Performing Dreams [S^avante of northeastern Mato Grosso]

[/e/ = epsilon; /o/ = backwards "c"]

p. 3 incarnations of the creator-gods

"blackened their eyes with charcoal, then encircled them with red urucum (Vixa orellana L.) as jabiru storks (Jabiru mycteria). This form, of all the transformations with the parinai>a underwent when making the creation, is ... the creators’ incarnation in the present time (parinai>a is the name of a wasp’s nest, one of the creators’ metamorphoses)."

p. 27 myth of creation

"The a>uwe~ were in the east, where the sun rises. The a>uwe~ created the sea, the planet was small".

" "the one who made the sea" (o:wawe~->wa) ..., a pre-initiate ..., asked his mother one too many times for cracked babac,u coconut ... . ... she cut off her clitoris and put it among the nuts she next gave to him ... he chewed his mother’s clitoris".

"he was beneath a waterfall bent over on his knees ... . ... his selfish age-mate companion ... he fooled and turned into a toad." {Among the Kogi of Colombia, the word for ‘frog’ is used figuratively for ‘vulva’.}

pp. 100-1 souls of the dead; deities & deified humans

p. 100

"After death, individuals move from the realm of the living into the realm of the dead. Evil people are said to be transformed into what are called abadzehire. Most people, however, become what are known as wadzapari>wa. ["those who wait for us" : "wa (us); tsapari (to wait for); ->wa (agentive)" (p. 259, n. 3:35).] ... the wadzapari>wa may take on animal as well as human form, in general they ... watch over the living. They live in a subterranean settlement beneath the sierra that stretches to the east of the village, Eten~itepa (ete~, rock or sierra; n~i, reflexive; pa, long)."


"the "always living" ho:imana>u>o: ... created the world ... . ...

p. 101

Unlike the wadzapari>wa who are said to live in the sierra, the ho:imana>u>o: are said to live in the sky. "When Xavante die, ... their spirit [da-ho:ibawaro~] goes to the sky and meets the ho:imana>u>o:. Ho:imana>u>o: sends most spirits back to earth, to [become] the wadzapari>wa." ... [Confirming this, people] recounted dreams they had during bouts of severe illness, in which they traveled to the sky. There they met an elder male, whom they labeled ho:imana>u>o:, who sent the dreamer back to earth." {These may be instance of near-death experience.}

[p. 259, n. 3:37 : An instance of a female ho:imana>u>o: is "Star Woman".]

pp. 114, 116-7 receiving da-n~o>re (‘song-dreams’)

p. 114

"individual da-n~o>re originate with the immortals and ho:imana>u>o: creators whom people see and hear in their dreams. ... figures who appear in their dreams ... singing and dancing ... are the immortal ho:imanan>u>o:. ... Seniors, both men and women, publicly represent their dreams as da-wana (sung laments). Young ..., in contrast, represent their dreams as da-n~o>re."

p. 116

"The novitiates, whom the Xavante consider to be the most prolific dreamers of da-n~o>re, are generally unmarried or only recently married. ... sexual relations, men say, interfere with one’s ability to receive and remember da-n~o>re." [p. 260, n. 4:19 : "Seeger reports a similar connection between "hearing" songs and sex[ual relations] among the Suya` (1981:108)."]

{"Young Anishnabe men who follow traditional teachings ... are often the recipients of songs given to them by spirits, sometimes in the context of dreams." ("NNAC")} {"it is not unusual for young met at the present time to ‘receive songs in dreams.’ " (Ute – "AIM")}

p. 117

"the songs associated with particular ceremonies such as the wai>a are said to be dreamed exclusively by adult men."

Seeger 1981 = Anthony Seeger : Nature and Society in Central Brazil : the Suya` Indians of Mato Grosso. Harvard U Pr.

"NNAC" = ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MUSIC IN CANADA, article "Native North Americans in Canada"

"AIM" = Clark Kimberling : Historical Notes 9 : "American Indian Melodies"

pp. 116-7 ear-plugs facilitate reception of songs in dreams

p. 116

"an adolescent novitiate {novice}, >ritai>wa, receives his earplugs, and with them the means to ... "receive" songs from the ancestors through dreams."

{Odusseus plugged his crew’s ears with wax, in order to hear the divine singing of the Seirenes

(Odusseia XII).}

p. 117

"Indeed, once a wapte has been initiated and possesses the earplugs that enable him to receive songs from the ancestors, he will be expected to share his song with the members of his group for them to perform without tsimn~ohu sponsors."

Odusseia XII =

{Radha Soami practice in order to achieve the praeternatural hearing of music divinely played by the Carana gods (rather than of divine songs sung by the Gandharva gods), entaileth plugging one’s ear-apertures with one’s fingers.}

pp. 119, 261 merging into a sacred society through singing together




"the pre-initiate wapte become part of an agamous moiety by repeating their sponsors’ songs, and novitiate {novice} >ritai>wa become part of society as a whole by first hearing and then joining their voices to sing the songs of the ancestors."

261, n. 4:26

"According to Marina Roseman (1991, pp. 105-118 ...), features of Temiar dream-performance perate in similar ways. Specifically, phrasal overlap and repetition ... collapse the distinction between the roles of leader (spirit medium) and chorus".

{"the belief of the Temiar people of Malaysia that a cool healing liquid called khayek (the "form taken by the upper soul of a spiritual being from the local Malayan rainforest") "can be imparted to human beings through dreams," specifically the songs in dreams" ("S&RCN", p. 19).}

Roseman 1991 = Marina Roseman : Healing Sounds from the Malaysian Rainforest : Temiar Music and Medicine. Berkeley : U of CA Pr.

