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Descended from the Celestial Rope

From the Father to the Son, and from the Ego to the Cosmic Self

Jadran Mimica

The dialectics of fatherhood and sonship among the Yagwoia of Papua New Guinea has multiple actualizations whose concrete reality and significance can be adequately understood only through individual-biographical life situations and trajectories. Accordingly, the focus is on the lifelong course of the relationship between a man and his father through which the individual specificities of the incorporative dynamics indigenously lived as 'implantation' and 'bone extraction' are consummated in diverse modes. One of these results in a common psycho-cultural form of Yagwoia egoity and self-consciousness wherein, after his death, the father becomes his progeny's protective spirit, especially his son's. Through detailed accounts and dream analyses, the article shows the critical importance and reality of culturally specific archetypal themes and imagery in the everyday life of individuals, and the indelible impact that they have on the psyche of concrete persons.