The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore/Chapter 8



The simplest and most common sacrificial act is that of throwing a small portion of food to the dead; this is probably a universal practice in Melanesia. A fragment of food ready to be eaten, of yam, a leaf of mallow, a bit of betel-nut, is thrown aside, and, where they drink kava, a libation is made of a few drops, as the share of departed friends, or as a memorial of them with which they will be gratified. This is done perhaps with the calling of the name of some one recently deceased or particularly in remembrance at the time, or else with a general regard to the ghosts of former members of the community. It is hardly thought that this becomes in fact the food of the departed, but somehow it is to their advantage, at any rate it pleases them. At the same time the living friends like to feel and shew remembrance of the dead who have sat with them around the oven; and it is an opportunity of getting help from ghostly power, for which prayer is made. In the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands this domestic rite has not, so far as my knowledge goes, developed into any formal sacrifice, as it has in the Solomon Islands; for it may be surely thought that the sacrifices of the latter islands have had their origin in such offerings to the dead. To place food on a burial-place or before some memorial image is common; and to do this is to offer a kind of sacrifice, even if as in Santa Cruz the offering is soon taken away and eaten. But the natives do not call either of these offerings a sacrifice, do not use for either the words for which in English no other translation can be found. The sacrifices, in the more restricted sense, of the Solomon Islands are widely different from those of the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands; in the western islands the offerings are made to ghosts, and consumed by fire as well as eaten; in the eastern islands they are made to spirits, and there is no sacrificial fire or meal. In the former nothing is offered but food, in the latter money has a conspicuous place.

(1) A Solomon Island sacrifice has been excellently described by a native of San Cristoval. 'In my country,’ he wrote, 'they think that ghosts are many, very many indeed, some very powerful, and some not. There is one who is principal in war; this one is truly mighty and strong, When our people wish to fight with any other place, the chief men of the village and the sacrificers and the old men, and the elder and younger men, assemble in the place sacred to this ghost; and his name is Harumae. When they are thus assembled to sacrifice, the chief sacrificer goes and takes a pig; and if it be not a barrow pig they would not sacrifice it to that ghost, he would reject it and not eat of it. The pig is killed (it is strangled), not by the chief sacrificer, but by those whom he chooses to assist, near the sacred place. Then they cut it up; they take great care of the blood lest it should fall upon the ground; they bring a bowl and set the pig in it, and when they cut it up the blood runs down into it. When the cutting up is finished, the chief sacrificer takes a bit of flesh from the pig, and he takes a cocoa-nut shell and dips up some of the blood. Then he takes the blood and the bit of flesh and enters into the house (the shrine), and calls that ghost and says, "Harumae! Chief in war! we sacrifice to you with this pig, that you may help us to smite that place; and whatsoever we shall carry away shall be your property, and we also will be yours." Then he burns the bit of flesh in a fire upon a stone, and pours down the blood upon the fire. Then the fire blazes greatly upwards to the roof, and the house is full of the smell of pig, a sign that the ghost has heard. But when the sacrificer went in he did not go boldly, but with awe; and this is the sign of it; as he goes into the holy house he puts away his bag, and washes his hands thoroughly, to shew that the ghost shall not reject him with disgust; just as when you go into the really Holy House you take off your hat from your head, a sign that you reverence the true Spirit.' The pig was afterwards eaten by the worshippers. To sacrifice in this way is called hoasi, the ghost to whom the sacrifice is made 'ataro. It should be observed that Harumae had not been dead many years; when this account was written, the elder men remembered; him alive; nor was he a great fighting man, but a kind and I generous man, thought to have much mana. His shrine was! a small house in the village, in which relics of him were kept. No one since his time had died whom the people thought worthy of such worship; had it been so Harumae would have been neglected.

