Na’vi Funerals & Expressing Grief

Today while browsing through an Avatar forum, I came across the topic of death and grief on Pandora. While the person who originally started the topic just wanted to open up a conversation about death in general and how we shouldn’t fear it, I had my own thoughts about death and grief and how it was shown to us in the film. I decided to also post my thoughts here, because I think it’s an interesting topic, specifically as it pertains to world building and the overall culture of the Na’vi, as well as how the cultures might differ among the clans.

In response to the person’s curiosity about Neytiri’s funeral attire, this was my response:

“I was also curious about Neytiri’s attire during Neteyam’s send off, as well as the solid stripe going down Jake’s face and the black/darkly colored bands that were on his arms. I am mostly curious about what Na’vi practices are when it comes to the death of a blood family member in comparison to the death of a clan member, because in the first film, we briefly saw a send off of an Omaticaya clan member, however no one was in funeral/grieving attire. They came in their everyday attire and placed their seeds of the sacred tree on the member as a way to say farewell so that the member’s spirit can go on to become one within Eywa.

I wonder if the attire for Neteyam’s funeral is what Omaticaya wear when a direct family member dies, or if this was the funeral practices of the Metkayina. Because I also noticed that Tanowari’s and Ronal’s clothing were also different for Neteyam’s send off. They did say in the movie that the Sully’s were Metkayina now, so I wonder if this was just Metkayina attire for funerals.

I also noticed that Neytiri was wearing Neteyam’s necklace for the funeral as well.

It’s all very interesting to think about and I have not seen anything yet in the official canon about the funeral styles of the different Na’vi clans. I am interested in it because the funeral for the Omaticaya in the first film felt much lighter, especially with Jake narrating that the Omaticaya believe that all energy is borrowed and that in the end, all energy must be returned. Granted, I understand the horrific circumstances that Neteyam died under, so his death is a lot heavier and I imagine that no Na’vi, no matter what their spiritual beliefs are, wants to experience the death of a loved one, especially the death of a child. I imagine that dying of old age vs. dying due to murder and war are very different in terms of energy being returned to Eywa. However, I like the idea that death is not the end, no matter how you die. Your soul goes on, back into Eywa where there is freedom, peace, and no pain.”

Even though we did not see a funeral for Neytiri’s father in the first film, I imagine that it would have held the same heaviness as Neteyam’s, and I can’t picture a funeral like we saw in the first film happening for Olo’eyktan’s funeral. It definitely wouldn’t be as light and accepting. Not only because he was the clan leader, but because of the circumstances he died under. His death was absolutely brutal. And the fact that he died in Neytiri’s arms makes it that much heavier.

I feel sad that Olo’eyktan could not get a proper burial with the Omaticaya sending him off. But in my imagination, I like to think maybe they did, in the best way they knew how, after they made it to safety while congregating under the large tree; the scene where Jake showed up with the toruk.

I also wonder if Neytiri has a bead and a song on her songcord for her father. I would have liked to hear what song she created for him. I’d like to hear Mo’at’s song for him too, if she has one.

Death can be heavy and traumatic, and grief can feel like the end of the world. But I love how the Na’vi always have a way to be near their ancestors with the Tree of Voices. It makes me wish we had something like it here on earth. Same with the Black Panther films and how they can speak to their ancestors on the ancestral plane. When it comes to my own ancestors, I, for one, would love to be able to see my great grandfather again. Many people never meet their great grand parents, but I was fortunate enough to actually grow up with mine 💜

The Way of Water Countdown: T-8 days

I’ve been gone for a while. I needed to take a step away from all the Avatar fandom groups that I used to frequent. The reason being is that one day, a couple months ago, I was spoiled for a major plot point of the new film. I wasn’t searching for spoilers (because why on earth would I?), but one day while scrolling through my Instagram stories, I came across someone who reposted something that was shared at a huge event for movie directors and producers. At this event, James Cameron was sharing some spoilers amongst his fellow directors and producers. Someone that was there posted about it. Someone else reposted it, and it eventually found it’s way to my story feed since I am a part of online Avatar fan groups and follow Avatar hashtags.

