From fart gods to farting out one’s soul: The historic ritualization of farts (photos)

It’s not a joke…

They command attention, bring silence into noisy environments and have been associated with the utterances of gods for thousands of years. In fact, entire rituals have been designed around them. Farts. Would you believe it?

For several thousands of years, the ancestors of the Innu (or Montagnais) people inhabited the northeastern portion of the present-day province of Quebec, and parts of the eastern portions of Labrador known as  Nitassinan (“Our Land”). Scholar Marie Wadden, in her 1991 book The Innu Struggle to Reclaim Their Homeland tells us “the people trapped moose, caribou, deer and small game, and they also farmed and fished.”

Matshishkapeu, the Fart God

The language known as  Ilnu, is part of the ‘Cree’ language group and the people worshiped a range of hunting and animal gods while paying homage to animal spirits.  In 1987, researcher Peter Armitage wrote “Religious Ideology Among the Innu of Eastern Quebec and Labrador”, in which he studied the Innu god “Matshishkapeu” and commented on his “unusual omnipresence” which makes him an especially unique mythological being: “he is everywhere, both inside the tent and outside; he is always with you no matter where you may travel”.

Read more: ancient origins

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