Although physically the orang ti nyabak is chanting the sabak dirge in the house, she claims that her soul takes a flying journey with the newly departed soul as the swing and the wing-like piece of cloth on her shoulders already indicated. The function of guiding the departed soul on a journey to the underworld is the sole pre­rogative of the shaman-soul-guide. For it is believed that the newly departed soul, even though already a disembodied entity, is still sopewhat "coarse and earthly," and during the journey needs assistance from the soul of the guide. The following items recur in most ceremonial portrayals of this journey-places passed, things seen or events taken place:

1. The site of the crumbling old longhouse in which the youth's relatives and neighbors used to live before the present longhouse was built.

2. The youth touches each of the trees: rambutan, durian, man­gosteen, banana and other fruit trees in front of the old house, and expresses sadness for having to miss them and the fruits.

3. A vast area of tall grass (lallang) on the lowland which makes the journey difficult. The young soul walks pensively and often lags behind or completely loses his direction. Therefore, the shaman-soul-guide rings the bell once in awhile to being him back to the right course.

4. The country of the owls (tunggok). After climbing over a hill and down to the other side, the party reaches the country of the owls. These birds' mournful wailing makes the people's tears flow and their sad melody sounds like a funeral dirge.


5. The country of the robbins. The party reaches the country of the robbins (menoa semalau). These birds sing sweet songs all day long.

6. Coming to the country of tiny mosquitoes which swarm about like patches of dark clouds and make a noise which sounds like the rushing of the wind. They bite those who pass by and suck their blood.

7. The mountain on the western edge of the earth. Gradual climbing of lowhills leads the party to the foot of a high mountain. After hours of ascending-with periodic stops and rest-the party reaches the top. This is one of the mountains along the western edge of the earth from whose top part of Sebayan could be vaguely seen far away and down below. It takes more hours of descending before the party could reach the Bridge of Terror (titi rawan) which spans over the Midway River between the human world and Sebayan. After having viewed Sebayan down below, the new soul again bursts into tears-realizing that these would be the last moments of his presence on earth and that soon he would be among the dead in Sebayan.

8. The house of the Cuckoo Goddess (Bunsu Bubut). The Cuckoo Goddess is the guardian of the Bridge of Terror. She lives with her family in a house in the big tree on the earth-side of the bridge, watchful that no unauthorized souls may cross over. As the party approaches the bridge, the Goddess demands to know who they are and where they are from. Ini Iran replies that they are taking a newly departed soul from Batang Rejang (the Great Rejang River) in the Than country to Sebayan. Seeing that the soul is that of a youth, the Goddess says: "My dear boy, do not go with them just yet. Come up the ladder to my house and try this ring on your finger. It may still be possible for your soul to be caught by Menjaya Manang Bali and for you to return to your mother." But before the soul has a chance to think or reply, Jawai pulls him back and says to the Goddess: "It is too late and no use. For he has been dead several days now." Realizing her futile attempt, the Goddess then gives some advice to the young soul: "Look straight and walk steady as you cross the shaking bridge. Don't hesitate, don't look down, and before you know it, you will find the bridge already behind you."

9. The Bridge of Terror (titi rawan). After having reached the single-logged, slippery and constantly agitating bridge, the young soul feels frightened and resfuses to cross it. Ird Inan encourages him and says: "Don't panic.' Just follow us and you will be alright." In the meantime, the shaman-coul­guide grabs his arm and leads him to walk slowly while point­ing to the others bank with the other hand and telling him of


the beautiful things of Sebayan. In this way she tries to divert his attention away from the torrential river down below and the fear of falling off the bridge. Ini Iman and her party reach the other shore in no time by virtue of their powerful magic charms and waited patiently for the arrival of the slow-walking young soul with the help of his guide.

The young soul has-with the help of the companions-completed only a part of his journey. Since this soul has died of disease, rather than any violent causes, his journey is still long. He has yet to pass through the First Division of the Than underworld--which consists of the countries of the violently dead as I have already pointed out-before he can reach the Second Division where those who have died of various diseases are settled. This means that he has still to pass through all of the four dangerous places in Sebayan. However, as I have indicated earlier, the Than consider Sebayan to be a vast place-"just like our world," they say-where there are regions or countries for the Kayan, the Kenyah, the Murut, the Punan, the Malay, the Chinese, and the white-men as well as for the Iban. Now as the journey proceeds, the saba chant describes the following places and events:

10. The Junction of the 70 Roads. Between the Bridge of Terror and some distance from it is a stretch of "no man's land" which does not belong to any particular people but is a common ground leading to the Junction of the 70 Roads. Departed souls of the various races of people reach the Junction first and are directed to the particular road leading to their own region or country by the guardians who are stationed there for the purpose. It is a crossroad of heavy traffic as newly departed souls of the various peoples come here under the guidance of old souls or their own shaman-soul-guides--some seeking the direction from the guardians while others finding their own road as old travelers.