I’m sincerely hoping that it was a bluff on the original poster’s part and that I can be surprised once I see the film, but only time will tell. I have no idea why people post spoilers of any kind, let alone spoilers for huge films such as Avatar, and do it without warning! So, I took a step away and I will continue to do so until after the movie. I haven’t even seen any of the new trailers. I’ve only seen the teaser and some photos before stepping back from the online fandom space.

I don’t really have much to say other than release day is getting nearer and nearer and I just wanted to come on here and say that I’ve purchased my tickets. I’m taking my brother with me. I’ll be at an IMAX theater with great seats and I’m happy that I’ll get to see this movie in theaters. I never got to see the first film in theaters and when it was re-released in theaters back in September, it was only in theaters for a week where I live, and since I was in a period of a rather dramatic job transition during that time, I once again did not get to see it in theaters. But not this time!

I’m seeing it in theaters and I’m even seeing it a day early! I have no idea how I was able to get early viewing tickets, but I did. I’m truly hoping for the best and to be amazed. I’ve kept it no secret that I have concerns and worries about this film due to certain things taking place, characters that still exist, and new characters that I don’t really care about or want to follow. I also don’t want any annoying teen romance that it looks like we’ll be getting.

Oh well. After 13 years, the movie has finally been made and will be in theaters. Let’s see if I’m still a fan after this lol. I truly hope I am not disappointed.

Avatar: The Way of Water trailer reaction

OOHHH MYYY GOOOSSHH, YA’LL!

I finally got to see the trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water and it’s sooo good! And when I tell you I almost burst into tears at the conflict shots, I really did get teary eyed. Particularly at the brief scene of Spider drawing his arrow and his ferocity when doing so.

I am so ready for this film. I was super skeptical, even as a long time fan, that I just would not be amazed and that absolutely nothing could top the first film. Well this trailer has me so pumped and ready to see this movie. I’m ready to be astounded. I’m ready for a beautiful story. And I’m ready to ugly cry lol!

I will admit that when I saw the avatar that was supposed to be Quaritch, I had an instant attitude though. I still stand firm in my opinion that he needs to still be dead. I hate that he is still the villain in this second movie, and I’m completely beside myself with annoyance that he will still be the villain in the rest of the films.

Anyway. I’ve watched the trailer three times already and I can’t stop staring at how absolutely beautiful everything is. I am soooo excited to be exploring more of Pandora.

I love it I love it I love it 💙🤍💜

Creating a Na’vi Name (Part 2)

So, I’ve gone back to thinking about the creation of a Na’vi name. I made a post some time ago about introducing my Na’vi name, but only stuck with creating a first name. Since the official Na’vi name conventions include both the family name and the name of a parent depending on whether your are male of female, I initially chose not to create a full name. But now I sorta kinda want to, so here I am yet again lol.

I have chosen to keep the naming structure that the Na’vi have which is [first name] te [family name] [mother’s name]’ite. I am to use the ending of ‘ite’ since I am a female. However, I don’t want to just transliterate my family name or use my mother’s name at all. Instead, for the family name, I am just going to take the meaning of my family name, just as I did with my own first name. And for the place where my mother’s name is supposed to be, I am going to substitute it with a small portion of my online presence name.

The meaning of my family name is “brave; powerful”. The Na’vi word for brave is tstew. My online name is Na’vi Dreamer. Dreamer is a word that I have always loved for many reasons, and I feel it fits me very well which is why I chose it as a screen name. The Na’vi word for dream is unil. In order to get the word “dreamer”, I have to add the suffix ‘-yu’ which roughly equates to the English suffix of ‘-er’. The ‘yu’ suffix turns a verb into a noun. Specifically, it turns the verb into the person who is doing that verb. So, unil = dream (the verb), and unilyu = dreamer (the person doing the verb).

