Field-note excerpt: owls, sorcerers and the social cause of illness

An example of the pervasive obliquity that characterises everyday talk. On this particular day I was drinking sweet tea and smoking rolling-tobacco on the tarpaulin under the mango tree outside the Green House in camp when one of my siblings remarked of one of our daughters:


“She was going from man to man before coming to stop here in Camp for a while. She was rirri-mirri (sick, ill, diseased) … from that ‘going from man to man’. There was something different too. Owls – many of them, they followed her here. Sorcerers. They were watching her, perhaps, perhaps not. When she left to go back to the island they also left, they flew away.”


~ fieldnotes July, 2008. 


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Filed under Thesis/Yolngu related writing

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