The Naruerinaki are animists, they believe all life is imbued with spirits; Nayune. This includes humans, animals and certain natural phenomenon such as storms and volcanoes. It is the shaman’s (Hrepturan meaning literally traveller) duty to be the mediator between the Hvìteskea spirit world and the reality that is visible to everyone Tuunta, the world. The Shaman speaks with the spirits on behalf on the tribe, these communications include resting the sprits of animals after hunting, using the ancestors to help heal injured members of the tribe and to help guide recently deceased tribal members to the afterlife.
The role of the ShamanEdit
Shaman in the roles as PsychopompEdit
One of the main roles of the shaman is to help guide the dead to peace; this includes the shaman performing rites to calm the souls of animals that have been killed in hunting. If a soul is not correctly guided to the afterlife they can be left to wonder the earth and cause trouble for the living, either human or animal. There are many tales of evil spirits Nachanuki the forgotten, which haunt the living because they have been left on earth, the tribes on Lutuunta believe there is the female spirit who visits while women give birth and will try to insure that the baby is still born. Tales of drowned sailors who cause storms to harm others abound around the Naweayisongi isles. The shamans tell that some species of sharks are in fact the souls of these restless souls and will hunt any man they see.
The Psychopomp‘s role as is mentioned is split into two, one for the appeasement of animal souls and the other to act a guide to the spirits of the tribe. The latter begins with nayunepom nepoyo stängi or the ritual that frees the spirit. This starts at death, the corpse is stripped of any clothes and jewellary and laid on the floor in the families hut, this is to allow the tribe time to grieve. This period however lasts no longer than a day or so due to the tropical heat quickly makes the coprse unsuitable to leave for long perios of time. This time is called rewepeao; the times of remembering. During that day the older male members build a platform on which the body is to be burnt, it is taken there by a bier at night usually the night after the rewepeao and their the body is lain face down so the nape of the neck faces the sky, this is to allow the spirit to free the body as the Naruerinaki believe the soul risides there. The Shaman now dances around the pyre warding off evil spirits that maybe around the funeral pyre and calling to the dead bodies spirit to enter the spirit world. The fire is lit and the Shaman will continue to dance around it in a trance till all that remains are the charred bones and ash and the sun has risen. Once this is complete the remains are collected in an urn called Ekezunka or the small house, the urn will then be placed in its family house and called upon to protect its family.
The psychopomp also calms the spirits of those animals who have been killed in hunting. Hunters are thankful to the Shaman for this duty as it’s believed that the hunted animal’s spirit will haunt the hunter and possible the tribe, either causing bad luck or even asking its brethren to harm the tribe. The Shaman thanks the animal that he has given his body to feed the tribe, the bones are dispossed of in a respectable manner and the shaman recites prayers to allow the soul to pass to Hvìteskea, the prayers themselves it is told come from Kuo himself, the Naruerinaki’s cultural hero. He is said to have freed the world from a clam that held the whole of creation with his brother Peyopeleue, after this he taught man how to hunt animals, the animals came to Kuo and asked why they should die to feed man, Kuo replied that in reverence of animals man will treat them with respect and always make strive to give them a peaceful death. He therefore taught man the prayers and dances to sooth the animal spirits and guide them to the afterlife.
There are stories told by the shamans that the animal spirits in thanks can become part of the shaman’s retinue of spirit guides. In such cases it is allowed that the shaman can take parts of the bones of the animals and use them as fetishes for their practice, some shaman’s use the bones of whales to make special lodges where they can commune with its spirit. On the bones are inscribed pictographs that allow the animal’s spirit to find it. Indeed sometimes the bones of whales are used to mark sacred spaces so revered are the animals.
Shaman as the HealerEdit
The Naruerinaki consider unseen illness to be spiritual in nature, the result of predations from malicious spirits. It is the role of the shaman; sometimes called Fepayunki literally used to heal or medicine, to communicate with the spirit world to find out what is wrong with the patient using the Naswihra spirit guides, these guides lead the shaman through the spirit world trying to free the patients own spirit
It is possible for Shamans to be healers without being Psychopomps, a young shaman who experiences a particularly serious illness when young and almost dies will touch the spirit world and it is said that apart of them remains there, it is believed that this makes them adept at healing, having a direct communication always with the spirit world.
