Agusan Manobo Possession-Ritual, 3

p. 92 viscera-sucker spirit









With its face facing backwards, it flies at night only with its innards. It leaves its body behind in the bushes to look for pregnant women ... . When it finds one it sticks its “magical” tongue out from the crevices of the rooftop to suck the woman’s viscera, the placental fluid, and the fetus.”

pp. 94-95 spirits’ silence; spirits’ senses


spirits’ facility


the spirits’ abode is as silent as a human habitation is noisy. Moreover, spirits are believed to desire persons who are silent because they are able to hear the spirits’ silent voices. {telepathy with spirits?} In rituals, spirits break their silence to make noise through the mediums’ throats as they dance to the sounds of the drum and gong.” [“Likewise, noise is believed to abort an eclipse when the giant creature bakunawa is believed to be “eating” the moon.” (p. 379, n. 3:36)]

The houses of spirits, especially those from the coasts, are lit. ... In the island of Homonhon ..., on the Pacific Ocean, from where most of these coastal spirits are believed to come, ships are found. These ships are believed to be reaching ... by way of the Amontay creek near Manwali, creating huge ripples on the waters. Some report having seen these ships in dreams.

Spirits, particularly those spirit familiars who are offered cooked ritual food, eat by smelling alone. ...

{cf. the proclivity by Gandharva-s to eat odors only of foods}

Spirit helpers are supposed to “know” their earthly companions, the mediums, by their smell.

Further, the spirit familiars are said to get annoyed with ... perfume ... . ...

{This is in contrast to <arabic possessing-spirits, who generally require perfume!}

While spirits eat by smelling, they also leave no footprints ... . When human beings die and become souls (umagad), ... the umagad


is ontologically different from the spirits ... . The umagad leave footprints behind,

while spirits do not. ...

{The Aztecs, contrariwise, believed that it was the deities who left footprints visible to the living.}

It is generally believed that spirits are afraid of the souls of the dead. ... Manobos ... said that they have felt the spirits and the human souls like a cold air. {the chill felt at the praesence of ghosts is widely reported} Other said that they have seen them like a shadow.” {also widely reported}

pp. 95-96, 98 spirits transformed in mountains; or, inhabiting marshlands or strangler-figs


spirits in locales


One of these is a mountain believed to be the body of the dead giant named Makay, [p. 379, n. 3:37 : “Makay was believed to be a man-hunter who broils human beings and eats them. A monkey killed him.”]

and another one is named after Ubuk [the brother of Ujahay]. A spring on this mountain oozes red water. It is believed to be the god’s saliva.

Towards the west ..., in places like Batuna and Ameteng, palm trees (yumbiya) grow on the marshlands and move by themselves.

{Self-moving trees are also known to Australian aboriginal lore.}

Some ... have seen fantastic creatures in the same place where these mysterious palm trees grow :

a duck-like creature which would come out from time to time to destroy dug-out canoes that happened to pass by, [p. 379, n. 3:38 : cf. “in the junction between Ihawan and Agusan rivers where a “red bird” kills river passers-by riding in dugout canoes.”],

and mysterious fish whose bodies are bones.”

{cf. South American armored catfish?}


Supernatural beings’ residences are specifically believed to be the ficus religiosa trees (balete ...).


The balete tree starts out as a parasite plant ..., but it eventually kills the host tree as it grows. the tree has been nicknamed “strangling tree.””

pp. 97, 115 partial names [“their mediums wished them not to be revealed in this report.” (p. 380, n. 3:41)] of particular spirits inhabiting strangler-figs

p. 97

pp. 114-5

the mute spirit called pehaq and the spirit siblings Sul__an and Dali__n. The former is a male warrior (bagani); the latter, a female water wraith. These spirits are the familiars of ... practicing mediums.”

p. 115 “The pehaq or mute spirit from Manwali does not utter lexical sounds ..., but nonsense syllables”.

