In the Realm of the Diamond Queen

[Meratus tribe in southeast Kalimantan], 0-2; 5-6









Marginal Fictions



Government Headhunters



Conditions of Living



On the Boundary of the Skin



Riding the Horse of Gaps



Writing, Reading



History of the World






pp. 1-37 Chapter 0

pp. 6-7 hearing of spirit-voices by shamaness

p. 6

"she began to hear voices from the ancient Indonesian kingdom of Majapahit. These voices told her the true forms of history, ritual, and law, and ... she had been teaching and leading her community in these rediscovered traditions. ... during that time she had not eaten rice ... . {cf. Daoist-advocated abstention from grains} ... Her voices, she said, had begun to instruct her in all the languages of the world. ...

p. 7

[She] and her companions ... patiently dictated ceremonial forms, destinations for shamanic spiritual travel, mythical eras of history, and classes of ... invisible heirlooms Ė all lessons faithfully restored from those of the original Diamond Queen".

p. 37 authoressís personal dreaming

"I studied shamanism with [a shaman], who often told me that I would meet spiritual guides in my dreams who would continue my apprenticeship when we were far apart. One night before I left his place I dreamt that I met an old man who began to teach me hidden sciences and spiritually charged names. [The shamanís] teaching had finally taken toot. He was pleased as the next day he told me that his sponsorship would continue as I would learn in dreams or spirit encounters the words and names through which we would accept, control, or position ourselves in relation to power and knowledge. ... Even in the dreams he helped me toward, ... I have maintained some tie to this guidance".


pp. 51-71 Chapter 1

pp. 56-58 legend of the 2 ancestral brethren

p. 56

elder brother, Si Ayuh (Sandayuhan), whose descendants are the Meratus

younger brother, Bamban Basiwara, who descendants are the Banjar


"Si Ayuhís animals all escaped into the forest and became wild game."

Bamban Basiwara "kept control over his Ė the domestic animals"


"God gave both brothers Holy Books, but Si Ayuh ate his. Thus Meratus look for spiritual inspiration within the body"


p. 57

"Si Ayuh brings home ghosts instead of game; Si Ayuh eats his familyís entire meat distribution and has nothing but the pickings from his teeth to bring his wife."


pp. 57-8

p. 57 Disregarding the warning by the Singing-Worm People, "Si Ayuh fell sound asleep. ... When he awoke well into the day, he was ... high above the ground in the branches". Ė p. 58 "his host had become a worm crawling in the treeís epipytes."

p. 57 With due regard to the warning (not to slumber, lest their abode change) by the Singing-Worm People, the Bamban Basiwara timely "gathered his nets and fish before dawn."

p. 57 "Lingut, ... "singing worms," were ... large yellow worms that crawl around the branches of big forest trees at night."

pp. 59-60 Bunsu-kalin epic

p. 59

"Women ... were particularly known for their telling the song epics of the heroic Bungsukaling, who pursues his lovers and adventures in a world without ethnic differentiation or disadvantage. The kaling people of these epics (cf. Indonesian keling, "Hindu" or "Tamil") are magical

p. 60

people of long ago. ... magical power of the Bungsukaling epics was ... of those ... profoundly displaced".


pp. 72-103 Chapter 2

p. 77 bye-gone nations

"These are the peoples who were ... in the past :




Kahayan, and


pp. 94, 96-7 food-offerings for the spirits; incense-bridge

p. 94

"sweet rice desserts decorated with flowers and fragrant herbs are prepared for hosting the spirits. ... The spirits are invited to savor the smell of the food."

p. 96

"Burning incense ...

Rising to wrap around ... the temple ...

p. 97

Forming eight links

Becoming eight bridges."

pp. 98-99 mountain-dwelling spirits

p. 98

"On the summit of Mount Kalawan, ... the shaman finds a great city of dewa".

p. 99

"The Bearded King is surprised

Out on Halo-halao Mountain. ...

The king shaman of the Center of the World,

His skin black ..., ...

He stands reaching up to the sky. ...

His warrior frighten fiends,

His warriors frighten ghouls, ...

And he is called King Shaman [Panggalung].

The shaman whose head is wrapped in clouds ... ."

p. 101 misrecognition of humans as game-animals

"communities are in danger because dewa mistakenly see people as wild animals. ... dewa see "fish in [peopleís] hearts and wild boar in [their] livers"; they donít recognize the people as human. The chant aims to intervene :

Donít come hunting [for us] ...,

Donít come fishing [for us] ...