So, putting that all together, my family name would be [tstew] and the last part of my name would be [unilyu’ite]. Once again, the Na’vi naming structure is: [first name] te [family name] [mother’s name]’ite. So my full Na’vi name would be as follows:

Oare’yawne te Tstew Unilyu’ite

And you guuuyyssss!! I actually really love it! I won’t lie, I thought doing it this way would make me come up with something ridiculously difficult to pronounce or that looked and sounded terrible. But I like this! Here is my best attempt at a pronunciation guide:

[oh-ahr-eh | yau-neh] [teh] [ts-steh-oo] [oo-neel-yu] [ee-teh]

The literal translation of my first name is Beloved Moon, and the literal translation of the rest of my name would be Brave Dreamer. And seriously, I love it so much. Oare’yawne. Tstew Unilyu.

Beloved moon. Brave dreamer 💙💜🤍

~ Na’vi Dreamer ~

Avatar: The Way of Water

So after all these years, and a leak of the possible sequel name, it has finally been confirmed that the Avatar sequel’s name will in fact be called The Way of Water. Even though the title confirmation is not much of a surprise, I’m glad that the questions surrounding the title have finally been settled.

Concept art from 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR 2. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. ©2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The concept art that has been released online has been beautiful so far. While I am not very excited for the supposed story of this Avatar sequel, I am excited to be visiting Pandora again. I’m sure I’m not the only one that wishes a place like Pandora could be real.

There have been a few leaked pictures of Avatar 2 from the CinemaCon showing recently. I won’t post them here since as far as I know, they were leaked and not officially released. But man oh man, they look great! Pandora looks as amazing as ever, the few new characters shown look like they mean absolute business, and there might possibly be another new character for all of us to fall in love with. And no, I’m not talking about Jake’s and Neyriti’s kids 🙄.

There are 8 more months until the next film hits theaters and I am itching to be proven wrong about all my apprehensions. I guess I haven’t been very optimistic because in my own personal experiences, sequels have almost always disappointed me; in films and books. So, prove me wrong James Cameron! Because I actually really want to be lol.

The trailer for the film will be released for the first time to the public next week in theaters before the second Doctor Strange movie. And believe it or not, I’m so eager to finally see the trailer that I am tempted to buy a ticket to the movie just so I can see the it. I’m so happy to be exploring more of Pandora. I wish the trailer could be released to the public online at the same time as in the theater. Heck, why not just post the trailer on the Avater.com official website on DS2 release day??

I’m sure all the Avatar fans might crash the site lol, but a girl can hope.

~ Na’vi Dreamer ~

Hello again…

It’s been months since I have posted anything and the 1-year anniversary of my very first post has already passed. I know I don’t have many readers for this small blog, but I thought I’d share why I’ve been gone regardless. I guess I have just been feeling discouraged and overwhelmed these past few months.

Discouraged because as a long-time fan of the Avatar film, I don’t know how to feel about the sequel we are finally getting. Mostly because, of all the information that has been released about the storyline and characters, I can’t bring myself to even fake like I am interested. And since I am not interested, I am having a hard time balancing my disinterest for the second film with my love for the first film, in order to keep this blog going.

I don’t care about Jake’s and Neytiri’s kids. I don’t want to follow around their children for this movie. It doesn’t interest me that Jake wants to adopt a human child. I don’t care about nor do I want to see family drama. I don’t want to see Quaritch as a villain again, let alone for ALL of the following sequels. And I’m annoyed that this movie takes place a decade after the events of the first movie since, you know…this film is being released THIRTEEN YEARS after the first film.

I look around online and so many die-hard fans of James Cameron have so much faith in him. I can’t say I am a JC stan, I just like the Avatar film. So, I guess that blind faith that everyone else has is just not there in me. I want to be excited for this new film. I want to be interested in the plot. But so far I’m just…not. And that disappoints me even more for some reason.

Maybe it’s because the original film had such an impact on me from such a young age that I had my own expectations. And even though the second film has yet to be released, those expectations are not being met so far. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I truly wanted a continuation, not subsequent stand-alone films.

I don’t want this to come off as if I am dissing James Cameron or the Avatar franchise. I made a whole site devoted to the fandom for heaven’s sake. But…I don’t know. I guess I just feel jaded towards it all, and I feel disappointed about feeling so jaded because I freakin love Avatar.