Maka__sew and Man__ngan and also visited by the ominous night bird K__go. ... Maka__sew is a coastal Visayan-speaking spirit ...

p. 114 “K__go, a bird of all colors, is the owner of the “owl,” which brings a bad omen.”

. Like K__go, Man__ngan also takes the form of a bird.”

Man__ngan is the owner of the bird that sounds like the cat that disturbs pregnant women.”

pp. 98-100 crossing spirits’ paths; permissions from spirits owning animals or plants


spirits’ paths


For the noisy passerby, the spirit can strike (dagpiq) or make ... “whipping.” The spirit can also “eat” (yabha) the person’s breath


(ginhawa). Yabha causes instant death. ... Spirits can also exert their harmful force by “seeing” humans’ ginhawa (na-aha-an).”


a pregnant woman ... was not supposed to plant. The reason given was that the life growth of the fetus in her womb and the force locked inside the plant would compete with each other (magda-ug).”

a male hunter typically asks permission (ba-id) from spirit owners of the game (in a ritual called sugujen) at dusk before he starts to journey to hunt in the forests the following day. Clearing a forest to make a swidden (kamad-an) likewise requires permission from the spirit owners (tagbanwa) of the land.”

pp. 102-103 descriptions of particular unavailing spirits






The black creature (anyasing) who lives on the pandanus plant (baley). This spirit is believed to keep on laughing upon seeing a human being. The heavy laughter eventually

inverts the skin on his face.

{cf. gods of the Ka`gaba/Kogi (of Colombia) who donate the skin of their faces to humans as masks}

[p. 380, n. 3:48 : “Cebuanos call this creature agtaq who lives in a large tree,

smoking tobacco.”

{cf. Maya God K “smoking cigars” (SGM, p. 229, fn. j)}]


(Visayan “elves”)


The forest creature with inverted feet (tama). Its feet point backwards, so that forest trekkers are waylaid.”


(Visayan “werecat”)


The malevolent spirit living underneath the earth (tim-aw). This is seen as a human head rolling on the ground that immediately surrounds the house. It goes out of its abode at dusk.” {cf. Xuar rolling-head deity witnessed during dream of Type 2 False Awaking}



the huge black pig” : “a nursing female pig who wears wooden clogs (bakya).”

the black bird which preys on pregnant women at night (wakwak)” : “this bird is the “spouse” of another supernatural called tunguk, a creature believed to be half-human and half-monkey.”

SGM = Susan Milbrath : Star Gods of the Maya. U of TX Pr, 1999.

pp. 103-104, 380-381 “bound” spirits of the cosmos




the tawagenen or “spirits that need to be called upon from time to time” (root word /tawag/ “to call”)” : “Some tawagenen spirits are hailed only occasionally, when the need arises – especially those associated with waking from a bad dream”.

380, n. 3:53

These “bound” spirits are equivalent to ... “spirits of the earth” [so designated in RK&SBM, pp. 296-305]. ... “Nature spirits” are opposed to spirit familiars (equivalent to ... “unbound” spirits) who drive away specific spirits ... . ... .

381, n. 3:53

... the term “spirits of the earth” or “environment spirits” ... is misleading, i.e., as if they were substantially different from spirit familiars. Most spirits around the cosmos ... can potentially “unbind” themselves from the places where they live in order to relate to persons who then, through years of divination, become religious specialists (baylanen).”


As time goes by, the person being “liked” by the bound spirit passes through a stage of initiation called suyad, a series of rituals done within a span of “seven years” until the permanency of the spirit ... transforms into ... the gift of ritual speech.”

RK&SBM = Thomas Gibson : “Religion, Kinship and Society among the Buid of Mindoro”. PhD diss, London School of Economics, 1983.

pp. 105-110 specific “bound” (tawagenen) possessing-spirits






The Agkey and Tagabayew are nature spirits believed to be the cause of lust and flirtatious behavior. Agkey is imagined to live in the balete tree and is a flamboyant spirit; while Tagabayew, a deity who live[s] in streams and rivers, is the paired “partner” of the Inajew who live in the skyworld. ... When the Inajew “unbinds” and possesses the medium, ... the spirit shows its presence in ritual in


the medium’s body by sticking its tongue out (reaching as far as the navel of the medium’s body).”

