THIS opens the way to the next branch of the subject. If the human soul could reside in objects, why should not these objects themselves possess spirits? The evident conviction of early and primitive races as to the existence, form, and substance of the human soul has, it is believed, been adequately presented in the foregoing. But is the possession of soul limited by these races to humanity? Do primitive peoples regard other beings as also so endowed? The definition of animism already furnished involves an affirmative answer, but we must look a little further into this phase of the subject. There is an "epigram of Christian pantheism" which declares that "God sleeps in the stone, dreams in the plant, awakens in the animal, and is self-conscious in man." This expresses in some
[1. Basil Wilberforce, Steps in Spiritual Growth, p. 50. 61]
degree what primitive man thought of things about him, except that he would have demurred at the idea of mere sleep or dream of the sentient in the world of the non-human. He doubtless from the beginning made himself the measure of things. And so, as was briefly shown at the beginning of this discussion, any object in nature might be conceived by primitive or savage as a duality, like himself, the body of which was visible and tangible, and the soul, like his own, invisible except to the soul itself or to the skilled shaman. With the untutored, nothing exists in nature but may give occasion to this conception of possession of soul. Omaha Indians represent this by the statement that all forms mark where Wakonda has stopped and brought them into existence. "Man . . . becomes literally a part of nature, connected with it physically and related to it psychically." So endowments of animals may be transferred to man, and Wakonda helps in answer to prayer by sending the animal which has the endowment proper to the end desired. This explains in part the "animal totem," found in almost exactly parallel form among the Tamaniu of
[2. pp.10 ff., above.]
the Banks Islands. Another statement of the fact is the following:
"The quality of savage mind which perhaps most profoundly illuminates our subject is its hazy sense of personality, the difficulty it experiences in marking off its 'self' from other selves; in other words, the absence of sharp dualisms. This is revealed in creation myths, in primitive notions of kinship and relationship, in the almost universal savage belief in metamorphosis, in the savage's identification of 'self ' with the name, shadow, dream-self, likeness, clothing and other property. . . . And the wide-spread belief in 'possession' by good or evil spirits further confirms the principle."
More advanced peoples may own to a complete animism. Examples are found in the advanced philosophies and religions of India. "Only last summer in a conversation with an orthodox Brahman in Kashmir I discovered that he regarded everything in nature, down to separate stick and stone and blade of
[3. A. C. Fletcher and F. La Flesche, in Twenty-seventh Annual Report of The Bureau of American Ethnology, p. 600; Rivers, Melanesian Society, i. 154.
4. Todd, The Primitive Family as an Educational Agency, pp. 9-10.]
grass, as possessed by its own spirit." It is not wonderful that man should endow with life, soul, and power the great objects of nature, the heavenly bodies, for instance. Nor can we wonder that such objects as a volcano with its manifestation of mysterious force, a mountain range which seems to clothe itself in clouds and to launch forth the avalanche, the sea, with its varied moods and mystery, that appals even the modern experienced traveler, the river with its ceaseless flow and its occasional devastations, the forest with its reaches of silence or its monotone under the soughing of the wind, call up convictions of dread personality. These things alone suffice to suggest that primitive man felt himself ever in the presence of mystery. Few objects there were but seemed to possess each its own basis for arousing admiration or fear.
It is necessary here to inquire somewhat more minutely into the drift of the thoughts of primitive man concerning the things he saw or felt or imagined. And in doing this we are to recall that three avenues are open along which to advance in this inquiry. First
[1. Professor Hervey D. Griswold, in The Biblical World, Sept. 1912, p. 165.]
there is the avenue of cult, where definite acts of devotion or gift (sacrifice) unfailingly indicate belief in the sentient and potent capabilities of the object addressed. It is obvious that even the most naive of savages pay no attention of this sort to objects which they conceive to be without the qualities of life, sensation, emotion, and power. The second avenue is that of folk-lore and mythology. To some this may appear trivial and unworthy of serious attention. Yet these are "the sedimentary deposits of the traditions of remotely distant epochs." just as children's games and festivals in May or in harvest season recall and are founded on practices that once obtained in real earnest, so folk-tales encyst, like a fly in the amber or a fossil in the rock, the indications of life in some cases long past. In other instances not a few they represent thought that still lingers, if we but knew where to look for it. Stories of men and women transformed into beasts, either voluntarily or involuntarily, of cats or hares which prove to be the forms witches assume for mischievous ends, seem to us foolish; the tales of were-wolves, told in
[6. Cox, Introduction to Folk-lore, pp. 3-4.]
