Iban Nampok (Vigil)

NAMPOK (VIGILS) by Revd William Howell

There are two uses for Nampok, one in which the Dyaks seek to be made brave, and the other in order to discover a cure for ailments, and this latter is practised only when the person who is suffering is beyond all human aid. The idea is religious, the person practising it betaking himself to some solitary place on mountains, hills, rivers or even in a cemetery or wherever there is any probability of meeting with the spirits, and before leaving the spirits must be approached with an ample offering. Some unfortunates have been known to have visited a dozen places and yet never had the chance of meeting a single antu or spirit. The undertaking is said to be dangerous and to require considerable pluck and self control; the spirit may either appear in person or else in visions and may take on themselves the forms of animals or reptiles in hideous shapes in order to frighten one.
Should the person give way to fright and run away he suffers death, but if he can control himself he obtains his desire and the spirits finally appear before him in human form bestowing kindly and caressing looks on him.
The offering with which the spirits are approached must needs be stolen from other people and none is allowed to know when a person goes nampok.
A few years ago an old man went nampok in a cemetery. The first night he was unvisited by the spirits but on his second visit the koklir—a ferocious female spirit—appeared and he ran for his life. This man lived for many years after that though the nampok did him no good. It seems difficult to understand how a Dyak can possibly escape harm when going nampok, lying exposed as he does to the elements on the bare ground amongst rocks and stones. Source: http://dayakibanworld.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-10-07T03:46:00-07:00&max-results=7&start=13&by-date=false


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