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animal, but of the totem species: it is, if not the totem god, at anyrate that in which he, as the spirit or soul of the species, resides, and by which his presence may be conveyed into any person or thing.
When, therefore, a totem clan required the presence of its supernatural ally, the procedure, we may say the ritual, to be adopted was obvious: the blood of a totem animal must be shed. It must not, however, be spilt upon the groundthat, as we have seen,' was taboo, a thing not to be done, for the ground on which it was spilt would thereby become charged with all the sanctity of the sacred blood; and any person who thereafter, when there was nothing to distinguish that dangerous spot from the surrounding soil, in unavoidable ignorance set foot upon it, would become taboo. Approaching the subject from this point of view, we shall not be surprised to find it a widespread and ancient custom to apply the blood of the sacred animal either to a pile of stones, heaped together for the purpose, or to a monolith erected for this end. We may not be able to say why races in the most opposite quarters of the globe and in all ages, races which have attained to civilisation, those which have remained in savagery, those which have produced the semicivilisations of the New World, should all adopt this particular mode of avoiding spilling the sacred blood of the divine animal on the earth, or at anyrate of thus notifying that such blood had so been spilled on the spot, but the fact itself is certain The reason can hardly be that there was no other ready and convenient way of attaining the same object, for an upright pole would serve the same end, and, as a matter of fact, is used for the same purposes both in the Old World and the New. But as it takes more labour to dress and set up a pole, or to erect a monolithic pillar, than to heap together a pile of stones, we may regard the heap of stones as the earliest object to which the blood was applied.
Now, that the altars of the Old World religions, though used for other purposes as well, and for the expression of far higher religious conceptions, were also used to receive the blood of sacrifice, is too well known to need illustration. In the words of the late Professor Robertson Smith, whose line
1 Supra, p. 73,
of argument we shall now follow, with some illustrations of our own, “whatever else was done in connection with a sacrifice, the primitive rite of sprinkling or dashing the blood against the altar, or allowing it to flow down on the ground at its base, was hardly ever omitted; and this practice was not peculiar to the Semites, but was equally the rule with the Greeks and Romans, and indeed with the ancient nations generally.”1 The altar of the more civilised members of these races was, of course, not a mere heap of stones : it was a much more elaborate and artistic structure of stone than a mere cairn or rough monolithic pillar. But when we find that amongst the more backward members of these races piles of stones or rough single stones were used for the same purposes as the more finished structure, we can hardly draw a line between them. Thus, in the sacred enclosure of the Dioscuri at Pharæ there was a primitive structure of this kind which was both used as an altar and called an altar, Bwuos ríowv Loryádwv;? and in Arabia “we find no proper altar, but in its place a rude pillar or heap of stones, beside which the victim is slain, the blood being poured out over the stone or at its base.” 3 Even amongst the northern Semites, in their earlier days, the ancient law of Ex. xx. 24, 25 “prescribed that the altar must be of earth or unhewn stone; and that a single stone sufficed appears from 1 Sam. xiv. 32 sqq." 4 In the semi-civilisations of the New World, as well as in the greater civilisations of the Old, the primitive cairn came to assume the shape first of a dresser on which the victim was cut up, and then of a table on which offerings were laid ; but the transition is even clearer in the New World than the Old, for in the former the primitive pile of stones was not discarded, but a table-stone was placed upon it: “the flat stones on which the flesh and blood-offerings were left for the spirits, raised on a pile of smaller stones, became the altar. In the most advanced times, in Mexico and Central America, the human sacrifice was slain with a stone knife on a stone slab, slightly elevated in the middle." 5 We find the same connecting link between
1 Religion of the Semites, 202. 3 Religion of the Semites, 201. 5 Payne, New World, i. 410.
2 Pausanias, viii. c. 22. * Ibid. 202,
the primitive heap of stones and the perfect altar in a quarter of the globe far removed alike from the Old World and the New. In Samoa, Fonge, and Toafa“ were the names of two oblong smooth stones on a raised platform of loose stones . . . offerings of cooked taro and fish were laid on the stones, accompanied by prayers for fine weather.” 1 This instance is the more valuable, because it comes from a community which was still totemistic at the time. Finally, in a latitude and amongst a race of men widely different from any yet mentioned, we have the so-called “sacrificial piles” of the Samoyeds (a Mongoloid and probably Finnic race), which occur in the Island of Waigatz and along the coast between the Pechora and the Yenesei ; a slight natural eminence is chosen for the site, and on it " a rough layer or platform of stones and driftwood” is constructed, and masses of bones of bear and deer that have been sacrificed mark the use to which this, the most primitive form of altar, has been put.
