The ancients knew her as nomnomitchawa and they feared her over all others. Monthly sacrifices were made to this vengeful and sometimes crazed demi-goddess who, if not pacified, was known to wreak havoc and inflict great suffering on the people who angered her. Each month, nomnomitchawa would emerge from her slumber and expect a bountiful offering from her people on her alter. She would gluttonously consume the gifts that had been brought, and once her hunger was satisfied she would stroll her lands and see to her creatures for seven days, finally returning to her mountaintop to sleep until the following month. Her ancient people scoured the jungles and grasslands, rivers and lakes to bring back gifts that would appease nomnomitchawa, they roasted great slabs of meat over pits of hot coals, mixed honey and milk, picked the sweetest fruits, all for her alter.
The goddess was happy, and so were her people. After several years, the elders noticed that of all offerings made to nomnomitchawa, there were two that the goddess coveted above all others. This knowledge was passed down, generation to generation and was regarded with the highest significance. For hundreds of years, it was a time of prosperity and peace. And then, the conquerors came.
With flashes of steel, neighing of strange, hooved beasts, and blasts of deafening thunder than brought men to the ground- never to rise again, the entire village was annihilated in a matter of days. The village men had fought bravely, but what match were they for such impossible weapons? The women and children were taken- marched from their home as the death throes of their men could still be heard.
When nomnomitchawa awoke to find her people massacred she was instantly enraged at what had befallen her people. She was quick to judge the women of those brave men who had been slaughtered, viewing their willingness to be led away as cowardly. Who would bring her offerings now? Filled with contempt for her human sisters she cursed them, and all women, for the rest of eternity to suffer, just as she was suffering now. Vowing that the curse would only be lifted once someone rediscovered her alter and brought her two preferred offerings there, nomnomitchawa climbed back up to her mountaintop and was not heard from again.
Today, in modern times, women still feel the effects of that ancient curse cast by a spiteful goddess who didn’t get her way- albeit most do not realize the origins. That, however, is something I intend to change. As a PhD candidate studying ancient peoples and civilizations in the Manu region, I believe I have stumbled upon a clue to nomnomitchawa’s alter. It happened several years ago as I was doing a bit of research on one of the Battana tribes in the southern region. I was flipping through a manuscript written about that region when I came across a black and white photograph of a European man posing with a large macaw. The photo was dated 1950 and I wouldn’t have given it a second thought except for the strange platform the macaw was lazily perched upon. It was flat, and the stonework was obviously very old, but even more interesting was the curious shape carved on the base. I was intrigued. After some digging and a lot of inquiring I learned of nomnomitchawa and I now believe that the macaw in the picture was standing on her alter.
Having recently landed in that country of mystery and endless jungle, I intend on searching out the ill-fated spot that witnessed the slaughter and enslavement of an entire village and from there- nomnomitchawa. I have vowed to stay in this place until I have unlocked the secret to nomnomitchawa’s heart and deliver her a long overdue offering. Of course this will take time. And, above all, I must discover what two things nomnomitchawa would like brought to her alter.
Between us girls though, if I had my guess it would be chocolate and a juicy, medium-rare fillet (based soley on personal experience). Wish me luck ladies; I’m doing this for all of us.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Ok, sorry to do another ‘menses’ piece but, it’s my life… deal with it (sorry that’s the crazy person inside of me getting out again). Same ol drill, every month. Am I alone on this, or is this whole thing getting old for anyone else? Bueller? Today, suffering from an exceptionally bad case of cramps and a hellish backache that felt like I had taken a seat on a pitchfork (that’s right boys, CRINGE!) all I wanted was to go home, lay down and then stuff my face. Inevitably, there are only two things that my palette craves on these sorts of days, 1) chocolate- any kind will do and 2) steak- must be bloody. Funny, but I always seem to get my way on days like today (I wonder why?). So, after a refreshing nappy-nap on the couch with Joey, my mini-doxie curled up on my tummy, I ordered an Outback Special and picked up some Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Mama is happy.
Love & Squirrels.