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" Ce n'est pas dans les possibilites, c'est dans 1'homme meme qu'il 
faut etudier 1'homme : il ne s'agit pas d'imaginer ce qu'il auroit pu 
ou du faire, mais de regarder ce qu'il fait." DE BROSSES. 





[Rights of Translation and Reproduction reserved} 




ANIMISM (continued). 

Doctrine of Soul's Existence after Death ; its main divisions, Trans- 
migration and Future Life Transmigration of Souls : re-birth in 
Human and Animal Bodies, transference to Plants and Objects 
Resurrection of Body : scarcely held in savage religion Future 
Life : a general if not universal doctrine of low races Continued 
existence, rather than Immortality ; second death of Soul Ghost 
of Dead remains on earth, especially if corpse unburied ; its 
attachment to bodily remains Feasts of the Dead . 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Journey of the Soul to the Land of the Dead Visits by the Living 
to the Regions of Departed Souls Connexion of such legends 
with myths of Sunset : the Land of the Dead thus imagined as 
in the West Realization of current religious ideas, whether of 
savage or civilized theology, in narratives of visits to the Regions 
of Souls Localization of the Future Life Distant earthly region : 
Earthly Paradise, Isles of the Blest Subterranean Hades or Sheol 
Sun, Moon, Stars Heaven Historical course of belief as to such 
localization Nature of Future Life Continuance-theory, appar- ? 
ently original, belongs especially to the lower races Transitional 
theories Retribution-theory,apparentlyderived,belongs especially 
to the higher races Doctrine of Moral Retribution as developed 
in the higher culture Survey of Doctrine of Future State, from 
savage to civilized stages Its practical effect on the sentiment 
and conduct of Mankind . . . . . -44 



ANIMISM (continued). 


Animism, expanding from the Doctrine of Souls to the wider 
Doctrine of Spirits, becomes a complete Philosophy of Natural 
Religion Definition of Spirits similar to and apparently modelled 
on that of Souls Transition-stage : classes of Souls passing into 
good and evil Demons Manes-Worship Doctrine of Embodiment 
of Spirits in human, animal, vegetable, and inert bodies De- 
moniacal Possession and Obsession as causes of Disease and Oracle- 
inspiration Fetishism Disease-spirits embodied Ghost attached 
to remains of Corpse Fetish produced by a Spirit embodied in, 
attached to, or operating through, an Object Analogues of Fetish- 
doctrine in Modern Science Stock-and-Stone-Worship Idolatry 
Survival of Animistic Phraseology in modern Language Decline 
of Animistic theory of Nature . . . . .108 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Spirits regarded as personal causes of Phenomena of the World Per- \ 
vading Spirits as good and evil Demons affecting man Spirits 
manifest in Dreams and Visions : Nightmares ; Incubi and 
Succubi ; Vampires ; Visionary Demons Demons of darkness 
repelled by fire Demons otherwise manifest : seen by animals ; 
detected by footprints Spirits conceived and treated as material 
Guardian and Familiar Spirits Nature-Spirits; historical course 
of the doctrine Spirits of Volcanos, Whirlpools, Rocks Water- 
Worship : Spirits of Wells, Streams, Lakes, &c. Tree-Worship : 
Spirits embodied in or inhabiting Trees ; Spirits of Groves and 
Forests Animal-worship : Animals Worshipped, directly, or as 
incarnations or representatives of Deities ; Totemism ; Serpent- 
Worship Species-Deities ; their relation to Archetypal Ideas . 184 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Higher Deities of Polytheism Human characteristics applied to 
Deity Lords of Spiritual Hierarchy Polytheism : its course of 
development in lower and higher Culture Principles of its inves- 
tigation ; classification of Deities according to central concep- 
tions of their significance and function Heaven-god Rain-god 
Thunder-god Wind-gods Earth-god Water-god Sea-god 
Fire-god Sun-god Moon-god . . 247 



ANIMISM (continued'). 


Polytheism comprises a class of great Deities, ruling the course of 
Nature and the life of Man Childbirth-god Agriculture-god 
War-god God of the Dead First Man as Divine Ancestor 
Dualism ; its rudimentary and unethical nature among low 
races ; its development through the course of culture Good and 
Evil Deity Doctrine of Divine Supremacy, distinct from, while 
tending towards, the doctrine of Monotheism Idea of a Highest 
or Supreme Deity evolved in various forms ; its place as completion 
of the Polytheistic system and outcome of the Animistic philo- 
x sophy ; its continuance and development among higher nations 
| beneral survey of Animism as a Philosophy of Religion 
Recapitulation of the theory advanced as to its development 
through successive stages of culture ; its primary phases best 
represented among the lower races, while survivals of these 
among the higher races mark the transition from savage through 
barbaric to civilized faiths Transition of Animism in the History 
of Religion ; its earlier and later stages as a Philosophy of the 
Universe ; its later stages as the principle of a Moral Institution . 304 



Religious Rites : their purpose practical or symbolic Prayer : its 
continuity from low to high levels of Culture ; its lower phases 
Unethical ; its higher phases Ethical Sacrifice : its original Gift- 
theory passes into the Homage-theory and the Abnegation-theory 
Manner of reception of Sacrifice by Deity Material Transfer 
to elements, fetish-animals, priests ; consumption of substance 
by deity or idol ; offering of blood ; transmission by fire ; incense 
Essential transfer: consumption of essence, savour, &c. 
Spiritual Transfer : consumption or transmission of soul of offer- 
ing Motive of Sacrifice! Transition from Gift-theory to Homage- 
theory : insignificant and formal offerings ; sacrificial banquets 
Abnegation-theory ; sacrifice of children, &c. Sacrifice of Sub- 
stitutes : part given for whole ; inferior life for superior ; effigies 
Modern survival of Sacrifice in folklore and religion Fasting, 
as a means of producing ecstatic vision ; its course from lower 
to higher Culture Drugs use to produce ecstasy Swoons and 
fits induced for religious purposes Orientation : its relation to 
Sun-myth and Sun-worship ; rules of East and West as to burial 
of dead, position of worship, and structure of temple Lustration 


by Water and Fire : its transition from material to symbolic puri- 
fication ; its connexion with special events of life ; its appear- 
ance among the lower races Lustration of new-born children ; 
of women ; of those polluted by bloodshed or the dead Lustra- 
tion continued at higher levels of Culture Conclusion . . 361 



Practical results of the study of Primitive Culture Its bearing least 
upon Positive Science, greatest upon Intellectual, Moral, Social, 
and Political Philosophy Language Mythology Ethics and 
Law Religion Action of the Science of Culture, as a means of 
furthering progress and removing hindrance, effective in the 
course of Civilization ...... 443 



ANIMISM (continued). 

Doctrine of Soul's Existence after Death ; its main divisions, Transmigra- 
tion and Future Life Transmigration of Souls : re-birth in Human 
and Animal Bodies, transference to Plants and Objects Resurrection 
of Body : scarcely held in savage religion Future Life : a general 
if not universal doctrine of low races Continued existence, rather 
than Immortality ; second death of Soul Ghost of Dead remains 
on earth, especially .if corpse unburied ; its attachment to bodily 
remains Feasts of the Dead. 

HAVING thus traced upward from the lower levels of cul- 
ture the opinions of mankind as to the souls, spirits, ghosts, 
or phantoms, considered to belong to men, to the lower 
animals, to plants, and to things, we are now prepared to 
investigate one of thegreat religious doctrines of the world, 
the belief in th& soul's^ontinued existence in a Life after 
Death. Here let us~once more call to mind the considera- 
tion which cannot be too strongly put forward, that the 
doctrine of a Future Life as held by the lower races is the 
all but necessary outcome of savage Animism. The evi- 
dence that the lower races believe the figures of the dead 
seen in dreams and visions to be their surviving souls, not 
only goes far to account for the comparative universality of 
their belief in the continued existence of the soul after the 
death of the body, but it gives the key to many of their 
speculations on the nature of this existence, speculations 


rational enough from the savage point of view, though apt 
to seem far-fetched absurdities to moderns in their much 
changed intellectual condition. The belief in a Future Life 
falls into two main divisions. Closely connected and even 
largely overlapping one another, both world-wide in their 
distribution, both ranging back in time to periods of un- 
known antiquity, both deeply rooted in the lowest strata of 
human life which lie open to our observation, these two 
doctrines have in the modern world passed into wonderfully 
different conditions. The one is the theory of the Trans- 
migration of Souls, which has indeed risen from its lower 
stages to establish itself among the huge religious communi- 
ties of Asia, great in history, enormous even in present 
mass, yet arrested and as it seems henceforth unprogressive 
in development ; but the more highly educated world has 
rejected the ancient belief, and it now only survives in 
Europe in dwindling remnants. Far different has been the 
history of the other doctrine, that of the independent exist- 
ence of the personal soul after the death of the body, in a 
Future Life. Passing onward^hrough change after change 
in the condition of the human race, modified and renewed 
in its long ethnic course, this great belief may be traced 
from its crude and primitive manifestations among savage 
races to its establishment in the heart of modern religion, 
where the faith in a future existence forms at once an 
inducement to goodness, a sustaining hope through suffer- 
ing and across the fear of death, and an answer to the per- 
plexed problem of the allotment of happiness and misery 
in this present world, by the expectation of another world 
to set this right. 

In investigating the doctrine of Transmigration, it will 
be well first to trace its position among the lower races, and 
afterwards to follow its developments, so far as they extend 
in the higher civilization. The temporary migration of 
souls into material substances, from human bodies down to 
morsels of wood and stone, is a most important part of the 
lower psychology. But it does not relate to the continued 


existence of the soul after death, and may be more conve- 
niently treated of elsewhere, in connexion with such sub- 
jects as daemoniacal possession and fetish- worship. We 
are here concerned with the more permanent tenancy of 
souls for successive lives in successive bodies. 

Permanent transition, new birth, or re-incarnation of 
human souls in other human bodies, is especially con- 
sidered to take place by the soul of a deceased person 
animating the body of an infant. It is recorded by 
Brebeuf that the Hurons, when little children died, would 
bury them by the wayside, that their souls might enter into 
mothers passing by, and so be born again. 1 In North- West 
America, among the Tacullis, we hear of direct transfusion 
of soul by the medicine-man, who, putting his hands on the 
breast of the dying or dead, then holds them over the head 
of a relative and blows through them ; the next child born 
to this recipient of the departed soul is animated by it, and 
takes the rank and name of the deceased. 2 The Nutka 
Indians not without ingenuity accounted for the existence 
of a distant tribe speaking the same language as them- 
selves, by declaring them to be the spirits of their dead. 3 In 
Greenland, where the wretched custom of abandoning and 
even plundering widows and orphans was tending to bring 
the whole race to extinction, a helpless widow would seek 
to persuade some father that the soul of a dead child of his 
had passed into a living child of hers, or vice versa, thus 
gaining for herself a new relative and protector. 4 It is 
mostly ancestral or kindred souls that are thought to enter 
into children, and this kind of transmigration is therefore 
from the savage point of view a highly philosophical theory, 
accounting as it does so well for the general resemblance 
between parents and children, and even for the more special 

1 Brebeuf in ' Rel. des Je"s. dans la Nouvelle France,' 1636, p. 130 ; Charle- 
voix, ' Nouvelle France,' vol. vi. p. 75. See Brinton, p. 253. 

* Waitz,vol.iii.p. 195, seep. 213. Morse, ' Report onlndian Affairs,' p. 345. 
3 Mayne, ' British Columbia,' p. 181. 

* Cranz, 'Gronland,' pp. 248, 258, see p. 212. See also Turner, 'Polynesia.' 
P 353 > Meiners, vol. ii. p. 793. 


phenomena of atavism. In North- West America, among 
the Koloshes, the mother sees in a dream the deceased 
relative whose transmitted soul will give his likeness to the 
child j 1 and in Vancouver's Island in 1860 a lad was much 
regarded by the Indians because he had a mark like the 
scar of a gun-shot wound on his hip, it being believed that 
a chief dead some four generations before, who had such a 
mark, had returned.* In Old Calabar, if a mother loses a 
child, and another is born soon after, she thinks the departed 
one to have come back. 3 The Wanika consider that the 
soul of a dead ancestor animates a child, and this is why 
it resembles its father or mother ;* in Guinea a child bear- 
ing a strong resemblance, physical or mental, to a dead 
relative, is supposed to have inherited his soul ; 5 and the 
Yorubas, greeting a new-born infant with the salutation, 
' Thou art come ! ' look for signs to show what ancestral 
soul has returned among them. 6 Among the Khonds of 
Orissa, births are celebrated by a feast on the seventh day, 
and the priest, divining by dropping rice-grains in a cup of 
water, and judging from observations made on the person 
of the infant, determines which of his progenitors has reap- 
peared, and the child generally at least among the northern 
tribes receives the name of that ancestor. 7 In Europe the 
Lapps repeat an instructive animistic idea just noticed in 
America ; the future mother was told in a dream what 
name to give her child, this message being usually given by 
the very spirit of the deceased ancestor, who was about to 
be incarnate in her. 8 Among the lower races generally the 

1 Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 28. 

* Bastian, 'Zur vergl. Psychologic,' in Lazarus and Steinthal's 'Zeit- 
schrift,' vol. v. p. 160, &c., also Papuas and other races. 

3 Burton, ' W. & W. fr. W. Afr.' p. 376. 

4 Krapf, ' E. Afr.' p. 201. 

8 J. L. Wilson, 'W. Afr.' p. 210; see also R. Clarke, 'Sierra Leone, 
p. 159. 

8 Bastian, 1. c. 

7 Macpherson, p. 72 ; also Tickell in ' Journ. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. ix. 
pp. 793, &c. ; Dalton in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 22 (similar rite of Mun- 
das and Oraons). 

Klemm, ' C. G.' vol. iii. p 77 ; K. Leems, ' Lapper,' c. xiv. 


renewal of old family names by giving them to new-born 
children may always be suspected of involving some such 
thought. The following is a curious pair of instances from 
the two halves of the globe. The New Zealand priest 
would repeat to the infant a long list of names of its 
ancestors, fixing upon that name which the child by sneez- 
ing or crying when it was uttered, was considered to select 
for itself ; while the Cheremiss in Russia would shake the 
baby till it cried, and then repeat names to it, till it chose 
itself one by leaving off crying. 1 

The belief in the new human birth of the departed soul, 
which has even led West African negroes to commit suicide 
when in distant slavery, that they may revive in their own 
land, in fact amounts among several of the lower races to a 
distinct doctrine of an earthly resurrection. One of the 
most remarkable forms which this belief assumes is when 
dark-skinned races, wanting some reasonable theory to 
account for the appearance among them of human crea- 
tures of a new strange sort, the white men, and struck with 
their pallid deathly hue combined with powers that seem 
those of superhuman spiritual beings, have determined that 
the manes of their dead must have come back in this 
wondrous shape. The aborigines of Australia have ex- 
pressed this theory in the simple formula, ' Blackfellow 
tumble down, jump up Whitefellow.' Thus a native who 
was hanged years ago at Melbourne expressed in his last 
moments the hopeful belief that he would jump up White- 
fellow, and have lots of sixpences. The doctrine has been 
current among them since early days of European inter- 
course, and in accordance with it they habitually regarded 
the Englishmen as their own deceased kindred, come back 
to their country from an attachment to it in a former life. 
Real or imagined likeness completed the delusion, as when 

1 R. Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 284 ; see Shortland, ' Traditions,' 
p. 145 ; Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 353 ; Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 279 ; 
see also p. 276 (Samoyeds). Compare Charlevoix, 'Nouvelle France,' 
vol. v. p. 426; Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 353 ; Kracheninnikow, ii. 117. 
See Plath, ' Rel. der alten Chinesen,' ii. p. 98. 


Sir George Grey was hugged and wept over by an old 
woman who found in him a son she had lost, or when a 
convict, recognized as a deceased relative, was endowed 
anew with the land he had possessed during his former life. 
A similar theory may be traced northward by the Torres 
Islands to New Caledonia, where the natives thought the 
white men to be the spirits of the dead who bring sickness, 
and assigned this as their reason for wishing to kill white 
men. 1 In Africa, again, the belief is found among the 
Western negroes that they will rise again white, and the 
Bari of the White Nile, believing in the resurrection of the 
dead on earth, considered the first white people they saw as 
departed spirits thus come back.* 

Next, the lower psychology, drawing no definite line of 
demarcation between souls of men and of beasts, can at 
least admit without difficulty the transmission of human 
souls into the bodies of the lower animals. A series of 
examples from among the native tribes of America will 
serve well to show the various ways in which such ideas are 
worked out. The Ahts of Vancouver's Island consider the 
living man's soul able to enter into other bodies of men 
and animals, going in and out like the inhabitant of a 
house. In old times, they say, men existed in the forms of 
birds, beasts, and fishes, or these had the spirits of the 
Indians in their bodies ; some think that after death they 
will pass again into the bodies of the animals they occupied 
in this former state. 8 In an Indian district of North- West 

1 Grey, ' Australia,' vol. i. p. 301, vol. ii. p. 363 [native's accusation against 
some foreign sailors who had assaulted him, ' djanga Taal-wurt kyle-gut 
bomb-gur,' ' one of the dead struck Taal-wurt under the ear,' &c. The 
word <i/<zga=the dead, the spirits of deceased persons (see Grey, 'Vocab. of 
S. W. Australia '), had come to be the usual term for a European]. Lang, 
' Queensland,' pp. 34, 336 ; Bonwick, ' Tasmanians," p. 183 ; Scherzer, ' Voy. 
of Novara,' vol. iii. p. 34 ; Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 222, ' Mensch,' vol. Hi. 
pp. 362-3, and in Lazarus and Steinthal's ' Zeitschrift,' 1. c. ; Turner, ' Poly- 
nesia,' p. 424. 

2 Romer, 'Guinea,' p. 85 ; Brun-Rollet, ' Nil Blanc,' &c. p. 234. 

3 Sproat, 'Savage Life,' ch. xviii., xix., xxi. Souls of the dead appear 
in dreams, either in human or animal forms, p. 174. See also Brinton, 
p. 145. 


California, we find natives believing the spirits of their dead 
to enter into bears, and travellers have heard of a tribe 
begging the life of a wrinkle-faced old she grizzly bear as 
the recipient of the soul of some particular grandam, whom 
they fancied the creature to resemble. 1 So, among the 
Esquimaux, a traveller noticed a widow who was living for 
conscience' sake upon birds, and would not touch walrus- 
meat, which the angekok had forbidden her for a time, 
because her late husband had entered into a walrus. 2 
Among other North American tribes, we hear of the Pow- 
hatans refraining from doing harm to certain small wood- 
birds which received the souls of their chiefs ; 3 of Huron 
souls turning into turtle-doves after the burial of their bones 
at the Feast of the Dead; 4 of that pathetic funeral rite of 
the Iroquois, the setting free a bird on the evening of 
burial, to carry away the soul. 8 In Mexico, the Tlascalans 
thought that after death the souls of nobles would animate 
beautiful singing birds, while plebeians passed into weasels 
and beetles and such like vile creatures. 6 So, in Brazil, 
the I$annas say that the souls of the brave will become 
beautiful birds, feeding on pleasant fruits, but cowards will 
be turned into reptiles. 7 Among the Abipones we hear of 
certain little ducks which fly in flocks at night, uttering a 
mournful hiss, and which fancy associates with the souls of 
the dead ; 8 while in Popayan it is said that doves were not 
killed, as inspired by departed souls. 9 Lastly, transmigra- 
tion into brutes is also a received doctrine in South America 
as when a missionary heard a Chiriquane woman of western 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part iii. p. 113. 
8 Hayes, 'Arctic Boat Journey,' p. 198. 

3 Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 102. 

4 Brebeuf in ' Rel. des Jes.' 1636, p. 104. 

5 Morgan, ' Iroquois,' p. 174. 

4 Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. p. 5. 

7 Martius, ' Ethnog. Amcr.' vol. i. p. 602 ; Markham in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' 
vol. iii. p. 195. 

8 Dobrizhoffer, ' Abipones,' vol. ii. pp. 74, 270. 

8 Coreal in Brinton, 1. c. See also J. G. Miillcr, pp. 139 (Natchez), 223 
(Caribs), 402 (Peru). 


Brazil say of a fox, ' May not that be the spirit of my dead 
daughter ? ' l 

In Africa, again, mention is made of the Maravi thinking 
that the souls of bad men became jackals, and of good men 
snakes.* The Zulus, while admitting that a man may turn 
into a wasp or lizard, work out in the fullest way the idea 
of the dead becoming snakes, a creature whose change of 
skin has so often been associated with the thought of re- 
surrection and immortality. It is especially certain green 
or brown harmless snakes, which come gently and fearlessly 
into houses, which are considered to be ' amatongo ' or 
ancestors, and therefore are treated respectfully, and have 
offerings of food given them. In two ways, the dead man 
who has become a snake can still be recognized ; if the 
creature is one-eyed, or has a scar or some other mark, it is 
recognized as the ' itongo ' of a man who was thus marked 
in life ; but if he had no mark the ' itongo ' appears in 
human shape in dreams, thus revealing the personality of 
the snake. 3 In Guinea, monkeys found near a graveyard 
are supposed to be animated by the spirits of the dead, and 
in certain localities monkeys, crocodiles, and snakes, being 
thought men in metempsychosis, are held sacred. 4 It is to 
be borne in mind that notions of this kind may form in 
barbaric psychology but a portion of the wide doctrine of 
the soul's future existence. For a conspicuous instance of 
this, let us take the system of the Gold-Coast negroes. 
They believe that the ' kla ' or ' kra,' the vital soul, 
becomes at death a ' sisa ' or ghost, which can remain in 
the house with the body, plague the living, and cause sick- 
ness, till it departs or is driven by the sorcerer to the bank 
of the River Volta, where the ghosts build themselves 
houses and dwell. But they can and do come back from 

1 Chome' in ' Lettres Edif.' vol. viii. ; see also Martius, vol. i. p. 446. 
* Waitz, vol. ii. p. 419 (Maravi). 

3 Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 196, &c. ; Arbousset and Daumas, 
p. 237. 

4 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' pp. 210, 218. See also Brun-Rollet, pp. 200, 
234 ; Meiners, vol. i. p. 211. 


this Land of Souls. They can be born again as souls in 
new human bodies, and a soul who was poor before will now 
be rich. Many will not come back as men, but will become 
animals. To an African mother who has lost her child, it 
is a consolation to say, ' He will come again/ 1 

In higher levels of culture, the theory of re-embodiment 
of the soul appears in strong and varied development. 
Though seemingly not received by the early Aryans, the 
doctrine of migration was adopted and adapted by Hindu 
philosophy, and forms an integral part of that great system 
common to Brahmanism and Buddhism, wherein successive 
births or existences are believed to carry on the consequences 
of past and prepare the antecedents of future life. To the 
Hindu the body is but the temporary receptacle of the soul, 
which, ' bound in the chains of deeds ' and ' eating the 
fruits of past actions,' promotes or degrades itself along a 
series of embodiments in plant, beast, man, deity. Thus 
all creatures differ rather in degree than kind, all are akin 
to man, an elephant or ape or worm may once have been 
human, and may become human again, a pariah or barbar- 
ian is at once low-caste among men and high-caste among 
brutes. Through such bodies migrate the sinful souls 
which desire has drawn down from primal purity into gross 
material being ; the world where they do penance for the 
guilt incurred in past existences is a huge reformatory, and 
life is the long grievous process of developing evil into 
good. The rules are set forth in the book of Manu how 
souls endowed with the quality of goodness acquire divine 
nature, while souls governed by passion take up the human 
state, and souls sunk in darkness are degraded to brutes. 
Thus the range of migration stretches downward from gods 
andsaints, through holy ascetics, Brahmans, nymphs, kings, 
counsellors, to actors, drunkards, birds, dancers, cheats, 
elephants, horses, Sudras, barbarians, wild beasts, snakes, 
worms, insects, and inert things. Obscure as the relation 
mostly is between the crime and its punishment in a new 

1 Steinhauter in ' Mag. der Evang. Mitt/ Batel, 1856, No. 2, p. 135. 


life, there may be discerned through the code of penal 
transmigration an attempt at appropriateness of penalty, 
and an intention to punish the sinner wherein he sinned. 
For faults committed in a previous existence men are 
afflicted with deformities, the stealer of food shall be 
dyspeptic, the scandal-monger shall have foul breath, the 
horse-stealer shall go lame, and in consequence of their 
deeds men shall be born idiots, blind, deaf and dumb, mis- 
shaped, and thus despised of good men. After expiation of 
their wickedness in the hells of torment, the murderer of a 
Brahman may pass into a wild beast or pariah ; he who 
adulterously dishonours his guru or spiritual father shall 
be a hundred times re-born as grass, a bush, a creeper, a 
carrion bird, a beast of prey ; the cruel shall become blood- 
thirsty beasts ; stealers of grain and meat shall turn into 
rats and vultures ; the thief who took dyed garments, 
kitchen-herbs, or perfumes, shall become accordingly a red 
partridge, a peacock, or a musk-rat. In short, ' in what- 
ever disposition of mind a man accomplishes such and such 
an act, he shall reap the fruit in a body endowed with such 
and such a quality.' 1 The recognition of plants as possible 
receptacles of the transmigrating spirit well illustrates the 
conception of souls of plants. The idea is one known to 
lower races in a district of the world which has been under 
Hindu influence. Thus we hear among the Dayaks of 
Borneo of the human soul entering the trunks of trees, 
where it may be seen damp and blood-like, but no longer 
personal and sentient, or of its being re-born from an animal 
which has eaten of the bark, flower, or fruit; 1 and the 
Santals of Bengal are said to fancy that uncharitable men 
and childless women are eaten eternally by worms and 
snakes, while the good enter into fruit-bearing trees. 8 
But it is an open question how far these and the Hindu 

1 Manu, xi. xii. Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. i. p. 164, vol. ii. pp. 215, 347-52. 

* St. John, ' Far East,' vol. i. p. 181 ; Perelaer, ' Ethnog, Beschr. der 
Dajaks,' p. 17. 

8 Hunter, ' Rural Bengal,' p. 210. See also Shaw in ' As. Res.' vol. iv. 
p. 46 (Rajmahal tribes). 


ideas of vegetable transmigration can -be considered as 
independent. A curious commentary on the Hindu work- 
ing out of the conception of plant-souls is to be found in a 
passage in a 17th-century work, which describes certain 
Brahmans of the Coromandel Coast as eating fruits, but 
being careful not to pull the plants up by the roots, lest 
they should dislodge a soul ; but few, it is remarked, are 
so scrupulous as this, and the consideration has occurred 
to them that souls in roots and herbs are most vile and 
abject bodies, so that if dislodged they may become better 
off by entering into the bodies of men or beasts. 1 More- 
over, the Brahmanic doctrine of souls transmigrating into 
inert things has in like manner a bearing on the savage 
theory of object-souls. 2 

Buddhism, like the Brahmanism from which it seceded, 
habitually recognized transmigration between superhuman 
and human beings and the lower animals, and in an ex- 
ceptional way recognized a degradation even into a plant or 
a thing. How the Buddhist mind elaborated the doctrine 
of metempsychosis, may be seen in the endless legends of 
Gautama himself undergoing his 550 births, suffering pain 
and misery through countless ages to gain the power of 
freeing sentient beings from the misery inherent in all 
existence. Four times he became Maha Brahma, twenty 
times the dewa Sekra, and many times or few he passed 
through such stages as a hermit, a king, a rich man, a slave, 
a potter, a gambler, a curer of snake bites, an ape, an 
elephant, a bull, a serpent, a snipe, a fish, a frog, the dewa 
or genius of a tree. At last, when he became the supreme 
Buddha, his mind, like a vessel overflowing with honey, 
overflowed with the ambrosia of truth, and he proclaimed 
his triumph over life : 

1 Abraham Roger, ' La Porte Ouverte,' Amst. 1670, p. 107. 

2 Manu, xii. 9 : ' ?arirajaih karmmadoshaih yati stria varatam narah ' 
' for crimes done in the body, the man goes to the inert (motionless) 
state;' xii. 4Z, 'sthavarah krimakitaccha matsyah sarpah sakachhapah 
pac.ava^cha mrigaschaiva jaghanya tamasi gatih ' ' inert (motionless) 
things, worms and ir.sects, fish, serpents, tortoises and beasts and deer 
also are the last dark form.' 


' Painful are repeated births. 

house-builder ! I have seen thee, 

Thou canst not build again a house for me. 

Thy rafters are broken 

Thy roof-timbers are shattered. 

My mind is detached, 

1 have attained to the extinction of desire.' 

Whether the Buddhists receive the full Hindu doctrine of 
the migration of the individual soul from birth to birth, or 
whether they refine away into metaphysical subtleties the 
notion of continued personality, they do consistently and 
systematically hold that a man's life in former existences is 
the cause of his now being what he is, while at this moment 
he is accumulating merit or demerit whose result will 
determine his fate in future lives. Memory, it is true, fails 
generally to recall these past births, but memory, as we 
know, stops short of the beginning even of this present life. 
When King Bimsara's feet were burned and rubbed with salt 
by command of his cruel son that he might not walk, why 
was this torture inflicted on a man so holy ? Because in 
a previous birth he had walked near a dagoba with his 
slippers on, and had trodden on a priest's carpet without 
washing his feet. A man may be prosperous for a time on 
account of the merit he has received in former births, but 
if he does not continue to keep the precepts, his next birth 
will be in one of the hells, he will then be born in this world 
as a beast, afterwards as a preta or sprite ; a proud man 
may be born again ugly with large lips, or as a demon or a 
worm. The Buddhist theory of ' karma ' or ' action,' 
which controls the destiny of all sentient beings, not by 
judicial reward and punishment, but by the inflexible result 
of cause into effect, wherein the present is ever determined 
by the past in an unbroken line of causation, is indeed one 
of the world's most remarkable developments of ethical 
speculation. 1 

1 KCppen, ' Religion des Buddha,' vol. i. pp. 35, 289, &c., 318; Barthelemy 
Saint-Hilaire, ' Le Bouddha et sa Religion,' p. 122 ; Hardy, ' Manual of 
Budhiim,' pp. 98, Ac., 180, 318, 445, &c. 


Within the classic world, the ancient Egyptians were 
described as maintaining a doctrine of migration, whether 
by successive embodiments of the immortal soul through 
creatures of earth, sea, and air, and back again to man, or 
by the simpler judicial penalty which sent back the wicked 
dead to earth as unclean beasts. 1 The pictures and 
hieroglyphic sentences of the Book of the Dead, however, 
do not afford the necessary confirmation for these state- 
ments, even the mystic transformations of the soul not 
being of the nature of transmigrations. Thus it seems that 
the theological centre whence the doctrine of moral metem- 
psychosis may have spread over the ancient cultured 
religions, must be sought elsewhere than in Egypt. In 
Greek philosophy, great teachers stood forth to proclaim 
the doctrine in a highly developed form. Plato had mythic 
knowledge to convey of souls entering such new incarna- 
tions as their glimpse of real existence had made them fit 
for, from the body of a philosopher or a lover down to the 
body of a tyrant and usurper ; of souls transmigrating into 
beasts and rising again to man according to the lives they 
led ; of birds that were light-minded souls ; of oysters 
suffering in banishment the penalty of utter ignorance. 
Pythagoras is made to illustrate in his own person his 
doctrine of metempsychosis, by recognizing where it hung 
in Here's temple the shield he had carried in a former 
birth, when he was that Euphorbos whom Menelaos slew 
at the siege of Troy. Afterwards he was Hermotimos, the 
Klazomenian prophet whose funeral rites were so pre- 
maturely celebrated while his soul was out, and after that, 
as Lucian tells the story, his prophetic soul passed into the 
body of a cock. Mikyllos asks this cock to tell him about 
Troy were things there really as Homer said ? But the 
cock replies, ' How should Homer have known, O Mikyllos? 
When the Trojan war was going on, he was a camel in 
Baktria ! ' 

1 Herod, ii. 123, ice Rawlinson't Tr. ; Plutarch. De Iiide 31, 72 ; Wilkin- 
son, ' Ancient Eg.' vol. ii. ch. xvi. 

1 Plat. Phardo, Timu, Phardru>, Rcpub.; Diog. Lacrt. Empedokles xii.; 


In the later Jewish philosophy, the Kabbalists took up 
the doctrine of migration, the gilgul or ' rolling on ' of souls, 
and maintained it by that characteristic method of Biblical 
interpretation which it is good to hold up from time to time 
for a warning to the mystical interpreters of our own day. 
The soul of Adam passed into David, and shall pass into 
the Messiah, for are not these initials in the very name of 
Ad(a)m, and does not Ezekiel say that ' my servant David 
shall be their prince for ever.' Cain's soul passed into 
Jethro, and Abel's into Moses, and therefore it was that 
Jethro gave Moses his daughter to wife. Souls migrate into 
beasts and birds and vermin, for is not Jehovah ' the lord 
of the spirits of all flesh ' ? and he who has done one sin 
beyond his good works shall pass into a brute. He who 
gives a Jew unclean meat to eat, his soul shall enter into a 
leaf, blown to and fro by the wind ; ' for ye shall be as an 
oak whose leaf fadeth ; ' and he who speaks ill words, his 
soul shall pass into a dumb stone, as did Nabal's, ' and he 
became a stone.' 1 Within the range of Christian influence 
the Manichaeans appear as the most remarkable exponents 
of the metempsychosis. We hear of their ideas of sinners' 
souls transmigrating into beasts, the viler according to their 
crimes ; that he who kills a fowl or rat will become a fowl or 
rat himself ; that souls can pass into plants rooted in the 
ground, which thus have not only life but sense ; that the 
souls of reapers pass into beans and barley, to be cut down 
in their turn, and thus the elect were careful to explain to 
the bread when they ate it, that it was not they who reaped 
the corn it was made of ; that the souls of the auditors, that 
is, the spiritually low commonalty who lived a married life, 
would pass into melons and cucumbers, to finish their puri- 
fication by being eaten by the elect. But these details come 
to us from the accounts of bitter theological adversaries, and 

Pindar. Olymp. ii. antistr. 4; Ovid. Metam. xv. 160 ; Lucian. Somn. 17, 
&c. Philostr. Vit. Apollon. Tyan. See also Meyer's Conversations-Lexicon, 
art. ' Seelenwanderung.' For re-birth in old Scandinavia, see Helgakvidha, 
iii., in ' Edda.' 