Donít come and see us wrongly,

Donít come and recognize us falsely."


pp. 154-177 Chapter 5

p. 158 spiritual journey by rice-spirit

"the rice ... rides in a boat over the "sea" (laut) of the field" {the field appears to be (is perceived as) a sea to the rice-spirit} :-

boatís rope is :

"cassava roots"

"roots of beans"

"roots of squash"

boatís pole (for ) is :

"cassava stalk"

"Jobís tearsí stem"

"stalk of corm"

boatís paddle is :

"banana leaf"

"In this way, the rice passes many places of power and wonder Ė places that can be interpreted as being in the field, in the farmersí or ritual expertsí bodies, or in the world beyond.

Then going toward the original waterfall ...

The rice visits a waterfall ... the waterfall of rice shoots in a single clump.

Heading upstream on the harvest river, ...

"Heading upstream" here is mananiti, the term for hiking along a ridge. The river is a ridge; the land is the sea."

"Falling to the tree of great abundance,

Whose companion is Putir Bungsu Kuasa,

The one who guards the tree circling the harvest ... .

The tree circling the harvest ... is ... at the center of the sea." {cf. Trobriand/Louisad myth of primaeval tree in centre of sea}

pp. 159-160 rajaki

p. 159

"Rajaki is "livelihood." It can also mean "luck," ... or "health." Rajaki is ... the "good fortune" that makes life worth living. But rjaki must be Ďsought" (dikayao); it must be "followed" (diumpati) wherever it leads. ...

p. 160

Everyone seeks to increase the rajaki that maintains health and prolongs oneís lifespan. ... When we find no more rajaki, our lives are over."

pp. 168-169 fruit-trees bearing fruit eating by humans


relatives of __



kwini (mango)

"odiferous binjai (Magnifera caesia)"


"tiny rawa-rawa (M. microphilla?)"



"spiky red lahung"


"orange-fleshed pampakin"


"miniature lahung burung"



"tawadak (A[rtocarpus] integer)"





p. 169 fruit-trees bearing fruit used as bait to catch game-animals



kariwaya strangling-fig


luak fig


kasai (Pometia pinnata)


sinsilin oak


damar dipterocarp



pp. 178-205 Chapter 6

pp. 178-179 spirit-agents Galuh in the guise of vermin

p. 178

"the perspective of a louse. ...

Galuh whose hall is in the even-spaced bamboo [the hair], ...

Whose tongue has seven notches,

In the form of the great teacher."


"the perspective of a fly. ... A fly can even enter ... the fine bamboo tube suck into the earth of a new grave. A fly also sits on the umbilical cord of a new birth.

... the Galuh who can enter

Enter the pipes of the earth [at the grave],

p. 179

... another Galuh

Who rides the flying cobra [the umbilical cord], ...

Whose hall is dripping [with blood; the placenta]."

pp. 182-185 magic

p. 182

"a Dayak ritual expert ... could move objects without touching them; he could cut faraway things with his work knife."

p. 183

"The most popular menís magic (pakaian lalaki) produced invulnerability by making the skin impenetrable to metal or fire."

p. 184

"Here is a spell that keeps off blood-sucking kuyang monsters : ...

I know your origin from "Latup Kuhul Kurmaratis"

[the true name of kuyang monsters]".

p. 185

"Kuyang are women who, with the help of spells and magic oils, remove their heads from their bodies and fly around at night, looking for blood. Their organs and entrails come out with the head, leaving the body as a dumb, empty cavity. The head, dragging entrails, shines and sings or moans as it soars over rooftops. ... Kuyang are attracted to the blood of childbirth."

pp. 189-190 shaman & pain-splinter

p. 189

"Putir curing minimally requires

a circular hanging of young sugar-palm leaves,

a basket of husked rice with a stalk of basil,

a bottle of oil, and

a white cloth."


"Not only is the shaman (balian) ordinarily a man, but so also is the assistant (patati), who holds dialogue with the shaman and the drummer (pagandang). (Dewa uses women assistants; riwah uses women drummers.) Putir is considered most appropriate for illness conditions with distinct loci of pain; these illnesses are most likely to be caused by a "disease-splinter" (suligih) ... . An illness-causing "splinter" is commonly acquired through the condition called kapuhun. ... one can be kapuhunan oneself by refusing offered food. By refusing food ... one becomes vulnerable to accidents, such as bites by poisonous snakes or centipedes ... . ... The shamanís job is ... to suck out (ma>alin) the suligih splinter or allow a healing breath to dissolve it. ...

p. 190

He calls on his spirit familiars, who, the shaman suggests, can enter ... like mist blown through the air. ... as his healing breath enters, the shaman asks the disease splinter to melt, dissolve, seep out like sweat."

pp. 190-191 putir; shadows employed in healing

p. 190

"the shaman ... calls upon the putir spirits, which are also "titles" (galar) for his own body :"


