Yukuna (of the Miriti-Parana` river) & the Tanimuka (of the Guacaya`, of the Popeyaka`, and of the Yapiya` rivers) in Colombia

pp. 266 Sky of the Dead; body-parts of goddess; remedies


souls etc.

266, fn. 411

"the dead person sits in the center of the maloca of the Sky of the Dead, in a thinking-stool and tells the deeds done. The "warriors" of the Owner "jump on him" ... and they whip him and burn him with thunder and lightning. The white ashes of his bones are placed in a white tree-bark artefact so that he will be reborn three days later."

267, fn. 416

"Yukuna and Tanimuka origin myths state that N~amatu taught people the diversity of pots which correspond to different parts of her body (Reichel 1976)." [When the mother of the Twin heroes is slain, "her bones are taken by her mother-in-law to make temper for griddle plates." (p. 306, fn. 484)]

267, fn. 418

"Urtica sp. nettles are also applied over women in childbirth and in rheumatism or "bone pain.""

pp. 305-306, 310 differences between Yukuna & Tanimuka myths


in __

Yukuna myth

Tanimuka myth


the Moon is __

"younger brother of Sun"

"son of the Sun"

306, fn. 482

Moon is associated with the __



306, fn. 483

Jaguar is__



310, fn. 496

He`ri is __

"nephew of Heechu`"

nephew "of the Sun"

pp. 307-309 Yukuna myth of incest between Moon-man and his sister Mananiyo` [cf. wama "(Inga sp.) trees called Mananiyo kutu by the Yukuna." (p. 309, fn. 494)]




[Yukuna men’s version of myth :] "Moon was looking for a woman with whom to copulate. First he copulated with a hollowed stick, then with a yarumo (Cecropia sp.) shoot. Mananiyo` appeared and said "... I have one (sex [vagina])". So they copulated. Mananiyo` and Moon (Ke`ri) copulated every day ...

The puturu` bird took the bone of his finger that used to exist until then between the thumb and the index, ... and the bird used it [as a flute?] to sing ho-ho-ho."

307, fn. 486

"When the moon is resuscitated, its face ... is then stained by the Brothers with red paint. Shamans say they scrape Moon’s face with piranha teeth to ... produce fish."

307, fn. 487

"the bones of a human body have names of fish" {cf. [Oceanian (Solomon is.?)] god whose body is composed of fishes}

307, fn. 488

"night-time reckoning by bird songs, as well as ways to resuscitate dying people (Reichel 1987)." ["the sun’s wives understand what night birds are trying to tell the sun (p. 310)]

307, fn. 489

"The fingers of men’s hands are all said to be female except the little finger, while women’s fingers are said to be all-female".

308, fn. 490

[in Yukuna women’s native commentary on mythology,] "the conventional discourse is to say "But she knew who he was, yet she did it ... because she wanted to leave this as a mark for others to know incest happened." Mananiyo[`] "knows" was she does and the intentions of the characters around her on many occasions and other personages also "know" what is happening but pretend not to "to leave the message and the story as it is for us to tell." " {This is reminiscent to many other pietist commentaries on theology, as e.g. the Gnostic (Valentinian) commentary on the Gospel, asserting that Christ allowed himself to be crucified although he knew both how to evade and how to escape all along.} {Applied to themselves, this commentary would suggest the women’s acquiescing to theology in order to "save appearances" even though they themselves may know better : this is the women’s situation in the Australian aboriginal milieu, where they permit the men to serenade them with bullroarer-music and its accompanying mythology, though they may know the mythology to be somewhat artificial.}


[Yukuna women’s version of myth :] "chotacabra (Caprimulgidae sp.) birds ... asked the Sun (old man) for tobacco. That is why ... there are still intelligent women still among us because when the old woman (sun’s wife) heard the bird she told her husband that it was looking for something and that it had found their son. ... The brothers ... put Moon together again. They would put his skeleton together again ["When the skeleton falls apart, the Four Brothers {[Maori] Maui-tikitiki likewise had 4 brethren.} are said to jump over him, and then to blow tobacco and think to reassemble and resuscitate him." (p. 308, fn. 492)] ... They put a pava (Penelope sp.) bird on top of him and it would shake itself ... so he would move. They did this until dawn when a pava sang. The man stood up. The brothers then ... gave him a monkey and told him "When she asks what it eats you answer it only eats caimo (Pouteria sp.)" so she will go to the caimo palm and be thrown out of this world. they went to her