1 Eisenmenger, part ii. p. 23, Ac. 


the question is, how much of them did the Manichaeans really 
and soberly believe ? Allowing for exaggeration and con- 
structive imputation, there is some reason to consider the 
account at least founded on fact. The Manichaeans appear 
to have recognized a wandering of imperfect souls, whether 
or not their composite religion may with its Zarathustrian 
and Christian elements have also absorbed in so Indian a 
shape the doctrine of purification of souls by migration into 
animals and plants. 1 In later times, the doctrine of 
metempsychosis has been again and again noticed in a 
district of South-Western Asia. William of Ruysbroek 
speaks of the notion of souls passing from body to body as 
general among the mediaeval Nestorians, even a somewhat 
intelligent priest consulting him as to the souls of brutes, 
whether they could find refuge elsewhere so as not to be 
compelled to labour after death. Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela 
records in the I2th century of the Druses of Mount Hermon : 
' They say that the soul of a virtuous man is transferred to 
the body of a new-born child, whereas that of the vicious 
transmigrates into a dog, or some other animal.' Such ideas 
indeed, seem not yet extinct in the modern Druse nation. 
Among the Nassairi, also, transmigration is believed in as 
a penance and purification : we hear of migration of 
unbelievers into camels, asses, dogs, or sheep, of disobedient 
Nassairi into Jews, Sunnis, or Christians, of the faithful 
into new bodies of their own people, a few such changes of 
' shirt ' (i.e. body), bringing them to enter paradise or 
become stars. 2 An instance of the belief within the limits 
of modern Christian Europe may be found among the Bul- 
garians, whose superstition is that Turks who have never 
eaten pork in life will become wild boars after death. A 

1 Beausobre, 'Hist, de Maniche'e,' &c., vol. i. pp. 245-6, vol. ii. pp. 496-9; 
G. Fliigel, ' Mani.' See Augustin. Contra Faust. ; De Hxres. ; De 
Quantitatc Animx. 

* Gul. de Kubruquis in ' Rec. des Voy. Soc. de Geographic de Paris,' vol. 
iv. p. 356. Benjamin of Tudela, ed. and tr. by Asher, Hebrew 22, Eng. 
p. 62. Niebuhr, ' Reisebeschr. nach Arabien,' &c., vol. ii. pp. 438-443 ; 
Meiners, vol. ii. p. 796. 


party assembled to feast on a boar has been known to throw 
it all away, for the meat jumped off the spit into the fire, 
and a piece of cotton was found in the ears, which the wise 
man decided to be a piece of the ci-devant Turk's turban. 1 
Such cases, however, are exceptional. Metempsychosis 
never became one of the great doctrines of Christendom, 
though not unknown in mediaeval scholasticism, and 
though maintained by an eccentric theologian here and 
there into our own times. It would be strange were it not 
so. It is in the very nature of the development of religion 
that speculations of the earlier culture should dwindle to 
survivals, yet be again and again revived. Doctrines 
transmigrate, if souls do not ; and metempsychosis, 
wandering along the course of ages, came at last to animate 
the souls of Fourier and Soame Jenyns.* 

Thus we have traced the theory of metempsychosis in 
stage after stage of the world's civilization, scattered among 
the native races of America and Africa, established in the 
Asiatic nations, especially where elaborated by the Hindu 
mind into its system of ethical philosophy, rising and falling 
in classic and mediaeval Europe, and lingering at last in the 
modern world as an intellectual crotchet, of little account 
but to the ethnographer who notes it down as an item of 

1 St. ClaSr and Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' p. 57. Compare the tenets of the 
Russian sect of Dukhobortzi, in Haxthausen, ' Russian Empire,' vol. i. 
p. 288, &c. 

* Since the first publication of the above remark, M. Louis Figuier has 
supplied a perfect modern instance by his book, entitled ' Le Lendemain 
de la Mort,' translated into English as 'The Day after Death: Our Future 
Life according to Science.' His attempt to revive the ancient belief, and 
to connect it with the evolution-theory of modern naturalists, is carried 
out with more than Buddhist elaborateness. Body is the habitat of soul, 
which goes out when a man dies, as one forsakes a burning house. In the 
course of development, a soul may migrate through bodies stage after 
stage, zoophyte and oyster, grasshopper and eagle, crocodile and dog, till 
it arrives at man, thence ascending to become one of the superhuman 
beings or angels who dwell in the planetary ether, and thence to a still 
higher state, the secret of whose nature M. Figuier does not endeavour to 
penetrate, ' because our means of investigation fail at this point.' The 
ultimate destiny of the more glorified being is the Sun ; the pure spirits 
who form its mass of burning gases, pour out germs and life to start the 
course of planetary existence. (Note to 2nd edition.) 


evidence for his continuity of culture. What, we may well 
ask, was the original cause and motive of the doctrine of 
transmigration ? Something may be said in answer, though 
not at all enough for full explanation. The theory that 
ancestral souls return, thus imparting their own likeness of 
mind and body to their descendants and kindred, has been 
already mentioned and commended as in itself a very reason- 
able and philosophical hypothesis, accounting for the phe- 
nomenon of family likeness going on from generation to 
generation. But why should it have been imagined that 
men's souls could inhabit the bodies of beasts and birds ? 
As has been already pointed out, savages not unreason- 
ably consider the lower animals to have souls like their own, 
and this state of mind makes the idea of a man's soul trans- 
migrating into a beast's body at least seem possible. But it 
does not actually suggest the idea. The view stated in a 
previous chapter as to the origin of the conception of soul 
in general, may perhaps help us here. As it seems that the 
first conception of souls may have been that of the souls of 
men, this being afterwards extended by analogy to the souls 
of animals, plants, &c., so it may seem that the original 
idea of transmigration was the straightforward and reason- 
able one of human souls being re-born in new human bodies, 
where they are recognized by family likenesses in successive 
generations.This notion may have been afterwards extended 
to take in re-birth in bodies of animals, &c. There are some 
well-marked savage ideas which will fit with such a course 
of thought. The half-human features and actions and 
characters of animals are watched witfc wondering sympathy 
by the savage, as by the child. The beast is the very incar- 
nation of familiar qualities of man ; and such names as lion, 
bear, fox, owl, parrot, viper, worm, when we apply them as 
epithets to men, condense into a word some leading feature 
of a human life. Consistently with this, we see in looking 
over details of savage transmigration that the creatures 
often have an evident fitness to the character of the human 
beings whose souls are to pass into them, so that the savage 


philosopher's fancy of transferred souls offered something 
like an explanation of the likeness between beast and man. 
This comes more clearly into view among the more civilized 
races who have worked out the idea of transmigration into 
ethical schemes of retribution, where the appropriateness of 
the creatures chosen is almost as manifest to the modern 
critic as it could have been to the ancient believer. Per- 
haps the most graphic restoration of the state of mind in 
which the theological doctrine of metempsychosis was 
worked out in long-past ages, may be found in the writings 
of a modern theologian whose spiritualism often follows to 
the extreme the intellectual tracks of the lower races. In 
the spiritual world, says Emanuel Swedenborg, such persons 
as have opened themselves for the admission of the devil 
and acquired the nature of beasts, becoming foxes in cun- 
ning, &c., appear also at a distance in the proper shape of 
such beasts as they represent in disposition. 1 Lastly, one of 
the most notable points about the theory of transmigration 
is its close bearing upon a thought which lies Very deep in 
the history of philosophy, the development-theory of 
organic life in successive stages. An elevation from the 
vegetable to the lower animal life, and thence onward 
through the higher animals to man, to say nothing of 
superhuman beings, does not here require even a succession 
of distinct individuals, but is brought by the theory of 
metempsychosis within the compass of the successive 
vegetable and animal lives of a single being. 

Here a few words may be said on a subject which cannot 
be left out of sight, connecting as it does the two great 
branches of the doctrine of future existence, but which it 
is difficult to handle in definite terms, and much more to 
trace historically by comparing the views of lower and 
higher races. This is the doctrine of a bodily renewal or 

1 Swedenborg, 'The True Christian Religion,' 13. Compare the notion 
attributed to the followers of Basilides the Gnostic, of men whose souls are 
affected by spirits or dispositions as of wolf, ape, lion, or bear, wherefore 
their souls bear the properties of these, and imitate their deeds (Clem. 
Alfx. Stromar. ii. c. 20). 


resurrection. To the philosophy of the lower races it is 
by no means necessary that the surviving soul should be 
provided with a new body, for it seems itself to be of a 
filmy or vaporous corporeal nature, capable of carrying on 
an independent existence like other corporeal creatures. 
Savage descriptions of the next world are often such ab- 
solute copies of this, that it is scarcely possible to say 
whether the dead are or are not thought of as having bodies 
like the living ; and a few pieces of evidence of this class 
are hardly enough to prove the lower races to hold original 
and distinct doctrines of corporeal resurrection. 1 Again, 
attention must be given to the practice, so common among 
low and high races, of preserving relics of the dead, from 
mere morsels of bone up to whole mummified bodies. It 
is well known that the departed soul is often thought apt 
to revisit the remains of the body, as is seen in the well- 
known pictures of the Egyptian funeral ritual. But the 
preservation of these remains, even where it thus involves 
a permanent connexion between body and soul, does not 
necessarily approach more closely to a bodily resurrection. 2 
In discussing the closely allied doctrine of metempsy- 
chosis, I have described the theory of the soul's trans- 
migration into a new human body as asserting in fact an 
earthly resurrection. From the same point of view, a 
bodily resurrection in Heaven or Hades is technically a 
transmigration of the soul. This is plain among the higher 
races, in whose religion these doctrines take at once clearer 
definition and more practical import. There are some dis- 
tinct mentions of bodily resurrection in the Rig Veda : the 
dead is spoken of as glorified, putting on his body (tanu) ; 
and it is even promised that the pious man shall be born in 
the next world with his entire body (sarvatanu). In Brah- 

1 See J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrel.' p. 208 (Caribs) ; but compare Rochefort, 
p. 429. Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 269 ; Castren, ' Finnische Mythologie,' 
p. 119. 

2 For Egyptian evidence see the funeral papyri and translations of 
the ' Book of the Dead.' Compare Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 254. 


minism and Buddhism, the re-births of souls in bodies to 
inhabit heavens and hells are simply included as particular 
cases of transmigration. The doctrine of the resurrection 
appears far back in the religion of Persia, and is thence sup- 
posed to have passed into late Jewish belief. 1 In early Chris- 
tianity, the conception of bodily resurrection is developed 
with especial strength and fulness in the Pauline doctrine. 
For an explicit interpretation of this doctrine, such as com- 
mended itself to the minds of later theologians, it is instruc- 
tive to cite the remarkable passage of Origen.where he speaks 
of 'corporeal matter, of which matter, in whatever quality 
placed, the soul always has use, now indeed carnal, but after- 
wards indeed subtler and purer, which is called spiritual.' 1 
Passing from these metaphysical doctrines of civilized 
theology, we now take up a series of beliefs higher in prac- 
tical moment, and more clearly conceived in savage thought. 
There may well have been, and there may still be, low races 
destitute of any belief in a Future State. Nevertheless, 
prudent ethnographers must often doubt accounts of such, 
for this reason, that the savage who declares that the dead 
live no more, may merely mean to say that they are dead. 
When the East African is asked what becomes of his buried 
ancestors, the ' old people,' he can reply that ' they are 
ended,' yet at the same time he fully admits that their 
ghosts survive.' In an account of the religious ideas of the 
Zulus, taken down from a native, it is explicitly stated that 
Unkulunkulu the Old-Old-One said that people ' were to 
die and never rise again,' and that he allowed them to ' die 
and rise no more.' 4 Knowing so thoroughly as we now do 
the theology of the Zulus, whose ghosts not only survive in 

1 Aryan evidence in ' Rig- Veda,' x. 14, 8 ; xi. i, 8 ; Manu, xii. 16-22 ; 
Max Muller, Todtenbestattung,' pp. xii. xiv. ; ' Chip*,' vol. i. p. 47 ; Muir 
in 'Journ. At. Soc. Bengal,' vol. i. 1865, p. 306; Spiegel, 'Avetta'; Haug, 
' Essays on the Parsis.' 

1 Origen, De Princip. ii. 3, 2 : ' materise corporalis, cujus materiz anima 
mum semper habet, in qualibet qualitate positse, mine quidem carnali, 
postmodum vero subtiliori et puriori, quz spiritalii appellatur.' 

* Burton, ' Central Africa,' vol. ii. p. 345. 

* Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 84. 


the under-world, but are the very deities of the living, we 
can put the proper sense to these expressions. But without 
such information, we might have mistaken them for denials 
of the soul's existence after death. This objection may even 
apply to one of the most formal denials of a future life ever 
placed on record among an uncultured race, a poem of the 
Dinka tribe of the White Nile, concerning Dendid the 
, Creator : 

' On the day when Dendid made all things, 

He made the sun ; 
And the sun comes forth, goes down, and comes again : 

He made the moon ; 
And the moon comes forth, goes down, and comes again : 

He made the stars ; 
And the stars come forth, go down, and come again : 

He made man ; 
And man comes forth, goes down into the ground, and comes no more.' 

It is to be remarked, however, that the close neighbours 
of these Dinka, the Bari, believe that the dead do return to 
live again on earth, and the question arises whether it is the 
doctrine of bodily resurrection, or the doctrine of the sur- 
viving ghost-soul, that the Dinka poem denies. The mis- 
sionary Kaufmann says that the Dinka do not believe the 
immortality of the soul, that they think it but a breath, 
and with death all is over ; Brun-Rollet's contrary 
authority goes to prove that they do believe in another 
life ; both leave it an open question whether they recog- 
nize the existence of surviving ghosts. 1 

Looking at the religion of the lower races as a whole, we 
shall at least not be ill-advised in taking as one of its general 
and principal elements the doctrine of the soul's Future 
Life. But here it is needful to explain, to limit, and to 
reserve, lest modern theological ideas should lead us to 
misconstrue more primitive beliefs. In such enquiries the 

1 Kaufmann, ' Schilderungen aus Centralafrika,' p. 124 ; G. Lejean in 
' Rev. des Deux Mondes,' Apr. i, 1860, p. 760 ; see Brun-Rollet, 4 Nil Blanc,' 
pp. 100, 234. A dialogue by the missionary Beltrame (1859-60), in 
Mitterutzner, ' Dinka-Sprache,' p. 57, ascribes to the Dinkas ideas of heaven 
and hell, which, however, show Christian influence. 


phrase ' immortality of the soul ' is to be avoided as mis- 
leading. It is doubtful how far the lower psychology enter- 
tains at all an absolute conception of immortality, for past 
and future fade soon into utter vagueness as the savage mine 
quits the present to explore them, the measure of months 
and years breaks down even within the narrow span of 
human life, and the survivor's thought of the soul of the 
departed dwindles and disappears with the personal memory, 
that kept it alive. The doctrine of the surviving soul may 
indeed be treated as common to all known races, though its 
acceptance is not unanimous. In savage as in civilized life, 
dull and careless natures ignore a world to come as too far 
off, while sceptical intellects are apt to reject its belief as 
wanting proof. There are even statements on record of 
whole classes being formally excluded from future life. 
This may be a matter of social pride. In the Tonga Islands, 
according to Mariner, it was held that the chiefs and nobles 
would live hereafter in the happy island of Bolotu, but that 
the souls of the common people would die with their bodies. 
So Captain John Smith relates as to the belief of the 
Virginians, that the chiefs went after death beyond the 
sunset mountains, there to dance and sing with their pre- 
decessors, ' but the common people they suppose shall not 
live after death. 1 In the record of a missionary examina- 
tion of the Nicaraguans, they are made to state their belief 
that if a man lived well, his soul would ascend to dwell 
among the gods, but if ill it would perish with the body, 
and there would be an end of it. 1 None of these accounts, 
however, agree with what is known of the religion of 
kindred peoples, Polynesian, Algonquin, or Aztec. But 
granted that the soul survives the death of the body, 
instance after instance from the records of the lower 
culture shows this soul to be regarded as a mortal 
being, liable like the body itself to accident and death. 
The Greenlanders pitied the poor souls who must pass 
in winter or in storm the dreadful mountain where 

1 Mariner, ' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 136 ; John Smith, ' Dcscr. of Virginia, 1 
; ; ; Oviedo, 'Nicaragua,' p. 50. The reference to the Laos in Meincrs, 
vol. ii. p. 760, is worthless. 



the dead descend to reach the other world, for then a 
soul is like to come to harm, and die the other death where 
there is nothing left, and this is to them the dolefullest thing 
of all. 1 Thus the Fijians tell of the fight which the ghost 
of a departed warrior must wage with the soul-killing Samu 
and his brethren; this is the contest for which the dead man 
is armed by burying the war-club with his corpse, and if he 
conquers, the way is open for him to the judgment-seat of 
Ndengei, but if he is wounded, his doom is to wander among 
the mountains, and if killed in the encounter he is cooked 
and eaten by Samu and his brethren. But the souls of un- 
married Fijians will not even survive to stand this wager of 
battle ; such try in vain to steal at low water round to the 
edge of the reef past the rocks where Nangananga, destroyer 
of wifeless souls, sits laughing at their hopeless efforts, and 
asking them if they think the tide will never flow again, till 
at last the rising flood drives the shivering ghosts to the 
beach/and Nangananga dashes them in pieces on the great 
black stone, as one shatters rotten firewood. 2 Such, again, 
were the tales told by the Guinea negroes of the life or 
death of departed souls. Either the great priest before 
whom they must appear after death would j udge them , send- 
ing the good in peace to a happy place, but killing the wicked 
a second time with the club that stands ready before his 
dwelling ; or else the departed shall be judged by their god 
at the river of death, to be gently wafted by him to a pleasant 
land if they have kept feasts and oaths and abstained from 
forbidden meats, but if not, to be plunged into the river by 
the god, and thus drowned and buried in eternal oblivion. 3 
Even common water can drown a negro ghost, if we may 
believe the missionary Cavazzi's story of the Matamba 
widows being ducked in the river or pond to drown off the 

1 Cranz, Gronland,' p. 259. y 

" Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 244. See ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iii. p. 113 
(Dayaks). Compare wasting and death of souls in depths of Hades, Taylor, 
' New Zealand,' p. 232. 

3 Bosman, 'Guinea' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 401. See also Waitz, 
' Anthropologie,' vol. ii. p. 191 (W. Afr.) ; Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' 
P- 355- 


souls of their departed husbands, who might still be hang 
ing about them, clinging closest to the best-loved wives. 
After this ceremony, they went and married again. 1 From 
such details it appears that the conception of some souls 
suffering extinction at death or dying a second death, a 
thought still as heretofore familiar to speculative theology, 
is not unknown in the lower culture. 

The soul, as recognized in the philosophy of the lower 
races, may be denned as an ethereal surviving being, con- 
ceptions of which preceded and led up to the more tran- 
scendental theory of the immaterial and immortal soul, 
which forms part of the theology of higher nations. It is 
principally the ethereal surviving soul of early culture that 
has now to be studied in the religions of savages and bar- 
barians and the folk-lore of the civilized world. That this 
soul should be looked on as surviving beyond death is a 
matter scarcely needing elaborate argument. Plain ex- 
perience is there to teach it to every savage ; his friend or 
his enemy is dead, yet still in dream or open vision he sees 
the spectral form which is to his philosophy a real objective 
being, carrying personality as it carries likeness. This 
thought of the soul's continued existence is, however, but 
the gateway into a complex region of belief. The doctrines 
which, separate or compounded, make up the scheme of 
future existence among particular tribes, are principally 
these : the theories of lingering, wandering, and returning 
ghosts, and of souls dwelling on or below or above the earth 
in a spirit-world, where existence is modelled upon the 
earthly life, or raised to higher glory, or placed under re- 
versed conditions, and lastly, the belief in a division between 
happiness and misery of departed souls, by a retribution for 
deeds done in life, determined in a judgment after death. 

' All argument is against it ; but all belief is for it,' said 
Dr. Johnson of the apparition of departed spirits. The 
doctrine that ghost-souls of the dead hover among the 

1 Cavazzi, ' Congo, Matamba, ct Angola,' lib. i. p. z/o. See also Liebrecht 
in ' Zeiuchr. fur Ethnologic," vol. v. p. 96 (Tartary, Scandinavia, Greece). 


living is indeed rooted in the lowest levels of savage 
culture, extends through barbaric life almost without a 
break, and survives largely and deeply in the midst of civi- 
lization. From the myriad details of travellers, mis- 
sionaries, historians, theologians, spiritualists, it may be 
laid down as an admitted opinion, as wide in distribution 
as it is natural in thought, that the two chief hunting- 
grounds of the departed soul are the scenes of its fleshly 
life and the burial place of its body. As in North America 
the Chickasaws believed that the spirits of the dead in 
their bodily shape moved about among the living in great 
joy ; as the Aleutian islanders fancied the souls of the 
departed walking unseen among their kindred, and accom- 
panying them in their j ourneys by sea and land ; as Africans 
think that souls of the dead dwell in their midst, and eat 
with them at meal times ; as Chinese pay their respects to 
kindred spirits present in the hall of ancestors; 1 so multi- 
tudes in Europe and America live in an atmosphere that 
swarms with ghostly shapes spirits of the dead,who sit over 
against the mystic by his midnight fire, rap and write in spirit- 
circles, and peep over girls' shoulders as they scare them- 
selves into hysterics with ghost-stories. Almost through- 
out the vast range of animistic religion, we shall find the 
souls of the departed hospitably entertained by the survivors 
on set occasions, and manes-worship, so deep and strong 
among the faiths of the world, recognizes with a reverence 
not without fear and trembling those ancestral spirits 
which, powerful for good or ill, manifest their presence 
among mankind. Nevertheless death and life dwell but ill 
together, and from savagery onward there is recorded many 
a device by which the survivors have sought to rid them- 
selves of household ghosts. Though the unhappy savage 
custom of deserting houses after a decease may often be 
connected with other causes, such as horror or abnegation 
of all things belonging to the dead, there are cases where it 

1 Schoolcraft, 'Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 310; Bastian, 'Psychologic.' 
pp. in, 193; Doolittle, 'Chinese,' vol. i. p. 235. 


appears that the place is simply abandoned to the ghost. 
In Old Calabar it was customary for the son to leave his 
fathers' house to decay, but after two years he might re- 
build it, the ghost being thought by that time to have 
departed; 1 the Hottentots abandoned the dead man's 
house, and were said to avoid entering it lest the ghost 
should be within ; * the Yakuts let the hut fall in ruins 
where any one had expired, thinking it the habitation of 
demons ;* the Karens were said to destroy their villages to 
escape the dangerous neighbourhood of departed souls. 4 
Such proceedings, however, scarcely extend beyond the 
limits of barbarism, and only a feeble survival of the old 
thought lingers on into civilization, where from time to time 
a haunted house is left to fall in ruins, abandoned to a 
ghostly tenant who cannot keep it in repair. But even in 
the lowest culture we find flesh holding its own against 
spirit, and at higher stages the householder rids himself 
with little scruple of an unwelcome inmate. The Green- 
landers would carry the dead out by the window, not by the 
door, while an old woman, waving a firebrand behind, cried 
' piklerrukpok ! ' i.e., ' there is nothing more to be had 
here ! ' ; 8 the Hottentots removed the dead from the hut by 
an opening broken out on purpose, to prevent him from 
finding the way back ; the Siamese, with the same inten- 
tion, break an opening through the house wall to carry the 
coffin through, and then hurry it at full speed thrice round 
the house ; 7 in Russia the Chuwashes fling a red-hot stone 

1 Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 323. 

* Kolben, p. 579. 

* Billings, p. 125. 

4 Bastian, 'Oestl. Asien.' vol. i. p. 145; Cross, l.c., p. 311. For other 
cases of desertion of dwellings after a death, possibly for the same motive, see 
Bourien, ' Tribes of Malay Pen.' in Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 82 ; Polack, 
' M. of NewZealanders,' vol. i. pp. 204, 216 ; Steiler, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 271. 
But the Todas say that the buffaloes slaughtered and the hut burnt at the 
funeral are transferred to the spirit of the deceased in the next world ; 
Shortt in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vii. p. 247. See Waitz, vol. iii. p. 199. 

8 Egede, 'Greenland,' p. 152; Cranz, p. 300. 

e Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 323 ; see pp. 329, 363. 

7 Bowring, ' Siam,' vol. i. p. 122 ; Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien.' vol. iii. p. 258. 


after the corpse is carried out, for an obstacle to bar the 
soul from coming back ;* so Brandenburg peasants pour out 
a pail of water at the door after the coffin, to prevent the 
ghost from walking ; and Pomeranian mourners returning 
from the churchyard leave behind the straw from the hearse 
that the wandering soul may rest there, and not come back 
so far as home. 1 In the ancient and mediaeval world, men 
habitually invoked supernatural aid beyond such material 
shifts as these, calling in the priest to lay or banish in- 
truding ghosts, nor is this branch of the exorcist's art even 
yet forgotten. There is, and always has been, a prevalent 
feeling that disembodied souls, especially such as have 
suffered a violent or untimely death, are baneful and mali- 
cious beings. As Meiners suggests in his ' History of 
Religions,' they were driven unwillingly from their bodies, 
and have carried into their new existence an angry longing 
for revenge . No wonder that mankind should so generally 
agree that if the souls of the dead must linger in the world 
at all, their fitting abode should be not the haunts of the 
living but the resting-places of the dead. 

After all, it scarcely seems to the lower animistic philo- 
sophy that the connexion between body and soul is utterly 
broken by death. Various wants may keep the soul from 
its desired rest, and among the chief of these is when its 
mortal remains have not had the funeral rites. Hence the 
deep-lying belief that the ghosts of such will walk. Among 
some Australian tribes the ' ingna,' or evil spirits, human 
in shape, but with long tails and long upright ears, are 
mostly souls of departed natives, whose bodies were left to 
lie unburied or whose death the avenger of blood did not 
expiate, and thus they have to prowl on the face of the 
earth, and about the place of death, with no gratification 

1 Castrln, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 120. 

' Wuttke, ' Volksaberglaube,' pp. 213-17. Other cases of taking out the 
dead by a gap made on purpose : Arbousset and Daumas, p. 502 (Bushmen) ; 
Magyar, p. 351 (Kimbunda) ; Moffat, p. 307 (Bechuanas) ; Waitz, vol. iii. 
p. 199 (Ojibwas) ; their motive is probably that the ghost may not find its 
way back by the door. 


but to harm the living. 1 In New Zealand, the ideas were 
to be found that the souls of the dead were apt to linger 
near the bodies, and that the spirits of men left unburied 
or killed in battle and eaten, would wander ; and the bring- 
ing such malignant souls to dwell within the sacred burial- 
enclosure was a task for the priest to accomplish with his 
charms. 1 Among the Iroquois of North America the spirit 
also stays near the body for a time, and ' unless the rites 
of burial were performed, it was believed that the spirits of 
the dead hovered for a time upon the earth, in a state of 
great unhappiness. Hence their extreme solicitude to pro- 
cure the bodies of the slain in battle.' 3 Among Brazilian 
tribes, the wandering shadows of the dead are said to be 
considered unresting till burial. 4 In Turanian regions of 
North Asia, the spirits of the dead who have no resting- 
place in earth are thought of as lingering above ground, 
especially where their dust remains. 6 South Asia has such 
beliefs : the Karens say that the ghosts who wander on 
earth are not the spirits of those who go to Plu, the land 
of the dead, but of infants, of such as died by violence, of 
the wicked, and of those who by accident have not been 
buried or burned; 8 the Siamese fear as unkindly spirits the 
souls of such as died a violent death or were not buried 
with the proper rites, and who desiring expiation, invisibly 
terrify their descendants. 7 Nowhere in the world had 
such thoughts a stronger hold than in classic antiquity, 
where it was the most sacred of duties to give the body 
its funeral rites, that the shade should not flit moaning 
near the gates of Hades, nor wander in the dismal crowd 

1 Oldfield in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. pp. 228, 236, 245. 

8 Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 221 ; Schirren, p. 91 ; see Turner, 4 Polynesia,' 

P- *33- 

8 Morgan, ' League of Iroquois,' p. 174. 

J. G. Muller, p. 286. 

6 Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 126. > 

6 Cross in ' Journ. Amer. Or. Soc.' vol. iv. p. 309 ; Mason in ' Journ. As. 
Soc. Bengal,' 1865, part ii. p. 203. See also J. Anderson, ' Erp. to W. 
Yunnan,' pp. 126, 131 (Shans). 

7 Bastian, 'Psychologic,' pp. 51, 99-101. 


along the banks of Acheron. 1 An Australian or a Karen 
would have taken in the full significance of the fatal 
accusation against the Athenian commanders, that they 
abandoned the bodies of their dead in the sea-fight of 
Arginousai. The thought is not unknown to Slavonic 
folk-lore : ' Ha ! with the shriek the spirit flutters from 
the mouth, flies up to the tree, from tree to tree, hither 
and thither till the dead is burned.'* In mediaeval 
Europe the classic stories of ghosts that haunt the living 
till laid by rites of burial pass here and there into new 
legends, where, under a changed dispensation, the doleful 
wanderer now asks Christian burial in consecrated earth. 3 
It is needless to give here elaborate details of the world- 
wide thought that when the corpse is buried, exposed, 
burned, or otherwise disposed of after the accepted custom 
of the land, the ghost accompanies its relics. The soul 
stays near the Polynesian or the American Indian burial- 
place ; it dwells among the twigs and listens joyfully to the 
singing birds in the trees where Siberian tribes suspend 
their dead ; it lingers by the Samoyed's scaffolded coffin ; 
it haunts the Dayak's place of burial or burning ; it inhabits 
the little soul-hut above the Malagasy grave, or the Peru- 
vian house of sun-dried bricks ; it is deposited in the 
Roman tomb (animamque sepulchro condimus) ; it comes 
back for judgment into the body of the later Israelite and 
the Moslem ; it inhabits, as a divine ancestral spirit, the 
palace-tombs of the old classic and new Asiatic world ; it is 
kept down by the huge cairn raised over Antar's body lest 
his mighty spirit should burst forth, by the iron nails with 
which the Cheremiss secures the corpse in its coffin, by the 
stake that pins down the suicide's body at the four-cross 
way. And through all the changes of religious thought 
from first to last in the course of human history, the hover- 

1 Lucian. De Luctu. See Pauly, ' Real. Encyclop.' and Smith, ' Die. of 
Gr. and Rom. Ant.' s.v. ' inferi.' 
1 Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 277. 
8 Calmet, vol. ii. ch. xxxvi. ; Brand, vol. iii. p. 67. 


ing ghosts of the dead make the midnight burial-ground a 
place where men's flesh creeps with terror. Not to discuss 
here the general subject of funeral rites of mankind, of 
which only part of the multifarious details are directly re- 
levant to the present purpose, a custom may be selected 
which is admirably adapted for the study of animistic 
religion, at once from the clear conception it gives of the 
belief in disembodied souls present among the living, and 
from the distinct line of ethnographic continuity in which 
it may be traced onward from the lower to the higher 
culture. This is the custom of Feasts of the Dead. 

Among the funeral offerings described in the last chapter 
of which the purpose more or less distinctly appears to be 
that the departed soul shall take them away in some ghostly 
or ideal manner, or that they shall by some means be con- 
veyed to him in his distant spirit-home, there are given 
supplies of food and drink. But the feasts of the dead with 
which we are now concerned are given on a different prin- 
ciple ; they are, so to speak, to be consumed on the prem- 
ises. They are set out in some proper place, especially near 
the tombs or in the dwelling-houses, and there the souls of 
the dead come and satisfy themselves. In North America, 
among Algonquins who held that one of a man's two souls 
abides with the body after death, the provisions brought to 
the grave were intended for the nourishment of this soul ; 
tribes would make offerings to ancestors of part of any 
dainty food, and an Indian who fell by accident into the 
fire would believe that the spirits of his ancestors pushed 
him in for neglecting to make due offerings. 1 The minds 
of the Hurons were filled with fancies not less lifelike than 
this. It seemed to them that the dead man's soul, in his 
proper human figure, walked in front of the corpse as they 
carried it to the burial-ground, there to dwell till the great 
feast of the dead ; but meanwhile it would come and walk 
by night in the village, and eat the remnants in the kettles, 

1 Charlevoix, ' Nouvelle France,' vol. vi. p. 75 ; Schoolcraft, ' Indian 
Tribes,' part i. pp. 39, 83 ; part iv. p. 65 ; Tanner's ' Narr.' p. 293. 


wherefore some would not eat of these, nor touch the food 
at funeral feasts though some indeed would eat all. 1 In 
Madagascar, the elegant little upper chamber in King 
Radama's mausoleum was furnished with a table and two 
chairs, and a bottle of wine, a bottle of water, and two 
tumblers were placed there conformably with the ideas 
entertained by most of the natives, that the ghost of the 
departed monarch might occasionally visit the resting-place 
of his body, meet with the spirit of his father, and partake 
of what he was known to be fond of in his lifetime. 2 The 
Wanika of East Africa set a coco-nut shell full of rice and 
tembo near the grave for the ' koma ' or shade, which 
cannot exist without food and drink. 3 In West Africa the 
Efik cook food and leave it on the table in the little shed 
or ' devil-house ' near the grave, and thither not only the 
spirit of the deceased, but the spirits of the slaves sacrificed 
at his funeral, come to partake of it.* Farther south, in the 
'Congo district, the custom has been described of making a 
channel into the tomb to the head or mouth of the corpse, 
whereby to send down month by month the offerings of 
food and drink. 5 

Among rude Asiatic tribes, the Bodo of North-East India 
thus celebrate the last funeral rites. The friends repair to 
the grave, and the nearest of kin to the deceased, taking an 
individual's usual portion of food and drink, solemnly pre- 
sents it to the dead with these words, ' Take and eat, here- 
tofore you have eaten and drunk with us, you can do so no 
more ; you were one of us, you can be so no longer ; we 
come no more to you, come you not to us.' Thereupon each 
of the party breaks off a bracelet of thread put on his wrist 
for this purpose, and casts it on the grave, a speaking sym- 
bol of breaking the bond of fellowship, and ' next the party 

Brebeuf in ' Rel. des Je"s.' 1636, p. 104. 

