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When Spirits Roamed

2012 (60 mins) Island Topics #73 Cultural Religion

Spirits came in many different types in the old island religions.  Besides the remote sky gods, there were nature spirits associated with select spots, deities who were patrons of certain clans, and the spirits of the dead.  The spirits of dead ancestors were called upon to possess one of their descendants to aid their family.  The shrines to these spirits varied from island to island, ranging from simple stone markers, to hanging model canoes, to the small spirit houses common in Palau.  Kosrae and Pohnpei had much larger cultic centers, including the well-known settlement at Nan Madol.  Faced with the same uncertainties then as now, island people sought from the spirits blessings of all kind, protection for themselves and their community, and hints of what they could expect in the future. In many ways, this documentary concludes, those spirits are honored even today.  



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