Bone Pointing

The ceremony of bone pointing is a common ritual for bringing sickness among the [Australian] Arunta. The pointing bone or pointing stick is usually about nine inches in length, pointed at one end, and tipped with a lump of resin at the other. The stick is endowed with magical power by being 'sung over,' that is, curses are muttered over it, such as 'may your heart be rent asunder' and 'may your head and throat be split open.' On the evening of the day on which the bone has been 'sung' the wizard creeps stealthily in the shadows until he can see the victim's face clearly by the firelight. He then points the bone in the victim's direction and utters in a low tone the curses with which the stick was endowed earlier in the day. The victim is supposed to sicken and die within a month at the most. Two men may cooperate in the pointing operation. Spears may also be endowed with magic by 'singing' over them. A person who knows that he has been injured, even slightly, with a spear thus prepared will be likely to waste away through fear unless counter magic can be brought to his aid.
--from "Primitive Theories of Disease" by Spencer L. Rogers in Ciba Symposia (April 1942)

Shown below are two Australian Arunta men demonstrating how to point the bone at someone. Wikipedia adds an interesting piece of trivia:

In 2004 Native Australians who disagreed with his policies ritually cursed Australian Prime Minister, John Howard by pointing a bone at him. He is still alive as of 2012.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 15, 2012
Category: Death, Rituals and Superstitions





Comments
I've no doubt that curses work(ed) among the native peoples of different lands. And, with all the stories and myths among the European peoples it's not hard to imagine a time when they/we too counted ourselves among the native people.

If you don't believe that magic exists today, watch some little kids face light up at the site of Santa or sit agape at some magician's feet as he pulls a rabbit out of a hat. I've even scared the crap out of some little ones by stealing their noses! For magic to exist and work you only need believe.

I'm now going to reach out with my magic want and poke that [Submit] button, watch
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/15/12 at 09:59 AM
How quaint. The bone pointing (almost put an "r" on it) can't have much power since it doesn't seem to work across cultures.
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 06/15/12 at 10:36 AM
It only works on people not wearing pants. Had the Prime Minister been wearing a mini skirt that day things may have played out differently. I was going to cite my sources but can't find them at the moment.
Posted by Pablo on 06/15/12 at 11:05 AM
When I sing over the bone it points at me with good will!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/15/12 at 10:45 PM
Really Patty? grin Then why does it try to spit on you? LOL
Posted by Captain DaFt on 06/16/12 at 01:51 AM
Commenting is no longer available for this post.
Weird Universe

Follow Us





All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.