11. The gate to the Than underworld. Members of the party­except the new soul-having traveled this way before,


easily get on the road leading to the Than Sebayan, while

the young soul looks curiously at those other travelers, some of whom are escorted in the same way as he is. Soon the party reaches the gate of the Iban Sebayan (pintu Sebayan). Guardians of the gate-with swords and spears in hands-demand to know who they are and where they are from, but after seeing Ini Inan, the Governor of the Than under­world, they express apologies and quickly open the gate and let them in. The small gate is in the thick stone-wall which is so high and so long that no one could see the top or ends of it.

12. The house of Bujang Sugi. Not far from the gate is a house whose owner, Bujang Sugi, also known as Keling, is in charge of information. New souls or other travelers desiring infor­mation regarding the direction of their destination or other matters stop at his house and ask him. Bujang Sugi, being an old man of experience and knowledge, is able to answer all inquiries.

13. The house of Dara Bunyi. After walking for sometime, the party reaches the house of Dara Bu-Vi who has a house full of magic charms for all newly arrived souls. Charms are distributed according to what they have done on earth or their manners of death. Thus, for example, certain charms are given to brave men to make them more heroic, certain others to women with clever hands to make them more sfillful, while still others are for farmers, fishermen and hunters to enhance their stills.


14. Huang's Resting Place. After climbing several lowhills, the party comes to a level place with rows of chairs for tra­velers to sit on and rest. This is where the soul of the war hero Huang took a rest long ago when he was on his way to the interior of Sebayan. Chairs are placed there in memory of him and, at the same time, for the convenience of travelers. The party stops and takes a rest before facing the Hill of Fire.

15. The Hill of Fire (bukit aapii). This is the first dangerous place inside Sebayan which the new soul has to cross. While the party is still at a distance, the blazing fire that lights up the hill is already clearly seen. Walking closer to it, the heat becomes intense and the fire blinding. The Hill of Fire is situated in such a strategic location that no traveler to Sebayan can ever avoid it. Unguided new souls-usually without potent magic protection--if indeed fortunate enough to have come this far, will invariably, at this point, be scorched or burned to ashes. But with the help of powerful magic charms, the oranJ ti nyabak easily carries the frightened new soul over the hill. While old resident souls of Sobayan-like Ini Inan and her party­have their own special charms and skills for crossing the


Hill of Fire. As the party approaches the hill more

closely and the heat becomes unbearable, the young soul starts to cry and refuses to continue. "Don't panic!" says the oran ti yab ak, "there is nothing to be fearful about. Just close your eyes and let me hold you in my hands." Thus, with her magic power she shrinks him into a miniature soul and holds him in her hands and-with the help of her fire-cooling charms-she flies over the burning hill with just one jump.

16. The Country of Infants. This is where the souls of all the infant children live. They died either before birth or after having lived for only a few years. Here they are under the care of wet nurses and guardians and are gradually growing up. But many of them cry for their own mothers. Women travelers passing here are often besieged by older children who beseech them to be their mothers.

17. The Country of Women Died of Childbirth. After climbing

a small hill, the party reaches the country which is occupied by mothers who died of childbirth. All day long each of these women tends a hearth and sits with her back towards the fire to warm herself, swaddling her belly with the beaten bark of the breadfruit tree (tekalong) and burn­ing the lukai tree bark to keep away mosquitoes as well as demons. These and the presence of a basketful of ginger­which is used as a heat-producing remedy to warm her belly­mark her as a mother died in childbirth.

18. The Rolling Stones. The party continues walking for some­time and begins a steep climbing until it reaches the narrow mountain-pass where two huge rolling stones cons­tantly close and open. Many crushed bones are strewn around. These are the bones of those travelers who-without help from potent charms-tried to enter either a little too late or too soon and were consequently crushed to pieces. When the party reaches here, the young soul-seeing the rolling of the two huge stones-begins to panic and starts to re­treat. "Don't be afraid, young-man!" says the shaman-soul­guide. "Close your eyes, feel relaxed and let me hold you in my hand." Thus, she magically shrinks him once again and with the help of her charms she rushes in with the open­ing of the two stones in a speed perfectly in harmony with their movement. The young man sighs with a sense of relief and one more dangerous place is passed.