308, fn. 491

"human bones are related to names of fish (Reichel 1979)"


maloca to dance the We`ra dance. Mananiyo` ... went and bent down a caimo plant to pick the fruit from its tip. Then the palm sent her in order to the other side. {Catapulting souls of the newly dead is their means of reaching the world of the dead, in Solomon islander cosmology.} Though attacked by bees and other animals who "sting" her and displace her from the male skies of Thought {cf. supernatural stinging by bees to displace aboriginees from H.armah (DBRY H-YMYM 1:44}, she came down through a liana-ladder {cf. the descent via a ladder, of those souls of the newly dead as take the westward path, into the (at lower level than the world of the living) world of the dead, in Iban cosmology.} ["She used her hair tier to descend also." (p. 309, fn. 493) – cf. the tikitiki (‘topknot’) of [Maori] heroine Tarana when she was mother to Maui (LM, vol. 2, p. 134)} and ... She found a large river and did not know how to cross it. The stingray told her he would help her get across, but when they were in the middle of the river it turned upside down and stuck its sex [penis] into her. ... She had managed to put a leaf into her sex [vagina] ... to the stingray’s sperm would not reach her [womb] when he copulated with her at midday. ... When they reached the other side of the river the stingray thought she was pregnant but she took out the mushroom ... and sperm {the mushroom-cap having been employed as cervical cap} ... and quickly jumped off him and went away."

"Jaguar He`ri ... was singing, but he ... tasted her toe. {"niggertoe", the triangular nut of Para` & Wayana (BE)} ... He finally killed her. His mother ... had thrown her foetus into the water". {Maui-tikitiki was thrown at birth into the sea.}

309, fn. 494

"Her bones however are kept by her mother-in-law and pounded as temper added to clay, to make the griddle plate." {[in China,] rice is traditionally added as temper into clay for porcelain – rice being white like bones.}

LM = Pomare : Legends of the Maori. http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Pom02Lege-t1-body-d3-d11.html

BE = http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/sturtevant/bertholletia.html

p. 311 goddess Mananiyo`

"after she is flung into the skies through an arched caimo tree (Pouteria cainito),

stung by bees in the skies,

raped by the stingray (who is Owner of Waters), and

after descending down a vine-ladder from the skies,

she is killed on her way back to earth by a jaguar who resents her refusal to marry him."

p. 313 mythic fishes

"After Rainbow grows from a slimy being {slug?} into a fish ... he in turn becomes a man. Rainbow ultimately kills He`ri’s brothers by placing a bridge traps that kills them devoured by piranha, but

he only severs He`ri’s leg and He`ri becomes a cripple jaguar [constellation Orion (fn. 507)]".

"After this, the wars of fish and birds ensues, and once Rainbow wins, the rainbow becomes an anaconda".

p. 353 prognostication from dreams0

dream about __

is prognostic of __

loss of teeth

a death in the family

pulling canoes


seeing faeces

a headman’s visit to the maloca

combing hair

imminent death



roasting yams

a child’s death





pp. 344-345, 354-357 Tanimuka shamanism




"The Jaguar-Seer will narrate silently to himself, in "big thinking" the origins of the universe, ethnic groups and patrilineages, ... the named seasons in the yearly cycle and then ... all ... Owners of the ... species to be used. He thinks first of the seasons, and then of months (by lunar periods), and days (by the sun’s position in the maloca)". "A Season’s and Nature’s Owners are asked by the shaman ... to only permit humans to access ..., only as "shirts" or bodies "without thought" so humans do not ingest nature’s thought. Because sicknesses are said to be originated by Owner in Nature {i.e., by that Owner’s permitting animals’ & plants’ aggressive active thought to access human vulnerable passive minds}, these Owners are offered, in "Thought" coca and tobacco by the Jaguar-Seer to "keep illness away from the people." The Tanimuka, for example "pay" the Bisimahaka Owners of canagucho (Mauritia flexuosa) palm groves or also of coco (Cocos) palm groves arika`ka in the hihirika creek headquarters. They also "talk of the Owners" pf the "salado" salt-licks where tapirs, deer, parrots and other animals drink saline waters and are hunted. The Tanimula have a porper named for each sacred canagucho grove (Makarikonetanta`) in their territories. These palms are said to have been people of the past, now turned into anaconda-plants. {trees as anaconda-s is a common South American mythic theme.} The Owners of


