Ancient Malawi Beer for the living, the dead & spirits (mizimu)

*Note: I’m still still researching ancient Malawi beer and this is unfunded amateur and not scholar work in response to a few Malawian men who have been attacking me and trying but failing to discourage me from blogging about priestesses.  

I will be seeking funding to enable me travel to different places of historical interest and make this blog more professional as it has been my hobby and passion for years despite what a few men who hate the role of women in ancient Malawi say.

Beer sorghum

Eat, drink and be merry with local beer (mowa wamasese) and ncwala which fills the tummy?

In Egypt, beer was regarded as food. In fact, the old Egyptian hieroglyph for “meal” was a compound of those for “bread” and “beer”. – http://www.beeradvocate.com/articles/629/

Beer, called hqt (heqet) in ancient Egypt reportedly included malt and so did the Nguni’s called “imithombo (malt), maize and mabele” according to a South African Facebook friend.

And an African-American Facebook friend said “malted barley flour is made from barley that is malted (e.g. barley that is allowed to germinate), steam-dried, hulled, then ground and sifted.”

Beer drinking
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs for day of drunkenness shared on Facebook

THEKA, THEKA (HALF, HALF) – MEASURING THE MALAWIAN “SCALES”

Some ancient healers of Malawi in various rituals including oracles would say THEKA THEKA (HALF) in the Chinyanja language similar to balancing scales which was done by the one in the centre.

This meant the one in the middle balanced the left and right side to be able to “see” the spirit world.

Now when some ancient priest-hoods (ansembe) used Ufa (flour) as a nsembe offering, it was in a cupped hand as K and also measured as THEKA THEKA (HALF, HALF).

Theka Theka
THEKA, THEKA (HALF, HALF) measuring ufa (flour) in the palm – Photo by Agnes Mizere

If the scale spiritually balanced then they would say the person is balanced but if it tilted they would read further into that person using their belief systems.

So we have Theka as half -theka as in zitheka as to mean to be possible so using those words we can also say So Mote it be…it’s possible Ase.

The Theka, Theka meaning Half, Half measurement was done in the palm of the hand to measure ufa (flour) for nsembe offerings and to also measure and weigh the ingredients for making local beer in relation to the spirit world.

Tekha in ancient Egypt was also the weigher, the pointer of the scales according to the online book ‘The Sound of Meaning:  Comparative Linguistics of Ancient Egyptian, Maya and Nahuatl’ by Charles William Johnson who on p13 defines “Mexican” as an “Aryan language closely akin to Sanskrit and Avestan but more primitive than either, in fact Aryan of the proethnic period.”

Judgment
Last judgement of Hunefer before Osiris, Book of the Dead, Hunefer’s tomb at Thebes, Egypt, Dynasty XIX, c. 1285 BCE, painted papyrus online photo

But unlike the Mexican analysis of Johnson, ancient Malawi’s Theka applied both to measuring grain flour and alcohol contents on top of the judgment of the heart.

Mtima wabwino kapena woyipa meant a good or bad heart to mean a good or evil person in ancient beliefs.

For figuring out oracles they would observe and sense a person’s heart to see what emotions were inside based on their belief system and they would also study the right and left eye to try and read into the person’s soul together with the hidden heart.

Gone are those days but still worth recording as ancient myths as nature had rock scales which ancestors from priesthoods studied but it’s not known if Sanjika Rock where John Chilembwe spent time was a balanced Rock used in ancient times.

20150113_173919
Sanjika Rock where John Chilembwe spent time. Kamuzu’s Sanjika Palace also has the same name. Photo by Agnes Mizere

Imwa thapysa muyezo as in kulezera mopitirila (drunkenness) also meant measuring and weighing the scales and kondwererani in ancient times whose equivalent in English is eat, drink and be merry.

Muyezo is usually defined as a “measurement standard” so the meaning was for one to enjoy their life as much as they can before they leave this world.

The beer for the living, dead and spirits (mizimu) involved the spirit of Mikolo Njinjinji (Sacred African Ibis) and Mbona of the West wind as in black and the grey clouds for rain among others and not the Mbona known by most Malawians but the one from centuries ago who had a hidden name.

Mbona is usually broken down as in –ona as in to see and a different spirit from Bona of the North wind also known as Napolo hence Tomasi Bona.

Their colour was green for agriculture and sacrifices included traditional beer for 20 f the left side and 20 of the right making a total of 40.

Women are usually given a ‘due date’ for their baby that is calculated as 280 days after the onset of their last menstrual period which is roughly 40 weeks though not exact but representing life (moyo).

The known Malawi was in the Ulendo Series Mtunda 8 Chichewa for Standard 8 book published by Dzuka Publishing Company in 1982 but the one connected to Bona has never been written about before and he is one of many said to be at the hidden Sapitwa kingdom and not the rock peak some tourists climb.

