Patamuna kanaima` of Potaro-Siparuni [the name tribe-name /Patamuna/ was formerly spelled /Partamona/, and reckoned as "a branch of the Ackawoise" (pp. 71-2)] ["the Akawaio race; the Paramu^na (or Patamuna) branch of that tribe being the most numerous" (p. 273, n. 4:14)] [the Kapohn consist of the Akawaio & the Patamuna (p. 219)] ["the Patamuna and the Akawaio were closely related as Kapohn (sky people)". (p. 135)]




"I had ... successive nights of identical nightmares. ...

All in all, I had the feeling that there was something awful crawling in my head.

Sometimes, for no apparent reason, all the hair on my arms would stand up."

257, n. 2:3

"The Patamuna also tell of yakami chalai (warracabra tigers), unknown to zoology, which we heard at Iklantoi (Black Savanna) ... Named for the simliarity of their cry to that of the warracabra bird (Psophia crepitans), the yakami chalai hunt in large packs. They are small – the size of a large dog – but are said to be ferocious. The Patamuna also say that they are usually "led" by a large kaikuci ( jaguar, Felis onca)."


"I have experienced the tension inside a house when one of the overt signs of approaching kanaima` is identified – perhaps the call of the bokoboko ("night-owl," bubo virginianus scotinus) or kururukuru ("goatsucker," caprimulgus), or perhaps a whistling noise, a movement along the base of the walls of the house, or, if a window ... is left open, a slight tugging on the strings of a hammock. Moreover, the infallible sign that such intimations are in earnest is the invariable presence of one or more venomous snakes inside the house the following morning. After each occasion in which I experienced the night signs, either a yamaliwok (coral snake) or a saloloima` (labarias / bush-viper) was found within the house the next day."


"part of kanaima`’s history is how it connects to the constitution of society itself and conflicts with the interests of village chiefs (tushau), village shamans (piya), and regional prophets (... iwepyata`sak)."


"kanaima`s also use hunting binas {cf. [<ibri^] /BINAh/ ‘understanding, intelligence’} (charms) ... In addition to such binas, in which chiwi (ginger) is used to enhance scents, kanaima`s also use talen magic. Talen magic is a form of incantation and ritual blowing {"blowpipe hunting ... is understood as an act of blowing, ... but Huaorani, the human brother of Jaguar, "blow" them (oonte go), recalling the magic blowing (talen) of the kanaima`." (p. 263, n. 3:2)} ... Anyone, if they possess the right words, can successfully use talen, and it is quite separate from either piya or kanaima`. ... It is said that kanaima`s use talen to hide like jaguars. Talen magic is also associated with the stealth and rapid movements of ... Ground birds that can hide or move fast, such as the dokwaru or Powis (Odontophorus g. Guianensis)". "In addition to binas and talen the kanaima` is said to be particularly adept at using herbs, which are carried in an ubi {cf. [Latin] /UBI/ ‘where’; [Germanic] UBIi tribe of [in Saxo Grammaticus’s Danish History] the hero UBbe} ‘gourd’. The main plants mentioned repeatedly as ... to kanaima` techniques are kobita (kanaima` plant), chiwi, and kowak (arrowroot) {used in Polynesian myths for lifting up the sky}, ... as well as malima` {cf. [Skt.] /MALIMluca/ (a category of deities)} a plant that "you must not trouble or you die." Koumi (a reed-like Araceae with a bitter, bulbous root) also plays a central role in kanaima` magic, as does the spirit-force Koumima, originator of garden magic. Koumi is an ingredient in wassi poison, but it is also the plant that the kanaima` chews and rubs on himself so that he can "go far and come back quick." " {cf. henbane and wolfbane used in the transvection by European witches}

"In order to locate their prey ordinary hunters might use a kobita-based bina, but not of the


same type as the kanaima`s, which is actually a bina for "taming wild things," and it is this that the kanaima` uses for getting his victim. ["Kobita, the Kanaima` plant (Philodendron canaimae)" – p. 92, illustration]

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"The victim is treated with a powder made from astringent plants, usually koumi, after which the toungue is piereced ... with a splinter of greenheart wood. {cf. Aztec & Hindu (in honor of god Skanda) penitential ritual piercing of the tongue} An iguana or an armadillo tail is shoved into their rectum". {cf. rectal plug in Daoist yoga}


"the special aroma of kanaima` enchantment, akaikalak. The sweet odor of pineapple is therefore a sign of kanaima` attack for the victims, and the spoor by which their attackers will be drawn to their bodies after burial."


