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Definition as Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Any of various Melanesian religious groups characterized by the belief that material wealth (as money or manufactured goods) can be obtained through ritual worship.
As this definition we can explain the term in context of the Ancient Astronauts theory, ancient cultures all around the world have histories about how the world was created and when the Gods came from the sky to show them how to progress in life and how things were done easier. You can take any culture from the Americas to Europe or Asia and all of them have this stories. To make more interesting those stories all are similar in their gods, from where they came, how they told them creation was made and how all the Gods help them jump start their cultures. Another thing is that the Gods someday leaved earth towards their home in heaven to never come back.
This is why they started the worship, in an effort to bring back their Gods with prayers, images, cults, sacrifices and all kind of daily veneration and also emulation. They put those beings that came from the sky flying in different devices with superior technologies and advanced ideas and methods as Gods, mostly because they didn't understood what was going on. They interpreted what they saw as something divine and they pass the stories when the "Gods" came down to earth to every generation, then when the writing took place all those stories and methods to worship the Gods were written down. That way all the future generations will know who the Gods were and what they brought from their home in heaven to them. What if those Gods were extraterrestrials that came to earth to interact with us and help us with our evolution and technological development? And our ancestors took them as Gods...
Cargo cult was seen in some regions of the South Pacific during World War II. We can see that this behavior is not only in our ancestors, it was not their mere imagination making fantasy stories about beings coming down from heaven. Anyone even in this century can misunderstand a simple technology if its not familiarized with it. So its going to explain it with the things that they are used to see. For example even to this day some indian cultures still call the train a Fire Horse even though they now have the correct name which is a train. This can happen with cultures we found in the Amazon for example, that they have never been in contact with any being outside of their culture.
Maybe this is why in many cultures stories we found terms like, fiery chariot, flying serpent, flying dragon with fire out of the mouth and many other depictions made because of misunderstanding of their flying method.
|South Pacific's venerating the flying chariot of the Gods|
We can not tell that the stories of our ancestors were fantasy or reality, but it makes more sense that they were writing what they saw and what really happened with the "Gods". Even there are stories of battles between the Gods in the sky with fire and strange weapons in Indian writings. They saw the battle and wrote it to keep it in history of the culture. So if we take all those stories as historical events, most if not all cultures were jump started by beings that came flying from heaven that they depicted as Gods. They show them agriculture, astronomy, government rules, how to construct shelter, how universe was created and many other useful stuff to help them grow to then going away after their work was done to never come back and were called Gods by our ancestors. That's how Cargo Cult as Ancient Astronaut theory is explained...
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