Outdoors Magazine

Cosmology of Shark-Calling

Posted on the 16 August 2012 by Cris

In a recently published book on sharks, Juliet Eilperin discusses the ancient practice of shark-calling in Papua New Guinea. It is on the one hand a practical activity which leads to the capture and consumption of sharks, and on the other a ritual activity that is part magic and part creation myth.

In this excerpt, Eilperin provides the details and an overview of the intense missionary activity which has resulted in the syncretic fusion of ancestor beliefs with Christian ideas. It’s a nice example of a unified or non-dualist cosmology. In this incredible clip from “The Shark-Callers of Kontu” (1982), we see how the practical magic of shark-calling works:


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