{cf. long-tongued deities in India etc.}


The Makabentasay is a spirit that sticks to a person’s body in order to trigger hunger.”


Tagbusew is a generic term for evil, bloodthirsty spirits that “stick” to persons and are responsible for their passion of anger. [p. 381, n. 3:60 : “an antidote, to dispossess such persons in rage, is throwing cold water on them.”] ... . ... the evil becomes like a temptation ... to do bad acts if not recognized.” During ... rituals, evil spirit are recognized both inside and outside the house. (The icon of the crocodile [binu-aya], which is made of bamboo and which is appeased by sticking palm fronds on his mouth, serves as the recognition of the evil spirits “inside” the house, while the icon of wood post ... at a path where these evil beings are supposed to watch the rituals at a distance serves the evil spirits “outside” the house.) In this same type of ritual ...,

the palm of onlooker participants are smeared ..., an act called panlihas ... believed to prevent the evil eye from seeing the participants.”

{cf. the seeing eye in each palm of the hands of the Buddha}



Mana-ug is the tawagenen spirit responsible for curing ailments related to eye defects or vision and hence the mind. The ritual associated with this eye ailment ... is performed inside the house ... and uses a ... wooden effigy (made out of the bungyey tree) carved in the image of a human being. This is fed with boiled egg ... “seven” times as the suppliant says the panubad-tubad.”


Sugujen ... is the owner of the game to be hunted, ... it is the spirit which guides the hunter or ... his dog, in spotting the game in the forest ... .

{Among North American Indians, the divine owner of game to be hunted is often the divine guide assisting the hunter to find that game.} ...

The ritual for this tawagenen needs an altar called bangkasu ... . ...


This is suspended from a rope forming a “triangle” which is then tied from one of the house beams [one side of the rope-triangle running along a horizontal house-rafter] with a chicken feather attached to the tip of the “triangle””.


Tagbanwa is the generic term for “spirits of the place.” ... the term tagbanwa usually refers to forest deities. While tagbusew spirit monopolizes the red color and demands ... only in that color, the tagbanwa spirits are believed to own all kinds of color and therefore the color ... to be offered in its honor changes”.


Tagamaling (spirit owner of planted crops).”


Ibabasuk (spirit deity associated with planting).”


Dagaw is the spirit owner of the rat, which eats unharvested rice grains. This ... spirit resides under the ground and if offered the black chicken (the act of doing so is called lihas) is believed to

blind the spirit owner of the rat”.

{cf. “3 Blind Mice”}


Taephagan are spirit visitors who are invoked to celebrate the harvesting of rice. ... It consists of ... a ... “first fruit” harvest of the rice


offered to the owners of the maya bird.”


The yumud, or water wraith, is sometimes believed to appear {is believed to appear sometimes} as a woman with long hair.” [p. 382, n. 3:67 : “the tale said that a bachelor, at one time, captured this woman while she was drinking the coconut wine gathered by the former. She was later married to the man but she has to leave him because she could not eat human beings’ food, i.e., because it had spices. But the woman left her child to the man and this child was ... “white” {i.e., albino?}.”]


The Mandae-it, or being from the skyworld, ... is invoked, using the ... sound of a pot cover, when a baby, still in its nursing stage, suffers from tantrums. Manobo believe that such disturbance is caused by a Mandae-it who has taken a liking to the baby and channeled this desire by “startling” and “pinching” it. It is believed that this desire is a sign that the spirit wants to have the parents of the baby perform a ritual in the spirit’s honor. ... The ... ritual is called tukey, the purpose of which ... is to remember the spirit and the child’s twin soul (kadengan-dengan) born in the skyworld at the same time as the baby.

This human “twin” is Mandae-it’s companion in the skyworld and was born at the same time as the baby on earth.

