The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Twenty-four. The World Beyond
caption: dream-life and trance of soothsayer
medium: books
person: Limnia/ of Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: I ask her about her experiences in her dream-life, and she answers me with clear and short sentences; her manner of speaking is more self-assured than that of other women. No mystic veil envelops this seer, and nothing suggests an unbalanced mind. Her description of the next world coincides with the traditional conceptions of the Konyaks, except that she enters the Land of the Dead in her dreams, and herself speaks to the dead. If a man has reason to believe that a lately deceased relative is angry, he asks Limnia to find out the reason and to discover a way to propitiate the dead.
text: Before Limnia falls into her trance she strews rice on the floor and speaks to Gawang. "Gawang grant that I may see all beings, that I know clearly all things, that I see you in my dream. Give me good dreams."
text: Then she falls into a deep sleep and her soul goes to Yimbu, the Land of the Dead. If she meets a man yet living on the way' then she knows he will soon die. However, she can save his life : by an offering to Gawang -- that is if the threatened man is prepared to give her a cloth, a dao, and a spear, and to sacrifice a pig, which Limnia kills saying: "Gawang, give that this man remains alive, that he will become old, that he lives until his hair becomes white."