Billeder på siden

with earth, but with a vessel, and the Samoyeds put an inverted kettle over his head.

That the presence of the spirit of the departed is desired, welcomed, and invited by many peoples, is shown by the feasts held in honour of the dead, not only before the funeral, but at intervals afterwards. Thus, “on the third, sixth, ninth, and fortieth days after the funeral, the old Prussians and Lithuanians used to prepare a meal, to which, standing at the door, they invited the soul of the deceased . . . if any morsels fell from the table they were left lying there for the lonely souls that had no living relations or friends to feed them.” 2 Six weeks after the funeral, the Tscheremiss go to the grave, and invite the ghost to come to the house to a feast, at which a seat and food are provided for him.3 Elsewhere this feast becomes an annual all-souls' festival, and as it is or was found amongst the Greeks (the Apaturia), the Romans (Parentalia or Feralia), the Zoroastrians, the Bulgarians, the Russians, the Icelanders, and other Aryan peoples, we may perhaps infer that the practice goes back to the earliest Indo-European times. It is, however, by no means confined to the Aryan area, but is found amongst the Mixteks, the Karens, the Kocch, the Barea, and in Tonquin and Dahomey, as well as amongst the Tschuwasch and the Tscherkess. In Dabaiba, according to Hakluyt's Historie of the West Indies (Decade vii. ch. 10), “in the sepulchers they leave certayne trenches on high, whereinto euery yeere they poure a little of the graine Maizium and certayne suppinges or smal quantities of wine made after their manner, and they suppose these thinges will bee profitable to the ghosts of their departed friendes.”

Where the dead are buried in the house, there is no need to issue a formal invitation to the spirit to come back and eat, for he can be and is fed as regularly as the living inmates. Thus in Bonny the dead are buried under the doorstep, a funnel communicates with the mouth of the deceased, and libations of blood are poured down the funnel

1 Bastian, Oest. Asien, iv. 386.

? Frazer, Golden Bough, i. 177. : Bastian, Der Mensch, ii. 336.

• Bastian, loc. cit., and Tylor, Prim. Cult. ii. 36; cf. for Ashanti, Tshispeaking Peoples, 167.

by the negro every time he leaves the house. Even when the burial-place is away from the house, the same provision may be made for regularly tending the deceased. Thus in the Tenger Mountains (in Java) a hollow bamboo is inserted in the grave at burial, in order that offerings of drink and food may be poured down it. In the houses in which the bones of the chiefs of the Timmanees are kept there are small openings through which food can be given to the dead.3 In ancient Mycenæ an altar over one of the shaft-graves has been discovered, with a tube leading into the grave; the altar is evidently not intended for the worship of the gods, but is an éo xápa,4 and the tube fulfils the same purpose as the bamboo in Java and the funnel in Bonny ;5 while the trench dug in Dabaiba has its exact parallel in the Greek Bópos, into which Odysseus, for instance, poured the blood of which the spirits were to drink. In historic times, in Greece blood was daily offered in Tronis of Daulia to the spirit of the hero-founder in the Mycenæan mode: TÒ Mèv αίμα δι' οπής έσχέoυσιν ες τον τάφον.6 In Peru « the relations of the deceased used to pour some of the liquor named Chica into the grave, of which a portion was conveyed by some hollow canes into the mouth of the dead person."?

Blood, which is the life, is the food frequently offered to the dead. The priests of the Batta pour the blood of a fowl on the corpse. In Ashanti the skeletons of deceased kings, carefully preserved and mounted on gold wire, are seated each on his own stool, and the living king washes each with blood.' The Marian Islanders anoint the bones of their dead.10 Then by a substitution of similars, it is considered sufficient to colour the corpse, or some part thereof, with some red substance taking the place of blood. Thus in Tanna, “the face is kept exposed and painted red, and on the following day the grave is dug and the body buried.” 11 The

Bastian, Rechtsverhältnisse, 296, and Der Mensch, ii. 335 ; cf. Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde, 399. ? Bastian, Der Mensch, ii. 336.

3 Bastian, loc. cit. * ¿P' nis Tois Hpwo w drodúojev, Poll. i. 8. 5 Rohde, Psyche, 33.

& Pausanias, x. 4. 7 Zarate, Conquest of Peru (translated in Kerr, Voyages and Travels, iv. 362). 8 Bastian, Oest. Asien, v. 365. 9 Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 168. 10 Bastian, Oest. Asien, v. 281. 11 Turner, Nineteen Years in Polynesia, 93.

Kalmucks are content to cover the corpse with something red whilst it is awaiting burial. And, according to Count Goblet d'Alviella, “ in certain graves, the earliest of which go back to the reindeer age (those of Mentone, for example), the bones of the dead are painted red with oligist or cinnabar; and in our own day some of the North American tribes, who expose their dead on trees, collect the naked bones and paint them red before finally burying them. An analogous custom has been observed amongst the Mincopies of the Andaman Islands and the Niams of Central Africa.”

