Waz^a` Foragers [in Gurupi & Pindare` river-valleys in Maranha~o State, Brazil; originally from the Tocantins river-valley]









History of the Waz^a`






Animism & Forest-Siblings





p. ix vowels : /i/ (high, central); /e/ (mid, central)

p. xx biologic paternity

"The Guaja`, like many lowland South American groups, have a concept called "partible paternity." Here, ... it is possible for a child to have more than one "biological" father. Among the Guaja`, this is taken a step further, and they believe that multiple "fathers" are usually necessary to make a fetus."

p. xxi sky = the past

"Their sacred sky home is interpreted as both the place where the soul goes when it dies and also the past. In their view, the souls of the Guaja` on earth have the counterparts in the sacred sky home in the past."

{This would appear to be an awkward affirmation of the existence of what in known in Nawa as the /tonal/.}

p. 2 language

"Rodrigues ... classified the Guaja` language in subgroup eight of the Tupi`-Guarani`, which is now considered to comprise eight additional languages, further divided into

a group north of the Amazon (Emerillon, Wayampi, and Zo>e`) and

a group south of the Amazon which included the Guaja`, Anambe`, Ka>apor, Takynyape`, Turiwa`ra, and Amanaye`."

p. 2 locations & names of tribe

"Bale`e (1994a:25) has suggested that a group described by Noronha ..., the "Uaya," living on the lower Tocantins in 1767 are probably antecedents of the Guaja` who migrated eastward. Nimuendaju` ... made the same connection, citing a 1774 mention of the Uaya along the lower Tocantins ... . In addition, Nimuendaju` believed that the Guaja` were the same nomadic group as ... the "Uaiara" on the upper Gurupi in 1862.

According to Nimuendaju` ..., the term "Guaja`" is ... an earlier Brazilian term for the Guaja`, "gwaza`" which is itself likely derived from the term "wazaizara" (feather ornament owner) used by the Guajajara and the Tembe` for the Guaja`".

Bale`e 1994a = W. Bale`e : Footprints of the Forest : Ka>apor ethnobotany. NY : Columbia U Pr.

p. 48 caerimony

"The early dry season ..., several times each week, at night, the village gathers to sing in a ceremony involving contact with the divinities and dead ancestors who reside in the sky home, the iwa. While the men dance, their spirits are transported to the iwa, and the divinities’ spirits possess the bodies of the dancers on the ground. The divinities are believed to have the power to heal the village and to bring game close to the Guaja`."

p. 90 physical body (ipate`re) & memory/dream-body (hatikwa`yta)

"an individual consists of a body, ipate`re, and

a spirit, hatikwa`yta, which represent a form of ... dualism in that

the ipate`re is considered separable from the hatikwa`yta in dreams, ritual, and death."

"the hatikwa`yta ... can perhaps be described best as the "remembered self," and it is the image represented in dreams, memories, ... but not in reflected images. ... the images of dreams and memories are interpreted as existing outside of mundane world ...and, thus, are considered to be spiritual. ... memories, are recognized as representations of the past and are considered to be hatikwa`yta images.

The Guaja` hatikwa`yta conform to the classic description of animism by Tylor (... [1871]) in its correlation with the duality of the self in the dream experience ... . Durkheim’s (... [1912]) critique was, in part, that it was difficult to reconcile this with the content of dreams, which often contained material from the past.

It was illogical for him that any one would believe that they were both in the past and the present.

{All activity which one is performing in the praesent can likewise be said to be influenced or affected by one’s past, and it is to that extent "in" both past and praesent. Thus, by Durkheim’s standards, all activity is "illogical" and thus impossible; his metaphysics is thus an instance of the philosophically impracticable, no more valid than Parmenides’s "proof" of the non-existence of motion. }

For the Guaja`, dreaming does involve a simultaneity between past and present".

Tylor 1871 = E. B. Tylor : Primitive Culture.

Durkheim 1912 = E. Durkheim : The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.

pp. 90-1 ghost (aiya~)

p. 90

"In addition to the hatikwa`yta, there is another spiritual aspect to the Guaja` individual called the aiya~, which comes into being at the moment of bodily death. Upon death, the hatikwa`yta separates from the body and goes to the iwa

p. 91

to remain forever, while a malevolent, earthbound spirit is created which eats the living. ...

{This is identical with the European/Christian notion of "ghost", and may be a recent borrowing (like so much of current Waz^a` culture) from the Portuguese belief-system.}


The aiya~ are cannibals that prey upon the Guaja`, eating both their ipate`re and

hatikwa`yta, and they are considered the ultimate cause of most pain, illness, and death. The aiya~ are said to stay with the dead body during the day and then roam near the village at night, where they are frequently seen by the Guaja` ... . The aiya~ are said to look exactly as the person did in life."

