Can a soul journey visit another grave

82 Stuart Blackburn The Journey of the Soul Burial Rituals and Oral Texts in Arunachal Pradesh, India Burial rituals involve not only physical acts but also spoken words. So far, however, these oral texts have rarely been placed at the center of the analysis of such rituals. An interesting oral text, which is widespread but by no means universal, is about the journey of the soul of a deceased to the land of the dead. The following article describes this journey and explains the importance it has for the tribal cultures in the northeast Indian Arunachal Pradesh. I. Paths of research In terms of complexity and sophistication, research on rituals of the dead is hardly inferior to the time-consuming and elaborate reactions of people to a death. Even if scholars who deal with burials may disagree on individual matters, most seem to agree on one thing: the complex ideas and actions associated with death can be traced back to the wishes of the bereaved, the ambiguities inherent in it - the dead is present and absent at the same time; death means a final point for the individual, but the living persist as a group - to be dealt with. The known solutions are manifold and fascinating in their details: The pyramids with ships in the sand, burial, cremation or dismemberment of the corpse; rituals lasting ten or fourteen days and resuming after a break of a year or more; Theologies of the soul; several afterlife departments and much more. The analyzes of the funeral rituals, however, hardly do justice to this diversity, especially since Sylvia Höfer and Oliver Lamers have so far mainly concerned themselves with the translation from English. 83 have concentrated the restoration of social order, even if the respective argumentation was attached to the most varied of contexts, such as political authority, the fate of the soul or fertility. This legacy of Durkheim and Hertz could be critically assigned to a primitive functionalism, although the arguments are (in most cases) original and convincing and based on reliable data Ethnology goes back to its limits. One aspect of burial rituals that deserves more attention is the oral texts. Most scholars mention these texts - especially funeral chants, speeches, and recitations - and some describe them, but few put them at the center of their considerations.3 However, even when such texts are taken into account, they are often translated into sociological categories. For example, the feelings expressed during grief are explained as social constructs. Although this is probably not wrong, the question arises as to the specific content of these texts. What do they actually say? Who are they aimed at? Does the recitation of the texts only serve as background music, or does it express something that is important for our understanding of burial rituals? When it comes to the question of the meaning of oral texts in the context of burials, the present contribution focuses on ritual journeys, more precisely on "the journey of the soul" to the land of the dead. Most cultures have an idea of ​​this journey, which in many even is the essential prerequisite for the transformation from the living to the dead: it is a spatial movement that symbolizes a categorical transformation. But the nature of this soul journey varies, as do other expressions of culture. Most journeys are relatively short, in the real landscape as well as in ritual time, and often consist only of wading through a river, climbing the mountain. 2 Cf. Huntington and Metcalf, Celebrations of Death, on the criticism of Parrys and Bloch's alleged functionalism. 3 exceptions are Davies, Death, Ritual and Belief; Danforth, Death Rituals of Rural Greece. Davies, Death, Ritual and Belief, highlights the importance of language in the context of burials. His main argument that this language is "words against death" (p. -2) and that burials serve to overcome death, which is viewed as a loss of self-confidence, is not convincing; funerals are not exclusively, not even primarily, a fight against death. the journey of the souls 84 walking up a mountain or crossing a bridge (sometimes formed by a chain of mourners). In the examples I give here, however, the journey is described in detail and accompanied by several hours of recitation. The soul journey described below differs from the post-mortem journeys that we know from Asian religions, such as the Hindu-Buddhist transmigration of souls or the Tibetan experiences in bar do. While these cases involve cyclical changes in consciousness, the journey discussed here is a unilinear movement through a concrete landscape, which, however, is not to be equated with the flight that shamans undertake to capture fleeting souls, because in In one case the shaman brings the soul back from the land of the dead, in the other he escorts it there. Still, these two journeys are closely related in that the sickness that requires the soul to be brought back is only a milder form of that ultimate sickness from which there is - or should be - no return, for in some cultures the soul will only then definitely headed to the land of the dead after she returned to this world to haunt the living. Despite the similarities between these two journeys, I will only describe the path the soul takes to the land of the dead, and finally explain why, in my opinion, the importance of its journey lies in the desire to prevent its return. There are reports from many cultural regions (North America, Polynesia, Southeast Asian islands) about the journey of the soul to the land of the dead, and generally about ritual journeys. from Nepal to southwest China.5 A quarter of a century ago Nicholas Allen showed that 4 The International Motif Index gives examples under “Journey to Other World” (F 0) and “Journey to Lower World” (F 80). 