SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

When an Ambonwari person dies divination may be used to consult spirits as to the cause of death. Listening to the tapping of a bamboo pole—where the rhythm reflects totemic signals usually beaten on a slit-drum—a diviner examines the links between people's wrong doings and other past deeds and events. The aim of post-mortem divination is to reconstitute and rearrange the relationships between village clans, between clans and their land, between clans and their spirits, both of the dead and of the bush. The aim of divination is to place the events, deeds, relationships, historicity and temporality in good order again, to avoid chaotic unpredictability and the possibility of collective misfortune or even destruction. Though to a lesser degree than in initiation rituals, divination, by reordering and realigning social relationships, reconstructs society at its base. As with initiation, the aim of divination is to reconstruct time.