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We Nea/We Kalabuin

Date
02-Jun-2015
Description
Oe Alas (forest of rattans) was traditionally a territory of the Kingdom Lookeu (Koba Lima). It is now in West Timor and a part of the Kingdom of Dafala (wife-takers to Lookeu). In this rainforest there is a spring known as We Nea (originally haknea=kneeling or knea=knee). The place was so named when the ancestral 'owners or custodians of the water'(we nain) Leki Mauk and La Mera Mauk came across the spring where one or both of them were shot in the knees by a traditional weapon of a hidden enemy. The pair crawled on their knees one kilometre through a forest of sacred bamboo to the spring of We Kalabuin (kalabuin=spinning top), where they washed their wounds and were immediately healed. Since this time warriors from the houses connected to Oe Alas have always gone to We Kalabiun to be healed. The healing waters of We Kalabiun are held in a self-contained pool with the water entering and exiting through a sinkhole. Given its healing properties, the people suspected that the waters of We Kalabiun must be truly sacred and hence connected to the sea (we sai t'oo tasi lulik tebes=water that flows to the sea is really sacred). To establish this fact the people threw into it a rice threshing implement(nesun) tied with a male head scarf(lesu). Sometime later the rice threshing implementappeared in the female north sea off the coast of Atapupu. There is a poem from the Uma Mahawar (the sacred house of Mahawar which originated from Fatumea), the owner of We Kalabiun, about the connection between We Kalabiun and the sea, a direct connection that waters of the area's rivers do not have: 

Fatu Baa Dafala rarin besiFatu Baa Dafala is of the iron pillar

Dadolen murak rarin besiof silver block, of the iron pillar

Mota hotu-hotu la lao sai tasiAll rivers are not connected to the sea

Uluk lubuk Dafala lao sai tasiThe headless Dafala (the Kalabiun spring) is connected to the sea.


Today both springs continue to be guarded (daka) by 'the owners or custodians of the water' (we nain), a complement of people, animals and vegetation. As well as the living descendents of Leki Mauk and La Mera Mauk (Uma Mahawar, Dafala), the springs are guarded by sacred eels (tuna) at We Nea and sacred eels (tuna), crocodiles (lafaek or nai bei='great ancestors') and pythons (likusaen) at We Kalabiun. The water supply at both springs is said to be protected by the roots and shading tips of the au (bamboo), hali (banyan) and beko (water tree). When the community related rituals take place at the springs the sacrifices made to the ancestral spirits and deities will be received by these animals and passed on to the invisible sacred world who in return bless the community with good health, productive life energy and fertility (fo matak malarin) (see also Traube 1986:194).
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