earnest even yet in parts of Europe, seem to the educated impossible and merely laughable. Yet we shall see that the modern African believes them, and at times looks askance at his neighbor who has the reputation of being an "elephant-man" or a "leopard-man." The third avenue is that of beliefs still or recently current among savages comparatively or completely unaffected by the higher civilizations. Even in India which has so long been in contact with the culture of the West, old beliefs linger, often in passive but effective resistance to more enlightened ideas, while in Africa and among the indigenes of the Americas and of Australia and Oceanica native forms of thought continue, sometimes but little adulterated, as where relationship is claimed by a clan or tribe with this or that genus of plant or animal life.
1. INANIMATE OBJECTS IN NATURE POSSESS SOUL
It seems superfluous here to cite cases of the belief which has existed so nearly universally that the sun, the planets, and the stars are living objects possessed of soul. The stage in which a deity is supposed to inhabit or to rule or to have as his special sphere of control one of these heavenly objects registers, of course, an advanced culture, when pure animism has given way to a higher mode of thought and a truer perception of facts. But that once these objects were regarded as sentient is clear from poetry, myth, and remainder in folk-lore and song. Among Oceanicans the sun is in form like a man, but possessed of fearful energy. He has many legs, and various other members in excess. Worthy of special notice in this connection is the conception of the earth as the great mother, a belief that was historical in Babylonia, Asia Minor particularly, and in Greece, where it influenced in especial manner practice and ritual. Speaking of the Sumerians Langdon says:
"The nourishing life of earth, warmed by the sunshine, refreshed by the rains, furnished
[7. On Zeus as an example of this, see Cook's Zeus, p. 3, note 2.
8. Westervelt, Legends of Maui, pp. 50, 52. For a collection of indications of worship of the sun (itself proof of the way in which this luminary was regarded), see the author's article in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, xi. 137-45; for star-worship, ib., xi. 68-69; and for worship of the moon among the Hebrews, ib., vii. 492-494.]
the prehistoric Sumerians . . . with their first god. And this deity who fostered all life was conceived of as a mother, unbegotten, genderless, producing animal and vegetable life as a virgin. But primitive peoples do not think in abstract terms, nor do they produce ideas as abstract principles. They conceived the earth goddess under that form of life with which they were most familiar. In the case of this people the grape vine appears to have been the plant which appealed to them as most efficiently manifesting the power of the great mother. Hence they called this goddess 'Mother Vine-Stalk,' or simply 'Goddess Vine-Stalk.'"
In Nigeria the ground is an object which underlies many taboos, and to it sacrifices are offered of many kinds. The feeling among the Ibo-speaking peoples seems much like that, if not the same, which governed in Greece and Asia Minor before the personalizing of the Great Mother. At the other extreme the sky is regarded as father, though in the Egyptian myth, which speaks of the
[9. Langdon, Tammuz and Ishtar, p. 43.
10. Thomas, Anthropological Report, i. ii, et passim.
11. Cf, for instance, Harrison, Prolegomena, pp. 260-271.]
separation of earth and heaven (a myth that is characterized by its diffusion or else is indigenous in many regions), curiously enough in a way adumbrating the theory of the evolutionary origin of the worlds and appearing in Gen. 1, the respective genders of earth and sky are reversed.
But such faith is not confined to celestial objects and the earth. Things terrestrial, tangible or intangible, had each its own spirit and life. Thus, to group a number of these, winds, lightning, mountains, and forests are sentient beings. Thus of some Africans it is said that they hold that: "The wind talks to the forest and the forest to the wind. The tornado is often nothing more than a quarrel between mountain and forest, lightning and wind which latter is a servant of something else]; and we ourselves the Africans] may get hit with the bits." Pima Indians think of Wind and Storm-cloud (Rain-man) as supernatural persons who once did menial
[12. For a descriptive picture of this separation, cf. Brugsch, Religion und Mythologie der Aegypter, p. 210, reproduced in Homiletic Review, Oct., 1912, p. 275. For a crude form of this myth of the separation of heaven and earth, see Westervelt, Legend; of Maui, pp. 31 ff.
