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We have to consider it as a characteristic fact that the worship of deified men is, as a rule, confined to the kindred group, and in the first place to the separate families. In general, ancestral gods are only worshipped by their descendants, as little or no connection is believed to exist between the dead and the living outside the consanguineous group. We are, in some cases, expressly told that usually the benevolence of ancestral gods only comprehends their kindred. Thus we find the belief prevailing among the New Zealanders that the spirits > confine their care almost exclusively to persons among the living with whom they are connected by ties of relationship.» 1 In Hawaii the people imagined that the spirits of the dead chiefs sometimes returned to earth and watched over the welfare of their surviving relatives. The common people, on the other hand, had no support to expect from the spirit-world, as the souls of that class were not supposed to exist after death.2 From Tonga we hear of the same belief. 3 According to the notions of the Cheremisses, wherever the dead may dwell, they never break the ties which connect thein with their relatives. Their influence upon their families even grows more powerful after their death than it was during their lifetime. 4 Of the Selish, an Indian tribe inhabiting the country between the Cascade and the Rocky Mountains, we read that, to their belief, »a familiar spirit is always with them on earth, taking care of them and directing their actions by dreams or presentiments in lifetime, and after death remaining on earth to watch over their nearest friends.» 5 A like belief in the guardianship of
1 Shortland, Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders, p. 81.
Jarves, History of th• Hawaiian Islands, p. 22.
Смирновъ, Черемисы, p. 162.
5 Wilson, ’Indian Tribes in the Vicinity of the 49;th Parallel,' in Trans. Ethn. Soc. N. S. iv. 303.
their dead relations is displayed by the Veddahs. »Every near relative,» we are informed respecting these natives, » becomes a spirit after death, who watches over the welfare of those who are left behind. These, which include their ancestors and their children, they term their 'néhya Yakoon', kindred spirits.» 1
Owing to the exclusive character of ancestral gods, as worshipped within separate families, a regular priesthood in the
of universally acknowledged representatives of the gods hardly occurs on the base of mere family-worship. The authority of that member of the family who conducts the worship for his nearest relatives does not extend beyond the group worshipping the god to whom he is related, i. e. the family itself.
Deification of ancestors, however, is not confined to families. Whole tribes also very frequently worship the spirits of departed men, but it would seem that in this case the ancestral gods tend, in a certain way, to amalgamate with other classes of generally worshipped deities.
Ancestral gods, as worshipped by whole tribes, seem as a rule to have originated in a manner analogous to that of ancestors defied within their own families. As deceased members of families are believed to take special care of their surviving relatives, so persons who have in lifetime distinguished themselves as protectors of their whole people are often supposed to go on guarding their race after death, and thus become deified. In general it seems that men who have in some extraordinary way risen to fame in a community, are likely to be worshipped after their death.
There is every reason to think that ancestors worshipped by their surviving families constitute the original and fundamental type of deified men from which
1 Bailey, 'Wild Tribes of the Veddahs of Ceylon,' in Trans. Ethn. Soc. N. S. ii. 331.
the type of manies acknowledged by whole tribes have
In other cases we find that private ancestral gods
Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, p. 229.
Банзаровъ, Шаманство у Монголовъ, p. 32.
canonisation. Among the Khonds deceased ancestors are invoked to give prosperity to the labours, and victory to the arms of their descendants. > But they are propitiated upon every occasion of public worship whatsoever; and it is said that a perfectly accomplished priest takes between three and four hours to recite his roll of gods and deified men.» »The more distinguished fathers of the tribe, of its branches, or of its subdivisions are all remembered by the priests, their sanctity growing with the remoteness of the period of their deaths.» 2 The Rautia, in Chota Nagpore, believe that certain persons are liable, after death, to reappear as evil spirits, and it is said that some spirits of this kind »extend their influence over several families, and eventually attain the rank of a tribal god.» 3 In Tahiti there was an intermediate class between the principal divinities and the gods of particular localities or professions; their origin is veiled in obscurity, but they are said to have been renowned men, who after death were deified by their descendants
subsequently became universally worshipped. 4 In certain cases we learn that the household god of the king is adopted as a universally acknowledged tribal god. So it is among certain peoples of Eastern Central Africa, where the relatives of the village chiefs are the village gods, »everyone that lives in the village recognizes these gods.» 5 Mariner, enumerating the principal gods of the Tongans, mentions that several of these are, in particular, the gods of the king and his family. 6
? Macpherson, 'Religious Opinions of the Khonds, in Jour. Roy. As. Soc. vii. 189.
3 Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 207.
Vacdonald, Africana, i. 65.
Among those men who after death receive divine honours are, in many cases, included the renowned warriors and other great members of a tribe. Cheyne says that in the Isle of Pines, besides the chiefs, noted warriors are supposed to maintain, after death, communication with their fellow-tribesmen, which is shown by the fact that the priests pretend to be inspired by them for their office. 1 From Samoa we learn that one class of gods are men whose past deeds won the gratitude and the worship of posterity. The New Zealanders hold that » the Atua who more particularly watch over the fortunes of a tribe are the spirits of its warriors and other great
In war these spirits are supposed to attend the army and direct its movements; in actual conflict they hover over the combatants and inspire courage in the hearts of their own tribe.» 3 Among the Kafirs the gliosts of their departed chiefs and warriors are the principal objects of their national belief. 4 The Thlinkets believe that the souls of the brave killed in battle occupy an upper rank among the spirits invoked by their shamans.
Most frequently, however, we are told that it is great rulers who are worshipped after death and are reckoned as particular protectors of their people. We read that among the Santals each hamlet has an original founder who is regarded as the father of the community and receives divine honours. 6 In Nias one of the gods is the image of the founder of the tribe.7 M. Fustel de
1 Cheyne, Western l'acific Ocean, p. 10.
Pritchard, Polynesian Reminiscences, p. 112.
Shortland, Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealan.lers, pp. 81 sq.
Holden, Past and Future of the Kaffir Races, p. 283.
Hunter, The Annals of Rural Bengal, i. 216 sq.