I’ve also been feeling overwhelmed because of all the horrible things happening in the world lately. Bad things happen all the time, I know, but it feels like there has been a huge spotlight on all the negativity happening in the world recently. Every single day on all the news channels there are reports of bad things.

Recently, just a few days ago, there was another police shooting of a black man in the US. There is an all out war in Europe right now. And in Brazil, the government has passed a bill to give the green light for continuing to burn down the Amazon rain forest, and the two environmental websites that I follow the most closely have had nothing but bad updates on trying to hold western banks accountable for helping fund he deforestation of the Amazon.

All of this just makes me feel sick to my stomach honestly, and even staying involved in my fandoms, like Avatar, for some escape aren’t helping. I feel like the world is in shambles and has been since the initial covid shut down back in late 2019/early 2020. I didn’t mean to get on here and be so down and sad, but this is why I have not been posting for the past three and half months.

If you are reading this, I hope you are doing well and taking care of yourself the best you can. Even with covid mandates dropping and things starting to return back to “normal”, please continue to be safe, check on your friends and family, and don’t give up the fight on protecting our earth. It’s tough and can sometimes feel like a hopeless battle, but please stay strong. It’s something I also try to tell myself everyday.

Eywa be with you all 💙

~ Na’vi Dreamer ~

Things I Think About When Watching Avatar

(…and other documentaries about isolated tribes)

Whenever I watch this film, I literally have so many questions. Some of these might sound like silly questions, but I don’t care. Since this is going to be a fairly long post, I’m just gonna list my random Avatar thoughts in no particular order.

Loincloths. How do they prevent genital infection and diseases? Their crotches and most sensitive parts are out in the open to the elements. How do women stay clean and healthy down there? What about dirt, dust, and bugs getting into all their cracks and crevices? Isn’t it uncomfortable?

Unlike men, a vagina is a working, self-cleansing organism. This means that women release fluids regularly. If they are walking around naked, or almost naked, how does this not get everywhere? This is why panties were invented, but panties don’t exist on pandora. How do they protect their lady bits??

Do Na’vi women get periods? Is that just a human thing? What do actual isolated tribal women do during that time of the month? What do they call it?

What do they use to clean their teeth? Is oral hygiene and health a thing? Does their breath smell? Or do they just not care about bad breath? Is bad breath a “first world problem”? How are the Na’vi’s teeth so white?

Do the Na’vi stink? Do isolated tribes stink? Rinsing off in a river is not bathing (according to modern cultural standards, of course). How do you kill germs without soap or alcohol? How do they not get clogged pores and bad acne? Or how do they not suffer from dry skin?

How are they so hairless? I’ve seen so many documentaries where previously undocumented tribes use nothing but handmade weapons and materials. The Na’vi also use handmade weapons from the earth and their environment. How do they do things like shave their heads and bodies then?

Where do the Na’vi poop and pee? I know that might be a gross thing to wonder about, but this was never addressed in the movie, nor is it anything addressed in real life documentaries that I watch about isolated or traditional tribes. What is used to clean themselves afterward?

How do the Na’vi combat illness/sickness? What medicines do they have, and for what ailments?

How did the tradition of riding Ikrans come about? Who was the first Na’vi that said, “Yes, I will almost get myself killed by riding an Ikran and then make this a coming-of-age tradition for my people?” Lol

Matter of fact, who was the first lunatic that decided to ride a Toruk!?

Why do the Na’vi live in hammocks in the trees instead of actual shelters? Where do they seek protection from the harsh elements such as severe rain storms and wild animals?

Where do the Na’vi get their cloth and beads from? If they are made from their surroundings, what are they made of?

Where do the feathers come from? We have yet to see a Pandoran animal with feathers and have only been introduced to one plant that has feather-like leaves.

If the Omaticaya clan is primarily isolated from other tribes, how do they continue to reproduce without eventually intermarrying with family?

Have the other Na’vi clans had direct contact with the Sky People? Are the Omaticaya the only clan that can speak English?