In Florida, as has been said, the objects of worship are tindalo, to whom the food consumed in the fire is offered as their portion. Some are commonly known by name, others are known only to one man and another who has found out or been taught how to approach them, and calls each tindalo his own, nagana. We are concerned here with sacrifices; public, as offered to a well-known tindalo, powerful in such things as) concern the general well-being; and private, offered by individuals to the tindalo of whom they have particular knowledge.[1] In every village there was the tindalo accepted at the time, and the chief was the sacrificer. He had received from his predecessor the knowledge how to 'throw' the sacrifice to this tindalo, and he imparted this knowledge to his son or nephew, whom he designed to leave as his successor. The place of sacrifice was near the village, an ancient one or newly made, according to the time in which this tindalo had been in vogue, an enclosure with a little house or shrine in which relics were preserved. When a public sacrifice was performed the people of the place assembled, boys but not women being present, near but not in the sacred place. Food is prepared, but not eaten till the sacrifice has been offered. The sacrificer alone enters the sacred place or shrine, and takes to it his son, or the person he has instructed. He makes a fire of small sticks, muttering words of mana, but he must not blow it. He takes some of the prepared food in a basket lined with dracæna leaves and others peculiar to this tindalo, some mash of yam or something of that kind; part of this he throws upon the fire, calling the name of the tindalo, and the names of others with it; he tells him to take his food, and makes petition for whatever is desired. The fire blazes up, a favourable sign that the tindalo are present and blow the fire; the bit of food is consumed[2]. What remains the sacrificer takes back to the assembly and eats, giving some of it to his assistant. Then the people receive from him their portions of the food prepared, and eat it or take it away. While the sacrificing is going on there is a solemn silence. If a pig is killed on the occasion, the heart in Florida, at Bugotu the gullet, is burnt upon the sacrificial fire. One tindalo commonly known, whose worship is not local, is Manoga. At sacrifices offered to him little boys are present, and sometimes even women partake of the sacrificial food. 'He who throws the sacrifice when he invokes this tindalo heaves the offering round about, and calls him; first to the east, where rises the sun, saying, If thou dwellest in the east, where rises the sun, Manoga! come hither and eat thy tutu mash! Then turning he lifts it towards where sets the sun, and says, If thou dwellest in the west, where sets the sun, Manoga! come hither and eat thy tutu! There is not a quarter towards which he does not lift it up. And when he has finished lifting it he says, If thou dwellest in heaven above, Manoga! come hither and eat thy tutu! If thou dwellest in Buru or Hagetolu, the Pleiades or Orion's belt; if below in Turivatu; if in the distant sea; if on high in the sun, or in the moon; if thou dwellest inland or by the shore, Manoga! come hither and eat thy tutu!' This Manoga belongs particularly to the Manukama or Lahi division of the Florida people, each division, kema, having a tindalo whom they worship as peculiarly their own, and whom they vaguely call their ancestor; Polika of the Nggaombata, Barego of the Kakau, Kuma of the Honggokama, Sisiro of the Himbo, Tindalo tambu, whose personal name is not known, of the Honggokiki. As these divisions are intermixed in the villages, though one is generally more largely represented in any one of them than the others, sacrifices are offered in each village or group of villages to each of these tindalo of the divisions; and the sacrificer is the man who knows the particular leaves and creepers and species of dracæna, and ginger and shavings of a tree, and words of mana with which the tindalo is approached, knowledge which he has received from his predecessors. The sacrificer then of the dominant family division of the place is in fact the ostensible chief, the sacrificers of the less numerous divisions are minor chiefs. With the worship of these tindalo of larger and wider cultus is combined by the sacrificer that of lesser and more private keramo of fighting whom he knows. The local tindalo at the time in vogue, such as Ganindo, occupies a middle place between the general and particular objects of sacrificial worship. There are also the tindalo known to every one, who are particularly powerful in certain spheres, as Daula in the sea, and Pelu, one of the vigona, in gardens, and Hauri in fighting; but only those who know the proper way to approach them can sacrifice to them before a voyage or planting or a fight.