13 Milligan, Fetish Folk of West Africa, p. 215.]
service for mortals, while Thunder also possesses personality, owns fire, and detects the thief of fire (the essentials of the story of Prometheus are here); and the notions of the Omahas are quite similar. The Uriankhai of Mongolia deify mountains, rivers, and the wind. The Zulus regard their rainmakers as operating upon clouds as the Greeks thought of Zeus the Cloud-gatherer, and to them cloud and lightning are still sentient beings, alive and full of power, though controlled by the medicine men.
The sea is regarded in the same way. Hartland cites the case of the ancient Celts reported by Ælian, supported in substance by native evidence from Celtic tradition, who used to meet the overflowing sea with drawn swords and menacing spears, employing the same methods as those used towards human enemies." Mr. Hartland refers also to the same notion as exhibited by the Malays and reported by Skeat. It would be easy to adduce testimony to this same effect from Africa, where the
[14. Fewkes, 28th Annual Report of Bureau of Am. Ethnology, pp. 43, 47; Fletcher and La Flesche, 22d Report, passim.
15. Carruthers, Unknown Mongolia, i. 243.
16. Lang, Myth, Ritual, and Religion, i. 109.
17 Hartland, Ritual and Belief, pp. 161 ff.]
natives of the West shore offer sacrifice to the sea in order to induce it to grant an easy landing. In folk-lore this idea is transformed later in culture-history into the kelpies and what-not that inhabit the waters; but students of folk tales have no doubt that in the original form the sea was regarded as possessing full personality with all that is involved.
It seems superfluous almost to cite cases of rivers which have personality, since classic stories abound which bear out the claim. Yet it is useful to show that such ideas are not confined to the literature of Greece. For instance, a traveler who was being conveyed by canoe and paddle up a river was persuaded by the Africans to turn back because a cloud appeared over the stream, and they supposed that it was caused by the river in displeasure at the profanation of its waters by a stranger. In other cases the river is simply possessed by a spirit, to which offerings should be made in
[18. For citations of rivers regarded as divinities by Greeks the reader may consult Halliday, Greek Divination, pp. 116-117. He will find there that springs also come under the same category. Thus the spring at Kolophon rendered inspired the priest who drank it (Tacitus, Annals, ii. 54; Pliny, ii. 103, 232). One recalls inevitably the many sacred springs throughout the world, the sanctity being but the attenuated form in which the old belief has come down to us.]
order that no calamity may be suffered in the crossing." The survival in poetry of the thought of a river as a person may be illustrated from the Ramayana, where a river becomes the wife of a king (xv. 20:13), or falls in love and bears a son (xiii. 2:18). The Ganges is a daughter and a goddess, becomes a spouse and bears a son. In the days of wife-capture, primitives would see in a torrent into which a maiden had fallen a male capturing his wife; or, in case of a man falling in, they might think of a fierce female seizing a husband. It will be recalled that the Egyptians thought of the Nile as a short ugly male with huge woman's breasts, symbolizing the fertility which the river brought to the land. In New Guinea the rivers are besought as persons to make gifts of fish to the Mafulu. In Mongolia they are deified.[20a] The views of fire as a person, having attributes that correspond, might be easily supported by reference to the Vedic and Brahmanic teaching respecting Agni, whose name reappears in the Latin as ignis, fire.
[19 Roscoe, Baganda, pp. 318-319.
20. Williamson, South Sea Savage, p. 231.
20a. Carruthers, Unknown Mongolia, i. 243.]
The Kai of German New Guinea assert deliberately that fine has soul. One might with profit investigate the background of the Zoroastrian notion of the extreme sanctity of fire, and the Aryo-Indian conceptions already noted would be found lurking therein. Similarly Malabars hold that a flame has life and spirit, and fear the ghost of a flame that has suddenly been quenched.
The evidence of belief in the life and power, even of the divinity, of rocks and stones is too abundant to be cited at any length. In the Semitic sphere William Robertson Smith has offered irrefutable evidence of worship of such objects-worship, it will be seen at once, being evidence of belief in possession of attributes equivalent to soul and spirit by the object of devotion. It is among the curiosities of history that the stones of Carnac in France and of Rollright in England are said to leave their positions and to go down to the sea, or to a spring to drink. Africans report that a large stone near a village patrols
[21. Neuhass, Deutsch Neu-Guinea, iii. 143-144.
