Sunday, April 15, 2007

Catechism, a translation*

Did you refuse to eat food untouched by fire?
Did you waste what was offered to you?
Have you eaten or considered eating the wings of birds,
or bones, or twigs, or forms of ivy?
When you prayed, in what way did you do this?
Did you use the right words?
Have angels appeared to you in unseemingly places?
At this time what herbs were offered to you?
Were words the thing that meant the most to you?
What other symbolism enchanted you?
Have you believed in the significance of certain birds
or other omens relating to the body?
Do you consider tattoos to be an art form or merely a chaos of the skin?
When your wife were to give birth did you consider your participation in this event a sin?
Do you believe there is an organic reason for your wife’s suffering?
Has your husband considered women or men other than you?
Have you bathed or fasted with the intention of his return?
Have you harbored desire?
Did you kiss someone?
Becoming pregnant did you use herb, hand, or other sharp object against the intended?
Are you someone who cures the sick?
Have you taken advantage?
Have you used nontraditional methods to cure the sick?
Have you laid hands on them?
Have you lured married women from their beds? Did they follow?
Have you had intercourse with a man as a man?
Have you taken belching to be a form of suicide?
Did you dance, sing, or pray in order to alter weather?
Is a bird on the snow a sign that someone is speaking your name?

*Catechism is a translation of the professors and students at the College of William and Mary’s translation from the Spanish of Francisco Pareja’s 1613 Confessionario: A Documentary Source for Timucuan Ethnography.

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