Ellis, 'Madagascar,' vol. i. pp. 253,364. See Taylor, 'New Zealand,' p. 220. 
Krapf, ' E. Afr.' p. 150. 
T. J. Hutchinson, p. 206. 

Cavazzi, ' Congo, &c.' lib. i. p. 264. So in ancient Greece, Lucian. 
Charon, 22. 


proceed to the riv&r and bathe, and having thus lustrated 
themselves, they repair to the banquet and eat, drink, and 
make merry as though they never were to die.' 1 With more 
continuance of affection, Naga tribes of Assam celebrate 
their funeral feasts month by month, laying food and drink 
on the graves of the departed.* In the same region of the 
world, the Kol tribes of Chota Nagpur are remarkable for 
their pathetic reverence for their dead. When a Ho or Munda 
has been burned on the funeral pile, collected morsels of his 
bones are carried in procession with a solemn, ghostly, slid- 
ing step, keeping time to the deep-sounding drum, and when 
the old woman who carries the bones on her bamboo tray 
lowers it from time to time, then girls who carry pitchers 
and brass vessels mournfully reverse them to show that 
they are empty ; thus the remains are taken to visit every 
house in the village, and every dwelling of a friend or 
relative for miles, and the inmates come out to mourn and 
praise the goodness of the departed ; the bones are carried 
to all the dead man's favourite haunts, to the fields he 
cultivated, to the grove he planted, to the threshing-floor 
where he worked, to the village dance-room where he made 
merry. At last they are taken to the grave, and buried in 
an earthen vase upon a store of food, covered with one of 
those huge stone slabs which European visitors wonder 
at in the districts of the aborigines in India. Besides these, 
monumental stones are set up outside the village to the 
memory of men of note ; they are fixed on an earthen 
plinth, where the ghost, resting in its walks among the 
living, is supposed to sit shaded by the pillar. The 
Kheriahs have collections of these monuments in the little 
enclosures round their houses, and offerings and libations 
are constantly made at them. With what feelings such rites 
are celebrated may be judged from this Ho dirge : 

' We never scolded you ; never wronged you ; 
Come to us back ! 

1 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 180. * ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. ii. p. 235. 


We ever loved and cherished you ; and have lived long together 

Under the same roof ; 

Desert it not now ! 
The rainy nights, and the cold blowing days, are coming on ; 

Do not wander here ! 

Do not stand by the burnt ashes ; come to us again ! 
You cannot find shelter under the peepul, when the rain conies down. 
The saul will not shield you from the cold bitter wind. 

Come to your home ! 

It is swept for you, and clean ; and we are there who loved you ever ; 
And there is rice put for you ; and water ; 

Come home, come home, come to us again ! ' 

Among the Kol tribes this kindly hospitality to ancestral 
souls passes on into the belief and ceremony of full manes- 
worship : votive offerings are made to the ' old folks ' when 
their descendants go on a journey, and when there is sick- 
ness in the family it is generally they who are first pro- 
pitiated. 1 Among Turanian races, the Chuwash put food 
and napkins on the grave, saying, ' Rise at night and eat 
your fill, and there ye have napkins to wipe your mouths ! ' 
while the Cheremiss simply said, ' That is for you, ye dead, 
there ye have food and drink ! ' In this Tatar region we 
hear of offerings continued year after year, and even of 
messengers sent back by a horde to carry offerings to the 
tombs of their forefathers in the old land whence they had 

Details of this ancient rite are to be traced from the level 
of these rude races far upward in civilization. South-East 
Asia is full of it, and the Chinese may stand as its repre- 
sentative. He keeps his cofhned parent for years, serving 
him with meals as if alive. He 'summons ancestral souls 
with prayer and beat of drum to feed on the meat and drink 
set out on special days when they are thought to return 
home. He even gives entertainments for the benefit of 

1 Tickell in ' Journ. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. ix. p. 795 ; Dalton, ibid. 1866, 
part ii. p. 153, &c. ; and in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. i, &c. ; Latham, 
' Descr. Eth.' vol. ii. p. 415, &c. 

1 Bastian, 'Psychologic,' p. 62; Castre'n, 'Finn. Myth.' p. 121. 


destitute and unfortunate souls in the lower regions, such as 
those of lepers and beggars. Lanterns are lighted to show 
them the way, a feast is spread for them, and with charac- 
teristic fancy, some victuals are left over for any blind or 
feeble spirits who may be late, and a pail of gruel is provided 
for headless souls, with spoons for them to put it down their 
throats with. Such proceedings culminate in the so-called 
Universal Rescue, now and then celebrated, when a little 
house is built for the expected visitors, with separate ac- 
commodation and bath-rooms for male and female ghosts. 1 
The ancient Egyptian would set out his provision of cakes 
and trussed ducks on reed scaffolds in the tomb, or would 
even keep the mummy in the house to be present as a guest 

at the feast, <rvvocnrvov KOI <rv\i.iran\v, as Lucian 

says.* The Hindu, as of old, offers to the dead the funeral 
cakes, places before the door the earthen vessels of water for 
him to bathe in, of milk for him to drink, and celebrates at 
new and full moon the solemn presentation of rice-cakes 
made with ghee, with its attendant ceremonies so import- 
ant for the soul's release from its twelvemonth's sojourn 
with Yama in Hades, and its transition to the Heaven of 
the Pitaras, the Fathers. 8 In the classic world such rites 
were represented by funeral feasts and oblations of food. 4 
In Christian times there manifests itself that interesting 
kind of survival which, keeping up the old ceremony in 
form, has adapted its motive to new thoughts and feelings. 
The classic funeral oblations became Christian, the silicer- 
nium was succeeded by the feast held at the martyr's tomb. 
Faustus inveighs against the Christians for carrying on the 
ancient rites : ' Their sacrifices indeed ye have turned intc 
love-feasts, their idols into martyrs whom with like vows ye 

1 Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. i. p. 173, &c. ; vol. ii. p. 91, &c. ; Meiners, 
vol. i. p. 306. 

1 Wilkinson, ' Ancient Eg.' vol. ii. p. 362 ; Lucian. De Luctu, 21. 

8 Manu, Hi. ; Colebrooke, ' Essays,' vol. i. p. 161, &c. ; Pictet, ' Originet 
Indo-Europ.' part ii. p. 600 ; Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 332. 

4 Pauly, ' Real-Encyclop." s.v. ' funus ' ; Smith's ' Die.' s.v. ' funus.' See 
Meiners, vol. i. pp. 305-19. 


worship ; ye appease the shades of the dead with wine and 
meals, ye celebrate the Gentiles' solemn days with them, 
such as calends and solstices, of their life certainly ye 
have changed nought,' 1 and so forth. The story of Monica 
shows how the custom of laying food on the tomb for the 
manes passed into the ceremony, like to it in form, of set- 
ting food and drink to be sanctified by the sepulchre of a 
Christian saint. Saint-Foix, who wrote in the time of 
Louis XIV., has left us an account of the ceremonial after 
the death of a King of France, during the forty days before 
the funeral when his wax effigy lay in state. They con- 
tinued to serve him at meal-times as though still alive, the 
officers laid the table, and brought the dishes, the maitre 
d'hdtel handed the napkin to the highest lord present to be 
presented to the king, a prelate blessed the table, the basins 
of water were handed to the royal arm-chair, the cup was 
served in its due course, and grace was said in the accus- 
tomed manner, save that there was added to it the De Pro- 
fundis.* Spaniards still offer bread and wine on the tombs 
of those they love, on the anniversary of their decease. 8 The 
conservative Eastern Church still holds to ancient rite. The 
funeral feast is served in Russia, with its tables for the 
beggars, laden with fish pasties and bowls of shchi and jugs 
of kvas, its more delicate dinner for friends and priests, its 
incense and chants of ' everlasting remembrance ' ; and even 
the repetition of the festival on the ninth, and twentieth, 
and fortieth day are not forgotten. The offerings of saucers 
of kutiya or kolyvo are still made in the church ; this used 
to be of parboiled wheat and was deposited over the body, it 
is nowmade of boiled rice and raisins, sweetened with honey. 
In their usual mystic fashion, the Orthodox Christians 
now explain away into symbolism this remnant of primitive 
offering to the dead : the honey is heavenly sweetness, the 

1 Augustin. contra Faustum, xx. 4 ; De Civ. Dei, viii. 27 ; conf. vi. 2. 
See Beausobre, vol. ii. pp. 633, 685 ; Bingham, xx. c. 7. 

* Saint-Foix, ' Essais Historiques sur Paris/ in ' CEuvres,' vol. iv. p. 147, 

8 Lady Herbert, * Impressions of Spain,' p. 8. 


shrivelled raisins will be full beauteous grapes, the grain 
typifies the resurrection, ' that which thou sowest is not 
quickened except it die.' 1 

In the calendar of many a people, differing widely as they 
may in race and civilization, there are to be found special 
yearly festivals of the dead. Their rites are much the same 
as those performed on other days for individuals ; their 
season differs in different districts, but seems to have par- 
ticular associations with harvest-time and the fail of the 
year, and with the year's end as reckoned at midwinter or 
in early spring. 1 The Karens make their annual offerings 
to the dead in the ' month of shades,' that is, December;" 
the Kocch of North Bengal every year at harvest-home 
offer fruits and a fowl to deceased parents ; 4 the Barea of 
East Africa celebrate in November the feast of Thiyot, at 
once a feast of general peace and merry-making, of thanks- 
giving for the harvest, and of memorial for the deceased, 
for each of whom a little pot-full of beer is set out two days, 
to be drunk at last by the survivors ; 5 in West Africa we 
Jiear of the feast of the dead at the time of yam-harvest; 6 
at the end of the year the Haitian negroes take food to the 
graves for the shades to eat, ' manger zombi,' as they say. 7 
The Roman Feralia and Lemuralia were held in February 

1 H. C. Romanoff, ' Rites and Customs of Greco-Russian Church/ 
p. 249 ; Ralston, ' Songs of the Russian People,' pp. 135, 320 ; St. Clair and 
Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' p. 77 ; Brand, ' Pop. Ant.' vol. i. p. 115. 

1 Beside the accounts of annual festivals of the dead cited here, see the fol- 
lowing : Santos, ' Ethiopia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 685 (Sept.) ; Brasseur, 
' Mexique,' vol. iii. pp. 23, 522, 528 (Aug., Oct., Nov.) ; Rivero and Tschudi, 
' Peru,' p. 134 (Peruvian feast dated as Nov. 2 in coincidence with All Souls', 
but this reckoning is vitiated by confusion of seasons of N. and S. hemisphere, 
see J. G. Miiller, p. 389 ; moreover, the Peruvian feast may have been origi- 
nally held at a different date, and transferred, as happened elsewhere, to the 
Spanish All Souls') ; Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. ii. pp. 44, 62 (esp. Apr.) ; 
Caron, ' Japan,' in Pinkerton, vol. vii. p. 629 (Aug.). 

* Mason, ' Karens,' 1. c. p. 238. 

4 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 147. 

8 Munzinger, ' Ostafr. Stud.' p. 473. 

' Waitz, vol. ii. p. 194. 

7 G. D'Alaux in ' Rev. des Deux Mondes,' May 15, 1852, p. 76. 


and May. 1 In the last five or ten days of their year the 
Zoroastrians hold their feasts for departed relatives, when 
souls come back to the world to visit the living, and receive 
from them offerings of food and clothing. 2 The custom of 
setting empty seats at the St. John's Eve feast, for the 
departed souls of kinsfolk, is said to have lasted on in 
Europe to the seventeenth century. Spring is the season 
of the time-honoured Slavonic rite of laying food on the 
graves of the dead. The Bulgarians hold a feast in the 
cemetery on Palm Sunday, and, after much eating and 
drinking, leave the remains upon the graves of their friends, 
who, they are persuaded, will eat them during the night. 
In Russia such scenes may still be watched on the two 
appointed days called Parents' Days. The higher classes 
have let the rite sink to prayer at the graves of lost re- 
latives, and giving alms to the beggars who flock to the 
cemeteries. But the people still ' howl ' for the dead, and 
set out on their graves a handkerchief for a tablecloth, with 
gingerbread, eggs, curd-tarts, and even vodka, on it ; when 
the weeping is over, they eat up the food, especially com- 
memorating the dead in Russian manner by partaking of 
his favourite dainty, and if he were fond of a glass, the 
vodka is sipped with the ejaculation, ' The Kingdom of 
Heaven be his ! He loved a drink, the deceased ! ' 3 When 
Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, at the end of the tenth century, in- 
stituted the celebration of All Souls' Day (November 2),' 

1 Ovid. Fast. ii. 533 ; v. 420. 

1 Spiegel, ' Avesta,' vol. ii. p. ci. ; Alger, p. 137. 

8 Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' pp. 374, 408 ; St. Clair and Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' 
p. 77 ; Romanoff, ' Greco-Roman Church,' p. 255. 

4 Petrus Damianus, ' Vita S. Odilonis,' in the Bollandist ' Acta Sanctorum,' 
Jan. i, has the quaint legend attached to the new ordinance. An island 
hermit dwelt near a volcano, where souls of the wicked were tormented in 
the flames. The holy man heard the officiating demons lament that their 
daily task of new torture was interfered with by the prayers and alms of 
devout persons leagued against them to save souls, and especially they 
complained of the Monks of Cluny. Thereupon the hermit sent a message 
to Abbot Odilo, who carried out the work to the efficacy of which he had 
received such perfect spiritual testimony, by decreeing that November 2, the 
day after All Saints', should be set apart for services for the departed. 


he 'set on foot one of those revivals which have so often 
given the past a new lease of life. The Western Church at 
large took up the practice, and round it there naturally 
gathered surviving remnants of the primitive rite of ban- 
quets to the dead. The accusation against the early Christ- 
ians, that they appeased the shades of the dead with feasts 
like the Gentiles, would not be beside the mark now, fifteen 
hundred years later. On the eve of All Souls' begins, 
within the limits of Christendom, a commemoration of the 
dead which combines some touches of pathetic imagination 
with relics of savage animism scarcely to be surpassed in 
Africa or the South Sea Islands. In Italy the day is given 
to feasting and drinking in honour of the dead, while skulls 
and skeletons in sugar and paste form appropriate children's 
toys. In Tyrol, the poor souls released from purgatory fire 
for the night may come and smear their burns with the 
melted fat of the ' soul light ' on the hearth, or cakes are 
left for them on the table, and the room is kept warm for 
their comfort. Even in Paris the souls of the departed 
come to partake of the food of the living. In Brittany the 
crowd pours into the churchyard at evening, to kneel bare- 
headed at the graves of dead kinsfolk, to fill the hollow of 
the tombstone with holy water, or to pour libations of milk 
upon it. All night the church bells clang, and sometimes 
a solemn procession of the clergy goes round to bless the 
graves. In no household that night is the cloth removed, 
for the supper must be left for the souls to come and take 
their part, nor must the fire be put out, where they will 
come to warm themselves. And at Jast, as the inmates 
retire to rest, there is heard at the door a doleful chant it 
is the souls, who, borrowing the voices of the parish poor, 
have come to ask the prayers of the living. 1 

If we ask how the spirits of the dead are in general sup- 

1 Bastian, 'Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 336. Meiners, vol. i. p. 316; vol. ii. p. 290. 
Wuttke, ' Deutsche Volksaberglaube,' p. 216. Cortet, ' Files Religieuses,' 
p. 233 ; ' Westminster Rev.' Jan. 1860 ; Hersart de la Villemarqui, ' Chants 
de la Bretagne,' vol. ii. p. 307. 


posed to feed on the viands set before them, we come upon 
difficult questions, which will be met with again in discuss- 
ing the theory of sacrifice. Even where the thought is 
certainly that the departed soul eats, this thought may be 
very indefinite, with far less of practical intention in it than 
of childish make-believe. Now and then, however, the 
sacrificers themselves offer closer definitions of their mean- 
ing. The idea of the ghost actually devouring the material 
food is not unexampled. Thus, in North America, Algon- 
quin Indians considered that the shadow-like souls of the 
dead can still eat and drink, often even telling Father Le 
Jeune that they had found in the morning meat gnawed in 
the night by the souls. More recently, we read that some 
Potawatomis will leave off providing the supply of food at 
the grave if it lies long untouched, it being concluded that 
the dead no longer wants it, but has found a rich hunting- 
ground in the other world. 1 In Africa, again, Father 
Cavazzi records of the Congo people furnishing their dead 
with supplies of provisions, that they could not be persuaded 
that souls did not consume material food. 8 In Europe the 
Esths, offering food for the dead on All Souls', are said to 
have rejoiced if they found in the morning that any of it 
was gone. 8 A less gross conception is that the soul con- 

1 Le Jeune in ' Rel. des JeV 1634, p. 16 ; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 195. 

* Cavazzi, ' Congo,' &c., book i. 265. 

8 Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 865, but not so in the account of the Feast of the 
Dead in Boeder, ' Ehsten Abergl. Gebr.' (ed. Kreutzwald), p. 89. Compare 
Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 345 (G6s). The following passage from a 
spiritualist journal, ' The Medium,' Feb. 9, 1872, shows this primitive notion 
curiously surviving in modern England. ' Every time we sat at dinner, we 
had not only spirit-voices calling to us, but spirit-hands touching us ; and 
last evening, as it was his farewell, they gave us a special manifestation, un- 
asked for and unlocked for. He sitting at the right hand of me, a vacant 
chair opposite to him began moving, and, in answer to whether it would have 
some dinner, said " Yes." I then asked it to select what it would take, when 
it chose croquets des pommes de terre (a French way of dressing potatoes, about 
three inches long and two wide. I will send you one that you may see it). 
I was desired to put this on the chair, either in a tablespoon or on a plate. 
I placed it in a tablespoon, thinking that probably the plate might be broken. 
In a few seconds I was told that it was eaten, and looking, found the half 
of it gone, with the marks showing the teeth.' (Note to 2nd ed.) 


sumes the steam or savour of the food, or its essence or 
spirit. It is said to have been with such purpose that the 
Maoris placed food by the dead man's side, and some also 
with him in the grave. 1 The idea is well displayed among 
the natives in Mexican districts, where the souls who came 
to the annual feast are described as hovering over and 
smelling the food set out for them, or sucking out its 
nutritive quality. 2 The Hindu entreats the manes to quaff 
the sweet essence of the offered food ; thinking on them, he 
slowly sets the dish of rice before the Brahmans, and while 
they silently eat the hot food, the ancestral spirits take 
their part of the feast. 3 At the old Slavonic meals for the 
dead, we read of the survivors sitting in silence and throw- 
ing morsels under the table, fancying that they could hear 
the spirits rustle, and see them feed on the smell and steam 
of the viands. One account describes the mourners at the 
funeral banquet inviting in the departed soul thought to be 
standing outside the door, and every guest throwing morsels 
and pouring drink under the table, for him to refresh him- 
self. What lay on the ground was not picked up, but was 
left for friendless and kinless souls. When the meal was 
over, the priest rose from table, swept out the house, and 
hunted out the souls of the dead ' like fleas,' with these 
words, ' Ye have eaten and drunken, souls, now go, now 
go ! '* Many travellers have described the imagination 
with which the Chinese make such offerings. It is that the 
spirits of the dead consume the impalpable essence of the 
food, leaving behind its coarse material substance, where- 
fore the dutiful sacrificers, having set out sumptuous feasts 
for ancestral souls, allow them a proper time to satisfy their 
appetite, and then fall to themselves. 5 The Jesuit Father 
Christoforo Borri suggestively translates the native idea 
into his own scholastic phraseology. In Cochin China, 

1 Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 220, see 104. 

1 Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 24. 

8 Colebropke, ' Essays,' vol. i. p. 163, &c. ; Manu. iii. 

4 Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 408 5 Hartknoch, ' Preussen,' part i. p. 187. 

' Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. ii. pp. 33, 48 ; Meiners, vol. i. p. 318. 


according to him, people believed ' that the souls of the 
dead have need of corporeal sustenance and maintenance, 
wherefore several times a year, according to their custom, 
they make splendid and sumptuous banquets, children to 
their deceased parents, husbands to their wives, friends to 
their friends, waiting a long while for the dead guest to 
come and sit down at table to eat.' The missionaries 
argued against this proceeding, but were met by ridicule of 
their ignorance, and the reply ' that there were two things 
in the food, one the substance, and the other the accidents 
of quantity, quality, smell, taste, and the like. The im- 
material souls of the dead, taking for themselves the sub- 
stance of the food, which being immaterial is food suited to 
the incorporeal soul, left only in the dishes the accidents 
which corporeal senses perceive ; for this the dead had no 
need of corporeal instruments, as we have said.' There- 
upon the Jesuit proceeds to remark, as to the prospect of 
conversion of these people, ' it may be judged from the 
distinction they make between the accidents and the sub- 
stance of the food which they prepare for the dead/ that it 
will not be very difficult to prove to them the mystery of 
the Eucharist. 1 Now to peoples among whom prevails the 
rite of feasts of the dead, whether they offer the food in 
mere symbolic pretence, or whether they consider the souls 
really to feed on it in this spiritual way (as well as in the 
cases inextricably mixed up with these, where the offering 
is spiritually conveyed away to the world of spirits), it can 
be of little consequence what becomes of the gross material 
food. When the Kafir sorcerer, in cases of sickness, de- 
clares that the shades of ancestors demand a particular cow, 
the beast is slaughtered and left shut up for a time for the 
shades to eat, or for its spirit to go to the land of shades, 
and then is taken out to be eaten by the sacrificers. 2 So, 
in more civilized Japan, when the survivors have placed 

1 Borri, ' Relatione della Nuova Missione della Comp. di Giesu,' Rome, 
1631, p. zo8 ; and in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 822, &c. 

1 Grout, 'Zulu Land,' p. 140 ; sec Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. u. 

II. D, 


their offering of unboiled rice and water in a hollow made 
for the purpose in a stone of the tomb, it seems to them 
no matter that the poor or the birds really carry off the 
grain. 1 

Such rites as these are especially exposed to dwindle in 
survival. The offerings of meals and feasts to the dead 
may be traced at their last stage into mere traditional 
ceremonies, at most tokens of affectionate remembrance of 
the dead, or works of charity to the living. The Roman 
Feralia in Ovid's time were a striking example of such 
transition, for while the idea was recognized that the ghosts 
fed upon the offerings, ' nunc posito pascitur umbra cibo,' 
yet there were but ' parva munera,' fruits and grains of 
salt, and corn soaked in wine, set out for their meal in the 
middle of the road. ' Little the manes ask, the pious 
thought stands instead of the rich gift, for Styx holds no 
greedy gods : '- 

' Parva petunt manes. Pietas pro divite grata est 
Munere. Non avidos Styx habet ima decs. 

Tegula porrectis satis est velata coronis, 
Et sparsae fruges, parcaque mica salis, 

Inque mero mollita ceres, violaeque solutae : 
Haec habeat media testa relicta via. 

Nee majora veto. Sed et his placabilis umbra est.' * 

Still farther back, in old Chinese history, Confucius had 
been called on to give an opinion as to the sacrifices to the 
dead. Maintainer of all ancient rites as he was, he strin- 
gently kept up this, ' he sacrificed to the dead as if they were 
present,' but when he was asked if the dead had knowledge 
of what was done or no, he declined to answer the question; 
for if he replied yes, then dutiful descendants would in- 
jure their substance by sacrifices, and if no, then undutiful 
children would leave their parents unburied. The evasion 
was characteristic of the teacher who expressed his theory 
of worship in this maxim, ' to give oneself earnestly to the 

1 Caron, ' Japan,' vol. vii. p. 629 ; see Turpin, ' Siam,' ibid. vol. ix. p. 590. 
Ovid/ Fast. ii. 533. 


duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual beings, 
to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom.' It is said 
that in our own time the Taepings have made a step beyond 
Confucius ; they have forbidden the sacrifices to the spirits 
of the dead, yet keep up the rite of visiting their tombs on 
the customary day, for prayer and the renewal of vows. 1 
How funeral offerings may pass into commemorative ban- 
quets and feasts to the poor, has been shown already. If 
we seek in England for vestiges of the old rite of funeral 
sacrifice, we may find a lingering survival into modern 
centuries, doles of bread and drink given to the poor at 
funerals, and ' soul-mass cakes ' which peasant girls 
perhaps to this day beg for at farmhouses with the 
traditional formula, 

' Soul, soul, for a soul cake, 
Pray you, mistress, a soul cake.' 2 

Were it not for our knowledge of the intermediate stages 
through which these fragments of old custom have come 
down, it would seem far-fetched indeed to trace their origin 
back to the savage and barbaric times of the institution of 
feasts of departed souls. 

1 Legge, ' Confucius,' pp. 101-2, 130 ; Bunsen, ' God in History,' p. 271. 
* Brand, ' Pop. Ant.' vol. i. p. 392, vol. ii. p. 289. 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Journey of the Soul to the Land of the Dead Visits by the Living to the 
Regions of Departed Souls Connexion of such legends with myths of 
Sunset : the Land of the Dead thus imagined as in the West Realiza- 
tion of current religious ideas, whether of savage or civilized theology, 
in narratives of visits to the Regions of Souls Localization of the Future 
Life Distant earthly region : Earthly Paradise, Isles of the Blest 
Subterranean Hades or Sheol Sun, Moon, Stars Heaven Historical 
course of belief as to such localization Nature of Future Life Con- 
tinuance-theory, apparently original, belongs especially to the lower 
races Transitional theories Retribution -theory, apparently derived, 
belongs especially to the higher races Doctrine of Moral Retribution 
as developed in the higher culture Survey of Doctrine of Future 
State, from savage to civilized stages Its practical effect on the senti- 
ment and conduct of Mankind. 

THE departure of the dead man's soul from the world of 
living men, its journey to the distant land of spirits, the life 
it will lead in its new home, are topics on which the lower 
races for the most part hold explicit doctrines. When 
these fall under the inspection of a modern ethnographer, 
he treats them as myths ; often to a high degree intelligible 
and rational in their origin, consistent and regular in their 
structure, but not the less myths. Few subjects have 
aroused the savage poet's mind to such bold and vivid 
imagery as the thought of the hereafter. Yet also a survey 
of its details among mankind displays in the midst of 
variety a regular recurrence of episode which brings the 
ever-recurring question, how far is this correspondence due 
to transmission of the same thought from tribe to tribe, 
and how far to similar but independent development in 
distant lands ? 
From the savage state up into the midst of civilization, 


the comparison may be carried through. Low races and 
high, in region after region, can point out the very spot 
whence the flitting souls start to travel toward their new 
home. At the extreme western cape of Vanua Levu, a calm 
and solemn place of cliff and forest, the souls of the Fijian 
dead embark for the judgement-seat of Ndengei, and thither 
the living come in pilgrimage, thinking to see their ghosts 
and gods. 1 The Baperi of South Africa will venture to 
creep a little way into their cavern of Marimatl6, whence 
men and animals came forth into the world, and whither 
souls return at death.* In Mexico the cavern of Chalcha- 
tongo led to the plains of paradise, and the Aztec name of 
Mictlan, ' Land of the Dead,' now Mitla, keeps up the 
remembrance of another subterranean temple which opened 
the way to the sojourn of the blessed. 3 How naturally a 
dreary place, fit rather for the dead than the living, suggests 
the thought of an entrance to the land of the departed, 
is seen in the fictitious travels known under the name of 
Sir John Mandevill, where the description of the Vale Peri- 
lous, adapted from the terrible valley which Friar Odoric 
had seen full of corpses and heard resound with strange 
noise of drums, has this appropriate ending : ' This vale es 
full of deuilles and all way has bene ; and men saise in that 
cuntree that thare es ane entree to hell.' 4 In more genuine 
folklore, North German peasants still remember on the 
banks of the swampy Dromling the place of access to the 
land of departed souls. 6 To us Englishmen the shores of 
lake Avernus, trodden daily by our tourists, are more 
familiar than the Irish analogue of the place, Lough Derg, 
with its cavern entrance of St. Patrick's Purgatory leading 
down to the awful world below. The mass of mystic details 

1 Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 239 ; Seemann, ' Viti,' p. 398. 

* Arbousset and Daumas, p. 347 ; Casalis, p. 247. 

* Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. Hi. p. 20, &c. 

4 See 'The Buke of John Mandeuill,' 31, edited by Geo. F. Warner, 
published by the Roxburghe Club, 1889 ; Yule, ' Cathay,' Hakluyt Soc. 
[Note to 3rd ed.] 

6 Wuttke, ' Volksaberglaube,' p. 215. Other cases in Bastian, ' Mensch,' 
vol. ii. pp. 58, 369, &c. 


need not be repeated here of the soul's dread journey by 
caverns and rocky paths and weary plains, over steep and 
slippery mountains, by frail bark or giddy bridge across 
gulfs or rushing rivers, abiding the fierce onset of the soul- 
destroyer or the doom of the stern guardian of the other 
world. But before describing the spirit-world which is the 
end of the soul's journey, let us see what the proof is which 
sustains the belief in both. The lower races claim to hold 
their doctrines of the future life on strong tradition, direct 
revelation, and even personal experience. To them the 
land of souls is a discovered country, from whose bourne 
many a traveller returns. 

Among the legendary visits to the world beyond the 
grave, there are some that seem pure myth, without a touch 
of real personal history. Ojibwa, the eponymic hero of his 
North American tribe, as one of his many exploits descended 
to the subterranean world of departed spirits, and came up 
again to earth. 1 When the Kamchadals were asked how 
they knew so well what happens to men after death, they 
could answer with their legend of Haetsh the first man. 
He died and went down into the world below, and a long 
while after came up again to his former dwelling, and there, 
standing above by the smoke-hole, he talked down to his 
kindred in the house and told them about the life to come ; 
it was then that his two daughters whom he had left below 
followed him in anger and smote him so that he died a 
second time, and now he is chief in the lower world, and 
receives the Italmen when they die and rise anew.* Thus, 
again, in the great Finnish epic, the Kalewala, one great 
episode is Wainamoinen's visit to the land of the dead. 
Seeking the last charm-words to build his boat, the hero 
travelled with quick steps week after week through bush 
and wood till he came to the Tuonela river, and saw before 
him the island of Tuoni the god of death. Loudly he called 
to Tuoni's daughter to bring the ferry-boat across : 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Algic Res.' vol. ii. pp. 32, 64, and see ante, vol. i. p. 312. 
* Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 271 ; Klemm, ' C. G.' vol. ii. p. 312. 


' She, the virgin of Manala, 
She, the washer of the clothing, 
She, the wringer of the linen, 
By the river of Tuonela, 
In the under-world Manala, 
Spake in words, and this their meaning, 
This their answer to the hearer : 
" Forth the boat shall come from hither, 
When the reason thou hast given 
That hath brought thee to Manala, 
Neither slain by any sickness, 
Nor by Death dragged from the living, 
Nor destroyed by other ending." ' 

Wainamoinen replies with lying reasons. Iron brought him, 
he says, but Tuoni's daughter answers that no blood drips 
from his garment ; Fire brought him, he says, but she 
answers that his locks are unsinged, and at last he tells his 
real mission. Then she ferries him over, and Tuonetar the 
hostess brings him beer in the two-eared jug, but Waina- 
moinen can see the frogs and worms within and will not 
drink, for it was not to drain Manala's beer- jug he had 
come. He lay in the bed of Tuoni, and meanwhile they 
spread the hundred nets of iron and copper across the river 
that he might not escape ; but he turned into a reed in the 
swamp, and as a snake crept through the meshes : 

1 Tuoni's son with hooked fingers 
Iron-pointed hooked fingers 
Went to draw his nets at morning 
Salmon-trout he found a hundred, 
Thousands of the little fishes, 
But he found no Wainamoinen, 
Not the old friend of the billows. 
Then the ancient Wainamoinen, 
Come from out of Tuoni's kingdom, 
Spake in words, and this their meaning, 
This their answer to the hearer : 
" Never mayst thou, God of goodness, 
Never suffer such another 
Who of self-will goes to Mana, 
Thrusts his way to Tuoni's kingdom. 


Many they who travel thither, 

Few who thence have found the home-way, 

From the houses of Tuoni 

From the dwellings of Manala." ' l 

It is enough to name the familiar classic analogues of these 
mythic visits to Hades, the descent of Dionysos to bring 
back Semele, of Orpheus to bring back his beloved Eury- 
dike, of Herakles to fetch up the three-headed Kerberos at 
the command of his master Eurystheus ; above all, the 
voyage of Odysseus to the ends of the deep-flowing Ocean, 
to the clouded city of Kimmerian men, where shining Helios 
looks not down with his rays, and deadly night stretches 
always over wretched mortals, thence they passed along 
the banks to the entrance of the land where the shades of 
the departed, quickened for a while by the taste of sacri- 
ficial blood, talked with the hero and showed him the 
regions of their dismal home. 2 

The scene of the descent into Hades is in very deed 
enacted day by day before our eyes, as it was before the eyes 
of the ancient myth-maker,who watched the sun descend to 
the dark under- world, and return at dawn to the "land of 
living men. These heroic legends lie in close-knit con- 
nexion with episodes of solar myth. It is by the simplest 
poetic adaptation of the Sun's daily life, typifying Man's 
life in dawning beauty, in mid-day glory, in evening death, 
that mythic fancy even fixed the belief in the religions of 
the world, that the Land of Departed Souls lies in the Far 
West or the World Below. How deeply the myth of the 
Sunset has entered into the doctrine of men concerning a 
Future State, how the West and the Under- World have 
become by mere imaginative analogy Regions of the Dead, 
how the quaint day-dreams of savage poets may pass into 

1 Kalewala, Rune xvi. ; see Schiefner's German Translation, and Castren, 
' Finn. Myth.' pp. 128, 134. A Slavonic myth in Hanusch, p. 412. 

