A very interesting astronumerological chart called a pelelintangan is a diagram to show the fortune associated with a 35-day sequence created by the combination of the 7-day week and the 5-day week (Plate 3 shows one of these, given to D.H. Kelley by Norman Totten; another one is published by Eiseman, 1990, p. 199; see color insert).

The diagram has 49 divisions, the seven across the top associated with the seven days of the week, each showing, ideally, a god, a tree, a bird, a shadow puppet character, and an animal, each associated with a particular day and a particular planet. Across the bottom are seven animals, identified as heads of a seven-headed demon and associated with the days of the 7-day week. Strangely the list of these given by Eiseman (1990/1996, p. 196—Elephant, Dog, Horse, Crow, Human, Cow, and Water Buffalo) shows no similarity to those shown in his chart.

The remaining 35 rectangles in the middle five rows show the bintangs, the named correspondences between a day of the 5-day week (in order vertically) and a day of the 7-day week (in order horizontally); each column of the bintangs is read from top to bottom to enable one to find a combination quickly in order to read the accompanying book of characteristics of that bintang. The word bintang means "star," and a number of the bintangs are known to be stars or con stellations. Kartika, the Pleiades, has a name derived from the Sanskrit kttika; Kumba, "waterpot," is known to be the name of Aquarius; Ru, "arrow," shown shot into a deer, corresponds closely to the story of Prajapati in stag shape, shot by an arrow that is Orion's Belt (recall the "three stars" of §9.2); Uluku, "plow," is a well-known southeast Asian constellation; and Gajah mina, "elephant fish," is a name for Capricorn.

In Figure 9.13, we show the names of the combinations and their sequences, from the pelelintangan published by Eiseman (1990/1996), but rearranged by DHK into 10-week sequences.

The similarities are enough to suggest that the name bintang, "star contellation," should be taken seriously. When one compares the bintang series with the 68 Burmese aster-isms, a substantial number of additional correspondences appear (see Figure 9.14). As a continuously repeating set, one would expect the bintang series to represent a division of the sky into 35 segments in rising order, but not enough of the asterisms can be identified with certainty to be sure of this. One might expect a relationship between the bintang asterisms and the 36 decans [introduced into India from Egypt probably by the 3rd century (Pingree 1963b, 19641965)] but, at present, this cannot be demonstrated.

Figure 9.13. Elements of the charmingly illustrated pelelintangan published by Eiseman (1990/1996), but rearranged by DHK into 10-day week sequences. Drawing by Rea Postoloski and Sharon Hanna.

The lunar component of the Balinese calendar is tied to the Saka era of 78 a.d., and lunar cycles are identified as Saka cycles, although the years of the Saka era are solar years, because of intercalation of extra lunar months. All lunar measurements use lunar days that are defined as 1/30 of a lunation and hence are somewhat shorter than solar days. In fact, 64 lunar days are very close to 63 solar days, and the coincidence is noted and called ngunalatri (literally, "minus one night").31 Because 63 is 9 x 7 this coincidence will occur on the same day of the week until an additional day's error has accumulated after 800 lunations, somewhat more than 68 years. Eiseman's discussion of this is not very clear and has some terminological confusion of solar days and lunar days. He apparently does not realize why the day of the week shifted and says (Eiseman 1990/1996, p. 188) that the officials at the Department of Religion say that it should change once every century. This suggests that they also do not fully understand the mechanism or were using a different value (in solar days) for the length of a lunation. In older calendars, Eiseman says that he found the coincidence of solar and

31 Using the lunar synodic period of Table 2.5, §2.3.5, viz., 29^530 589, a lunar "day" can be defined as 1/30 of this value or 0d984 352 97. Therefore, 64 lunar days = 62.998 590 mean solar days.

lunar days sometimes fell on several different days of the week in one year! This could only happen if different bases were being used for different purposes. The relationship of this 64-lunar-day cycle to the phases of the Moon repeats every 32 months in a cycle, which contains 15 months of 29 solar days (Eiseman 1990/1996, p. 189, shows 19 months, a typographical error) and 17 months of 30 solar days, totalling 945 solar days (15 x 63) or 960 lunar days (15 x 64).