{By some tribes in New Guinea, each person is believed to have a heavenly countrepart.} ...


In the tukey ritual, an image of the baby is carved on a soft, non-edible root crop called pajew ... . ... . [This image is considered to be] the baby’s double, called binata-bataq, ‘in the form of a child.’ ... The “doll” image is fed with cooked rice mixed with ... sap of the duyew plant, called dinuyew duyew, ‘in the manner of the duyew plant,’ ... . Red color is supposed to ‘brighten’ the baby’s life. Black color makes the baby invisible to predatory spirits. ... These are placed on a hanging altar called sinaekat, which is left for the deity to see outside the house, thus sparing the actual child from serious harm later on as he or she grows up.”


Hakyadan is a generic term for ... spirits who are present during the offering of cooked food in rituals that involve animal sacrifice.”

p. 381, n. 3:59 “They [the Inajew] are attributed gender only when they are represented as representations that human beings can then apprehend.” {The Inajew as a whole (collectively) would, of course, be of both gendres; but a medium could be possessed at a time by only one of them, which could then, of course, usually be specified as male or female.}

pp. 110-112 specific “bound” (tawagenen) nonpossessing-spirits involved in rituals






The Inajew spirit from the skyworld (langit) is paired with Tagabayew from the earth.”


For Inajew, “needle and white cloth are placed on top of a bamboo pole outside of the house in front of the window.”

{With this “white cloth” cf. the white cloth of [Yoruba god] Oba-tala, whose white cloth was stolen by a goddess while he was bathing : with this bathing possibly cf. the flooding (LB, p. 63) during the era of >NO^S^, whose name is phonetically similar to /INaJEW/.}


to live in deep silence beneath the ocean floor, having been left by the ships they originally sailed.

{According to Marquesan cosmology, the primaeval deities “Tanaoa (Tangaroa) ... and Mutu-hei (Silence)” were together (M-PCD, s.v. “Atea” – cf. also “ThCM”, p. 53): of these, Tangaroa is a Maori ocean-god.}

Dagatnen is a generic name for ‘spirits from the seacoast,’ which are spoken of in rituals of ... a raft made out of seven bamboo poles tied together and left to drift downstream. Like ... the Inajew, the dagtnen spirits are also needed to be addressed by a medium. Most of these spirits are believed to have come from the island of Homonhon and Some people say that these spirits are drowned people who collectively formed a community underneath the ocean. During nights when the noon is full, some people claim to have spotted phantom ships sailing along the rough waters of Amontay Creek. ...


Some mediums claim to have been visited in dreams by these spirits riding

windowless black ships,

{cf. the brother of Jared's barges which “cannot have windows” (Ether 2:23 – DIBM, vol. 3, p. 161a)}

some wearing all black dresses, and some ... bringing medicine”.

LB = Louis Ginzberg : Legends of the Bible.

M-PCD = Edward Tregear : The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary.

ThCM” = Edward Tregear : “Thoughts on Comparative Mythology”. TRANSACTIONS OF THE NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE, vol. 30 (1897), pp. 5-65.

DIBM = Doctrinal Insights to the Book of Mormon. vol. 3, p. 161a.

p. 112 “unbound” (abyan) spirit-familiars, in general

group of spirits ... called ... abyan ... or even sugujen (“spirit companion”). Elsewhere in the literature about mediumship and shamanism, they are called ‘spirit familiars,” “spirit companions,” “spiritguides,” “guardian spirits,” “tutelary spirits,” or “detachable spirits.” ... these spirits are all “bound” spirits who “befriended” human beings. ... Through a series of divination rituals called suyad, the person eventually becomes a medium ... . ... They diagnose illness, reveal lies, find hidden or “lost” things, prognosticate, and even do “magic” which produces money. There are two types of these supernatural beings,

one which entails spirit possession (yana-an) and another that does not.”

