I'm in the process of overananlyzing the film Moana. During my research, I discovered that the Polynesians did actually believe that an ancestor could reincarnate - as an animal, another person, a rock... These were called nā ʻaumākua. In the Moana film, Grandma Tala gets a tattoo of the animal that she believes that she'll reincarnate as (a sting ray, as it happens).

Did the Polynesians actually get tattoos of what animal they believed that they would reincarnate as?

  • 1
    As I understand it, the tattoos are of their aumakua, not an aumakua they themselves might become.
    – Semaphore
    Dec 18, 2017 at 9:59
  • Freaking love this question! Sadly, honesty forces me to point out that it might be right in the sweet spot of the Mythology stack. OTOH, I believe its on-topic here as well, and we're probably more active than they are.
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 18, 2017 at 14:53
  • @T.E.D. - I've asked a couple questions on Mythology.SE the last couple days. I considered asking this there, but decided on here because it's asking about what they actually did, as opposed to what they believed. And yeah, History.SE is more active than Mythology.SE ;) Also, thanks! :D
    – Mithical
    Dec 18, 2017 at 15:08


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