22. Folk-lore, v. 297 ff.
23. Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, and Religion of the Semites.
24. Folk-lore, v. 297 ff.]
the outskirts of that village during danger. A great rock in the African region inhabited by the Baganda is deemed sacred and is an object of worship and propitiation, and the same is true of a meteorite. The stone of Nimm, an Etoi goddess, is now an attar, and this is doubtless but a development from the conception of it as endowed with life, as might be abundantly illustrated from other sources. In Mongolia stones are among the objects of worship. In Melanesia stones and rocks of many sorts receive offerings, and are regarded either as the homes of spirits or as being the possessors of these--the two are not so far apart; also in the Solomon Islands spirit is associated with stone. In the New Hebrides large rocks are especially sacred. Banks Islanders regard certain long stones as so much alive that they can draw out a man's soul if his shadow fall on them. In Florida Island any peculiarly shaped stone may have life and soul attributed to it.
[25. D'Alviella, Hibbert Leaures, p. 54.
26. Roscoe, The Baganda, pp. 271-272, 290.
27. Talbot, In the Shadow of The Bush, pp. 171-172.
28. Carruthers, Unknown Mongolia, i. 56ff.
21 Codrington, Melanesians, pp. 119, 140, 143, 169, et passim; Williamson, South Sea Savage, p. 178.]
In many cases of this sort the attitude toward them seems to imply in them a kind of sanctity, which is however but a more developed way of thinking and is evidential of an earlier and cruder mode of thought. A survival of this character is in evidence near Laguna, New Mexico, where seven jagged rocks are the prisons of seven spirits. The stone of the Omaha sweat lodge was regarded anthropopathically. The case of the Baganda meteorite cited above is but one of many instances of the kind in which veneration has been paid. The two stones of the Kaaba at once occur to the mind . Acts 19:35 furnishes a notable instance. One may recall the very numerous cases from ancient Greece-the sacred stone at Delphi, that at Hyettos, the thirty worshipped by the Pharæans, the many Hermæ along the Greek roads referred to so often by the classical writers." These were worshipped and anointed with oil--compare the treatment accorded Jacob's pillar (above, p. 5).
[30. Quoted by Wallis in JRP, July 1912, from Southern Workman, Nov. 1910.
31. Fletcher and La Flesche, 27th Report, etc., pp. 575-578.
32. New Schaf-Herzog Encyclopedia, vi. 289.
33 Theophrastus, Characteres ethici, xvi.; Pausanias, ed. Frazer, VIII. xxxiv. 3; X. xxiv. 6, etc.]
At Aneiteum in Melanesia stones thought to resemble objects of desire or striving received worship from various classes of people. Thus one that was fish-shaped was venerated by fishermen.
To catalogue here the various objects in nature which have had life attributed to them would require much space. Mention will be made of only the following in addition to those already adduced. The rainbow is a thing of life in Australia, inhabiting deep waterholes in the mountains; it is seen only when it is passing from one of these to another. Approximately the same notion obtains in Africa." Among the Baganda of Africa, rainwater is a totem (i.e., it is either an ancestor or an ally). By Arabs the resin or gum from which the frankincense of commerce is derived is regarded as the blood of a tree, the soul of which is a divinity, and the gathering of the gum is attended by special ceremonies. The Tshemsheans of Alaska find their devotional spirit awakened, as in the presence of a
[34. Turner, Samoa, p. 327.
35. Mathew, Eagle-hawk and Crow, p. 146; Missions Catholiques, no. 239, p. 592.
36. Roscoe, The Baganda, p. 140.
37. Zehnpfund, in New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, iv. 372.]
supernatural being, by precipices, tidal waves, or indeed almost any object or phenomenon that is strange to them.
