|From:||Matt Pearson <mpearson@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, November 5, 1998, 21:20|
Na Simon Kissane siespe ia:
>On a similar topic, how many people have developed conreligions to go
>with their conlangs?
The Tokana do not have a religion per se - at least not in the sense of
the familiar Western religions - but they do have a belief system, which
includes a cosmology and mytho-history, and also a series of rituals.
Technically, the Tokana are deist-animists: They believe that the
universe consists of various natural forces (or "spirits" or "souls")
which combine to make one large force. They have no God and no gods,
no official places of worship, no code of morals, and no priests or
shamans (the various ritual offices are divided among the various
families in the community, so that one family will be responsible
for performing marriage ceremonies, another for performing solstice
dances, another for performing harvest rituals, etc.).
One of the fundamental beliefs of the Tokana is that our world is one of
two parallel worlds (or 'dimensions') which mirror each other. When a
person dies is our world, s/he is born in the other world, and when s/he
dies in the other world, s/he is born again into this world. The Tokana
notion of (re)incarnation involves the eternal movement of the soul from
one world to the other and back again. This cycle is called the Heartbeat
of the Universe, and is equated with various cycles in nature, such as the
seasons and the menstrual cycle. (Being an agricultural people, fertility
cycles are especially important in their rituals.)
The Tokana believe that before the Universe began, nothing was different
from anything else, and everything was nothing. But then Old Eagle Woman
entered through a hole in the nothingness and began beating her drum.
The beats of her drum became Light, and the silences between the beats
became Darkness, and that's how the Heartbeat of the Universe started.
The mythical First Human Being, a character of indeterminate sex
named Ahkaion, is credited with inventing most of the institutions of
Tokana life (agriculture, animal husbandry, kinship, etc.). Ahkaion is
a prominent figure in Tokana folktales, where s/he is cast sometimes as
a trickster character, and sometimes as a tragic hero(ine).
UCLA Linguistics Department
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