Mbona knife
Mbona illustration from the Ulendo Series Mtunda 8 Chichewa book for Standard 8

In ancient Malawi there were mainly two groups of spirits ranging from mizimu yamakolo (ancestral spirits) to mizimu (spirits) which have never been human including the winged ones.

Now in the Chichewa or Chinyanja language of Malawi the word -kondwa means happy and -kondwera is be pleased so in a nutshell -kondwa also means merry as in to be merry.

Some Malawian men who enjoying drinking in taverns describe Chibuku as the sorghum beer that makes them merry and full hence they say “kondwererani” ndi mowa wa Chibuku chifukwa umakhutitsa”.

Chibuku
Chibuku Shake Shake photo taken from https://intomalawi.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/chibuku-shake-shake/

According to online sources Chibuku, the traditional sorghum opaque beer is made from sorghum and some barley malt.

Strangely, there are no websites defining or giving the history of Malawi’s mowa wamasese (local beer) or ucwala so this blog uses the commercially known type captured online.

“Chibuku was first brewed in Zimbabwe in 1962. Chibuku, a market leader in the sorghum beer category is a traditional sorghum opaque beer brewed with the finest maize and sorghum locally grown in Zimbabwe”. – http://www.delta.co.zw/trad/chibuku

However the ‘Zulu Beer – Utshwala besizulu’ website is more defined explaining how the alcoholic beverage is brewed mostly by women over a three day period and it’s ingredients include 1 kg malt (umthombo wombila), 4 pkts 1kg malt (umthombo wamabele), 1 kg mielie meal and boiling water. – http://ulwazi.org/index.php/Zulu_beer

Beer was a very important Egyptian drink and the staple drink for adults and offering to the gods and dead wrote Caroline Seawright in 2001 on http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/kunoichi/themestream/egypt_alcohol.html#.Vqy7UPl97IU

In ancient Egypt becoming drunk was TEKHU drink TEKHAU drunkard TEKHTA habitual drunkard TEKH the “drunken” festival TEKHAIT, TEKHIT drunkenness TEKH to drink, to drink oneself drunk which also sounds like Tequila the Mexican drink according to other websites.

In the Eber Papyrus “Half an onion and the froth of beer was considered “a delightful remedy against death,” according to the Crystalinks website under Ancient Egyptian Medicine

“Tekh, a holiday which translates to “drunkenness”, observes the myth of Sekhmet nearly destroying mankind but ceased upon intoxication. In Ancient Egypt Tekh was allegedly celebrated through intoxication in addition to rituals.

“In the temple of Dendera the ritual for Tekh spanned five days which included a procession of Het-Hert to the temple roof,  returning back to Her shrine slowly, then the procession of the Dendera Ennead to the temple roof for the ritual of uniting with the sun disc.

“The laymen during this time, if they could manage it, would also celebrate.  There are records of drunkenness in the temple so worshipers would get closer to Sekhmet through intoxication” according to https://upholdingmaat.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/a-semi-nifty-tekh-guide/

 

Thoth.jpg
Photo from Pinterest on http://www.pinterest.com

 

Month 1; Tekh (Thoth, Thuti, Thout, Djwhty)

10            procession of Isis (Late Period)

15            Hapi and Amun

17-18      Wagy or Wag

19           Wag and Thoth. festival

20          Tekh (drunkenness)

22          Great Procession of Osiris.

30          Osiris and Ennead

Further reads http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/festivalcalendar.html

“In a myth about the end of Ra’s rule on the earth, Ra sends Hathor or Sekhmet to destroy mortals who conspired against him.

“In the myth, Sekhmet’s blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra poured out beer dyed with red ochre or hematite so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, she became so drunk that she gave up the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra”, according to http://www.greekmythology.com/pictures/Myths/The_Myths/127796/sekhmet/

Cover Sekhmet RGB - Kindle
Many have written about ancient Egypt’s spirits 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ancient Malawi’s Theka, Theka…balancing stones scale, measuring the heart (mtima)

‘Mtima wabwino kapena woipa or is it woyipa’ – meaning a good or bad heart to mean a good or evil person in ancient beliefs…could that also refer to the soul as a spirit is mzimu?

Some ancient healers of Malawi in various rituals including oracles would say THEKA THEKA (HALF) in the Chinyanja language similar to balancing scales which was done by the one in the centre.

For figuring out oracles they would observe and sense a person’s heart to see what emotions were inside based on their belief system and they would also study the right and left eye to try and read into the person’s soul together with the hidden heart.

Gone are those days but sill worth recording as ancient myths as nature had rock scales which ancestors from priesthoods studied but it’s not known if Sanjika Rock where John Chilembwe spent time was a balanced Rock used in ancient times.

Now  when some ancient priesthoods (ansembe) used Ufa (flour) as a nsembe offering , it was in a cupped hand as K and measured as THEKA THEKA (HALF, HALF).

If the scale mythical balanced then they would say the person is balanced but if it tilted they would read further into that person using their belief systems.

So we have Theka as half -theka as in zitheka as to mean to be possible so using those words we can also say So Mote it be…it’s possible Ase.

