Billeder på siden

in which the Indian would live were it not for his trust in the protecting power of the peaiman, who is the benevolent wizard-priest. 1 We learn that the doctor of the Tehuelches in Patagonia is expected by the people to conciliate or banish the evil spirit who constantly endeavours to inflict harm upon them.2 In Ashanti the people believe »that evils can only be removed, and desired benefits conferred by the fetishes; and that their friendly interposition must be sought through the medium of their servants or ministers.» 3 And among the Kafirs, »each tribe has its national priests, or 'intonga yakwomkulu', whose duty it is to protect the person of the Chief; to avert all national calamities from the tribe; and especially to make the army strong to fight and conquer all its enemies.» 4

The principal duty of the priests is to administer, or give advice as to, the worship of the gods. As all gods do not stand in the same relation to men, the assistance of the priests must often be called in to point out the special deities to which the people should offer their sacrifices. Very generally the gods are believed to bear ill will to men, and therefore it is also the duty of the priests to give directions as to the proper offerings. It is all the more necessary to know how to please the gods, as they are generally held to be very particular about the form of prayer and sacrifice. This is said to be the case, for instance, with the gods of the Cheremisses, a Finnish tribe in Eastern Russia, which has up to this time preserved a great number of pagan observances. Therefore even an expert shaman among them, when invoking the gods, asks forgiveness for involuntary

1 Im Thurn, Indians of Guiana, pp. 333 sq.
2 Musters, Unter den Patagoniern, p. 193.
3 Beecham, Ashantee, p. 190 sq.
+ Maclean, Kafir Laws and Customs, pp. 81 sq.

mistakes regarding the form of his prayers.A Russian writer, speaking of the origin of the Siberian shamans, says that ordinary people are not believed, by the aborigines, to know what sacrifices the spirits require, nor to understand the art of divination, etc. The need of persons properly qualified to advise the people in these matters has given rise to the profession of the shamans. 2 The people of Nias, in the Malay Archipelago, believe that the benevolent spirits have power over the evil ones who cause all kinds of calamities. But it is very difficult to know which of the good spirits should be invoked on a particular occasion of distress. This can only be found out through the medium of the priests. 3 Although, among the Lapps, everybody in ordinary cases sacrifices for himself, the shaman is often applied to to point out the proper deity on each occasion as well as the kind of offering and the place of sacrifice. + The same duty is incumbent upon the priest of the Wotyaks, a Finnish tribe living in Eastern Russia. 5 Among the Eskimo about Bering Strait, »observance of various festivals and the attendant rites are usually excecuted according to the instructions of shamans, who learn by the aid of their mysterious power what is acceptable to the shades and the tunghât,» or tutelary spirits. 6

To the influence of the gods, as we have seen, various phenomena in nature are ascribed. The priests are also in many cases believed to be able to perform

[ocr errors]

these seeming miracles, either by influencing the gods or through their own powers. In the case of many peoples we thus learn that the priests are necessary in order to procure rain or fine weather, to cause good growth or ensure success in hunting and fishing. It is stated that the people of Loango ask rain and fair weather of the priests as they do of the king. 1 Among the natives of the Upper Congo, the fetish-men are believed to control rain and drought, to confer success. in hunting and to give good growth. 2 Several writers inform us that the Eskimo think their Angakoks able to produce favourable weather and success in hunting. 3 Among the Thlinkets the shaman makes good weather and abundant fishing. 4 The Cherokee believe that their priests can bring rain, fine weather, heat, cooling breezes, thunder and lightning,; and the sorcerers of the Southern Californians are likewise supposed to control the elements. 6 According to the Indians of the Upper Amazon, their medicine-men have power to bring or send away rain, to destroy dogs or game, and to make the fish leave a river.' The New Zealand priests could rule the winds and render them favourable for fishing. 8 In Melanesia the priests are believed to be able to move the spirits »to interfere for wind or calm, sunshine or rain, as may

1 Proyart, 'History of Loango, in Pinkerton, A General Collection of Voyages and Travels, xvi. 595.

2 Möller, Pagels and Gleerup, Tre år i Kongo, ii. 85.

3 Rink, Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, p. 62. Hall, Arctic Researches, p. 572. Astrup, Blandt Nordpolens Naboer, p. 283.