There were two general sacrifices in the year, in which the people of a village took part. The first, the bigo, was when the canarium nut, ngali, so much used in native cookery, was ripe[3]. None could be eaten till the sacrifice of the first-fruits was offered. The knowledge of the way to do this, and the consequent authority to open the season, was handed down with the knowledge of the tindalo concerned. The man who has the knowledge observes the time, and some day in the early morning he is heard to shout. He climbs a tree, gets some nuts, cracks them, eats, and puts some on the stones in his sacred place for the tindalo. Then the people generally can gather for themselves; the chief sacrifices with food in which the new nuts are mixed on the stones of the village sanctuary; each man who has a tindalo does the same in his own sacred place. About two months after this there is another general sacrifice called the sukagi karango, when the food generally has been dug; a man who digs up his yams, or gets in whatever harvest he has, makes his private sacrifice besides. At the general sacrifice pig or fish is offered.

The private sacrifices of individuals are offered in the same way. A man has gained for himself, or had imparted to him, the knowledge of the leaves and bark and vines that some tindalo delights in, and with these he approaches him in the sacred place, vunutha, which is his own, and offers to him to keep himself in favour or to obtain something from him. There he invokes his familiar tindalo, joining with him some others, and offers in the fire his bit of food. A man will commonly have his keramo, a tindalo of killing, who will help him in fighting or in slaying his private enemy. He will pull up his ginger-plant, and judge from the ease with which it comes out of the earth whether he shall succeed or not; he will make his sacrifice, and with the ginger and leaves on his shield and in his belt and right armlet will go to fight. He curses his enemy by his keramo, 'Siria eats thee, and I shall slay thee;' and if he kills him, he cries, 'Thine is this man, Siria! and do thou give me mana.' Manslaughter without the help of a tindalo would be dangerous to the manslayer; the slain man's ghost would have power over him unless the mana of the keramo, a stronger ghost, were on his side. In case of failure the ghostly power on the enemy's side has been shewn to have the greater strength. A man must needs have his keramo, even if he had to buy one; if what his father or uncle taught and gave him did not succeed he tried another. A relic of the keramo (himself but lately a fighting man), a tooth or some hair in a little bag, was hung round the neck; or the contents of the bag might be only a stone. These amulets, bomboso, were kept in the house, and were called a man's keramo, just as relics were called tindalo. The vigona, as has been said, have influence over weather and in gardens. If a man himself knows one he can operate for himself, otherwise he pays a mane nggehe vigona to do it for him. Such a one goes into the middle of the garden with mashed food in the palm of his left hand, and he strikes it with his right hand as he calls on his vigona to come and eat. He says, 'This produce thou shalt eat; give mana to this garden, that food may be good and plentiful,’ He digs holes at the four corners, and buries the leaves proper to his vigona, to give ghostly power to the garden, that it may be fruitful and to guard it; stones are used for the same purpose. As the yams, or pana, grow they are twined with the special creeper and fastened with the wood which the vigona loves. These tindalo of the gardens must not be offended by the entrance of men who have eaten pig's flesh or fish, or the flesh of the kandora cuscus, or shell-fish; three or four days after they have eaten such things they may approach, the food offensive to the vigona having left their stomachs the crop will not be hurt. When the yam vines are being trained the men sleep near the gardens, and never approach their wives; should they do so and tread the garden it would be spoilt. The man who has his own vigona can bring his power to bear in doing damage to another man's garden, being either moved by his own grudge or paid to do it; backed by his own vigona he offends the vigona of the garden he designs to spoil by laying putrid things there. If after this the crop is good, the first vigona has been shewn to be stronger than the other. The names of sixteen of these vigona are generally known. When the crop is dug a portion of the fruits is burnt in sacrifice to the one concerned.