19. The Country of People Died of Snakebite. The soul reaches

a vast area of thick jungle where there are many longhouses. This is the country occupied by the people who have died of snakebite while working on the farm, walking in the jungle or moving around their houses. They are recognized by open wounds on their legs and arms-which can never be healed-­and by their being surrounded by snakes o£ many kinds around


their longhouses.

20. The Country of the Fish Doctors. The party reaches a river and crosses it by stepping on big boulders scattered from bank to bank. This is the Country of Fish Doctors who wear coats with silver spots and travel from river to river to perform healing ceremonies for sick fishes.

21. The Country of the Victims of Crocodiles. The party reaches a big river whose valley is called the Country of the People Eaten by Crocodiles. These are the people who had violated the puni taboo while still on earth and, as a consequence, were eaten by crocodiles. They are recognized by their

torn skins and crushed bones as well as by their houses being surrounded by crocodiles basking in the sun all day long.

22. The Country of Dead Hunters. This is the country of the people died while hunting animals in the jungle. They were killed either by traps set by others for animals, by blow­pipes of other hunters or by starvation for having lost their way. They are recognized by always roasting game animals like wild boars and deer, setting traps, sharpening spears or making poisonous blowpipe darts as well as by the constant companionship of fierce hunting dogs.

23. The Country of People Died from Drowning. After walking through a swampy area, the party reaches a big river called the Country of the People Died from Drowning. the banks of the river live those who were drowned either ,-.-_ile fish­ing, swimming or through the overturning of a boat. Their daily occupations are setting fish traps (bubu or ensenga), uprighting the capsied boats or playing with the white foam floating on the river.

24. The Country of People Died from Falling off Trees. Climbing a small hill and walking on a plane for sometime, the party reaches a forest of tall trees. This is the country occu­pied by people died from falling off trees. They died while collecting eggs in birds' nests near treetops, gather­ing honey from beehives hanging from tavanS tree branches, or cutting dead limbs for firewood. They are recognized by their carrying basketful of bird's eggs, lighting torches for smoking away the honeybees, carrying honeycombs full of honey, swollen faces and bodies stung by angry bees.

25. The Country of People Died of Tuba Poisoning. Crossing a river and traveling for some distance, the party reaches an area called the country of the people who were killed by tuba poisoning. They either committed suicide by drinking the tuba juice of poisonous plant or were poisoned by others. They are recognized by their holding cups of tuba poison and by their dull and stupefied looks as well as by tuba shrubs growing around their houses and tuba creepers cover-


ing the walls and roofs of their homes.

26. The Country of the Kingfisher Goddess. After crossing several lowhills, the party comes to a flatland. This is the country of dead fighting cocks supervised by Bunsu Ensing Jara, the Kingfisher Goddess. These souls of warrior cocks-with spurs on their legs and necks stretched forward -are always ready for a fight. A11 the male travelers passing by here are challenged to a fight between their own cocks-which they carry with them-and these ever-ready fighters. A defeat on the part of the traveler's cock means the defeat of the owner himself. Although such a defeat does not involve any "bodily" injuries to the owner, the shame and disgrace to his manhood is just as painful. However, with the help of the oranz ti nyabak's powerful magic charms, the newly departed soul always manages to win with his cock.

27. The Country of Headless Warriors. Crossing a river and walking through a muddy area, the party comes to a higher plain. This is the country of warriors who lost their heads to enemies. All day long they run about with swords and spears in hands, trying to get back their heads which­as war trophies-are hung in the longhouses of enemies faraway.

28. The Country of Warriors Killed by Enemies. Not far from the Country of the Headless Warriors-with a lowhill in between-is a country which is occupied by warriors killed by enemies but with their heads intact. They kept their heads either because the enemies were unable to decapitate them or because they had been quickly removed to safe grounds by fellow-warriors. They are seen running around with swords and spears in hands-as if pursuing enemies­and shouting war cries.