salt-licks, such as Anntafirufu` (who have their "maloca assistants" feyaru`) will give a shaman "permission" for a person to kill a tapir ... if[,] when he is thinking of the animals and the number [proposed to be] hunted, his body quivers in certain parts or not." ["Tremors in his upper lip or above his left foot, indicate non-hunting." (p. 345, fn. 556)] ... He says usually that he has determined when the "good" or "bad" events would happen (accidents, death ...) when his body twitched as he was thinking of a certain event or time. {cf. [Maori] god Io ‘twitching’} His body, he says, "warned him"."


"Shamans are said to never sleep. {this is also said of Buddha-s (buddha ‘awake’)} People say, even when they do, that shamans’ dreams are different from other people’s since they are said to be ... "Traveling in Thought" as their thoughts leave their bodies to explore the world, for their thought, either [whether] awake, half asleep, or in deep sleep are said to be in states of mindfulness, as if ... wakefulness for them were but a dreaming-state, only filtered by ... corporeality."

354, fn. 564

"The shaman is said to "seal and close" any "openings" in the maloca ... He blows tobacco smoke and disperses ritual incense in the maloca to protect it with a shamanic "wall" and with the "smell of the shaman’s "Thought" against predating supernatural assaults".


"Shamanic "closing" of men[’s] and women’s bodies by supernatural protection (plants for women and animals for men ...) and shamanic "closing" of maloca, sealing them with tobacco, and "hiding" their people’s thoughts in shaded areas so enemy shamans cannot get and steal their thought as a group, is said to be the task of Jaguar-Seers. The Jaguar-Seer tries that other shamans of Nature’s Owners preying do not "enter" the people’s bodies or households and that they do not "steal" their thought, taking it from their bodies or houses, to make them ill or die.

The role of Jaguar-Seers in each time-keeping ritual is to "open" and "close" seasons by negotiating with the Owner of each season and of certain ... species, and "putting" or "returning" the thought of each season or Owner so that it does not "intrude" ... unduly. They also "help" nature to grow that season and its fruits to "grow" by doing certain chants in thought."

356, fn. 566

"Old men "give their thought" to a chosen son as ... a future headman, or shaman, and along with it, the objects which serve to "contain and hide thought" such as the macana and kahila hardwood staffs".


"A Jaguar-Seer can take out a person’s "thought" and "hide it" if there is danger of being attacked by enemy shamans who visit their group, or he can place knowledge into artifacts in order to remember it or use [it] later. Jaguar-Seer shamans thus place or "hide" their thoughts "inside" a thinking stool; or hide a person’s thoughts "behind the person’s neck" (so the enemy cannot "steal it"), or they "hide" preventively all the people of a maloca’s thoughts into the sacred and


shadowy center of the house when other maloca[s’] people visit in rituals".

357, fn. 567

"Shamans say they "hide" the Thought of all the people of their maloca, before rituals where other maloca are invited, and especially to "hide" children’s thoughts (under the stools, under the roof and in shadow parts) so children will not have their thoughts stolen by visitors. When trying to kill or make someone ill from another maloca, a shaman is said to take a person’s thought and hide it entangled or in dark parts of the rainforest ... He can also take the thought and "sieve" it through a strainer so a person’s solid thought is drained". {cf. [Finnish] divination-sieves, wherethrough the future is discerned by seers}

357, fn. 568

"The shamanic hanrea, which is of bi-conical shape made from chonta hardwood splinters depicting a hyperbolic revolution, ... is to hold the shamanic pouch and gourd, place the jaguar tooth necklace ... while the shaman thinks crouching in his thinking stool. A cosmic hanrea is also the base of the universe, as well as a vehicle to travel in thought from one level of the universe to another. It is also a womb, the pupil of the eye, and the capacity of metamorphosis and transformation of levels of being."

pp. 357-358 Yukuna & Tanimuka (conditional eschatology,) admonitions that the world will perish unless shamanism is promoted




praedicted if "the young people do not learn shamanism or their language" :- "The signs of the end of the world are that the sun will rise in the west not the east, the Owners of nature will become jaguars and eat all the people, and the sky above will fall on this world as this one sinks underneath".