2. SOUL IN THINGS ARTIFICIAL
A rather noted controversy over theories of language, and incidentally of myth and religion, once took place between Professors Max Müller and Whitney, in which, a little after the event, the late Andrew Lang took a hand. The Oxford scholar saw in myth "a disease of language," and Mr. Lang replied that what the data showed was a disease of thought. By this Mr. Lang intended to convey the idea that man was astray either in his observations or in the deductions he made from them. How far astray from the truth man often was we have already seen. But notions even more strange are yet to be cited. One of the earliest literary testimonies to the class of ideas to be noted in this section is found in one of the minor prophets, who declares:
"They (men) sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drags; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat
[38. Arctander, Apostle of Alaska, pp. 100 ff.]
plenteous." Here we have a fact stated, as well as the reason for the fact which can be duplicated from many different quarters even in our own day. Objects which were the product of man's own handicraft, the genesis of which and whole production and mode of use he knew, received his homage. Hunting implements and those used in agriculture are by man endowed with life and power before which he bows in reverence. In India there is a festival lasting three days, observed in October by Hindoos of all castes, including the Brahmins, which has to do with the worship of all sorts of tools and implements. In many cases it is doubtless but the survival of a custom; in very many others, however, the original element of ascription of life or divinity still inheres. It is not so very difficult to see the reason for the primitive mind's being affected in this way. Why should the mere scratching of the earth with a rude hoe and the deposition of a seed produce so bountiful and, to it, strange results? What did early man know of the chemistry of nature? Was it not the spirit in the hoe
[39. Habakkuk 1:16.
40. Cf. Thurston, Omens and Superstitions, pp. 174-175.]
that made the gift of the harvest? If we were to study fetishism, we should discover that man believes that he can bring together "odds and ends" in a bundle or bag, and that a spirit will take up its abode there. Why should not with easy plausibility the hoe or net or drag equally be or become animate? It is perhaps not at all wonderful that in India particularly, perhaps elsewhere, the fire-drill was an object of devotion and conceived to be divine. When we recall the fact, now so familiar to us, but remaining to the Hindoos for millenniums one of the arcana of nature, viz., that from a place where apparently there was no fire, fire may be evoked, literally called into being, we can begin to appreciate in some small degree man's awe before such phenomena. We can find the same awe existing in Fiji, where, besides stones, houses, and canoes, tools of various sorts are credited with souls and believed to be immortal. In the same region so isolated and insignificant a thing as a whale's tooth is credited with life and immortality; so the Fijian ghost in the spirit land on occasion throws at a pandanus tree the
[41. Williams, Fiji, i. 241.]
ghost of the whale's tooth that was buried with his body.
Not less curious than the foregoing is the fact that food and the like have been and still are regarded as animate and possessed of spirit. The ancient Egyptians provided for the ka, soul or double of the deceased, articles of food, drink, or clothing, so that it need not suffer hunger, thirst, or cold. But the ka, being ethereal, did not use the things themselves, but only the parts of them that stood in the same relation to the things as the ka did to the deceased, i.e., their souls or doubles. So that there a conception wondrously like that of spirit or soul is attributed to articles of food, drink, and clothing. In the earlier stages of Egyptian civilization, the things devoted to the deceased were purposely mutilated; and it requires no stretch of the imagination, had we no contemporaneous testimony to the fact, to see in this mutilation of the offerings the same process as we are familiar with In another connection, viz., the killing of the offerings. Just as slaves and wives were sent through the gates of death
[42. Williams, Fiji, i. 243 ff.
43. Ancient Egypt, ii (1914), 123.]
to serve their dead lord, so were implements, weapons, ornaments and food. In Nigeria around funeral shrines are fragments of household belongings, which have been broken so that their astral forms may be set free to be carried by the owner's shade to its spirit home. In perfect agreement with this trend of thought, the Dyaks of Borneo bury with the body various utensils, and hold that these have spirits which the deceased takes along with him to his new home and puts to good use. In Central Africa baskets, hoe-handles, pots that have been perforated, broken cups and the like are placed at graves, having been killed by breaking that their spirits may go to the spirit land there to do service. In like fashion the Bakongos endow bottles, cloths, umbrellas and similar articles with spirit. Talbot learned in Africa that to a cloth can be imparted personal qualities, so that it breaks out into speech. Even ornaments may have soul, according to the Melanesians
[44. Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, ii. 119-120; Talbot, In the Shadow of The Bush, pp. 6 ff.