29. The Country of People Died of Wounds. Crossing a river and walking through a thick jungle, the party reaches a vast area with longhouses. This is the country occupied by those who died of serious cuts and wounds. They received these wounds while cutting the jungle for a new farm, splitting trees for firewood, building a house, making a canoe or doing other things involving an axe, a knife or a sharp instrument. They are recognized by bleeding from the wounds, bandages around them, painful looks and constantly fighting off the annoying flies which always swarm about the wounds.

The party has come to the end of the First Division, consisting of the countries of the violently dead and those of the other species of beings. But since the destination of the young soul under guidance


is in the Second Division where the people died of diseases live,

it still has some distance to travel. First of all, it has to pass the country of the giant demons which lies between the two divisions. This is the last of the dangerous places through which the soul has to pass before reaching the Second Divisions

30. The Country of Giant Demons: After leaving the First Division the party travels through jungles and over hills and rivers and finally climbs a big mountain overgrown with trees. This is the Country of Sera Ganti or Antu Gerasi Sebayan. They appear like human beings but live in big longhousea several times the size of those of the under­world people. Of all the species of beings, they alone depend entirely on the chase for a livelihood, while others, even the hunters and fishermen have to plant paddy. Their size is enormous: their babies are as big as full-grown human beings. While their women stay in the house to take care of the children and other things, their men roam about in the forest of giant trees, hunting wild animals with spears and blowpipes-always with the help of a pack of fierce hunting dogs. The old demons die by whirling around and around with feet up and heads down until they are exhausted and fall to the ground and expire. The young soul under guidance is again frightened even before the party reaches the demons' country. The shaman-soul-guide quickly assures him that there is nothing to worry about. For, first of all, not all giant demons harm human travelers and, secondly, even if some of them threaten to harm, her charms and magic powers are sufficient protection. While they are passing through the country, suddenly some demons see them and rush towards them, trying to attack. But with the help of the soul-guide's magic charms she quickly shrinks the young soul and--with a leap into the'air-flies away with her charge and disappears on the horizon.

31. The Fish River. The party reaches a big river which is called the Fish River (sungai ikan). It has to be crossed by a borrowed boat. While crossing it, fish of all kinds are seen swimming about. "Where are you going?" asks the Fish King. "I exist no longer in the land of the living and I am going to join my dead relatives," replies the new soul. "Could you join me as I travel from river to river to watch over my citizens?" asks the Fish King again. "Sorry, I cannot. I must meet my relatives first," replies the young soul.

32. The Country of Warrior Heroes. 4alking for some distance after having crossed the Fish River, the party comes to a


vast country occupied by warrior heroes. They had obtained enemy heads while still on earth but later died of diseases instead of being killed in war. They are recognized by

their tatooed hands which are signs of their being victorious head-hunters, and by their roasting freshly taken enemy heads on a low fire until they are dried and blackened by the smoke. They are also recognized by their holding war festivals in which dried enemy heads are gloriously received. As the party passes this country, the young soul slows down his walking for a long time, watching what the war heroes do and admiring their gallant achievements.

33. The Country of Ordinary Warriors. Climbing a mountain after having walked for sometime from the Country of War Heroes, the party reaches the country which is occupied by men who­in earthly life-took part in war against enemies but did not take any heads nor were killed by them. These are ordinary warriors, with no tatooed hands or merit of bravery. They are recognized by constantly running about, fully armed with swords and spears and shields, and shouting war cries. They are also recognized by slashing the head-like fruits of the ranyai palms which grow abound in their country. As members of the party pass through the country, some of the frustrated rriors turn their direction and run towards them. The young soul is in panic, but the shaman-soul-guide reassures him that these warriors will inflict no harm. As the warriors get closer, they recognize the travelers­especially Ini Iran, the Governor of Sebayan. "Sorry," they apologize, "we thought you were enemies."

34. The Country of Successful Paddy Farmers. Crossing a big river by boat, the party comes to a vast area full of hills and small rivers. This is the country where paddy farmers who were successful while on earth continue to plant hill paddy. Even though they cultivate only a small plot of paddy with little or no effort, the harvest is plentiful and the grains of the paddy several times larger than what is found in the human world.

35. The Country of the Underworld Maker of Han. Passing through a grassy area, the party comes to a thick jungle. This is the Country of Simpandai Sebayan, the Underworld Maker of Man. As the party walks through the jungle, everywhere a ting-ting-ting-ting, ting-ting-ting-ting noise is heard. It is the sound of Simpandai Sebayan shaping new babies with hammers on their anvils.