{Is the notion of dreams = memories, also of recent European/Christian provenience?}

p. 91 name/spirit-twin (hai~ma)

"Each Guaja` is named for a plant, animal, or object with which the individual has a special spiritual connection. Specifically, they are called hai~ma".

{This is similar to the Aztec /tonal/; and is a widespread belief amongst South American tropical forest tribes.}

p. 92 inhabitants of the sky

"The iwarepiha`re are the inhabitants of the sacred sky, the iwa, and the category comprises

the divinities, the karawa .., and

dead ancestors and past versions of living individuals who are called awa harepiha`re and awa harepiha`re-tikwa`yta. ...

The dead, past selves and past others share the feature of being past mental images, but for the Guaja`, these remembered others ... reside ... in the physical place of the iwa.

{This aequation of memory = heaven, is, suspectably, a Catholic adaptation of the Platonic doctrine of an aeternal world of ideas (forms) to the Christian doctrine of aeternal Heaven.}

The other inhabitants of the iwa, the karawa deities, are believed to have existed in the iwa, with the exception of the creator God, Mai>ira, who is believed to have existed on earth among the Guaja` at one time."

{In Catholic doctrine, the other inhabitants of heaven (the angels and two Persons of the Trinity) are believed to have existed in Heaven, with the exception of the creator Christ ["He was in the world, and the world was made by Him" (Gospel according to John 1:10)], who is believed to have existed on earth among humans at one time.}

pp. 98-101 heaven

p. 98

"The Guaja` recognize ... basic vertical divisions space :

wi (earth),

ka>a (forest [the forest-canopy, in the tree-tops far above the forest floor]),

iwa-c^u~ (light-colored sky), and

iwa-pinahu~ (dark-colored sky).


The iwa-c^u~ and iwa-pinahu~ ... are considered to be separate sky layers,

{This dual distinction is, suspectably, similar to the Catholic distinction between a material (astronomical) heaven and an immaterial (divine) heaven.}


with the iwa-c^u~ the closer sky that is inhabited by the birds, the sun (kwarehi), the moon (yahi) and the stars (we-we) and gives way to

the iwa-pinahu~, which is very distant and is inhabited by the karawa divinities, the dead, and past versions of the Guaja`."

p. 99

"Beneath the wi (earth) exists another iwa-c^u~ with another ka>a and wi which is inhabited by the same types of life-forms ... . Some use the term manio>i to describe the karawa divinities living in the parallel world below."


"with the terms pu`e, indicating younger ..., and ima`ne, meaning older. ... the iwa as pu`e, while the earth and forest here are ima`ne."

{This is Catholic, straight out of the New Testament : "all things are become new" (2nd Korinthians 5:17); "I make all things new" (Apocalypse of Ioannes 21:5).}


"of events that occurred shortly after the creation of the Guaja` world, indicated ... it was ... when a woman ... looked like her young daughter, who is about four years old."

{The evident meaning of this is, that in iwa (heaven), everything is rejuvenated about every four years.}

p. 100

"The iwa is held to contain personal pasts ... and is a place of sacredness ... .

{Likewise, the Akas`ik Record is of personal pasts; and is sacred.}

p. 185,

n. 5:5

"similarly, ... a phenomenon of multiple souls among Carib-speakers, which can involve multiple souls in the body, multiple manifestations of the soul outside the body (such as in landscape features), or multiples destinies of souls at death."

p. 100

"One informant described ... children he fathered in the iwa, although he did not know the names of the iwa children".

{It is likewise H.asidic belief that a person can have children in the dream-world. These children can be "Half-demon offspring of succubi who try to claim a birthright from their human father, often showing up at his funeral to do so." ("G", s.v. "banim shovavin")} {Also, more antiently, in Akkadian belief there were, "Ardat Lili (or Lilith's handmaid), who visited men by night and bore them ghostly children; and Irdu Lili, who must have been her male counterpart and used to visit women and beget children by them." ("L", p. 295)}

"G" = http://kabbalah.fayelevine.com/glossary/index.php

"L" = Raphael Patai : "Lilith". J OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE, vol. 77, no. 306, Oct-Dec 1964. pp. 295-314. http://www.scribd.com/doc/33264198/Lilith

p. 101 animals which are not in heaven

"Some animals are not present in the iwa. ... the muku`re, which includes possums and skunks, do not go to the iwa. ... Snakes and insects are absent from the iwa, with the exception of anacondas and boa constrictors".

p. 102 dreaming : human souls’ entering of heaven

"Dreaming ... is interpreted differently by gender.