{With /YANA-an/, cf. the Bauddha term (literature) /YANA/; do consider this in conjunction with the fact that a strangler-fig (closely related to that species mentioned on pp. 96-98 supra) was also the bodhi-vr.ks.a (‘enlightenment-tree’) for the praesent Buddha.}

p. 113 specific “unbound” (abyan) nonpossessing spirit-familiars


the umli is a small creature which appears either as a small bird or a small man a few inches tall. The umli functions solely to reveal hidden and lost things. [p. 383, n. 3:75 : “For this function, Manobo umli is similar to the spirit called aghoy among the Visayans in Samar and Leyte”.] ... The umli usually reveals itself by whistling ... .

The being is believed to stand on the shoulder of the human host ...

{as such, this is similar to a Bodish-and-Mongolian “external soul”}

and walk along the beams and rafters of the house. ... this being ... can also change in size ... shape from bird to human form.”

A personal spirit helper called the daligmata functions ... to assist the medium’s personal spirits in locating the “abducted” soul of a severely sick person during a gudguden ritual. This is a nightlong seance where a possessed medium journeys around the cosmos, singing the sick person’s personal history and looking for the abducted human soul. ...

I have heard dream narratives by ordinary Manobos claiming that this spirit just jolts them from their sleep and they see a vision of the past or present revealing to them what exactly happened or is happening, or the future, predicting it.”

pp. 114-115 “unbound” (abyan) possessing-spirit familiars, in general; se’ance for them




Spirit familiars appear to human beings and are seen in rituals and in dreams, taking on almost entirely human form, though there are still markers that differentiate them from humans : they have neither eyebrows nor the notch between the nose and the upper lip (philtrum). They have personal names that speak of their lifelong relationships with human mediums ... . ... There is generally a taboo against mentioning these personal names in ordinary non-ritual conversations for fear that

the spirits are provoked by doing so.”

{The spirits would be annoyed by being therewith unnecessarily summoned by such mentioning.}


Before the ritual se’ance starts, some mediums cover their eyes, as they believe the spirits will be annoyed by the glare of the lighted candle in front of them. ... Motion in mediums’ body initially starts with small muscle contractions, particularly evident in the arms, the abdomen, the legs, and down to the knees. The mediums’ bodies shake ... at the moment the spirits are incarnated in the body.”

[One old female spirit-medium] had an inajew spirit familiar from the skyworld who would stick its tongue out. ...

[p. 387, n. 3:129 : “Garvan mentioned on a footnote found on page 152 of his monograph about warrior chiefs possessed by their tutelary spirits, whose “tongues are said to loll out of their mouths ‘one pal-length.’””]

There was also a report of a medium ... who would jump out of the window and climb trees when his spirit possessed him.”

[p. 383, n. 3:79 : “This is a specific attribute of that spirit possessing that medium”.]

Garvan = John M. Garvan “ The Manobos of Mindanao. MEMOIRS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, 23. Washington (DC), 1941.

p. 115 specific laughing “unbound” (abyan) possessing-spirit familiars [se also p. 97]

The “bird” spirit Man__ngan is said to laugh; while K__go is said to shout when it possesses mediums.

A spirit named T__bis is, according to most people, an “evil” busew; it reveals itself in the medium with laughter.” [p. 102 : “the bloodthirsty spirits (busew) who voluntarily attend the ritual events from a distance, that is, outside the house.”]

p. 124, Fig. 7 : categories of Manobo religious rituals (in #ed levels)


bound nature spirits at mts.

living self with unbound spirit

bound nature spirits at seacoast

estranged self (umagad)



















pp. 120-121 functions of rituals (at their levels)




through a speech genre called panawagtawag ..., spirits are literally pulled away from the places they originate into the ritual space ... in ... the reciting of a personal history in song

(gudguden ...), which occurs when a possessed medium sings – all night in darkness –

{“GiDGiDoNi … did send out his armies in the night-time” (3rd Nephi 4:24).}

in front of a severely ill patient visiting his or her house”.


Level 1 represents the individual mind which gets occasionally invaded by the Other in dreams (e.g., accidental possession while mediums are sleeping).

