Mentawei Social Organization. American Anthropologist, n.s., 30: 408–433, 1928.
SHAMAN AND SEER
Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
1929 American Anthropological Association
Volume 31, Issue 1, pages 60–84, January-March 1929
How to Cite
LOEB, E. M. (1929), SHAMAN AND SEER. American Anthropologist, 31: 60–84. doi: 10.1525/aa.1929.31.1.02a00050
- Issue published online: 28 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009
Het Shamanisme bij de Volken van den Indischen Archipel. Bijdragen tot de Taal-Land en Volkenkunde van Nederlansch Indië. 1887.
W. H. Rassers, Religionen der Naturvölker Indonesiens. Arch. für Religionswissenschaft, 183, Heft 1/2, 1927.
De Bare'e Sprekende Toradja's van Midden-Celebes, 1: 362. Batavia, 1912.
J. Batchelor, The Ainu and their Folk-Lore, 308. London, 1901.
J. A. MacCulloch, Shamanism, Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 11: 445.
R. H. Codrington, The Melanesians, 209. London, 1891.
B. Thomson, The Fijians, 158. London, 1908.
The Shaman of Niue. American Anthropologist, n.s., 26:394ff., 1924.,
MacCulloch, op. cit., 443.
Inspirational shamanism is lacking in the Andamans. Among the Semang exorcism has been borrowed from the Malay. (P. Schebesta, Bei den Urwaldzwergen von Malaya, 134. Leipzig, 1927.)
I have adopted the word “seer” in translation of the German Geisterseher. This term has been used by Bamler in describing the non-inspirational shaman of the Tami of German New Guinea. The word is short, and therefore convenient. Naturally a choice of words is only a means of making a distinction. As already noted, the primitive seer is not a fore-seer. (Bamler, in R. Neuhauss, Deutsch Neu-Guinea, 3: 515.)
Leo Sternberg, Divine Election in Primitive Religion. Congrès International des Américanistes, 473. Göteborg, 1924.
The Concept of the Guardian Spirit in North America. Memoirs of the Amer. Anthr. Assoc., 26, 1923.,
W. Koppers, Unter Feuerland-Indianern, 171. Stuttgart, 1924.
B. Spencer and F. J. Gillen, The Native Tribes of Central Australia, 523. London, 1899.
A. R. Brown, The Andaman Islanders, 177. Cambridge, 1922.
H. Ling Roth, Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, 1: 185. London, 1896.
C. H. Hose and W. McDougall, Pagan Tribes of Borneo, 2: 91. London, 1912.
J. P. Kleiweg de Zwaan, Die Heilkunde der Niasser, 42ff. Haag, 1913.
G. A. Wilken, op. cit., 428.
M. A. Czaplicka, Aboriginal Siberia, 319f. Oxford, 1914.
T. K. Cheyne, Prophetic Literature. Encyclopaedia Biblica, 3: 3857.
“He that is now called a Prophet was beforetimes called a Seer.” 1 Samuel 9: 9.
Kruyt is wrong when he states that men alone are seers. (De Mentawaiers. Tijd. Ind. T. L., 5: 127, 1923.
Kruyt, op. cit., 128.
From my manuscript collection of Pageh stories.
The greater part of my knowledge concerning the Pageh seer is derived from an account written in the native dialect from the words of two practitioners.
28a A married man (ukui) is also a house priest. For this reason he is under many more restrictions than a single man. Both seers and priests (rimata) must be married. (See my paper, Mentawei Social Organization.)
Plants have a special magical power depending on their names. The function of a plant is thought to be the same as the word by which it is labelled.
Every punen (religious festival) period begins with the washing of the hair (magiri) in the river, a special form of purification. This is not again done at the end of the punen, as stated by Kruyt (op. cit., 19).
The Mentawei seers always ring bells (imported) when they charm.
Due to the magical power of the outfit, it is impossible to purchase one. If a seer parted with the outfit he could not practise
In the native languages of the Archipelago all happiness, peace, rest, and well-being are united under the concept of “coolness” while the words “hot” and “heat” typify all the powers of evil. (C Snouck Hurgronje, The Achhenese, 1: 305. London, 1906.)
The kera are fetish poles hung with magical plants before each village. The spirits (kina) of the poles keep away the disease-bringing ghosts.
The speciman of laiga blossom which I brought home was identified as Zingiberaceae, perhaps Zingiber officinalis Rosc., true ginger. The ginger root (?) is wrapped in another plant called laka (sharp) when it is squeezed into the eyes.
The soul of the animal goes to the spirits with the liver, the flesh is afterwards eaten by the people.
The old word ama is used for father, as a shamanistic term. The modern word is ukui.
Not for the reception of fees, but so that the seer may extract tae, poison, from the patient.
Sucking is practised in Nias. (Kleiweg de Zwaan, op. cit., 70.)
The word tula means oil. When given verbal force, tula-ake, the word means “to make oily” or “to heal.”
Mukerei, really to “make magic.”
This is a lot of money in Pageh. The Dutch government head tax, the only tax the people have, is two guilders a year. The seers are charged eight, because they have a profession!
Traps in Pageh are for catching deer and monkeys. The fall trap is called gulak, and a trap with closing door called luluplup.
Kruyt, op. cit., 139.