5 On the importance of the soul journey in Central Asia, see Chadwick, Growth of Literature, pp. 05-06; in Central and North Asia see Holmberg, Mythology of all Races, pp. 27ff., 484ff .; Eliade, Shamanism, pp. 200ff; in Polynesia see Chadwick, Growth of Literature, pp. 272-277; for the tribes of North America see Radin, Winnebago Tribe; Radin and Lamere, Winnebago Funeral; in Nepal see Höfer, Tamang Ritual Texts; Höfer, Recitation of the Tamang Shaman; Höfer, noun Est Numen; Gaenszle, Traveling Up - Traveling Down; Gaenszle, Ancestral Voices; Pettigrew, Parallel Landscapes; and the essays in Kailash 982, 9 (4); in Yunnan see Rock, Zhi Mä Funeral Ceremony; McKhann, Naxi, Rerkua, Moso, Meng, pp. 29-30; Oppitz, Cardinal Directions. stuart blackburn 85 that the "ritual journey" is a fundamental ritual pattern of these cultures in Nepal. His observation was first confirmed and elaborated by András Höfer6 and recently again by Martin Gaenszle, according to which ritual journeys are "a special phenomenon of the indigenous religions of the Himalayas" and "one of the most unique characteristics of the hill region's" tribal religions ‹.” 7 However, it was Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf who was the first to draw attention to the outstanding importance of the journey of the soul to the dead in this region: “The most characteristic feature of the eschatological beliefs of most of these tribes [in Arunachal Pradesh] is a very detailed picture of the Land of the Dead, including the often tortuous path by which it is reached. «8 Most of my data also come from Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India, although I still have some parallels to other Tibetan Burmese-speaking tribes, especially in eastern Nepal and Yunnan in southwest China, 9 Within Arunachal I will myself to the ethnic groups in the center of the state and disregard those who practice a variant of Tibetan or Burmese Buddhism. In particular, I will describe the funeral rites and related texts for two groups: the Apatani and the Idu Mishmi. Much of the material on the Idu and Apatani is based on my own recent field research. Since this material is still largely unprocessed, this article is only a preliminary evaluation. 6 Höfer, noun Est Numen. 7 Gaenszle, Ancestral Voices, p. 22. 8 Von Fürer-Haimendorf, After-Life, p. 42. 9 The material on Arunachal comes from v. Fürer-Haimendorf, after-life; v. Fürer-Haimendorf, Himalayan Tribe; v. Fürer-Haimendorf, Highlanders; Takhe, Advancing Apatanis; Takhe, Socio-Religious Ceremonies; Kumar, The Boris; Natung, Rituals during Birth and Marriage; Roy, Padam Minyong Culture; Sukla, The Daflas; Srivastava, The Gallongs; Stonor, Religion and Ritual among Dafla Tribes. See also Bordoloi, Death Ceremony, on the burial ceremony among the Karbi, a Tibeto-Burmese tribe in the mountains of Assam. the journey of the soul 86 II. Overview of burial rituals in central Arunachal Pradesh As important as the journey of the soul may be in itself - it is only part of a more extensive complex of burial rites and beliefs, the most important elements of which can be seen in the brevity offered here can summarize as follows: 0 1. Burial The tribal groups of Central Arunachals do not know of any cremation or dismemberment of the corpse. The graves are designed uniformly; This applies in particular to the protective cavity, shielded with bamboo, in which the dead person is placed. Valuables are buried with the corpse, and some ethnic groups (see the Idu Mishmi below) even build a small chamber with a bed, shelves, etc. As a rule, structures are built over the grave, ranging from mounds of earth to high bamboo towers. Food taboos and restrictions on freedom of movement are common; above all, no one who has entered the house of mourning is allowed to enter the house of a person who is performing a ritual. Nothing is known about a secondary burial of the body. 2. Animal sacrifice A mithan or a cow is sacrificed near the grave. The animal should be taken by the soul to the land of the dead as a gift for the relatives that it will meet there. In fact, the souls of the Mithane, who are sacrificed at funerals (and festivals), are led into the land of the dead with recitations. 3. The land of the dead The descriptions of the land of the dead are rich in detail and remarkably uniform in that they depict the hereafter as a blooming mirror image of this world. There the dead enjoy fertile fields, many mithans and a happy family life; yes, one can 0 Although all the tribes in central Arunachal have very different ideas about the soul, the differences are seldom clearly articulated. That is why I have not included this feature in the overview (cf. v. Fürer-Haimendorf, After-Life, pp. 43-44, and Jackson, Na-Khi Religion, p. 244, on the three types of souls in the Konyak Naga or . the Na-khi). stuart blackburn 87 even remarry in the afterlife. Most ethnic groups know two, some also three afterlife departments, into which the soul of the deceased, depending on the type of death and gender, enters. 4. The Journey into the Dead Land The "winding path" (v. Fürer-Haimendorf) is not well documented in the published literature, but some salient features have also been confirmed by my field research. First, the journey takes you through a number of specific, named and often well-known geographic locations. Second, it is long, arduous and dangerous: long, since it requires hours of recitation and many kilometers to be traveled; Arduous because obstacles such as deep rivers or high mountains block the way, and dangerous in that it is easy to get lost. A common obstacle is a huge mythical being lying in a river and "stretching from earth to heaven." A few tribal groups (Hill Miri, Nyishi) know a guardian who questions the newcomers and helps them with their onward journey - or not. 2 5. Recitations and chants In the ethnic groups of Central Arunachal, burials are usually accompanied by two types of oral texts. The first is usually sung or recited by friends or relatives, mostly women, in the house next to the corpse; the second is performed by a ritual specialist, almost always a man, either inside or outside the house, but never next to the dead person. The recitation of this second type of text is often continued at the grave after the burial. Despite these differences in time, place, and gender, the language of these two texts is similar and both use esoteric words and phrases. Furthermore, it is assumed from both texts that they actually lead the soul successfully into the land of the dead: Some tribal groups write this role to the first text type Cf. Singh, Earthquake Lore, which is based in particular on Elwin, Myths of the North-East Frontier. 