Wednesday, April 27, 2005

notes: War of Witches

My OFS teacher reccomended the book War of Witches: Journey into the Underworld of the Contemporary Aztecs by Timothy J. Knab. I was able to get it through an inter-library loan, and I'm glad I didn't purchase it. It's a nice book, but it raises more questions than it answers, such as "what is a white man who doesn't believe doing mucking around in the Underworld of a native culture?" and "why the hell did those gods not smash him flat like a bug?"

The petaled drawing nearby this post is from that book, a drawing an old woman made for the author, which shows the layout of the underworld.
Here's what I gained in practical knowledge from the book:
pp 41-42: 3 "souls" of man: the yollo, the heart, "the life of the body....Without the heart, the body does not stir, does not move, one is dead." The tonal, "the spark of life, the heat that animates the body....our luck, our fate." It can be frightened out of the body, and travel in dreams. (The astral body, I suppose he means.) The Nagual is the animal which shares your tonal, born at the same time as you in the underworld. If it gets hurt, the person bound to it gets hurt also.
p 62 (where the drawing comes from) North: "cave of the winds, Ejecatalan or Ejecatan, the Land of the Dead, Miquitalan or Mictali" "East is the Sea, Apan" "South is the land of Heat, Atotonican." "West is the House of the Women, the Cihauuhchan in Tonallan" "The center is the true heart of Talocan, the Talocan Melaw."
And that's it. That's all I got. Mostly it was descriptions of his dreams, and rambling conversations with old people, spaced years and years apart. Much of it was quite boring, to be honest--I only skimmed the ending, where he attempted to tie up all the loose ends about this "war of witches" which happened many years ago in this town (and I believe he fictionalized the town's name and location, so he COULD have just made it all up).

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