Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

has not dwindled to a mere charm, but is still the abode of a protecting spirit. Amongst the Jakuts—to keep in northern zones—the skin has disappeared, the human likeness is given to a wooden idol, the connection of the idol with a totem animal survives only in the fact that the idol is smeared with blood, and it is not for life but for some special occasion or purpose that a guardian spirit is thus invoked. But the sacrifice to the idol and the feast at which it occupies the seat of honour show that it is still the abode of a spirit, and not a mere mechanical charm. Here, too, the shaman takes part in the proceedings.

In Brazil, the maraca or tammaraca is a calabash or gourd containing stones and various small articles. Every Brazilian Indian has one. It is all-powerful. Its power is communicated to it by a priest, who gets it from a far-off spirit. Sacrifices, especially human, are made to it. Here, the original totem animal has left not even its skin. The bag of animal skin—which amongst the Red Indians also is a receptacle for various small articles that are “great medicine ”_has been given up for what we may call a box, supplied by the vegetable world. The Brazilian maraca finds its exact parallel in East Central Africa. When the “diviners give their response they shake a small gourd filled with pebbles, and inspect pieces of sticks, bones, claws, pottery, etc., which are in another gourd.” 3 Returning to the New World, it was usual for the priests amongst the northern Indians of Chili to have “some square bags of painted hide in which he keeps the spells, like the maraca or rattle of the Brazilian sorcerers.” 4 Elsewhere in the New World, in the Antilles, there were tutelary deities (Chemis) of the individual and of the family which resided in idols, of human or animal form, and the figure of the Chemi was tattooed on the worshipper. In Peru,“ conopas” were the tutelary deities of individuals; they received sacrifices, and might be handed down from father to son.

Leaving the New World, we may note in passing that "the evidence for the existence of individual totems in Australia, though conclusive, is very scanty.”! We go on, therefore, to Polynesia, where “ tiki” is what “ totem” is in North America. To every individual, every family, and every community, there is a tiki or totem animal. The individual totem is chosen from amongst the animals worshipped as totems by the various communities. It is chosen, by a method already described, at the birth of the child. But there are indications that originally the ceremony took place, not at birth, but at the same time of life as amongst the Red Indians. It is therefore interesting to notice that the tendency to antedate the ceremony, which in Polynesia has become fully established, had already begun to manifest itself in America ; and further, that the mode of choice is the same in both cases, but that in America, apparently, the field of choice had not yet become limited to animals already totems. “Among the tribes of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, when a woman was about to be confined, the relations assembled in the hut and drew on the floor figures of different animals, rubbing each one out as soon as it was finished. This went on till the child was born, and the figure that remained sketched on the ground was the child's tona or totem.”4 That in Polynesia also the choice was not originally limited to animals or plants already totems and therefore domesticated—if they were species capable of domestication—may be indicated by the fact that amongst the Maoris Tiki is the name of a god—the god of plants that have not been domesticated. Elsewhere Tiki is the god of tattooing—which again points to the connection between tattooing and the totem.

i Bastian, Allerlei, i. 213.
2 Müller, Amerikan. Urreligion. 262; cf. Dorman, op. cit. 159.
3 Duff Macdonald, Africana, 44.

* Kerr, Voyages, v. 405. 5 Müller, op. cit. 171.

6 Dorman, op. cit. 160.

As, then, guardian spirits and family gods are found in Africa, Asia, America, Australia, and Polynesia, we may not unreasonably look for them in the Old World. We shall

1 Frazer, op. cit. 53.
2 Supra, pp. 180, 181.

3 Waitz, Anthropologie, vi. 320. * Frazer, op. cit. 55. In Eastern Central Africa, at the “mysteries” which take place at puberty "in the initiation of males, figures of the whale are made on the ground, and in the initiation of females, figures of leopards, hyenas, and such animals as are seen by those that never leave their homes.”—Duff Macdonald, Africana, i. 131. Perhaps these puberty-mysteries are remnants of the custom of choosing an individual totem at that time of life.

also expect to find that their cult is modelled there as elsewhere on the cult of the great gods. As totemism had been almost completely metamorphosed by subsequent developments of religion, we need not expect to find much of it in the guardian spirits and family gods of the Old World ; and if the idols in which the Chemis of the Antilles dwelt had come to be anthropomorphic in some cases, we need not be surprised if they were invariably anthropomorphic in Greece or Rome, nor if the tutelary deities of families or individuals in those countries were drawn from the ranks of the community's gods, as was the case in Polynesia.

Amongst the Semites, the teraphim, the worship of which was apparently not considered idolatrous amongst the Hebrews, were family gods. They were figures of wood or metal, with heads shaped into the likeness of a human face; they served as house-oracles, and were worshipped by the Chaldæans and by the inhabitants of Syria.

