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thought to invest him with some of the divine powers; and when the priest, after sacrificing him, clad himself in the skin of the human victim," he undoubtedly resumed the divine powers which at the beginning of the year he had resigned to the “image" of the god, for thus clad he ran through the streets to sanctify them, as the Luperci ran for the same purpose, though not in the same guise.
When tree and plant worship prevails, the tree or plant is figured as the body of the god, and eating some part thereof continues to be regarded as the cause or condition of divine possession. In India, the leaves of a sacred tree are eaten to obtain supernatural protection against the deathpollution. In ancient Greece, Apollo's priestess was inspired not only by drinking the blood of sacrifice, but equally by eating the leaves of the laurel. The sacramental eating of the body of cereal deities we have already enlarged on." Here we have to note that the blood of vegetation spirits consisted in the sap of the tree or juice of the plant; and if the plant worshipped happened to be one the juice of which was a poison or an intoxicant, the clan would find itself in possession of a particularly potent deity. Ordeal by poison, in which the deity recognises and spares the innocent, sprang up in the one case; the orgiastic rites of the wine-god in the other, for the intoxication, being due to the juice of the vine (the blood of the god), was evidently due to the action of the divine substance on the worshipper; and his strange behaviour was taken as a manifestation of divine “possession.” Hence in course of time any man who behaved in this way, without having drunk wine, was considered to be “possessed” by a god. It need perhaps scarcely be remarked that as plant-worship has been universal, every plant capable of producing intoxication in every part of the globe has been discovered and has been employed for the purpose; and so the idea that frenzied conduct indicates “possession " is universal. A few instances must suffice.
Among the northern Indians of Chili, it was the case that “such as happen to be subject to epilepsy or St. Vitus' dance are considered as especially marked out for the service" 1 Sahagun, i. c. viii.
Supra, p. 220. 3 Lucian, Bis accus. 1,
* Supra, ch. xvi.
of the priests. A man becomes a Shamán by being “possessed ”; he is generally by nature a nervous, hysterical subject, easily sent into a trance; sometimes Shamáns select such a subject, sometimes he declares himself. Where the symptoms do not naturally exist, they may be artificially induced, as, e.g., by the dancing Dervishes. In course of time violent symptoms may cease to be expected of the man who is to be a priest, but still the diviner, seer, or priest is expected to be marked off by his nature from other men: thus amongst the Amazulu a man is so set apart, when “he dreams many things, and his body is muddled and he becomes a house of dreams." 3 In the Tonga Islands the native term (fahe-gehe) for priest means a "man who has a peculiar or distinct sort of mind or soul, differing from that of the generality of mankind, which disposes some god occasionally to inspire him." +
Admission to the priesthood may be perfectly unorganised, or it may be a hereditary privilege, or it may be obtained by initiation at the hands either of an individual or a corporation; but the one indispensable condition of admission in all cases! is that there shall be some outward and visible indication or guarantee that a god has entered him. Thus in the Tonga Islands “a god is believed to exist at that moment (i.e. the moment of inspiration) in the priest and to speak from his mouth” (in the same way the Peruvian word for priest means “ he who speaks,” i.e. by inspiration 5), “ but at other times a priest has no other respect paid to him than what his own proper family rank may require,” 6 and “those only in general are considered priests who are in the frequent habit of being inspired by a particular god. It most frequently happens that the eldest son of a priest, after his father's death, becomes a priest of the same god who inspired his father.” 7 So, too, in the Pelew Islands, a god can take possession of any man he pleases, temporarily or permanently; if permanently, the “possessed” is recognised and installed as * Kerr, Voyages, v. 405.
2 Bastian, Allerlei, i. 124. 3. Callaway, Religious System of the Amazulu, 259. * Mariner, Tonga Islands, ii. 80.
5 Garcilasso de la Vega, Royal Commentaries of the Incas (Hakluyt Society's edition, i. 277). 6 Mariner, loc. cit.
7 Mariner, ii. 127.
priest, and as such exercises great political power, however low his origin. When he dies, the god is unrepresented until some one begins to go about in a wild, ecstatic, “ possessed ” manner, with sufficient pertinacity eventually to convince the community, which at first laughs at him.' In Guiana, “the office of peaiman was formerly hereditary. If there was no son to succeed the father, the latter chose and trained some boy from the tribe-one with an epileptic tendency being preferred,” and “the peaiman, when in the midst of his frantic performance, seems as though overcome by some fearful fit, or in the extreme of raving madness." ! The Tinneh“ have no regular order of Shamáns; anyone when the spirit moves him may take upon him their duties and pretensions.”3 Among the Thlinkeets, shamánism is mostly hereditary, but the son must be initiated, i.e. he must fast, kill an otter and keep the skin (it not being lawful to kill an otter save for this purpose), and his hair is never cut.* Amongst the Clallams the initiation takes the form of a pretended death and resurrection, which elsewhere is the condition of initiation into various mysteries : the candidate fasts till apparently dead, his body is plunged into a river (this they call “washing the dead”), he then runs off into a wood, and reappears equipped in the insignia of a medicine
Where the priesthood forms a corporation, as for instance in the Sandwich Islands, where “ the priests appear to be a distinct order or body of men, living for the most part together,” 6 some form of initiation is always required. The priests of the Batta tatoo themselves with the figures of beasts and birds, and eat buffalo flesh during the ceremony.? A Roman Catholic missionary among the Suahili, describing the initiation of candidates for the priesthood, observes that a leading feature in the ceremony consisted in the candidate's eating a sacramental meal—a fact which, as the sacramental meal is the essence of every form of early religion, is not surprising, but which to him appeared “a satanic imitation of the Communion.” He could not, however, smile contempt