Human sacrifices were occasionally made; but there was no sacrificial feast upon the flesh as when a pig was offered; only little bits were eaten by those who desired to get fighting mana, by young men, and by elders for a special purpose. Such sacrifices were thought more effectual than others, and advantage was taken of a crime, or imputed crime, to take a life and offer the man to some tindalo. So within the memory of men still young, Dikea, the chief of Ravu, condemned one Gisukokovilo to death for stealing tobacco, and the grown lads of Handika ate bits of him cooked in the sacrificial fire. The same Dikea offered a human sacrifice in the year 1886. Two calamities had fallen upon Dikea. One of his wives proved false, and he sent her away, vowing that she should not return till he had sacrificed to Hauri. Also his son had died, and he made a vow that he would kill a man for him. Some thought that he would kill a man to bury with the boy, but he did not. He dug up his buried son that he might see him once more; and again, according to the common practice, he took up his 'skull and set it in his sacred place. It was widely known that Dikea had made his vow, and that he would pay well for some one to kill. The Savo people had bought a captive boy in Guadalcanar, lame and nearly blind, and him, they brought and sold to Dikea for twenty coils of money. The boy, ignorant of the language, did not know his fate. Dikea, laying his hand on the victim's breast, cried 'Hauri! here is a man for you,' and his followers killed him with clubs and axes. His head was taken to set up with Dikea's collection of skulls, his legs were sent away to make known what had been done, but none of him was eaten: 'So Dikea sacrificed to Hauri with that boy.' In Bugotu of Ysabel the sacrifices, havugagi, are the same with those of Florida; only the dwellers along the coast sacrificed human victims, and this practice they said, as in Florida, had come to them from further west. When the head of an enemy killed in a fight was brought in triumph, bits were cut off and burnt in sacrifice. A captive would be taken to the sacred place, the burial-place of the tindatho to whom the sacrifice was to be made, and there bound hand and foot. Then the men of the place, following the chief who led the sacrifice, each beat him on the breast with their hands, calling on the tindatho, and giving him the victim. This was enough sometimes to cause death, otherwise they cut his throat. Then the sacrificer burnt a bit in the fire for the tindatho. Did the men assembled eat of the sacrifice? Bera, the principal chief, at any rate used to do so till Wadrokal went there as a teacher; he would cook an arm in the oven and eat it, having first sacrificed with a portion. Only six years ago Soga at Manggotu sacrificed a man. He accused some Bugotu visitors of charming one of his own friends to death; eight of them he killed, but one he bound and took to the place where his friend was buried; there he offered him to the ghost, now a tindatho, of the man supposed to have been bewitched; but he did not eat of the sacrifice. In these, however, and in the lesser sacrifices, there is not commonly present the notion of propitiation, nor perhaps of substitution. When, as in the case of Dikea, misfortune is supposed to have followed on some offence, the offended tindalo is propitiated by the sacrifice, and this is done in case of sickness. But generally the object is rather to gain the favour and to retain the good will of the disembodied spirit.