When men sleep, their hatikwa`yta travel to the iwa and interact with past forms. ...

{Do they allegedly meet "past forms" of themselves in dreams? (Dream-persons looking alike to themselves, and/or insisting on being identical with themselves, would not naturally be any such "past forms", but rather merely twins/doubles/guardians.) In, e.g., New Guinea, there are accounts of visiting otherworldly beings who claim to have the same name as themselves; but these are not accounted as "past forms". Some out-of-body experiencers may experience past lives; but even then they do not meet the "past forms" of themselves}

An important responsibility for the wife is to hold her husband in the hammock and sing during the night as a kind of homing device for the men so that they can find their way back to the earth.

{Of is the singing intended to alert deities (guardian angels, in Catholic terminology) to the need to guide [the souls of] the dreamers back into the waking world? If any difficulties are praesent, assistance from deities my be needed.}

It is quite a remarkable custom, since periodically all through the night, various women can be heard singing in an extremely loud, high-pitched soprano voice ... .

{It is quite a remarkable custom, that in many Catholic monasteries and nunneries, periodically all through the night singing of the "canonical hours" is to be heard.}

While in the iwa during this dream state, the Guaja` men interact with the divinities, past versions of themselves and others, and with the dead Guaja`.

{Do these dream-entities involved actually verbally designate themselves, during the dream, as, respectively, "divinities, past versions ..., and ... dead"?}

While the dreams of women are also spiritual experiences, they are interpreted differently.

The most important difference is that women never actually go to the iwa until they die.

{According to tribes in Borneo (such as the Iban), on the contrary, only women (not men) are able to go to the world of souls of the dead while living – though they are reputed to do this during trance (publicly performed) instead of during dreaming.}

They are either able to see the iwa through the eyes of one of their hatikwa`yta in the iwa, or

{How could this differ at all from the men’s "hatikwa`yta travel to the iwa"?}

they are spirit-possessed by a divinity and able to see the iwa through the eyes of the divinity."

{Inasmuch as the usual spirit-possession (as defined everywhere else throughout the world) is a matter of the divinity’s becoming enabled to see through the eyen of the human body (which is thus possessed by that divinity); therefore an ability acquired by a human "to see ... through the eyes of the divinity" would be [not spirit-possession but] human-possession (of the deity by a human).}

{/IWA/ is the name for "Cloud 9", according to the Puran.a-s : cf. also the city name /<IWWAh/ = /IOpolis/ (Antiokheia). In the Hawai>ian language, /IWA/ is ‘nine; nineth’. cf. also the Taoist 9 heavens – for Taoists, the 9 heavens are stated to be located within the 9 sectors of (according to native Chinese anatomists) the brain. The 9 "orders of angels" (as described by Dionysios the Areiopagite) is another variation of this theme.}

pp. 103-4 karawa`re spirit-possession rite

p. 103

"The dream experience appears to be the basal experience on which the spiritual life of the Guaja` is founded. The karawa`re ritual is ... a dramatization of the dream experience, where it is reenacted ... . ... Spirit possession also takes place during the karawa`re ritual as the divinities enter the bodies of the men while their spirits are in the i`wa. While possessed, the men will blow air on others to heal them or aid them in some way. For example, a man may blow on his wife ... to assist her in finding


tortoises, which are associated with female fertility.

{The tortoise-riding Ayo-pechtli is Aztec goddess of childbirth.}


Only the karawa are involved in spirit possession. Dead ancestors are said to be unable ever to return to earth because it causes them great physical pain.

During the ceremony, the Guaja` petition the divinities for game animals. Two types of divinities are petitioned, the masters, or controllers of animals, and

p. 104

the mothers of animals. For example, in the case of howlers, the Guaja` ask Yu-c^i>a, the master of howlers, or Wari-ihi, the mother of howlers, to bring the monkeys closer to them. A woman can receive assistance in collecting tortoises indirectly through her husband, who, when possessed by the female tortoise divinity Kiripi, blows on his wife during the karawa`re ritual."


"An individual can directly obtain healing for himself from a divinity in the iwa,

he can heal himself through spirit possession, or

there can be a general petition for healing the group through the wind.

The karawa`re rituals begin at the beginning of the dry season when a blustery wind begins to blow. This is interpreted as the work of the divinities to heal the Guaja`."

pp. 104-5 women are passive to deities, but are active in assisting men

p. 104

"the Guaja` do not believe that women can actually go to the iwa in their dreams; they are either spirit-possessed or see through the eyes of their hatikwa`yta.


