RELIGION AND COSMOLOGY IN EASTERN INDONESIAINTRODUCTION:
Creating the Ancestors through ritual and sacrifice:1.) Ancestors of the inside, specific forms of nitu: named, mainly benevolent and protective ensuring fertility, well-being, and continuity of group through granting life-generative potential
ebu nusi / ebu kajo
- believed to be embodied in the various objects symbolizing group identity
2.) Ancestors of the outside, generalized ancestors, nitu: inhabit invisible villages in the forest jungle; specifically in lake/pond/river/stream beds (i.e. water sources), large stones and boulders, large trees of the Ficus type banyan trees and especially hebu (Cassia fistula); these are mainly potentially malevolent if their place of habitation is breached by improper human behavior but benevolent when approached in the context of ritual; beneath the earth particularly as guardians of the agricultural garden and of the village;
both types of ancestors can be a source of life-generative potential; will assume similar formshuman, snake, buffalo, wild pig
beliefs about human soul and village of the dead: nature of the soul (mae), ritual (regha mae) of chasing out the soul of deceased from human spaces of the inside to uninhabited spaces of the outside, representations of the village of the ancestors (nua nitu), the gate to the village at the roots of the tamarind tree (kabu nage)
ancestors of the outside are periodically reclaimed and transformed into specific ancestors of the inside through rituals of renewal and installation of symbolic objects of group identity
Ritual extraction and transport of large stones for the construction of ture and nabe; ritual extraction and transport of hebu tree for madhu / peo, bhaga, sao meze
during this process in ritual chant and song instruct the spirit to stay within stones/trees as if it was their soul
dangerous time for humans until ritual installation in village (ancestoral spirit could abduct the human soul and cause illness and death; or assume form of ritual specialist and mate with his wife killing her)
during the ritual installation must smear object with sacrificial blood and while doing so must name with an ancestral name; smearing is said to seal in the ancestral spirit, to convert its nature -- potential harm into continuous generative potential, to set up boundary between humans and deceased (categories of living and dead should not mix unless sanctioned by ritual)
FURTHER READINGS SUGGESTED:
Molnar, Andrea K.
1997 "Christianity and Traditional Religion among the Hoga Sara of West-Central Flores". Anthropos. 92:393-408.
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