Home > Winds of Change > Dreams and Dream Interpretation > Out of the Body Travel; Sakaniq, Nakkaaniq, Illimmaqturniq, and Ikiaqqiniq; and Travel Over Distance, Qiluriaqsiurniq

Assuituq National Park, near Broughton Island.

On the shore of Ungava Bay south of Killiniq.

Out of the Body Travel; Sakaniq, Nakkaaniq, Illimmaqturniq, and Ikiaqqiniq; and Travel Over Distance, Qiluriaqsiurniq

Felix Pisuk
My uncle said when they would ilimmaqtuqtuq their toes would be tied with a rope. Their hands would be tied behind their back. I am telling you what I have heard. Different communities had different ways of doing things. The angakkuq would say, “Halalala, Halalala,” and then there would be the sound of a snap and the angakkuq would bounce up into the air. The ropes he had been tied with would be all that was left. They would sometimes even fall in the shape of a ball or the shape of a bear. The angakkuq’s inner coat that had been beneath him would rise above him. There would be no one inside the atigi; the inner coat would be suspended in the air. My uncle told me about this. I am telling you about what I have heard, not what I have seen, so I can’t add more to this.
This chapter covers a number of notions related to the angakkuit’s power to travel. Angakkuit could let their spirit travel out of their body. His tuurngait would be carrying his tarniq, while his body stayed behind in the iglu. Ikiaqqiniq is flying “between ground and sky” to visit other camps or villages and help the sick and needy there. If the tuurngait carry the tarniq underground, where another dimension lies, the word is nakkaaniq. Illimmaqturniq refers to a skyward travel, where there is also another dimension. Qiluriaqsiurniq refers to a different kind of power that allows angakkuit to physically cover great distances in a short amount of time. The angakkuq would fold the ground several times to walk over it faster. This type of travel was always done by foot and was intended to be used only when necessary, as long-term use could jeopardize one’s ability to walk normally.

In order to leave their body, angakkuit performed a ritual known as sakaniq behind a screen. Once the ritual was completed, the body would lie there unconscious until the tarniq would come back, rest on the body’s knee and reenter the body. Some very powerful angakkuit were said to be able to bring their body along on these travels. Pisuk and Ka&&ak tell again the tale of Qimuksiraaq and Qijuk’s in-flight encounter. Angakkuit also performed sakaniq when they had to fight a bad tuurngaq.

Children would occasionally pretend to perform sakaniq. Agiaq had his first encounter with a tuurngaq in such circumstances. Pisuk also tells the tale of Anautalik, which was used to discourage children from pretending or making fun of sakaniq, since tuurngait do not appreciate being made fun of. Continuing on the topic of children’s games, the students question Agiaq about avaniq, which consists in simulating strangulation in order to induce a state of euphoria. Agiaq has tried this dangerous activity in his youth, but stopped after his mother forbade him from doing it again. Healthier games popular when the elders were young included ball games, kickball and playing with stones.