Asal Iban nemu begunaka bintang ngau bulan – ari Sera Gunting


From thence he walked again. Presently he met the spirit of a senior sister of the seven stars known as the Bunsu Bintang Banyak (Pleiades). She begged him to stay for a while. While there, she asked Sera Gunting the purpose of his travel. He said, “I am visiting my grandfather, Sengalang Burong”, he said, “to seek answers to my luckless life. When I farm, I am unable to obtain enough rice grain to feed myself, and when I go to an expedition, I never succeed in taking an enemy’s head. This has brought shame to me for I failed to live up to my name”.

Hearing his plight, the spirit of the Bunsu Bintang Banyak began to teach Sera Gunting how to observe the celestial sign and recognize the correct timing to start padi farming season. She taught Sera Gunting how to be guided by the location of the Pleiades stars as it travels in the sky. “If you see that our position is inside the centre of the sky in the early dawn, human must start sowing immediately. If you start later when we are located outside the central halo in the sky, your farm will not grow properly.” Sera Gunting was happy to have learned the star sign to guide their farming season and will bring this knowledge to humankind when he returned to earth.

Sera Gunting then came to a dwelling place of the spirit Bintang Tiga (The Orion). Sera Gunting stayed there for a while. In their conversation, Sera Gunting again told the Spirit of Bintang Tiga the purpose of his travel as he had done at Bunsu Bintang Banyak place. There the spirit of the Bintang Tiga told him that if humankind cannot follow the location of Bintang Banyak due to various reasons, they could still start their farming season when Bintang Tiga is at the central halo in the sky. This is because Bintang Tiga is always traveling fifteen days after Bintang Banyak. Sera Gunting was again very pleased with the knowledge imparted by the Bintang Tiga spirit to him.

From the place of Bintang Tiga, Sera Gunting traveled on until he reached the dwelling place of the spirit moon. During his short stay there, Sera Gunting similarly relate the purpose of his travel and what he had learned previously from other celestial spirits to the spirit of the moon. The spirit of the moon then gave Sera Gunting another piece of celestial advice that humankind must learn about the moon. He said, “The moon lived and die temporarily every month. If the moon dies during a start of your planting season, you must stop work for two days in honour of the moon’s death. But if it is full moon, you only need to stay away from work for one day only. This observance is known as pernama rerak rumpang. Should anyone not cease their work during these time, a member of their family will die, which is known as berumpang ruang bilik”. Due to this injunction, Iban to this day still observe these edicts.


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