"relatives of the victim are acutely aware that, unless the soul (ekati) of the dead person, having been "driven away" by the ... magical force of the attack and denied "reentry" through the mutilating ritual procedures to the mouth and anus, can find the grave, then this bodily mutilation will have become truly ontological." {viz., will persist in the soul’s afterlife guise?}

264, n. 3:5

"For the Patamuna, ekati (soul or spirit) ... may become detached in dreams or in faints ... The ... magical force of kanaima` attack is particularly effective because it totally drives out the ekati of the victim."


"the kanaima` doesn’t like the sounds of the crow calling, "co-co-co." "


"The need to ... protect the body from further interference leads to ... placing the corpse in a rock-niche, covering the grave-site with large boulders or in a sealed ceramic jar, and/or keeping the location secret. ...

It is also the case ... that if the kanaima`s cannot discover the body then they will become overheated (sopane`y), that is mad".

264, n. 3:6

"Hence, Sopane`y>lipa, the name of the kanaima` spirit who drinks up the body, and Sopanie`>yeng, the name of a cave in the Yawong valley, which translates as "the place where spirit of kanaima` comes to suck the body after death." ... this is actually the place where kanaima`s had a stronghold."

264, n. 3:7

"cases of relatives trying to defend against the kanaima` by "poisoning" the corpse" :- "The items used in one of the cases were put into the dead man’s mouth and "consisted of ... the parings of macaw’s bills; ... the parings of cow-

265, n. 3:7

horn; ... scrapings from the bulb root of the dhu turu ..." ...

another victim was "laid out naked, with a bason ... of water under it, into which the pimplers (spines) of the parepi palm were placed. ... the remaining spines were strewed over his body." ... Indeed, in this case, "Nine days after the burial, the murderer dies mad ..." "Dhu turu" is the turu palm (Jessenia bataua ... [formerly known as] Oenocarpus batawa ..., also used for blowpipe [blowgun] arrows [darts]) and the paripi palm is Bactris minor".


"kanaima`s say that finding the corpse is easy for them, partly because of their shape-shifting abilities, which enable the to approach as butterflies".

"When the gravesite is discovered, a stick is inserted through the ground directly into the cadaver, then the stick is retracted and the juices, or maba {cf. /MABAruma/ (on the river Barima) in British Wayana; /MABAna/ (on an island in Puget sound) in Washington state} (honeylike food {cf. /MANNA/}), sucked off. The juices ... are said to taste like honey {cf. "the use of honey as an embalming fluid" (GM 90.3)} both because of their tepusine {cf. /TEPUI/} (sweetness) and because the grave is "tasted" with the help of the ye` (ritual stick) in the same way as a stick is used when eating honey from a hive. {cf. [Kemetian] BI,WTY ‘bee-king (drone)’}

Other metaphors are used by kanaima`s to explain this ... : that of anteaters {cf. [Kemetian god] SWTH in aardvark-form} licking and sucking ants {cf. emmets who mulct (tend) manna-secreting aphids?} and termites from their mounds, or of plants sucking up food through their roots (a reference to Koumima)."


"Kaikuci>ima (Lord Jaguar)" – "A kanaima` will not eat "human-food" after a kill until he has tasted the "divine-food" of the grave, and indeed he must taste the maba if the divine forces inside him, represented as the spirit emissaries of Kaikuci>ima, are to ... return ...

The maba is also pictured as the gift ... to their kanaima`>san (kanaima` adept). They make an offering of their prey to the shaman who leads them ... In this exchange, the kanaima`>san sorcerer becomes identified with ... Kaikuci>ima, ... tasting this "honey of the dead" ".


"If the corpse is indeed sufficiently "sweet" on tasting, it will be ... disinterred in order to recover ... body parts ... These body parts are then secreted in special vessels, often kept in caves such as Kuyali>yen.

These "gifts of death" from the kanaima`s to their kanaima`>san are ... exchanges between divine animals and mundane humans ... It is this relationship that the kanaima`>san claims to sustain ... through his special access to Makunaima, ultimate creator of animals and plants. ... In an analogous way the divine gift of kawai {cf. the [Fijian] herb /KAWA/} (tobacco), carried by the kumalak (swallow-tailed kite), is the source of piya or shamanic curing."


myths of "Makunaima and Piai>ima, brothers" : "Makunaima ... as "great evil" (makui means evil, bad; >ima means great, ultimate)"

Makunaima is originators of "venemous snakes, scorpions, and stingrays. ... He made the first woman out of one of his brothers {in Papuan myths, the 1st woman is often said to have been made out of a man}; although the woman had a vagina, she had no breasts. Makunaima {cf. MAKUrdI on the river Benue in Nigeria} ... made the stingray out of an eddo {cf. the EDO tribe in Nigeria} leaf, one of the araceous family, like koumi {cf. KUmasI of the As^anti in Gold Coast}. He created all the animals and fish ...