2 Homer. Odyss. xi. On the vivification of ghosts by sacrifice of blood, 
and on libations of milk and blood, see Meiners, vol. i. p. 315, vol. ii. p. 89 ; 
J. G Miiller, p. 85 ; Rochholz, ' Deutscher Glaube und Brauch,' vol. i. p. i, 


honoured dogmas of classic sages and modern divines, all 
this the crowd of details here cited from the wide range of 
culture stand to prove. 

Moreover, visits from or to the dead are matters of per- 
sonal experience and personal testimony. When in dream 
or vision the seer beholds the spirits of the departed, they 
give him tidings from the other world, or he may even rise 
and travel thither himself, and return to tell the living what 
he has seen among the dead. It is sometimes as if the 
traveller's material body went to visit a distant land, and 
sometimes all we are told is that the man's self went, but 
whether in body or in spirit is a mere detail of which the 
story keeps no record. Mostly, however, it is the seer's 
soul which goes forth, leaving his body behind in ecstasy, 
sleep, coma, or death. Some of these stories, as we trace 
them on from savage into civilized times, are no doubt given 
in good faith by the visionary himself, while others are 
imitations of these genuine accounts. 1 Now such visions 
are naturally apt to reproduce the thoughts with which the 
seer's mind was already furnished. Every idea once lodged 
in the mind of a savage, a barbarian, or an enthusiast, is 
ready thus to be brought back to him from without. It is 
a vicious circle ; what he believes he therefore sees, and 
what he sees he therefore believes. Beholding the reflexion 
of his own mind like a child looking at itself in a glass, he 
humbly receives the teaching of his second self. The Red 
Indian visits his happy hunting-grounds, the Tongan his 
shadowy island of Bolotu, the Greek enters Hades and looks 
on the Elysian Fields, the Christian beholds the heights of 
Heaven and the depths of Hell. 

Among the North American Indians, and especially the 
Algonquin tribes, accounts are not unusual of men whose 
spirits, travelling in dreams or in the hallucinations of 
extreme illness to the land of the dead, have returned to 
reanimate their bodies, and tell what they have seen. 

1 See for example, various details in Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. pp. 
369-75, &c. 


Their experiences have been in great measure what they 
were taught in early childhood to expect, the journey along 
the path of the dead, the monstrous strawberry at which 
the jebi-ug or ghosts refresh themselves, but which turns 
to red rock at the touch of their spoons, the bark offered 
them for dried meat and great puff-balls for squashes, the 
river of the dead with its snake-bridge or swinging log, the 
great dog standing on the other side, the villages of the 
dead beyond. 1 The Zulus of our own day tell of men who 
have gone down by holes in the ground into the under- 
world, where mountains and rivers and all things are as 
here above, and where a man may find his kindred, for the 
dead live in their villages, and may be seen milking their 
cattle, which are the cattle killed on earth and come to life 
anew. The Zulu Umpengula, who told one of these stories 
to Dr. Callaway, remembered when he was a boy seeing an 
ugly little hairy man called Uncama, who once, chasing a 
porcupine that ate his mealies, followed it down a hole in 
the ground into the land of the dead. When he came back 
to his home on earth he found that he had been given up 
for dead himself, his wife had duly burnt and buried his 
mats and blankets and vessels, and the wondering people at 
sight of him again shouted the funeral dirge. Of this Zulu 
Dante it used to be continually said, ' There is the man 
who went to the underground people.'* One of the most 
characteristic of these savage narratives is from New Zea- 
land. This story, which has an especial interest from the 
reminiscence it contains of the gigantic extinct Moa, and 
which may be repeated at some length as an illustration of 
the minute detail and lifelike reality which such visionary 
legends assume in barbaric life, was told to Mr. Shortland 
by a servant of his named Te Wharewera. An aunt of this 

1 See vol. i. p. 481 ; also below, p. 52, note. Tanner's ' Narr.' p. 290 ; 
Schoolcraft, 'Indian Tribes," part iii. p. 233; Keating, vol. ii. p. 154; 
Loskiel, part i. p. 35 ; Smith, ' Virginia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. p. 14. See 
Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 269. 

* Callaway, 'Zulu Tales,' vol. i. pp. 316-20. 


man died in a solitary hut near the banks of Lake Rotorua. 
Being a lady of rank she was left in her hut, the door and 
windows were made fast, and the dwelling was abandoned, 
as her death had made it tapu. But a day or two after, Te 
Wharewera with some others paddling in a canoe near the 
place at early morning saw a figure on the shore beckoning 
to them. It was the aunt come to life again, but weak and 
cold and famished. When sufficiently restored by their 
timely help, she told her story. Leaving her body, her 
spirit had taken flight toward the North Cape, and arrived 
at the entrance of Reigna. There, holding on by the stem 
of the creeping akeake-plant, she descended the precipice, 
and found herself on the sandy beach of a river. Looking 
round, she espied in the distance an enormous bird, taller 
than a man, coming towards her with rapid strides. This 
terrible object so frightened her, that her first thought was 
to try to return up the steep cliff; but seeing an old man 
paddling a small canoe towards her she ran to meet him, 
and so escaped the bird. When she had been safely ferried 
across she asked the old Charon, mentioning the name of 
her family, where the spirits of her kindred dwelt. Follow- 
ing the path the old man pointed out, she was surprised to 
find it just such a path as she had been used to on earth ; 
the aspect of the country, the trees, shrubs, and plants were 
all familiar to her. She reached the village and among the 
crowd assembled there she found her father and many near 
relations ; they saluted her, and welcomed her with the 
wailing chant which Maoris always address to people met 
after long absence. But when her father had asked about 
his living relatives, and especially about her own child, he 
told her she must go back to earth, for no one was left to 
take care of his grandchild. By his orders she refused to 
touch the food that the dead people offered her, and in 
spite of their efforts to detain her, her father got her safely 
into the canoe, crossed with her, and parting gave her from 
under his cloak two enormous sweet potatoes to plant at 
home for his grandchild's especial eating. But as she began 


to climb the precipice again, two pursuing infant spirits 
pulled her back, and she only escaped by flinging the roots 
at them, which they stopped to eat, while she scaled the 
rock by help of the akeake-stem, till she reached the earth 
and flew back to where she had left her body. On return- 
ing to life she found herself in darkness, and what had 
passed seemed as a dream, till she perceived that she was 
deserted and the door fast, and concluded that she had 
really died and come to life again. When morning dawned, 
a faint light entered by the crevices of the shut-up house, 
and she saw on the floor near her a calabash partly full of 
red ochre mixed with water ; this she eagerly drained to 
the dregs, and then feeling a little stronger, succeeded in 
opening the door and crawling down to the beach, where 
her friends soon after found her. Those who listened to 
her tale firmly believed the reality of her adventures, but it 
was much regretted that she had not brought back at least 
one of the huge sweet-potatoes, as evidence of her visit to 
the land of spirits. 1 Races of North Asia 1 and West Africa* 
have in like manner their explorers of the world beyond 
the grave. 

Classic literature continues the series. Lucian's graphic 

1 Shortland, 'Traditions of New Zealand,' p. 150; R. Taylor, 'New 
Zealand,' p. 423. The idea, of which the classic representative belongs to 
the myth of Persephone, that the living who tastes the food of the dead 
may not return, and which is so clearly stated in this Maori story, appears 
again among the Sioux of North America. Ahak-tah (' Male Elk ') seems 
to die, but after two days comes down from the funeral-scaffold where hi 
body had been laid, and tells his tale. His soul had travelled by the path of 
braves through the beautiful land of great trees and gay loud-singing birds, 
till he reached the river, and saw the homes of the spirits of his forefathers 
on the shore beyond. Swimming across, he entered the nearest house, where 
he found his uncle sitting in a corner. Very hungry, he noticed some wild 
rice in a bark dish. ' I asked my uncle for some rice to eat, but he did not 
give it to me. Had I eaten of the food for spirits, I never should have 
returned to earth.' Eastman, ' Dacotah,' p. 177. 

1 Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 139, &c. 

* Bosman,' ' Guinea,' Letter 19, in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 501 ; Burton, 
' Dahome,' vol. ii. p. 158. For modern visits to hell and heaven by Chris- 
tianized negro visionaries in America, see Macrae, ' Americans at Home,' 
vol. ii. p. 91. 


tales represent the belief of their age, if not of their author. 
His Eukrates looks down the chasm into Hades, and sees 
the dead reclining on the asphodel in companies of kinsfolk 
and friends ; among them he recognizes Sokrates with his 
bald head and pot-belly, and also his own father, dressed in 
the clothes he was buried in. Then Kleodemos caps this 
story with his own, how when he was sick, on the seventh 
day when his fever was burning like a furnace, every one 
left him, and the doors were shut. Then there stood before 
him an all-beauteous youth in a white garment, .who led him 
through a chasm into Hades, as he knew by seeing Tantalos 
and Tityos and Sisyphos ; and bringing him to the court of 
judgement, where were Aiakos and the Fates and the 
Erinyes, the youth set him before Pluto the King, who sat 
reading the names of those whose day of life was over. 
But Pluto was angry, and said to the guide, ' This one's 
thread is not run out, that he should depart, but bring me 
Demylos the coppersmith, for he is living beyond the 
spindle.' So Kleodemos came back to himself free from 
his fever and announced that Demylos, who was a sick 
neighbour, would die ; and accordingly a little while after 
there was heard the cry of the mourners wailing for him. 1 
Plutarch's stories, told more seriously, are yet one in type 
with the mocking Lucian's. The wicked, pleasure-seeking 
Thespesios lies three days as dead, and revives to tell his 
vision of the world below. One Antyllos was sick, and 
seemed to the doctors to retain no trace of life ; till, waking 
without sign of insanity, he declared that he had been 
indeed dead, but was ordered back to life, those who brought 
him being severely chidden by their lord, and sent to fetch 
Nikander instead, a well-known currier, who was accord- 
ingly taken with a fever, and died on the third day. 1 Such 
stories, old and new, are current among the Hindus at this 
day. A certain man's soul, for instance, is ca/ried to the 

1 Lucian. Philopseudes, c. 17-28. 

2 Plutarch. De Sera Numinis Vindicta, xxii. ; and in Euseb. Praep. Evang. 
xi. 36. 


realm of Yama by mistake for a namesake, and is sei 
back in haste to regain his body before it is burnt ; but in 
the meanwhile he has a glimpse of the hideous punishments ^ 
of the wicked, and of the glorious life of those who had i 
mortified the flesh on earth, and of suttee-widows now I 
sitting in happiness by their husbands. 1 Mutatis mutandis : 
these tales reappear in Christian mythology, as when i 
Gregory the Great records that a certain nobleman named \ 
Stephen died, who was taken to the region of Hades, and j 
saw many things he had heard before but not believed ; but ] 
when he was set before the ruler there presiding, he sent j 
him back, saying that it was this Stephen's neighbour | 
Stephen the smith whom he had commanded to be I 
brought ; and accordingly the one returned to life, and the j 
other died. 8 

The thought of human visitors revealing the mysteries of I 
the world beyond the grave, which indeed took no slight j 
hold on Christian belief, attached itself in a remark- I 
able way to the doctrine of Christ's descent into Hades. J 
This dogma had so strongly established itself by the end of 
the 4th century, that Augustine could ask, ' Quis nisi in- I 
fidelis negaverit fuisse apud inferos Christum ? '* A dis- 
tinct statement of the dogma was afterwards introduced i 
into the symbol commonly called the ' Apostles' Creed : ' 
1 Descendit ad inferos,' ' Descendit ad inferna,' He de- I 
scended into hell.' 4 The Descent into Hades, which had 
the theological use of providing a theory of salvation i 
applicable to the saints of the old covenant, imprisoned in : 
the limbo of the fathers, is narrated in full in the apocryphal 
Gospel of Nicodemus, and is made there to rest upon a 
legend which belongs to the present group of human visits 1 
to the other world. It is related that two sons of Simeon, i 

1 Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 63. 

Gregor. Dial. iv. 36. See Calmet, vol. ii. ch. 49. 

' Augustin. Epist. clxiv. 2. 

4 See Pearson, ' Exposition of the Creed ; ' Bingham, ' Ant. Ch. Ch.' 
book x. ch. Hi. Art. iii. of the Church of England was reduced to its present 
state by Archbp. Parker's revision. 


named Charinus and Leucius, rose from their tombs at the 
Resurrection, and went about silently and prayerfully 
among men, till Annas and Caiaphas brought them into the 
synagogue, and charged them to tell of their raising from 
the dead. Then, making the sign of the cross upon their 
tongues, the two asked for parchment and wrote their record. 
They had been set with all their fathers in the depths of 
Hades, when on a sudden there appeared the colour of the 
sun like gold, and a purple royal light shining on them ; 
then the patriarchs and prophets, from Adam to Simeon 
and John the Baptist, rejoicing proclaimed the coming of the 
light and the fulfilment of the prophecies ; Satan and Hades 
wrangled in strife together ; in vain the brazen gates were 
shut with their iron bars, for the summons came to open 
the gates that the king of glory may come in, who hath 
broken the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in sunder ; 
then the mighty Lord broke the fetters and visited them who 
sat in darkness and the shadow of death ; Adam and his 
righteous children were delivered from Hades, and led into 
the glorious grace of Paradise. 1 

Dante, elaborating in the ' Divina Commedia ' the con- 
ceptions of paradise, purgatory, and hell familiar to the 
actual belief of his age, describes them once more in the 
guise of a living visitor to the land of the dead. Echoes 
in mediaeval legend of such exploring expeditions to the 
world below still linger faintly in the popular belief of 
Europe. It has been thus with St. Patrick's Purgatory, 1 
the cavern in the island of Lough Derg, in the county 
Donegal, which even in the seventeenth century O'Sullevan 
could describe first and foremost in his ' Catholic His- 
tory ' as ' the greatest of all memorable things of Ireland.' 
Mediaeval visits to the other world were often made in the 

1 Codex Apocr. N. T. Evang. Nicod. ed. Giles. ' Apocryphal Gospels,' &c. 
tr. by A. Walker ; ' Gospel of Nicodemus.' The Greek and Latin texts differ 

1 The following details mostly from T. Wright, ' St. Patrick's Purgatory ' 
(an elaborate critical dissertation on the mediaeval legends of visits to the 
pther world). 


spirit. But like Ulysses, Wainamoinen, and Dante, men 
could here make the journey in body, as did Sir Owain 
and the monk Gilbert. When the pilgrim had spent fifteen 
days in prayer and fasting in the church, and had been led 
with litanies and sprinkling of holy water to the entrance 
of the purgatory, and the last warnings of the monks 
had failed to turn him from his venture, the door was 
closed upon him, and if found next morning, he could 
tell the events of his awful journey how he crossed the 
narrow bridge that spans the river of death, how he 
saw the hideous torments of hell, and approached the 
joys of paradise. Sir Owain, one of King Stephen's 
knights, went thither in penance for his life of violence 
and rapine, and this was one of the scenes he beheld in 
purgatory : 

4 There come develes other mony mo, 
And badde the knygth with hem to go, 
And ladde him into a fowle contreye, 
Where ever was nygth and never day, 
For hit was derke and wonther colde : 
Yette was there never man so bplde, 
Hadde he never so mony clothes on, 
But he wolde be colde as ony stone. 
Wynde herde he none blowe, 
But faste hit frese bothe hye and lowe. 
They browgte him to a felde full brode, 
Overe suche another never he yode, 
For of the lengthe none ende he knewe 
Thereover algate he moste nowe. 
As he wente he herde a crye, 
He wondered what hit was, and why, 
He syg ther men and wymmen also 
That lowde cryed, for hem was woo. 
They leyen thykke on every londe, 
Faste nayled bothe fote and honde 
With nayles glowyng alle of brasse : 
They etc the erthe so wo hem was ; 
Here face was nayled to the grown de. 
" Spare," they cryde, " a lytylle stounde." 
The develes wolde hem not spare : 
To hem peyne they thowgte yare.' 


When Owain had seen the other fields of punishment, with 
their fiery serpents and toads, and the fires where sinners 
were hung up by their offending members, and roasted on 
spits, and basted with molten metal, and turned about on a 
great wheel of fire, and when he had passed the Devil's 
Mouth over the awful bridge, he reached the fair white glassy 
wall of the Earthly Paradise, reaching upward and upward, 
and saw before him the beautiful gate, whence issued a 
ravishing perfume. Then he soon forgot his pains and 

' As he stode, and was so fayne, 
Hym thowgth ther come hym agayne 
A swyde fayr processyoun 
Of alle manere menne of relygyoun, 
Fayre vestementes they hadde on, 
So ryche syg he never none. 
Myche joye hym thowgte to se 
Bysshopes yn here dygnite" ; 
Ilkone wente other be and be, 
Every man yn his degr6. 
He syg ther monkes and chanones, 
And freres with newe shavene crownes ; 
Ermytes he saw there amonge, 
And nonnes with fulle mery songe ; 
Persones, prestes, and vycaryes ; 
They made fulle mery melodyes. 
He syg ther kynges and emperoures, 
And dukes that had casteles and toures, 
Erles and barones fele, 
That some tyme hadde the worldes wele. 
Other folke he syg also, 
Never so mony as he dede thoo. 
Wymmen he syg ther that tyde : 
Myche was the joye ther on every syde : 
For alle was joye that with hem ferde, 
And myche solempnyte' he herde.' 

The procession welcomed Owain, and led him about, show- 
ing him the beauties of that country : 

4 Hyt was grene, and fulle of flowres 
Of mony dy vers colowres ; 


Hyt was grene on every syde, 

As medewus are yn someres tyde. 

Ther were trees growyng fulle grene 

Fulle of fruyte ever more, y wene ; 

For ther was frwyte of mony a kynde, 

Such yn the londe may no mon fynde. 

Ther they have the tree of lyfe, 

Theryn ys myrthe, and never stryfe ; 

Frwyte of wysdom also ther ys, 

Of the whyche Adam and Eve dede amysse : 

Other manere frwytes ther were fele, 

And alle manere joye and wele. 

Moche folke he syg ther dwelle, 

There was no tongue that mygth hem telle ; 

Alle were they cloded yn ryche wede, 

What cloth hit was he kowthe not rede. 

There was no wronge, but ever rygth, 
Ever day and nevere nygth. 
They shone as brygth and more clere 
Than ony gonne yn the day doth here.' 

The poem, in fifteenth-century English, from which these 
passages are taken, is a version of the original legend of 
earlier date, and as such contrasts with a story really dating 
from early in the fifteenth century William Staunton's 
descent into Purgatory, where the themes of the old 
sincerely-believed visionary lore are fading into moral 
allegory, and the traveller sees the gay gold and silver 
collars and girdles burning into the wearer's flesh, and the 
jags that men were clothed in now become adders and 
dragons, sucking and stinging them, and the fiends drawing 
down the skin of women's shoulders into pokes, and smiting 
into their heads with burning hammers their gay chaplets 
of gold and jewels turned to burning nails, and so forth. 
Late in this fifteenth century, St. Patrick's Purgatory fell 
into discredit, but even the destruction of the entrance- 
building, in 1479, by Papal order, did not destroy the ideal 
road. About 1693, an excavation on the spot brought to 
light a window with iron stanchions ; there was a cry for 


holy water to keep the spirits from breaking out from prison, 
and the priest smelt brimstone from the dark cavity below, 
which, however, unfortunately turned out to be a cellar. In 
still later times, the yearly pilgrimage of tens of thousands 
of votaries to the holy place has kept up this interesting 
survival from the lower culture, whereby a communication 
may still be traced, if not from Earth to Hades, at least 
from the belief of the New Zealander to that of the Irish 

To study and compare the ideal regions where man has 
placed the abodes of departed souls is not an unprofitable 
task. True, geography has now mapped out into mere earth 
and water the space that lay beyond the narrower sea and 
land known to the older nations, and astronomy no longer 
recognizes the flat earth trodden by men as being the roof 
of subterranean halls, nor the sky as being a solid firma- 
ment, shutting out men's gaze from strata or spheres of 
empyraean regions beyond. Yet if we carry our minds back 
to the state of knowledge among the lower races, we shall 
not find it hard to understand the early conceptions as to 
the locality of the regions beyond the grave. They are no 
secrets of high knowledge made known to sages of old; 
they are the natural fancies which childlike ignorance 
would frame in any age. The regularity with which such 
conceptions repeat themselves over the world bears testi- 
mony to the regularity of the processes by which opinion 
is formed among mankind. At the same time, the student 
who carefully compares them will find in them a perfect 
illustration of an important principle, widely applicable to 
the general theory of the formation of human opinion. 
When a problem has presented itself to mankind at large, 
susceptible of a number of solutions about equally plausible, 
the result is that the several opinions thus produced will be 
found lying scattered in country after country. The problem 
here is, given the existence of souls of the dead who from 
time to time visit the living, where is the home of these 
ghosts ? Why men in one district should have preferred 


the earth, in another the under-world, in another the sky, 
as the abode of departed souls, is a question often difficult 
to answer. But we may at least see how again and again 
the question was taken in hand, and how out of the three or 
fpur available answers some peoples adopted one, some 
another, some several at once. Primitive theologians had 
all the world before them where to choose their place of 
rest for the departed, and they used to the full their 
speculative liberty. 

Firstly, when the land of souls is located on the surface 
of the earth, there is choice of fit places among wild and 
cloudy precipices, in secluded valleys, in far-off plains and 
islands. In Borneo, Mr. St. John visited the heaven of the 
Idaan race, on the summit of Kina Balu, and the native 
guides, who feared to pass the night in this abode of spirits, 
showed the traveller the moss on which the souls of their 
ancestors fed, and the footprints of the ghostly buffaloes 
that followed them. On Gunung Danka, a mountain in 
West Java, there is such another ' Earthly Paradise.' The 
Sajira who dwell in the district indeed profess themselves 
Mohammedans, but they secretly maintain their old belief, 
and at death or funeral they enjoin the soul in solemn form 
to set aside the Moslem Allah, and to take the way to the 
dwelling-place of his own forefathers' souls : 

' Step up the bed of the river, and cross the neck of land, 
Where the aren trees stand in a clump, and the pinangs in a row, 
Thither direct thy steps, Laillah being set aside.' 

Mr. Jonathan Rigg had lived ten years among these people, 
and knew them well, yet had never found out that their 
paradise was on this mountain. When at last he heard of 
it, he made the ascent, finding on the top only a few river- 
stones, forming one of the balai, or sacred cairns, common 
in the district. But the popular belief, that a tiger would 
devour the chiefs who permitted a violation of the sacred 
place, soon received the sort of confirmation which such 
beliefs receive everywhere, for a tiger killed two children a 


few days later, and the disaster was of course ascribed to 
Mr. Rigg's profanation. 1 The Chilians said that the soul 
goes westward over the sea to Gulcheman, the dwelling- 
place of the dead beyond the mountains ; life, some said, 
was all pleasure there, but others thought that part would 
be happy and part miserable. 2 Hidden among the moun- 
tains of Mexico lay the joyous garden-land of Tlalocan, 
where maize, and pumpkins, and chilis, and tomatos never 
failed, and where abode the souls of children sacrificed to 
Tlaloc, its god, and the souls of such as died by drowning 
or thunderstroke, or by leprosy or dropsy, or other acute 
disease. 3 A survival of such thought may be traced into 
mediaeval civilization, in the legends of the Earthly Para- 
dise, the fire-girt abode of saints not yet raised to highest 
bliss, localized in the utmost East of Asia, where earth 
stretches up towards heaven. 4 When Columbus sailed west- 
ward across the Atlantic to seek ' the new heaven and the 
new earth ' he had read of in Isaiah, he found them, though 
not as he sought. It is a quaint coincidence that he found 
there also, though not as he sought it, the Earthly Paradise 
which was another main object of his venturous quest. The 
Haitians described to the white men their Coaibai, the 
paradise of the dead, in the lovely Western valleys of their 
island, where the souls hidden by day among the cliffs came 
down at night to feed on the delicious fruit of the mamey- 
trees, of which the living ate but sparingly, lest the souls of 
their friends should want. 6 

Secondly, there are Australians who think that the spirit 
of the dead hovers awhile on earth and goes at last toward 

1 St. John, ' Far East,' vol. i. p. 278. Rigg. in ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. 
iv. p. 119. See also Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 397; Bastian, ' Oestl. 
Asien,' vol. i. p. 83 ; Irving, ' Astoria,' p. 142. 

2 Molina, ' Chili,' vol. ii. p. 89. 

8 Brasseur, 'Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 496; Sahagun, iii. App. c. 2, x. c. 29; 
Clavigcro, vol. ii. p. 5. 

4 See 'Wright, I.e. &c. ; Alger, p. 391 ; &c. 

5 ' History of Colon,' ch. 61 ; Pet. Martyr. Dec. i. lib. ix. ; Irving, ' Life 
of Columbus,' vol. ii. p. 121. 


the setting sun, or westward over the sea to the island of 
souls, the home of his fathers. Thus these rudest savages 
have developed two thoughts which we meet with again and 
again far onward in the course of culture the thought of 
an island of the dead, and the thought that the world of 
departed souls is in the West, whither the Sun descends at 
evening to his daily death. 1 Among the North American 
Indians, when once upon a time an Algonqum hunter left 
his body behind and visited the land of souls in the sunny 
south, he saw before him beautiful trees and plants, but 
found he could walk right through them. Then he paddled 
in the canoe of white shining stone across the lake where 
wicked souls perish in the storm, till he reached the beau- 
tiful and happy island where there is no cold, no war, no 
bloodshed, but the creatures run happily about, nourished 
by the air they breathe. 2 Tongan legend says that, long 
ago, a canoe returning from Fiji was driven by stress of 
weather to Bolotu, the island of gods and souls lying in 
the ocean north-west of Tonga. That island is larger 
than all theirs together, full of all finest fruits and loveliest 
flowers, that fill the air with fragrance, and come anew the 
moment they are plucked ; birds of beauteous plumage 
are there, and hogs in plenty, all immortal save when 
killed for the gods to eat, and then new living ones appear 
immediately to fill their places. But when the hungry 
crew of the canoe landed, they tried in vain to pluck the 
shadowy bread-fruit, they walked through unresisting trees 
and houses, even as the souls of chiefs who met them 
walked unchecked through their solid bodies. Counselled 
to hasten home from this land of no earthly food, the men 
sailed to Tonga, but the deadly air of Bolotu had infected 
them, and they soon all died. 3 

1 Stanbridge in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. i. p. 299 ; G. F. Moore, ' Vocab. W. 
Austr.' p. 83 ; Bonwick, ' Tasmanians,' p. 181. 

1 School craft, ' Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 321 ; see part Hi. p. 229. 

8 Mariner, ' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 107. See also Burton, ' W. and W. fr. 
W. Africa,' p. 154 (Gold Coast). 


Such ideas took strong hold on classic thought, in the 
belief in a paradise in the Fortunate Islands of the far 
Western Ocean. Hesiod in the ' Works and Days ' tells of 
the half-gods of the Fourth Age, between the Age of 
Bronze and the Age of Iron. When death closed on this 
heroic race, Zeus granted them at the ends of Earth a life 
and home, apart from man and far from the immortals. 
There Kronos reigns over them, and they dwell careless in 
the Islands of the Happy, beside deep-eddying Ocean 
blest heroes, for whom the grain-giving field bears, thrice 
blooming yearly, the honey-sweet fruit : 

*Ev$ 7/Tot TOVS ncv reXos 

Tots 8e 8ix dvdpwTTiav PIOTOV KO.I ride oVcwrxras 

Zevs Kpov'iSrjs /caTtvcurcre Trcmjp es yairjs, 

TrjAoiI UTT' Totcrw Kpovov /x/3a<rtA.fVf 

Kai Tol fjiev vcuowiv dxTjSea dvfjiov e'xovres 

'Ev fjMKapwv in'jo-ouri Trap' flfceavbv /3a$v8tVTjv, 

*QX(3ioi Tiptoes, Tolmv fj^XirjSfa KapTrov 

Tpis Tos 6d\\ovTa 4>epe>- ei8<apo<s apovpa.' l 

These Islands of the Blest, assigned as the abode of 
blessed spirits of the dead, came indeed to be identified 
with the Elysian Fields. Thus Pindar sings of steadfast 
souls, who through three lives on either side have endured 
free from injustice ; then they pass by the road of Zeus to 
the tower of Kronos, where the ocean breezes blow round 
the islands of the happy, blazing with golden flowers of land 
and water. Thus, also, in the famous hymn of Kallistratos 
in honour of Harmodios and Aristogeiton, who slew the 
tyrant Hipparchos : 

4 4iA.Ta#' 'Ap/xdSt, ov TI irw 
N^o-ois 8 fv iia.Ka.pwv a~ (patrlv eivcu, 
"Iva Tep 7To8ci>KT;s AxtXAei's, 
TvSetSr/v re </>ao*i rbv eo-^A5' Atoju,?j8a.' r 

This group of legends has especial interest to us English- 
men, who ourselves dwell, it seems, on such an island of the 

* Hesiod. Opera et Dies, 1615. Pindar, Olymp. ii. antistr. 4. Callistrat. 
Hymn, in Ilgen, Scolia Graca, 10. Strabo, iii. 2, 13 ; Plin. iv. 36. 


dead. It is not that we or our country are of a more ghostly 
nature than others, but the idea is geographical we are 
dwellers in the region of the setting sun, the land of death. 
The elaborate account by Procopius, the historian of the 
Gothic War, dates from the 6th century. The island of 
Brittia, according to him, lies opposite the mouths of the 
Rhine, some 200 stadia off, between Britannia and Thule, 
and on it dwell three populous nations, the Angles, Frisians, 
and Britons. (By Brittia, it appears, he means our Great 
Britain, his Britannia being the coast-land from modern 
Brittany to Holland, and his Thule being Scandinavia.) 
In the course of his history it seems to him needful to record 
a story, mythic and dreamlike as he thinks, yet which 
numberless men vouch for as having been themselves wit- 
nesses by eye and ear to its facts. This story is that the 
souls of the departed are conveyed across the sea to the 
island of Brittia. Along the mainland coast are many 
villages, inhabited by fishermen and tillers of the soil 
and traders to this island in their vessels. They are sub- 
ject to the Franks, but pay no tribute, having from of old 
had to do by turns the burdensome service of transporting 
the souls. Those on duty for each night stay at home till 
they hear a knocking at the doors, and a voice of one unseen 
calling them to their work. Then without delay rising from 
their beds, compelled by some unknown power they go down 
to the beach, and there they see boats, not their own but 
others, lying ready but empty of men. Going on board and 
taking the oars, they find that by the burden of the multi- 
tude of souls embarked, the vessel lies low in the water, 
gunwale under within a finger's breadth. In an hour they 
are at the opposite shore, though in their own boats they 
would hardly make the voyage in a night and day. When 
they reach the island, the vessel becomes empty, till it is so 
light that only the keel touches the waves. They see no 
man on the voyage, no man at the landing, but a voice is 
heard that proclaims the name and rank and parentage of 
each newly arrived passenger, or if women, those of their 

HADES. 65 

husbands. Traces of this remarkable legend seem to have 
survived, thirteen centuries later, in that endmost district 
of the Britannia of Procopius which still keeps the name 
of Bretagne. Near Raz, where the narrow promontory 
stretches westward into the ocean, is the ' Bay of Souls ' 
(b.oe ann anavo) ; in the commune of Plouguel the corpse is 
taken to the churchyard, not by the shorter road by land, 
but in a boat by the ' Passage de 1'Enfer,' across a. little 
arm of the sea ; and Breton folk-lore holds fast to the legend 
of the Cure" de Braspar, whose dog leads over to Great 
Britain the souls of the departed, when the wheels of the 
soul-car are heard creaking in the air. These are but 
mutilated fragments, but they seem to piece together with 
another Keltic myth, told by Macpherson in the last century, 
the voyage of the boat of heroes to Flath-Innis, Noble 
Island, the green island home of the departed, which lies 
calm amid the storms far in the Western Ocean. With full 
reason, also, Mr. Wright traces to the situation of Ireland 
in the extreme West its especial association with legends of 
descents to the land of shades. Claudian placed at the 
extremity of Gaul the entrance where Ulysses found a way 
to Hades 

' Est locus extremum qua pandit Gallia litus, 
Oceani praetentus aquis, ubi fertur Ulysses,' &c. 

