Welcome to the home of the ANGAKKUQ.
In Inuit language ANGAKKUQ is a shaman, a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits and is the intellectual and spiritual figure among the Inuit who corresponds to a healer or medicine man/woman.
Amongst the Inuit, there are notions comparable to laws:
- PIQUJAIT … Things to Do
- MALIGAIT … Things to Follow
- TIRIGUSUUSIIT … Things to Avoid
If these three are not obeyed, then the ANGAKKUQ may need to intervene with the offending party in order to avoid harmful consequence to the person or group.
Breaking these laws or taboos was seen as the cause of misfortune, such as bad weather, accidents, or unsuccessful hunts.
In order to pinpoint the cause of such misfortune, the ANGAKKUQ would undertake a spirit-guided journey outside of their body. They would discover the cause of the misfortune on this journey. Once they returned from the journey, the ANGAKKUQ would question people involved in the situation, and, under the belief that they already knew who was responsible, the people being questioned would often confess. This confession alone could be declared the solution to the problem, or acts of penance such as cleaning the urine pots or swapping wives might be necessary.
The ANGAKKUQ of the central Inuit participate in an annual ceremony to appease the mythological figure SEDNA, the Sea Woman.
The Inuit believed that SEDNA became angry when her taboos were broken, and the only way to appease her was for an ANGAKKUQ to travel in spirit to the underworld where she lived, ADLIVUN, and smooth out her hair. According to myth, this was of great assistance to SEDNA because she lacks fingers.
The ANGAKKUQ would then beg or fight with SEDNA to ensure that his people would not starve, and the Inuit believed that his pleading and apologies on behalf of his people would allow the animals to return and hunters to be successful.
After returning from this spirit journey, communities in which the rite was practiced would have communal confessions, and then celebration.
Throughout the following pages we will try to convey the LEARNINGS OF TAQUKAQ-ATKA accordingly to the Inuit basic laws.