He also transformed both people and animals into stone and wrote timehri (petroglyphs) on the rocks.

By contrast, ... Piai>ima is ... a giant anthropophage ... who gave men piya ... as "the great or ultimate shaman." Piai>ima created the first shamans and ... tobacco. Piai>ima is sometimes known also by the name of Ataitai {cf. the ATAYal of TAI-wan}, a cave-dwelling cannibal forest spirit."

265, n. 3:8

"Piai>ima is so named by the Patamuna and sometimes appears as the Dai-Dai in the regional literature. Ataitai is a cannibal forest spirit who lives in caves, such as the one ... outside Paramakatoi."


"The element of plant magic in kanaima` ... provides ... a distinct orientation to a plant spirit – Koumina, the spirit of koumi (Araceae arum) and mu`loka (farms).


"It is his ability to ascend to the heights of kalawali (the spirit ladder) that is ... [the kanaima`>san’s] direct relationship with Makunaima. It is the destiny of powerful shamans to become stars (ichieri) {as it likewise is the destiny of the Nus.ayri}, like Makunaima himself who became Orion, and among shamans kanaima` are the most potent of all. The starlight of the night sky is therefore a ... reminder of the pervasive and ancient nature of kanaima`."


"the kanaima` adept and his initiate, kaikuci>yeribada (jaguar-face), are conceived of as representing a jaguar and his kill."


"Initiates are taken into the forest, and a liana hanging from the canopy is cut at about head-height, the time of its regrowth being the time it will tike to complete the apprenticeship. ... The initiate’s diet excludes all meat except that of the dokwaru bird but includes odd items like a certain fungus that is said to aid rapid movement. The diet also involves the drinking only of "still" water – that is, water from a pool or plant leaf, not from the river, since the latter would lead the mind to "overtake itself," causing the kanaima` to lose control and risk sopane`y (madness ...) ...

Isolation in the forest itself is intended to aid the process of concentration on shamanic development of ... skills, like bodily transformation (weytupok) and the detaching of the soul (iwemyakamatok) ... A whole set of shamanic techniques also appears to be based on the use of the plant koumi" ...

Aside from learning such shamanic techniques, initiates are also tutored in the use of ... ritual cave-sites ..., as well as little-used asanda [‘paths’] ...

Initiates may also be called on to aid in "guarding" the bodies of kanaima`s who have gone into the forest {by projection of the aitheric double} to kill."


"kanaima` ... was a thing the Kawaliyana had before. ["According to oral history, the Kawaliyana were a nonagricultural group who inhabited the region before the arrival of the Patamuna." (p. 266, n. 3:16)] ... They used only to plant gourds {bottlegourds, first domesticated in praehistoric Peru`?}


... Piya will know when we are working, his spirit sees us, but only at night. With Makunaima you don’t see us. We come invisible, fast. Piya cannot hold us back because of the way we use the corpse. ...

Kanaima` ... boosts your spirit up, up to go far in kalawali. We cut down any piya who spies on us, who trouble[s] us with hiawa or mora in our work." ["Leaves from these trees are used by the piya to sweep out the kanaima` spirits that come to attack him during his own ascent of the star-ladder (kalawali)." (p. 266, n. 3:17)]


A kanaima`’s "pegal (bag) had been searched ... when he went to relieve himself while stopping at a house along the trail ... It contained both a black scorpion, spirit master of poisons, and two armadillo tails."


boy claimed as victim by kanaima` family :- boy’s family "heard the night owl, portent and messenger of kanaima`, around their house, every night, until the narrator’s little brother ... died ... In a sardonic twist, the kanaima` family now boasted they had also "tied and killed an akuri (a small edible forest mammal)," presumably a reference to the little boy".


"the kanaima` man telling his wife, "I ... hear maam jeering ..." Now he telling his wife he going and hear the maam jeering, he’s ... to come in the night." ["The maam bird is the scrub-turkey (Tinamus subcristatus) and is sometimes semidomesticated. It is associated with early morning and sometimes with Orion’s severed leg ... Makunaima became Orion." (p. 269, n. 3:25)]

"He [head of prospective victim’s family] hear this jeering dokwaru" (portending a kanaima`).