45. Gomes, Sea Dyaks of Borneo, pp. 138, 142
46. Werner, Native Races, pp. 155, 159.
47. Weeks, Primitive Bakongo, pp. 269, 272.
46. Talbot, In the Shadow of the Bush, p. 226.]
of New Guinea, and their souls, evaporated by fire, are offered to disease demons which have operated by extracting a human soul from its abode. The Kai of German New Guinea offer food and viands to the ghosts of their dead, which considerately eat only the soul thereof and leave the substance to those who offer. It would seem from certain passages in the Old Testament that the conception once existed that even a part of the body might have individual life and power. Witness the expression, "El (God) of my hand" (Gen. 31:29; Deut. 28:32; Micah 2:1; Prov. 3:27; Neh. 5:5). Even so abstract a conception as the year receives homage as a personality among the Ibo-speaking peoples, who, by the way, place rivers among the great powers which they name Alose.
[49 Seligmann, Melanesians, pp. 189 ff.
50. Neuhass, Deutsch Neu-Guinea, iii. 145 ff., 489 ff., 513 ff.
51. B. D. Eerdmans, in Expositor, Nov. 1913, p. 386.
52. Thomas, Anthropological Report, pp. 27 ff.]
3. SOUL OR SPIRIT IN THE VEGETABLE WORLD
If things so obviously inanimate as those we have just noticed could be regarded as possessing the attributes of life and soul, it is no wonder that the vegetable world was thought to exhibit the same qualities. The plant has the power of producing pregnancy in the human species, since leaf and flower from certain specified kinds of plants, falling on a woman, get her with child. In Melanesia the Cycas and the Casuarina are sacred, and in folk-lore the Cycas becomes a maiden. Children also are believed to have sprung from trees, fruits, and other vegetable growths." In Australia the cones of the Casuarina are supposed to have eidola which, when released by burning, attack the eyes of bystanders and cause blindness--in all probability the stinging character of the smoke is thus explained. Trees have souls, feel pain, and even hold conversation, and this is not confined
[53. Roscoe, The Baganda, p. 48.
54. Codrington, Melanesians, p. 187; cf. Talbot, In the Shadow of the Bush, pp. 133-135.
55. Howitt, Native Tribes of South-east Australia, pp. 363, 366, 376-377, 453]
to the larger growths, being extended to plants or shrubs, and some skilled humans have had the knowledge of plant language. The fertilization of trees may be regarded as the result of desire and voluntative action. Malays believe implicitly in the souls of trees and consider it appropriate to make offerings to them. The tree as oracle in Ancient Greece and elsewhere is a well known fact--cf. the sacred oak at Dodona, whose character is standing evidence of belief in its divinity, and this in ancient times included the idea of intelligent life and soul. One might produce abundance of evidence of ascription of these possessions to plants from the phenomena of totemism, the idea here being either descent from or alliance with some particular species of plant, treatment of which was always respectful and like that accorded to members of the human tribe or clan. Thus, to cite but a single instance out of the many available, such plants as the bean, mushroom, and yam
[56. Talbot, In the Shadow of the Bush, pp. 30-36, 177-178, 181, 287, 299-300; D'Alviella, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 53 ff. In the tale of Anpu and Bata (Petrie, Egyptian Tales, 2d series, pp. 48 ff.) the tree has power of speech.
57. Skeat, Malay Magic, pp. 194; Homiletic Review, July, 1912, pp. 14-15; Hartland, Legend of Perseus, ii. 441.]
occur as totems among the Baganda. Among the Ibo-speaking peoples trees known as Ojuku and Ngu belong to the powers known as Alose, and so akin to man are certain trees that in the process of reincarnation their souls may animate human bodies. The worship of the tree has received attention so frequent and elaborate as here not to call for extended treatment. From the British Isles across Europe and Asia evidence of this cult is abundant, and has been increased in the excavations which have brought to light the ancient Mycenaean and Mediterranean civilizations. How widespread this worship has been in India may be seen from the sculpture still in existence, some of which has been illustrated and studied by Fergusson.
Among the Mafulu of New Guinea the yam is regarded as having personality, and possessing a sweetheart plant. One of the most remarkable testimonies to the feeling of primitive man in reference to the forest is the following from Lange; speaking of an Indian alone in the bush:
[58. J. Roscoe, The Baganda, pp. 138-140.