2 Von Fürer-Haimendorf (After-Life, p. 45) nevertheless considers the guard to be a typical feature of the ethnic groups in Arunachal Pradesh. With the Garo, a Tibetan-Burmese tribal group in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, the soul is confronted with similar obstacles and scenic features during their journey to the land of the dead (cf. de Maaker, Negotiating Life). the one travels to the soul 88 (which, for the sake of simplicity, I call "funeral song"), others to the second ("specialist recitation"). III. Burials and Oral Texts: Two Examples The Apatani To illustrate what has been said above, we can now look more closely at the burial rituals and texts of the Apatani and Idu Mishmi. For the 30,000 Apatani who live on a fertile plateau at an altitude of about 500 meters and cultivate rice, burials are not associated with an elaborate ritual. Compared to other Apatani ceremonies, which show wealth and prestige, and which include long recitations and costly animal sacrifices, funerals are relatively simple events. After the body has been washed, relatives and friends come to the mourning house with objects that will later be placed in the grave with the deceased. A small number of mourners, mostly female relatives, quickly assemble next to the deceased and sing a mourning chant called "Mourn the dead" (Siima Kheniin) or "Going down to Neli" (Neli Toniin). Among the Apatani, Neli is the land that anyone enters who has died of natural causes. An example of this chant is given in the Appendix and discussed below. 3 After the arrival of the priest (nyibu) and usually after the end of the song, he performs a short ritual, sacrificing a chicken and reciting a few verses in which he calls upon various spirits (wi) to protect the soul on its journey and to strengthen. However, if the deceased is an old and respected man, the priest performs a more elaborate ritual called dokho pilya. In such cases he sets up a small bamboo frame, sacrifices several chickens (hens like roosters) and a dog and then recites a text (which is also called dokho pilya). 4 3 A much longer version of this text (neli toniin) is also sung at large public festivals to ensure that animals are protected on their way to the land of the dead before they are sacrificed. - A full translation and analysis of this longer text can be found in Blackburn, The Sun Rises (forthcoming). 4 The dokho denotes the safe corner of the house, and pilya is the name of the spirit who guards the souls and valuables that are kept in this corner (see translation in the appendix). stuart blackburn 89 In addition, a small frame made of 5 to 0 centimeter long strips of split bamboo is placed on a high bamboo platform erected above the grave. When this ritual is completed, the corpse is wrapped in a cloth, covered with a mat and carried on a stretcher to a cemetery not far from the village. The procession consists of only a few family members, mostly men.Objects that were important to the deceased - such as the favorite sword, clothes, food (but not valuables) - are buried with him while a priest recites a short text and a mithan or a cow is sacrificed. 5 Finally, a mound of earth and a small bamboo fence are built over the grave, and then a high bamboo frame on which the skulls of the sacrificed Mithane are displayed. 6 If the deceased was of low class or penniless, no rituals are carried out at the grave and no structures are erected: only one mangy cow is killed by men who wear tracksuits. Sometimes another ritual is performed a few days later to prevent the dead person from returning. The funeral chant of the Apatani, the translation of which can be found in the appendix, was recorded in 2004, but not at an actual funeral, as recordings in situ are practically impossible. In central Arunachal, people don't speak enthusiastically of burials, graves, or anything else related to death. They fear that if you talk about such subjects, especially within a house, the dead could come back and cause harm. If the recitation is performed incorrectly or if one of the many "paths" is wrong, then the priest might not be able to return from the land of the dead. It was therefore not easy to convince someone to sing a funeral song or recite something on my recording device. 7 But locals assured me that 5 In the past, a certain family was responsible for digging the graves in every village; But this tradition has now expired, and today Indian day laborers who live in Hapoli do this work for which they are specially hired. 6 The size and shape of the bamboo frame vary depending on whether the deceased is a priest / old man, a young man or a woman. For more details on Apatani funerals see v. Fürer-Haimendorf, after-life; v. Fürer-Haimendorf, Himalayan Tribe, pp. 72-79; v. Fürer-Haimendorf, Highlanders, pp. 34-37. 7 For example, before the priest of Idu Mishmi agreed to read the text given in Appendix 2, he explained to me that after the recording he would have to undergo an exorcism. the journey of the soul 90 is representative of the version of the funeral chant, neli to niin, presented here in translation, and it undoubtedly has many features that are typical of burials in this area, especially with regard to the journey of the soul. As can be seen from the text, the Apatani land of the dead is a happy and prosperous region; the only problem is getting the dead there and keeping them there. As can be seen from the text, the path down to Neli is understood as a series of »resting places« that lead from one mountain or forest to the next. The soul of the deceased and that of the sacrificed Mithans and / or the cow are led by a priest. But dangers and obstacles appear along the way. The first thing to do is to cross a river and the huge monster it contains. Then there are the dangerous paths (ten hombi and five honto) on which anyone can get lost. It should be noted that the first-person narrator in the text, apparently the priest in his role as guide, later merges with the singer, the widow of the deceased - a fact that explains why people are so reluctant to sing these songs If a singer becomes a priest-leader, she can lose her way herself or suffer damage on the way. However, as soon as these obstacles have been overcome, the danger is also averted, and one arrives at a second watercourse, in which one washes oneself before one meets one's relatives in the sunny beyond. When the priest-leader has tied the mithane to the right posts and is ready to go, it becomes clear that the living want a separation from the dead. So the ropes do not belong in the realm of the