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are gifted with superior wisdom, and give themselves out for magicians.» 1
In Africa the Tshi-speaking peoples believe that novices, during their initiatory period, »must keep their bodies pure,
and refrain from all commerce with the other sex.» 2 By the Ashantee inspired people are sometimes acknowledged as priests after inflicting great severities on themselves, in the manner of convulsionists. 3 The Loango novices are required to pass several days in a dark hut, to fast and keep silence. A priestly candidate among the Namaquas must begin his preparation by swallowing animal poison, being bitten by venomous reptiles, or having poison inoculated into his body. 5 To attain the highest grade of sorcerer among the Kafirs it is necessary to fast in solitary and gloomy places, to listen to the voices of the wood and to practice dancing and other violent exercises in order to be seized by the spirits.
A young man among the Chukches in Siberia who has made up his mind to become a shaman undergoes a long self-training. »His imagination,» says von Wrangel, »is worked upon by solitude, the contemplation of the gloomy aspect of surrounding nature, long vigils and fasts, with the use of narcotics and stimulants, until he becomes persuaded that he, too, has seen the apparitions which he has heard of from his boyhood. 7 Before a shaman of the Buryat enters upon the office, he retires
1 Dobrizhoffer, Abipones, ii. 67 sq.
Andersson, Lake Ngami, p. 330.
Фонъ-Врангель, Путешествіе по Съвернымъ Берегамъ Сибири, і. 349.
for some time into a forest where he invokes the gods and is said frequently to fall into a state of insensibility." So also the Demanos, or priests of the Malers in India, after their call spend a certain number of days in the wilderness in intimate communication (as they make their flock believe) with the god. 2 The novices among the Bhills are required to perform daily ablutions in warm water for nine days. 3 Among the Todas the candidate for priesthood throws off his garment and resorts to an unfrequented part of some forest. He smears himself with the juice of a certain tree and afterwards bathes in a stream. This he does several times during the week that he remains in the forest. All this time he is in a state of perfect nudity, and a scanty supply of parched grain forms his only sustenance. + In proof of ability to communicate with the gods, the medicine-men of the Sea Dyaks will, before the ceremony of initiation, abstain from food and fall into trances from which they will awake with all the tokens of one possessed by a devil, foaming at the mouth and talking incoherently. • In the Boulia District of Queensland the individual who feels inclined to become a medicine-man will leave the camp for three or four days and subsist only on roots, &c., – that is, practically starve himself: he gets more or less »cranky» and when in that condition sees Mulka-ri, who is pleased to make him a doctor. 6 In the North tribes of Central Australia the candidates are not
Агапитовъ и Хангаловъ 'Шаманство у Бурять, іn Извѣстія В.-Сиб. Отд. Геогр. Общ. xiv. 45.
2 Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, p. 270.
Malcolm, ’Essay on the Bhills,' in Trans. Roy. As. Soc. i. 77.
4 Shortt, 'Hill Tribes of the Neilgherry,' in Trans. Ethn. Suc. N. S. vii. 248.
5 Ling Roth, 'Natives of Borneo,' in Jour. Anthr. Inst. xxi. 115.
Roth, Ethnological Studies among the Vorth-West-Central Queenslund Aborigines, p. 153.
allowed to have any rest, but are obliged to stand or walk about until they are thoroughly exhausted and scarcely know what is happening to them. They are not allowed to drink a drop of water or taste food of any kind. They become, in fact, dazed and stupified, and when in this state they are made medicine-men. 1
Finally we learn that among certain peoples candidates are admitted to the sacerdotal order through a special initiatory ceremony. Ellis states that the priests among the Yoruba-speaking peoples are consecrated to the office, on which occasion they take a new name. The priests of the Ama-xosa Kafirs are received into the brotherhood with mysterious ceremonies. 3 When a priest of the Waraus feels that he has become too weak to fight the spirits, he transfers the office to his son, who is consecrated with many solemn rites. Among the Yakuts and other Siberian peoples various ceremonies take place when a new priest is consecrated. 5 Among the Lapps the solemn initiation of a priest is said to be performed in the Christmas night. 6
Among certain peoples the consecration of a priest takes place several times in succession according as he rises from lower to higher degrees of the order. The initiatory rites of a Buryat shaman, according to M. Shashkoff, are repeated three times; at each time he
Spencer and Gillen, Northern Tribes of Central sustralia, p. 485.
Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Süd-Afrika's,
Приклонскій, "Три года въ Якутской области, іn Хивая Старина, і, 4. р. 50. Шашковъ, 'Шаманство, іn Записки Геогр. Общ. ii. 83, 84. Фонъ-Врангель, Путешествіе по Сѣвернымъ Берегамъ Сибири, і. 349. Krohn, Suomen suvun pakanallinen jumalanpalvelus, p. 85.
6 Düben, Lappland och lapparne, pp. 271 sq. Waronen, lainajainpalvelus muinaisilla suomalaisilla, p. 51.
assumes a higher function, and it is only after having passed through all these ceremonies that a shaman enjoys the full privileges of the priesthood. ' Messrs. Agapitof and Hangalof even say that the number of times that a priest among the Buryats is consecrated varies from one to nine. 2 The jugglers of the Moxo tribe in Brazil were admitted to the lowest step of priesthood after an arduous course of discipline lasting one year. To obtain a higher degree they had, after long practice as suckers, to undergo another year of still severer abstinence. At the end of that time the juice of certain pungent herbs was infused into their eyes, to purge their mortal sight, and from this circumstance they were called those who have clear eyes.
Шашковъ, Шаманево, іn Записки Геогр. Общ. ii. 85.
апитовъ and Хангалов, Шамаство у Бурятъ, in Извѣстія В.-Сиб. Отд. Геогр. Общ. xiv. 40 — 52.
Southey, History of Brazil, iii. 202.
HOW PRIESTS GAIN REPUTATION. ORIGIN OF PRIEST
HOOD AS A DISTINCT ORDER.
AS has been mentioned in a previous chapter, the authority exercised by the priesthood varies among different peoples. However, we may take it to be the rule that the priests, among the uncivilized races, occupy an influential position in the community and are held in great veneration. In the course of time the services of the priesthood have become more and more indispensable in the popular estimation, and availing themselves of every opportunity of personal aggrandizement, the priests have gradually promoted their class-interests to a very great extent. Among certain peoples they have acquired an almost unlimited power. The various factors which have contributed to the reputation of the priests form an interesting study, as they also enable us to understand how the priesthood has risen to be a separate class.
One circumstance which has powerfully tended to distinguish the priesthood from the community at large has been the fact that the priests and sorcerers are, as a rule, recruited from the most intelligent elements of their peoples. The scanty learning of savage races is almost exclusively confined to the priesthood. The priests are generally the only preservers of tribal traditions, they alone possess the knowledge of certain useful arts, and the whole character of their functions tends to develope their intellectual powers, --- all circumstances which contribute to give them a certain superiority over their