1 Bastian, Allerlei, i. 31.
Im Thurn, Indians of Guiana, 334.
Ibid. 155. ? Bastian, Ocst. Asien, v. 45.
at the parody, the solemnity with which the proceedings were conducted was too awe-inspiring : a victim was slain, the blood sprinkled on the candidate, and the flesh eaten, before the morning dawn, by the priests and those who had previously partaken of a similar meal. Finally, the selection of a candidate may be made, as in the case of the Dalai Lama, by lot: this also is a direct expression of the divine will. Divination by water, i.e. by consultation of the waterspirit, we have already explained. Here we have only to add that our word “lot” is etymologically identical with Kládos, twig, small stick, from which comes the Greek word for “ lot,” kapos ;3 and that the use of pieces of wood for drawing lots is due to the presence of the tree-god therein.
This review of the modes in which admission to the priesthood is obtained lends no countenance to the theory that it is by being a magician that a man becomes a priest or king or king-priest. On the contrary, it is inspiration by the god of the community which makes a man a priest; and this conclusion is confirmed by the fact that a clear line is drawn between priest and magician. In those who believe that the idol is an elaborated fetish, it is consistent to maintain that the priest is a successful sorcerer; but we have seen reason to reject the former idea, and the latter is not borne out by the facts of the case. Those facts are sometimes obscured by the European traveller's habit of applying the terms conjurer, witch, sorcerer to any native who professes to exercise supernatural powers, without inquiring as to the use or source of those powers, or even when he knows that the conjurer is the priest of the community, as, e.g., when it is said that “the jugglers perform the offices not only of soothsayers and physicians but also of priests.” 4 Fortunately, however, it is quite clear on examination in most cases that there are two distinct classes of men comprised under these undiscriminating epithets, one bringing about disease and death in the community, the other counteracting the machinations of the first class, and also bringing positive blessings to
? Supra, p. 229.
1 Bastian, Allerlei, i. 142. 3 Schrader, Prehistoric Antiquities, 279. * Dobrizhoffer, History of the Abiponcs.
the community in the way of good crops, etc. This distinction is generally recognised by travellers in Africa, when they speak of the witch and the witch-finder; and amongst the Indians of Guiana we find kenaimas who cause mischief, and the peaiman who cures it: “it is almost impossible to overestimate the dreadful sense of constant and unavoidable danger in which the Indian would live, were it not for his trust in the protecting power of the peaiman."1 Further examination shows that the one class derive their powers from the god who protects and is worshipped by the community, the other from spirits who are bound by no ties of fellowship or goodwill to the community. Thus the Australian “sorcerer” is universally believed to get his powers from the good spirit who lives beyond the sky. In the Pelew Islands, besides the tribal and family gods, there are countless other spirits of earth, mountains, woods, and streams, all of which are mischievous, and of which the islanders are in daily fear. It is with these spirits that the sorcerers deal. The priests live generally in peace with the sorcerers, but the attitude of the community is shown by the fact that sorcerers are liable to be put to death for exercising their powers. The fact that it is in the interests of the community that the powers derived from the tribal god are exercised, is shown by the frequent conbination of the office of chief and priest in one person : amongst the Murrings (Australia) the "sorcerer” is respected highly, is chief at once and “sorcerer.” 4 Amongst the Damaras "the chiefs of tribes have some kind of sacerdotal authority—more so than a military one. They bless the oxen." 5 As for the Haidahs, the chief is the principal "sorcerer," and "indeed possesses but little authority save from his connection with the preter-human powers." The chief of the Salish“ is ex officio a kind of priest.”? Amongst the Eskimo the Angakuts (priests) are "a kind of civil magistrates,” amongst the Zulus "the heaven is the chief's," he can call up clouds and storms ... in New Zealand every Rangatira has a supernatural power . . . among the Zulus 'the Itongo (spirit) dwells with the great man; he who
1 Im Thurn, Indians of Guiana, 333. ? Bastian, Allerlei, i. 248. $ Ibid. 46.
6 Galton, South Africa, 189. 6 Bancroft, Native Races, iii. 150.
7 Ibid. 154.