+ Krause, Die Tlinkit-Indianer, p. 284.

5 Bartram, The Creek and Cherokee Indians,' in Transactions of the American Ethnological Society, iii. Part i. p. 21.

6 Bancroft, Works, i. 418.
1 Wallace, Travels on the Amazon, p. 499.

8 Taylor, The Ika a Maui, p. 103. Tregear, 7ko Maoris of New Zealand, p. 117.

be desired., 1 Different classes of magicians among the Jervis Islanders lure dugong, turtle and fish by certain charm's, or make wind and rain. 2 In the New Hebrides: — » Ce sont les sorciers qui font la pluie, le soleil, etc. » 3 The Australian wizards are credited with the power of commanding the rain. 4 Among the Malays of Malacca the assistance of the Pawang, or village sorcerer, is invoked in all agricultural operations, in fishing at sea, and in prospecting for minerals. 5 Certain of the Kirghiz wizards not only foretell, but also govern the weather and make the herds increase. 6 The sorcerers of the Lapps are believed able to procure or avert rain as well as tó conjure up or drive away insects. 7

The need of priests and sorcerers appears very clearly when considering the assistance universally required from them in cases of illness. The art of healing disorders through invocation of the gods, or by magical manipulations, is naturally connected with the notions of the savage regarding illness, as laid down above. From these ideas, priesthood, so far as it is connected with the medical art, derives its origin. There is a universal belief among uncivilized peoples that the sole help for illness consists in conciliation of the spirits or in the black art, and consequently the only helpers are those who understand how to perform the proper ceremonies.

1 Codrington, Melanesians, p. 200.

2 Haddon, 'Ethnography of the Western Tribe of Torres Straits,' in Jour. Anthr. Inst. xix. 398, 401.

3 Hagen and Pineau, 'Les Nourelles Hébrides,' in Revue d'Ethnographie, vii. 336.

4 Curr, The Australian Race, i. 48.

o Blagden, ’Notes on the Folk-lore and Popular Religion of the Malays,' in Jour. of the Straits Branch of the Roy. As. Soc., 1896, p. 6.

o Georgi, Russland, i. 223.
1 Ib., i. 15.

Among many peoples in different parts of the world priests and sorcerers are considered to be the most important personages in cases of illness, and sometimes they are said to be alone capable of giving assistance to their suffering fellow-tribesmen. Thus, the peoples of Equatorial Africa believed that the evil genius which causes diseases of an epileptic character can only be driven out by the assistance of the fetish or inedicineman. 1 Among the Kimbunda in South-West Africa the priests declare that they only are able to cure the sick owing to their power over the spirits. 2 It is reported with reference to the Kafir tribe of Koossas that the task of driving away the evil spirits which cause their diseases must be performed by a magician. 3 Concerning the Biyârs or Biârs in the North-Western Provinces of India, Crooke writes that when anybody falls ill, it is only Ojhas, or the priest-doctor, who can recognize the particular Bhut which is at the root of the mischief. 4 Of the Khonds it is said that »in cases of sickness, as of every other species of misfortune, it is the duty of the priest to discover the real or supposed causes,» 5 and exactly the same report we receive from certain Siberian peoples. 6 Mr. Bourkie says that when among the Apache »a man is taken ill the niedicine-inen are in the the zenith of their glory.» 7 Among the Ojebways the benevolent priest is alone supposed to have the

1 Reade, Sarage Africa, p. 250.
? Magyar, Reisen in Süd-Africa, i. 280.
3 Lichtenstein, Travels in Southern Africa, i. 253.

4 Crooke, Tribes and Castes of the North-Il estern Provinces and Oudh, ii. 139.

5 Macpherson, ’Report upon the Khonds,' in The Calcutta Review v. 51.

6 Krohn, Suomen suvun pakanallinen jumalanpalvelus, p. 90.

7 Bourkie, 'The Medicine-Men of the Apache,' in Smithsonian Reports, ix. 462.

« ForrigeFortsæt »