59. N. W. Thomas, Anthropological Report, i. 27, 28, 31, et passim.
60. Tree and Serpent Worship; cf. Homiletic Review, July, 1912.
61. Williamson, South Sea Savage, pp. 233 ff.]
"It appears to the Indian that he is beside himself; he feels strange exterior influences of an almost overwhelming character, foreign to men who are only used to a civilized life and whose path is far away from the wilderness. It appears to him now that an invisible and almost irresistible force is trying to attract him, and to lead him deeper and deeper into the forest, perhaps there to perish. He feels the sense of fear; he argues with himself: 'The forest wants to destroy me, to kill me, to absorb me.' After he returns to his hut, he says: 'I was hunting, the forest wanted to kill me, and got me almost into its power, but I escaped and I have returned safely.'"
4. SOUL OR SPIRIT IN ANIMALS
If the principle of "parity of being" involves the conception of life and soul in inanimate objects and in the plant world, a fortiori we should expect that animals would be endowed, in the mind of primitives, with the same qualities. Here again no exhaustive examination and collection of cases can be presented,
[62. Lange, The Lower Amazon, p. 424.]
so extensive is the evidence. What will be offered will show simply the range of the idea and the completeness with which it is carried out.
"In all African fables the various animals are but thinly disguised human beings." Even the lower forms of animal life, such as the starfish, indeed totally mythical examples of this species, have been regarded as possessed of or as being spirit. Thus in the Murray River region of Australia a huge starfish is supposed to be a spirit and to inhabit a deep water hole. Animals like lions, leopards, crocodiles, sheep, reptiles, and others have ghosts that are dangerous after death and must be placated or guarded against. Ainus treat as a god a captive bear, and when it is killed for food, some of its own flesh is offered to it as a sacrifice. Many other peoples in different quarters of the world-American Indians, Malays, and so on-treat with pretended or real honor the game animal they slay, or attempt to cajole it or deceive it,
[63. Milligan, Fetish Folk of West Africa, p. 215.
64. Taplin, Narrinyeri, p. 138.
65. Roscoe, The Baganda, pp. 288-289.
66. Batchelor, Ainus and Their Folk-lore, pp. 486-496.]
just as they would attempt to cajole or deceive one of their own species if success seemed likely, in order that its spirit or its blood kin may not avenge its slaughter. Malays will cry out to a tiger which they have trapped that "Mohammed set the trap," so as to send its spirit on a false scent when it starts out for revenge. Among the Dyaks the crocodile when caught "is addressed in eulogistic language and beguiled, so the people say, into offering no resistance. He is called a rajah among animals, and is told that he has come on a friendly visit and must behave accordingly. . . . Though the animal is spoken to in such flattering terms before he is secured, the moment . . . he is powerless for evil, they deride him for his stupidity." Their treatment of bears and tigers is quite similar. Few facts could more emphatically demonstrate the complete parity of animals with man, as conceived by various races, than the remarkable one that animals have been credited with organization into kinships, families, societies, and governments, and
[67. Skeat, Malay Magic, p. 167; cf. Charlevoix, Journal d'un voyage dans 1'Amérique septentrionale, v. 173.
68. Gomes, Sea Dyaks of Borneo, pp. 59-60.]
that they are held to perform even worship. The extreme example of what Andrew Lang called "disease of thought" in this direction has already been noted, in the cases where man regards himself indifferently as a cassowary or some other totem gens, or on the other hand considers the animal species as the same as himself. This curious operation of the mind may be further illustrated by two other examples. The islanders of Mabuiag say of the cassowary that "he all same as relation, he belong same family," and Alaskans took the first Russians whom they saw for cuttle fish because of the buttons on their clothes." It is, after this, no subject for wonder if a Zuni Indian see in a turtle or rabbit or hedgehog the embodiment of one of his ancestors, or that a totem clan can trace origins back to planet or sun, to bird, beast, or reptile. The complete parity of different states of existence is here in evidence; and implicit
[69. Illustrations of monkeys performing the acts of worship are abundantly found in the sculptures of India; cf. worship of the sacred tree in Fergusson's Tree and Serpent Worship, and Homiletic Review, July, 1912.
