Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/233

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Divination.

knows, and with them other leaves, vines of creepers, and bark belonging to each tindalo, in which the mana of each resides. With these he goes to the place sacred to his gogondo, and the people interested assemble. Then he ties the leaves to his own body, and begins to split each drac├Žna leaf down the middle. Each leaf answers to a tindalo, and if a leaf splits crooked it is the tindalo answering to it that is eating the sick man. The same gogondo is used to see whether a sick man will live or die; if the leaf representing the patient splits clean he will recover, if crooked he will die. In Motlav and the other Banks' Islands they divined by means of a bamboo into which a ghost had entered, and which pointed of itself to the thief or other culprit to be discovered. A common method of divination in the Banks' Islands is called so ilo, and is used to enquire where a lost person or thing is to be found, who is the thief, whether an absent friend is alive or dead. The hands are lifted over the head and rubbed together with a magic song calling on a ghost. The sign is given by the cracking of the joints; when the question is of life or death, if the thumbs or shoulders crack the man still lives, if the elbows crack he is dead. So if a man sneezes he will so ilo to know who it is that curses him; he revolves his fists one over the other and then throws out his arms; the revolving is the question, and the answer is given as he asks, 'Is it So-and-So?' and his elbows crack. Another method of divination was occasionally in use at Motlav in the same group. After a burial they would take a bag and put make, Tahitian chestnut, and scraped banana into it. Then a new bamboo some ten feet long was fitted to the bag and tied with one end in the mouth of it, and the bag was laid upon the grave, the men engaged in the affair holding the bamboo in their hands. The names of the recently dead were then called, and the men holding the bamboo felt the bag become heavy with the entrance of the ghost, which then went up from the bag into the hollow of the bamboo. The bamboo and its contents being carried into the village, the names of dead men were called over to find out whose ghost it was: when wrong names were called the free