dead and must be brought back; the priest cannot stay in Neli; he must build a hill and a fence over the grave and return to the safety of his village. This wish is also expressed in the singing of the Apatani specialist (dokho pilya) when the priest warns the soul of the deceased: “Do not disturb our lives, do not come back into our world! Do not disturb our ceremonies, do not harm our land and our crops! Your life is now in Neli, so don't disturb our celebrations and holidays! Live your life in Neli and be happy there! ”8 In my opinion, this wish for a separation between the living and the dead forms the core of the text and the entire 8 Excerpt from a recording (which was also not taken during a specific funeral); Presented by Mudan Pai, May 2004. Stuart Blackburn 9 ceremony. The chant is structured by a series of oscillations between danger and safety: the journey down is fraught with danger, but Neli is a land of contentment. The dead are left behind, but the return journey is exhausting and requires the protection of powerful spirits. We also see that on the way back, the home village and the security of inner spaces get closer and closer: As the singer approaches her village, she names the spirits of his surrounding forests, the clans of her village and then a small brook where her clan is in It is customary to erect bamboo altars within the framework of rituals. Eventually she enters the house, asking the spirits for protection and health, and retires to the ritual corner of the house (dokho) and to the basket (diichi diru) where the souls of her living family members are kept. The Idu Mishmi The Idu Mishmi differ greatly from the Apatani in terms of material culture, language, ritual practices and especially their environment. They mostly live in scattered hamlets in narrow valleys and on the steep slopes of jagged mountains, where they practice digging and hunting. As far as their burial customs and beliefs are concerned, the Idu Mishmi (again in contrast to the Apatani) only know one single land of the dead, which is not described in great detail. The journey there, however, consists of three separate sections and is characterized by geographical diversity. And the burials are much more complex with the Idu Mishmi than with the Apatani. 1. Burials The Idu know four types of burials, depending on the status and property of the deceased. 9 A priest (igu) must be called for all four and a mourning chant must be intoned by relatives and friends. The 9. yah (see below); 2. bro-cha, a slightly abbreviated version of yah, for the simple deceased; 3. aluthru (the last section of yah) for the poor, financed by donations; 4. bro-phri or second burial: within a year a second grave will be dug so that in the event that too few or the wrong objects were buried during the first burial, more or different objects can now be stored. A second grave is also being dug for people who did not die in their place of birth. The journey of the soul 92 most agile type of burial known as yah includes the sacrifice of animals (sometimes more than a hundred mithane) and lasts three to four days, during which the priest recites for about two days and, accompanied by music, a special dance performs. The same dance is performed by the same priest with the same accompaniment at large public ceremonies, but the most important event in the Idu culture is the yah, which is also shown in the fact that the prestige of a priest grows with the number of yah burials he performs ( in one case it was 24). When an idu dies, the priest is called immediately and the family must avoid certain foods for ten days from now on. The corpse is washed and dressed again; then a few coins are placed in his hand because it is believed that the soul will need them to buy water on its journey to the hereafter. As soon as the dead person has been taken to a back room of the house, friends and relatives will sing the funeral chant, which will continue until the funeral, or maybe a day or two longer. In this funeral chant, known as anja, a special verbal art comes into play, the urgency of which was already noticed by the first western visitors to the Idu region in the middle of the 9th century.20 Although anyone can perform the anja, the expressions used are Formulas and stories are not known to everyone. The mourners - mostly but not exclusively women - sing in small groups (two to five people) that take turns so that the complaint does not have to be interrupted. The content of anja is broad and varied, but the singers usually recount the life of the deceased, to whom they emphatically indicate that he has no business here: “You were ten months in your mother's womb, now you have spent your last days here. Now you have to find your way to the land of the dead, and you have to ask others for directions. "When the priest arrives (which may not be the case until 24 hours after death has occurred because he may have to walk steep paths) , a small bush is placed on the steps of the mourning house. As soon as he enters the house he begins a recitation (laroti) warning the dead to return and the family to 20 Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, based on Fr. Krick's description from 85; Cooper, Mishmee Hills; Mainprice, Tour Diary. All three are short but memorable descriptions of burials at the Digaru / Taran Mishmi (not the Idu Mishmi). to molest stuart blackburn 93 or even to appear in dreams; so the themes are the same as for the Apatani funeral. Meanwhile, Mithane are slaughtered and the hospitality of the guests is prepared, who gradually arrive, often from distant villages. The grave has meanwhile also been dug and furnished according to the wishes of the deceased and the means of his bereaved; there are even completely furnished burial chambers with beds, shelves and a kitchen with cooking utensils. Now the body is carried to the grave on a stretcher. At the head of the small procession that accompanies him there is a man who waves a weaver's shuttle in the case of a deceased woman and a sword in the case of a deceased man. The complaints are loud and insistent up to the grave, while the priest remains in the house of mourning and continues his recitation. When the funeral is over, the priest comes to the tomb and offers rice, rice beer, and meat in a bamboo basket that is hung on the fence in front of the tomb. First he hits