The ritual gudguden, where spirit familiars are invoked to journey ... and find the lost soul of the sick person occupies level 1.

Level 2 represents rituals done for household affairs. Rituals in level 1-2 are performed only inside the house.”

The inajew ritual, named after the skyworld deity, is a curing ritual (level 4 ...).”

Likewise on the 4th level “is the tukey (called tagun-on by the Manobos in Sagunto, La Paz ...), which asks another skyworld deity Mandae-it not to disturb a newly born baby”. “In the past, rituals of the padugu type were held to appease the souls of to-be slain enemies ... . Today padugu ... is held to lay the foundation of a new house, to inaugurate public buildings such as a market”.

[p. 384, n. 3:93 : “Rituals on level 4 only demand the participation of ... households which belong to the same clan (kapu-un)”.]

the feast held on the 9th and last day of prayers for a person who has recently died (katapusan, ... level 5 ...)”.

Hihinang (level 5 ...) ... involves ... the annual incorporation of spirit helpers. Hihinang ritual ritual recognizes them as part of the family concerned.”

Panunduq (level 5 ...), a rite of expelling disease attributed to bound spirits from the seacoasts, ... drives away the spirit presences originating from the seacoasts”.

taephagan ... bring bound spirits from the mountainside”.

[p. 384, n. 3:93 : “participants for rituals in level 5 belong to a social grouping called bayak that is above that of kindred.”]

p. 145 “rituals ... represent a profoundly poetic and religious method of acknowledging the uncanny and the place of human beings in it.”

pp. 122-123, 146, 384 ritual response to dreams; ritual as symbolic of dreams




If dreams originate from bound spirits they involve an optional


response called panubad-tubad, “to speak so things will become equal” from the dreamer.”

384, n. 3:94

For example, when one is awakened from a dream about a “lost” tooth ...,

{“But the tooth was lost. This was bad news.” (AH, p. 2)}

“ “

then one gets up from bed and [is to] insert one’s own hand [in]to a hole in a house and speak a tubad-tubad such as :

{“raised her arm” (AH, p. 17); “Spirit house” (AH, p. 16)}

“ “

... You bite here you bad luck.” ...

{“the tooth wandering and biting inside her” (AH, p. 7).}

“ “

During thunderstorm, ... Hair is burnt and brought outside to let the lightning god see and hear the tubad-tubad.”

At once there was a huge flash of lightning – the light of a clap of thunder” (AH, p. 18).}


Manobos say that attending a ritual is like going into a dream ... . They usually schedule rituals at night when the moon is round and full.”

{Goddess of the full moon is Raka, who as Rakini praesideth over cakra Svadhis.t.hana of Varun.a. Varun.a is god of “stars”; his wife Varun.i is goddess of “diamonds” (“VJG”). As for the “little star … like a diamond in the sky”, Kate Mickere : The Diamond in the Sky is a description of (“AN&CMS”) the discovery of “the Horsehead nebula.” Haya-griva ('Horse-neck') is (DBhP 1:5:106-12 – DH, p. 258) the emblem of (DBhP 1:5:13 – DH, p. 255) yoga-nidra ('yoking-sleep' – the mystic divine dream which the very deities attend).}

AH = Edith Turner : Among the Healers. Praeger Publ, Westport (CT), 2006.

VJG” = “Varuna : the Judgemental God”


DBhP = Devi-Bhagavata Upa-puran.a.

DH = M. M. Ninan : The Development of Hinduism. 2008.

{Likewise, the head of Sati is located in horse-country, at the 'asafoetida-site' Hingu-la in Bal-uc^istan of 'neigh-loud' Uccai-s`ravas the horse-deity.}

pp. 123-125 votive candles; sanctification by fire; divination from candle-flame; healing by warmth




All Manobo rituals use lighted candles ... . In the past, ... the sap of gum trees (such as pili and apitong, called sayeng) ... was used.”


all ritual objects displayed as offerings to the spirits can be broadly called sinugbahan, meaning “that thing placed on fire.”” [p. 384, n. 3:99 “Manobos often refer to the spirits’ sinugbahan as their “playthings.” When not in use during rituals, they are placed on the “altar” called binajawan”.]


