Modip anak Rapei
A portrait about Modip anak Rapei – a Shaman lady out of a small Bidayuh village
– Interview from the 17’th of June 2019, Kampung Stass, state: Sarawak, Malaysia –
1. When was the last time you felt happiness from the bottom of the heart?
I had a deep experience before I got my Shaman power. I got sick for four years and I was very poor. We constantly moved from place to place as farmers. I had long working days on the plantation and we lived very far from the village.
One day, on my way to the plantation I met some Shaman people and started to talk to them. There, it was very difficult to get a doctor, because the village community is so far from the town district area. Through my conversations with that Shaman people I found out that someone had put a bad omen on me. At this time, I was out of energy and I could barely walk, it was necessary for me to use walking sticks.
Another day I found a Durian fruit on the farm which had an oversize shape. I took the fruit with me and on the following night I had a significant dream. The dream told me how I should cure myself and the durian fruit is a symbol of my own strength. My dream also told me to keep the stem from the durian fruit which gives me a lot of energy.
So, the moment after 4 years of sickness when I was healed, I felt most happiness.
2. How would you describe spirituality in your own words?
When I was cured, I participated on a Shaman ceremony to offer my healing energy. I feel like it’s an energy in my body which I can use to heal other people. That kind of powerful energy or spirit is my description for spirituality.
3. How is the usual procedure of a curative treatment?
When I begin my curative treatment, I always inform my people about my next steps. A normal treatment takes 3 days. During the 3 days process it is not allowed to eat lemon, bamboo shoots and the fern (a type of wild jungle plant) I am trying to use positive energy to connect to the people. If I can’t find a connection to the people, there is no treatment possible. But when it is possible, I go into that energy, talk to the people, and give them massages on their particular body area which needs healing. For example, when I give a back-shoulder massage, I apply and swab some bit of water on the person’s shoulder. Then I slowly rub it off and blow it off the skin. I have a couple of powerful stones I use for my treatments, where I keep them in a bowl of water. My most powerful tool is the durian stem which I use, to give a very positive effect on my clients.
4. Imagine, the last day of your life has come and there is nobody who has any information about you and your life. All the information has mysteriously been deleted. If I would give you an empty sheet of paper and you could leave a message with the three most important wisdoms of your life, which three wisdoms would you write down?
Kindness. Humbleness. Gratitude
5. How can you put yourself in a way of trance?
You need to learn from an experienced elderly Shaman all the important ways and steps to gain supernatural power in order to perform supernatural healings. In order to reach the stage of being in a trance, I will have to gain the experience by joining the other elderly shamans in their ritual performance. I would at least join three times of their occasional thanksgiving ritual in order for me to be ready and prepared. Once I have gained the ritual experience, the state of being in trance would come smoothly. The trance is a process in which I feel another spirit coming into my body and I feel very light and motionless. During the trance there is also special chanting and singing in a different “spiritual language” (like speaking in tongues). The spirit can be from our ancestral family or from the natural surroundings in the jungle. The ritual ceremony could take a few hours and a person being in trance would last until they fall asleep. In order to be out of the state of trance, the other Shamans who are performing the ritual ceremony have to call the other spirit from my body to return home.
6. Do you believe in God
Yes, I do believe in God. I also believe in good spirits and bad/evil spirits. I believe in good spirits, which come from God. I make way for good spirits to come into my healing energy and rituals. I call for the good spirits to help me with the healing treatment for my clients. From my experience, I mostly have clients with problems in their marriage life. For example, a husband and wife crisis, and family barriers. My clients would come seek my help and get my supernatural protection in a form of “amulet” to heal their marriage problems. I would prepare a small sized bottle (like an amulet) of special coconut mixture oil for them. Then, I would prepare it with my blessings and saying specific words. When a wife of a person with problems comes to seek my help, I would advise her to use the coconut oil, applied like a lotion on her skin to be used daily. This is a believed substance, that the applied oil lotion could create positive aura on a person and brings good healthy vibes. Hence, this creates harmonious relationship in their marriage and problems related to “husband and wife” could be solved smoothly.
7. If an artist would draw a picture of your life, what animal would he choose to represent you and what type of nature or landscape would he select to symbolize your life?
I would choose a “musang”, which is like an animal between a fox and a leopard. It represents me because this animal is strong and persistant. I admire this animal because it is a type of animal with good strength and I believe it can be tamed to be a domestic pet. To me, it is a very nice animal, because if I would keep it as a pet I could also feed it with rice and bananas.
Additional information: 78 years old, Shaman lady from Malaysia (Borneo), donation-based income //11
I want to thank Javrin Jika, and her aunt, Elizabeth Nihit for all the translations work, from Bidayuh to Malay (aunti) and Malay to English (Javrin)