The __

are his own __


"five siblings Putir"



"Putir who stands up"

lower teeth


"Putir who hangs down"

upper teeth


"Putir of the rising sun"



"the shamanís skin is a spiritually charged familiar. ... In the chants, the shamanís skin is compared to clothes worn in layers. As the shaman exchanges "shirts" on his spiritual self, ... Putir shamans also call upon "shadows" (bayang-bayang) that ... have countless layers, which extend in all

p. 191

directions; yet they can be reduced to a single image that joins the body and disappears." "Meratus sometimes say that the shadow of a deceased person joins the shadows of that personís living kin. A shaman calls upon the shadows of his teachers, his parents, and his grandparents. ... With shadows, the shaman expands to embrace a community."

"The shaman asks for a renewal of the patientís connection to the cosmos. "Donít lock the door of the wind; donít lock the door of the waters," the shaman chants over the patientís body. The cure restores a freer interaction of body and cosmos, allowing replacement of the patientís resources from cosmic sources. "If lacking in water, replace the water; if lacking in wind, replace the wind," the shaman chants."


"Shamans explained ... that the suligih splinter is a part of the self, a creation of the body. ... The suligih is a creation of the isolated and alienated self."

pp. 192-195 conjuration (spoken to patient) & its exegesis (expounded to authoress)


shamanís conjuration

shamanís exegesis


"At the hall in the"

"highest sky"

"description of the mouth."

"farthest sky"


"Stand up"

"Putir with the long tongue"

"to suck out splinters"


"Galuh with long hands"

"to remove splinters"


p. 192 "Galuh who travels mystically"

p. 193 "enters the shaman"


"Who plays at the door of the self"

"like a mosquito"


p. 194 "To the base of the skyís pillar,

p. 193 "the base of the backbone Ė here, the motherís genitals."


To Galuh the Ruler of Familiars,


To Galuh the Black Ruler,


Whose bedrock hall has eight sides, ...

{octagon of the 8 trigrams}


Leaning at the base of the eight-tiered pillar,



[p. 194] On to the tip of the skyís pillar, ...

p. 193 "the head of the emerging baby."


[p. 194] Familiar of a drop of water, ...

p. 193 "The baby has grown from "a drop of water" -- semen."


Whose hall rests on the skyís pillar, ...

{cf. palace upheld by single pillar, according to Mahabharata}


[p. 195] "Galuh in the middle of the sea,

p. 194 "Galuh means "girl" in Banjar ... . Furthermore, putir itself is ... Banjar putri, "princess.""


Who guards the crocodileís penis as big as a drum in the middle of the sea {cf. Kemian myth of swallowing by crocodile-god SBK of amputated penis of WSI,R, which penis was retrieved from said crocodile by goddess 3S-t, who used it sexually} ...

{male crocodileís amputated penis, wielded as dildo Ė cf. manís amputated penis, swallowed by fish, retrieved and wielded as dildo by woman, according to Kolopom-Dolak Island myth (CS, p. 151)}


In the form of the great teacher,

Walking in leaps across the sea.



[p. 195] Pandara Galuh of the setting sun".

p. 194 "Pandara Galuh, the warrior Galuh." {warrioress-goddess Athene; or some Amazon}


"Stand like the edge of a"

"kris !"

{cf. curved falchion-scimitar wielded by Tantrik goddesses}


"splinter !"


CS = L. M. Serpenti : Cultivators in the Swamps. Van Gorcum & Co, Assen, 1965.

pp. 202, 204 various dewa-possessed women

p. 202

"The woman danced ..., whereupon another woman joined her. Before long, half a dozen women were possessed. ... a respected matron, who knew much about dewa shamanism, began singing and dancing. She ... called out repeatedly in formal Indonesian, Siapa guru saya? "Who is my teacher?""

p. 204

"Another woman was ill with a pain in her chest. ... the woman was suffering from a classic putir problem, sometimes called "shouldering a thread" (sadang lawai), a line of pain that runs diagonally from one shoulder to the opposite hip. {cf. baldrick of god Baldr} The cure deployed was putir."


When another dewa-possessed woman "came out of her possession, she seemed fine. She was articulate about her experience and spoke fluently in shamanic imagery. The dewa had taken her on their motorcycles to the top of the regionís highest mountains. They offered her sweet drinks and cakes and bore her away dancing. They took her to the Sea of Blood and threatened to lock her in a seven-layered iron chest that shone like gold and like diamonds. Unless the community held a dewa ceremony within two weeks, they would lock her in the chest and throw it into the Sea of Blood."


Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing : In the Realm of the Diamond Queen. Princeton U Pr, 1993.