Human mediums place the egg on a flaming candle before they look at the inside part of the egg (illuminated by the candle flame) in order to see good or bad signs written inside the egg. ..

One of the many techniques of healing uses fire where the mediums place the palms of their hands over the flame and then wipe this heated hand on their patients’ foreheads.

... some ... dreams attributed to spirits entail a “mark” or promise (bandae-an) in which the tail feather of a chicken is burnt.”

pp. 125-129 offerings to the dead; offerings to spirits




the sugnud ritual (level 2) ... remembers the souls of dead relatives ... . ...


Fish meat provides the most distinctive food offering to the dead. It is rolled and then broiled and represents in this form food wrapped as a provision for the soul’s journey back (pabalun).”

There are pangandila (level 2 ...) for spirit familiars, which uses betel quids. ...


In the initial part of the pangandila, when the spirits are invoked to enter the house, the door and windows of the house ... are half open, a gesture of hospitality to visiting spirit familiars ... . ... Betel quids are always offered to Manobo-speaking spirits – this includes the singing ones coming from the mountains, upriver Agusan parts, and the skyworld – but never to Cebuano-speaking spirits from the seacoast ... . Mallorca is offered as a beverage to the former ... . The beverages are also given to the mediums’ spirit familiars, to other spirits who are believed to accompany the spirit familiars and to the autochthonous spirits ... . ...


When spirits partake of offerings given by humans, the latter ... are each given their turn to drink from the glass from which the spirits and mediums have drunk.”

For blood sacrifice rituals, cooked meat without salt is placed around and on top of cooked rice during the presentation of food (hakyadan) ... . The arrangement is also called inuntudan (“in the form of a mountain”). It is offered to Manobo-speaking spirits, who are believed to eat them by


smelling alone. On the contrary, cooked meat with salt ... is offered to Visayan-speaking spirits, that is, those spirits who come from the coasts.”

In both parts of the ritual, the medium dances “seven” times around the place where the offerings are placed, literally making a “walk about” (libuy) and thus making the world cosmos (kalibutan), through the depiction of the passage of time, whole again.” {7 circumambulations for the 7 ring-islands (dvipa-s) surrounding mt. Meru? World-renewal caerimonies are known elsewhere, such as to California Indians.}

pp. 130-131 eggs for healing




In saliling rituals, the medium rubs the egg on the afflicted part of the patient’s body. This action is done in conjunction with other curing techniques such as

massage (hilut),

sucking ... (sejep), and

blowing ... (tayhup).

... the rubbing


of the egg on the patient’s body is believed to “transfer” the bad element causing the illness to the egg itself. ... After rubbing the egg on the afflicted part, the egg is displayed outside the house, on top of the bamboo pole called sinengseng. This planted in the ground ... by the officiating medium, asking the spirits not to harm the patient anymore since a replacement or saliling has been offered to them.”

pp. 131-133 ritual techniques involving transfer of supernatural energy




incense ... using resin from the binwang tree ... is ... done ... . ... .

... by the fowl-waving (pangujab) motion ... , bad luck is supposed to transfer to or stick on the chicken’s body. ... . ... it is not killed It is kept as a “souvenir” (sinugbahan) or a token of payment”.


a related act called sampuyeng uses only the palm of the possessed medium’s right hand, which is spread over the patient’s head. The


head is believed to be porous or open, so that the “energy” of the medium channeled through his/her palm is said to transfer to the patient through that opening on the head (i.e., at the site where the fontanel used to be). What is actually believed to be transferred here is the force (specifically called sampuyung) inside the spirit-possessed medium’s body, which is said to be beneficial to a sick person.

