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-:- mazatec woman -:-

:: an encounter with the lady in her own tongue ::

The Dream: An old Mazatec woman leaning casually on a railing (bar) and singing “mānōn káchī nèn” repeatedly a la Maria Sabina and looking sidelong at me with meaningful glances, as if to say - 'you should know what I am saying, what I am doing here'...

The Mazatec Words: “become, happen”, “say, speak”, kà- “past prefix”, nkà˛’ “I, me”, chjìnę “wise, knowing” and thus mánū nkà˛’ chjìnę - 'I happen to speak wise (things)', 'I, who am wise, come to speak'. (Later note:In the traditional orthography this should be manun ngahan chjine or manun han chjine.)

The Report: Things get spookier. Last night I had a dream... In the middle of this dream, which was mostly about me and a couple of workmates moving planks of wood about (don't ask... work stuff), an elderly Mazatec woman appears from nowhere and begins singing. I remember thinking 'Gosh, that sounds like the sort of songs Maria Sabina sings'. They were the same tones, same voice, same rhythms, everything.
On waking up, I took a piece of paper and wrote down what I thought I remembered her song was: 'MANON GA CHI NEN, MANON MANON MANON'. That was last night...

...This evening I had a quick look through my Mazatec archives and found some notes on Chiquihuitlan Mazatec, and I have constructed a sentence which closely matches what I wrote last night. Here it is, with tones and nasal markers included - mánū nkà˛̀ chjìne˛

Mazatec has no 'o' sound, hence the 'u'. The last 'n' in MANON has transposed to the next word, and the last vowel in chjìne˛ is nasalised, hence the final 'n' in NEN. Now, the spooky thing is, this sentence conforms to Mazatec grammar, this bearing in mind that I dont know Mazatec barely at all (just a few notes I've made about three months ago), and depending on how we look at it could have two possible meanings:

1. I happen to speak wise things
2. Wise me speaks

Either way, there is a clear message from this Mazatec woman in my dream.... deeply deeply spooky. I think some Mazatec spirit may be speaking to me, for want of a better explanation. I mean, hell, I don't know the Mazatec language at all... 


are you here to distract me,
to turn my eyes away...

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