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Summoning the Powers BeyondTraditional Religions in Micronesia$
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Jay Dobbin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832032

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832032.001.0001

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The Religion of the Marshall Islands

The Religion of the Marshall Islands

(p.121) Chapter 6 The Religion of the Marshall Islands
Summoning the Powers Beyond

Jay Dobbin

Francis X. Hezel

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the religion of the Marshall Islands. There is one overarching concept that can link together Marshallese religious terms, the key myths, and the spirit world with human affairs: power. Marshallese myths and legends conceptualize power as a series of relationships—that is, between humans and the gods, between chiefs and the gods, and between humans and nature. As such, nature itself became sacred; almost anything in the immediate physical environment could be channels of power between the spirit world and humans. Often these sacred foci of power were called ekjab. An ekjab could sometimes be spirit-given knowledge of natural landmarks with which navigators could effectively move about the atolls.

Keywords:   Marshall Islands, Marshallese religion, power, Marshallese myths, Marshallese legends, nature, spirit world, ekjab

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