Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Melanau Land of the dead- Likou a Matai

1:05 PM


At the mouth of the river (Kala) and before entering the land of the dead, a Bedua (Soul) must first seek permission from the guardian called Balou Adet.
Journey on the river of the dead


A Journey to Likou a-matai/ Likou Dayah

As what has been mentioned in the previous post (see Melanau Philosophy of life) death is only possible when Nyawa (Life) is lost. After death, only one of the four elements of Tenawan (Human) remains, which is the Bedua (Soul).

After death the Bedua (soul) must take a journey on a boat, heading downriver towards the Likou a-matai (Land of the dead). The river (Ble-ngayi) is said to have seven tributaries (Tujuk alak Anéak Sungai). Each tributaries has one Tall house village (Lamin Dana) and a Bedua (soul) will be directed to a particular village depending on their manner of death. Such Journey was indeed similar to the greek mythology whereby the soul has to cross an underground river called Styx to get to the land of the dead.

A Lady and her dogs- Balou Adet

grave gunk

A Bedua (soul) will be accompanied by three spirits guides ie. Peng, Jingaya and Jerunih. These spirits will present the credentials of the deceased on arrival at the Likou a-matai. At the mouth of the river (Kala) and before entering the land of the dead, a Bedua (Soul) must first seek permission from the guardian called Balou Adet. Balou Adet is an old lady who lived in a house on the river bank with a number of savage dogs (asou) for company and no Bedua (soul) is permitted to ascend the river without her consent.


The Melanau universe

The Melanau believe that the universe is built with 15 Lapih (Layer) of Likou (World) ie. 7 Layers above dan 7 layers below. This World, where Tenawan (Human), Menatéang (Animals) and everything in the Guun (Jungle, Forest) live, is called Likou Dagen Dua (The World in the middle). No  Biyaih (physical body) can move between these worlds accept in the form of Bedua (Soul).

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