the fence with his sword to draw the dead man's attention; then he turns to his soul and prepares it for the journey to the land of the dead. During this recitation (laron maba) some leaves (evena) of a special plant are stuck into the ground, which should serve as an exit from the grave for the soul. The deceased also has a say in the recitation and complains to the priest, for example, that certain objects have not been placed in his grave. The soul is first led north and then back to the tomb, where it is asked to have its last meal and to follow the further instructions of the priest regarding its last journey, which is west. As soon as the soul has set off there, the priest returns to the mourning house, where a frame (amungo), consisting of evena leaves that have been put on a bamboo frame, was set up on a wall inside the house. The priest symbolically sends the soul away by throwing a broom at this structure. When the guests leave (and also when they return from the tomb), the priest uses the evena leaves to sweep away any dead stain that might still cling to the guests. With this ritual (aluthru, "sweeping up") the burial is completed. the journey of the soul 94 2. Two Idu texts a. Funeral chant (anja) This funeral chant (see Appendix 2) was not recorded at a specific funeral because such a chant, as already mentioned, is ritually necessary but also dangerous. The man whose lecture I recorded, a priest himself, refused to recite in his own house or in that of others because it could "cause harm." Therefore the text was recorded in a government guest house. But after about 25 minutes he broke off the recitation and said: "I can no longer, it is too difficult." Then he explained that he now had to go to a higher-ranking priest so that he could do the by means of a ritual (aaya-bito) Avoiding the "danger of death" from him.2 The mourning song recorded that day consists of two parts. The first turned out to be an unusual tale about how death came to the Idu. In the myths about the origin of death, a general distinction is made between two explanatory patterns - that of natural rejuvenation and that of human error / misunderstanding.22 In our Idu text, however, death does not involve rejuvenation. 2 My research assistant had to undergo a similar ritual to "protect and strengthen" his soul from death. On one of the many days he spent recording interviews and texting about death, visiting grave sites, etc., he woke up one night with a stiff arm and his mother said, "It comes from walking around and all doing these things related to death. I will now get the igu (priest) and he will perform an ayi ritual. «22 Frazer's types of» stone and banana «,» serpent and cast skin «are part of the» rejuvenation «myth (see Anell, Origin of Death, on this type in Oceania) and "waxing and waning moon". Frazer's "two messengers" type belongs to the myth of the category "human error or misunderstanding" (see Abrahamsson, Origin of Death, with examples from Africa). Tribal groups in central Arunachal explain the origin of death in two ways: The first myth, belonging to the category of "rejuvenation", tells of the many suns that caused the earth to be so hot that they were shot down by humans. Thereupon the only remaining sun demanded as a reward for its return to the now cold earth that the bodies of the deceased had to be given to it. In the second myth from Arunachal, which includes human error, it is reported that the great ancestor Abo Tani heard a lovely bird song and found that the bird was a mother who mourned the death of her children. Abo Tani asked for the song, but the mother bird warned him that it was sad. When Abo did not give up Tani, the bird gave him a "tear" and this became the seed of death among the people. stuart blackburn 95 traces back to human error. Rather, its appearance is the result of a curse on the part of unnamed "enemies" who wanted to harm the Idu because they had "made fun of death" by burying rats. In other words, death had been denied due respect and the Idu were asked to perform an appropriate ceremony of "keeping the windows and doors open all day." Since death has since commanded respect in the eyes of the Idu, it is not surprising that burials go hand in hand with ritually complex ceremonies that last two to five days and are accompanied by long funeral chants and recitations by specialists. In the second half of the Idu funeral chant (in Appendix 2) another origin of death is explained: after the first death, mourning customs, funeral and chanting are introduced. This part of the text focuses on the priest and cultural hero of the Idu, a man named Sineru, to whom most of the social institutions go back. According to local myth, Sineru was the first to mourn (even if in our text he asks a child to take over the crying) and the first to successfully guide a soul, namely that of his own mother, into the land of the dead with his recitation. Here is a short version of the story: When Sinerus mother died, her soul took on many different forms and kept returning to her home. One day she appeared in the shape of a bird. When Sinerus' wife was weaving, the bird's soul flew in through the window. The woman struck the bird with her boat to scare it away. Eventually, Sineru sent his brother, Imeru Milli, to perform anja (over her mother's body). Since he was unsuccessful, Sineru felt compelled to go to Athu Popu himself (where the souls are sent). So he accompanied his mother's soul there and beyond, where he then presented to anja.When he wept, he wetted a large stone with his tears, and the traces of his tears can still be seen on this stone today.23 Athu Popu is not a mythical place, and the tear-stained stone is not a fantasy product either. Both can be found on the Keyala Pass, about 4,000 meters above sea level in the Himalayas, on the border between India and Tibet / China, on an important trade route that connects Tibet, Arunachal and Assam. In 2000 an expe- 23 Recorded in Hunli on 27.0.2004; the lecturer is Amboko Mega, an Idu priest. The journey of the soul 96 dition of the Idu the Keyala Pass, where they found a large rock that has been photographed and depicted in local publications.24 The water that drips from this rock is said to be Sinerus tears. But Athu Popu is not the end of the journey of the soul, but rather an important crossroads which, as the priest's recitation shows, marks the transition to Tibet. b. Recitation of the specialist (maba) According to myth, Sineru was the first to mourn the dead, but in practice the "complaining" is not performed by priests because the soul cannot be transported to the dead in this way. Your journey will only be possible thanks to the recitation of a ritual specialist, the igu priest. This is accompanied by three other priests. Two of them, like the chief priest, beat a small drum (ripung) with a mallet attached to it, while the third assistant, who does not recite, beats a slim, cylindrical, double-headed drum (ambu). 