8. INTERPRETATION OF THE CALLS AND FLIGHT OF THE AUGURAL BIRDS
In addition, the flight and calls of each of the augural birds carries its own particular message. Interpretation of its message depends primarily on four major sets of variables:
1. The place at which the call is heard, the conditions under which it is heard and the direction of the call relative to the hearer;
2. The nature of the call itself and its possible occurrence in a sequence with the calls of other augural birds;
3. The direction from which an augural bird flies across a person’s path, the individual’s purpose of travel and the place at which the bird crosses his path relative to his place of departure or destination; and
4. The condition of the person who hears a call or sees the flight of a bird, his status and age, or that of the person to whom the omen bears reference.
Some omens indicate a change in fortune and their meaning depends upon the past success or accomplishments of the individual who hears or encounters the omen. Others vary in meaning depending upon a person’s relative age or upon his status, as, for example, a curer or community leader. The terms raup and pimpin, meaning left to right and right to left, respectively, are used only to refer to the directions of flight of the augural birds, and not to the location of calls. It is generally expected that augural birds or animals will be seen or heard in front or to the side, but sometimes they are heard directly behind the person or they are seen approaching from the rear. This condition, called nyubok, is almost always considered unlucky, regardless of any other meaning of the call or appearance. Thus the appearance of an animal which is regarded as burong laba, a stroke of good luck, when seen in front or to the side, becomes an ill-portent when it is seen directly from behind. In general, it is said to “surprise” the person who sees it, and thus it shortens his life.
JALOH – KETUPONG (RUFOUS PICULET)
BERAGAI (SCARLET-RUMPED TROGON)
PANGKAS OR KUTOK (MAROON WOODPECKER)
EMBUAS (BANDED KINGFISHER)
BEJAMPONG (CRESTED JAY)
KELABU PAPAU NYANABONG (DIARDS TROGON)
NENDAK (WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA)
RAUP (LEFT TO RIGHT) ENGGAU PIMPIN (RIGHT TO LEFT); INDICATION OF DIRECTION IN THE FLIGHT OF THE OMEN BIRDS)