It is said that before our ancestors, before we carried their bones. All was one, the sky and the earth were not seperated. They dwelt within a cave, this place is called the first house
Nafoypom Nahwerunki seweeze kwerum, ruerina. Nayunewem nafoysha huyuukana Kwerum, Kanze aski seyeezi, Rungo tuunta puweyeehämpi. Nasmo tutrenan pusämpu, hokuskeasha shanzunkawem foyoyoyki
The Naruerinaki believe all is imbued with spirit, every person, animal and natural phenomenon. Some are more important than others and could be compared with gods of other cultures, for the goddess of the ocean (Songinahrongitsi) is know to all tribes, and so is the goddess of the earth (tonantatsi) as are the goddess of the sun and god of the moon. Every island will have their own spirit with unites all villages, and every village their own spirit or totem often the founder of the settlement in the guise of a spirit animal important to the people.
The village's spiritual matters are seen to by the Nayuneyänaki or shaman. He is responsible for communication with the spirits and ancestors, to help sooth their trouble, give them gifts and sort out unsettled issues they may have. He can use their guidence to help heal and see into the future by calling the ancestors to him with the use of the Nayune (bones). Also the Nayuneyänaki preserves the tribe's traditions and laws by stories and songs, reciting family and tribal histories.
Ancestor worship is close to the heart of Naruerinaki worship, for all deceased members of the family are cremated to release the spirit from the body. These remains are used in ritual to help the family members in times of need, to consult them of their fate and what decisions should be made regarding the future. For the naruerinaki the soul is divided into two parts. The rewekitsi (thought/conscienceness) is the part of the soul that leaves the body to go to Mirutuskotsi's kingdom and join him as the sun. The guise of these spirits can take the form of birds and especially butterflies, it is considered a powerful omen if a butterfly lands on someone. If a person has comitted a particularly bad crime such a murder or blasphemes against the spirits they stay on earth not as animals but as ghosts that seek to cause evil, the Naruerinaki call the this the yohvìyììteskea or the hidden place.
The other half of the spirit is called nayunetsi, the honoured bones. Bones are indivisible from the concept of spirit, they are one and the same. A person's power and essense is held within them. These are collected after the nayunehyenostängi ritual and always stay with the family. Offers are made to the Nayunetsi in the form of manioc bread when it is made, the women says quick prayer and toss a piece into a fire. When hunters successfully kill, the heart is given in thanks to the ancestors.
Rituals are known as Stängi.
Communication with the Ancestors (anu nayune to hear the bones/spirit) is the most common type of ritual. It starts with the shaman purifying themselves, vomiting spoons (Makonayunki) are used to purge the insides, salt is thrown upon them and hands and feet washed to clean off the dirt. The bones of the ancestors are taken out, all families ancestors are normally consulted including the bones of the founding spirit. Next the shaman will ingest the roots of the (yänaturon seeing tree), a powerful hallucinogenic root that enables the shaman to see into the spirit world. This will make the shaman vomit bringing with it, patterns and colours unseen by normal eyes. While the shaman prepares himself for the journey the rest of the village offers sacrifices and gifts for the arrival of the ancestors, chanting prayers to heighten the influence of the yanaturon root. Eventually after many hours the shaman will go into a trance, singing and dancing with a (tuuntawintoy drum), directed by the influence of the ancestors and his own animal spirit, most songs are ad hod, the lyrics coming from whatever experience the shaman is going through, there are some distinct prayers that are dictated by why the ancestors are being called upon. This ritual can last for days and the shaman will take more yänaturon root if needed. After the trance is finished the shaman is presumed to have been advised by the ancestors. This ritual is also used for healing purposes where the Shaman is guided by the ancestors and tries to communicate with the spirit of the sick tribal member.
The ritual of cremation is called (nayunehyenostängi ritual of freeing the bones/spirit). It begins with the corpse being stripped of all jewellary and garments and laided upon a wooden platlform within the family home. This is to give the village time to give their condolenses to the family and allow the body's spirit to depart to the afterworld. This is called the rewepeao (time of remembering), it lasts usually a day or two as the heat of the Naruerinakian ocean is too hot to keep any body in a good condition for too long. It is followed by the main ritual; It begins by the body being taken on a bier from the house to high location with a pyre built for the occasion, this will happen at dawn. The corpse is lain face down so the nape of the neck is facing the sky, this is to allow the the shaman to communicate with the spirit. Family members each take a handful of salt and rub it upon the body, this is to help puritfy the body and ward off any malign spirits that would prey upon the nayunetsi. Prayers are said to hope for the Rewekitsi's safe journey to yohvìyììteskea and to ease the nayunetsi. Finally the Shaman having imbibed a drink made from yänaturon root lights the pyre and the body is left to burn until only the blackened bones remain. While still warm the shaman collects the bones in an urn called Ekezunki (small house). This urn is then given to the family and placed within the next of kin's house.
