In Pacific anthropology, it has long been assumed that funerary rites – the largest-scale rituals across the region – serve to repair the social relationships torn apart by the death of a relative. In fact, their function is the reverse. Funerary rites actually complete the dissolution of social ties so that new life and new social relations can begin. In this view, life is a process of building connections with others, which are then dismantled with death. This offers a new view of cosmic relevance to religion in Oceania and elsewhere.