The lunar year consists of 12 lunations with an intercalary month added when needed and very erratically as late as the 1930s. What we call new moon is defined by the Balinese as the 15th lunar day of the waning moon, and at present, an intercalary month is added when the new moon (the last day) of the 7th lunar month would not fall in January. The new moon of January, nearest to the December solstice, is traditionally associated with Siwa (Shiva) and is supposed to be the darkest night of the year (i.e., the length of the night is longest). Although this is true north of the equator where the system originated, in Bali, the December solstice is the summer solstice when the nights are shortest. Nonetheless, Eiseman (1990/1996, p. 190) found no Balinese who knew that.

The calendrics are one aspect of the ethnoastronomy of the region; other aspects also reveal cosmological beliefs. In Bali, the great "mother" temple at Besakih is aligned toward

Figure 9.14. (a) The 68 Burmese asterisms from Buchanan (1807). (b) A subset of these asterisms with the names of recognized Balinese bintang parallels. Drawing by Rea Postolowski and Sharon Hanna.

the volcano Gunung Agung, held to be the center of the cosmos in Balinese Hinduism. At 3142m, it is the highest point on Bali and is the abode of Batera Gunung Agung, or Mahedewa, the supreme manifestation of Siwa (Shiva).

The Toradja of central Sulawesi are said to claim descent from the Pleiades, as their name would suggest. There is a legend, reported in Kaudern (1938, p. 124) from older sources, of the migration of the Toradja led by six brothers and one sister from an area just north of Lake Poso, said to be their ancestral home. Before leaving, they set up seven "menhir-like" stones (although a variant mentions only five stones). Although there is no direct connection with the Pleiades, this asterism is a seasonal marker; other legends tie the Pleiades into migrations and seasonal agriculture more firmly.

Among the Tami, there is a legend (cited in Riesenfeld 1950, pp. 354-356) that involves tattooing of the wife's thighs (or alternatively, adultery, as in other groups) between Kalomatu and his brother's wife. This results in the death of the wife and the attempted slaying of Kalomatu and his family, who take refuge in a large tree. As the tree is being chopped down, Kalomatu shoots a succession of arrows into the sky to create a ladder, which they climb to safety. As he leaves, he cries out, "when I disappear you will lack taro [and so die]..., but when I reappear you will again have food." Riesenfeld (1950, p. 356) notes that in the eastern part of the Huon Gulf, the Pleiades are not visible in May and June when food is scarce. The taro of the previous season is finished, but the yams are not yet ripe. They are not dug up until "the Pleiades appear again." Riesenfeld (1950) rejects the notion that Kalomatu is the personification of the Pleiades on the basis that he prefers another explanation, namely, that recently departed are often said to take the best things with them, but we find the equation of Kalomatu (or Nagogale among the Jabim, Qat in the Banks Islands, Tagaro in Aoba, the sons of the "sky woman" of Fate, among others), suggestive. In this circumstance, the escape of the family makes for several stars, an appropriate symbol for the Pleiades, although the number of family members in the legend is not stipulated.

In Sumatra, the Bataks preserved their Indonesian inheritance and ancestral patterns, including a well-deserved reputation for ferocity, into the last century. They borrowed little from their Islamic and Buddhist neighbors. They had a writing system unlike those of India or the Arabs, but ancient documents in the script are apparently unknown. Although the Bataks are now largely Christians, Hostetter found that a ritual calendar was still in regular use with some knowledge of older beliefs, remembered particularly in the calendrical context. Hostetter's account of these beliefs may be supplemented and occasionally amplified from the work of Winkler (1913, translated by Kimball 1989-1993) and of Kimball (1989-1993). The Batak calendar consisted of 12 or 13 lunar months of 30 days each. The days were named and involved four repetitions of a borrowing of the planetary names of the 7-day week from Sanskrit, with two additional days at the end. Thus, each month began with a day named after the sun, although this type of repetition completely destroys the mathematical-divinatory bases of the 7-day planetary week.