The feeling towards the dead in all these examples examples which a learned anthropologist would with ease, I am convinced, have made many times as numerous—is or in all cases may be that prompted by the affection, parental, filial, conjugal, which was even more necessary for the selfpreservation of the human race in the earliest days than it is in civilised times. But it is not here suggested that love was the only feeling ever felt for the deceased. On the contrary, it is admitted that fear of the dead was and is equally widespread, and is equally “natural.” What inference, then, is to be drawn from these two sets of apparently opposed facts, or what explanation is to be given of them? To this question the right answer is given both by savages themselves and by careful observers of savage modes of thought. Kubary, long a resident in the Pelew Islands, says 3 the islanders “are only afraid of ghosts of strangers, as they are safe from the ghosts of their own people because of the good understanding which exists between the family and its own ghosts." So on the Gold Coast, though the spirit of the dead man wanders about, if homeless, doing good or evil according to his disposition, it is to his own family that he does good.4" Black people,” said a Zulu," do not worship all Amatongo indifferently, that is, all the dead of their tribe. But their father whom they knew is the head by whom they begin and end in their prayer, for they know him best, and his love for his children; they remember his kindness to them whilst he was living ; they compare his treatment of them whilst he was living, support themselves by it, and say, 'He will still treat us in the same way now he is dead. We do not know why he should regard others beside us; he will regard us only.'”] In fine, as we might reasonably expect, the man who was loved

1 Bastian, Oest. Asien, vi. 607. 2 Hibbert Lecture, 17, referring to Castailhac, La France prehistorique, 292. 3 In Allerlei aus Volks und Menschenkunde, i. 10, * Ellis, Ewe-speaking Peoples, 102.

during his lifetime did not immediately cease to be loved | even by savages, when he died nor was he who was feared in life less feared when dead.

In primitive societies there is no state or central power administering justice between its members and protecting them from external aggression. The only bond which unites the society is the tie of blood. The individual exists only as a member of a family or clan, and only so far as it supports and protects him. The survival of the race thus depends on the ready and effective aid rendered by the clan to its members. Consequently the individual's only friends are his clansmen, and “stranger” means “enemy”guest and hostis are philologically the same word. Nor does a man cease to be a member of his clan when or because he dies. On the contrary, his claims on his clansmen may then become more sacred and more exacting than ever, for if he has been murdered they must avenge him at all costs. It is then quite intelligible that strangers, who as strangers were enemies while alive, should continue to be hostile after death; and that clansmen, especially " the father whom they knew," should both show and receive the loving-kindness which during their lifetime marked their relations with their fellow-members.

The object of this chapter was to conjecture what there was in the daily experience of the earliest form of society which may have suggested the possibility of maintaining permanently friendly relations with some of the spirits by which primitive man was surrounded and by which his fortunes were influenced. The conjecture offered is that he was ordinarily and naturally engaged in maintaining such relations with the spirits of his deceased clansmen; that he was necessarily led to such relations by the operation of

1 Callaway, Religious System of Amazulu, part ii., quoted by Tylor, Prim, Cull. ii. 116,

those natural affections which, owing to the prolonged, helpless infancy of the human being, were indispensable to the survival of the human race; and that the relations of the living clansman with the dead offered the type and pattern, in part, though only in part, of the relations to be established with other, more powerful, spirits.

The reader will already have noticed — if not, his attention is now drawn to the fact—that hitherto, with the exception of the last quotation (that referring to the Zulus) no mention has been made of ancestor-worship. The reason is not merely that ancestor-worship may be and is explained

-erroneously, in the opinion of the writer of these lines—as due in its origin solely to fear, like all worship; but that ancestor - worship implies a belief on the part of the worshipper that the spirit worshipped is a supernatural spirit. Now, according to the thesis set forth in the previous chapters, not all spirits are necessarily supernatural spirits ; the man who believes the bowing tree or the leaping flame to be a living thing like himself, does not therefore believe it to be a supernatural being—rather, so far as it is like himself, it, like himself, is not supernatural, for we have seen reason to reject the conjecture that man began by thinking he himself possessed supernatural powers. With this distinction between spirits and supernatural spirits, it has not been necessary for the purpose of this chapter to assume that the spirits of the dead possessed in the earliest form of society that power of thwarting man's best-grounded anticipations, which is of the essence of supernatural power, There may indeed be no à priori reason why man, when casting round for the source of this mysterious, supernatural interference with natural laws, should not have found it in the action of the spirits of the dead as well as in that of any other class of spirits. And, as a matter of fact, in some religious systems the spirits of the dead are credited with supernatural powers, though, it must be remarked, their powers are not by any means so great as those of the national or local gods, and the general feeling is that it is the dead who are dependent on the living for their comfort and even for their continued existence, rather than vice versa; in Egypt the ka was annihilated, if the survivors did not

« ForrigeFortsæt »