70. See p. 8.
71. Frazer, Golden Bough 2, ii. 388 ff.
72. F. Cushing, in Century Magazine, May, 1883; and Zuni Tales, passim.]
always, explicit most of the time, is the idea of possession of spirit or soul, though the conception is necessarily vague.
Further testimony is furnished by the peoples who hold that animals, birds, and the like understand human speech, have languages of their own, talk, perform the operations of reason, engage in trade, are subject to passions, yield to coaxing, blandishment or deception, play tricks on each other and on humans, scheme for each other's hurt or death, and perform many humanlike actions. The Melanesians attribute to the snake the power of articulate speech; and the dog is equally well endowed, if we may listen to the Blacks of Australia. Africans of the Niger region are not alone in giving speech and reason to the parrot, and they know that a hawk takes a tree as a wife. These cases are curiously duplicated among the Pima Indians, where the dog used to have the power to speak, and
[73. Roscoe, The Baganda, pp. 467-483; cf. the collection of cases in Frazer, Taboo, ii. 169-273, 398-404, of incidents showing treatment of animals as though possessed of the sentimentalities, etc., of human beings; note the speech of cattle, etc., in the "Tale of Anpu and Bata," Petrie, Egyptian Tales, ii. 48 ff.
74. Codrington, Melanesians, p. 151; Fison and Howitt, Kamilaroi and Kutnai, p. 218.
75. Talbot, In the Shadow of The Bush, pp. 252, 253, 299-300.]
an eagle took the form of an old woman and seized and carried off a girl as a wife. A legendary personage also becomes a snake, and another named Tonto drinks "medicine" and becomes an eagle. The folk-lore of India is rich in this sort of tale. Animals, led by the crafty jackal (which takes the place of the fox in the Occident), not only talk and lay deep plots, but ad in all ways like humans. And the same is true of the feathered tribes. It is of course not strange that the parrot should talk, but other birds are as well endowed, so the report goes, and, besides, know how to cure diseases. Wild elephants are worshipped by the Kadirs of India. The dogs, pigs, and other domestic animals of the dead at Tubetube, British New Guiana, have spirits which find their owners in the spirit land.
A reader who knew nothing of the interpretation of the serpent in Gen. 3 which has been current in Jewish and Christian circles
[76. Fewkes, 28th Report, etc., pp. 44, 45, 48, 52.
77. Cf. Day, Folk-Tales of Bengal, p. 134; Steel and Temple, Wide-awake Stories, pp. 66-67; Thurston, Omens and Superstitions, p. 83; Parker, Village Folk Tales of Ceylon, pp. 113 ff. 122 ff., p 209 ff., 213 ff., et passim; Brown, Melanesians and Polynesians, pp. 443 ff.; Williamson, South Sea Savages, p. 65.]
would see in that deceiver an animal cast in the form of primitive belief, endowed with cunning and with power of speech--an animal, and nothing more. The reading which makes of it a form assumed by the devil for purposes of guile belongs to a much later age than the story itself. In many lands one may find stories parallel to this one regarded as an animistic "left-over." The early Egyptians could tell of a serpent tribe that had reason, speech, organized society, government, and manners that some modern nations might copy to their own credit and the comfort of their neighbours. They had stories that dealt with walking and winged serpents, such as Eve's beast apparently was before the curse. And in our own day the Ekoi of West Africa know of reptiles that once had hands and feet and led a family life. In Melanesia the snake is (or is associated with) spirit." On the worship of the serpent much has been collected, and more is continually coming to light." The complete parity of this animal
[78. Petrie, Egyptian Tales, i. 81 ff.; Talbot, In the Shadow of the Bush, pp. 374-377.
79. Codrington, Melanesians, p. 189.
80. Cf. the article "Serpent" etc. in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, x. 363-370; Schlegel, Schlüssel zur Ewe-Sprache, p. 14; Milligan, Fetish Folk of West Africa, pp. 233-234; and the two notable volumes of Miss Harrison, Prolegomena, and Themis, where the dominance of the serpent idea and its continuance are none the less markedly exhibited in that this particular phase is not at all the main thesis of her works, and is therefore incidental and the more striking.]
with man in these respects is illustrated farther by the fact that the snake may wed with mortals.
[81. Thurston, Omens and Superstitions, p. 91.]
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