Does Na’vi’s hair grow with their neural connectors, or do they grow as open/loose tendrils that need to be protected by the hair which is why it’s braided up the way it is? For these connectors to be so sensitive and vital to Na’vi living (eyesight, connecting with Eywa, their Ikrans, the Direhorse, etc.), how is only hair strong enough to protect it?

Are all marriages arranged, or only for the clan leader and Tsahik? Even though Neytiri broke this tradition, in the deleted scenes, Mo’at told Neytiri that she can never be Tsahik now if she chooses Jake (because he was an outsider). Are leadership rolls only saved for insiders/actual clan members? If so, Neytiri should be able to be Tsahik (if she wants to be) now that Jake was made a clan member and the next clan leader by the end of the film, right?

Why didn’t the Na’vi use their tails more? What was the purpose of them besides looking cool?

What do they use to make their war paint? Plants? Skins of fruit? A type of tree sap?

What creates the poison that they use to coat their arrow tips with?

Why was there an extra, empty hammock already available for Jake to sleep in?

Wow, I wish I could ride an Ikran.

Wow, I wish I could ride a Direhorse.

Wow, I wish I could speak Na’vi.

What does it feel like to connect to Eywa?

I guess I’ll stop there. These are just some of the many things I think about during and after watching this film. There’s more, a lot more, but this post is already getting too long lol

My Trouble With Learning Na’vi

As with learning any new language, there will be struggles. Trying to get your mouth to move in ways that it never has before to produce brand new sound combinations is hard. Fictional languages are no different. 

I haven’t posted about it very often on this blog but I want to learn Na’vi. I started – and then promptly stopped. Why? Because Na’vi has the ever-dreaded trilled double R. A sound I have NEVER been able to make. 

And I know you’re thinking it. “iT tAkEs pRaCtIcEe”. 

No! The amount of times I have heard this over the course of my life makes me want to burst into a fit of rage. No, it does not “just take practice”. For some people, maybe that’s true. But for the minority, like myself, trilled Rs is a sound I will just never be able to make due to things I cannot control. I don’t know all the sciencey terminology for it, but I am convinced that the shape of my mouth and placement of my tongue and teeth don’t allow me to trill. And here’s something else: I can’t whistle either. And here’s some weird TMI: I’ve been told that I have a “little tongue” (that’s such a weird thing to tell someone, but yes, I have been told this. Should I be worried? Idk). 

Whistling and trilling my Rs has been something I have been trying to do since I was a young child and this is no exaggeration. I remember very vividly how hard and how long I would painstakingly try to create the beautiful note of sound that is a whistle. How upset I would get that I’m following absolutely everything everyone ever told me about the proper way to whistle, and yet no whistling sound ever came forth. And I remember how embarrassed and disappointed I was to find out that my 6-year-old brother could trill his Rs naturally while I sounded like a mashup of choking, gargling, spitting, and on really stressful days – gagging. 

I’ve read blogs, talked to teachers, examined diagrams of the mouth, jaw, and face, allowed my tongue to feel every nook and cranny within my mouth. I’ve even watched countless videos of language teachers teaching how to trill; Native speakers teaching non-native speakers how to trill; Non-native speakers that learned teaching other non-native speakers trying to learn. And I remember watching one particular video with my sister and us both trying. We are both adults. My sister ended up trilling her Rs while I was still making the sounds of a dying animal. 

freetoedit#boy #pokerface #meme #memeface #middlefinger #middlefingerup  #mood #me #remixit | Funny instagram memes, Cute memes, Meme faces
My face when my sister learned to trill and I didn’t.

It wasn’t and isn’t fair, and I’m mad about it! Lol. It sounds so silly to me as I type this that I was and am taking this so seriously, but come on! Why can’t I do it?? 

Often, when I find out that a cool sounding language – real or fictional – has the alveolar trill in it, my interest and motivation wanes instantly. But for some reason, it never has for Na’vi. It’s disheartening for sure to know that I will most likely never be able to trill my Rs and whistle properly. And it was even more disheartening to hear one of the more famous conlang creators that I mildly admired pretty much dismiss people who can’t trill their Rs (I won’t name him, but it was during an interview I saw on YouTube where after so many questions he ended up just sounding super pretentious). 

