Structure and Transformations in the Religion of the Toraja in the Mamasa Area of South Sulawesi
Author: C.W. Buijs
Women run screaming from their village at night, leaving all their clothes behind—possessed by spirits of the wilderness, they climb up a barana tree. It is but one of the fascinating rituals of the Toraja people described in this study.
The Toraja people live in the mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Their religion is an ancient one predating the Hindu and Buddhist religions that arrived in Indonesia some 1,500 years ago. It is marked by a dualism in male and female elements, a characteristic of rituals the older people in the western Toraja region, Mamasa, still remember. Three rituals, the headhunting, fertility, and tree-climbing rites, are dealt with in detail, while in the marriage, childbirth, and mortuary rituals point to a shift in Toraja beliefs. Where once both earth and celestial deities were expected to bless ritual participants, the Toraja, influenced by developments in their physical environment, now devote their attention to the deities of the heavens, while those of the earth are disappearing.
Author: C.W. Buijs
In Personal Religion and Magic in Mamasa, West Sulawesi, Kees Buijs describes the traditional culture of the Toraja’s, which is rapidly vanishing. The focus is on personal religion as it has its centre in the kitchen of each house. In the kitchen and also by the use of magical words and stones the gods are sought for their powers of blessing.

This book adds important information to Buijs’ earlier Powers of Blessing from the Wilderness and from Heaven (Brill, 2006).