"Another sign is that the two parts of the stone canoe in the Popeyaca` River that the junior of the Four Brothers put near each other, will join. He left these two halves of a stone canoe to indicate when the end would come if they stopped being able to immortalize themselves shamanically. ...

Other signs of the ends of the world is [are] that the women will become promiscuous and young [prae]puber[tal] girls will become pregnant;

palm trees will bear fruits by their roots and not from above ...

As the last Jaguar-Seer shamans die, leaving no one to ... instil commutarian societies ... the sky falls on top of their world and they will become part of the underworld."


Yukuna :- "the Yurupari` had given instructions of how the end of the world was to be avoided ...

"There are two worlds, a hot and a cold one ..." "

p. 365 right & left sides of body

shamans store knowledge which is __

on the __ side of their bodies

"short and stingy"


"strong and true"


pp. 409-412 the sky-levels, in descending order from top to bottom (for the Yukuna)




nature of that deity




Tufana {cf. [Malay] Tuhan} Nakare

"He created the universe in the beginning and left this world".




Kaipulakena Nakarea (4 brethren)

"They made the first night, first maloca, first shamanic reassembling of bones".

"crystal airless abode"



Manima Kuri (owners of wild food)

"He is a rattle carver".

"Jaguar Cicada and Caterpillar"



Ina Nakare (owner of death)

"He receives dead people ..., and sees that they place red achiote on their face and body. He dances holding them ... on his shoulder."

maloca of the dead, where each ethnic group is placed under its own "overturned pot, basket, or gourd"



Wayuna Nakare (owner of high-flying birds)

"He sees dead people ... "as worms and fish or wild animals" and hunts them."

"the sky level closest to earth"

p. 412 the sky-levels, in descending order (for the Tanimuka), according to M. von Hildebrand, in Arias & Reichel (1987), p. 235




Wehea Humua : apex


Imarimakana Wiia : 4 Ancestors (4 Brethren)



"Path of the Sun"

"Path of the Moon"

"Sky of Music"


Ofirekoa Wii`a : "Sky of the Dead"


Makwemari & Yafurika [Aardvark (p. 414, fn. 627)] Wii`a : Sky of Wild Animals & of Wild Fruits


Kari Wii`a : Sky of Cultivated Food and of Urerari (Anaconda) and Kankonaifi (Cicada) with the Baomana (Star People)

p. 438 humans were hatched from eggs incubated by animals, in several tribal traditions


incubators of eggs which hatched into the 1st humans


Jaguar, Curupira, and eagles

Letuama & Matapi`



Ryahifanaka (water-jaguars)

[according to the Tanimuka] "all the hatched people were men, and some became women whe they ate sugarcane ... Sugarcane ... are the bones of women that were eaten by N~amatu ... in the deluge".

pp. 439-440 [Tanimuka] mythic anaconda & mythic snake




"Tufana tells the people to wait for an anaconda that will come up the river. When it finally arrives (with two eyes lighted by a strong light), ... he also explained ... how to have immortality by warming water in a gourd and placing it over the tomb one week after a person is dead".

439-440, fn. 671

"The Four Brothers ... trapped the anaconda with a fish net made of hair, and they killed a pair of eagle who represented the rising and setting sun ...