Waipa Patamuna :- "Kanaima is when the whole skull is soft as if someone has beaten it out."


"To become a kanaima they used some binas. Some binas are gingers, some are lilies, some are from the rhizome family. They would rub some of the binas on their skins and they would drink some in order to transform themselves into kanaimas."


"shadow war in which enemy shamans contend with each other through the use of spirit proxies" -- "Each shaman has a number of such familiars disguised as predators and raptors who will seek out a foe while he is ascending the spirit ladder (kalawali). If that ladder can be cut while an enemy shaman, or kanaima`, climbs it, he will die, and his pack of kanaima`-killers are left leaderless and in great spiritual danger. ...

However, a similar fate might befall an iwepyata`sak and his followers, who in turn are then physically deconstructed and, unable to resunder [re-integrate?] their bodies, are spiritually disabled by the kanaima`. ...

This is ... a recognition of the way in which individual bodies become the vehicles for hidden forces, revealed only in the transformation such bodies made into jaguars, ant-eaters, butterflies, and avian raptors."


"the ... iwepyata`sak stood in opposition to both the political authority of the tushau (headman) and the ritual authority of the piya and kanaima`. There was, then, a basis for alliance, in the nineteenth century, between, on the one hand, "traditionalist" tushau, piya, and kanaima`>san, and, on the other hand, "modernist" tushau, piya, and their iwepyata`sak".

274, n. 4:23

"this higher shamanic plane is only inhabited by Akwa (God), U>Wi (his elder brother), and Akwalu (God’s spirit)."


"the kanaima` must be guarded in the manner in which it is likely he will be attacked – not by another kanaima`, but "on the spirit side" by another piya."

"such an attack by a piya on kanaima`s ... was ... to "cut down the ladder of kalawali" up which the kanaima`>san had climbed in order to protect his pack of killers. Indeed, ... the kanaima` is also responsible for "curing" them of their sopane`y (madness) after the kill, and it is at this point that his ritual knowledge for the production of maba becomes vital, literally, to the returning killers."


se’ance witnessed by author :- "The piya had already laid before him three cups of tobacco juice and two anthropomorphic figurines – one made of bone, the other from a mirror – and a diamond. These were his "spirit-masters," with which he intended to assault the kanaima`>san ... Instead of rattles, the piya held the leaves of the mora tree, said to be particularly deadly to kanaima`. His intention was to sweep the floor continuously with these leaves to stop the kanaima`>san entering from the earth below or boring under the walls. The kanaima` are said to come along the ground ...


The piya>san began his attack by drinking one of the cups of tobacco juice straight down. ... He called to the kanaima`’s spirit-doubles. As we waited, there was ... a sound like wind stirring the tress by the benab, which became ... punctuated ... Something then moved around the walls and up onto the roof, at which point ... the piya ... balanced the bone figurine on his hand and was moving it up and down. And then the bone figurine was gone, apparently ... through the roof from where it could then swoop down to earth ... to pierce and kill the attacking kanaima`. There was a tremendous screech ... and within a few minutes the same noise of rushing wind returned. Once again it ... started up ... at the base of the walls. ... The time he [the piya>san] sent the figure made from a mirror, ... so I again could see him balancing the piece on his hand, which he elevated repeatedly ... By that time the force of the shaking of the walls was quite palpable ... Next came ... successive attempts ... by the piya to send out the last "spirit-master" – the diamond. It seemed as if ... the kanaima` spirits were shaking the thatch and hammering the walls. As the piya struggled to launch his last "missile," he alternated attempts to launch it with a sweeping of the floor ... However, the hammering and shaking abruptly stopped, and ... was followed by a heavy thud. ...


He [the piya>san] told us ... that the kanaima`>san himself was actually dead, killed as his kalawali had been cut down by the "blades" of the diamond. He then said that we were to go to Koniayatoi Falls on Maikparu Creek and look under the cascade, where there would be a small ... cave. In there we would find the physical body of the kanaima` ... In fact, ... as we approached the spot we could ... smell something ... a little sweet ... of "rotting-pineapple" ..."


testimony :- "In the spirit they [the kanaima`-s] are going, so now they had to fall to sleep, in the spirit they had to go there These kanaima`s would enter in every creature, a lizard, a rat, or a mouse ... They are doing magic ... and ... in the spirit they had to enter into the creature, and went there ... And now the piya man who was sitting, looking ..., ... never let any fly touch the kanaima`s. ... If a fly would touch them, sometimes they may not come back into life. ... After then their spirits [of the kanaima`-s] came shouting, ... but there was only the back of it coming."


