The Naruerinaki believe all is imbued with spirit, every person, animal and natural phenomenon. Some are more important than others and could be compared with gods of other cultures, for the goddess of the ocean (Songinahrongitsi) is know to all tribes, and so is the goddess of the earth (tonantatsi) as are the goddess of the sun and god of the moon. Every island will have their own spirit with unites all villages, and every village their own spirit or totem often the founder of the settlement in the guise of a spirit animal important to the people.
The village's spiritual matters are seen to by the Nayuneyänaki or shaman. He is responsible for communication with the spirits and ancestors, to help sooth their trouble, give them gifts and sort out unsettled issues they may have. He can use their guidence to help heal and see into the future by calling the ancestors to him with the use of the Nayune (bones). Also the Nayuneyänaki preserves the tribe's traditions and laws by stories and songs, reciting family and tribal histories.
Ancestor worship is close to the heart of Naruerinaki worship, for all deceased members of the family are cremated to release the spirit from the body. These remains are used in ritual to help the family members in times of need, to consult them of their fate and what decisions should be made regarding the future. For the naruerinaki the soul is divided into two parts. The rewekitsi (thought/conscienceness) is the part of the soul that leaves the body to go to Mirutuskotsi's kingdom and join him as the sun. The guise of these spirits can take the form of birds and especially butterflies, it is considered a powerful omen if a butterfly lands on someone. If a person has comitted a particularly bad crime such a murder or blasphemes against the spirits they stay on earth not as animals but as ghosts that seek to cause evil, the Naruerinaki call the this the yohvìyììteskea or the hidden place.
The other half of the spirit is called nayunetsi, the honoured bones. Bones are indivisible from the concept of spirit, they are one and the same. A person's power and essense is held within them. These are collected after the nayunehyenostängi ritual and always stay with the family. Offers are made to the Nayunetsi in the form of manioc bread when it is made, the women says quick prayer and toss a piece into a fire. When hunters successfully kill, the heart is given in thanks to the ancestors.
Communication with the Ancestors anu nayune (to hear the bones/spirit) is the most common type of ritual. It starts with the shaman purifying themselves, vomiting spoons (Makonayunki) are used to purge the insides, salt is thrown upon them and hands and feet washed to clean off the dirt. The bones of the ancestors are taken out, all families ancestors are normally consulted including the bones of the founding spirit. Next the shaman will ingest the roots of the yänaturon (seeing tree), a powerful hallucinogenic root that enables the shaman to see into the spirit world. This will make the shaman vomit bringing with it, patterns and colours unseen by normal eyes. While the shaman prepares himself for the journey the rest of the village offers sacrifices and gifts for the arrival of the ancestors, chanting prayers to heighten the influence of the yanaturon root. Eventually after many hours the shaman will go into a trance, singing and dancing with a tuuntawintoy (drum), directed by the influence of the ancestors and his own animal spirit, most songs are ad hod, the lyrics coming from whatever experience the shaman is going through, there are some distinct prayers that are dictated by why the ancestors are being called upon. This ritual can last for days and the shaman will take more yänaturon root if needed. After the trance is finished the shaman is presumed to have been advised by the ancestors. This ritual is also used for healing purposes where the Shaman is guided by the ancestors and tries to communicate with the spirit of the sick tribal member.
The ritual of cremation is called nayunehyenostängi (The ritual of freeing the bones/spirit). It begins with the corpse being stripped of all jewellary and garments and laided upon a wooden platlform within the family home. This is to give the village time to give their condolenses to the family and allow the body's spirit to depart to the afterworld. This is called the rewepeao (time of remembering), it lasts usually a day or two as the heat of the Naruerinakian ocean is too hot to keep any body in a good condition for too long. It is followed by the main ritual; It begins by the body being taken on a bier from the house to high location with a pyre built for the occasion, this will happen at dawn. The corpse is lain face down so the nape of the neck is facing the sky, this is to allow the the shaman to communicate with the spirit. Family members each take a handful of salt and rub it upon the body, this is to help puritfy the body and ward off any malign spirits that would prey upon the nayunetsi. Prayers are said to hope for the Rewekitsi's safe journey to yohvìyììteskea and to ease the nayunetsi. Finally the Shaman having imbibed a drink made from yänaturon root lights the pyre and the body is left to burn until only the blackened bones remain. While still warm the shaman collects the bones in an urn called Ekezunki (small house). This urn is then given to the family and placed within the next of kin's house.
Great Spirits Natayunetsi.
-Songinahrongitsi Goddess of the ocean; her name means revered giver of sustanance; she respresents the calm oceans and bounty the Natruerinaki claim form her. Because she gives life the Naruerinaki see her as feminine. Songinahrongitsi lives at the bottom fo the ocean and any gifts offered to her are thrown into it.
-Tonantatsi Goddess of the earth; ; She is the spirit of root vegatebles, espcecially the yam, sweet potatoe and manioc. it is to her the Naruerinaki sing to when preparing the manioc for eating. Petrogylphs of her are carved on stones placed on the corners of fields to ensure good harvets and protect the crops from evil spirits.
- Yanaransti, God who watches over the manio fields and assists Tonantatsi in the growth of the harvest. Also it was him who first discovered the manioc was poisonous and gave mankind the knoweldge to cure the juices.
- Volipuketsi, - God of storms. He lives in the sky surrounded by earthern ware pots full of water. When he smashes them they create thunder and the water inside fall to earth as rain
- Tuuntahnyitsi - God of rain, he differs from Voilpuketsi as his rain does't occur during storms but rather give life to the crops and give respite from the sun. His brother is Mirutuskotsi who is the god of sunny weather while neither are malicious they are enthusiastic about rain and sun respectively so without the other tuuntahnyitsi would drown the world and Mirutuskotsi would cause draughts.
Sacred Animals with Naruerinaki Religion
As an animist religion the Naruerinkai do not consider themselves above the rest of the natural world but fully apart of it and subject to its whims. All spirits should be respected and placated if need be. Before each hunt the Naruerinaki call upon forgiveness of the animals that will die to feed them and that they will honour their remains. To the Naruerikanki there are several animals that are revered above others being seen as the avatars of some of the Natayunetsi, being a mostly ocean going people with few animals onland it is the those in the sea that take their interest most.