No wonder that this spot should have been since identi- 
fied with St. Patrick's Purgatory, and that some ingenious 
etymologist should have found in the name of ' Ulster ' a 
corruption of ' Ulyssisterra,' and a commemoration of the 
hero's visit. 1 

Thirdly, the belief in a subterranean Hades peopled by 
the ghosts of the dead is quite common among the lower 
races. The earth is flat, say the Italmen of Kamchatka, 

1 Procop. De Bello Goth. iv. 20 ; Plut. Fragm. Comm. in Hesiod. 2 ; 
Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 793 ; Hers art de Villemarque", vol. i. p. 136 ; Souvestre, 
' Derniers Bretons,' p. 37 ; Jas. Macpherson, ' Introd. to Hist, of Great 
Britain and Ireland,' 2nd ed. London, 1772, p. 180 ; Wright, 'St. Patrick's 
Purgatory,' pp. 64, 129. 


for if it were round, people would fall off ; it is the wrong 
side of another heaven, which covers another earth below, 
whither the dead will go down to their new life, and so, as 
Steller says, their mundane system is like a tub with three 
bottoms. 1 In North America, the Tacullis held that the 
soul goes after death into the bowels of the earth, whence 
it can come back in human shape to visit friends.* In 
South America, Brazilian souls travel down to the world 
below in the West, and Patagonian souls will depart to 
enjoy eternal drunkenness in the caves of their ancestral 
deities. 3 The New Zealander who says ' The sun has re- 
turned to Hades ' (kua hoki mai te Ra ki te Rua), simply 
means that it has set. When a Samoan Islander dies, the 
host of spirits that surround the house, waiting to convey 
his soul away, set out with him crossing the land and 
swimming the sea, to the entrance of the spirit-world. 
This is at the westernmost point of the westernmost island, 
Savaii, and there one may see the two circular holes or 
basins where souls descend, chiefs by the bigger and 
plebeians by the smaller, into the regions of the under- 
world. There below is a heaven, earth, and sea, and 
people with real bodies, planting, fishing, cooking, as in the 
present life ; but at night their bodies become like a con- 
fused collection of fiery sparks, and in this state during the 
hours of darkness they come up to revisit their former 
abodes, retiring at dawn to the bush or to the lower 
regions. 4 For the state of thought on this subject among 
rude African tribes, it is enough to cite the Zulus, who at 
death will descend to live in Hades among their ancestors, 
the ' Abapansi,' the ' people underground.' 5 Among rude 
Asiatic tribes, such an example may be taken from the 

1 Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 269. 

2 Harmon, ' Journal,' p. 299 ; see Lewis and Clarke, p. 139 (Mandans). 

3 J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrelig.' pp. 140, 287 ; see Humboldt and Bon- 
pland, ' Voy.' vol. iii. p. 132; Falkner, 'Patagonia,' p. 114. 

* Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 232 ; Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 235. 
8 Callaway, 'Zulu Tales,' vol. i. p. 317, &c. ; Arbousset and Daumas, 
p. 474. See also Burton, ' Dahome,' vol. ii. p. 157. 

HADES. 67 

Karens. They are not quite agreed where Plu, the land of 
the dead, is situate ; it may be above the earth or beyond 
the horizon. But the dominant and seemingly indigenous 
opinion is that it is below the earth. When the sun sets on 
earth, it rises in the Karen Hades, and when it sets in 
Hades it rises in this world. Here, again, the familiar 
belief of the European peasant is found ; the spirits of the 
dead may come up from the land of shades by night, but 
at daybreak must return. 1 

Such ideas, developed by uncultured races, may be fol- 
lowed up in various detail, through the stage of religion re- 
presented by the Mexican and Peruvian nations, 2 into higher 
ranges of culture. The Roman Orcus was in the bowels of 
the earth, and when the ' lapis manalis,' the stone that 
closed the mouth of the world below, was moved away on 
certain solemn days, the ghosts of the dead came up to the 
world above, and partook of the offerings of their friends. 3 
Among the Greeks, the Land of Hades was in the world 
below, nor was the thought unknown that it was the sunset 
realm of the Western god (irpfa ffnrepov deov). What Hades 
seemed like to the popular mind, Lucian thus describes : 
' The great crowd, indeed, whom the wise call " idiots," 
believing Homer and Hesiod, and the other myth-makers 
about these things, and setting up their poetry as a law, 
have supposed a certain deep place under the earth, Hades, 
and that it is vast, and roomy, and gloomy, and sunless, 
and how thought to be lighted up so as to behold every one 
within, I know not.' 4 In the ancient Egyptian doctrine of 
the future life, modelled on solar myth, the region of the 
departed combines the under- world and the west, Amenti ; 
the dead passes the gate of the setting sun to traverse the 
roads of darkness, and behold his father Osiris ; and with 

1 Mason, ' Karens,' I.e. p. 195 ; Cross, I.e. p. 313. Turanian examples 
in Castren, ' Finn. Myth." p. 119. 

2 See below, pp. 79, 85. 

3 Festus, s.v. ' manalis,' &c. 

4 Sophocl. (Edip. Tyrann. 178 ; Lucian. De Luctu, ^, See classic details 
in Pauly, ' Real-Encyclop.' art. ' inferi." 


this solar thought the Egyptian priests, representing in 
symbolic ceremony the scenes of the other world, carried 
the corpse in the sacred boat across to the burial-place, on 
the western side of the sacred lake. 1 So, too, the cavernous 
Sheol of the Israelites, the shadowy region of departed 
souls, lay deep below the earth. Through the great Aryan 
religious systems, Brahmanism, Zarathustrism, Buddhism, 
and onward into the range of Islam and of Christianity, 
subterranean hells of purgatory or punishment make the 
doleful contrast to heavens of light and glory. 

It is, however, a point worthy of special notice that the 
conception of hell as a fiery abyss, so familiar to the religions 
of the higher civilization, is all but unknown to savage 
thought, so much so that if met with, its genuineness is 
doubtful. Captain John Smith's ' History of Virginia,' 
published in 1624, contains two different accounts of the 
Indians' doctrine of a future life. Smith's own description 
is of a land beyond the mountains, toward sunset, where 
chiefs and medicine-men in paint and feathers shall smoke, 
and sing, and dance with their forefathers, while the common 
people have no life after death, but rot in their graves. 
Heriot's description is of tabernacles of the gods to which 
the good are taken up to perpetual happiness, while the 
wicked are carried to ' Popogusso,' a great pit which they 
think to be at the furthes parts of the world where the sun 
sets, and there burn continually. 1 Now knowing so much 
as we do of the religion of the Algonquins, to whom these 
Virginians belonged, we may judge that while the first 
account is genuinely native, though perhaps not quite cor- 
rectly understood, the second was borrowed by the Indians 
from the white men themselves. Yet even here the touch 
of solar myth is manifest, and the description of the fiery 
abyss in the region of sunset may be compared with one 

1 Birch in Bunsen's ' Egypt,' vol. v. ; Wilkinson, ' Ancient Eg.' vol. ii. 
p. 368 ; Alger, p. 101. , 

* Smith, ' History of Virginia,' in ' Works ' cd. bf Arber ; Pinkerton, 
vol. xiii. pp. 14, 41 ; vol. xii. p. $04 ; see below, p. 95. 


from our own country, in the Anglo-Saxon dialogue of 
Saturn and Solomon. ' Saga me forhwan byth seo sunne 
read on aefen ? Ic the secge, forthon heo locath on helle. 
Tell me, why is the sun red at even ? I tell thee, 
because she looketh on hell >l To the same belief belongs 
another striking mythic feature. The idea of volcanos 
being mouths of the under-world seems not unexampled 
among the lower races, for we hear of certain New Zealanders 
casting their dead down into a crater. 2 But in connexion 
with the thought of a gehenna of fire and brimstone, 
Vesuvius, Etna, and Hecla had spiritual as well as material 
terrors to the mind of Christendom, for they were believed 
to be places of purgatory or the very mouths of the pit 
where the souls of the damned were cast down. 3 The 
Indians of Nicaragua used in old times to offer human 
sacrifices to their volcano Masaya, flinging the corpses into 
the crater, and in later years, after the conversion of the 
country, we hear of Christian confessors sending their 
penitents to climb the mountain, and (as a glimpse of hell) 
to look down upon the molten lava. 4 

Fourthly, in old times and new, it has come into men's 
minds to fix upon the sun and moon as abodes of departed 
souls. When we have learnt from the rude Natchez of the 
Mississippi and the Apalaches of Florida that the sun is 
the bright dwelling of departed chiefs and braves, and have 
traced like thoughts on into the theologies of Mexico and 
Peru, then we may compare these savage doctrines with 
Isaac Taylor's ingenious supposition in his ' Physical 
Theory of Another Life,' the sun of each planetary S3^stem 
is the house of the higher and ultimate spiritual corporeity, 
and the centre of assembly to those who have passed on the 
planets their preliminary, era of corruptible organization. 
Or perhaps some may prefer the Rev. Tobias Swinden's 

1 Thorpe, ' Analecta Anglo-Saxonica,' p. 115. 

2 Schirren, p. 151. See Taylor, ' N. Z.' p. 525. 

* Meiners, vol. ii. p. 781 ; Maury, ' Magic,' &c. p. 170. 

* Oviedo, ' Nicaragua,' p. 160 ; Brinton, p. 288. 


book, published in the last century, and translated into 
French and German, which proved the sun to be hell, and 
its dark spots gatherings of damned souls. 1 And when in 
South America the Saliva Indians have pointed out the 
moon, their paradise where no mosquitos are, and the 
Guaycurus have shown it as the home of chiefs and 
medicine-men deceased, and the Polynesians of Tokelau in 
like manner have claimed it as the abode of departed kings 
and chiefs, then these pleasant fancies may be compared 
with Plutarch's description of the virtuous souls who after 
purification in the middle space gain their footing on the 
moon, and there are crowned as victors. 8 The converse 
notion of the moon as the seat of hell, has been elaborated 
in profoundest bathos by Mr. M. F. Tupper : 

' I know thee well. Moon, thou cavern'd realm, 
Sad Satellite, thou e iant ash of death, 
Blot on God's firmament, pale home of crime, 
Scarr'd prison-house of sin, where damned souls 
Feed upon punishment. Oh, thought sublime, 
That amid night's black deeds, when evil prowls 
Through the broad world, thou, watching sinners well, 
Glarest o'er all, the wakeful eye of Hell ! ' 

Skin for skin, the brown savage is not ill matched in such 
speculative lore with the white philosopher. 

Fifthly, as Paradise on the face of the earth, and Hades 
beneath it where the sun goes down, are regions whose 
existence is asserted or not denied by savage and barbaric 
science, so it is with Heaven. Among the examples which 
display for us the real course of knowledge among mankind, 
and the real relation which primitive bears to later culture, 
the belief in the existence of a firmament is one of the most 

1 J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrel.' p. 138, see also 220 (Caribs), 402 (Peru), 
505, 660 (Mexico) ; Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 233 ; Taylor, 
' Physical Theory,' ch. xvi. ; Alger, ' Future Life,' p. 590 ; see also above, 
p. 1 6, note. 

1 Humboldt and Bonpland, ' Voy.' vol. v. p. 90 ; Martius, ' Ethnog. 
Amer.' vol. i. p. 233 j Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 531 ; Plutarch. De Facie in 
Orbe Luna- ; Bastian, ' Psychologic,' pp. 80, 89 (souls in stars). 


instructive. It arises naturally in the minds of children 
still, and in accordance with the simplest childlike thought, 
the cosmologies of the North American Indians l and the 
South Sea Islanders * describe their flat earth arched over 
by the solid vault of heaven. Like thoughts are to be 
traced on through such details as the Zulu idea that the 
blue heaven is a rock encircling the earth, inside which are 
the sun, moon, and stars, and outside which dwell the 
people of heaven ; the modern negro's belief that there is a 
firmament stretched above like a cloth or web ; the Finnish 
poem which tells how Ilmarinen forged the firmament of 
finest steel, and set in it the moon and stars. 3 The New 
Zealander, with his notion of a solid firmament, through 
which the waters can be let down on earth through a crack 
or hole from the reservoir of rain above, could well explain 
the passage in Herodotus concerning that place in North 
Africa where, as the Libyans said, the sky is pierced, as 
well as the ancient Jewish conception of a firmament of 
heaven, ' strong as a molten mirror,' with its windows 
through which the rain pours down in deluge from the 
reservoirs above, windows which late Rabbinical literature 
tells us were made by taking out two stars. 4 In nations 
where the theory of the firmament prevails, accounts of 
bodily journeys or spiritual ascents to heaven are in general 
meant not as figure, but as fact. Among the lower races, 
the tendency to localize the region of departed souls above 
the sky seems less strong than that which leads them to 
place their world of the dead on or below the earth's sur- 
face. Yet some well-marked descriptions of a savage 

1 See Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part i. pp. 269, 311; Smith, ' Virginia,' 
in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. p. 54 ; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 223 ; Squier, ' Abor. Mon. 
of N. Y.' p. 156 ; Catlin, ' N. A. Ind.' vol. i. p. 180. 

1 Mariner, 'Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 134; Turner, 'Polynesia,' p. 103; 
Taylor, ' New Zealand,' pp. 101, 114, 256. 

3 Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 393 ; Burton, ' W. and W. fr. W. Afr.' 
p. 454 ; Castr^n, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 295. 

4 Herodot, iv. 158, see 185, and Rawiin son's note. See Smith's ' Die. of 
the Bible,' s.v. ' firmament.' Eisenmenger, part i. p. 408. 


Heaven are on record, the following, and others to be cite 
presently. Even some Australians seem to think of goir 
up to the clouds at death, to eat and drink, and hunt an< 
fish as here. 1 In North America, the Winnebagos placed 
their paradise in the sky, where souls travel along that 
' Path of the Dead ' which we call the Milky Way ; and 
working out the ever-recurring solar idea, the modern 
Iroquois speak of the soul going upward and westward, till 
it comes out on the beauteous plains of heaven, with people 
and trees and things as on earth.* In South America the 
Guarayos, representatives in some sort of the past condition 
of the Guarani race, worship Tamoi the Grandfather, the 
Ancient of Heaven ; he was their first ancestor, who lived 
among them in old days and taught them to till the ground; 
then rising to heaven in the East he disappeared, having 
promised to be the helper of his people on earth, and to 
transport them, when they died, from the top of a sacred 
tree into another life, where they shall find their kindred 
and have hunting in plenty, and possess all that they 
possessed on earth; therefore it is that the Guarayos adorn 
their dead, and burn their weapons for them, and bury 
them with their faces to the East, whither they are to go.* 
Among American peoples whose culture rose to a higher 
level than that of these savage tribes, we hear of the 
Peruvian Heaven, the glorious ' Upper World,' and of 
the temporary abode of Aztec warriors on heavenly wooded 
plains, where the sun shines when it is night on earth, 
wherefore it was a Mexican saying that the sun goes at 
evening to lighten the dead.* What thoughts of heaven 
were in the minds of the old Aryan poets, this hymn 
from the Rig- Veda may show : 

1 Eyre, ' Australia,' vol. ii. p. 367. 

* Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribe*,' part iv. p. 240 (but compare part v. 
p. 403) ; Morgan, ' Iroquois,' p. 176 ; Sproat, ' Savage Life,' p. 209. 

* D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Americain,' vol. ii. pp. 319, 328 ; see Martius, 
vol. i. p. 485 (Jumanas). 

4 J. G. Muller, p. 403 ; Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 496 ; Kings- 
borough, ' Mexico,' Cod. Letellier, fol. 20. 


' Where there is eternal light, in the world where the sun is placed, in that 
immortal imperishable world place me, O Soma ! 

Where king Vaivasvata reigns, where the secret place of heaven is, where 
these mighty waters are, there make me immortal ! 

Where life is free, in the third heaven of heavens, where the worlds are 
radiant, there make me immortal ! 

Where wishes and desires are, where the place of the bright sun is, where 
there is freedom and delight, there make me immortal ! 

Where there is happiness and delight, where joy and pleasure reside, 
where the desires of our desire are attained, there make me immortal ! ' x 

In such bright vague thoughts from the poet's religion of 
nature, or in cosmic schemes of ancient astronomy, with 
their artificial glories of barbaric architecture exaggerated 
in the skies, or in the raptures of mystic vision, or in 
the calmer teaching of the theologic doctrine of a future 
life, descriptions of realms of blessed souls in heaven are 
to be followed through the religions of the Brahman, the 
Buddhist, the Parsi, the later Jew, the Moslem, and the 

For the object, not of writing a handbook of religions, 
but of tracing the relation which the religion of savages 
bears to the religion of cultured nations, these details are 
enough to show the general line of human thought regard- 
ing the local habitations of departed souls. It seems plain 
from the most cursory inspection of these various localiza- 
tions, however much we may consider them as inherited or 
transmitted from people to people in the complex move- 
ments of theological history, that they are at any rate not 
derived from any single religion accepted among ancient or 
primaeval men. They bear evident traces of independent 
working out in the varied definition of the region of souls, 
as on earth among men, on earth in some distant country, 
below the earth, above or Treyond the sky. Similar ideas 
of this kind are found in different lands, but this simi- 

1 Max Muller, ' Chips,' vol. i. p. 46 ; Roth in ' Zeitschr. d. Deutsch. 
Morgenl. Ges.' vol. iv. p. 427. 

li r 


larity seems in large measure due to independent re- 
currence of thoughts so obvious. Not less is independent 
fancy compatible with the ever-recurring solar myth in such 
ideas, placing the land of Death in the land of Evening or 
of Night, and its entrance at the gates of Sunset. Barbaric 
poets of many a distant land must have gazed into the West 
to read the tale of Life and Death, and tell it of Man. If, 
however, we look more closely into the stages of intellectual 
history to which these theories of the Future World belong, 
it will appear that the assignment of the realm of departed 
souls to the three great regions, Earth, Hades, Heaven, has 
not been uniform. Firstly, the doctrine of a land of souls 
on Earth belongs widely and deeply to savage culture, but 
dwindles in the barbaric stage, and survives but feebly into 
the mediaeval. Secondly, the doctrine of a subterranean 
Hades holds as large a place as this in savage belief , and 
has held it firmly along the course of higher religions, 
where, however, this under- world is looked on less and less 
as the proper abode of the dead, but rather as the dismal 
place of purgatory and hell. Lastly, the doctrine of a 
Heaven, floored upon a firmament, or placed in the upper 
air, seems in early savage belief less common than the other 
two, but yields to neither of them in its vigorous retention 
by the thought of modern nations. These local theories 
appear to be taken, firstly and mostly, in the most absolute 
literal sense, and although, under the influence of physical 
science, much that was once distinctly-meant philosophy has 
now passed among theologians into imagery and metaphor, 
yet at low levels of knowledge the new canons of interpre- 
tation find little acceptance, and even in modern Europe the 
rude cosmology of the lower races in no small measure 
retains its place. 

Turning now to consider the state of the departed in 
these their new homes, we have to examine the definitions 
of the Future Life which prevail through the religions of 
mankind. In these doctrines there is much similarity 
caused by the spreading of established beliefs into new 


countries, and also much similarity that is beyond what 
such transmission can account for. So there is much variety 
due to local colour and circumstance, and also much variety 
beyond the reach of such explanation. The main causes of 
both similarity and variety seem to lie far deeper, in the 
very origin and inmost meaning of the doctrines. The 
details of the future life, among the lower races and up- 
wards, are no heterogeneous mass of arbitrary fancies. 
Classified, they range themselves naturally round central 
ideas, in groups whose correspondence seems to indicate the 
special course of their development. Amongst the pictures 
into which this world has shaped its expectations of the 
next, two great conceptions are especially to be discerned. 
The one is that the future life is, as it were, a reflexion of 
this ; in a new world, perhaps of dreamy beauty, perhaps 
of ghostly gloom, men are to retain their earthly forms and 
their earthly conditions, to have around them their earthly 
friends, to possess their earthly property, to carry on their 
earthly occupations. The other is that the future life is a 
compensation for this, where men's conditions are re-allotted 
as the consequence, and especially as the reward or punish- 
ment, of their earthly life. The first of these two ideas we 
may call (with Captain Burton) the ' continuance-theory,' 
contrasting with it the second as the ' retribution-theory.' 
Separately or combined, these two doctrines are the keys 
of the subject, and by grouping typical examples under 
their two headings, it will be possible to survey systematic- 
ally man's most characteristic schemes of his life beyond 
the grave. 

To the doctrine of Continuance belongs especially the 
savage view of the spirit-land, that it is as the dream- 
land where the souls of the living so often go to visit 
the souls of the dead. There the soul of the dead' Karen, 
with the souls of his axe and cleaver, builds his house 
and cuts his rice ; the shade of the Algonquin hunter 
hunts souls of beaver and elk, walking on the souls of 
his snow-shoes over the soul of the snow ; the fur-wrapped 


Kamchadal drives his dog-sledge ; the Zulu milks his 
cows and drives his cattle to kraal ; South American 
tribes live on, whole or mutilated, healthy or sick, as 
they left this world, leading their old lives, and having 
their wives with them again, though indeed, as the Arau- 
canians said, they "have no more children, for they are but 
souls. 1 Soul-land is dream-land in its shadowy unreal 
pictures, for which, nevertheless, material reality so plainly 
furnished the models, and it is dream-land also in its vivid 
idealization of the soberer thoughts and feelings of waking 

' There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight, 

To me did seem 
ApparelTd in celestial light, 
The glory and the freshness of a dream.' 

Well might the Mohawk Indian describe the good land of 
paradise, as he had seen it in a dream. The shade of the 
Ojibwa follows a wide and beaten path that leads toward the 
West, he crosses a deep and rapid water, and reaching a 
country full of game and all things the Indian covets, he 
joins his kindred in their long lodge. 2 So, on the southern 
continent, the Bolivian Yuracares will go, all of them, to a 
future life where there will be plenty of hunting, and 
Brazilian forest-tribes will find a pleasant forest full of 
calabash-trees and game, where the souls of the dead will 
live happily in company. 3 The Greenlanders hoped that 
their souls pale, soft, disembodied forms which the living 
could not grasp would lead a life better than that of earth, 
and never ceasing. It might be in heaven, reached by the 

1 Cross, ' Karens,' I.e. pp. 309, 313 ; Le Jeune in ' Rel. des Jis.' 1634, 
p. 16 ; Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 272 ; Callaway, ' Zulu Tales,' vol. i. p. 316; 
Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. ii. pp. 310, 315 ; J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrel.' 
pp. 139,286. 

1 Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 224 ; Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part ii. 

P- 135- 

3 D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Amlricain,' vol. i. p. 364 ; Spix and Martius, 
' Brasilien,' vol. i. p. 383 ; De Laet, Novus Orbis, xv. 2. 


rainbow, where the souls pitch their tents round the great 
lake rich in fish and fowl, the lake whose waters above the 
firmament overflowing make rain on earth, and if its banks 
broke, there would be another deluge. But gaining the 
most and best of their living from the depths of the sea, 
they were also apt to think the land of Torngarsuk to be 
below the sea or earth, and to be entered by the deep holes 
in the rocks. Perpetual summer is there, ever beauteous 
sunshine, and no night, good water and superfluity of birds 
and fish, seals and reindeer to be caught without difficulty, 
or found alive seething in a great kettle. 1 In the Kimbunda 
country of South- West Africa, souls live on in ' Kalunga,' 
the world where it is day when it is night here ; and with 
plenty of food and drink, and women to serve them, and 
hunting and dancing for pastime, they lead a life which 
seems a corrected edition of this.* On comparison of these 
pictures of the future life with such as have expressed the 
longings of more cultured nations, there appear indeed 
different details, but the principle is ever the same the 
idealization of earthly good. The Norseman's ideal is 
sketched in the few broad touches which show him in Wal- 
halla, where he and the other warriors without number ride 
forth arrayed each morning and hew each other on Odin's 
plain, till the slain have been ' chosen ' as in earthly battle, 
and meal-tide comes, and slayers and slain mount and ride 
home to feast on the everlasting boar, and drink mead and 
ale with the /Esir. 9 To understand the Moslem's mind, 
we must read the two chapters of the Koran where the 
Prophet describes the faithful in the garden of delights, 
reclining on their couches of gold and gems, served by 
children ever young, with bowls of liquor whose fumes will 
npt rise into the drinkers' heads, living among the thorn- 
less lotus-trees and date-palms loaded to the ground, feasting 
on the fruits they love and the meat of the rarest birds, 
with the houris near them with beautiful black eyes, like 

1 Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 258. Magyar, ' Siid-Afrika,' p. 336. 

8 Edda : ' Gylfaginning." 


pearls in the shell, where no idle or wicked speech is heard, 
but only the words ' Peace, Peace.' 

' They who fear the judgment of God shall have two gardens. 
Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? 
Adorned with groves. 

Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? 
In each of them shall spring two fountains. 
Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? 
In each of them shall grow two kinds of fruits. 
Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? 
They shall lie on carpets brocaded with silk and embroidered with gold ; 

the fruits of the two gardens shall be near, easy to pluck. 
Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? 
There shall be young virgins with modest looks, unprofaned by man or 


Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? 
They are like jacinth and coral. 
Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? 
What is the recompence of good, if not good ? 
Which of the benefits of God will ye deny ? ' &c. l 

With these descriptions of Paradise idealized on secular 
life, it is interesting to compare others which bear the im- 
press of a priestly caste, devising a heaven after their 
manner. We can almost see the faces of the Jewish rabbis 
settling their opinions about the high schools in the firma- 
ment of heaven, where Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai and the 
great Rabbi Eliezer teach Law and Talmud as they taught 
when they were here below, and masters and learners go 
prosing on with the weary old disputations of cross question 
and crooked answer that pleased their souls on earth. 8 Nor 
less suggestively do the Buddhist heavens reflect the minds 
of the ascetics who devised them. As in their thoughts 
sensual pleasure seemed poor and despicable in comparison 
with mystic inward joy, rising and rising till consciousness 
fades in trance, so, above their heavens of millions of years 
of mere divine happiness, they raised other ranges of 
heavens where sensual pain and pleasure cease, and enjoy- 

1 ' Koran,' ch. Iv. Ivi. 

* Eisenmenger, ' Entdecktes Judenthum,' part i. p. 7. 


Ihent becomes intellectual, till at a higher grade even bodily 
form is gone, and after the last heaven of ' Neither- 
consciousness-nor-unconsciousness ' there follows Nirwana, 
as ecstasy passes into swoon. 1 

But the doctrine of the continuance of the soul's life has 
another and a gloomier side. There are conceptions of an 
abode of the deadapharacterized not so much by dreaminess 
as by ghostliness. The realm of shades, especially if it be 
a cavern underground, has seemed a dim and melancholy 
place to the dwellers in this ' white world/ as the Russian 
calls the land of the living. One description of the Hurons 
tells how the other world, with its hunting and fishing, its 
much-prized hatchets and robes and necklaces, is like this 
world, yet day and night the souls groan and lament. 2 
Thus the region of Mictlan, the subterranean land of Hades 
whither the general mass of the Mexican nation, high and 
low, expected to descend from the natural death-bed, was an 
abode looked forward to with resignation, but scarcely with 
cheerfulness. At the funeral the survivors were bidden not 
to mourn too much, the dead was reminded that he had 
passed and suffered the labours of this life, transitory as 
when one warms himself in the sun, and he was bidden to 
have no care or anxiety to return to his kinsfolk now that 
he has departed for ever and aye, for his consolation must 
be that they too will end their labours, and go whither he 
has gone before. 3 Among the Basutos, where the belief in 
a future life in Hades is general, some imagine in this under- 
world valleys ever green, and herds of hornless speckled 
cattle owned by the dead ; but it seems more generally 
thought that the shades wander about in silent calm, 
experiencing neither joy nor sorrow. Moral retribution 
there is none. 4 The Hades of the West African seems no 

1 Hardy, ' Manual of Budhism,' pp. 5, 24 ; Koppen, ' Rel. des Buddha,' 
vol. i. p. 235, &c. 

1 Brebeuf in ' Rel. des Je"s." 1636, p. 105. 

* Sahagun, ' Hist, de Nueva Espana,' book iii. appendix ch. i., in Kings- 
borough, vol. vii. ; Brasseur, vol. iii. p. 571. 

4 Casalis, ' Basutos,' pp. 247, 254. 


ecstatic paradise, to judge by Captain Burton's description: 
' It was said of the old Egyptians that they lived rather in 
Hades than upon the banks of the Nile. The Dahomans 
declare that this world is man's plantation, the next is his 
home, a home which, however, no one visits of his own 
accord. They of course own no future state of rewards 
and punishment : there the King will te a King, and the 
slave a slave for ever. Ku-to-men, or Deadman's land, the 
Dahoman's other but not better world, is a country of 
ghosts, of umbrae, who, like the spirits of the nineteenth 
century in Europe, lead a quiet life, except when by means 
of mediums they are drawn into the drawing-rooms of the 
living.' With some such hopeless expectation the neigh- 
bours of the Dahomans, the Yorubas, judge the life to come 
in their simple proverb that ' A corner in this world is 
better than a corner in the world of spirits.' 1 The Finns, 
who feared the ghosts of the departed as unkind, harmful 
beings, fancied them dwelling with their bodies in the grave, 
or else, with what Castren thinks a later philosophy, assigned 
them their dwelling in the subterranean Tuonela. Tuonela 
was like this upper earth, the sun shone there, there was no 
lack of land and water, wood and field, tilth and meadow, 
there were bears and wolves, snakes and pike, but all things 
were of a hurtful, dismal kind, the woods dark and swarm- 
ing with wild beasts, the water black, the cornfields bearing 
seed of snakes' teeth, and there stern pitiless old Tuoni, 
and his grim wife and son with the hooked fingers with iron 
points, kept watch and ward over the dead lest they should 
escape.* Scarce less dismal was the classic ideal of the 
dark realm below, whither the shades of the dead must go 
to join the many gone before (e's irAcoVuv iKr0cu; penetrare 
ad plures ; andare tra i piu). The Roman Orcus holds the 
pallid souls, rapacious Orcus, sparing neither good nor bad. 

1 Burton, ' Dahomc,' vol. ii. p. 156 ; ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 403 ; ' Wit 
and Wisdom from W. Afr.' pp. 280, 449 ; see J. G. Miiller, p. 140. 

2 Castren, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 126, &c. ; Kalewala, Rune xv. xvi. xlv. &c. ; 
Meiners, vol. ii. p. 780. 


Gloomy is the Greek land of Hades, dark dwelling of the 
images of departed mortals, where the shades carry at once 
their living features and their dying wounds, and glide and 
cluster and whisper, and lead the shadow of a life. Like 
the savage hunter on his ghostly prairie, the great Orion 
still bears his brazen mace, still chases over the meadows of 
asphodel the flying beasts he slew of yore in the lonely 
mountains. Like the rude African of to-day, the swift- 
footed Achilles scorns such poor, thin, shadowy life ; rather 
would he serve a mean man upon earth than be lord of all 
the dead. 

' Truly, oxen and goodly sheep may be taken for booty, 
Tripods, too, may be bought, and the yellow beauty of horses ; 
But from the fence of the teeth when once the soul is departed, 
Never cometh it back, regained by plunder or purchase.' * 

Where and what was Sheol, the dwelling of the ancient 
Jewish dead ? Of late years the Biblical critic has no longer 
to depend on passages of the Old Testament for realizing 
its conception, so plainly is it connected with the seven- 
circled Irkalla of the Babylonian- Assyrian religion, the 
gloomy subterranean abode whence there is no return for 
man, though indeed the goddess Isthar passed through its 
seven gates, and came back to earth from her errand of sav- 
ing all life from destruction. In the history of religions, few 
passages are more instructive than those in which the 
prophets of the Old Testament recognize the ancestral 
connexion of their own belief with the national religions of 
Babylon- Assyria, as united in the doctrine of a gloomy prison 
of ghosts, through whose gates Jew and Gentile alike must 
pass. Sheol (^WE'from ^>sr) is, as its name implies, a cavern- 
ous recess, yet it is no mere surface-grave or tomb, but an 
under-world of awful depth : ' High as Heaven, what doest 
thou ? deeper than Sheol, what knowest thou ? ' Asshur 
and all her company, Elam and all her multitude, the 

1 Homer. II. ix. 405 ; Odyss. xi. 218, 475 ; Virg. ^n. vi. 243, &c., &c. 


mighty fallen of the uncircumcised, lie there. The great 
king of Babylon must go down : 

' Sheol from beneath is moved because of thee, to meet thee at thy 

coming : 

He rouseth for thee the mighty dead, all the great chiefs of the earth ; 
He maketh to rise up from their thrones, all the kings of the nations. 
All of them shall accost thee, and shall say unto thee : 
Art thou, even thou too, became weak as we ? Art thou made like 
unto us ? ' 

To the Greek Septuagint, Sheol was Hades, and for this 
the Coptic translators had their long-inherited Egyptian 
name of Amenti, while the Vulgate renders it as Infernus, 
the lower regions. The Gothic Ulfilas, translating the 
Hades of the New Testament, could use Halja in its old 
German sense of the dim shadowy home of the dead below 
the earth ; and the corresponding word Hell, if this its 
earlier sense be borne in mind, fairly translates Sheol 
and Hades in the English version of the Old and New 
Testament, though the word has become misleading to un- 
educated ears by being used also in the sense of Gehenna, 
the place of torment. The early Hebrew historians and 
prophets, holding out neither the hope of everlasting glory 
nor the fear of everlasting agony as guiding motives for 
man's present life, lay down little direct doctrine of a future 
state, yet their incidental mentions justify the translators 
who regard Sheol as Hades. Sheol is a special locality where 
dead men go to their dead ancestors : ' And Isaac gave up 
the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people . . . 
and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.' Abraham, 
though not even buried in the land of his forefathers, is thus 
' gathered unto his people ; ' and Jacob has no thought of 
his body being laid with Joseph's body, torn by wild beasts 
in the wilderness, when he says, ' I shall go down to my 
son mourning to Sheol (Vs <?8oi/ in the LXX., ' &peset 
amenti ' in the Coptic, ' in infernum ' in the Vulgate). 
The rephaim, the ' shades ' of the dead, who dwell in 
Sheol, love not to be disturbed from their rest by the 


necromancer ; ' And Samuel said to Saul, why hast thou 
disquieted me to bring me up ? ' Yet their quiet is con- 
trasted in a tone of sadness with the life on earth ; ' What- 
soever thy hand fmdeth to do, do it with thy might ; for 
there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor widsom, 
in Sheol, whither thou goest.' 1 Such thoughts of the life 
of the shades below did not disappear when, in the later 
years of the Jewish nation, the great change in the doctrine 
of the future life passed in so large a measure over the 
Hebrew mind, their earlier thoughts of ghostly continuance 
giving place to the doctrines of resurrection and retribu- 
tion. The ancient ideas have even held their place on into 
Christian thought, in pictures like that of the Limbus 
Patrum, the Hades where Christ descended to set free the 

The Retribution-theory of the future life comprises in a 
general way the belief in different grades of future happiness, 
especially in different regions of the other world allotted to 
men according to their lives in this. This doctrine of re- 
tribution is, as we have already seen, far from universal 
among mankind, many races recognizing the idea of a spirit 
outliving the body, without considering the fate of this 
spirit to depend at all upon the conduct of the living man. 
The doctrine of retribution indeed hardly seems an original 
part of the doctrine of the future life. On the contrary, if 
we judge that men in a primitive state of culture arrived at 
the notion of a surviving spirit, and that some races, but by 
no means all, afterwards reached the further stage of re- 
cognizing a retribution for deeds done in the body, this 
theory will not, so far as I know, !>e discountenanced by 
facts. 2 Even among the higher savages, however, a con- 

1 Gen. xxxv. 29 ; xxv. 8 ; xxxvii. 35 ; Job xi. 8 ; Amos ix. 2 ; Psalm 
Ixxxix. 48 ; Ezek. xxxi., xxxii. ; Isaiah xiv. 9, xxxviii. 10-18 ; i Sam., 
xxviii. 15 ; Eccles. ix. 10. ' Records of the Past,' vol. i. pp. 141-9 ; Sayce 
'Lectures on Hist, of Rel.' part ii. ; Alger, ' Critical History of the Doctrine 
of a Future Life,' ch. viii. 