1These are apparently the second or third class of war heroes. For in Than belief a really brilliant war hero would have joined the ranks of the ancestral deities and settled in one of the upper levels of the Than universe.


36. The Country of the Crocodile King. The party reaches a big river which is crossed by a boat. This is the country of crocodiles. As the party crosses the river, numerous cro­codiles lounge around in the water or bask on the sunny banks. ""here are you going, young friend?" the Crocodile King asks the new soul. "I come from the human world and

going to be with my dead relatives," answers the youth. "Will you join me and my citizens arc watch us as we travel from river to river to catch and swallow liars and heaters?" the King asks. "No, I cannot. I am eager to join my relatives," replies the youth.

37. The Country of the Common People. Entering the vast country of the common people, the party reaches a port on the great river of Limban called Penyangkai Langgah Lenggan and gets on board one of the boats for official use and starts its river-travel. The banks of the long and wide Limban River

well as its hundreds of tributaries are lined with long­house communities where the souls of those Than of ordinary achievements live and continue to do what they did while living on earth. From here the new souls that have died of diseases are taken by boat to their kinsfolk who live on the banks of the Limban or any of its tributaries-near or far-­dependewdirg on individual cases.

38. The house of Indu DaraJelini. As the boat passes the

mouth of a tributary to the right, called the Icy River (sun ai chelap), Jawai points to a lonely house perched on the top of a small hill overlooking the river down below, and says to the young soul that it belongs to Indu Jara Jelini. And that her official office is to warn and prevent strangers from taking a bath in the Icy ziver which-if they did-would freeze them to death.

39. Xanang Lambong's house. Continuing the journey on the Limban, the party passes a house perched on top of another hill. Langgah Lenggan points to the house and tells the young soul that Shaman-Doctor Lambong-a grandmother-lives there and looks around with a big telescope to observe the behavior of the people living on the rivers around.

40. A cemetery. The boat passes by a cemetery which is situated on the slope of a hill facing the river. It is the

lWe have already seen that crocodiles are believed to swallow those people who violate the puni taboo ,i.e., not touching things offered by the host when one declines to accept theme. Here the same beasts punish the cheaters and speakers of untruth in the same way.


community graveyard of the longhouse some distance from it downriver.

41. Bunsu Bikku Petara Sebayan's Telescope Station. Still traveling along the right bank of the Limban, the party passes the landing platform which belongs to Bunsu Bikku Petara Sebayan who lives with her family in a longhouse on the bank. "That longhouse up there belongs to Bunsu Bikku Petara Sebayan," Jawai points to it and tells the new soul. "And she operates a powerful telescope through which those homesick new souls may see their living relatives on earth. Don't you see so many people stand there, waiting for their turn?" Upon hearing this, the young soul insists on seeing his mother. But Langgah Lenggan says he must join his underworld relatives first and that if the soul is really homesick, he can come back later.

42. Sungai Dia, a tributary on the left. So far the party has been traveling along the right bank of the Limban, but now the tributary, Sungai Dia-on which the young soul's kins­folk live-is approaching. Members of the party paddle the boat rapidly towards the left bank through the violent flow of the torrential Limban. It is difficult and dangerous but they enter the mouth of the Dia River without any mis­haps and paddle on the smaller and more peaceful river with much relief.

43. The jungle where wood was recently cut for the hornbill festival. As the boat travels on the small river, Jawai points to a pile of dried tree branches on the edge of a jungle and says to the new soul that the lofty pole for holding the carved image of the hornbill used in last year's hornbill festival ( awai kenyalanz) was cut there.

44. Final landing. After traveling past more longhouses on

the banks, the party finally reaches the landing platform of the longhouse in which the young soul's relatives live. As the boat is being pulled up and tied to a tree on the bank, his relatives and friends rush out to welcome him. While the underworld officials and the ora.n ti nyabak return to their respective homes, the young person bursts into tears again-thinking that he has finally reached his destination in the Land of the Dead and is cutt off from his earthly relatives forever. In the meantime, a feast is being prepared and people of neighboring communities are invited to celebrate the arrival of the newly departed young soul.

45. The return journey of the orang ti nyahs. After she has delivered her charge to the underworld relatives, the shaman-soul-guide reapplies her magic charms and calls on the service of the Wind God (Antu Ribut). She sits securely on the shoulders of the Wind God who whirls around for a