In this short article I present some of my notes on what may broadly be called Nuer religion. It describes two important concepts of the Nuer of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan: biit, a curse, and cien, the vengeance of a ghost.
The curse of certain persons in Nuer society is believed to be effective if they have been wronged. If they utter curses without due cause (cuong) the curses will not harm those against whom they are uttered, but will either be ineffective or harm the speakers of them. A man curses another by uttering an invocation (lam)— which in this context is an imprecation—over, or about, him; and the Nuer distinguish different kinds of curse by reference to the relationship of the persons implicated in it—biit gwan, the curse of a father, biit nara, the curse of a maternal uncle, biit kuaara, the curse of a leopard-skin chief, and so forth. Some of these curses are regarded as weightier than others.