8 The doctrine of reversal, as in Kamchatka, where rich and poor will 
thange places in the other world (Steller, pp. 269-72), is too exceptional in 
che lower culture to be generalized. See Steinhauser, ' Rel. des Negers,' 


nexion between man's life and his happiness or misery after 
death is often held as a definite article of theology, and 
thence it is to be traced onward through barbaric religions, 
and into the very heart of Christianity. Yet the grounds 
of good and evil in the future life are so far from uniform 
among the religions of the world, that they may differ 
widely within what is considered one and the same creed. 
The result is more definite than the cause, the end than the 
means. Men who alike look forward to a region of un- 
earthly happiness beyond the grave, hope to reach that 
happy land by roads so strangely different, that the path of 
life which leads one nation to eternal bliss may seem to the 
next the very descent into the pit. In noticing among 
savage and barbaric peoples the qualifications which deter- 
mine future happiness, we may with some distinctness 
define these as being excellence, valour, social rank, re- 
ligious ordinance. On the whole, however, in the religions 
of the lower range of culture, unless where they may have 
been affected by contact with higher religions, the destiny 
of the man after death seems hardly to turn on judicial 
reward or punishment for his moral conduct in life. Such 
difference as is made between the future conditions of 
different classes of souls, seems more often to belong to a 
remarkable intermediate doctrine, standing between the 
earlier continuance-theory and the later retribution-theory. 
The idea of the next life being similar to this seems to have 
developed into the idea that what gives prosperity and re- 
nown here will give it also there, so that earthly conditions 
carry on their contrasts into the changed world after death. 
Thus a man's condition after death will be a result of, 
rather than a compensation or retribution for, his condition 
during life. A comparison of doctrines held at various 
stages of culture may justify a tentative speculation as to 
their actual sequence in history, favouring the opinion that 

1. c., p. 135. A Wolof proverb is ' The more powerful one is in this world, 
the more servile one will be in the next.' (Burton, ' Wit and Wisdom/ 
p. 28.) 


through such an intermediate stage the doctrine of simple 
future existence was actually developed into the doctrine of 
future reward and punishment, a transition which for deep 
import to human life has scarcely its rival in the history of 

The effect of earthly rank on the future life, as looked at 
by the lower races, brings out this intermediate stage in 
bold relief. Mere transfer from one life to another makes 
chiefs and slaves here chiefs and slaves hereafter, and this 
natural doctrine is very usual. But there are cases in 
which earthly caste is exaggerated into utter difference in 
the life to come. The aerial paradise of Raiatea, with its 
fragrant ever-blooming flowers, its throngs of youths and 
girls all perfection, its luxurious feasts and merrymakings, 
were for the privileged orders of Areois and chiefs who 
could pay the priests their heavy charges, but hardly for the 
common populace. This idea reached its height in the 
Tonga islands, where aristocratic souls would pass to take 
their earthly rank and station in the island paradise of 
Bolotu, while plebeian souls, if indeed they existed, would 
die with the plebeian bodies they dwelt in. 1 In Vancouver's 
Island, the Ahts fancied Quawteaht's calm sunny plenteous 
land in the sky as the resting-place of high chiefs, who live 
in one great house as the Creator's guests, while the slain 
in battle have another to themselves. But otherwise all 
Indians of low degree go deep down under the earth to the 
land of Chay-her, with its poor houses and no salmon and 
small deer, and blankets so small and thin that when the 
dead are buried the friends often bury blankets with them, 
to send them to the world below with the departed soul. 1 
The expectation of royal dignity in the life after death, dis- 
tinct from the fate of ordinary mortals, comes well into view 
among the Natchez of Louisiana, where the sun-descended 
royal family would in some way return to the Sun ; thus 

1 Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. pp. 245, 397 ; see also Turner, ' Polynesia,' 
p. 237 (Samoans) ; Mariner, ' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 105. 
* Sproat, ' Savage Life,' p. 209. 


also in the mightier empire of Peru, where each sun- 
descended Inca, feeling the approach of death, announce( 
to his assembled vassals that he was called to heaven to rest 
with his father the Sun. 1 But in the higher religions, the 
change in this respect from the doctrine of continuance to 
the doctrine of retribution is wonderful in its completeness. 
The story of that great lady who strengthened her hopes of 
future happiness by the assurance, ' They will think twice 
before they refuse a person of my condition,' is a mere jest 
to modern ears. Yet, like many other modern jest, it is 
only an archaism which in an older stage of culture had in 
it nothing ridiculous. 

To the happy land of Torngarsuk the Great Spirit, says 
Cranz, only such Greenlanders came as have been valiant 
workers, for other ideas of virtue they have none ; such as 
have done great deeds, taken many whales and seals, borne 
much hardship, been drowned at sea, or died in childbirth. 1 
Thus Charlevoix says of the Indians further south, that 
their claim to hunt after death on the prairies of eternal 
spring is to have been good hunters and warriors here. 
Lescarbot, speaking of the belief among the Indians of 
Virginia that after death the good will be at rest and the 
wicked in pain, remarks that their enemies are the wicked 
and themselves the good, so that in their opinion they are 
after death much at their ease, and principally when they 
have well defended their country and slain their enemies. 8 
So Jean de Lery said of the rude Tubinambas of Brazil, 
they they think the souls of such as have lived virtuously, 
that is to say, who have well avenged themselves and eaten 
many of their enemies, will go behind the great mountains 
and dance in beautiful gardens with the souls of their 
fathers, but the souls of the effeminate and worthless, who 

1 ' Rec. des Voy. au Nord,** vol. v. p. 23 (Natchez) ; Garcilaso de la Vega, 
' Commentaries Reales,' lib. i. c. 23, tr. by C. R. Markham ; Prescott, 
' Peru,' vol. i. pp. 29, 83 ; J. G. Miiller, p. 402, &c. 

1 Cranz, Gronland,' p. 259. 

3 Charlevoix, ' Nouvelle France,' vol. vi. p. 77 ; Lescarbot, ' Hist, de la 
Nouvelle France,' Paris, 1619, p. 679. 


have not striven to defend their country, will go to Aygnan 
the Evil Spirit, to incessant torments. 1 More characteristic 
and probably more genuinely native than most of these 
expectations, is that of the Caribs, that the braves of their 
nation should go after death to happy islands, where all 
good fruits grow wild, there to spend their time in dancing 
and feasting, and to have their enemies the Arawaks for 
slaves ; but the cowards who feared to go to war should go 
to serve the Arawaks, dwelling in their waste and barren 
lands beyond the mountains. 2 

The fate of warriors slain in battle is the subject of two 
singularly contrasted theories. We have elsewhere ex- 
amined the deep-lying belief that if a man's body be 
wounded or mutilated, his soul will arrive in the same state 
in the other world. Perhaps it is some such idea of the 
soul being injured with the body by a violent death, that 
leads the Mintira of the Malay Peninsula, though not 
believing in a future reward and punishment, to exclude 
from the happy paradise of ' Fruit Island ' (Pulo Bua) the 
souls of such as die a bloody death, condemning them to 
dwell on ' Red Land ' (Tana Mera), a desolate barren 
place, whence they must even go to the fortunate island to 
fetch their food. 3 In North America, the idea is mentioned 
among the Hurons that the souls of the slain in war live in 
a band apart, neither they nor suicides being admitted to 
the spirit-villages of their tribe. A belief ascribed to certain 
Indians of California may be cited here, though less as a 
sample of real native doctrine than to illustrate that borrow- 
ing of Christian ideas which so often spoils such evidence 
for ethnological purposes. They held, it is said, that 
Niparaya, the Great Spirit, hates war, and will have no 
warriors in his paradise, but that his adversary Wac, shut 
up for rebellion in a great cave, takes thither to himself the 

Lery, ' Hist, d'un Voy. en Bre"sil,' p. 234 ; Coreal, ' Voi. aux Indes Occ.' 
i. p. 224. 

Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 430. 
' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. p. 325. 


slain in battle. 1 On the other hand, the thought which shows 
out in such bold relief in the savage mind, that courage is 
virtue, and battle and bloodshed the hero's noblest pursuit, 
leads naturally to a hope of glory for his soul when his 
body has been slain in fight. Such expectation was not 
strange in North America, to that Indian tribe, for instance, 
who talked of the Great Spirit walking in the moonlight on 
his island in Lake Superior, whither slain warriors will go 
to him to take their pleasure in the chace. 2 The Nicara- 
guans declared that men who died in their houses went 
underground, but the slain in war went to serve the gods in 
the east, where the sun comes from. This corresponds in 
part with a remarkable threefold contrast of the future 
life among their Aztec kinsfolk. Mictlan, the Hades of the 
general dead, and Tlalocan, the Earthly Paradise, reached 
by certain special and acute ways of death, have been 
mentioned here already. But the souls of warriors slain in 
battle or sacrificed as captives, and of women who died in 
child-birth, were transported to the heavenly plains ; there 
the heroes, peeping through the holes in their buck'srs 
pierced by arrows in earthly fight, watched the Sun arise and 
saluted him with shout and clash of arms, and at noon the 
mothers received him with music and dance to escort him 
on his western way. 8 In such wise, to the old Norseman, 
to die the ' straw-death ' of sickness or old age was to go 
down into the dismal loathly house of Hela the Death- 
goddess ; if the warrior's fate on the field of battle were 
denied him, and death came to fetch him from a peaceful 
couch, yet at least he could have the scratch of the spear, 
Odin's mark, and so contrive to go with a blood-stained 
soul to the glorious Walhalla. Surely then if ever, says a 

1 Brebeuf in ' Rel. des Je"s.' 1636, p. 104 ; see also Meiners, vol. ii. p. 769 ; 
J. G. Miiller, pp. 89, 139. 

* Chateaubriand, ' Voy. en Ame'riquc ' (Religion). 

1 Oviedo, ' Nicaragua,' p. 22 ; Torquemada, ' Monarquia Indiana,' book 
xiii. c. 48 ; Sahagun, book iii. app. ch. i.-iii. in Kingsborough, vol. vii. 
Compare Anderson, ' Exp. to W. Yunnan,' p. 125. (Shans, good men and 
mothers dying in child-birth to heaven, bad men and those killed by the 
sword to hell.) 


modern writer, the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, 
and the violent took it by force. 1 Thence we follow the 
idea onward to the battle-fields of holy war, where the 
soldier earned with his blood the unfading crown of martyr- 
dom, and Christian and Moslem were urged in mutual onset 
and upheld in agony by the glimpse of paradise opening to 
receive the slayer of the infidel. 

Such ideas, current among the lower races as to the 
soul's future happiness or misery, do not seem, setting 
aside some exceptional points, to be thoughts adopted or 
degraded from doctrines of cultured nations. They rather 
belong to the intellectual stratum in which they are found. 
If so, we must neither ignore nor exaggerate their standing 
in the lower ethics. ' The good are good warriors and 
hunters,' said a Pawnee chief ; whereupon the author who 
mentions the saying remarks that this would also be the 
opinion of a wolf, if he could express it. 2 Nevertheless, 
if experience has led societies of savage men to fix on 
certain qualities, such as courage, skill, and industry, as 
being virtues, then many moralists will say that such a 
theory is not only ethical, but lying at the very foundation 
of ethics. And if these savage societies further conclude 
that such virtues obtain their reward in another world 
as in this, then their theories of future happiness and 
misery, destined for what they call good and bad men, may 
be looked on in this sense as belonging to morality, 
though at no high stage of development. But many or 
most writers, when they mention morality, assume a 
narrower definition of it. This must be borne in mind in 
appreciating what is meant by the statements of several 
well-qualified ethnologists, who have, in more or less degree, 
denied a moral character to the future retribution as con- 
ceived in savage religion. Mr. Ellis, describing the Society 
Islanders, at least gives an explicit definition.. When he 
tried to ascertain whether they connected a person's con- 

1 Alger, ' Future Life,' p. 93. 

2 Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 300. 

II. G 


dition in a future state with his disposition and conduct in 
this, he never could learn that they expected in the world 
of spirits any difference in the treatment of a kind, gene- 
rous, peaceful man, and that of a cruel, parsimonious, 
quarrelsome one. 1 This remark, it seems to me, applies to 
savage religion far and wide. Dr. Brinton, commenting on 
the native religions of America, draws his line in a some- 
what different place. Nowhere, he says, was any well- 
defined doctrine that moral turpitude was judged and 
punished in the next world. No contrast is discoverable 
between a place of torments and a realm of joy ; at the 
worst but a negative castigation awaited the liar, the coward, 
or the niggard. 2 Professor J. G. Muller, in his ' American 
Religions,' yet more pointedly denies any ' ethical meaning ' 
in the contrasts of the savage future life, and looks upon 
what he well calls its 'light-side' and 'shadow-side' not 
as recompensing earthly virtue and vice, but rather as 
carrying on earthly conditions in a new existence. 3 

The idea that admission to the happier region depends 
on the performance of religious rites and the giving of 
offerings, seems scarcely known to the lowest savages. It 
is worth while, however, to notice some statements which 
seem to mark its appearance at the level of high savagery 
or low barbarism. Thus in the Society Islands, though 
the destiny of man's spirit to the region of night or to 
elysium. was irrespective of moral character, we hear of 
neglect of rites and offerings as being visited by the dis- 
pleasure of deities. 4 In Florida, the belief of the Sun- 
worshipping people of Achalaque was thus described : those 
who had lived well, and well served the Sun, and given 
many gifts to the poor in his honour, would be happy after 

1 Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 397 ; see also Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. 

P- 243- 

2 Brinton, p. 242, &c. 

8 J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrel.' pp. 87, 224. See also the opinions of 
Meiners, ' Gesch. der Religion,' vol. ii. p. 768 ; Wuttke, ' Gesch. des Heiden- 
thums,' vol. i. p. 115. 

4 Ellis, 1. c. ; Moerenhout, ' Voyage,' vol. i. p. 433. 


death and be changed into stars, whereas the wicked would 
be carried to a destitute and wretched existence among 
mountain precipices, where fierce wild beasts have their 
dens. 1 According to Bosman, the souls of Guinea negroes 
reaching the river of death must answer to the divine judge 
how they have lived ; have they religiously observed the 
holy days dedicated to their god, have they abstained from 
all forbidden meats and kept their vows inviolate, they are 
wafted across to paradise ; but if they have sinned against 
these laws they are plunged in the river and there drowned 
for ever. 2 Such statements among peoples at these stages 
of culture are not frequent, and perhaps not very valid as 
accounts of original native doctrine. It is in the elaborate 
religious systems of more organized nations, in modern 
Brahmanism and Buddhism, and degraded forms of Chris- 
tianity, that the special adaptation of the doctrine of re- 
tribution to the purposes of priestcraft and ceremonialism 
has become a commonplace of missionary reports. 

It is well not to speak too positively on a subject so 
difficult and doubtful as this of the history of the belief in 
future retribution. Careful criticism of the evidence is 
above all necessary. For instance, we have to deal with 
several statements recorded among low races, explicitly 
assigning reward or punishment to men after death, accord- 
ing as they were good or bad in life. Here the first thing 
to be done is to clear up, if possible, the question whether 
the doctrine of retribution may have been borrowed from 
some more cultured neighbouring religion, as the very details 
often show to have been the case. Examples of direct 
adoption of foreign dogmas on this subject are not un- 
common in the world. When among the Dayaks of Borneo 
it is said that a dead man becomes a spirit and lives in the 
jungle, or haunts the place of burial or burning, or when 
some distant mountain-top is pointed to as the abode of 
spirits of departed friends, it is hardly needful to question 

1 Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 378. 

2 Bosman, ' Guinea,' letter x. ; in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 401. 


the originality of ideas so characteristically savage. But 
one of these Dayak tribes, burning the dead, says that ' as 
the smoke of the funeral pile of a good man rises, the soul 
ascends with it to the sky, and that the smoke from the 
pile of a wicked man descends, and his soul with it is borne 
down to the earth, and through it to the regions below.' 1 
Did not this exceptional idea come into the Dayak's mind 
by contact with Hinduisn- ? In Orissa, again, Khond souls 
have to leap across the black unfathomable river to gain a 
footing on the slippery Leaping Rock, where Dinga Pennu, 
the judge of the dead, sits writing his register of all men's 
daily lives and actions, sending virtuous souls to become 
blessed spirits, keeping back wicked ones and sending them 
to suffer their penalties in new births on earth.* Here the 
striking myth of the leaping rock is perfectly savage, but 
the ideas of a judgment, moral retribution, and transmigra- 
tion, may have come from the Hindus of the plains, as the 
accompanying notion of the written book unquestionably 
did. Dr. Mason is no doubt right in taking as the indi- 
genous doctrine of the Karens their notion of an under- 
world where the ghosts of the dead live on as here, while 
he sets down to Hindu influence the idea of Tha-ma, the 
judge of the dead (the Hindu Yama), as allotting their fate 
according to their lives, sending those who have done deeds 
of merit to heaven, those who have done wickedness to hell, 
and keeping in Hades the neither good nor bad. 3 How the 
theory of moral retribution may be superposed on more 
primitive doctrines of the future life, comes remarkably into 
view in Turanian religion. Among the Lapps, Jabme-Aimo, 
the subterranean ' home of the dead ' below the earth, 
where the departed have their cattle and follow their liveli- 
hood like Lapps above, though they are richer, wiser, 

1 St. John, 'Far East,' vol. i. p. 181 ; see Mundy, 'Narrative,' vol. i. 
P- 332- 

2 Macpherson, p. 92. Compare Moerenhout, 1. c. (Tahiti). 

3 Mason, 1. c. p. 195. See also De Brasses, ' Nav. aux Terres Aust rales,' 
vol. ii. p. 482 (Caroline Is.). 


stronger folk, and also Saivo-Aimo, a yet happier ' home of 
the gods,' are conceptions thoroughly in the spirit of the 
lower culture. But in one account the subterranean abode 
becomes a place of transition, where the dead stay awhile, 
and then with bodies renewed are taken up to the Heaven- 
god, or if misdoers, are flung into the abyss. Castren is 
evidently right in rejecting this doctrine as not native, but 
due to Catholic influence. So, at the end of the i6th Rune 
of the Finnish Kalewala, which tells of Wainamoinen's visit 
to the dismal land of the dead, there is put into the hero's, 
mouth a second speech, warning the children of men to 
harm not the innocent, for sad payment is in Tuoni's dwell- 
ing the bed of evil-doers is there, with its glowing red-hot 
stones below and its canopy of snakes above. But the same 
critic condemns this moral ' tag/ as a later addition to the 
genuine heathen picture of Manala, the under-world of the 
dead. 1 Nor did Christianity scorn to borrow details from 
the religions it abolished. The narrative of a mediaeval 
visit to the other world would be incomplete without its 
description of the awful Bridge of Death ; Achercn and 
Charon's bark were restored to their places in Tartarus by 
the visionary and the poet ; the wailing of sinful souls 
might be heard as they were hammered white-hot in Vulcan's 
smithies ; and the weighing of good and wicked souls, as we 
may see it figured on every Egyptian mummy-case, now 
passed into the charge of St. Paul and the Devil. 8 

The foregoing considerations having been duly weighed, 
it remains to call attention to the final problem, at what 
state of religious history the full theological doctrine of 
judicial retribution and moral compensation in a future life 
may have arisen. It is hard, however, to define where this 
development takes place even at a barbaric stage of culture. 
Thus among the barbaric nations of West Africa, there 

1 Castrfn, 'Finn. Myth.' pp. 136, 144. See Georgi, ' Reise im Russ. 
Reich,' vol. i. p. 278. Compare accounts of Purgatory among the North 
American Indians, apparently derived from missionaries, in Morgan, ' Iro- 
quois,' p. 169 ; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 345. 

See T. Wright, ' St. Patrick's Purgatory.' 


appear such beliefs as that in Nuffi, that criminals who 
escape their punishment here will receive it in the other 
world ; the division of the Yoruba under-world into an 
upper and a lower region for the righteous and wicked ; the 
Km doctrine that only the good will rejoin their ancestors 
in heaven ; the Oji doctrine that only the good will dwell 
after death in the heavenly house or city of the Deity whom 
they call the ' Highest.' 1 How far is all this to be taken 
as native conception, and how far as due to ages of Christian 
and Moslem intercourse, to which at any rate few will 
scruple to refer the last case ? 

In the lower ranges of civilization, some of the most re- 
markable doctrines of this class are recorded in North 
America. Thus they appear in connexion with the fancy 
of a river or gulf to be passed by the departing soul on its 
way to the land of the dead, one of the most remarkable 
traits of the mythology of the world. This seems in its 
origin a nature-myth, connected probably with the Sun's 
passage across the sea into Hades, and in many of its 
versions it appears as a mere episode of the soul's journey 
without any moral sense attached to it. Brebeuf, the same 
early Jesuit missionary who says explicitly of the Hurons 
that there is no difference in their future life between the 
fate of the virtuous and the vicious, mentions also among 
them the tree-trunk that bridges the river of death ; here 
the dead must cross, the dog that guards it attacks some 
souls, and they fall. Yet in other versions this myth has a 
moral sense attached to it, and the passage of the heaven- 
gulf becomes an ordeal to separate good and wicked. To 
take but one instance, there is Catlin's account of the 
Choctaw souls journeying far westward, to whom the long 
slippery barkless pine-log, stretching from hill to hill, 
bridges over the deep and dreadful river ; the good pass 
safely to a beauteous Indian paradise, the wicked fall into 
the abyss of waters, and go the dark hungry wretched 

1 Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 171, 191 ; Bow en, ' Yoruba Lang.' p. xvi. See J. L. 
Wilson, p. 210. 


land where they are henceforth to dwell. 1 This and many 
similar beliefs current in the religions of the world, which 
need not be particularised here, seem best explained as 
originally nature-myths, afterwards adapted to a religious 
purpose. A different conception was recorded so early as 
1623, by Captain John Smith among the Massachusetts, 
whose name is still borne by the New England district they 
once inhabited : They say, at first there was no king but 
Kiehtan, that dwelleth far westerly above the heavens, 
whither all good men go when they die, and have plenty of 
all things. The bad men go thither also and knock at the 
door, but he bids them go wander in endless want and 
misery, for they shall not stay there. 2 Lastly, the Salish 
Indians of Oregon say that the good go to a happy hunting- 
ground of endless game, while the bad go to a place where 
there is eternal snow, hunger, and thirst, and are tantalised 
by the sight of game they cannot kill, and water they can- 
not drink. 3 If, now, in looking at these records, the doubts 
which beset them can be put aside, and the accounts of the 
different fates assigned to the good and wicked can be 
accepted as belonging to genuine native American religion 
and if, moreover, it be considered that the goodness and 
wickedness for which men are to be ihus rewarded and 
punished are moral qualities, however undeveloped in de- 
finition, this will amount to an admission that the doctrine 
of moral retribution at any rate appears within the range of 
savage theology. Such a view, however, by no means invali- 
dates the view here put forward as to the historical develop- 
ment of the doctrine, but only goes to prove at how early 
a stage it may have begun to take place. The general mass 
of evidence still remains to show the savage doctrine of the 
future state, as originally involving no moral retribution, 

1 Brebeuf in ' Rcl. des JeV 1635, p. 35 ; 1636, p. 105. Catlin, ' N. A. 
Ind.' vol. ii. p. 127; Long's ' Exp.' vol. i. p. 180. Sec Brinton, p. 247; 
Waitz, vol. ii. p. 191, vol. iii. p. 197; and the collection of myths of the 
Heaven-Bridge and Heaven-Gulf in ' Early History of Mankind,' chap. xii. 

2 Smith, ' New England,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. p. 244. 

3 Wilson in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 303. 


or arriving at this through transitional and rudimentary 

In strong contrast with the schemes of savage future 
existence, I need but set before the reader's mind a salient 
point here and there in the doctrine of distinct and unques- 
tionable moral retribution, as held in religions of the higher 
culture. The inner mystic doctrines of ancient Egypt may 
perhaps never be extracted now from the pictures and 
hieroglyphic formulas of the ' Book of the Dead.' But the 
ethnographer may satisfy himself of two important points 
as to the place which the Egyptian view of the future life 
occupies in the history of religion. On the one hand, the 
soul's quitting and revisiting the corpse, the placing of the 
image in the tomb, the offering of meat and drink, the 
fearful journey to the regions of the departed, the renewed 
life like that on earth, with its houses to dwell in and fields 
to cultivate all these are conceptions which connect the 
Egyptian religion with the religions of the ruder races of 
mankind. But on the other hand, the mixed ethical and 
ceremonial standard by which the dead are to be judged 
adapts these primitive and even savage thoughts to a higher 
social development, such as may be shown by fragments 
from that remarkable ' negative confession ' which the 
dead must make before Osiris and the forty-two judges in 
Amenti. ' O ye Lords of Truth ! let me know you ! 
. . . Rub ye away my faults. I have not privily done 
evil against mankind. ... I have not told falsehoods 
in the tribunal of Truth. ... I have not done any 
wicked thing. I have not made the labouring man do more 
than his task daily. ... I have not calumniated the 
slave to his master. ... I have not murdered. . . . 
I have not done fraud to men. I have not changed 
measures of the country. I have not injured the images of 
the gods. I have not taken scraps of the bandages of the 
dead. I have not committed adultery. I have not with- 
held milk from the mouths of sucklings. I have not 
hunted wild animals in the pasturages. I have not netted 


sacred birds. ... I am pure ! I am pure ! I am 
pure ! ' l 

The Vedic hymns, again, tell of endless happiness for 
the good in heaven with the gods, and speak also of the 
deep pit where the liars, the lawless, they who give no 
sacrifice, will be cast. 2 The rival theories of continuance 
and retribution are seen in instructive coexistence in classic 
Greece and Rome. What seems the older belief holds its 
ground in the realm of Hades ; that dim region of bodiless, 
smoke-like ghosts remains the home of the undistinguished 
crowd in the MTOS /3t'os, the 'middle life.' Yet at the 
same time the judgment-seat of Minos and Rhadamanthos, 
the joys of Elysium for the just and good, fiery Tartarus 
echoing with the wail of the wicked, represent the newer 
doctrine of a moral retribution. The idea of purgatorial 
suffering, which hardly seems to have entered the minds of 
the lower races, expands in immense vigour in the great 
Aryan religions of Asia. In Brahmanism and Buddhism, 
the working out of good and evil actions into their neces- 
sary consequence of happiness and misery is the very key 
to the philosophy of life, whether life's successive transmi- 
grations be in animal, or human, or demon births on earth, 
or in luxurious heaven-palaces of gold and jewels, or in the 
agonizing hells where Oriental fancy riots in the hideous 
inventory of torture caldrons of boiling oil and liquid fire ; 
black dungeons and rivers of filth ; vipers, and vultures, 
and cannibals ; thorns, and spears, and red-hot pincers, and 
whips of flame. To the modern Hindu, it is true, cere- 
monial morality seems to take the upper hand, and the 
question of happiness or misery after death turns rather 
on ablutions and fasts, on sacrifices and gifts to brah- 
mans, than on purity and beneficence of life. Buddhism in 
South East Asia, sadly degenerate from its once high 

1 Birch, Introduction to and translation of the ' Book of the Dead,' in 
Bunsen, vol. v. ; Wilkinson, ' Ancient Eg.' vol. v. 

2 For references to Rig Veda see Muir, ' Sanskrit Texts,' sec. xviii. ; Max 
Miiller, Lecture on Vedas in ' Essays,' vol. ii. 


estate, is apt to work out the doctrine of merit and de- 
merit into debtor and creditor accounts kept in good and 
bad marks from day to day ; to serve out so much tea in 
hot weather counts I to the merit-side, and putting a 
stop to one's women scolding for a month counts i like- 
wise, but this may be balanced by the offence of letting 
them keep the bowls and plates dirty for a day, which 
counts i the wrong way ; and it appears that giving wood 
for two coffins, which count 30 marks each, and burying 
four bones, at 10 marks a-piece, would just be balanced 
by murdering a child, which counts 100 to the bad. 1 It 
need hardly be said here that these two great religions of 
Asia must be judged rather in their records of long past 
ages, than in the lingering degeneration of their modern 

In the Khordah-A vesta, a document of the old Persian 
religion, the fate of good and wicked souls at death is pic- 
tured in a dialogue between Zarathustra (Zoroaster), and 
Ahura-Mazda and Anra-Mainyu (Ormuzd and Ahriman). 
Zarathustra asks, ' Ahura-Mazda, Heavenly, Holiest, Creator 
of the corporeal world, Pure ! When a pure man dies, 
where does his soul dwell during this night ? ' Then 
answers Ahura-Mazda : ' Near his head it sits down, re- 
citing the Gatha Ustavaiti, praying happiness for itself ; 
" Happiness be to the man who conduces to the happiness of 
each. May Ahura-Mazda create, ruling after his wish. ' ' ' On 
this night the soul sees as much joyfulness as the whole 
living world possesses ; and so the second and the third night . 
When the lapse of the third night turns itself to light, then 
the soul of the pure man goes forward, recollecting itself by 
the perfume of plants. A wind blows to meet it from the 
mid-day regions, a sweet-scented one, more sweet-scented 
than the other winds, and the soul of the pure man receives 
it ' Whence blows this wind, the sweetest-scented which I 
ever have smelt with the nose ? ' Then comes to meet him 

1 ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' new ser. vol. ii. p. 210. See Bastian, ' Oestl. 
Asien,' vol. iii. p. 387. 


his own law, (his rule of life) in the figure of a maiden 
beautiful, shining, with shining arms, powerful, well-grown, 
slender, large-bosomed, with praiseworthy body, noble, with 
brilliant face, one of fifteen years, as fair in her growth as 
the fairest creatures. Then to her speaks the soul of the 
pure man, asking, ' What maiden art thou whom I have 
seen here as the fairest of maidens in body ? ' She answers, 
' I am, O youth, thy good thoughts, words, and works, thy 
good law, the own law of thine own body. Thou hast 
made the pleasant yet pleasanter to me, the fair yet fairer, 
the desirable yet more desirable, the sitting in a high place 
sitting in a yet higher place.' Then the soul of the pure 
man takes the first step and comes to the first paradise, the 
second and third step to the second and third paradise, 
the fourth step and arrives at the Eternal Lights. To the 
souls speaks a pure one deceased before, asking it, ' How 
art thou, O pure deceased, come away from the fleshly 
dwellings, from the corporeal world hither to the invisible, 
from the perishable world hither to the imperishable. Hail ! 
has it happened to thee long ? ' ' Then speaks Ahura- 
Mazda : " Ask not him whom thou askest, for he is come 
on the fearful way of trembling, the separation of body and 
soul. Bring him hither of the food, of the full fatness, that 
is the food for a youth who thinks, speaks, and does good, 
who is devoted to the good law after death that is the food 
for a woman who especially thinks good, speaks good, does 
good, the following, obedient, pure after death." And 
now Zarathustra asks, when a wicked one dies, where his 
soul dwells ? He is told how, running about near the head, 
it utters the prayer, Ke maum : ' Which land shall I 
praise, whither shall I go praying, O Ahura-Mazda ? ' 
In this night it sees as much unjoyfulness as the whole 
living world ; and so the second and the third night, and it 
goes at dawn to the impure place, recollecting itself by the 
stench. An evil-smelling wind comes towards the dead from 
the north, and with it the ugly hateful maiden who is his 
own wicked deeds, and the soul takes the fourth step into 


the darkness without beginning, and a wicked soul asks 
how long woe to thee ! art thou come ? and the mocking 
Anra-Mainyu, answering in words like the words of Ahura- 
Mazda to the good, bids food to be brought poison, and 
mixed with poison, for them who think and speak and do 
evil, and follow the wicked law. The Parsi of our own 
time, following in obscure tradition the ancient Zoroastrian 
faith, before he prays for forgiveness for all that he ought 
to have thought, and said, and done, and has not, for all 
that he ought not to have thought, and said, and dune, and 
has, confesses thus his faith of the future life : ' I am 
wholly without doubt in the existence of the good Mazada- 
yanian faith, in the coming of the resurrection and the 
later body, in the stepping over the bridge Chinvat, in an 
invariable recompense of good deeds and their reward, and 
of bad deeds and their punishment.' l 

In Jewish theology, the doctrine of future retribution 
appears after the Babylonish captivity, not in ambiguous 
terms, but as the strongly-expressed and intensely-felt 
religioAis conviction it has since remained among the chil- 
dren of Israel. Not long afterward, it received the sanction 
of Christianity. 

