.}

pp. 369-70 myth about a ghost

p. 369

"a dead grandfather came to visit his grandchildren. ... The children took blowgun darts,


lit them at the fire ands set fire to his pees-a-pees [grosbeak] head. While his head was burning like a torch,

{Ture’s "head was on fire." ("HTUHE")}


he kept singing ... . The children ... went to sleep.

When their parents returned, the children said, ‘... Grandfather came ... .’ ... The father ... decided to hide on a high shelf to see what went on in his absence. An old man with shaggy hair arrived, and set about preparing a stew ... . While they were all eating,

p. 370

the grandfather took out one of his eyes and put it in the stew to salt it. ... After eating, the grandfather wanted the eye again, but his could not find it. ... .

{Ture "his eye, brought it out, and threw it into the stream ... . ... Ture ... looked in vain for his eye." ("HTUHE")}


... his burning body set fire to the vegetation and then disintegrated into ashes."

{"He rubbed his ash on his eye" ("HTUHE").}

{The North American Indian Coyote-god, who likewise misplaced his own extracted eyen, brought back the ghosts of the dead to the world of the living in the form of ashes.}

"HTUHE" = "How Ture Used His Eye" (Zande of Yambio District in the Sudan) http://enargea.org/tales/black_African/Tures_eye.html

pp. 397-8 ujaj ["feminine equivalent of the anemat" (p. 395)] mentioning mythic animal-deities

p. 397

"midnight-blue anaconda",


"wampi fish",


p. 398

"She learned the nujaj from her mother, exactly as tushimp, the golden-collared woodpecker, once taught them to men so that they would remain beyond the reach of emeask, like the anaconda, safe under the waters in its lair." ["emesak" is ‘an immaterial principle ... that returns to harass the killer’ (p. 420).]

Philippe Descola (transl. from the French by Janet Lloyd) : The Spears of Twilight. New Pr, NY, 1996.