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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxix ] A collective term in Melanesian pidgin for clan ancestors who, while they dwell in a spirit-land, are constantly in touch with their living descendants. Spirits of the recently dead are honoured by funeral rites to ensure their continued support for the living. Ancestral spirits are invoked in the H aus tambaran and M ale cult rituals and S ingsings , where they receive offerings of food and wealth. They make themselves present through dreams, mediums and diviners, and in sacred stones, M asks and other objects. Obligations to ancestral spirits are the highest religious duties. They are believed to pass on from the creative gods and goddesses the power (M ana ) which makes tribal rites and customs effective, bringing health, social harmony and material well-being (S alvation , in religious terms). Neglect of the spirits invites disease, death and failure of crops [2; 14; 23; 29]. Prophet-led renewal movements (sometimes called C argo cults ) may involve attempts to placate ancestor-spirits believed to be withholding power and blessings or bestowing them on others. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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