But whereas the primitive heap of stones ultimately developed into a dresser or table and became an altar in the specific sense of the word, the primitive unhewn stone or pillar continued, where it remained in use, to be a baetylion, a beth-el, the object in which the god manifested himself when the blood was sprinkled or dashed upon it. Such a' primitive rude stone pillar was the massēba of which Hosea speaks 3 "as an indispensable feature in the sanctuaries of northern Israel in his time,” 4 and the Arabian noşb with its ghabghab (trench or pit) in front of it, into which the blood collected. Such, too, was the monolith mentioned in the Popol Vuh, a collection of the sacred traditions of the Quichés (Central America), put together and committed to writing by a native shortly after the conquest. It, too, had a ghabghab or trench before it, which was filled with the blood of sacrifice; 5 and that the deity entered the stone when the blood was dashed on it, is clear from such passages as these--" but in truth it was no stone then : like young men came each of them (the gods] then,"1 or “the blood of birds and deer was poured by the hunters on the stone of Tohil and Avilix (gods); and when the gods had drunk the blood, the stone spake.” ? So, too, the offering of blood gave the stones worshipped by the Scandinavians the power of prophecy.
1 Turner, Samoa, 24.
• Religion of the Semites, 203. 5 Brasseur de Bourbourg, Popol Vuh, 259.
The consequence of this differentiation of the altar and the pillar was that, though originally they were identical in use and purpose, in Hebrew and Canaanite sanctuaries "the two are found side by side at the same sanctuary, the altar as a piece of sacrificial apparatus, and the pillar as a visible symbol or embodiment of the presence of the deity.” 4 Similar causes produce similar results, and we shall therefore not be surprised to find that in Polynesia the same evolution took place. In Ellice Island, “Foilape was the principal god, and they had a stone at his temple,” that is the unhewn monolith, but "there was an altar also on which offerings of food were laid.” 5 The “sacrificial piles” of the Samoyeds exhibit the same association : "from the midst of all this [mass of bones] there rise a number of sticks and poles — some being less than a foot and others as long as 6 feet," 6 only here the altar is associated, not with the stone pillar, but with the wooden post which serves the same purpose ; in the same way as in " the local sanctuaries of the Hebrews, which the prophets regard as purely heathenish ... the altar was incomplete unless an ashera stood beside it.”? This ashera appears again amongst peoples which differ as widely as possible from one another in race and place and time: it is presupposed by the Eóava of the Greeks; it is found amongst the Ainos ;8 the gods of the Brazilian tribes were represented by poles stuck upright in the ground, at the foot of which offerings were laid ; the Hurd Islanders " in their houses had several stocks or small pillars of wood, 4 or 5 feet high, as the representatives of household gods, and on these they poured oil [which takes the place of fat or blood), and laid before them offerings of cocoa-nuts and fish”;' the Kureks at irregular times slaughter a reindeer or a dog, put its head on a pole facing east, and, mentioning no name, say, “ This for Thee: grant me a blessing.” ?
* Brasseur de Bourbourg, Popol Vuh, 259. * Op. cit. 253.
& Bastian, Der Mensch, ii. 269. * Religion of the Semites, 204.
* Turner, Samoa, 281. & Journal of the Anthropological Institute, xxiv. 400. 7 Religion of the Scmites, 187. 8 Howard, Trans-Siberian Saragcs, 45, 84, 198.
It is evident that we have already passed the dividing line between the primitive unhewn monolith and the idol ; indeed, the Samoyed poles "at and near their summits are roughly cut to resemble the features of the human face." Thus the ashera becomes the wooden idol, the monolith the marble statue of the god, with which the altar still continues to be associated. In confirmation of this, we may note that in many cases, of which illustrations will be given shortly, the idol is smeared with blood in the same way as the stone pillar or wooden post originally was. But, as the idol grows more artistic, this practice is discontinued, and it is the altar alone on which the blood is dashed or sprinkled. Then a 1 house is built for the god, in which his treasures may be stored; the idol, which from the value of its materials and workmanship is the most precious of the god's own treasures, is removed into this temple, and altar and idol are dissociated, for the altar remains where it was originally, and the slaughter of the victim and the sprinkling of the altar with blood are therefore done outside the temple. In Peru, as in the Old World, even when the god had come to dwell in the house which men provided for him when they took to dwelling in houses themselves, his ritual continued to be celebrated outside the temple, in the open air, as it had been celebrated before any building was erected in his sanctuary.4 It was not the altar that was set up near the temple, but the temple which was erected there, because there was an altar near. And it was not in any and every place that an altar could be set up-not even the primitive heap of stones or wooden post. Nor would every stone or any piece of wood serve. To understand this we must return once more to the subject of taboo.
The principle of the transmissibility of taboo is the
* Tumer, Samoa, 294.
? Bastian, Der Mensch, ii. 109. 9 Journal of the Anthropological Institute, xxiv. 400.
* For Peru, see Payne, New World, i. 460; for the Semites, Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 197.