Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

with a similar belief, one of the first qualifications for the office of priest among the Bataks in Sumatra consists in an adequate skill in interpreting signs and omens." Among the Sea Dyaks, too, the priests are supposed to understand the language of the invisible spirits. 2 In Minahassa in Celebes, 3 and in New Zealand 4 the priests have to interpret the omens in which the people believe.

The help of the priesthood is not only needed for protecting people against evil influences and for securing benefits froin the gods. The vindictive nature of savages impels them continually to plot against their enemies, trying to bring upon them all the misfortunes in their power. For such purposes the aid of a powerful sorcerer is of great value. In Curr's report of the Australian race it is stated that the principal object to which sorcery is applied is the taking of the lives of enemies. The doctors of Victoria are believed to be instructed by the spirits as to the mode of killing a man of a strange or hostile tribe. 6 Ellis mentions that in Tahiti wizards were sometinies hired to destroy other persons.' In Fiji, according to Williams, the evil-working power of wizards or priests may be purchased, 8 and Seemann writes: If a Fijian wishes to cause the destruction of an individual by other means than open violence or secret poison, the case is put into the hands of one of these sorcerers, care being taken to let this fact be generally and widely

1 Burton, and Ward, 'Journey into the Batak Country,' in Trans. Roy. As. Soc. i. 500.

2 St. John, Lise in the Forests of the Far Eust, i. 72.
3 Hickson, A Naturalist in North Celebes, p. 255.

Thomson, The Story of New Zealand, i. 115.
o Curr, The Australian Race, i. 45.
o Brough Smyth, The Aborigines of Victoria, i. 463.
? Ellis, Polynesian Researches, i. 334.
8 Williams, Fiji and the Fijians, p. 210.

known. Similar practices are reported from Hawaii, 2 the Pelew Islands 3 and Melanesia. 4 Among the natives. of the Upper Congo the fetishmen are resorted to, should any one desire to inflict evil upon his enemies. 5 The Cherokee medicine-men are said to destory life for hire. 6 The sorcerers among the Tarahumare in Mexico accept payment for services of this kind, 7 and among the aboriginal tribes of Brazil there are said to be such as will give the medicine-men charge to poison their enemies. 8

Considering the important services which the priests and sorcerers are able to render their tribesmen, it is no wonder that the sacerdotal office is looked upon with great veneration and awe. The universal need of inediation between mankind and the supernatural world is supplied by the priesthood, and, as intercessors with the unknown powers, the priests are constantly applied to for advice on all occasions of life. Thus, Burton and Ward say the Batakes of Sumatra will not engage in any undertaking, however trifling, without first consulting the priest. 9 Thomson states of the New Zealand priests: – » In war and peace, in the day of plenty and of famine,

Seemann, Vili, p. 189.

3 Jarves, llistory of the Ilawaiian Islands, p. 27. Bechtinger, Ein Jahr auf den Sandwich-Inseln, p. 86.

3 Kubary, in Bastian, Allerlei, i. 47.
4 Codrington, Melanesians, pp. 202 sq.
• Möller, Pagels and Gleerup, Tre år i Kongo, ii. 85.

• Mooney, 'The Sacred Formulas of tlie Cherokees,' in Smithsonian Reports, vii. 392.

Lumholtz, Unknown Jerico, i. 323. 8 Von den Steinen, Unter den Nuturrölkern Zentrul-Brasiliens,

P. 344.

Burton and Ward, 'Journey into the Batak Country,' in Trans. Roy. As. Soc. i. 500.

they were invariably looked up to as advisers.» 1 In
New Caledonia »l'on entreprend jamais une affaire
importante, telle qu'une guerre, sans essayer d'en connaître
d'avance les résultats; c'est lui (le chef de la religion)
qui doit la dévoiler.» 2 Also in Hawaii »war is seldom
declared without the approbation of the gods, obtained
through the medium of the priests.» 3 Respecting certain
Indians on the Amazon, Wallace mentions that their
» Pagés» are much consulted and believed in and that
an Indian will give alınost all he possesses to a Pagé,
when he is threatened with any real or imaginary
danger. 4 Characterizing the consequence enjoyed by
the East African priest-doctors Du Chaillu writes: -
» His word is potent for life or death. At his command

- or rather at his suggestion -- the village is removed:
men, women, and children are slain or enslaved; wars
are begun and ended.» 5 Of the Waganda in Africa, we
read that the advice of the wizard-doctor is asked
respecting the most varying matters, 6 and similar reports
are given with reference to the shamans of the Koryaks, ?
and Lamuts 8 in North-Eastern Siberia.

In short, the ideas, which give the psychological explanation of the origin of priesthood, are of fundamental significance in the mental life of savages. Wild peoples

1 Thomson, The Story of New Zealand, i. 115.

2 Vieillard and Deplanche, ’Nouvelle Calédonie,' in Revue Maritime et Coloniale, vi. 78.

3 Ellis, Narrative of a Tour through Hawaii, p. 136.
• Wallace, Travels on the Amazon, p. 500.

• Du Chaillu, Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa, p. 339.

6 Wilson and Felkin, Uganda und der Aegyptische Sudan, i. 105.

? Autmaph, 'O Kopskaxın Yykyaxı,' in BÚCTHU Kb Teorp. O61. xvi, 1. p. 30.

в Олсуфьевъ, 'Очеркъ Анадырской Округи, іn ЗаII U CEI II pua my pck. OTA. Teorp. 06 11. ii, 1. p. 139.

who believe themselves exposed to every kind of influence from the spirits as well as to the secret machinations of their enemies, have only one means of protection from those dangers, and that is in trusting to the cunning of their priests and magicians. The universal belief in spirits and magic has a singular power in ruling the actions of the lower races, and, to quote Sir Richard Burton, when speaking of the inhabitants of Central Africa, »wherever supernaturalisms are in requisition, inen will be found, for a consideration, to supply them.» 1

1 Burton, Lake Regions, ii. 354.

CHAPTER II

THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF PRIESTS.

AS the priests, with exclusion of the magicians, are closely associated with the gods, it will be perceived that the origin and development of priesthood, in a restricted sense of the word, and the origin and development of the belief in gods run, on the whole, on parallel lines. Different systems of religion have to a certain extent exercised a different influence upon the conditions of priesthood. Thus, ancestor-worship and worship of the gods of nature have in somewhat different ways contributed to the origin of priesthood, and we must therefore say a few words about each of these systems of religion with regard to their relation to priesthood.

Ancestor-worship has been treated of by many writers on religion. It is well known that Spencer even assigns that form of belief as the root of every religion.' Lord Avebury, 2 Dr. Tylor 3 and Professor de la Saussaye 4 also give, in their works, numerous instances showing the almost universal occurrence of this form of religion in different stages of the evolution of thought.

1 Spencer, Principles of Sociology, i. 411. – Ancestor-worship is especially dealt with in Part i. Chapters xx and xxv.

? Avebury, Origin of Civilization, pp. 364–368.
3 Tylor, Primitive Culture, ii. 113-123.
4 De la Sayssaye, Manual of the Science of Religion, pp. 112-121.

« ForrigeFortsæt »