440, fn. 671

The Four Brothers then found a snake they could "inflate and play with" until the snake killed one. Infuriated by ... having "been mortal for a while" he made a rock canoe divided into two in the Popeyaca` River and prophesized that when the two halves joined "the world would end."

pp. 443-444 Tanimuka successive headmen

p. 443

"ancestors femakoto wiririka began in Ihia, the center of the world Narika Awaurita with the first headmen

p. 444

Harikumu, Awanakari and then Wayufina."

pp. 444-446 netherworlds




[Yukuna] "the underworlds are "upside down" worlds, during the day on earth it is night there (because the sun is paddling overhead in his canoe). The Kawaka Iakaruna beings, are said to "sleep during the day" and are active at night. They sleep upside-down by "hanging their jaws on posts", and some beings have long phalluses they "carry rolled in baskets"; other are dwarves ...


These beings are said to "hug and kill" {as do sloths} humans, and are said to live in an inverted world and to be of non recognizable human forms. ... the underworlds are said to have immortal beings."


"for the Yukuna there are two or more underworlds ... while for the tanimuka there are five or more corresponding to each earth-color ... which signify actual ... clays ...

The underworlds are said to be inverted, "upside down" in relation to ... the earth; they are in fact where past humanities lived ... The underworld Owners ... are ... immortal, and the underworlds are ... a place where there is no death."


Corpses of dead "people are buried, under a maloca floor".


"The center of these ... (... in the lower Apaporis for the Tanimuka) is said to be a "metal" which is "dangerous" and that "dries" people." {Poisonous metals, such as arsenic, have the effect of praeserving corpses, just as doth desiccating the corpses.}

446, fn. 677

"a shaman ... said these soils are metals in the waters of the Apaporis ... in ... sacred sites ..., where fish are abnormal and people who eat them die. (A metaphor of permanence of thought in the center of the world according to him.)"


"the N~amatu underworld levels, are said to be griddle plates".

p. 447, 449-450 Fire-Anaconda & Leopard-Anaconda-s




[Tanimuka] "when the previous humanity died ..., after [during] the primal deluge, their corpses accumulated at Fire-Anaconda’s river port, ... Where Sun Rises in the East .... the basi`a, a wild plant with a cheesy rotten smell, is ... made from these corpses. ... The Brothers saw that the vultures had eaten corpses and told them they were ... to be carrion vultures."

449, fn. 685

The Fire-Anaconda was "left alive" [in the water] "when the first peoples were destroyed by the Primal flood while the Four Brothers saved themselves by climbing a tree above the flood, along with other animals (woolly monkey (Lagothrix sp.)[,] pajuil (Crax sp.) bird, opossum, and Chilops, pigeons). On the other hand the plant species were saved in a manguare` drum by Yaifosirimaki`".


[Tanimuka] "Fekan~a` faki`, the Fire Anaconda, survivor of the deluge (it is said to have copulated with the N~amatu in origin times) ...


All the griddle plates of the universe are held underneath by Fire-anaconda who "shifts" between a cosmic fire and the waters of the cosmic river, keeping the universe from having earthquakes, landslides and cosmic cataclysms."


"These "Jaguar anacondas" are said to "hold" and contain the limits of the universe ... and "all of thought" too."

450, fn. 688

"the anaconda are around all of the universe, and both beneath in the nadir as well as above."

pp. 448-449 prayers by shamans to N~amatu-Owners, to influence women




"A Tanimuka shaman can name N~amatu Owners such as Paminaru which are called headwomen "Owners of the Earths and of the World Wehebaifana`."

Shamans ... "pay" the N~amatu to curtail women from "gossiping" in the maloca ..., to make women produce adequately cultivated food.

He also names the N~amatu to "make a woman stay" with her new husband, and not go back to her maloca ... Above all the N~amatu Owners are ...


named in ... mortuary rituals to ask them to receive the dead as her children (into her vagina-womb ...)".

448, fn. 682

"N~amatu ... "stayed" in this earth to let people die so she would "take them into the earth" and eat them, and in this process allow them to be reborn with children’s bodies once she "cures" them in her body "like a gourd"."

