Oceanic religions

Non-Christian religions practiced in Oceania.

Traditional Melanesian religions, which are giving way under the pressures of Christianity and capitalism, hold that ancestral ghosts and other spirits are participants in daily life. Their presence and effects are manifested in dreams, in divination, and in human successes and failures. Magic is widely practiced, and sorcery is seen as the major cause of death and illness. The traditional religions of Micronesia, which have largely died out, recognized several high gods and many other spirits, including the spirits of ancestors and the dead. Magic played an important role. In Polynesia, each of the gods, whether high or local, had its own ritual requirements, and schools of priests were often required to carry them out. All things were believed to possess mana, which had to be protected by complicated rules and taboos. The Polynesians often offered human sacrifices on important occasions, such as the formal investiture of a priest or chief. With the introduction of modern goods, the peoples of all these islands became susceptible to cargo cults.

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Universalium. 2010.

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