A ritual response to climatic perturbations in the highlands of Papua New Guinea

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Author: Paul Sillitoe
Date: Spring 1993
From: Ethnology(Vol. 32, Issue 2)
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology
Document Type: Article
Length: 8,288 words

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Abstract :

The Wola people of the New Guinea Highlands respond to food shortages caused by climatic fluctuations by conducting a ritual called 'iyshponda' to appease the spirit of Horwar Saliyn, a white-skinned woman they hold responsible for the weather. The Wola do not have specific beliefs about how she controls the weather, but a myth describes her behavior as unpredictable and uncontrollable, like the weather. The ritual is believed to be effective in pressuring the spirit to act morally. It may at least promote coping by counteracting feelings of helplessness.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A13925253