In Saa, near Cape Zelee in Malanta, there is found in some sacrifices a distinct substitution of the victim for the person on whose behalf the offering is made. The ghost of some departed warrior or otherwise powerful man becomes a lio’a; that of a warrior, if on experiment he is found to act, is like the keramo of Florida, a ghost of battle or of killing, lio'a ni ma'e. The names of many, as of recent chiefs, are generally known, but some are known only to those who have learnt the means of access to them. There is no one word used for sacrificing; there are seven rites which an educated native of the place classes with the sacrifices of other islands, (1) The simplest is called Tau taha, as when one returning from a voyage puts food to the case containing the relics of his father, as did Ara'ana. In the course of a voyage also, when landing on an uninhabited islet, they will throw food and call on father, grandfather, and other deceased friends, and in any danger will do the same. Three other sacrifices have much in common, and it depends on the person called in and consulted to determine which shall be used, (2) One is called 'unu qo, this is, burning a pig". This is offered in case of sickness, or when the failure of a garden crop shews that some lid a has been offended. A man known to be able to sacrifice is called in, and is ready to say that he knows what lio'a has caused the mischief. To him is sent a small pig, which is to take the place of the person whom the ghost lio’a is plaguing; and he takes it to the sacred place of that lid a somewhere under a tree, strangles it, and burns it whole in a fire kindled on the sacred stones or on the ground. He burns with it also grated yam and cocoa-nut mixed with fish; and then he stands and calls with a loud voice on the lio’a of the place, and with him he calls the names of all the ghosts of his family, his ancestors, and all who are deceased, down even to children and to women, and he names the giver of the pig for the food of these lio’a. A bit of the mixed food he leaves unburnt, wraps it in a dracæna leaf, and puts it by the relic case of the man to whose ghost he has been sacrificing. He is rewarded for his services by a present of food. (3) Another is called toto 'akalo, dealing the soul. It is performed in the house of the sacrificer, who cooks a little pig or a dog, and cites the names of the lio'a who are causing the trouble, calling upon them to toto, clear away the mischief, whether sickness, charm, or curse, and to make the afflicted party clean. Then he takes the pig out and throws it into the sea, or sets it on a stone in the sacred place of the lio'a he has addressed; 'he will not put it in a common place; it is holy, it has taken away the mischief, it has made clean.' (4) The third of these is called toto epa hanua, clearing well the place, and is performed in the house of the sick person for whose benefit it is offered. They cook a pig or dog in the oven, cut it up, and lay all the parts in order. Then the sacrificer comes and sits at the head, and calls all the names of the dead members of the family of the lio'a in order downwards, saying, ’Help, deliver this man, cut short the line that has bound him.' Then the pig is eaten by all present, except the women; nothing is burnt. The remaining sacrifices are those of first-fruits. (5) When the yams are ripe they fetch some from each garden to offer to the lid a. All the family who consider a certain line of ancestors to be the lio'a with whom they are concerned in this matter assemble, without the women, at the sacred place belonging to them. One goes into the sacred place with a yam, and cries with a loud voice to the lio'a, 'This is yours to eat,' and puts the yam by the skull which is in the place. The others call quietly upon the names of all the ancestors and give their yams, very many in number, because one from each garden is given to each lio'a. They add also awalosi, the edible flower of a reed. This offering of first-fruits is made in the early morning. If any one has in his house a relic, head, bones, or hair, he takes back a yam to set beside it. (6) First-fruits of flying fish. These fish, like the bonito, require a certain supernatural power to catch them; it is not every canoe that goes after flying fish. When the season comes the men get their floats ready, and the women go into the gardens to dig new yams and make grated food. The men then get a few flying fish, and sacrifice with them. Some lio'a are sharks, and to them the first-fruits are offered. Some have sacred places ashore with figures of sharks set up, before which cooked flying fish are laid; some ghost-sharks have no place on shore, and to them the fish are taken out to sea, their names are called, and the fish shred to them for their food. (7) The new canarium almonds cannot be eaten till the first-fruits have been offered to the lio'a, and a similar offering is made of the dried almonds before they are eaten, with added flying-fish.

A sacrifice in San Cristoval has been already described. In case of sickness, where a certain malignant ghost named Tapia is believed to have seized on a man's soul and bound it to a banyan-tree, a sacrifice of substitution is offered. The man who has access to Tapia is employed to intercede; he takes a pig or fish to the sacred place and offers it, saying, 'This is for you to eat in place of that man; eat this, don't kill him'; and he is then able to loose and take back the sick man's soul so that he may recover.

At Santa Cruz, when a man of consideration dies, his ghost becomes a duka. A stock of wood is set up in his house to represent him. This remains, and is from time to time renewed, until after a time the man is forgotten, or the stock is neglected by the transference of attention to some newer and more successful duka. When the stock is first put up, a pig is killed, and the two strips of flesh from along the back-bone inside are put before the stock as food for the duka represented. These do not stay long, but are taken away and eaten. When the stocks are renewed the same is done again; and from time to time offerings of food are made to the duka before the stock, laid there for a time, and then taken up and eaten. In case of danger at sea, a duka is called by name, a man's father or a deceased chief, or a certain Lata who is not remembered as a man, and a bit of food is thrown out; 'This is for you to eat.' Betel-nuts are placed on sacred stones for the duka. When a garden is planted they spread feather-money and red native cloth round it for the duka, and take it away again. A patient who has recovered from sickness under the treatment of a native doctor gives a pig for the duka concerned in the cure; and when a pig is killed a bit of meat is placed before the stock that represents him. Offerings of first-fruits of yams are made in the same way, in the form of mash or pudding. The economical offerings of Santa Cruz may be explained by the belief that the duka, themselves immaterial, have taken the immaterial substance of their gifts; the gross material therefore may be taken by fleshly men.