Tekha in ancient Egypt was also the weigher, the pointer of the scales  according to the online book ‘The Sound of Meaning: Comparative Linguistics of Ancient Egyptian, Maya and Nahuatl’ on https://books.google.mw/books?id=vDXYMct_fRQC&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=tekha+ancient+egypt&source=bl&ots=INGAEhF1Yt&sig=G8mE5tK4kyZnxKasvuM9th-HIf4&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=tekha%20ancient%20egypt&f=false

However I’m not sure if that was in relation to Ancient Egypt’s mythical Hall of Judgement and if the scale was like the Western one not balanced as being flat on top like in the below online scroll.

An website for children has a comprehensive guide and fact sheet about the Hall of Judgement. These include:

The ancient Egyptian ‘Book of the Dead’
The Hall of Double Justice or the Hall of the Two Truths
The 42 ‘Assessor gods’ or judges
The ‘Declaration of Innocence’ or ‘Negative Confessions’
The ‘weighing of the heart ceremony’.
The role of Osiris, Anubis, Ma’at, Ammit and Thoth
The ancient Egyptian ‘Judgement Day’

An overview of the Hall of Judgement in the Book of the Dead

Now eyes and their shapes have played an important role in African society with some beliefs associating witches and wizards with wide owl ones in contrast to slanted pigeon and dove ones.

In ancient Africa pigeons represented peace and were said to flee a home where there is conflict and constant arguments. A type of mphonda in the pumpkin family is placed by some healers near a village pigeon’s “home”.

Some mphonda are like African Wine Kettle gourds locally known as nsupa while others include gourds similar to the basket shape one on http://www.seedman.com/Gourds.htm

Eyes are also mentioned 502 times in the King James Bible and the word eye some 115 times.  The Big Brother show also had an eye for a logo like on http://www.36ng.com.ng/2013/05/26/big-brother-africa-season-8-the-chase-is-on-meet-the-28-housemates-for-2013/ and some currencies in western countries have a gazing eye as well as some television stations.

In Malawi, Mbona is known for his right protruding eye while ancient Egypt information online shows that the right eye of Horus, son of Osiris and Isis represented concrete factual information controlled by the left brain while the left eye controlled the right brain, dealing with esoteric thoughts and feelings responsible for intuition.

In the Ulendo Series Mtunda 8 Chichewa for Standard 8, in the tale, Mbona’s red eyes on p37 is described as sticking out like a snake.  In ancient times, the ancestors of this land did not view all snakes as evil but goat spirits.

Healers and other spiritual enlightened people were said to either have the right eye of an upright snake or the left eye of a goat which was considered evil.

In ancient Malawians teachings the eyes for seeing spiritual issues and spirits was believed to be in the heart, globally known by some as the “seat of the soul.”

It’s with those “eyes” that some Sapitwa healers like saying “ndakuona (I see you)” whenever they catch a person in the spiritual realm doing something evil like using magic to rob or harm innocent people.

They claim they can see the physical world with their two eyes but they use the eyes of their hearts to see the spiritual world or spirits so they say.  For them it’s like removing a cloth of one’s face to enable them see things of the spirit closely in dreams or visions (masophenya) could that be the reason for the saying “Kadaona maso mtima suyiwala” which in a nutshell means something like “seeing is believing” but literally something like what the eyes has seen the heart does not forget?

Online, the Eye is also attributed to Masonry with the all-seeing eye representing God referred to as the Great Architect of the Universe.  Internet sources also show that the Eye of the Providence is a symbol showing an eye often surrounded by rays of light and usually enclosed by a triangle.  It is sometimes interpreted as representing the eye of God watching over humankind.

Curious to know what it means in other belief systems or ancient teachings and whether or not this online statue of ancient Egypt’s Osiris (Ausar) has a protruding right eye and an African Wine Kettle gourd on his head locally known as Nsupa together with a fly whisk and mibawa staff?

 

Gebet’a – World’s Oldest Board Game

Ethiopianism-Ethiopiawinet Online Revival

“One of the earlist evidence of the game are fragments of a pottery board and several rock cuts found in Aksumite Ethiopia in Matara (now in Eritrea) and Yeha (in Ethiopia), which are dated by archaeologists to between the 6th and 7th century AD; the game may have been mentioned by Giyorgis of Segla in his 14th century Ge’ez text “Mysteries of Heaven and Earth”, where he refers to a game called qarqis, a term used in Ge’ez to refer to both Gebet’a (Mancala) and Sant’araz (modern sent’erazh, Ethiopian Chess). The similarity of some aspects of the game to agricultural activity and the absence of a need for specialized equipment present the intriguing possibility that it could date to the beginnings of civilization itself; however, there is little verifiable evidence that the game is older than about 1300 years. Some purported evidence comes from the Kurna temple graffiti in…

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Behind colourful masks: Telling stories through words, pictures and videos….traveling with me back to ancient times