Customs

Simbología mapuche. Los cuatro espacios, puntos cardinales y espirituales, dibujados en el kultrunSimbología mapuche. Los cuatro espacios, puntos cardinales y espirituales, dibujados en el kultrun

Wenumapu(Ma) Bóveda celeste. is the heaven in Mapuche mythology; it is where the gods live. The greatest of them, in a certain way, the only one is Ngnechen. He controls the minor gods. In Wenumapu the same activities as in the Mapu, or earth, take place.

The Minchemapu represents the contrary: evil, the depths. It is a world of malignant spirits or wekufes(Ma) Espíritus malignos, cuyo poder el causante de la enfermedad y de la muerte. . The power of them produces sickness and death. Besides Ngnechen, owner or tutor of men, there is Chau or Antú. Also called Antu fucha (old sun king) and in its feminine dimension Antu kuche (old moon queen) .

Nquillatún

Ceremonia del Nquillatún

The nguillatún is a ceremony celebrated by several communities to assure good harvests, or to prevent disasters as earthquakes, bad weather, or volcanic eruptions.

It is also held to avoid and cure epidemics and sicknesses.

This ceremony consists of the sacrifice of a especially raised animal. A sacred fire is lit and a rewe, or sacred tree, is erected. The tree is the ritual center of singing and dancing.

Depending on the importance of what is being asked, the Nguillatun may be held for one or more days, having an animal sacrificed each day.

Machi mujer

Pascual Coña, a Mapuche Cacique, describes the ceremony: "The principal Cacique kills two steer, four sheep, a horse and a pig (...) Each participant in the hosting community kills an animal (...) Then he yells: Oooo!, and sticks his fingers in the container of blood, spraying some while saying: 'Here you are father, blue sky, crusher of rivers (...) you have raised us; (...) give us abundance, all sorts of fruits of the land (...) Be propitious and have compassion, send us once more sun and rain, my lambs ask me, you will say of us, Oooo...!'"

Pascual Coña continues saying: "they agree on practicing on that day the preparatory rites and to plant the sacred tree (rewe) in the place destined to the celebration..."

Ceremonia del Nguillatun

"Then they saddle their horses: the caciques, the young men, women and children; everyone heading towards the site of the celebration, and with them the machi, who plays the drum for a short dance. Once the rewe is erected, the nguenpín, who presides over the ritual, invites: 'Ya! Let us dance in honor of our rewe, let the flute play, The drum Machi!' (...) Now they start dancing around the rewe (...) While they dance, they ask for things, as they did before with the blood…".

The long detailed description concludes: "Again the Nguenpín orders: 'Let the guests come near, let the youths line up; hurry, hurry (...) That is it, get ready ladies, sons, hurry; the day is ending!' (...) They approach the rewe saying: 'Lets dance'...The dance moves around the rewe, two men carry, during the dance, a white flag and a black flag. Finally the nguenpín says to the guests: 'Well then, today our celebration took place, you all participated; the next celebration is your responsibility'."

Machitún

Machitun

The machitún is the healing ceremony. The machi, who nowadays is almost always a female, presides the ritual. In dreams, she receives the ancestral knowledge and the power to influence the nature of sicknesses and other natural phenomena.

The traveler E.R. Smith (middle of the XIXth century) describes the rite as follows: "When one resorts to a machi the visit takes place at dawn, because this is the most precise time for her managements... The patient must lie on his back in the middle of the ruka, all family members are asked to leave or, otherwise, they must facing the wall. After checking the symptoms, the machi begins a long magic ceremony consisting in a monotonous chant along with the playing of a small drum, made by a sheepskin stretched over a wooden frame. She becomes excited, making gestures and violent contortions, until falling on her back as in an epileptic fit, with her eyes turned up and foam coming out of her mouth and her body twisted in convulsions.

Mapuche Spiritual World

The Ad-mapu constitutes permanent wisdom. This knowledge is the group of symbols and traditional practices as well as the beliefs, which say that Chao created the Mapuches as well as the earth. The rituals recreate the Ad-mapu and also the reciprocity with Ngnechén, for the new gifts: life, health, and fertility.

Peuma or sleep is the contingent wisdom. Through it the Machi con see the rhythm of events and the meaning of dreams in everyday occurrences. The Perrimontún are the premonitions, through which the Machi receives warnings and announcements about future events.