Clerics wooden airfield

May 14, 2012 8:22

The origin of religion — a phenomenon to say the least unusual. How would you introduce yourself? Perhaps the sight of the picture come to life from the myths and legends: the majestic voice from heaven, the gods are mortal, miracles and cars … Oddly enough, the process of a new faith can be much easier, if not comical. It is a cargo cult that was circulated among the native inhabitants of the islands of Oceania.

Every year on February 15 gives an official marches, drawing the letters USA on his chest and hoisted on the shoulders of similarity wooden rifles


Cargo cult (from the English. Cargo — «cargo") — the youngest of the religious movements. And the most unusual. Found it was when in the middle of the last century and the Melanesian Micronesian islands visited ethnographer. Observation of life and rituals of local tribes plunged into shock scientists; practices were found to unheard of anthropological science.

Eyes of scientists brought meticulously created from scrap materials … Western military base. In the woods and along the coast have been cleared and all the rules are marked runways. Next to them were make-shift booth. In the booth in shifts were islanders. When they get into the heads of "headsets", made from the leaves and shells of nuts. From time to time near the "aerodrome" people marched with sticks on their shoulders, and unfolded ritual dance with flags, suspiciously reminiscent of the signal alphabet. Ethnographers puzzled several months until it became clear certain: action natives — not raving madness. This is — religion.

First of all — PLANES

It all began during the Second World War, when U.S. troops to prepare attacks on the Japanese based on small islands, convenient and unobtrusive to the enemy. Native tribes looked on white people in strange clothes, first with surprise, then with genuine interest. Flew cargo planes who brought the soldiers weapons, equipment, provisions, and some of it fall to the share of the local population. Canned food, chocolate and Coca-Cola fell natives to taste. But most importantly, divinely delicious food and drinks perfectly battered them without any difficulty. Chiefs pondered how the white man to receive such benefits, and then went for advice to the shamans. And they quickly found the most logical answer — grace descends from the spirits of ancestors.

The thing is, they explained that the white people with some kind of magic could persuade the ancestors — that is remarkable, not their own, and it is native ancestors — to send down to earth wonderful gifts. And only a small part of them goes by the true heir to the spirits, and that Americans take almost everything himself. Shamans were irrefutable arguments: because white people per stay on the islands did absolutely nothing useful. They do not cultivate the ground and collect the fruits and raised cattle, but only walked systems around, shifted the tables of paper and said, in a strange box, which they then respond. What is this, if not magical spells! And the islanders decided that if we repeat the ritual correctly, grace descends on them.


Rudiments of cargo cult — not as a religion of worship of Georgia, namely in the repetition of action misconstrued sense — manifested in the late XIX century the Paiute Indians living west USA. Vovoka prophet, being the adopted son of the religious Christian family, heard about the second coming of Jesus, and could in my mind to combine this information with the Indian legends. He returned to his people, telling them that if they will live in love and forgiveness, while performing the necessary rituals, then … by rail back the spirits of ancestors and for all destroy the white man. The Indians saw no reason inconsistencies in the words of the prophet and happily danced Dance of the spirit in which discernible features military marching. It should be noted, something Vovoka yet achieved. Against crazed as the U.S. government decided, the Indians sent regular troops. The ritual has not protected them from bullets and mortally disappointed tribe lost hundreds of people came back to life on the reservation.

With the men of Oceania, fortunately for them, the situation turned into a completely different way. No one tried to evict them from their land or destroy, the maximum — to persuade. But it was not easy. In the early — mid XX century cargo cult grew on islands like mushrooms after the rain, and quite independently of each other. They were spotted in New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Fiji. The earliest documented the end of XIX century in Papua — New Guinea and is entitled "Vaylalskoe madness": The local inhabitants — Papuans believe that the sail boat and bring the ghost of dead ancestors, along with canned goods, tools, and other useful things, a vision in white people. In order to expedite the arrival of sailing, they stopped working and began to revel in the kava — strong hallucinogenic drink. Few months the local population is in a state of drug-induced delusions, bringing missionaries to nervous breakdowns.

MESSIAH named John

The popularity of the cult of the cargo at the time can be seen at the request of the U.S. military to disown him. They even sent to the New Hebrides special advocacy mission to convince the islanders that U.S. military forces have no relationship to local ancestors. But the faith of the islanders was stronger. Moreover, the Americans themselves fueled beliefs about inexhaustible horn of plenty, when the end of the war in the neighboring island of Espiritu Santo, bulldozers shoved off a cliff into the sea when no longer jeeps, aircraft parts and other equipment. Sixty years later, divers continue to take pieces of aircraft engines and untapped Coke bottle from the sea floor, calling this place Cape million.

The Indians saw no reason inconsistencies in the words of the prophet and happily danced Dance of the spirit in which discernible features military marching

By the beginning of XXI century, most cults, for whatever reasons, have ceased to exist, but one continues to live today. It is the religion of John Frum, which originated on the island of Tanna about eighty years ago. According to legend, the natives, John Frum while living among them, fled to the United States, but promised to come back, giving his followers to heaven on earth. Of course, the list of things needed for the garden, included canned goods, sweets, "magic" tools of white people, spacious home … Those who believe in John diligently clearing a place to land his plane and every year on February 15 (the promised return date) arrange a solemn march, drawing USA letters on the chest and hoisted on the shoulders of similarity wooden rifles. The priests also assured the public that the said John on the radio from coconuts.

Hope Springs Eternal

Go decades, John Frum is not returned to his followers. Islanders have repeatedly visited the group of missionaries, then researchers then tourists. They all tried hard to convince the people of the island of Tanna in the fact that cargo cult is wrong, but reached only condescending smiles on the faces of the faithful. To the question why they are waiting so many years, John, when he does not come, the islanders have a really good answer, "You white people who are in Christ two thousand years, and he did not return. We've been something John can wait a little longer. "

And they argue essentially nothing.

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