Sunday, April 6, 2014

Some Malawi shops, vehicles have ‘magic’ (matsenga) words?!

Abracadabra words used on amulets and talismans
A middle-aged man tired of being poor some years back, in the 1990s to be exact treks to Mulanje in search of a traditional healer who will give him the charms to make him rich and comfortable as soon as possible.
The man wants a quick way to “wealth” which for him is to own a grocery store, trucks, minibuses and buses using magical words by bringing them into being as in creation.
When he reaches the house of the healer, he is led into a small room for ‘patients’ where he pours his heart out and explains his deepest desire.
After listening to his request, the healer gives him a bundle of roots, small pillows (zithumwa) and charms which he is told to bath in before he sleeps and he is also given some other charms which he has to throw to the wind at night while chanting certain words to bring him luck.
Stories are told by some Malawians of people having to run around their houses naked at night but this blog has not come across such information so those in the know how can share.
This blog can confirm that the writing of certain words on shops and trucks among others has for many years in Malawi been prescribed by asing’anga (traditional healers) specializing in nyanga (horns) as part of their “good luck magic words” rituals.

Today some use Christian words on some shops and vehicles.
Many examples exist in Malawi but this blog cannot mention specific ones to respect the privacy of those using such words and to avoid lawsuits.
Such rituals have been going on for a long time with previous words being symbols with specific meanings while others were drawn on various places as part of spells to protect the said areas.
However other similar rituals and beliefs make one a slave because they continue doing it wherever they go as it becomes a part of them as they rely on magic words and spells to survive.
Male nyanga ones of “Kuba” and their so-called magical nsupa, the African wine kettle gourd also use some words in their rituals.

But when other healers request favour they seek Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe or send requests to the 4 male winged spirits they chant several names which this blog revealed earlier:
Tomasi Bona                                          - North
Tagoneka Mbona                                   – West
Chandiona Gonekela                              – South
Nthanda mwana wa mwezi [Nthandi]   - East
And their meanings?: 
Tomasi Bona                     = the whole world in the hands/feast
Tagoneka Mbona               = Like put to sleep
Chandiona Gonekela           = It’s seen me, put to sleep
Nthanda/Nthandi mwana wa mwezi  = Sirius star like in nthanda yaku m’mawa African cross and child of the moon.

They hardly use the 3 female winged spirits because their nsupa is the source of their feminine energy and it’s usually given the name of the woman they used in khukwima rituals.
Ancient African cross for 4 winds

In western nations, the performance of magic almost always involves the use of language. Whether spoken out loud or unspoken, words are frequently used to access or guide magical power.

In “The Magical Power of Words” (1968) S. J. Tambiah argues that the connection between language and magic is due to a belief in the inherent ability of words to influence the universe.

The Wikipedia also reports Bronisław Malinowski, in Coral Gardens and their Magic (1935), suggesting that this belief is an extension of man’s basic use of language to describe his surroundings, in which “the knowledge of the right words, appropriate phrases and the more highly developed forms of speech, gives man a power over and above his own limited field of personal action.”

“Magical speech is therefore a ritual act and is of equal or even greater importance to the performance of magic than non-verbal acts.

Not all speech is considered magical. Only certain words and phrases or words spoken in a specific context are considered to have magical power.”

Songs like ‘Abracadabra’ by American rock grop Steve Miller Band have been sang and by coincidence the word Abracadabra is an incantation used as a magic word in stage magic tricks, and historically was believed to have healing powers when inscribed on an amulet.

According to the unofficial Wikipedia, the word may have its origin in the Aramaic language, but numerous conflicting folk etymologies are associated with it.

“The word “Abracadabra” may derive from an Aramaic phrase meaning “I create as I speak.” This etymology is rather dubious, however, as אברא כדברא in Aramaic is more reasonably translated “I create like the word.”
Internet Photo
“The second lexeme in this supposedly Aramaic phrase must be a noun given the presence of the definite article on the end of the word (it cannot be an infinitive construct, as the infinitive cannot take the definite article). 

Regardless, this phrase would actually be pronounced ebra kidbara, which is clearly different from abracadabra. However, Semitic languages like Aramiac are not always hard and fast with the assignment of vowels, and abracadabra is similar enough to ebra kidebra, given the tendency of vowels to shift.”

An alternative derivation relates the word to Abraxas, a god with snakes for feet who was worshipped in Alexandria in pre-Christian times.”, further reads

Abraksas was a mythical creature whose name appears in Gnostic writings. It was believed that the letters of his name are the seven creative powers, or planetary angels.  His name contains numerology value of 365, which is the number of days in the year, or the number of heavenly spirits.

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Took this picture of children in Milange, Mozambique admiring visiting Malawian children

Tracing footsteps to lead me home

Greetings from the Warm Heart Africa, Malawi.

I'm a Malawian journalist who grew up in many countries including South Africa, Belgium, then West Germany, UK, Washington DC and New York in the US and I love New York.

Trying to come up with the production of my life and by compiling some of my 1000 poems into a book called ‘Tracing Footsteps’ to lead me Home with excellent photography.

I also plan to film award winning documentaries based on the history of this ancient land called Malawi and the mysteries of Sapitwa and the Sirius star. this space.