The Search for Tagaloa


Published on Jan 28, 2017

A response to a call for an „intercultural and inter-religious“ dialogue by Samoa’s Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese. From 1838 to 1845, The Rev. John B. Stair lived in Samoa. In his „Old Samoa, or Flotsam and Jetsam from the Pacific Ocean“ he wrote of the difficulty of arriving at „anything like a clear and connected account“ of Samoan mythology as „native statements are often vague and conflicting.“ In a chapter titled „Mythology and Spirit-Lore“, the Rev. noted: „The Samoans had several divinities and a host of inferior ones, ‚lords many and gods many,‘ and they were also accustomed to deify the spirits of deceased chiefs. In addition to the homage paid to these, petitions were offered and libations of ava (sic) were poured out at the graves of deceased relatives; whilst the war clubs of renowned warriors were regarded with much superstitious reverence, if not actually worshipped, under the name of Anava.“ He went on to say: „The embalmed bodies of some chiefs were also worshipped under the significant name of Le faa-Atua-lala-ina, or made into a sun-dried god, as were also certain objects into which they were supposed to have been changed, which were called Tupua, and held to personate them.“

Note: This documentary is available free to Samoan high schools (or churches) in DVD format. Because some of the clips are utilized under Fair Use, it is intended for educational purposes only—not to be sold or resold. Please share but don’t sell it in any way or chop it up for another video. Thank you!

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