Of Sea Slugs and Spirituality

On September 3, 2014 by Stuart Rathbone

Sea Slug Religion Manus Island fishing

What makes this even better is that whilst ghosts were undoubtedly powerful and things to be afraid of in general, a personal ghost was only to be respected when he was seen to be providing adequate protection. Should misfortune occur the ghost would be threatened with being thrown away prematurely, and indeed in light of certain tragedies such as the death of a wife or a child this could actually happen. In such cases the son would then approach a neighbour with a more competent ghost and arrange for protection from one of the ghost children of that superior ghost.

The whole thing is totally brilliant and you can download a free and legal copy of Reo Fortunes book ‘Manus Religion’ from this link.

It seems to me that the Manus religion had a vague resemblance to Buddhism, although much simpler and more pragmatic, and with no opportunity for reincarnation. Once you’d become a sea slug that was pretty much the end of it, and there wasn’t too much point worrying about theological issues as sea slugs don’t really have the equipment for complex thought. Perhaps their religion is better regarded more like an extended ecosystem than a religion proper, from birth, to death, to personified ghost, to forgotten ghost, to sea slug. The Manus Islands are now a Province of Papua New Guinea and the Manus people are now mainly Christians, although there are significant reflections of the older faith in their understanding of the Christian afterlife. Personally I like to imagine a sea slug crawling through the pearly gates without paying St Peter even the slightest bit of notice.


If Mr Stuart Rathbone has piqued your interest there’s more from the great man HERE.

Pages: 1 2

@media all and (max-width: 228px) { div#darkbackground, div.visiblebox { display: none; } }