25 The recitation, the ten to Lasts twelve hours, describes the soul journey in three sections. Although I have not yet recorded a complete version, here is a brief description of the whole journey.26 The soul travels north The priest stands at the grave and says to the dead: “From Atiyakong (“ outside the house ”) you have to Start journey; you have to take everything you need with you; you must make the journey alone, but I will guide you. As long as you were alive you were nourished by sunshine and wind, but now there is no sun and you have to travel alone with the wind. You are dead; therefore you must not stay here among the living; you have to go to Lomo Loko. "This first leg 24 See Pettigrew, Parallel Landscapes, about a similar expedition that explored the route through the concrete landscape that the souls of the Tamu / Gurung take in western central Nepal. As in the case of the Idu Mishmi, this expedition had to stop at the international border, although the ritual journey leads far into China. 25 The Idu have some female priests and some are highly respected, but nowadays almost all of the senior priests are men. 26 Recorded in Roing on February 6, 2004; the lecturer is Mola Milli, a young Idu priest. stuart blackburn 97 of the trip, the route to the north, passes through 64 named locations, of which Athu Popu is only the eighth stop; the greater part of the journey is through Tibet. The last two stations are Inilo Ichiru, where the objects brought up during the mourning phase and buried with the dead are kept, and Lomo Loko, from where the soul returns, "using the wind as a means of transport". The priest also explains the cause of death to the soul and admonishes it “not to dwell on a hill or in a river, but to go beyond the clouds. You could get lost; therefore I will guide you. «On this journey the soul of the priest accompanies the soul of the deceased, and every mountain they cross is divided into two parts: the left side belongs to the dead, the right side to the priest. Return journey south, back to the place of death After arriving in Lomo Loko, the soul is led back to Atiyakong and to the grave, where the priest feeds it so that it does not go hungry on the last leg of the long journey. The priest draws his sword, strikes the bamboo fence erected in front of the grave, warns the soul not to return and tells it to take its last meal and leave. Then the soul is sent west to where the sun goes down. Journey to the West This last section begins again in Atiyakong and leads through 59 named places to the west. The end of the journey is Asi Akhrika. The priest explained to me that this was the place “where the door to the abode of the soul is closed. So I can't say anything more about it. ”IV. Concluding Considerations With the Idu Mishmi, the landscape of the soul journey is characterized by a wealth of details and complexity. But this corresponds to a widespread pattern that is also found in other tribal groups in Arunachal Pradesh (and other Tibetan-Burmese ethnic groups in the Himalayas, northern Burma and southwestern China). But how can this particularly differentiated kind of burial rituals and oral texts be explained? The importance of ritual journeys (including the sea journey of the soul) for Tibetan-Burmese-speaking groups in Nepal may be due, among other things, to historical experiences in connection with trade, porter work, military service, processions and pilgrimages - especially those involving the sacred landscape Tibet plays a role.27 On soul journeys, routes of migration from an imaginary country of origin are often retraced, but in my opinion the story is insufficient to explain the importance of these journeys in burials. One can also try to understand the journey of the soul as a linguistic vehicle that makes it possible to think and talk about death, i.e. not as a consequence of historical events, but as an idiom preferred by some cultures to deal with the ambiguities that arise when a person dies. We should probably all agree that burials as well as family relationships, language, house building, etc. represent culturally specific answers to a universal need. In addition, in my opinion, burials, just like these other cultural expressions, show certain patterns, which in the present case consist of rituals, beliefs, certain buildings, objects and texts presented. And although their exact character and distribution are not yet clear, it seems that in every pattern one element is emblematic of the whole.28 For example, a ritual act - the secondary burial of the corpse - is typical for some cultures in Southeast Asia. At burials in Central and North Asia, the ritual specialist - the shaman as the companion of the dead - is the decisive element. And in Hindu and Buddhist burials in South Asia, one belief - the cyclical transformation of the soul - is of central importance.29 The Pattern of the 27 Allen, Ritual Journey, pp. 8-9; Höfer, Recitation of the Tamang Shaman, p. 30 and footnote 9; Höfer, Nomen Est Numen, p. 230. 28 James Woodburn, Social Dimension of Death, argues that an "immediate return mentality" pattern is characteristic of four hunter-gatherer societies in Africa and Asia. 29 Tibetan burial customs cannot be dealt with here, but a pre-Buddhist layer appears in them (and in some respects they are also reminiscent of the customs - burial and animal sacrifices - that are found today among Tibetan-Burmese-speaking groups in the Himalayas, and which of A Buddhist eschatology (rebirth and moral retribution) is overlaid (Cuevas, Tibetan Book of the Dead, pp. 29, 69, passim; Kvaerne, Tibet). Rock, Zhi Mä Funeral Ceremony, shows a similar overlay in the most important Nakhi funeral text . stuart blackburn 99 Tibetan-Burmese-speaking ethnicities along the Himalayas resembles that common in Central and North Asia and can probably best be understood as a contrast to the South Asian pattern. 