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influence of the god was imparted, and through them transferred to the objects to which they might be attached. Among the numerous ceremonies observed, the pacatua was one of the most conspicuous. On these occasions, the gods were all brought out of the temple, the sacred coverings removed, scented oils were applied to the images, and they were exposed to the sun. At these seasons, the parties who wished their emblems of deity to be impregnated with the essence of the gods, repaired to the ceremony with a number of red feathers, which they delivered to the officiating priest.

The wooden idols being generally hollow, the feathers were deposited in the inside of the image, which was filled with them. Many idols, however, were solid pieces of wood, bound or covered with finely-braided cinet, of the fibres of the cocoa-nut husk; to these the feathers were attached on the outside by small fibrous bands. In return for the feathers thus united to the god, the parties received two or three of the same kind, which had been deposited on a former festival in the inside. of the wooden or inner fold of the cinet idol. These feathers were thought to possess all the properties of the images to which they had been attached, and a supernatural influence was supposed to be infused into them. They were carefully wound round with very fine cinet, the extremities alone remaining visible. When this was done, the new-made gods were placed before the larger images from which they had been taken; and, lest their detachment should induce the god to withhold his power, the priest addressed a prayer to the principal deities, requesting them to abide in the red feathers before them. At the close of his ubu, or invocation, he declared that they were dwelt in or inhabited, (by the

gods,) and delivered them to the parties who had brought the red feathers. The feathers taken home, were deposited in small bamboo-canes, excepting when addressed in prayer. If prosperity attended their owner, it was attributed to their influence, and they were usually honoured with a too, or image, into which they were inwrought; and subsequently, perhaps, an altar and a rude temple were erected for them. In the event, however, of their being attached to an image, this must be taken to the large temple, that the supreme idols might sanction the transfer of their influence.

Their temples were either national, local, or domestic. The former were the depositories of their principal idols, and the scenes of all great festivals; the second were those belonging to the several districts; and the third, such as were appropriated to the worship of family gods. Marae was the name for temple, in the South Sea Islands. All were uncovered, and resembled oratories rather than temples. The national places of worship were designated by distinct appellations. Tabu-tabu-atea was the name of several in the South Sea Islands, especially of those belonging to the king; the word may mean wide-spread sacredness. The national temples consisted of a number of distinct maraes, altars, and sacred dormitories, appropriated to the chief pagan divinities, and included in one large stone enclosure of considerable extent. Several of the distinct temples contained smaller inner-courts, within which the gods were kept. The form of the interior or area of their temples was frequently that of a square or a parallelogram, the sides of which extended forty or fifty feet. Two sides of this space were enclosed by a high stone wall; the front was protected by a low fence; and opposite, a

solid pyramidal structure was raised, in front of which the images were kept, and the altars fixed. These piles were often immense. That which formed one side of the square of the large temple in Atehuru, according to Mr. Wilson, by whom it was visited when in a state of preservation, was two hundred and seventy feet long, ninety-four wide at the base, and fifty feet high, being at the summit one hundred and eighty feet long, and six wide. A flight of steps led to its summit; the bottom step was six feet high. The outer stones of the pyramid, composed of coral and basalt, were laid with great care, and hewn or squared with immense labour, especially the tiavâ, or corner stones.

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Within the enclosure, the houses of the priests, and

keepers of the idols, were erected. Ruins of temples are found in every situation: on the summit of a hill, as

at Maeva; on the extremity of a point of land projecting into the sea; or in the recesses of an extensive and overshadowing grove. The trees growing within the walls, and around the temple, were sacred; these were the tall cypress-like casuarina, the tamanu, or callophyllum, mero, or thespesia, and the tou, or cordia. These were, excepting the casuarina-trees, of large foliage and exuberant growth, their interwoven and dark umbrageous branches frequently excluded the rays of the sun; and the contrast between the bright glare of a tropical day, and the sombre gloom in the depths of these groves, was peculiarly striking. The fantastic contortions in the trunks and tortuous branches of the aged trees, the plaintive and moaning sound of the wind passing through the leaves of the casuarina, often resembling the wild notes of the Eolian harp-and the dark walls of the temple, with the grotesque and horrific appearance of the idols-combined to inspire extraordinary emotions of superstitious terror, and to nurture that deep feeling of dread which characterized the worshippers of Tahiti's sanguinary deities.

The priests of the national temples were a distinct class; the office of the priesthood was hereditary in all its departments. In the family, according to the patriarchal usage, the father was the priest in the village or district; the family of the priest was sacred, and his office was held by one who was also a chief. The king was sometimes the priest of the nation, and the highest sacerdotal dignity was often possessed by some member of the reigning family. The intimate connexion between their false religion and political despotism, is, however, most distinctly shewn in the fact of the king's personifying the god, and receiving the offerings brought to the

temple, and the prayers of the supplicants, which have been frequently presented to Tamatoa, the present king of Raiatea. The only motives by which they were influenced in their religious homage, or service, were, with very few exceptions, superstitious fear, revenge towards their enemies, a desire to avert the dreadful consequences of the anger of the gods, and to secure their sanction and aid in the commission of the grossest crimes.

Their worship consisted in preferring prayers, presenting offerings, and sacrificing victims. Their ubus, or prayers, though occasionally brief, were often exceedingly protracted, containing many repetitions, and appearing as if the suppliants thought they should be heard for their much speaking. The petitioner did not address the god standing or prostrate, but knelt on one knee, sat cross-legged, or in a crouching position, on a broad flat stone, leaning his back against an upright basaltic column, at the extremity of a smooth pavement, usually six or ten yards from the front of the idol. He threw down a branch of sacred mero on the pavement before the image or altar, and began his tarotaro, or invocation, preparatory to the offering of his prayer. Pure is the designation of prayer, and haamore that for praise, or worship.

Small pieces of niau, or cocoa-nut leaf, were suspended in different parts of the temple, to remind the priest of the order to be observed. They usually addressed the god in a shrill, unpleasant, or chanting tone of voice, though at times the worship was extremely boisterous. That which I have often heard in the northern islands was peculiarly so; and on these occasions, when we have induced the priest to repeat 2 E


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