... when sampuyeng can be performed on anyone attending a spirit possession ritual, ... it is called paninsing.The medium’s paninsing [‘song’ (p. 386, n. 3:115)] can cause him or her [to] go into the state of spirit possession called yana-an. ... It is commonly believed that one feels “high” and arrogant when the paninsing force is upon him or her.” [p. 386, p. 3:116 : “For a parallel account among the Pinatubo Negritos, see Hiromu (136-139).”]

Hiromu = Shimizu Hiromu : “Communicating with Spirits : a Study of the Manganito Seance”. EAST ASIA CULTURAL STUDIES, vol. 13, No. 4 (1983):129-167.

pp. 133-134, 386 nuts & musical instruments




Sweet tasting kalisew nut quids are hung in bunches ... as snacks for human beings later on, after the ritual. The bunches ... are referred to as bageybey ... . They are the means of attracting spirits ... . ... The hihinang officiant who is a medium, either male or female, dons ... a belt where small bronze bells (saliyew) are hung.” [125, pl. 6 : “Bunch of small metal bells hung on a belt called saliyew that mediums wear ... . ... it provides a continuous drone of hissing noise ... during possession rites.”]


The “indigenous” drum, played by a single male, is symbolically paired with the “outsider” gong, played by two females, one tapping on the rim with two sticks, the other on the boss with a padded mallet. They play a dance rhythm called tinaga-untud (“in the manner of the mountain presences”).”

386, n. 3:120

The drum ... had deerskin as its drumhead. ... The gong is made of bronze, ... and it comes from the coastal areas where they are made and traded ... inland ... (... see Manolete Mora, “The Sounding Pantheon of Nature ...,” Acta Musicologica 59, No. 2 (1987):187-212).”

p. 134 “neither the sound of the drum and gong nor the guitar triggers the possession behavior. ... it is the verbal panubad-tubad uttered by what the Manobos call the “interpreter” of the ritual that brings about the possession.”

p. 142 descriptions for presence of spirits

When spirit familiar possess mediums’ bodies, mediums are described to be “crossed” by the spirits’ paths,

landed upon (tugpa),

seen, ...

stuck by the spirit, and

carrying a heavy cold thing on the body.”

The woman’s loss of consciousness was describes to be due to “someone” who was covering her body with a large umbrella.”

pp. 142-143 suyad : authorization to dance & to sing




suyad : “In this ritual, ... a senior medium reads the signs of ... the means by which bound spirits show their liking on a patient. ... After ... completing the cycle of seven suyad rituals held to propitiate the spirits, the patient, ... under the spirit’s desire, will eventually become a medium. In each of the suyad rituals, s/he offers a ...


sacrificial gift as a way of ... the ... force that the spirits do to the soon-to-be medium ... ... . ... soon-to-be mediums do not sing and heal until their “7thsuyad is fulfilled. ... Officiating mediums measure ... the distance ... corresponding to the number of years that are added up and which determines when the newly recognized medium has to fulfill his or her next ritual. This “8th” ritual acts as an “anniversary” of “meeting” his or her spirit familiars on the seventh year (kasumaran). ... .

... on the final year of suyad : the spirit reveals its presence through the medium in song! Before this year, the medium only has the ability to dance when possessed, but he/she cannot yet speak in song. The ability to sing during the last suyad therefore signals a beginning for the medium who starts assuming the full responsibility to heal.”

pp. 143-144 divination by means of an egg




participants can “hear” what the spirits are saying to them through the medium of the egg. ...


The medium rubs the egg with both of her hands ... and she looks inside the egg with the candle flame behind it, like a translucent lantern. ... . ... the egg is eaten right {away} by the patient after this or it can be kept for ... the patient ... to eat the following day.”

144, pl. 12

A method of egg divination made by a young pregnant woman to read the birth of her offspring.” : “The medium assists this woman who transfers the egg yolk from one hand to the other for seven times without breaking its wholeness.”

CURRENT RESEARCH IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY, Vol. 4 = Jose` S. Buenconsejo : Songs and Gifts at the Frontier : Person and Exchange in the Agusan Manobo Possession Ritual. Philippines. Routledge, NY & London, 2002.