More: Arapesh,  Ari, Barano, Baruya, Binim-Kukusmin, Busama, Dani, Darabi, Dobu Isl., Eipo, Etoro, Foi, Gebusi, Huli, Jaquai, Kaluli, Keraki, Kewa, Kiwai, Koko, Kwoma, Lesu, Manus, Marind AnimNew Britain, New Ireland, Normanby Islanders, Paiela, Trobrianders, Vanatinai, Wogeo




A thesis by Guddemi (1992)[1] centers on a male initiation cult, for which different ritual houses are built, then abandoned after a ritual cycle's completion.

“The most important ritual house, the yafi-nu, figures in mythic origin. Awoufaiso, the creator, thought the world, and then a yafi-nu, into being. He then thought ancestral men into being from sago spathe paintings in the yafi-nu. When these men and their wives and children refused to eat of a feast he prepared, because as a 'playful trick' he had placed pig-excrement-like mushrooms above the good food, he cursed them with mortality and sexuality, yet enjoined them periodically to re-create the yafi-nu ritual house, and to paint, as he had done, sago spathe paintings within it. Initiation rituals within this house take place in these paintings' presence. Such rituals also involve ordeals like that Awoufaiso attempted: initiates are led to believe bad things will happen to them, then reassured and feasted. Initiates are 'grown' by older men's magical 'nurturance,' and are separated from women while, as transvestite dancers and subsistence producers, initiates appropriate female roles.”







Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. Volume I. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology, Berlin

Last revised: Jan 2006


[1]Guddemi, Phillip Vickroy (1992) We came from this: Knowledge, memory, painting and 'play' in the initiation rituals of the Sawiyano of Papua New Guinea. PhD Dissertation, University of Michigan