That at Rome the Genius was the guardian spirit of the individual, and that the Lares and Penates were family gods, no one will question. It is, however, interesting to note that both the Genius and the Lares are associated with animals, the former with the snake and the latter with the dog, and so betray probably their totemistic origin. The life of the individual was in some cases supposed to depend upon the life of the snake in which his genius lived; the man's health depended on his genius,” and “when the serpent which was the genius of the father of the Gracchi was killed, Tiberius died.”3 This exactly agrees with the account given of the individual totem amongst the Guatemaltecs : many “are deluded by the Devil to believe that their life depends on the Life of such and such a Beast (which they take to them as their familiar Spirit), and think that when that beast dies they must die; when he is chased, their hearts pant; when he is faint, they are faint; nay, it happens that by the Devil's delusion they appear in the shape of that Beast (which commonly by their choice is a Buck or Doe, a Lion or Tigre, Dog or Eagle), and in that Shape have been shot at and wounded.” 4 The resemblance between the Guatemaltec belief and the European belief about the wounding of witches is so close as to suggest that the animal in which the familiar spirit of the European witch appeared may have been a last lingering survival—like the serpent of the Gracchi and the Genius of the Romans—of an individual totem. The dog, with which the Lares are associated, appears in European folk-lore as a form in which ghosts manifest themselves, and the Lar is conceived not only as the house-spirit but as the spirit of a deceased ancestor. Probably we here have ancestor-worship amalgamating with the worship of a guardian spirit, who originally appeared in totem shape. In Polynesia, a deceased ancestor, and not a god, is sometimes chosen as a totem, but that is an exception to the general rule, and probably late. -

1 Am Urquell, v. 92.

? Preller, Römische Mythologie, 3 ii. 198. 3 Jevons, Plutarch's Romane Questions, xlviii. * Gage, A New Survey of the West Indies, * 334.

In Greece, the Athenians distinguished between Deo πάτριοι, ιερά πάτρια and θεοί πατρώοι, ιερά πατρώα. The former were certainly the national gods. Whether the latter were family gods is less certain. On the one hand, the privilege of worshipping them seems to have been confined to trueborn Athenians, and to have been a mark of full citizenship, which would show that they were the gods of the Athenians as distinguished from other Greeks. On the other hand, their worship was carried on in the private houses of those qualified to worship them, which rather points to their being family gods drawn, as in Polynesia, from the ranks of the community's gods. These θεοί πατρώοι οι ερκείοι or μύχιοι were worshipped in the urxol of the house, and one of them was apparently Hecate, to whom the dog was sacred; and the dog is, as we saw, associated with the household gods of the Romans also. An apparent trace of guardian spirits in Greece is the Hesiodic doctrine of daimoves and what is obviously implied in the word eudaiuwv, namely, that the man to whom the word is applied has a good daíuwy. The åyalòs dalywv, again, like the genius of the Romans, appears as a snake; and there was a variety of harmless snake, the specife name of which was αγαθοδαίμονες.5 We may note that before Hesiod, i.e. in the Homeric poems, there is no mention of ancestor-worship, and after him no cult of guardian spirits. Whether we are to connect these two facts, and infer that ancestor-worship, springing up in postHomeric times, amalgamated with the cult of the guardian spirit (as in Rome with the cult of the Lar), and then overshadowed it altogether, is a point which I will not do more than suggest for consideration. At any rate, it is obviously desirable that we should now go on to consider the question of ancestor-worship in general; and, bearing in mind that it is essentially a private worship and a purely family affair, we may not inappropriately sum up the results of this chapter as affecting cults of this kind. They are as follows. Whenever and wherever cults of this kind are found—and they are found in every quarter of the globe—they are assimilated to the ritual used in the worship of the community's gods; and the tutelary spirits themselves assume the same external form as the public gods. Next, it is more probable that the individual should imitate the community's ritual than the community an individual's; and in some cases it is avowedly the individual that borrows his guardian spirit from the ranks of the community's gods. Finally, the family is an institution which appears relatively late in the history of society. If, therefore, we find points of similarity between the ritual used in ancestor-worship and that used in the worship of the public gods, we shall not fall into the error of treating it as an isolated and unparalleled fact in the history of religion, but shall rather regard it as subject to the same laws and to be explained in the same way as the rest of the class of private cults to which it belongs.

1 Jevons, op. cit. xl. xlii.
3 Ar. Ath. Pol.
5 Rohde, op. cit. 233.

2 Waitz, Anthropologie, vi. 317, 321, 324.
4 Eur. Med. 397; Rohde, Psyche, 232.

« ForrigeFortsæt »