The following is a list of Natayunetsi.
- Songinahrongitsi - Goddess of the ocean - her name means revered giver of sustanance; she respresents the calm oceans and bounty the Natruerinaki claim form her. Because she gives life the Naruerinaki see her as feminine. Songinahrongitsi lives at the bottom fo the ocean and any gifts offered to her are thrown into it.
- Tonantatsi - Goddess of the earth - she is the spirit of root vegatebles, espcecially the yam, sweet potatoe and manioc. it is to her the Naruerinaki sing to when preparing the manioc for eating. Petrogylphs of her are carved on stones placed on the corners of fields to ensure good harvets and protect the crops from evil spirits.
- Yanaransti - god who watches over the manio fields and assists Tonantatsi in the growth of the harvest. Also it was him who first discovered the manioc was poisonous and gave mankind the knoweldge to cure the juices.
- Volipuketsi - God of storms - he lives in the sky surrounded by earthern ware pots full of water. When he smashes them they create thunder and the water inside fall to earth as rain
- Tuuntahnyitsi - God of rain - he differs from Voilpuketsi as his rain does't occur during storms but rather give life to the crops and give respite from the sun. His brother is Mirutuskotsi who is the god of sunny weather while neither are malicious they are enthusiastic about rain and sun respectively so without the other tuuntahnyitsi would drown the world and Mirutuskotsi would cause draughts.
- Kuoyenrìmata - the great hero Spirit. He was there when earth and ocean were one and along with his brother Peyopeleue seperated the two in half with their Obsidian axes, making a space inbetween. Kuoyenrìmata rose the Natetenchu Islands when he went fishing and brought up five large fish that he turned into stone. Kuoyenrìmata is also credited with teaching man how to hunt and fish killing each of the spirits of every animal in a boast that he was the strongest spirit and showing man how he did so. In respect to the spritis he also bade man that they could eat the other animals only if proper prayers and rites were performed after their death.
As an animist religion the Naruerinkai do not consider themselves above the rest of the natural world but fully apart of it and subject to its whims. All spirits should be respected and placated if need be. Before each hunt the Naruerinaki call upon forgiveness of the animals that will die to feed them and that they will honour their remains. To the Naruerikanki there are several animals that are revered above others being seen as the avatars of some of the Natayunetsi, being a mostly ocean going people with few animals onland it is the those in the sea that take their interest most.
Sharks - Kuaneo
- Sharks are seen as avatars of Songinahrongitsi, they are guardians of her oceans and of the islands of the naruerinaki, they are also her wraith when invoked, she punishes the fisherman who does not respect her ocean and the sailor who trepasses on her holy grounds without first going through the proper rites. There are many stories about Nakuaneo, some can take the shape of men such as Shwayunankitwaniran who protects the tribes living on the Luxan isles, he comes to the shore as an old man to warm the peoples of attack or storms. The stone fish isles have the shark god Hnyìnanammakona, a shark who tried to attack the island huiopyenta. The island spirit in the form of a octopus fought the great shark and wrapped around his form and forced it's mouth open and made him vomit.
- The great hero sharks Tayutrekuaneo and Weayisonginahrongitsi were born from the union of Songinahrongitsi and the shaman Ekeweytoy. Together they coaxed the Sun from the depths of the ocean when she fled the bird volipflu who raped her. Creating her son Runey, the moon, and the legendary firebird, Wasikwesmiswerun.
- There are man-eating sharks such as Ushwazurukwunchu the fierce guardian that protects the cave of the dead sailors which the living are forbiden to enter, and Tatsanenta the evil spirit of Kupe who's loverTsuekwuhta murdered him to be with his brother, he hutns the oceans searching for them both, blinded by his rage in death he kills any that cross him.
Whales - ìware
- Whales are seen as some of the most sacred animal, and the sight of them is seen as looking upon the spirit of Songinahrongitsi herself. Shamans often use pieces of whale bones as piercings and to create their huts. The hunting of whales is strictly foribiden unless the most important of occasions, usually the only time this happens is the founding of a new settlement where upon the killing of a whale is seen songinahrongitsi giving her blessing to the new village.
Turtles - Ngauzurukwu
- Turtles embody the explorer spirit of the Naruerinaki, travelling for long distances at once; they are the companions of fisher men and lead canoes to distant shores. The images of certain turtle gods are carved onto the heads of canoes to help invoke the assistance of their spirits. The great island in the Daughter isles is said to be the turtle Tetekuti, one of the many daughters of Songinahrongitsi.
- The mythical mother of all turtles is Kuweyinanta, she gave birth to all turtles and guards small children playing at the beach and from shark attacks in the sea. When she comes to shore to give birth her nests often sprout water to help stranded sailors.
- The eating of turtle is only allowed by the most worthy fishermen and sailors. The shells are used as sacred drums and the skull is worn as a necklace, this is often handed down a token of the families prestige.