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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Na'vi Rituals


The Na'vi are monogamous creatures who mate for life. The mechanics of reproduction are similar to that of humans and other Terran mammals. However, their unique physiology provides the Na'vi with a level of intimacy unknown on Earth. Cultural anthropologists believe that when an appropriate mate has been selected (which can take many years), the male and female Na'vi will connect queues (called Tsahaylu) to create an emotional bond that lasts a lifetime. The intertwining of queues is both highly erotic and profoundly spiritual, but does not in itself lead to reproduction.[1]

Traditionally, once a Na'vi male has passed the tests on the path to manhood and has been accepted into the clan as an adult, he is not only allowed to make his bow from the wood of the Hometree, but he is also expected to choose his woman. After the woman has been chosen, the new couple are mated before Eywa.

Jake Sully chooses Neytiri to become his mate, and she accepts and mates with him under the Tree of Voices following his acceptance into the Omaticaya clan as 'One of the People'.

Once Tsahaylu is made between the couple, the ultimate in intimacy, pleasure that is unfathomable to humans, causes the somewhat unwillful sharing of the couple's good memories, and is a sign of Eywa's acceptance. If a couple can be foreseen to not have a pleasant or happy future, Eywa has been known to reverse the feeling produced by making Tsahaylu, a sign to the couple that mating would only, in simple words, ruin their lives together, and therefore prevents the mating, because of it's life-long span. After the resulting embracing and kissing, the couple is sent to sleep by Eywa, and the two dream hintings of their future together. The couple will experience the pleasure of Tsahaylu from the moment of connection, until they awaken and have completed mating, when they disconnect and return to the clan, mated for life.

more after the Jump...

Uniltaron is a rite of passage, in which Na'vi seek their spirit animal during a chemically induced trance, they express themselves musically as the spirit moves.

Uniltaron, or Dream Hunt, songs are especially interesting. While under the chemically induced effects that mark the Dream Hunt, a Na'vi may utilize any kind of expression: standard social song structures, imitations of domestic cascading vocal style or children's songs from deep in their memories, wildly improvised songs, or chants. The only type of songs not heard in this context are personal songs and the ritual songs of mourning.
Hunt songs are often used to accompany rites of passage, including a precursor to to the moment when a Na'vi first bonds with his or her banshee. They may be sung in unison, but more often are chanted breathlessly.

Other hunt songs focus on hunting activities, extolling the strength of both hunter and hunted, praying for the worthiness of the hunter, speaking to the spirits of the forest creatures, etc. These may be sung in many contexts: before or during a hunt, prior to battle with external forces, and during social events.

Many of the songs for puberty rituals and hunting are performed as nonmelodic group chanting in a very forceful, rhythmic grunting style. In this style, the glottal stops and ejective consonants inherent in Na'vi language are emphasized. It is believed that this chanting or grunting style is the oldest extant Na'vi expressive style, because of the way the song style incorporates and emphasizes these linguistic elements.

During some rituals, members of the clan will perform agile "hand-dancing" in which their long, tendril like fingers weave a deeply symbolic and poetic narrative. Rapid, controlled shifts of the dancers bioluminescent spots often add to the magical beauty of the performance.

Here is a typical example of hunt song lyrics, which often display great respect for the potential prey:

We are walking your way     Terìran ayoe ayngane
We are coming                      Zera'u
We are singing your way      Rerol ayoe ayngane
So choose                              Ha ftxey
Choose one among you        Awpot set ftxey ayngal a l(u) ayngakip

Who will feed the People     Awpot a Na'viru yomtiying

Chorus (repeated)

Let my arrow strike true           Oeyä swizaw nìngay tivakuk
Let my spear strike the heart     Oeyä tukrul txe'lanit tivakuk
Let the truth strike my heart      Oeri tìngayìl txe'lanit tivakuk
Let my heart be true                  Oeyä txe'lan livu ngay.
You are fast and strong              Lu nga win sì txur
You are wise                              Lu nga txantslusum
I must be fast and strong          Livu win sì txur oe zene
So only                                      Ha n(ì)'aw
Only if I am worthy of you      Pxan livu txo nì'aw oe ngari

Will you feed the People

Chorus (repeated)


Iknimaya means "Path to Heaven"

Iknimaya is a treacherous but fundamental rite of passage in which a young Na'vi must select, capture, and successfully bond with one of the ikran who nest in the Hallelujah Mountains.

To connect the queue between the rider and the animal to create the bond, a Banshee Catcher is snapped around the eyes and snout of the ikran. Thus temporarily blinding the animal, a young Na'vi may leap onto its back and connect queues. In this moment, sealed by the subsequent first flight, a lifelong bond is established that allows the Na'vi and banshee to ride through the sky with elegant, seemingly effortless coordination.

    * The process of chosing is one of the heart, on the part of the Na'vi and one of trying to kill the    Na'vi on the part of the banshee.
    * Iknimaya is also the name given to the path by which the Na'vi ascend to the ikran's roost.
    * Note that an incorrect toss can lead to injury or death at the hands of an angered ikran.
Jake Sully successfully completes Iknimaya in Avatar, he however does not cover the eyes of his chosen ikran.

The Banshee Catcher (Na'vi name: Meresh'ti cau'pla, "nothing to see") is a bola used to subdue Pandoran wildlife but can also act as a tie-down. The banshee catcher is made from the leaves of the razor palm tree. The sinuous and durable plant similar to the Terran palm frond, weighted at one end with a stone. The plant's sticky, hairlike underside helps fasten the bola to the animal. Edges of the frond are dulled to avoid cutting.

Mastery of the meresh'ti cau'pla translated to "nothing to see" or "nothing to sight fear" is an indispensable skill for all Na'vi youth, who begin training with the device initially as a toy then more formally. A Na'vi will spend years developing the proper technique of the banshee catcher, first on tree limbs and then on the deer like Hexapede. Without proficient skill, a young hunter will fail the crucial rite of passage, Iknimaya. The catcher is crucial in this process as a young Na'vi must correctly snap the frond around the snout and eyes of the Mountain Banshee and quickly connect the queue between rider and animal.

Note that the imprecise toss of the banshee catcher has led to injury or death of many young Na'vi at the hands of an angered banshee.

Va'erä Ramunong, also called just Vaderas Hollow is a location on Pandora.

This hollowed out basin is believed to have been formed millions of years ago by the collapse of a volcanic caldera. Over the eons, water filled the basin and eroded away the surface sediment, leaving a huge unobtanium mesa to float majestically above the lake. This mesa has a deep spiritual significance to the Na'vi.
edit Notes

Ascending the summit is seen as a rite of passage for young Na'vi about to come of age. 

A Toruk Makto is a Na'vi individual who manages to ride Toruk. There have only been five Toruk Maktos, until Jake Sully became one, leading the Na'vi against the RDA. The previous Toruk Makto was Neytiri's great-great-grandfather, who had used the great respect given to such riders to unite the Na'vi tribes five generations before. Jake follows in his footsteps to unite the Na'vi against the Human invaders. The previous Toruk Makto united all the Na'vi clans in a time of great sorrow, as Jake did. Toruk Makto means "Rider of the Last Shadow".

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for putting all this information together, it is very comprehensive. We have been discussing on typepad that after a couple mated their stripes somehow change or become the same to show that they are a couple. Did you find any proof for that? Btw, where did you get all this info from, is this from a book?