Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/165

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New Hebrides Sacrifices.

man is, and its presence makes the place sacred. The number of men who in old times had a sacred place with a familiar spirit of their own was large, probably most of the grown-up men had one; there was no priestly order, no sacred buildings, nothing to make a public show.

In the Northern New Hebrides, spirits are approached very commonly at stones, and offerings are made to them upon the stones, to secure their favour or to reconcile them if offended. This is all the sacrifice there appears to be at Maewo, Aurora Island; they use no word that can be translated 'sacrifice,’ unless it be turegi, which means to lay an offering upon a stone. A certain offering, however, is made to a ghost; if a man's pig is lost he will go to the grave of a kinsman, put on the stones above it, qaru, a tuft of dracæna or croton leaves, and say, 'Get me back my pig.' The ghost will drive the pig back into the village. To offer thus is malai o qaru. At Whitsuntide, Araga, there are stones connected with spirits in sacred places which are known only to those who have discovered them, or have been introduced into acquaintance with the spirits by their predecessors. At these stones sacrifices are made. A young man wishes to get on in the Loli Society, to become rich, to live to be old, the main object being to be a great man in the Loli. Such a person makes his offering of a pig or mats to the man who is acquainted with the spirit, ma dugu boe lalainia; for they say, as in the Banks' Islands, that the offering is not made to the spirit, but to the man who knows him. This go-between keeps the pig for himself. He goes to the sacred place taking the suppliant with him; then he mutters to Tagaro the spirit, 'This man has given us two a pig, let him be great, let him be a full-grown man.' After this the supplicant can go and make his requests in the sacred place by himself. Sometimes a very young cocoa-nut is broken and the juice poured over his head as a sign that he is admitted. They also put such a young cocoa-nut on the stone as an offering. Such sacrifices are made for sunshine, rain, and abundant crops. Offerings also are made to the ghosts of powerful men recently deceased, either at their graves or