Thursday, 28. September 2006
These shamans are ready to invoke their tremendous powers.
Tribal dancing is used around the world as a form of communication with a dimension beyond that which can be seen. Only the 'sikeireis' (Mentawai shamans) may wear ritual body ornaments and perform these sacred dances. Dressed in full regalia, the shamans are as magnificent as the most majestic birds of the rainforest.
Magical and aromatic plants hanging from their long hair and loincloths; and wearing rattan bracelets and ceremonial aprons fashioned from pieces of red, white and black fabric.
They dance, mimicking jungle animals such as monkeys and crocodiles, to reach the ancestral world and communicate with the spirits.
|The intricate acrobatic leaps and turns of the monkey dance, a pre-hunt ritual, are performed to honor the spirits of the monkeys and ask them for good luck in the hunt and to seek protection for the entire clan.|
The sonorous vibration from the quick stomping of the dancers sometimes drowns out the rhythm of the python-skin drums.
The whole 'uma' rumbles with the deep percussive sound, resonating with the shamans' steps.
Tattoos are made to please the soul and help the Mentawai achieve perfect harmony with the spirits of the forest.
Mentawai mythology tells the story of a young boy who transformed himself into the first sago tree, the Tree of Life, ensuring that his people would never run out of food. Today the Mentawai's animistic religion, known as 'Jarayak', is symbolized by a stylized drawing of a sago tree. The Mentawai so venerate this Tree of Life that it is tattooed on the body of every medicine man. Stripes on the legs represent the trunk, long dotted lines running down the arms evoke the branches, patterns on the hands and ankles suggest the bark, and the curved lines on the chest represent the sago flower.
|Monkey skulls, along with those of slain deer and pigs, adorn the beams of all 'umas'. These skulls represent a right relationship with the animals' spirits that assures the clan's safety and a plentiful supply of nearby food. Monkeys are particularly revered because they have anatomical and mythological links to humans; living monkeys are believed to communicate with the spirits of their dead just as men do.|
Immerse yourself in the exotic and vivid rhythm of daily life and sacred rituals:
More about Mentawai shamanism at Native Planet
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