A broad survey of the doctrine of the Future Life among 
the various nations of the world shows at once how difficult 
and how important is a systematic theory of its develop- 
ment. Looked at ethnographically, the general relations 
of the lower to the higher culture as to the belief in future 
existence may be denned somewhat as follows : If we draw 
a line dividing civilization at the junction of savagery and 
barbarism about where the Carib and New Zealander ends 
?nd the Aztec or Tatar begins, we may see clearly the 
difference of prevalent doctrine on either side. On the 
savage side, the theory of hovering ghosts is strong, re- 
birth in human or animal bodies is often thought of, but 
above all there prevails the expectation of a new life, most 

1 Spiegel, ' Avesta,' ed. Bleek, vol. iii. pp. 136, 163 ; see vol. i. pp. xviii. 
90, 141 ; vol. ii. p. 68. 


often located in some distant earthly region, or less com- 
monly in the under-world or on the sky. On the cultured 
side, the theory of hovering ghosts continues, but tends to 
subside from philosophy into folklore, the theory of re-birth 
is elaborated into great philosophic systems, but eventually 
dies out under the opposition of scientific biology, while 
the doctrine of a new life after death maintains its place 
with immense power in the human mind, although the dead 
have been ousted by geography from any earthly district, 
and the regions of heaven and hell are more and more 
spiritualized out of definite locality into vague expressions 
of future happiness and misery. Again, on the savage side 
we find the dominant idea to be a continuance of the soul 
in a new existence, like the present life, or idealized and 
exaggerated on its model ; while on the cultured side the 
doctrine of judgment and moral retribution prevails with 
paramount, though not indeed absolute sway. What, then, 
has been the historical course of theological opinion, to 
have produced in different stages of culture these contrasted 
phases of doctrine ? 

In some respects, theories deriving savage from more 
civilized ideas are tenable. In certain cases, to consider a 
particular savage doctrine of the future state as a fragmen- 
tary, or changed, or corrupted outcome of the religion of 
higher races, seems as easy as to reverse this view by taking 
savagery as representing the starting-point. It is open to 
anyone to suppose that the doctrine of transmigration 
among American savages and African barbarians may have 
been degraded from elaborate systems of metempsychosis 
established among philosophic nations like the Hindus ; 
that the North American and South African doctrine of 
continued existence in a subterranean world may be derived 
from similar beliefs held by races at the level of the ancient 
Greeks ; that when rude tribes in the Old or New World 
assign among the dead a life of happiness to some, and of 
misery to others, this idea may have been inherited or 
adopted from cultured nations holding more strongly and 

102 .. ANIMISM. 

systematically the doctrine of retribution. In such cases 
the argument is to a great extent the same, whether the 
lower race be considered degenerate descendants of a higher 
nation, or whether the simpler supposition be put forward 
that they have adopted the ideas of some more cultured 
people. These views ought to have full attention, for dege- 
nerate and borrowed beliefs form no small item in the 
opinions of uncivilized races. Yet this kind of explanation 
is more adapted to meet special cases than general con- 
ditions ; it is rather suited to piecemeal treatment, than to 
comprehensive study, of the religions of mankind. Worked 
out on a large scale, it would endeavour to account for 
the doctrines of the savage world, as being a patchwork of 
fragments from various religions of high nations, trans- 
ported by not easily-conceived means from their distant 
homes and set down in remote regions of the earth. It 
may be safely said that no hypothesis can account for the 
varied doctrines current among the lower tribes, without the 
admission that religious ideas have been in no small mea- 
sure developed and modified in the districts where they are 

Now this theory of development, in its fullest scope, 
combined with an accessory theory of degeneration and 
adoption, seems best to meet the general facts of the case. 
A hypothesis which finds the origin of the doctrine of the 
future life in the primitive animism of the lower races, and 
thence traces it along the course of religious thought, in 
varied developments fitted to exacter knowledge and forming 
part of loftier creeds, may well be maintained as in reason- 
able accordance with the evidence. Such a theory, as has 
been sufficiently shown in the foregoing chapters, affords a 
satisfactory explanation of the occurrence, in the midst of 
cultured religions, of intellectually low superstitions, such 
as that of offerings to the dead, and various others. These, 
which the development theory treats naturally as survivals 
from a low stage of education Lingering on in a higher, are 
by no means so readily accounted for by the degeneration 


theory. There are more special arguments which favour 
the priority of the savage to the civilized phases of the 
doctrine of a future life. If savages did in general receive 
their views of another existence from the religious systems 
of cultured nations, these systems can hardly have been 
such as recognize the dominant doctrines of heaven and 
hell. For, as to the locality of the future world, savage 
races especially favour a view little represented in civilized 
belief, namely, that the life to come is in some distant 
earthly country. Moreover, the belief in a fiery abyss or 
Gehenna, which excites so intensely and lays hold so firmly 
of the imagination of the most ignorant men, would have 
been especially adapted to the minds of savages, had it 
come down to them by tradition from an ancestral faith. 
Yet, in fact, the lower races so seldom recognize' such an 
idea, that even the few cases in which it occurs lie open to 
suspicion of not being purely native. The proposition that 
the savage doctrines descend from the more civilized seems 
thus to involve the improbable supposition, that tribes 
capable of keeping up traditions of Paradise, Heaven, or 
Hades, should nevertheless have forgotten or discarded a 
tradition of Hell. Still more important is the contrast 
between the continuance-theory and the retribution-theory 
of the future existence, in the sections of culture where 
they respectively predominate. On the one hand, the con- 
tinuance-theory, with its ideas of a ghostly life like this, is 
directly vouched for by the evidence of the. senses in dreams 
and visions of the dead, and may be claimed as part of the 
' Natural Religion,' properly so called, of the lower races. 
On the other hand, the retribution-theory is a dogma which 
this evidence of apparitions could hardly set on foot, though 
capable of afterwards supporting it. Throughout the pre- 
sent study of animistic religion, it constantly comes into 
view that doctrines which in the lower culture are philo- 
sophical, tend in the higher to become ethical ; that what 
among savages is a science of nature, passes among civilized 
nations into a moral engine. Herein lies the distinction 


of deepest import between the two great theories of the 
soul's existence after bodily death. According to a develop- 
ment theory of culture, the savage, unethical doctrine 
of continuance would be taken as the more primitive, suc- 
ceeded in higher civilization by the ethical doctrine of 
retribution. Now this theory of the course of religion in 
the distant and obscure past is conformable with experience 
of its actual history, so far as this lies within our know- 
ledge. Whether we compare the early Greek with the later 
Greek, the early Jew with the later Jew, the ruder races 
of the world in their older condition with the same races as 
affected by the three missionary religions of Buddhism, 
Mohammedanism, Christianity, the testimony of history 
vouches for the like transition towards ethical dogma. 

In conclusion, though theological argument on the actual 
validity of doctrines relating to the future life can have no 
place here, it will be well not to pass by without further 
remark one great practical question which lies fairly within 
the province of Ethnography. How, in the various stages 
of culture, has the character and conduct of the living been 
affected by the thought of a life to come ? If we take the 
savage beliefs as a starting-point, it will appear that these 
belong rather to speculative philosophy than to practical rule 
of life. The lower races hold opinions as to a future state 
because they think them true, but it is not surprising that 
men who take so little thought of a contingency three days 
off, should receive little practical impulse from vague antici- 
pations of a life beyond the grave. Setting aside the con- 
sideration of possible races devoid of all thought of a 
future existence, there unquestionably has been and is a 
great mass of mankind whose lives are scarcely affected by 
such expectations of another life as they do hold. The 
doctrine of continuance, making death as it were a mere 
journey into a new country, can have little direct action on 
men's conduct, though indirectly it has indeed an enormous 
and disastrous influence on society, leading as it does to the 
slaughter of wives and slaves, and the destruction of pro- 


perty, for the use of the dead in the next world. If this 
world to come be thought a happier region, the looking for- 
ward to it makes men more willing to risk their lives in 
battle, promotes the habit of despatching the sick and aged 
into a better life, and encourages suicide when life is very 
hateful here. When the half-way house between continuance 
and retribution is reached, and the idea prevails that the 
manly virtues which give rank and wealth and honour here 
will lead hereafter to yet brighter glory, then this belief 
must add new force to the earthly motives which make bold 
warriors and mighty chiefs. But among men who expect to 
become hovering ghosts at death, or to depart to some 
gloomy land of shades, such expectation strengthens the 
natural horror and hatred of dissolution. They tend to- 
ward the state of mind frequent among modern Africans, 
whose thought of death is that he shall drink no more rum, 
wear no more fine clothes, have no more wives. The negro 
of our own day would feel to the utmost the sense of those 
lines in the beginning of the Iliad, which describe the heroes' 
' souls ' being cast down to Hades, but ' themselves ' left a 
prey to dogs and carrion birds. 

Rising to the level of the higher races, we mark the 
thought of future existence taking a larger and larger place 
in the convictions of religion, the expectation of a judg- 
ment after death gaining in intensity and becoming, what it 
scarcely seems to the savage, a real motive in life. Yet this 
change is not to be measured as proceeding throughout in 
any direct proportion with the development of culture. The 
doctrine of the future life has hardly taken deeper and 
stronger root in the higher than in the middle levels of 
civilization. In the language of ancient Egypt, it is the 
dead who are emphatically called the ' living,' for their life 
is everlasting, whether in the world of the departed, or 
nearer home in the tomb, the ' eternal dwelling.' The 
Moslem says that men sleep in life and wake in death ; 
the Hindu likens the body which a soul has quitted to the 
bed he rises from in the morning. The story of the ancient 

II. H 


Getae, who wept at births and laughed at funerals, embodies 
an idea of the relation of this life to the next which comes 
to the surface again and again in the history of religion, 
nowhere perhaps touched in with a lighter hand than in 
the Arabian Nights' tale where Abdallah of the Sea indig- 
nantly breaks off his friendship with Abdallah of the Land, 
when he hears that the dwellers on the land do not feast and 
sing when one of them dies, like the dwellers in the sea, 
but mourn and weep and tear their garments. Such thoughts 
lead on into the morbid asceticism that culminates in the 
life of the Buddhist saint, eating his food with loathing 
from the alms-bowl that he carries as though it held 
medicine, wrapping himself in grave-clothes from the ceme- 
tery, or putting on his disfigured robe as though it were a 
bandage to cover a sore, whose looking forward is to death 
for deliverance from the misery of life, whose dreamiest 
hope is that after an inconceivable series of successive 
existences he may find in utter dissolution and not-being a 
refuge even from heaven. 

The belief in future retribution has been indeed a power- 
ful engine in shaping the life of nations. Powerful both for 
good and evil, it has been made the servant-of-all-work of 
many faiths. Priesthoods have used it unscrupulously for 
their professional ends, to gain wealth and power for their 
own caste, to stop intellectual and social progress beyond 
the barriers of their consecrated systems. On the banks of 
the river of death, a band of priests has stood for ages to 
bar the passage against all poor souls who cannot satisfy 
their demands for ceremonies, and formulas, and fees. This 
is the dark side of the picture. On the bright side, as we 
study the moral standards of the higher nations, and see 
how the hopes and fears of the life to come have been 
brought to enforce their teachings, it is plain that through 
most widely differing religions the doctrine of future judg- 
ment has been made to further goodness and to check 
wickedness, according to the shifting rules by which men 
have divided right from wrong. The philosophic schools 


which from classic times onward have rejected the belief in 
a future existence, appear to have come back by a new road 
to the very starting-point which perhaps the rudest races of 
men never quitted. At least this seems true as regards the 
doctrine of future retribution, which is alike absent from 
the belief of classes of men at the two extremes of culture. 
How far the moral standard of life may have been adjusted 
throughout the higher races with reference to a life here- 
after, is a problem difficult of solution, so largely do un- 
believers in this second life share ethical principles which 
have been more or less shaped under its influence. Men 
who live for one world or for two, have high motives of 
virtue in common ; the noble self-respect which impels them 
to the life they feel worthy of them ; the love of goodness 
for its own sake and for its immediate results ; and beyond 
this, the desire to do good that shall survive the doer, who 
will not indeed be in the land of the living to see his work, 
but who can yet discount his expectations into some measure 
of present satisfaction. Yet he who believes that his thread 
of life will be severed once and for ever by the fatal shears, 
well knows that he wants a purpose and a joy in life, which 
belong to him who looks for a life to come. Few men feel 
real contentment in the expectation of vanishing out of con- 
scious existence, henceforth, like the great Buddha, to exist 
only in their works. To remain incarnate in the memory of 
friends is something. A few great spirits may enjoy in the 
reverence of future ages a thousand years or so of ' sub- 
jective immortality ; ' though as for mankind at large, the 
individual's personal interest hardly extends beyond those 
who have lived in his time, while his own memory scarce 
outlives the third and fourth generation. But over and 
above these secular motives, the belief in immortality 
extends its powerful influence through life, and culminates 
at the last hour, when, setting aside the very evidence of 
their senses, the mourners smile through their tears, and 
say it is not death but life. 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Animism, expanding from the Doctrine of Souls to the wider Doctrine of 
Spirits, becomes a complete Philosophy of Natural Religion Definition 
of Spirits similar to and apparently modelled on that of Souls Transi- 
tion stage : classes of Souls passing into good and evil Demons Manes- 
Worship Doctrine of Embodiment of Spirits in human, animal, vege- 
table, and inert bodies Demoniacal Possession and Obsession as causes 
of Disease and Oracle-inspiration Fetishism Disease-spirits embodied 
Ghost attached to remains of Corpse Fetish produced by a Spirit 
embodied in, attached to, or operating through, an Object Analogues 
of Fetish-doctrine in Modern Science Stock-and-Stone Worship 
Idolatry Survival of Animistic Phraseology in modern Language 
Decline of Animistic theory of Nature. 

THE general sciiemc of Animism, of which the doctrine of 
souls hitherto discussed forms part, thence expands to com- 
plete the full general philosophy of Natural Religion among 
mankind. Conformably with that early childlike philosophy 
in which human life seems the direct key to the understand- 
ing of nature at large, the savage theory of the universe 
refers its phenomena in general to the wilful action of per- 
vading personal spirits. It was no spontaneous fancy, but 
the reasonable inference that effects are due to causes, which 
led the rude men of old days to people with such ethereal 
phantoms their own homes and haunts, and the vast earth 
and sky beyond. Spirits are simply personified causes. As 
men's ordinary life and actions were held to be caused by 
souls, so the happy or disastrous events which affect man- 
kind, as well as the manifold physical operations of the 



outer- world, were accounted for as caused by Soul-like beings, 
spirits whose essential similarity of origin is evident through 
all their wondrous variety of power and function. Much 
that the primitive animistic view thus explains, has been 
indeed given over by more advanced education to the 
' metaphysical ' and ' positive ' stages of thought. Yet 
animism is still plainly to be traced onward from the intel- 
lectual state of the lower races, along the course of the 
higher culture, whether its doctrines have been continued 
and modified into the accepted philosophy of religion, or 
whether they have dwindled into mere survivals in popular 
superstition. Though all I here undertake is to sketch in 
outline such features of this spiritualistic philosophy as I 
can see plainly enough to draw at all, scarcely attempting 
to clear away the haze that covers great parts of the subject, 
yet even so much as I venture on is a hard task, made yet 
harder by the responsibility attaching to it. For it appears 
that to follow the course of animism on from its more 
primitive stages, is to account for much of mediaeval and 
modern opinion whose meaning and reason could hardly be 
comprehended without the aid of a development-theory of 
culture, taking in the various processes of new formation, 
abolition, survival, and revival. Thus even the despised 
ideas of savage races become a practically important topic 
to the modern world, for here, as usual, whatever bears 
on the origin of philosophic opinion, bears also on its 

At this point of the investigation, we come fully into sight 
of the principle which has been all along implied in the use 
of the word Animism, in a sense beyond its narrower mean- 
ing of the doctrine of souls. By using it to express the 
doctrine of spirits generally, it is practically asserted that 
the idea of souls, demons, deities, and any other classes of 
spiritual beings, are conceptions of similar nature through- 
out, the conceptions of souls being the original ones of the 
series. It was best, from this point of view, to begin with 
a careful study of souls, which are the spirits proper to men, 


animals, and things, before extending the survey of the 
spirit-world to its fullest range. If it be admitted that souls 
and other spiritual beings are conceived of as essentially 
similar in their nature, it may be reasonably argued that the 
class of conceptions based on evidence most direct and 
accessible to ancient men, is the earlier and fundamental 
class. To grant this, is in effect to agree that the doctrine 
of souls, founded on the natural perceptions of primitive 
man, gave rise to the doctrine of spirits, which extends 
and modifies its general theory for new purposes, but in 
developments less authenticated and consistent, more fanci- 
ful and far-fetched. It seems as though the conception of 
a human soul, when once attained to by man, served as a 
type or model on which he framed not only his ideas of 
other souls of lower grade, but also his ideas of spiritual 
beings in general, from the tiniest elf that sports in the long 
grass up to the heavenly Creator and Ruler of the world, 
the Great Spirit. 

The doctrines of the lower races fully justify us in classing 
their spiritual beings in general as similar in nature to the 
souls of men. It will be incidentally shown here, again 
and again, that souls have the same qualities attributed to 
them as other spirits, are treated in like fashion, and pass 
without distinct breaks into every part of the general 
spiritual definition. The similar nature of soul and other 
spirit is, in fact, one of the commonplaces of animism, from 
its rudest to its most cultured stages. It ranges from the 
native New Zealanders' and West Indians' conceptions of 
the ' atua ' and the ' cemi,' beings which require special 
definition to show whether they are human souls or demons 
or deities of some other class, 1 and so onward to the decla- 
ration of Philo Judaeus, that souls, demons, and angels 
differ indeed in name, but are in reality one,* and to the 
state of mind of the modern Roman Catholic priest, who is 

1 See Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 134 ; J. G. Muller, ' Amerikanische Urre- 
ligioncn,' p. 171. 

* Philo Jud. de Gigantibus, iv. 


cautioned in the rubric concerning the examination of a 
possessed patient, not to believe the demon if he pretends 
to be the soul of some saint or deceased person, or a good 
angel (neque ei credatur, si daemon simularet se esse ani- 
mam alicujus Sancti, vel defuncti, vel Angelum bonum). 1 
Nothing can bring more broadly into view the similar 
nature of souls and other spiritual beings than the exist- 
ence of a full transitional series of ideas. Souls of dead 
men are in fact considered as actually forming one of the 
most important classes of demons and deities. 

It is quite usual for savage tribes to live in terror of the 
souls of the dead as harmful spirits. Thus Australians 
have been known to consider the ghosts of the unburied 
dead as becoming malignant demons. 2 New Zealanders 
have supposed the souls of their dead to become so changed 
in nature as to be malignant to their nearest and dearest 
friends in life; 3 the Caribs said that, of man's various 
souls, some go to the seashore and capsize boats, others to 
the forest to be evil spirits; 4 among the Sioux Indians 
the fear of a ghost's vengeance has been found to act as a 
check on murder ; 8 of some tribes in Central Africa it may 
be said that their main religious doctrine is the belief in 
ghosts, and that the main characteristic of these ghosts is 
to do harm to the living. 8 The Patagonians lived in terror 
of the souls of their wizards, which become evil demons 
after death; 7 Turanian tribes of North Asia fear their 
shamans even more when dead than when alive, for they 
become a special class of spirits who are the hurtfullest in 
all nature, and who among the Mongols plague the living on 

1 Rituale Romanum : De Exorcizandis Obsessis a Daemonic. 

* Oldfield, ' Abor. of Australia ' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 236. See 
Bonwick, ' Tasmanians,' p. 181. 

3 Taylor, ' New Zealand," p. 104. 

4 Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 429. 

6 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part ii. p. 195 ; M. Eastman, ' Dahcotah,' 
p. 72. 

Burton, ' Central Afr.' vol. ii. p. 344 ; Schlegel, ' Ewe-Sprache,' p. xxv. 

7 Falkner, ' Patagonia,' p. 116 ; but cf. Musters, p. 180. 


purpose to make them bring offerings. 1 In China it is held 
that the multitudes of wretched destitute spirits in the 
world below, such as souls of lepers and beggars, can sorely 
annoy the living ; therefore at certain times they are to be 
appeased with offerings of food, scant and beggarly ; and a 
man who feels unwell, or fears a mishap in business, will 
prudently have some mock-clothing and mock-money burnt 
for these ' gentlemen of the lower regions.'* Notions of 
this sort are widely prevalent in Indo-China and India ; 
whole orders of demons there were formerly human souls, 
especially of people left unburied or slain by plague or 
violence, of bachelors or of women who died in childbirth, 
and who henceforth wreak their /engeance on the living. 
They may, however, be propitiated by temples and offerings, 
and thus have become in fact a regular class of local deities. 3 
Among them may be counted the diabolic soul of a certain 
wicked British officer, whom native worshippers in the 
Tinnevelly district still propitiate by offering at his grave 
the brandy and cheroots he loved in life. 4 India even 
carried theory into practice by an actual manufacture of 
demons, as witness the two following accounts. A certain 
brahman, on whose lands a kshatriya raja had built a house, 
ripped himself up in revenge, and became a demon of the 
kind called brahmadasyu, who has been ever since the 
terror of the whole country, and is the most common village 
deity in Kharakpur. 6 Toward the close of the last century 
there were two brahmans, out of whose house a man had 
wrongfully, as they thought, taken forty rupees ; whereupon 
one of the brahmans proceeded to cut off his own mother's 

1 Castren, ' Finn. Myth,' p. 122. 

2 Doolittlc, ' Chinese,' vol. i. p. 206. 

3 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asicn,' vol. ii. pp. 129, 416 ; vol. iii. pp. 29, 257, 278 ; 
' Psychologic,' pp. 77, 99; Cross, ' Karens,' I.e. p. 316; Elliot in ' Journ. 
Kth. Soc.' vol. i. p. 115 ; Buchanan, 'Mysore, &c.,' in Pinkerton, vol. viii. 
p. 677. 

4 Shortt, 'Tribes of India,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vii. p. 192; Tinling, 
' Tour round India,' p. 19. 

6 Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 101. 


head, with the professed view, entertained by both mother 
and son, that her spirit, excited by the beating of a large 
drum during forty days, might haunt, torment, and pursue 
to death the taker of their money and those concerned with 
him. Declaring with her last words that she would blast 
the thief, the spiteful hag deliberately gave up her life to 
take ghostly vengeance for those forty rupees. 1 By in- 
stances like these it appears that we may trace up from the 
psychology of the lower races the familiar ancient and 
modern European tales of baleful ghost-demons. The old 
fear even now continues to vouch for the old belief. 

Happily for man's anticipation of death, and for the 
treatment of the sick and aged, thoughts of horror and 
hatred do not preponderate in ideas of deified ancestors, 
who are regarded on the whole as kindly patron spirits, at 
least to their own kinsfolk and worshippers. Manes-wor- 
ship is one of the great branches of the religion of mankind. 
Its principles are not difficult to understand, for they 
plainly keep up the social relations of the living world. 
The dead ancestor, now passed into a deity, simply goes on 
protecting his own family and receiving suit and service 
from them as of old ; the dead chief still watches over his 
own tribe, still holds his authority by helping friends and 
harming enemies, still rewards the right and sharply 
punishes the wrong. It will be enough to show by a few 
characteristic examples the general position of manes-wor- 
ship among mankind, from the lower culture upward. 2 In 
the two Americas it appears not unfrequcntly, from the low 
savage level of the Brazilian Camacans, to the somewhat 
higher stage of northern Indian tribes whom we hear of as 
praying to the spirits of their forefathers for good weather 
or luck in hunting, and fancying when an Indian falls into 
the fire that the ancestral spirits pushed him in to punish 

1 Sir J. Shore in ' Asiatic Res.' vol. iv. p. 331. 

1 For some collections of details of manes-worship, see Meiners, ' Ges, lichtc 
der Religionen,' vol. i. book 3; Bastian, ' Mcnsch,' vol. ii. pp. 402-11; 
' Psychologic,' pp. 72-114. 

1 14 ANIMISM. 

neglect of the customary gifts, while the Natchez of Louis- 
iana are said to have even gone so far as to build temples 
for dead men. 1 Turning to the dark races of the Pacific, 
we find the Tasmanians laying their sick round a corpse 
on the funeral pile, that the dead might come in the night 
and take out the devils that caused the diseases ; it is as- 
serted in a general way of the natives, that they believed 
most implicitly in the return of the spirits of their departed 
friends or relations to bless or injure them as the case might 
be. 2 In Tanna, the gods are spirits of departed ancestors, 
aged chiefs becoming deities after death, presiding over the 
growth of yams and fruit trees, and receiving from the 
islanders prayer and offerings of first fruits. 3 Nor are the 
fairer Polynesians behind in this respect. Below the great 
mythological gods of Tonga and New Zealand, the souls of 
chiefs and warriors form a lower but active and powerful 
order of deities, who in the Tongan paradise intercede for 
man's benefit with the higher deities, who direct the Maori 
war parties on the march, hover over them and give them 
courage in the fight, and, watching jealously their own 
tribes and families, punish any violation of the sacred laws 
of tapu. 4 Thence we trace the doctrine into the Malay 
islands, where the souls of deceased ancestors are looked 
to for prosperity in life and help in distress. 5 In Mada- 
gascar, the worship of the spirits of the dead is remarkably 
associated with the Vazimbas, the aborigines of the island, 
who are said still to survive as a distinct race in the inte- 
rior, and whose peculiar graves testify to their former occu- 
pancy of other districts. These graves, small in size, and 
distinguished by a cairn and an upright stone slab or altar, 

1 J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrel.' pp. 73, 173, 209, 261 ; Schoolcraft, ' Indian 
Tribes,' part i. p. 39, part iii. p. 237 ; Waitz, ' Anthropologie,' vol. iii. pp. 191, 

2 Backhouse, ' Australia,' p. 105 ; Bonwick, ' Tasmanians,' p. 182. 

3 Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 88. 

* Mariner, ' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 104 ; S. S. Fanner, p. 126 ; Shortland, 
4 Trads. of N. Z.' p. 81 ; Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 108. 

6 J. R. Forster, 'Observations,' p. 604; Mars den, * Sumatra,' p. 258; 
' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. ii. p. 234. 


are places which the Malagasy regard with equal fear and 
veneration, and their faces become sad and serious when 
they even pass near. To take a stone or pluck a twig from 
one of these graves, to stumble against one in the dark, 
would be resented by the angry Vazimba inflicting disease, 
or coming in the night to carry off the offender to the 
region of ghosts. The Malagasy is thus enabled to account 
for every otherwise unaccountable ailment by his having 
knowingly or unknowingly given offence to some Vazimba. 
They are not indeed always malevolent, they may be pla- 
cable or implacable, or partake of both characters. Thus 
it comes to pass, that at the altar-slab which long ago some 
rude native family set up for commemoration or dutiful 
offering of food to a dead kinsman, a barbaric supplanting 
race now comes to smear the burnt fat of sacrifice, and set 
up the heads of poultry and sheep and the horns of bullocks, 
that the mysterious tenant may be kind, not cruel, with his 
superhuman powers. 1 

On the continent of Africa, manes-worship appears with 
extremest definiteness and strength. Thus Zulu warriors, 
aided by the ' amatongo,' the spirits of their ancestors, 
conquer in the battle ; but if the dead turn their backs on 
the living, the living fall in the fight, to become ancestral 
spirits in their turn. In anger the ' itongo ' seizes a 
living man's body and inflicts disease and death ; in bene- 
ficence he gives health, and cattle, and corn, and all men 
wish. Even the little children and old women, of small 
account in life, become at death spirits having much power, 
the infants for kindness, the crones for malice. But it is 
especially the head of each family who receives the worship 
of his kin. Why it is naturally and reasonably so, a Zulu 
thus explains. ' Although they worship the many Ama- 
tongo of their tribe, making a great fence around them for 
their protection ; yet their father is far before all others 
when they worship the Amatongo. Their father is a great 

1 Ellis, ' Madagascar,' vol. i. pp. 123, 423. As to the connexion of the 
Vazimbas with the Mazimba of East Africa, see Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 360, 426. 


treasure to them even when he is dead. And those of his 
children who are already grown up know him thoroughly, 
his gentleness, and his bravery.' ' Black people do not 
worship all Amatongo indifferently, that is, all the dead of 
their tribe. Speaking generally, the head of each house is 
worshipped by the children of that house ; for they do not 
know the ancients who are dead, nor their laud-giving 
names, nor their names. 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, sup- 
port 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 besides us ; he will regard us only." >l It will 
be seen in another place how the Zulu follows up the doc- 
trine of divine ancestors till he reaches a first ancestor of 
man and creator of the world, the primaeval Unkulunkulu. 
In West Africa, manes-worship displays in contrast its two 
special types. On the one hand, we see the North Guinea 
negroes transferring the souls of the dead, according to 
their lives, to the rank of good and evil spirits, and if evil 
worshipping them the more zealously, as fear is to their 
minds a stronger impulse than love. On the other hand, 
in Southern Guinea, we see the deep respect paid to the 
aged during life, passing into worship when death has 
raised them to yet higher influence. There the living bring 
to the images of the dead food and drink, and even a small 
portion of their profits gained in trade ; they look especially 
to dead relatives for help in the trials of life, and ' it is no 
uncommon thing to see large groups of men and women, in 
times of peril or distress, assembled along the brow of some 
commanding eminence, or along the skirts of some dense 

1 Callaway, ' Religious System of Amazulu,' part ii. ; see also Arbousset 
and Daumas, p. 469 ; Casalis, ' Basutos,' pp. 248-54 ; Waitz, ' Anthro- 
pologie,' vol. ii. pp. 411, 419 ; Magyar, ' Reisen in Sud-Afrika,' pp. 21, 335 
(Congo) ; Cavazzi, ' Congo,' lib. i. 


forest, calling in the most piteous and touching tones upon 
the spirits of their ancestors.' 1 

In Asia, manes-worship comes to the surface in all direc- 
tions. The rude Veddas of Ceylon believe in the guardian- 
ship of the spirits of the dead ; these, they say, are ' ever 
watchful, coming to them in sickness, visiting them in 
dreams, giving them flesh when hunting;' and in every 
calamity and want they call for aid on the ' kindred 
spirits,' and especially the shades of departed children, 
tfye ' infant spirits.' 8 Among non-Hindu tribes of India, 
whose religions more or less represent prae-Brahmanic and 
prae-Buddhistic conditions, wide and deep traces appear of 
an ancient and surviving cultus of ancestors. 8 Among 
Turanian tribes spread over the northern regions of the 
Old World, a similar state of things may be instanced from 
the Mongols, worshipping as good deities the princely souls 
of Genghis Khan's family, at whose head stands the divine 
Genghis himself. 4 Nor have nations of the higher Asiatic 
culture generally rejected the time-honoured rite. In Japan 
the ' Way of the Kami,' better known to foreigners as the 
Sin-tu religion, is one of the officially recognized faiths, and 
in it there is still kept up in hut and palace the religion of 
the rude old mountain-tribes of the land, who worshipped 
their divine ancestors, the Kami, and prayed to them for 
help and blessing. To the time of these ancient Kami, say the 
modern Japanese, the rude stone implements belong which 
are found in the ground in Japan as elsewhere : to modern 
ethnologists, however, these bear witness not of divine 
but savage parentage. 6 In Siam the lower orders scruple to 

1 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' pp. 217, 388-93. See Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 181, 

1 Bailey in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. ii. p. 301. Compare Taylor, ' New- 
Zealand, ' p. 153. 

3 Buchanan, ' Mysore,' in Pinkerton, vol. viii. pp. 674-7. See Macpherson, 
' India,' p. 95 (Khonds) ; Hunter, ' Rural Bengal,' p. 183 (Santals). 

4 Castre'n, ' Finn, Myth.' p. 122 ; Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 90. See Pal- 
grave, ' Arabia,' vol. i. p. 373. 

