Location : Dusun Kambih, Desa Bengkawan, Kecamatan Seluas, Kabupaten Bengkayang, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
I might have seen shamans or dukuns at work in Bidayuh villages the last 3 decades in the Padawan, Bau and Kalimantan areas but what we witnessed in this tiny village of Kambih of only 13 houses amazed me like never before.
These ceremonies were held during the ‘tutup tahun’ towards the closing of nyobeng. We witnessed 2 such healings at 2 homes arranged with the dukun although anyone could participate other than those members of the household.
Tutup Tahun / Closing Gawai Ritual
Since these healing services were highly spiritual, special care had to be paid to the preparations leading up to the invitation of the kamang or dewa to enter the physical body of the dukun. Two sets of a cocktail of about 12 different types of food would be carefully prepared. One set was raw food the other cooked. The raw set was dripped with pig’s blood.
Pak Bilon the customary chief would oversee and inspect the preparations to make sure the portion, position and sequence were 100% right lest misfortune, sickness or even death would befall household members if any mistake was made.
The shamans who intercede were either Upik or Ani with Pak Bilon assisting. When everything was ready, either one of them would sit himself on the tree bark swing (called ayun) hanging from a crossbeam in the ceiling. A long piece of red cloth tied to the window would be held by the shaman and he pulled the red cloth so he could start swinging to the rhythm of the gong.
A group of the family members would surround him to catch him as he suddenly passed out, signaling the departure of the dewa. As he slowly got back into the physical realm, a glass of tuak was passed to him to help him settle in.
After getting out from the trance, he went around distributing blessings to the family members.
Firstly, the palm leaf which was the same exact length with the tree bark, measured around the chest of the pig offered, must now be slightly longer and it did by about a centimeter.
Secondly, the tuak offered in the cute little bamboo must now be half full to prove that the dewa had accepted the drink. All the two criteria were positive much to the delight of the household.
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