30 Hindu burials in India are said to be characterized by a return rhetoric and rejuvenation symbolism, what Parry brought up the catchy formula »death regenerates life«. 3 This the pattern is evidently based on the desire to keep the dead close to the living, to feed them, to remember them, to worship them and to talk to them. From my own previous fieldwork, I know that South Indian Hindus (not without ambivalence, of course) want to stay in touch with the dead in order to invoke and harness the power of death - an argument made by Piers Vitebsky in his remarkable ethnography, Dialogues With the Dead ”extends to the (partly Hindu) central Indian tribe of the Sora. In contrast, burials in central Arunachal Pradesh are characterized by a desire to maintain a separation between the living and the dead. This wish is also expressed at burials in South Asia, but is nowhere near as prominent as in the northeast Indian tribal area. As we have seen, the Apatani texts such as the Idu Mishmi emphasize the boundaries that must be established between the land of the living and that of the dead. “We have to part here. I have to build a dam between us «, says the Apatani priest / singer to the soul that has been brought to the underworld. At the grave the Idu priest informs the deceased: "You are dead, therefore you must not stay here with the living." There is no cyclical return, also no symbols of rejuvenation or indications that "death is the source of new life". The souls of those who die an unnatural death sometimes return and cause unrest among the living, from which one must protect oneself (as in Hindu India), even if such revenants are rare. Significantly, there is no deification of the dead in central Arunachal Pradesh and there is little evidence of ancestor worship or the desire to stay in contact with the deceased. And the journey of the soul 30 Above all, the customs of Altaic societies (described in Holmberg, Mythology of All Races, p. 484ff .; Eliade, Shamanism, p. 207f.) Show similarities with those in central Arunachal Pradesh. 3 Parry, Sacrificial Death, p. 8. In my opinion, this is also the reason why the soul journey is such an important element in burials in this region.32 The journey is long, arduous and dangerous precisely because you want to make sure that the dead stay dead. And the obstacles along the way and the length of the journey make a return unlikely. If the road led straight into the land of the dead, the souls of the deceased could return more easily. According to the same culture-related logic, the land of the dead - despite the dangerous journey there - must be rich and happy, because a dark and sad afterlife would be disastrous insofar as its inhabitants would no longer have an alternative. Appendix Neli Toniin ("Descending into the Land of the Dead"), a funeral song of the Apatani, sung by Hage Biinyi, female, 70 years old, Hari village, 2003.33. In the beginning, a long time ago, the great ancestors, Grandfather Kiilyi and Grandmother Kiilo, made The Journey to Neli, the Land of the Dead, along the Khempu Trail.34 2. Mother Nyani of Siichan came along the Siichan Route; Myodi's father Nyabo traveled down the Myodi path. 3. The worms dug holes in the earth, the monkeys cleared the path, the birds prepared the way. They knew the way to Neli, along the Khempu path. 32 The Winnebago, who both know a soul journey and believe in rebirth, provide an interesting counterexample for my argumentation (Radin, Description, pp. 9 - 05, 266-68). 33 The translation was done with the help of Hage Komo. 34 The »Khempu Path« leads to Neli, the land of the dead. »Khempu« is the name for a ritual platform (lapang) in Neli. stuart blackburn 0 4. On the way to Neli we come to Hiising, 35 to the rest area near Sindo. Here let's praise our masculine abilities, let's celebrate our deeds. Now let's open our bags and eat well. 5. Continuing along the Khempu trail on the route to Neli, we come to the Chayen River. But be on the lookout for lurking dangers! There are ten hombi and five honto, 36 where you can get lost! 6. Deep in the river Chayen lies Chango Sotii, 37 that huge animal, Dogo Soro, which stretches between earth and sky! 7. His torso is thickly covered with hair, disheveled like birds' nests. His lower body lies below the water level and stirs up strong currents. 8. Come on now, cross the river Chayen and don't be afraid. We will walk on Chango Sotii's chest, carefully and slowly we take our steps. You too come, Mithane and cows! 38 Let us all cross this river without fear. 9. We have gone over Chango Sotii's chest, crossing the middle. We have crossed the deep waters of the Chayen. 0. Now we get to the Adii Ayen stream, where we will wash our clothes and bodies.39 35 “Hiising” is the first stop on the well-known route to Neli. 36 In some versions of this chant a long list of these dangerous ways follows. 37 Chango Sotii is a mythical animal (which in some recitations is compared to an elephant or mithan) which some believe to cause earthquakes (cf. Singh, Earthquake Lore). 38 The dead man's soul leads Mithane and cows to Neli as gifts for their relatives there. 39 When the soul has crossed the Adii Ayen stream, it will be received by relatives and friends who are already in Neli. the journey of the soul 02. In Neli, the land of our grandmothers, near Khempu lapang, 40 we tie the Mithane to the Gyadi posts. In Neli, the land of our grandfathers, near Itan lapang, we tie the cows to the Gyada posts. We tie them tightly with ropes. 2. All animals are tied to the Gyadi posts in Neli. And now I'm going back to the land of my people. You (spirits in Neli) should protect me with blessings as numerous as mithan hairs. I want to take back my belongings and return safely to the land of the living. 3. I untie all Mithane - the Tache, Tah and Mar ropes, the Pandu, Bipa and Manii ropes. I'll take them all back with me because they don't belong in Neli. I put them in my bag made of reed strips to store birds and rats that I have around my neck. I take them back to the living. 4. I brought you to Neli and showed you Neli's house. But where will I go now? I cannot eat the food here in Neli, from these fertile lands full of rich crops, where the roosters crows and the birds sing. Here we have to part. I close the wall between us, a dam made of mud and clay, a fence made of split bamboo.4 40 Khempu and Itan are names of ritual platforms (lapang). 