The year begins with the first new moon after Orion's Belt disappears in the west (its position marked by Betelgeuse, "like the tail of a rooster," which is still above the horizon), whereas Scorpius is rising in the east, dominated by Antares. The "pair of scorpions are sitting facing toward one another" (Winkler/Kimball, p. 21), that is, both Orion and Scorpius are identified as scorpions. A scorpion figure is marked on the Batak calendar charts for four successive days of each month, gradually shifting through the months. Scorpion's opposite appears on the charts 12 days later during the first seven months of the year and 11 days later during the last five months of the year. Hostetter (1988, pp. 16-19) suggests that "originally" the scorpion's tail marked the first crescent moon and the "opposite" marked the full moon. He points out that the alternation of 11-day and 12-day intervals would never have been appropriate near the equator (which runs through Sumatra), but that it does work between 30° and 40° N, which, of course, includes Mesopotamia. Hostetter also suggests that the Batak new year once began with the crescent moon following the vernal equinox and had shifted to its present position, about May 20, due to the precession of the equinoxes. Checking backward, he found that Antares and Betelgeuse were simultaneously visible at opposite sides of the sky just before the vernal equinox at about 2400 b.c., a very good date for Sumerian Inanna. The importance of the opposition of Antares and Betelgeuse is also attested from India (Santillana and Von Dechend 1969/1983, p. 361).

Hostetter (1991, p. 1152) makes passing mention of another Batak deity, Boraspati, "an underworked fertility god who is a lizard." The name is, in fact, a borrowing of Sanskrit Brihaspati, the planet Jupiter, but Hostetter makes no mention of astronomical lore associated with Boraspati among the Bataks, and Winkler maintained that the Bataks had virtually no planetary knowledge. Kimball found that some native Batak calendar experts still knew that the names of the days were planetary names, but an informant specifically denied that this applied to Boraspati. Hostetter's discovery that the name Inanna is still applied to Venus, who is regarded as a mother figure, has not been known to previous western investigators.

The name Inanna probably derives from Mesopotamia via India. Hostetter (1991, pp. 153-155) draws attention to the work of B.N. Mukherjee, who has pointed out numerous and detailed similarities between Mesopotamian Inanna-Ishtar and a goddess called Nana among the Kushans of northwestern India (about 200 a.d.). The representation of the goddess on a Kushan coin corresponds closely to Neo-Assyrian representations of Ishtar, but DHK thinks that the name is derived from Ishtar's Sumerian prototype, Inanna. This supplies a clearcut intermediary between Mesopotamia and the Bataks, which in turn, makes it extremely likely that Inanna was the Sumerian name of the planet Venus, just as her Semitic derivative, Ishtar, was the Assyro-Babylonian name of the planet. The data support Hostetter's conclusions from the "scorpion" evidence that the ultimate derivation of the Batak ideas was from Mesopotamia in the mid-3rd millennium b.c.

The native theological views of the Toba tribe among the Batak are discussed extensively by Sinaga (1981), whose views we summarize. Although planetary gods are not specifically discussed as such, Sinaga (1981, pp. 87-89; Appendix I) describes their lunar myth, drawing on its monthly cycle as a source of a pre-Christian disposition among the Batak toward a sense of rebirth and resurrection. The myth concerns the Sideang Parujar, whom Sinaga identifies as the most important of the beings after the High-God, Mulajadi na Bolon. In the religious world view of the Toba Batak, Mulajadi na Bolon, the creator, resides in the Highest (the Seventh) Heaven; He created Bird Hulambu Jati, who produced three eggs that hatched into the first human men. These were provided human wives through the "hatching" of three canes provided by Mulajadi na Bolon. The children intermarried according to ritual laws, and this continued for 10 generations, until betrothal transgressions occurred to disrupt the process. Immorality followed, which was punished by Mulajadi na Bolon through conflagration that resulted in the Earth, and the Sun, Moon, and stars, to which many of the transgressors had fled, being hurled into the abyss. Sideang Parujar (or Siboru Deangparujar) was betrothed to the son of Mangala Bulan, the lizard-like Tuan Tuima Uhir (or merely less attractive Siraja Odopodap), and sought to escape the marriage because of his ugliness by spinning and weaving on the Moon, as long as possible. There are several versions of what happens next, but they all result in the interruption of her weaving, which gets snagged. Out of mercy, she is given a ball of Earth, from which she fashioned the solid Earth on the waters, in what is called the Middle World. After some vicissitudes, she is provided seeds that flower into all the animals, fish, birds, and vegetation of the world; accepts her fiancee; and ultimately transforms the world into a "strong, sacral, fertile, prosperous, and happy place" (Sinaga 1981, p. 83). Her offspring become the first people of the Middle World. In the end, according to one version, she returns to the Upper-world, where, on the Moon, "she could spin to her heart's content" (p. 83).

0 0

Post a comment