449, fn. 683

"in infanticide, new-born babies are buried alive, to "offer them to N~amatuu""

pp. 450-451 canoe of Sun, canoe of Moon




paddlers in prow of canoe of Sun : people who have furs singed red in primal fire

red deer (Mazama americana)

red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus)


paddlers in stern of canoe of Sun

kohropa-bird (Crotophaga sp.)

sloths (Bradupus & Rallidae)


paddlers in canoe of Moon

mosquitoes that suck blood

{compare or contrast [in Popol Vuh] "yak (the Mountain Cat), utiú (the Coyote), quel (the Magpie), and joj (the Crow, or Bird of Prey)." (EPV, cap. 13 http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/popol_vuh/esotericism/pv-13.htm http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/popolvuh/pv-13.htm )}

EPV = Raphael Girard (tr. by Blair A. Moffett) : Esoterism of the Popol Vuh. Theosophical U Pr, 1979.

p. 451, fn. 691 animals made from bones of the Moon

[Yukuna] Heec^u` "made all the animals, the birds, the fish and jungle animals according to the parts of the bones (of Moon), ... he took the ... tibia to make the red turkey ..., and ... made the kutsia monkey, the pava (Ortalis motmot) birds and other birds".

p. 452, fn. 694 N~amatu-goddesses



"Mother of Fish,

the Mother of Piran~a,

the Mother of Monkeys, such as the maizero (Cebus).


... a N~amatu resides at the Libertad Rapids (Yuikia) on the Apaporis, where she was fixed under the stones, by the Four Brothers. They did so to the N~amatu, for [it had been] by burying them [the 4 Brethren] in the earth under her manioc plants "in place of wild peccary" that they had allowed [the 4 Brethren] to escape. They [the 4 Brethren] leave the ... internment she placed them [into] by "blowing themselves out" through the junior’s blowgun, and

{cf. [Kic^e`] escape, in the netherworld, of divine brethren through their blowgun, according to the Popol Vuh}

they were "enraged" at her for not letting them have ... access to birth of peccary from the underworlds and holes in the earth. She exchanged their place for that of wild peccary while planting them as manioc roots under the earth.

{cf. [Skt.] Kumara ‘boy’ (god Guha ‘hidden’, viz. underground) = [Telugu] kumara ‘sweet potato’}

They then ... asked her how to measure the width of a maloca door to make a fishing basket trap to fit the fishing fence in the river, and

{cf. [Cymry] the weir wherein Taliesin was found}

when she did so by opening her legs, they ... tied her legs with vines and made her stay in the river rapids".

{cf. [Norse] river emerging from betwixt legs of daughter of Geirro,d}

pp. 456-458 universe




"the universe ... is likened to a beehive ... communicated by ... smoke spirals, and thought and is surrounded by the cosmic river ... which flows along the sun’s ecliptic in the "Path of the Sun" in which the sun and moon travel in a canoe ...


The east ... is the mouth of the Amazon River by the sea, ... and the source of life, power and shamanic thought. All shamanic chants start by offering the east (the ancestors ...) coca [leaves] to chew (mambe) and tobacco "in thought." ... it is the locus of the Four Sisters ...

The west is symbolically conceived in topography as mountainous, ... and is the place where the secret origin sites of ethnic groups are ... (in sites demarcated with petroglyphs, rocks, ... and palm groves) ..., and alludes to the root of shamanic thought and to the base


of a cosmic palm tree ... from where their ethnic group and patrilineages also originated. The mountain in the west ... is a super-natural maloca-cave, and inside, the Owner of Animals invites the wild animals to dance ...

Tufana-God, lives ... in the apex. The Four Brothers live in a crystal mountain ...in top sky, ... the Four Sisters in the underworld". "A Fire-anaconda encicles the cosmic fire which underlies all the universe, while another ... encircles the skies above."

457, fn. 704

"The stars are people who smoke tobacco in a toxic world".

p. 458 tree of knowledge

"The image of its roots, trunk, branches and canopy are [is] used as a mnemonic system to store shamanic knowledge in the form of chants, myths and stories :

the secret knowledge is in the roots, lower part of the trunk, and main branches, and

the public one, as well as the details, are in the rest of the branches."

fn. 703 "The Yukuna narrate that the Tanimuka sent a black caiman with armadillo claws to destroy the roots of their axis mundi tree in the lower earths but their shamans repaired it with red macana staff splinters".

Elizabeth Reichel : The Eco-Politics of Yukuna and Tanimuka Cosmology. PhD diss., Cornell U., 1997.