However, learning a new language is supposed to be fun and I am tired of trying to force my body to do things that it just can’t. It’s been well over a decade and I still can’t trill. It’s been well over a decade and I can still barely whistle. I want to learn Na’vi, but seeing words words with the double rr, such as Nìprrte instantly kill my motivation because I know that I will never be able to pronounce it the way it’s supposed to sound, with the alveolar trill. 

I’m tired of people simply chalking it up to endless practice. I’m tired of people saying “everyone can do it” when clearly, I am not a part of that “everyone”. I’m tired of people saying it’s genetic when my whole family can trill, yet I cannot. Does all of this make me want to lash out and throw things? Abso-freakin-lutely. 

Princess Bubblegum Table Flip GIFs | Tenor

But I have to constantly remind myself that learning Na’vi is for fun. It doesn’t matter if I can’t make the rr sound. It’s a fictional language that probably no one will ever hear me speak. I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself because there are simply things that everyone just can’t do no matter how much practice is put in, no matter how hard you try.  

While writing this, I am reminded of Mike Wazowski from the movie Monsters University. He knew everything there was to know about being scary. He knew textbooks from cover-to-cover. He knew who all the great top scarers were. He knew how to set up the perfect trap to scare the living daylights out of people. He knew exactly what it took to be absolutely frightening. So what was the problem?

He just wasn’t scary.

No matter how hard he studied, practiced, or tried, he just wasn’t scary. And this is honestly how I feel about trying to learn the alveolar trill, and it was how I felt while endlessly trying to whistle. 

I am trying my best to accept this despite still wishing for that magical day that so many people online have claimed to have, where suddenly, one day, by powers unknown, they just start trilling their Rs despite never knowing how to do so before. 

A girl can hope.

~ Na’vi Dreamer ~

Avatar Costuming: Neytiri

This is my other favorite look from the film. Hands down, one of the best! Besides the fact that this outfit is purple, which is my favorite color, I really have no idea why I love this outfit so much lol. I just simply love how unique it is. It’s completely different from any other look that Neytiri wore in the film, and completely different from anything anyone else wore throughout the film also. And I am so in love with how the necklace piece looks like the roots of a tree! (and this is the scene where Neytiri takes Jake to the Tree of Voices, which is so fitting).

One of the things I would have loved to know from the film is where the Na’vi get their beads from. From what I know about indigenous cultures around the world, wooden and stone beads can be made in their own communities. Even beads from dried seeds. However, beads like the ones pictured above (which are usually made from some type of plastic, metal, or glass) generally come from non-indigenous communities through trade and/or selling.

Since trade is not something that has happened on pandora and humans were trying to colonize for unobtanium only, I am very curious to know how the Na’vi got their beads or how they made them/where they come from. I don’t remember seeing anything about beads in the book I have on Pandora so I’m super curious.

New life goal: recreate this look! 💜

Why I Like The Na’vi

One of the many reasons that I like the Na’vi so much is because of their connection to nature. I honestly can’t remember a time that I didn’t love nature. Unless it was mosquitos lol.

I was the kid that collected rocks and my mom would get frustrated every time she washed my clothes because a hoard of rocks would fall out of my pockets and into the washing machine.

I used to pick yellow dandelions even though I was allergic to them.

I would also collect the big, white, fluffy ones and make wishes over them before blowing them into the air. And yes, I called them “wishies” and not dandelions lol. I believed that as long as the dandelion seeds caught the wind instead of falling straight to the ground, then your wishes or prayers would come true.

I had a pet caterpillar and cried when I had to release it after it turned into a butterfly.

I climbed trees like it was my religion and dreamed of the day that I would have a treehouse and live in it ( I am an adult and still want one lol).

After watching the movie Ferngully as a child, I swore I could talk to trees and hear them.

I could go on and on. People like to talk crap about Avatar, but if you got nothing else out of the movie, I hope you can take away the message of appreciating the natural world around you. There is so much beauty in it and as long as you take care of it, it will always give.