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Pane na Bolon

by Micha F. Lindemans
The divinity in Batak belief who ruled over the middle-earth. He was venerated under the name of Silampane or Naga Padoha. He had the form of a snake, dragon or Naga. Reigning over the world of men, his depiction is often associated with that of the eight points of a compass, called the desa na ualudesa sialuh (Karo-Batak). This divinity had a destructive aspect, capable of devouring plants and animals or of seizing the vital spirit of humans. The Datu (medicine-man) were therefore often consulted in order to know exactly in which the direction of head of Pane na Bolon was situated at any time so as to be able to direct one's actions accordingly.

Thus in the month of October, November and December (Si Paha pitu, -ualu, -sia) the head of the Naga faces Pastina or westward, and the Datu would recommend warriors when fighting to turn their backs to Purba, Angoni or Irisanna (East, South-East, or North-East) so that the god should not be able to take their lives, and by doing so safeguarded them from being wounded or killed by their enemies.


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