"amateur ... kanaima`s ... indulge in ... ritual ... often sexualized. They will ... of a woman ... "use" her vagina".


"he heard the roar of "baboons" (howler monkeys), but, turning back to look, he saw that the sound came the kamaima`s. As he watched, they came toward him and one of the baboons turned into a man." ["kanaima`s ... "travel like a great wind through the forest, howling like a hurricane."" (p. 277, n. 5:12) {At the end of the [Aztec] world-age Eheca-tonatiuh ‘wind-sun’, its denizens became monkeys. (FAI 1:1:11-12}]


Patamuna tale of origins :- A woman amputated her own husband’s leg when he was climbing down from an anunto (soursop) fruit tree. Thereupon he sent forth the pupil of his own eye {cf. [Tenetehara belief] pabid (one’s soul) in the pupil of the eye} – successively in the guises of hummingbird


and other birds – in order to inform his brother; but his brother could not go to him because the wife (who had done the leg-amputation) persisted in hugging the brother (together in the hammock at night). {cf. the inability of Ares and Aphrodite to separate after they had become "entangled in the net" (GM 18.b) of Hephaistos -- a hammock being composed of netting.} "He went up to become stars. Those stars with the one side leg cut [Orion’s Belt] ... what he had then became a fish skull, call it the head only [Pleiades]. ... The place where this happened is ... Wailan, this is in Brazil ... And ... some big rocks built like an altar, like a ladder ... that’s how he got up into the sky."


Afterwards, she released the remaining brother, and they went to a honey-filled hollow tree {cf. actually water-filled hollow living baobab trees, whence Australian aboriginees often drink} where he induced her to "bend down and drink this honey ... and he pinned her down in the honey and she start drinking this honey ... In the man’s hand she turned to be a kaykank [armadillo]. ... So after he finish setting out the little baby inside the tree he then put his ax on the tree and the axe went up to become a woodpecker {cf. [Roman] woodpecker-god Picus}. He turned to be a honeydart ...


She [the baby] became a frog in the tree-hole." {her becoming a frog would indicate water, rather than honey, as filling the hollow tree; but cf. also the [Aztec] divine milk-tree nursing souls of dead babies.}


"the Patamuna notion that the piya can act as a "bodyguard" for the kanaima` when his ekati is hunting a victim."

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 1955.

FAI = Historical Works of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl.

Neil L. Whitehead : Dark Shamans. Duke U Pr, Durham (NC), 2002.

{comment on the alleged "reality" of kanaima` :- in would appear that prior to the emergence of the iwepyata`sak, the alleged existence of kanaima` was a convenient pious fiction maintained by the piya in an effort by them to promote a general inter-tribal peace and to hinder inter-tribal warfare (by promoting the benevolent notion that any potential war would inevitably be supernaturally avenged by unknown anonymous "kanaima`"); but when the iwepyata`sak [the aboriginal form of Liberal Christian preachers against the social evil of intertribal warfare, no direct overt preaching against which had thitherto be socially permissible in the crude circumstances of brutal aboriginal society] came into existence (as a reality instead of a mere pious fiction), then with their conspicuous existence [in the 19th century, as mentioned e.g. on p. 140], thereupon actual self-avowed "kanaima`" began to proclaim themselves (but these latter-day "kanaima`" appear usually to be malicious hired murderers in the pay of European-owned mining-companies, malignantly intent on having murdered any aboriginal workers who organize any labor-union in order to demand from their employers decent working-conditions or fair wages). Still later, beginning in 1969, in a more blatant (bigger-scale than the relatively weak local mining-companies) manoeuvre with the connivance of the "World Bank ... Amerindian communities were obstructed" (p. 180). The author of this book, however, is far more interested in such digressions as discussing the preference by kanaima` families (praesent-day actual ones, rather than fictions of the past) for patrilocal marriage in opposition to "the more general custom of matrilocal residence after marriage." (p. 189) This sort of focus of interest would, of course, reflect the native outlook, insofar as any employment of European mining companies would be intended by aboriginees to be quite temporary, with prompt return to normal village livelihood with its subsistence-activities, after a mere brief stint in the mining-camps; so that the inconveniences resulting from profiteering by European companies would be of little concern to the usual aboriginal workers.}