(2) The character of what may be called sacrifices in the Banks' Islands and Northern New Hebrides differs very much from that of the sacrifices of the Solomon Islands in two respects; the offerings are as a rule made to spirits and not to ghosts, and there is no use of fire to consume what is offered. It is true that fragments of food are thrown for the ghosts of the lately deceased; by an action no doubt closely connected with the sacrifices of the western islands, but not with the notion of a sacrifice as these more eastern people understand it. In the use of the word in the Banks' Islands which has been taken as equivalent to 'sacrifice,' viz. oloolo, it is important to observe that the word is not employed in reference to the spirit to whom the offering' is made, but to the man himself who presents the offering to the spirit[4], which is the same thing as to say that the word oloolo does not exactly mean to sacrifice. Still there is a sacrificial offering, and it is a means of propitiating a spirit after an offence, as well as a means of obtaining what is desired. Food also is by no means commonly the thing offered; in the Banks' Islands perhaps nothing but native money is the offering.

The spirits who are approached with these offerings are almost always connected with stones on which the offerings are made. Such stones have some of them been sacred to some spirit from ancient times, and the knowledge of the way to approach the spirit who is connected with them has been handed down to the man who now possesses it. But any man may find a stone for himself, the shape of which strikes his fancy, or some other object, an octopus in his hole, a shark, a snake, an eel, which seems to him something unusual, and therefore connected with a spirit. He gets money and scatters it about the stone, or on the place where he has seen the object of his fancy; then he goes home to sleep. He dreams that some one takes him to a place and shews him the pigs or money he is to have because of his connexion with the thing that he has found. This thing in the Banks' Islands becomes his tano-oloolo, the place of his offering, the object in regard to which offering is made to obtain pigs or money. His neighbours begin to know that he has it, and that his increasing wealth has its origin there; they come to him therefore and obtain through him the good offices of the spirit he has come to know. He hands down the knowledge of this to his son or nephew. If a man is sick he gives another who is known to have a stone of power,—the spirit connected with which it is suggested that he has offended,—a short string of money, and a bit of the pepper root, gea, that is used for kava; the sick man is said to oloolo to the possessor of the stone. The latter takes the things offered to his sacred place and throws them down, saying, 'Let So-and-So recover.' When the sick man recovers he pays a fee. If a man desires to get the benefit of the stone, or whatever it is, known to another, with a view to increase of money, pigs or food, or success in fighting, the possessor of the stone will take him to his sacred place, where probably there are many stones, each good for its own purpose. The applicant will supply money, perhaps a hundred strings a few inches long. The introducer will shew him one stone and say, 'This is a big yam,' and the worshipper puts money down. Of another he says it is a boar, of another that it is a pig with tusks, and money is put down. The notion is that the spirit, vui, attached to the stone likes the money, which is allowed to remain upon or by the stone. In case the oloolo, the sacrifice, succeeds, the man benefited pays the man to whom the stones and spirits belong. If a man goes to sacrifice for success in fighting, he takes great care lest nothing sharp should prick or scratch him, or a stone bruise him; in the one case he would be shot, in the other he would be clubbed.

