Watunna: An Orinoco Creation Cycle

Front Cover
University of Texas Press, 1997 - Social Science - 211 pages

Originally published in Spanish in 1970, Watunna is the epic history and creation stories of the Makiritare, or Yekuana, people living along the northern bank of the Upper Orinoco River of Venezuela, a region of mountains and virgin forest virtually unexplored even to the present. The first English edition of this book was published in 1980 to rave reviews. This edition contains a new foreword by David Guss, as well as Mediata, a detailed myth that recounts the origins of shamanism.

 

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Contents

V
21
VI
23
VII
28
VIII
32
IX
45
X
47
XI
51
XII
55
XXIV
109
XXV
117
XXVI
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XXVII
125
XXVIII
127
XXIX
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XXX
138
XXXI
141

XIII
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XIV
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XV
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XVI
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XVII
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XVIII
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XIX
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XX
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XXI
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XXII
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XXIII
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XXXII
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XXXIII
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XXXIV
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XXXV
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XXXVI
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XXXVII
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XXXVIII
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XXXIX
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XL
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Page 15 - ... or aichudi, belong to the language of the sadashe, the primordial spirits and masters of the tribes. The ademi were given for everyone at the beginning of time and cannot be altered in any way by men. Nevertheless, their semantic uniqueness does show signs of certain simple tricks of human origin: archaic words, others taken from neighboring tribes, more or less phonetically deformed, complicated ritual endings concealing words from normal daily usage, refrains with no definite meaning, inarticulate...
Page 16 - The Watunna is in its essence a secret teaching restricted to the circle of men who undergo the initiations of the Wanwanna festivals. But there is another, popular Watunna which belongs to everyone regardless of sex or age, and this is the Watunna which is told daily outside the ritual dance circle. It is an exoteric Watunna told in everyday language, a profane reflection of that of the sacred space. . . . These variations, altered and abbreviated, subject to personal interpretations and the teller's...
Page 16 - These popular versions which form an integral part of every Makiritare's daily life and recreation differ in fundamental ways from the ademi heard in the Wanwanna. The ademi are rigid and exact texts...
Page 17 - Sacred or profane, the Watunna is a living tradition in constant use. It is hard to pass a day among the Makiritare without hearing a tale or at least some isolated fragment of a story as it relates to the circumstances at hand . . . there will always be a Watunna tale to a hero or an episode.

About the author (1997)

Marc de Civrieux, a French-born paleontologist, has conducted ethnographic research throughout Venezuela since the late 1940s. His widely published work has received many awards.

David Guss teaches anthropology at Tufts University and is an associate of the Committee on Degrees in Folklore and Mythology, Harvard University.

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