(from Greek Endo-
"internal" or "from within" and cannibalism
) is the term which describes the practice of eating dead members of one's own culture, tribe or social group. The practice may have a variety of purposes, including an attempt to absorb the characteristics of the deceased, the belief that by eating human flesh there is a regeneration of life after death, the incorporation of the spirit of the dead into living descendants, or to ensure the separation of the soul from the body.
As a cultural practice
Some Indigenous Australians
performed such practices as acts of respect for the dead person (presumably as a sign of the dead person's worth), as well as some Native American cultures such as the Mayoruna
consumed the ground-up bones and ashes of cremated kinsmen in an act of mourning. This still is classified as endocannibalism, although, strictly speaking, "flesh" is not eaten. The Aghoris
of northern India
consume the flesh of the dead floated in the Ganges
in pursuit of immortality
and supernatural powers.