Some of these objects of sacrificial worship are well known, but can only be approached by the person to whom the right of access to them has been handed down; there must be between the worshipper who desires advantage and the spirit who bestows it not only the medium of the stone, or whatever other material object the spirit is connected with, but also the man who through the stone has got a personal acquaintance with the spirit. In Vanua Lava, at Sarewoana near Alo Sepere, the legendary home of Qat, there is still the stump of a tree which Qat cut down for his canoe, an aged stump with young shoots springing from it; men who are cutting a canoe make sacrifices at this stump, throwing down money there that their canoe may be swift and strong and never wrecked. It does not appear that any one comes between the offerer and Qat in this, perhaps because Qat is known to every one. There is no doubt often a sacrifice, oloolo, made in the way of propitiation; but a vui is not a malignant spirit that will do harm unless propitiated. If a man has heedlessly gone into a sacred place and is afraid that he has offended the spirit belonging to it, he will make his offering to the man whose sacred place it is, that he may appease the spirit; and in the case of sickness there is always the presumption that some spirit has been offended. A man whose familiar spirit is associated with a snake, an eel, owl, crab or some such creature, visits it and makes his offerings to keep in favour with it, or to obtain its favour for some one from whom he receives money for an offering. They say that a man who has a mae, an amphibious snake to which a certain awful character belongs, as his familiar, goes to the sacred place it haunts and calls it till it comes. He sits down and the snake crawls over him, putting its tongue into his mouth, which he sucks. He scatters money for the spirit, for he does not offer to the snake but to the spirit, vui, that is with the snake and manifested in it. He does not invoke or pray to the spirit, but he may pray to the ghosts of his predecessors in this particular mystery. When a man visits his familiar in this way no one else is present, and the doubt has occurred to the native people whether there be a snake at all. It is certain that when a man has died who has been in the habit of receiving money to offer to the snake, and another who has received instructions from him as his successor has gone to reopen so profitable a connexion, the creature has not been found; but then it is also concluded that the man and the snake die together. Money in this same way of sacrifice, if so it can be called, is scattered in a deep hole in a stream, or in a pool among the rocks upon the beach; wherever some impressive touch of natural awe comes upon the native mind it apprehends the presence of some haunting vui, and is moved to an act of worship; but it is not to the stone or stream or tree, or to the spirit of it, that the offering is made; the vui is a person as a 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 where they are supposed to haunt. Men who know these and have access to them, take mats, food, pigs, living or cooked, into the sacred place and leave them there. At Lepers' Island they drugu to the men who have access to spirits, wui, in connexion with stones, giving money and pigs to them for their intercession; but offerings are not commonly made directly to wui, or to ghosts either. Offerings are made at sea near certain dangerous rocks; a tuft of pig's hair or a fowl's feather from the cargo, or a bit of food, is thrown into the sea for Tagaro, that he may give a safe passage to the canoe. Bishop Patteson noted in the course of his last voyage, that at Ambrym it was the practice for great men to burn a pig entirely, without any accompanying prayer, in their Suqe, with the view of obtaining mana. This must be looked upon as a sacrificial act.

Note.—The sacrifices of the Solomon Islands may well he traced to the desire of making the deceased still sharers of the common meal; what is offered and burnt is common food. The further step of begging the offended ghost to take all and spare the sick is taken at Saa and San Cristoval. It should be remarked that there is nothing whatever to connect these sacrifices with the buto (page 32), which, if anything, may be taken for a totem. To connect the offering of money, in the Banks' Islands, to a spirit who is never the ghost of a man, nor at all the animating spirit of a natural object, with the sharing of the common meal with the deceased, is much more difficult. If there be a Melanesian sacrifice to a god it is to a vui. To offer money is apparently to give what man most values, and what the spirit also loves.

  1. The word for which ’sacrifice' is used as equivalent is in Florida sukagi, in Bugotu of Ysabel Jiavugagi. The sacrificer sacrifices with the offering to the tindalo in or at the place of sacrifice, na mane sukagi te nia sukagi na hanu vania na tindalo ta na malei ni sukagi.
  2. It is denied that the food has a spirit, tarunga, corresponding to the tarunga which is the soul of a man; but the food offered is tarungaga (with the adjectival termination), 'has a spiritual character.'
  3. This sacrifice is described by Mr. Woodford (p. 26). In that part of Guadalcanar, where l is dropped in many words, tindalo becomes tindao.
  4. A man is said to oloolo with the money to the man who knows the stone; the latter is said to oloolo on the stone on behalf of the former, the former to oloolo to the latter in regard to the stone; neither is said to oloolo to the vui spirit.