This makes female encounters with the divinities passive, while the male encounters are active."

{One parallel (to the Waja` female situation) could be so-called "grasping with the eyes" in African spirit-mediumship, wherein the spirit-medium is able to see through the eyen consciously, although not control of movements of the body, which is instead under the control of the possessing-deity.}

p. 105

"A man should be married when he goes to the iwa so that his wife can sing to help him find his way back to the earth."

pp. 106-7, 185 weather-deity; fright-causing deities

p. 106

"Wind and rain are largely controlled by Tapa`ne, the rain and thunder deity".


"The sensation of cold and the experience of fright are both linked to the aiya~. The aiya~ cannibal ghosts prey particularly on children and wait in hiding to grab them or blow on them causing them to fall on the ground shivering with fear. ...

p. 107

The aiya~ come out only at night and are particularly afraid of fire due to its properties of heat and light."

p. 185, n. 5:10

"Kracke (1999) has noticed a similar use of light to ward off ghosts (an~ang) among the Parintintin. Among the Wari>, Conklin (2001) describes a form of dead spirit (jima) that purportedly avoids the light." {Is /Z^IMA/ ("jima") cognate with the Bantu deity-name /ZIMA/?}

Kracke 1999 = W. H. Kracke : "A Language of Dreaming : dreams of an Amazonian". INTERNAT J OF PSYCHOANALYSIS 80:257-71.

Conklin 2001 = B. A. Conklin : Consuming Grief : compassionate cannibalism in an Amazonian society. Austin : U of TX Pr.

p. 109 dream-travel of the Mardu of Australia (reference : Tonkinson 1991)

"In dreams, the dream-spirit of a person takes the form of a bird, leaves the body, and travels to where it may encounter a spirit being.

{Some instances of Siberian shaman’s dreams involve the shaman’s becoming a bird in the dream.}

The spirit beings are intermediaries between the residual power of the Dream Beings and the Mardu people."

Tonkinson 1991 = R. Tonkinson : The Mardu Aborigines : living the dream in Australia’s desert. 2nd edn.

pp. 130-1 Bope : praeternatural entities of the Bororo [reference : Crocker 1985]

p. 130

"Monkeys in general are frequent animal familiars for bope, including the juko, which are a class of bope that look like capuchins.

pp. 130-1

The process of becoming a shaman involves being surprised and spoken to by a howler."

Crocker 1985 = J. C. Crocker : Vital Souls : Bororo cosmology. U of Tucson Pr.

p. 145 cognate aequivalents to /AIYA~/ ("malevolent supernatural beings") in other Tupian languages {cf. SKT. /AN-ANGA/ ‘limbless’}






A~YA~ (a~ja~)




AN~ANA (anhanga)



p. 145 aequivalents to aiya~ in yet other languages

"Similar mythic creatures are found in numerous non Tupi`-Guarani` groups, such as the weori` maha~ of the Tukanoans and the mythic cannibal monsters in the Ge^-speaking Suya` (Seeger 1981)."

"Viveiros de Castro also describes that upon death, the souls of the Arewete` are eaten by cannibal divinities, who then resurrect them, from their bones. ...

The a~n~i~ of the Arewete`, like the Guaja` aiya~, are foul-smelling, earthbound cannibals who appear at night and ... the "terrible specter of the deceased is said to accompany the a~n~i~" (Viveiros de Castro 1992:68)."

Seeger 1981 = A. Seeger : Nature and Society in Central Brazil : the Suya Indians of Mato Grosso. Harvard U Pr.

Viveiros de Castro 1992 = E. Viveiros de Castro : From the Enemies’ Point of View : humanity and divinity in Amazonian society. U of Chicago Pr.

p. 146 the Matsigenka aequivalent to hatikwa`yta

"Matsigenka shamans are believed to have a twin brother among the Sangariite (invisible ones), which are

benevolent beings in the spirit world that raise the Matsigenka game as pets in their invisible villages and release them to be eaten by the people (Shepard ... 2002).

This is similar to the Guaja` idea of various karawa divinities having control over specific animals, which they will send near the Guaja` if they are petitioned.

In addition, when the shaman goes into a trance, he and his twin brother switch places so that the shaman visits the sky-village of his twin, while the spiritual twin heals other members of the Matsigenka group (Shepard ... 2002). ...

{This simultaneous shamanic-journey in the other world of the soul by a shaman whose body is being possessed by an active deity is known (though uncommonly) elsewhere.}

The idea of the twin is also similar to the Guaja` hatikwa`yta, which are counterparts to the self in the spiritual world of the sky."