Yune, Spirit; Edit
The word yune literally means bone, the Naruerinaki believe that the bones of a person hold its spirit or soul; to talk of bones is to talk of the person’s spirit. It is the part of the body that is released after cremation, it’s the yune that travels to the afterlife and can wonder the earth as a malign spirit. The bones of a living being act as a beaker to the spirit when the Shaman summons it, attracting to the place where they are held. Most spirits are specific to either the tribe or shaman; there are however sprits recognized by the Naruerinaki as a whole or to an island, they can be such things as rivers, or particular trees of note, mountains or persons of celebrity such as warriors, a famous shaman or hunter.
The spirits of the deceased are called Kwerunki which means, came before. The Shaman guides the deceased spirit from death until the funeral rites are complete. After, the deceased’s family look after the bones in a urn kept in the family’s house, the bones and spirit are appeased
with offerings of good, and once a year a new urn is made to house the remains. The Kwerunki are called upon to give advice about the tribe’s future, when the tribe need to ask questions about conflict or if a harvest has failed.
The Southern tribes believe that in the there lives a shaman spirit called Wuyo-Ngatwukonaki (Dancing Flute), a shaman noted for use of a flute in rituals instead of using a drum. It was said that his first spirit guide was a song bird used to create a crown. The bird told him that should he wish to speak again with him to play a flute when dancing. Wuyo-Ngatwukonaki became noted for his high number of bird Naswihra and exceptional singing voice while chanting. He always went to the mountains when he needed to summon his Naswihra and his ashes were eventually buried there, it is noted that the valley where his body was burned has a high number of beautiful birds.
Hunters on the coast have a great hunter spirit Uyio-Ahriki (Deep Breathe), he was famed with killing a great white shark known as Estoshayo-Chanuki (devouring demon). He killed several children and fishermen around the island, it was Uyio-Ahriki who went out and faced the Shark and after a battle that last three days he gutted the shark and bought back its head. To prove his mastery over the shark he wore its teeth. He became a famous hunter of sharks, and protector of sailors.
Naswihra, Spirit Guides; Edit
A shaman over their course of life collects animal spirits that help him travel and commune in the spirit world, the spirits are often thankful animals that the shaman has helped pass to the afterlife. A bond between the swihra and shaman will be made for life as they lead them in their spiritual journey. They will know each spirit by name and hold a bone from each animal with a pictograph of their name on it. Different guides will be summoned depending on the needs of the Shaman, for example wisdom will often call for a whale. A journey in particular a difficult journey into the spirit world might require the help of a turtle, known for their exploratory nature and knowledge of making great expeditions into the unknown. Sharks are summoned if the shamans need assistance in some conflict, again in the visible world or the spiritual one. Naswihra are very personal and a Shaman will never reveal the name of his spirit guides, to reveal the name would be to give another person power over the guide.
The difference between nakwerunki and Naswihra are, the nakwerunki are called upon to help the tribe, or individual family associated with the ancestor, the Naswihra are used as guides and helpers for the Shamans.
Nachanuki, malign spirits; Edit
If a spirit is not probably placated or guided to the spirit world they are left to wonder the earth as malicious spirits who become bitter and vengeful that they have been forgotten. Sickness if often attributed to these spirits, such as fever, miscarriage any illness that has not been physical in origin. It is the Shaman’s duty to help the sick person, and banish the evil spirit that is harming the patient.
Nachanuki can come in many guises, there a spirits to seek to cause harm to women during childbirth as mentioned above, sailors who have died at sea are said to haunt certain areas of ocean or might turn into sharks that eat men, the most famous example of a Chanuki is Uezoyoechi a girl cursed by the earth mother spirit Tonantsi for her fathers disregard for her. She was twisted beyond human shape and demanded the flesh of young girls, eventually she was banish from the world by Kuo Yenrìmata.