"S&RCN" = "Spiritual and Religious Concepts of Nature". In :- Lustig; Brody; McKenny (edd.) : Altering Nature, Vol. 1. Springer Verlag, 2008. pp. 13-62.

pp. 122-3 phrasing & melodic & rhythmic parametres

p. 122

"the song’s initiator, who is generally the dreamer, sings the first phrase alone; ... the initiator gives a solo cue to initiate new phrases during the singing. ... . Marked pharyngeal constriction ... characterizes delivery, and the frequencies {tones, pitches} of da-n~o>re are low."

"Although the Xavante gloss da-n~o>re as canto

p. 123

(song, in Portuguese), the songs are considerably less melodic than ceremonial wailing, which the Xavante do not consider to be song in any way."


"The three basic da-n~o>re types exhibit some variation in tempo :"



during __

are __



late morning. to early afternoon

"fast and danced with energetic sideways stepping"



night & early morning

"performed much more slowly and are accompanied by pulsing or slightly bouncing knee movements"



late afternoon to early evening

"characterized by an intermediate tempo and are danced with a shuffle step"

p. 124 sequences of nonsense-syllables

"The texts of da-n~o>re are ... syllables ...; they do not communicate any referential meaning ... . The entire linguistic inventory of the da-n~o>re ... consists entirely of the syllables ju, hi, >i, and ha."

{Comparable could be sequences of letters of the alphabet, each repraesented by its meaningless name.}

p. 126 immortals in dreams

"a composition results when, in his sleeping dreams, an individual sees and hears the figures in his dreams -- the immortals and "always living" ho:imana>u>o: -- sing and dance da-n~o>re."

pp. 129-30 performers; songs as gifts

p. 129

"dream-songs are normally performed by

pre-initiate wapte,

>ritai>wa novitiates {novices}, and

i~-predup-te young men".

p. 130

"[A dreamer] explicitly represented his dreamed songs as gifts to the Xavante from the immortal ho:imana>u>o:."

p. 135 functions of songs

"Each song was given by the creators for a lofty purpose ... :

the uiwede song (buriti log-racing song, a da-praba) is for peace;

the da-dzaro~no is for celebrating when children are born;

the da-hipopo, given by the o:wawe>wa (the one who made the sea), is for health – it cures sickness."

p. 139 dreams (instead of myths) are ritually enacted

"But why would the elders be to interested in performing [a dreamer]’s dream of the creators opposed to dramatizing the events the elders tell of when they relate the stories of creation?"

{Because the dream is a specific authorization rendered by the deities in their own authentic words; it is thus aequivalent to an authorizing document issued by the deities themselves.}

p. 176 creator-deities as audience of ritual performances by humans

"the immortals constitute the primary audience. On the occasion of the >u>u ceremony, for example, ... the singing, dancing, and merriment were ... for the immortal creators to see".

p. 177 nameless elders

"Once a man reaches the i~-hi (elder) stage, ... he no longer replaces the names he gives up with new ones : "A man ends his life as it began : without a name."" (Lopes da Silva 1986:84)

Lopes da Silva 1986 = Aracy Lopes da Silva : Nomes e amigos : da pra`tica Xavante. Universidade de Sa~o Paulo.

p. 193 W-P-e deities counteract use of larvae as food for humans

"the parinai>a transformed themselves into the beings and foods they created. ... the metamorphosed wapte creators had frightened the Xavante in the process and ..., out of fear, the Xavante had ultimately killed them. ... .

{In mythologies of some Australian aboriginal tribes (such as, the Munkan of the York paeninsula), primaeval deities, when they killed each other, were transformed into animals eaten by humans.}

... before they had [such] food, the Xavante lived off buriti wood and

{With Xavante /WaPtE/ cf. Lakota /WohPE/.} {Wahpeton is a town in North Dakota.}

Iktomi "bound the wood tightly to himself, planning to taunt Wohpe".


Iktomi was "stuffing the skin full of bugs and worms. He ... planned to give the skin to Wohpe to laugh at her, taunting her that she serve bugs and worms for food." ("NACE", p. 104)

"NACE" = Lewis E. Mehl : "Native American Concepts of Evil". In :- PROCEEDINGS OF THE SEVENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE STUDY OF SHAMANISM. Independent Scholars of Asia, 1990. pp. 98-109.

Laura R. Graham : Performing Dreams : Discourses of Immortality among the Xavante. U of TX Pr, Austin, 1995.

{other instances of songs received in dreams :-

[Dane-zaa] “Nááchę (Dreamers) are Dane-zaa people who travel to Heaven in their dreams and bring back songs." – "Dreamers & The Land | DREAMERS"

"Our Dreamers' Dance is a world renewal ceremony. We dance to songs brought down from Heaven by our Nááchįį, or Dreamers.” – “Dreamers & The Land | DREAMERS' DANCE”

[Australia] "the songs, using that word in its widest meaning, as including all kinds of aboriginal poetry, are obtained by the bards from the spirits of the deceased, usually of their kindred, during sleep, in dreams. . . . The Birraark professed to receive his poetic inspiration from the lIfrarts, as well as the accompanying dances, which he was supposed to have seen first in ghost land. . . . In the Narrang-ga tribe there are old men who profess to learn songs and dances from departed spirits. These men are called Gurildras. . . . In the Yuin tribe some men received their songs in dreams". Louise Pound : Poetic Origins and the Ballad. U of NE, Lincoln, 1921. pp. 14-15 quoting from :- A. W. Howitt : The Native Tribes of South-East Australia, London (1904) , p. 416.}