Shepard 2002 = G. H. Shepard : "Primates in Matsigenka ... World View". In :- In :- A. Fuente & L. Wolfe (edd.) : Primates Face to Face : ... human-nonhuman primate interconnections. Cambridge U Pr. pp. 101-36.

p. 146 cognate aequivalents to /KARAWA/ in related languages

"Holmberg (1969) describes the kuru`kwa, which may be cognate with the Guaja` karawa, ... that look like human beings and lurk in the woods looking for victims to strangle.

Similarly, among the Waya~pi, the term kaluwa expressed supernatural evil ... (Grenand and Grenand 1981). ...

According to Fausto (1997), the Parakana~ avoid eating the paca, which is literally called karowara, because, mythologically, paca are believed to have been created from human beings, are awa-kwera (formerly human)".

Grenand & Grenand 1981 = P. Grenand & F. Grenand : "La me’decine traditionnelle des Waya~pi, ame’ridiens du Guyane". CAHIERS ORSTOM 18:561-7.

Fausto 1997 = C. Fausto : A diale`tica ... entre os Parakana~ da Amazo^nia Oriental. PhD diss, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Museu Nacional.

pp. 147, 184 the WAYA~pi {/WAYA/ being an earlier form of the name of the "Waz^a`" (Guaja`), supra p. 2} cognate aequivalent to /YARE/ [p. 147 : "the Waya~pi in French Guiana ... have a term, "yarr," which is likely cognate with the Guaja` yare, a spiritual principle". {Perhaps the alternative name for the Yamana (of Tierra de Fuego), namely /YAGan/ (variously spelled "Yaghan" and even "Yahgan", and meaning ‘sane’), is another congener-cognate}]

p. 147 [reference : Campbell 1989]

p. 184, n. 5:4

"The Waya~pi yarr are personified spirits that inhabit trees and are [in] control [of] various forms of life ... .

"The Guaja` also refer to their spiritual aspect as yare, which is also

The term "yarr" is also used to describe the owner of a pet. The yarr seem to be ... controllers of ... life ..., as with the Guaja`, ... in pet-keeping, since the same term is used."

a suffix used for the names of the masters or controllers of animals." {cf. Skt. /antaryamin/ ‘inner controller’}

Campbell 1989 = A. T. Campbell : To Square with Genesis. Edinburgh U. Pr.

pp. 147-8 mortuary cannibalism {implying that mortuary cannibalism was misexplained by Clastres and by Dole, but more correctly explained by Conklin? Anthropologists were as yet in the 1970s under pressure from universities (as agencies for reactionary political parties) to render unfavorable accounts of native peoples; by the 2000s this sort of pressure had eased off (with the collapse of genocidal programs promoted by the United States government, such as the systematic genocide of Mayas in Guatemala carried out under C.I.A. auspices in the 1970s-1980s) to the point that more accurate, "compassionate" accounts were permissible.}

p. 147

"According to Clastres (1974 [sic]), the Ache` (Guayaki) believe that a malevolent soul is created at death. Eating the dead prevents their souls from later entering the bodies of the living and killing them.

Similarly, Dole (1972) describes mortuary cannibalism as a defense mechanism against the souls of the dead among the Amahuaca.

pp. 147-8

[p. 147] Conklin (2001) has recently written an extensive account of Wari> cannibalism ... . ... Close affines are responsible for eating the deceased, though it is considered dangerous for consanguines to do so. ... .

[p. 148] ... the Wari` are reincarnated as white-lipped peccaries who present themselves specifically to their consanguines to be eaten."

Clastres 1974 [sic] = P. Clastres : "Guayaki` Cannibalism". In :- P. J. Lyon (ed.) : Native South Americans. Boston : Little, Brown & Co, 1972. pp. 308-21.

Dole 1972 = G. Dole : "Endocannibalism among the Amahuaca Indians". In :- P. J. Lyon (ed.) : Native South Americans. Boston : Little, Brown & Co, 1972. pp. 302-8.

p. 148 singular & plural aspects of the self

"the individual Guaja` is, in truth, a plural concept by reason of its multiple hatikwa`yta ... . Through their iwa alters, Guaja` individuals are simultaneously ... past versions of themselves living out independent lives in the iwa, yet at the same time very much part of the individual, so much so that women are able to see through the eyes of these alters."

HISTORICAL ECOLOGY SERIES (ed. by William Bale’e & Carole Crumley), Vol. 5 = Loretta A. Cormier : Kinship with Monkeys : the Guaja` Forgers of Eastern Amazonia. Columbia U Pr, NY, 2003.