Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World: From by Julian Baldick
By Julian Baldick
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Additional info for Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World: From Australasia to Taiwan
He is the deputy of Ak’emameoi in the waters, is made responsible for the result of ﬁshing, and ﬁghts the evil water-spirit Engohcu. Alongside him is the spirit of millet, Bai-ton’u, whose name means ‘Grandmother Millet’. She is made responsible for the result of the millet harvest, and is a culture-heroine. Her counterpart is the spirit of rice, Bai-pai, ‘Grandmother Rice,’ also a culture-heroine and responsible for the rice harvest. Beneath these spirits stands the communal spirit, Hicu-nopa’mumutu, whose name means ‘spirit of the boundary stone’.
A woman was never allowed to enter it or even climb its steps. Boys, by contrast, would come to it after the age of one, and had to play in it. Youths lived in it, in order to learn from their elders how to use bows and arrows and hunt. 42 Behind the building there was a broad open space, where sacriﬁces were performed by the entire village. There was also a red ﬁg tree, which was surrounded on all four sides by a small fence, to emphasize its being ‘taboo’. 43 According to Ho¨llmann’s sources the Tsou used to kill twins.
Alongside shamanesses there are male ‘bamboo diviners’, who split bamboo stems into splinters, in which they read the answers to questions. These diviners also perform rituals for the community as a whole. In one such ritual, called ‘giving the share’, they put down seven bamboo beakers, and, in front of each one, seven pieces of meat for the spirits. Formerly the diviners performed the ‘rite of the deer’ after a successful headhunting expedition, in order to reintegrate the warriors into society.