4 A small mound of earth is heaped on the grave and a low fence made of split bamboo is built around it. stuart blackburn 03 5. Following the route of Talyin Hiitti-Hiichi, the ancestors who made the first trip to Neli, I must now climb back to the world, up the steep mountain path, Where the wild bamboo grows. 6. Following the path of the ancestors and the souls who walked it before, I ascend to the world of the living, the Pinku-Jorku mountain path, through the thick bamboo groves. Ghosts! Make my soul strong! 7. The young bears and young boars burned the path through the thick jungle. The little monkeys cleared the undergrowth and prepared the paths. I follow their paths through the thick forests. 8. I am returning to the world of our people, to the land of the living. I need help to protect my soul, to protect the souls of my loved ones, the souls of our fellow humans, our chickens and pigs. 9. I follow the path of the monkey whom I give thanks. I am traveling towards Iijan Hai Gambii, the place of sun and water where bears and boars live. Via the paths full of wild bamboo to a deep pond. And here I have to be careful. 20. In this place of sun and water, on the edge of this pond, I drank to quench my thirst, careful not to drown. 2. From the place of sun and water I traveled on the Pantii path, the path of our mothers, And on the Letii path, the path of our fathers, closer and closer to our village. the journey of the soul 04 22. I left the land of sun and water and followed the Pantii path, the path of our mothers, to the Rantii forest behind our village, and on the path of our fathers, to the Piige field in front of our village, Where the Su spirits live.42 23. Let the mothers of the Rantii path protect us. Let the Fathers of the Piige Path protect us all. We have conquered the mountain paths, now the su wi must guide us safely. 24. I come to the shrine43 of our ancestors, Mitan Libya and Doging Loda, Chiging Mipu, Tamen Milo and Turu Kago. 44 25. I come back to the village of our ancestors, Koji and Pilya, Tai Gyati, Marpu and Ekha.45 I come back to our houses, to our rich village, to crowing roosters and barking dogs. I come back to my children. 26. I am coming back to my husband's house, my children's house. Let the spirits of this house protect and strengthen us all. 27. Spirits of the Lapang and Babo bars, 46 protect us. I ask the Su spirits of Sigan Sangha and Bukhen Talyang to make us strong. 42 su ghosts are a species of powerful and potentially dangerous ghosts. 43 “Shrine” stands for nago, a small hut with a round roof that is used for rituals during a spring festival. 44 These are the ancestors of the clans in the village of Hari, where the singer lives. 45 These are the names of subgroups within the clan in Hari to which the singer belongs. Forty-six babo poles (8 to 20 meters high) are erected during the Spring Festival. 47 Sigan Sangha is a small watercourse that flows past the singer's house. Altars for the powerful and dangerous su-spirits (wi) are erected on him. Errichstuart blackburn 05 28. I, Rinyo, wife of Tamen, 48 ask the Su-spirits of Chogio Abya to protect us and to preserve our strength. Let me stay here and don't wander far away. Let me stay safe and secure in the dokho corner like Tibetan bells and brass plates. 29. In our house, back in the right corner, Let our souls rest, safe in the basket, 49 Protected by Lyapin Chantun. 50 Appendix 2 Anja ("Lamentations"), a funeral chant of Idu Mishmi, sung by Amboko Mega, priest , male, 45 years old, city of Hunli, 2004.5. In the past we (Idu) did not die and we did not perform anja. 2. We used to be immortal, but now we die. 3. Our enemies did this to us. 4. Annihilation is imminent. 5. The enemies spread death among us. 6. Death now happens daily. tet. Bukhen Talyang is an altar that is erected during the Spring Festival. Chogio Abya (in the following verse) is another place where su spirits are worshiped. 48 At this point the singer gives the narrator and her husband personal names. 49 In the far right corner (dokho) of an Apatani house hangs a basket (dinchi diru or yadin) in which valuables are kept, such as metal bells, brass plates and old shawls. It is believed that souls should also be kept safe here. 50 Lyapin Chantun is an important female spirit who protects the house, especially the dokho corner and the contents of the basket. She is called once a year during a ritual and on special occasions - for example when a child is born or a new bride enters the house - for protection. 5 The translation was done with the help of Rajiv Miso. The Journey of the Soul 06 7. We now bury the dead every day - as was said a long time ago. 8. This is the result of the curse of our enemies. 9. It is because of this curse that we suffer. 0. Hence we take revenge ("return the curse") on our enemies - as was said a long time ago. . We have put the curse of death on our enemies. 2. It is our wish to see corpses in their villages too. 3. We never died before, but we performed burials for dead rats by washing them. 4. Our enemies said: "If you want to sincerely mourn the dead, open the windows as soon as the sun rises and leave them open all day." "And leave the door open all day, too." 6. It enraged our enemies that we made fun of death by performing burials for rats, and so they condemned us to die. 7. That is why we were cursed - as was said a long time ago. 8. And now, because of that curse, we have started to die. 9. Because of this curse we are doomed to face the darkness. 20. This is what our people said a long time ago. 2. Now we will witness how people die every year, every month. 22. Our great ancestor, Maselo Ginu, was saddened to see her people keep dying. 23. When she saw her people die, she gave birth to a [male] child so that Anja could carry it out. 24. When the mother of this child died, Sineru (the Igu priest) asked the child to cry. 25. Whoever takes over the weeping tells the soul which objects should be buried with the corpse - as was said a long time ago. 26. When a man dies, the one who weeps tells him that the items he used during his lifetime will be buried with him. 27. 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