8 Siebold, ' Nippon,' vol. i. p. 3, vol. ii. p. 51 ; Kempfer, 'Japan,' in 
Pinkerton, vol. vii. pp. 672, 680, 723, 755. 


worship the great gods, lest through ignorance they should 
blunder in the complex ritual ; they prefer to pray to the 
' theparak,' a lower class of deities among whom the souls 
of great men take their places at death. 1 In China, as 
every one knows, ancestor-worship is the dominant religion 
of the land, and interesting problems are opened out to the 
Western mind by the spectacle of a great people who for 
thousands of years have been thus seeking the living among 
the dead. Nowhere is the connexion between parental 
authority and conservatism more graphically shown. The 
worship of ancestors, begun during their life, is not inter- 
rupted but intensified when death makes them deities. The 
Chinese, prostrate bodily and mentally before the memorial 
tablets that contain the souls of his ancestors, little thinks 
that he is all the while proving to mankind how vast a 
power unlimited filial obedience, prohibiting change from 
ancestral institutions, may exert in stopping the advance of 
civilization. The thought of the souls of the dead as sharing 
the happiness and glory of their descendants is one which 
widely pervades the world, but most such ideas would seem 
vague and weak to the Chinese, who will try hard for honour 
in his competitive examination with the special motive of 
glorifying his dead ancestors, and whose titles of rank will 
raise his deceased father and grandfather a grade above 
himself, as though, with us, Zachary Macaulay and Copley 
the painter should now have viscounts' coronets officially 
placed on their tombstones. As so often happens, what is 
jest to one people is sober sense to another. There are 
300 millions of Chinese who would hardly see a joke in 
Charles Lamb reviling the stupid age that would not read 
him, and declaring that he would write for antiquity. Had 
he been a Chinese himself, he might have written his book 
in all seriousness for the benefit of his great-great-grand- 
father. Among the Chinese, manes-worship is no rite of 
mere affection. The living want the help of the ancestral 
spirits, who reward virtue and punish vice : ' The exalted 

1 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. Hi. p. 250. 


ancestor will bring thee, O Prince, much good ! ' ' An- 
cestors and fathers will abandon you and give you up, and 
come not to help, and ye will die.' If no help comes in 
time of need, the Chinese will reproach his ancestor, or 
even come to doubt his existence. Thus in a Chinese ode 
the sufferers in a dreadful drought cry, ' Heu-tsi cannot or 
will not help. . . . Our ancestors have surely perished. 
. . . Father, mother, ancestors, how could you calmly 
bear this ? ' Nor does manes-worship stop short with direct 
family ties ; it is naturally developed to produce, by deifica- 
tion of the heroic dead, a series of superior gods to whom 
worship is given by the public at large. Thus, according to 
legend, the War-god or Military Sage was once in human 
life a distinguished soldier, the Mechanics' god was a skilful 
workman and inventor of tools, the Swine-god was a hog- 
breeder who lost his pigs and died of sorrow, and the 
Gamblers' god, a desperate gamester who lost his all and 
died of want, is represented by a hideous image called a 
' devil gambling for cash,' and in this shape receives the 
prayers and offerings of confirmed gamblers, his votaries. 
The spirits of San-kea Ta-te, and Chang-yuen-sze go to 
partake of the offerings set out in their temples, returning 
flushed and florid from their meal ; and the spirit of Con- 
fucius is present in the temple, where twice a year the 
Emperor does sacrifice to him. 1 

The Hindu unites in some degree with the Chinese as to 
ancestor-worship, and especially as to the necessity of having 
a son by blood or adoption, who shall offer the proper sacri- 
fices to him after death. ' May there be born in our lineage,' 
the manes are supposed to say, ' a man to offer to us, on the 
thirteenth day of the moon, rice boiled in milk, honey and 
ghee.' Offerings made to the divine manes, the ' pitaras ' 
(patres, fathers) as they are called, preceded and followed by 
offerings to the greater deities, give to the worshipper merit 

1 Plath, ' Religion der alien Chinescn,' part i. p. 65, part ii. p. 89 ; Doo- 
little, ' Chinese,' vol. i. pp. vi. viii. ; vol. ii. p. 373 ; ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' 
New Ser. vol. ii. p. 363 ; Legge, ' Confucius,' p. 92. 


and happiness. 1 In classic Europe, apotheosis lies part 
within the limits of myth, where it was applied to fabled 
ancestors, and part within the limits of actual history, as 
where Julius and Augustus shared its honours with the vile 
Domitian and Commodus. The most special representa- 
tives of ancestor- worship in Europe were perhaps the ancient 
Romans, whose word ' manes ' has become the recognized 
name for ancestral deities in modern civilized language ; 
they embodied them as images, set them up as household 
patrons, gratified them with offerings and solemn homage, 
and counting them as or among the infernal gods, inscribed 
on tombs D. M., ' Diis Manibus.' 2 The occurrence of this 
D. M. in Christian epitaphs is an often-noticed case of 
religious survival. 

Although full ancestor-worship is not practised in modern 
Christendom, there remains even now within its limits a 
well-marked worship of the dead. A crowd of saints, who 
were once men and women, now form an order of inferior 
deities, active in the affairs of men and receiving from them 
reverence and prayer, thus coming strictly under the defini- 
tion of manes. This Christian cultus of the dead, belonging 
in principle to the older manes-worship, was adapted to 
answer another purpose in the course of religious transition 
in Europe. The local gods, the patron gods of particular 
ranks and crafts, the gods from whom men sought special 
help in special needs, were too near and dear to the inmost 
heart of prae-Christian Europe to be done away with without 
substitutes. It proved easier to replace them by saints who 
could undertake their particular professions, and even 
succeed them in their sacred dwellings. The system of 
spiritual division of labour was in time worked out with 
wonderful minuteness in the vast array of professional saints, 
among whom the most familiar to modern English ears 
are St. Cecilia, patroness of musicians ; St. Luke, patron 

1 Manu, book iii. 

2 Details in Pauly, ' Real-Encyclop.' s.v. ' inferi ' ; Smith's ' Die. of Gr. 
and Rom. Biog. and Myth.' ; Meiners, Hartung, &c. 


of painters ; St. Peter, of fishmongers ; St. Valentine, of 
lovers ; St. Sebastian, of archers ; St. Crispin, of cobblers ; 
St. Hubert, who cures the bite of mad dogs ; St. Vitus, 
who delivers madmen and sufferers from the disease which 
bears his name ; St. Fiacre, whose name is now less known 
by his shrine than by the hackney-coaches called after him 
in the seventeenth century. Not to dwell here minutely 
on an often-treated topic, it will be enough to touch on two 
particular points. First, as to the direct historical suc- 
cession of the Christian saint to the heathen deity, the 
following are two very perfect illustrations. It is well 
known that Romulus, mindful of his own adventurous in- 
fancy, became after death a Roman deity propitious to the 
health and safety of young children, so that nurses and 
mothers would carry sickly infants to present them in his 
little round temple at the foot of the Palatine. In after 
ages the temple was replaced by the church of St. Theo- 
dorus, and there Dr. Conyers Middleton, who drew public 
attention to its curious history, used to look in and see ten 
or a dozen women, each with a sick child in her lap, sitting 
in silent reverence before the altar of the saint. The 
ceremony of blessing children, especially after vaccination, 
may still be seen there on Thursday mornings. 1 Again, 
Sts. Cosmas and Damianus, according to Maury, owe their 
recognized office to a similar curious train of events. They 
were martyrs who suffered under Diocletian, at^Egaeae in 
Cilicia. Now this place was celebrated for the worship 
of ^tsculapius, in whose temple incubation, i.e. sleeping 
for oracular dreams, was practised. It seems as though the 
idea was transferred on the spot to the two local saints, for 
we next hear of them as appearing in a dream to the 
Emperor Justinian, when he was ill at Byzantium. They 
cured him, he built them a temple, their cultus spread far 
and wide, and they frequently appeared to the sick to show 
them what they should do. Legend settled that Cosmas 
and Damianus were physicians while they lived on earth, 

1 Middleton, ' Letter from Rome ' ; Murray's 'Handbook of Rome.' 


and at any rate they are patron-saints of the profession of 
medicine to this day. 1 Second, as to the actual state of 
hagiolatry in modern Europe, it is obvious on a broad view 
that it is declining among the educated classes. Yet modern 
examples may be brought forward to show ideas as extreme 
as those which prevailed more widely a thousand years ago. 
In the Church of the Jesuit College at Rome lies buried 
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, on whose festival it is customary 
especially for the college students to write letters to him, 
which are placed on his gaily decorated and illuminated 
altar, and afterwards burnt unopened. The miraculous 
answering of these letters is vouched for in an English book 
of 1870. To the same year belongs an English tract com- 
memorating a late miraculous cure. An Italian lady afflicted 
with a tumour and incipient cancer of the breast was 
exhorted by a Jesuit priest to recommend herself to the 
Blessed John Berchmans, a pious Jesuit novice from Bel- 
gium, who died in 1621, and was beatified in 1865. Her 
adviser procured for her 'three small packets of dust 
gathered from the coffin of this saintly innocent, a little 
cross made of the boards of the room the blessed youth 
occupied, as well as some portion of the wadding in which 
his venerable head was wrapped.' During nine days' 
devotion the patient accordingly invoked the Blessed John, 
swallowed small portions of his dust in water, and at last 
pressed the cross to her breast so vehemently that she was 
seized with sickness, went to sleep, and awoke without a 
symptom of the complaint. And when Dr. Panegrossi the 
physician beheld the incredible cure, and heard that the 
patient had addressed herself to the Blessed Berchmans, he 
bowed his head, saying, ' When such physicians interfere, 
we have nothing more to say I' 1 To sum up the whole 

1 L. F. Alfred Maury, ' Magic, &c.,' p. 249 ; ' Acta Sanctorum,' 27 Sep. ; 
Gregor. Turon. De Gloria Martyr, i. 98. 

- * J. R. Beste, ' Nowadays at Home and Abroad,' London, 1870, vol. ii. 
p. 44 ; 'A New Miracle at Rome ; being an Account of a Miraculous Cure, 
&c., &c.,' London (Washbourne), 1870. 


history of manes-worship, it is plain that in our time the 
dead still receive worship from far the larger half of man- 
kind, and it may have been much the same ever since the 
remote periods of primitive culture in which the religion of 
the manes probably took its rise. 

It has now been seen that the theory of souls recognizes 
them as capable either of independent existence, or of in- 
habiting human, animal, or other bodies. On the prin- 
ciple here maintained, that the general theory of spirits is 
modelled on the theory of souls, we shall be able to account 
for several important branches of the lower philosophy of 
religion, which without such explanation may appear in 
great measure obscure or absurd. Like souls, other spirits 
are supposed able either to exist and act flitting free about 
the world, or to become incorporate for more or less time in 
solid bodies. It will be well at once to get a secure grasp 
of this theory of Embodiment, for without it we shall be 
stopped every moment by a difficulty in understanding the 
nature of spirits, as defined in the lower animism. The 
theory of embodiment serves several highly important pur- 
poses in savage and barbarian philosophy. On the one 
hand it provides an explanation of the phenomena of morbid 
exaltation and derangement, especially as connected with 
abnormal utterance, and this view is so far extended as to 
produce an almost general doctrine of disease. On the 
other hand, it enables the savage either to ' lay ' a hurtful 
spirit in some foreign body, and so get rid of it, or to carry 
about a useful spirit for his service in a material object, to 
set it up as a deity for worship in the body of an animal, or 
in a block or stone or image or other thing, which contains 
the spirit as a vessel contains a fluid : this is the key to 
strict fetishism, and in no small measure to idolatry. In 
briefly considering these various branches of the Embodi- 
ment-theory, there may be conveniently included certain 
groups of cases often impossible to distinguish apart. These 
cases belong theoretically rather to obsession than posses- 
sion, the spirits not actually inhabiting the bodies, but 


hanging or hovering about them and affecting them from 
the outside. 

As in normal conditions the man's soul, inhabiting his 
body, is held to give it life, to think, speak, and act through 
it, so an adaptation of the self -same principle explains ab- 
normal conditions of body or mind, by considering the new 
symptoms as due to the operation of a second soul-like 
being, a strange spirit. The possessed man, tossed and 
shaken in fever, pained and wrenched as though some live 
creature were tearing or twisting him within, pining as 
though it were devouring his vitals day by day, rationally 
finds a personal spiritual cause for his sufferings. In 
hideous dreams he may even sometimes see the very ghost 
or nightmare-fiend that plagues him. Especially when the 
mysterious unseen power throws him helpless on the ground, 
jerks and writhes him in convulsions, makes him leap upon 
the bystanders with a giant's strength and a wild beast's 
ferocity, impels him, with distorted face and frantic gesture, 
and voice not his own nor seemingly even human, to pour 
forth wild incoherent raving, or with thought and eloquence 
beyond his sober faculties to command, to counsel, to fore- 
tell such a one seems to those who watch him, and even to 
himself, to have become the mere instrument of a spirit 
which has seized him or entered into him, a possessing 
demon in whose personality the patient believes so im- 
plicitly that he often imagines a personal name for it, which 
it can declare when it speaks in its own voice and character 
through his organs of speech ; at last, quitting the medium f s 
spent and jaded body, the intruding spirit departs as it 
came. This is the savage theory of daemoniacal possession 
and obsession, which has been for ages, and still remains, 
the dominant theory of disease and inspiration among the 
lower races. It is obviously based on an animistic inter- 
pretation, most genuine and rational in its proper place in 
man's intellectual history, of the actual symptoms of the 
cases. The general doctrine of disease-spirits and oracle- 
spirits appears to have its earliest, broadest, and most con- 


sistent position within the limits of savagery. When we 
have gained a clear idea of it in this its original home, we 
shall be able to trace it along from grade to grade of civiliza- 
tion, breaking away piecemeal under the influence of new 
medical theories, yet sometimes expanding in revival, and 
at least in lingering survival holding its place into the midst 
of our modern life. The possession-theory is not merely 
known to us by the statements of those who describe diseases 
in accordance with it. Disease being accounted for by attack 
of spirits, it naturally follows that to get rid of these spirits 
is the proper means of cure. Thus the practices of the 
exorcist appear side by side with the doctrine of possession, 
from its first appearance in savagery to its survival in 
modern civilization ; and nothing could display more vividly 
the conception of a disease or a mental affection as caused 
by a personal spiritual being than the proceedings of the 
exorcist who talks to it, coaxes or threatens it, makes offer- 
ings to it, entices or drives it out of the patient's body, and 
induces it to take up its abode in some other. That the 
two great effects ascribed to such spiritual influence in 
obsession and possession, namely, the infliction of ailments 
and the inspiration of oracles, are not only mixed up to- 
gether but often run into absolute coincidence, accords with 
the view that both results are referred to one common cause. 
Also that the intruding or invading spirit may be either a 
human soul or may belong to some other class in the spiritual 
hierarchy, countenances the opinion that the possession- 
theory is derived from, and indeed modelled on, the ordi- 
nary theory of the soul acting on the body. In illustrating 
the doctrine by typical examples from the enormous mass 
of available details, it will hardly be possible to discriminate 
among the operating spirits, between those which are souls 
and those which are demons, nor to draw an exact line 
between obsession by a demon outside and possession by a 
demon inside, nor between the condition of the demon- 
tormented patient and the demon-actuated doctor, seer, or 
priest. In a word, the confusion of these conceptions in the 


savage mind only fairly represents their intimate connexion 
in the Possession-theory itself. 

In the Australian-Tasmanian district, disease and death 
are ascribed to more or less defined spiritual influences ; 
descriptions of a demon working a sorcerer's wicked will by 
coming slyly behind his victim and hitting him with his 
club on the back of his neck, and of a dead man's ghost 
angered by having his name uttered, and creeping up into 
the utterer's body to consume his liver, are indeed pecu- 
liarly graphic details of savage animism. 1 The theory of 
disease-spirits is well stated in its extreme form among the 
Mintira, a low race of the Malay peninsula. Their ' hantu ' 
or spirits have among their functions that of causing ail- 
ments ; thus the ' hantu kalumbahan ' causes small-pox ; 
the ' hantu kamang ' brings on inflammation and swellings 
in the hands and feet ; when a person is wounded, the 
' hantu pari ' fastens on the wound and sucks, and this is 
the cause of the blood flowing. And thus, as the describer 
says, ' To enumerate the remainder of the hantus would be 
merely to convert the name of every species of disease 
known to the Mintira into a proper one. If any new 
disease appeared, it would be ascribed to a hantu bearing 
the same name.' 8 It will help us to an idea of the distinct 
personality which the disease-demon has in the minds of 
the lower races, to notice the Orang Laut of this district 
placing thorns and brush in the paths leading to a part 
where small-pox had broken out, to keep the demons off ; 
just as the Khonds of Orissa try with thorns, and ditches, 
and stinking oil poured on the ground, to barricade the paths 
to their hamlets against the goddess of small-pox, Jugah 
Pennu. 8 Among the Dayaks of Borneo, ' to have been 
smitten by a spirit ' is to be ill ; sickness may be caused 

1 Oldfield in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 235 ; see Grey, ' Australia/ vol. ii. 
p. 337. Bonwick, ' Tasmanians,' pp. 183, 195. 

* ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. p. 307. 

8 Bastian, 'Psychologic,' p. 204; ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 73, see p. 125 
(Battas); Macpherson, 'India,' p. 370. See also Mason, 'Karens,' I. c. 
p. 201. 


by invisible spirits inflicting invisible wounds with invisible 
spears, or entering men's bodies and driving out their souls, 
or lodging in their hearts and making them raving mad. 
In the Indian Archipelago, the personal semi-human nature 
of the disease-spirits is clearly acknowledged by appeasing 
them with feasts and dances and offerings of food set out 
for them away in the woods, to induce them to quit their 
victims, or by sending tiny proas to sea with offerings, that 
spirits which have taken up their abode in sick men's 
bowels may embark and not come back. 1 The animistic 
theory of disease is strongly marked in Polynesia, where 
every sickness is ascribed to spiritual action of deities, 
brought on by the offerings of enemies, or by the victim's 
violation of the laws of tapu. Thus in New Zealand each 
ailment is caused by a spirit, particularly an infant or un- 
developed human spirit, which sent into the patient's body 
gnaws and. feeds inside ; and the exorcist, finding the path 
by which such a disease-spirit came from below to feed on 
the vitals of a sick relative, will persuade it by a charm to 
get upon a flax-stalk and set off home. We hear, too, of 
an idea of the parts of the body forehead, breast, stomach, 
feet, &c. being apportioned each to a deity who inflicts 
aches and pains and ailments there. 2 So in the Samoan 
group, when a man was near death, people were anxious to 
part on good terms with him, feeling assured that if he 
died with angry feelings towards any one, he would certainly 
return and bring calamity on that person or some one closely 
allied to him. This was considered a frequent source of 
disease and death, the spirit of a departed member of the 
family returning and taking up his abode in the head, chest, 
or stomach of a living man, and so causing sickness and 
death. If a man died suddenly, it was thought that he was 

1 'Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iii. p. no, vol. iv. p. 194; St. John, 'Far 
East,' vol. i. pp. 71,87; Beeckman in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 133; Meiners, 
vol. i. p. 278. See also Doolit tie, ' Chinese,' vol. i. p. 1 59. 

* Shortland, ' Trads. of N. Z.' pp. 97, 1 14, 125 ; Taylor, ' New Zealand,' 
pp. 48, 137. 


eaten by the spirit that took him ; and though the soul of 
one thus devoured would go to the common spirit-land of 
the departed, yet it would have no power of speech there, 
and if questioned could but beat its breast. It completes 
this account to notice that the disease-inflicting souls of the 
departed were the same which possessed the living under 
more favourable circumstances, coming to talk through a 
certain member of the family, prophesying future events, 
and giving directions as to family affairs. 1 Farther east, in 
the Georgian and Society Islands, evil demons are sent to 
scratch and tear people into convulsions and hysterics, to 
torment poor wretches as with barbed hooks, or to twist and 
knot inside them till they die writhing in agony. But mad- 
men are to be treated with great respect, as entered by 
a god, and idiots owe the kindness with which they are 
appeased and coaxed to the belief in their superhuman 
inspiration. 2 Here, and elsewhere in the lower culture, 
the old real belief has survived which has passed into a 
jest of civilized men in the famous phrase of the ' inspired 

American ethnography carries on the record of rude races 
ascribing disease to the action of evil spirits. Thus the 
Dacotas believe that the spirits punish them for misconduct, 
especially for neglecting to make feasts for the dead ; these 
spirits have the power to send the spirit of something, as 
of a bear, deer, turtle, fish, tree, stone, worm, or deceased 
person, which entering the patient causes disease ; the 
medicine-man's cure consists in reciting charms over him, 
singing ' He-le-li-lah, &c.,' to the accompaniment of a 
gourd-rattle with beads inside, ceremonially shooting a 
symbolic bark representation of the intruding creature, 
sucking over the seat of pain to get the spirit out, and 

1 Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 236. 

* Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. pp. 363, 395, &c., vol. ii. pp. 193, 274 ; 
Cook, '3rd Voy.' vol. iii. p. 131. Details of the superhuman character 
ascribed to weak or deranged persons among other races, in Schoolcraft, 
part iv. p. 49 ; Martius, vol i. p. 633 ; Meiners, vol. i. p. 323 ; Waitz, vol. ii. 
p. 181. 


firing guns at it as it is supposed to be escaping. 1 Such 
processes were in full vogue in the West Indies in the time 
of Columbus, when Friar Roman Pane put on record his 
quaint account of the native sorcerer pulling the disease off 
the patient's legs (as one pulls off a pair of trousers), going 
out of doors to blow it away, and bidding it begone to the 
mountain or the sea ; the performance concluding with the 
regular sucking-cure and the pretended extraction of some 
stone or bit of flesh, or .such thing, which the patient is 
assured that his patron-spirit or deity (cemi) put into him 
to cause the disease, in punishment for neglect to build him 
a temple or honour him with prayer or offerings of goods.* 
Patagonians considered sickness as caused by a spirit enter- 
ing the patient's body ; ' they believe every sick person to 
be possessed of an evil demon ; hence their physicians 
always carry a drum with figures of devils painted on it, 
which they strike at the beds of sick persons to drive out 
from the body the evil demon which causes the disorder.' 8 
In Africa, according to the philosophy of the Basutos and 
the Zulus, the causes of disease are the ghosts of the dead, 
come to draw the living to themselves, or to compel them 
to sacrifice meat-offerings. They are recognized by the 
diviners, or by the patient himself, who sees in dreams the 
departed spirit come to torment him. Congo tribes in like 
manner consider the souls of the dead, passed into the ranks 
of powerful spirits, to cause disease and death among man- 
kind. Thus, in both these districts, medicine becomes an 
almost entirely religious matter of propitiatory sacrifice 
and prayer addressed to the disease-inflicting manes. The 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 250, part ii. pp. 179, 199, 
part iii. p. 498 ; M. Eastman, ' Dahcotah,' pp. xxiii. 34, 41, 72. See also 
Gregg, ' Commerce of Prairies,' vol. ii. p. 297 (Comanches) ; Morgan, 
' Iroquois,' p. 163; Sproat, p. 174 (Ahts) ; Egede, 'Greenland,' p. 186; 
Cranz, p. 269. 

1 Roman Pane, xix. in ' Life of Colon ' ; in Pinkerton, vol. xii. p. 87. 

3 D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Ame'ricain,' vol. ii. pp. 73, 168 ; Musters, 
1 Patagonians,' p. 180. Se also J. G. Muller, pp. 207, 231 (Caribs) ; Spix 
and Martius, ' Brasilien,' vol. i. p. 70 ; Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 646 


Barolong give a kind of worship to deranged persons, as 
being under the direct influence of a deity ; while in East 
Africa the explanation of madness and idiocy is simple 
and typical ' he has fiends.' 1 Negroes of West Africa, on 
the supposition that an attack of illness has been caused 
by some spiritual being, can ascertain to their satisfaction 
what manner of spirit has done it, and why. The patient 
may have neglected his ' wong ' or fetish-spirit, who has 
therefore made him ill ; or it may be his own ' kla ' or 
personal guardian-spirit, who on being summoned explains 
that he has not been treated respectfully enough, &c. ; or 
it may be a ' sisa ' or ghost of some dead man, who has 
taken this means of making known that he wants perhaps 
a gold ornament that was left behind when he died.* Of 
course, the means of cure will then be to satisfy the demands 
of the spirit. Another aspect of the negro doctrine of 
disease-spirits is displayed in the following description from 
Guinea, by the Rev. J. L. Wilson, the missionary : ' De- 
moniacal possessions are common, and the feats performed 
by those who are supposed to be under such influence are 
certainly not unlike those described in the New Testament. 
Frantic gestures, convulsions, foaming at the mouth, feats 
of supernatural strength, furious ravings, bodily lacerations, 
gnashing of teeth, and other things of a similar character, 
may be witnessed in most of the cases which are supposed 
to be under diabolical influence.' 3 The remark several 
times made by travellers is no doubt true, that the spiritual- 
istic theory of disease has tended strongly to prevent 
progress in the medical art among the lower races. Thus 
among the Bodo and Dhimal of North-East India, who 
ascribe all diseases to a deity tormenting the patient for 
some impiety or neglect, the exorcists divine the offended 

1 Casalis, ' Basutos,' p. 247 ; Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 147, &c. ; 
Magyar, ' Sud-Afrika,' p. 21, &c. ; Burton, ' Central Afr.' vol. ii. pp. 320, 
354; Steere in ' Journ. Anthrop. Inst.' vol. i. 1871, p. cxlvii. 

* Steinhauser, ' Religion des Negers,' in ' Magaz. der Evang. Missions and 
Bibel-Gesellschaften,' Basel, 1856, No. 2, p. 139. 

3 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' pp. 217, 388. 


god and appease him with the promised sacrifice of a hog ; 
these exorcists are a class of priests, and the people have 
no other doctors. 1 Where the world-wide doctrine of 
disease-demons has held sway, men's minds, full of spells 
and ceremonies, have scarce had room for thought of drugs 
and regimen. 

The cases in which disease-possession passes into oracle- 
possession are especially connected with hysterical, convul- 
sive, and epileptic affections. Mr. Backhouse describes a 
Tasmanian native sorcerer, ' affected with fits of spasmodic 
contraction of the muscles of one breast .which he attributes, 
as they do all other diseases, to the devil ' ; this malady 
served to prove his inspiration to his people. 2 When Dr. 
Mason was preaching near a village of heathen Pwo, a man 
fell down in an epileptic fit, his familiar spirit having come 
over him to forbid the people to listen to the missionary, 
and he sang out his denunciations like one frantic. This 
man was afterwards converted, and told the missionary that 
' he could not account for his former exercises, but that it 
certainly appeared to him as though a spirit spoke, and he 
must tell what was communicated.' In this Karen district 
flourishes the native ' wee ' or prophet, whose business is 
to work himself into the state in which he can see departed 
spirits, visit their distant home, and even recall them to the 
body, thus raising the dead ; these wees are nervous excit- 
able men, such as would become mediums, and in giving 
oracles they go into actual convulsions. 3 Dr. Callaway's 
details of the state of the Zulu diviners are singularly in- 
structive. Their symptoms are ascribed to possession by 
' amatongo ' or ancestral spirits ; the disease is common, 
from some it departs of its own accord, others have the 
ghost laid which causes it, and others let the affection take 
its course and become professional diviners, whose powers 
of finding hidden things and giving apparently inaccessible 

1 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' pp. 163, 170. 

2 Backhouse, ' Australia,' p. 103. 

3 Mason, ' Burmah,' p. 107, &c. Cross, I.e. p. 305. 


information are vouched for by native witnesses, who at the 
same time are not blind to their tricks and their failures. 
The most perfect description is that of a hysterical vision- 
ary, who had ' the disease which precedes the power to 
divine.' This man describes that well-known symptom of 
hysteria, the heavy weight creeping up within him to his 
shoulders, his vivid dreams, his waking visions of objects 
that are not there when he approaches, the songs that come 
to him without learning, the sensation of flying in the air. 
This man was ' of a family who are very sensitive, and be- 
come doctors.' 1 Persons whose constitutional unsoundness 
induces morbid manifestations are indeed marked out by 
nature to become seers and sorcerers. Among the Pata- 
gonians, patients seized with falling sickness or St. Vitus's 
dance were at once selected for magicians, as chosen by the 
demons themselves who possessed, distorted, and convulsed 
them.* Among Siberian tribes, the shamans select children 
liable to convulsions as suitable to be brought up to the 
profession, which is apt to become hereditary with the 
epileptic tendencies it belongs to. 8 Thus, even in the lower 
culture, a class of sickly brooding enthusiasts begin to have 
that power over the minds of their lustier fellows, which 
they have kept in so remarkable a way through the course 
of history. 

Morbid oracular manifestations are habitually excited on 
purpose, and moreover the professional sorcerer commonly 
exaggerates or wholly feigns them. In the more genuine 
manifestations the medium may be so intensely wrought 
upon by the idea that a possessing spirit is speaking from 
within him, that he may not only give this spirit's name and 
speak in its character, but possibly may in good faith alter 
his voice to suit the spiritual utterance. This gift of spirit- 
utterance, which belongs to ' ventriloquism ' in the ancient 
and proper sense of the term, of course lapses into sheer 

1 Callaway, ' Religion of Amazulu,' pp. 183, &c., 259, &c. 
1 Falkner, ' Patagonia,' p. 1 16. See also Rochefort, ' lies Antilles," p. 418 

8 Georgi, ' Reise im Russ. Reich,' vol. i. p. 280 ; Meiners, vol. ii. p. 488. 


trickery. But that the phenomena should be thus artificially 
excited or dishonestly counterfeited, rather confirms than 
alters the present argument. Real or simulated, the details 
of oracle-possession alike illustrate popular belief. The 
Patagonian wizard begins his performance with drumming 
and rattling till the real or pretended epileptic fit comes on 
by the demon entering him, who then answers questions 
from within him with a faint and mournful voice. 1 In 
Southern India and Ceylon the so-called ' devil-dancers ' 
have to work themselves into paroxysms, to gain the inspi- 
ration whereby they profess to cure their patients.' So, 
with furious dancing to the music and chanting of the 
attendants, the Bodo priest brings on the fit of maniacal in- 
spiration in which the deity fills him and gives oracles 
through him. 8 In Kamchatka the female shamans, when 
Billukai came down into them in a thunderstorm, would 
prophesy ; or, receiving spirits with a cry of ' hush ! ' their 
teeth chattered as in fever, and they were ready to divine. 4 
Among the Singpho of South-East Asia, when the ' natzo ' 
or conjurer is sent for to a sick patient, he calls on his ' nat ' 
or demon, the soul of a deceased foreign prince, who descends 
into him and gives the required answers. 8 In the Pacific 
Islands, spirits of the dead would enter for a time the body 
of a living man, inspiring him to declare future events, or 
to execute some commission from the higher deities. The 
symptoms of oracular possession among savages have been 
especially well described in this region of the world. The 
Fijian priest sits looking steadfastly at a whale's tooth 
ornament, amid dead silence. In a few minutes he 
trembles, slight twitchings of face and limbs come on, 
which increase to strong convulsions, with swelling of 
the veins, murmurs and sobs. Now the god has entered 

1 Falkner, I.e. 

1 Caldwell, ' Dravidian Languages,' App. ; Latham, vol. ii. p. 469. 

3 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 172. 

4 Steller, ' Kamtschatka," p. 278. 

8 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. p. 328, see vol. iii. p. 201, ' Psychologic,' 
p. 139. See also Romer, ' Guinea,' p. 59. 


him, and with eyes rolling and protruding, unnatural voice, 
pale face and livid lips, sweat streaming from every 
pore, and the whole aspect of a furious madman, he gives 
the divine answer, and then, the symptoms subsiding, he 
looks round with a vacant stare, and the deity returns to 
the land of spirits. In the Sandwich Islands, where the 
god Oro thus gave his oracles, his priest ceased to act or 
speak as a voluntary agent, but with his limbs convulsed, 
his features distorted and terrific, his eyes wild and strained, 
he would roll on the ground foaming at the mouth, and 
reveal the will of the possessing god in shrill cries and 
sounds violent and indistinct, which the attending priests 
duly interpreted to the people. In Tahiti, it was often 
noticed that men who in the natural state showed neither 
ability nor eloquence, would in such convulsive delirium 
burst forth into earnest lofty declamation, declaring the will 
and answers of the gods, and prophesying future events, 
in well-knit harangues full of the poetic figure and meta- 
phor of the professional orator. But when the fit was over, 
and sober reason returned, the prophet's gifts were gone. 1 
Lastly, the accounts of oracular possession in Africa show 
the primitive ventriloquist in perfect types of morbid 
knavery. In Sofala, after a king's funeral, his soul would 
enter into a sorcerer, and speaking in the familiar tones 
that all the bystanders recognized, would give counsel to 
the new monarch how to govern his people. 8 About a 
century ago, a negro fetish- woman of Guinea is thus 
described in the act of answering an enquirer who has come 
to consult her. She is crouching on the earth, with her 
head between her knees and her hands up to her face, till, 
becoming inspired by the fetish, she snorts and foams and 
gasps. Then the suppliant may put his question, ' Will 
my friend or brother get well of this sickness ? ' ' What 
shall I give thee to set him free from his sickness ? ' and so 

1 Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. pp. 352, 373 ; Moercnhout, ' Voyage,' vol. i. 
p. 479 ; Mariner, ' Tonga Islands,' vol. i. p. 105 ; Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 373. 
* Dos Santos, ' Ethiopia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 686. 


forth. Then the fetish-woman answers in a thin, whistling 
voice, and with the old-fashioned idioms of generations 
past ; and thus the suppliant receives his command, perhaps 
to kill a white cock and put him at a four-cross way, or tie 
him up for the fetish to come and fetch him, or perhaps 
merely to drive a dozen wooden pegs into the ground, so to 
bury his friend's disease with them. 1 

The details of demoniacal possession among barbaric and 
civilized nations need no elaborate description, so simply 
do they continue the savage cases. 8 But the state of things 
we notice here agrees with the conclusion that the posses- 
sion-theory belongs originally to the lower culture, and is 
gradually superseded by higher medical knowledge. Survey- 
ing its course through the middle and higher civilization, we 
shall notice first a tendency to limit it to certain peculiar 
and severe affections, especially connected with mental dis- 
order, such as epilepsy, hysteria, delirium, idiocy, madness ; 
and after this a tendency to abandon it altogether, in con- 
sequence of the persistent opposition of the medical faculty. 
Among the nations of South-East Asia, obsession and pos- 
sessions by demons is strong at least in popular belief. The 
Chinese attacked with dizziness, or loss of the use of his 
limbs, or other unaccountable disease, knows that he has 
been influenced by a malignant demon, or punished for some 
offence by a deity whose name he will mention, or affected 
by his wife of a former existence, whose spirit has after a 
long search discovered him. Exorcism of course exists, and 
when the evil spirit or influence is expelled, it is especially 
apt to enter some person standing near ; hence the common 
saying, ' idle spectators should not be present at an exor- 
cism.' Divination by possessed mediums is usual in China : 
among such is the professional woman who sits at a table in 
contemplation, till the soul of a deceased person from whom 

1 Romer, ' Guinea,' p. 57. See also Steinhauser, I.e. pp. 132, 139 ; J. B. 
Schlegel, ' Ewe-Sprache,' p. xvi. 

1 Details from Tatar races in Castrln, ' Finn. Myth.' pp. 164, 173, Sic. ; 
Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 90 ; from Abyssinia in Parkyns, ' Life in A.,' ch. 


communication is desired enters her body and talks through 
her to the living ; also the man into whom a deity is brought 
by invocations and mesmeric passes, when, assuming the 
divine figure and attitude, he pronounces the oracle. 1 In 
Burma, the fever-demon of the jungle seizes trespassers on 
his domain, and shakes them in ague till he is exorcised, 
while falls and apoplectic fits are the work of other spirits. 
The dancing of women by demoniacal possession is treated 
by the doctor covering their heads with a garment, and 
thrashing them soundly with a stick, the demon and not the 
patient being considered to feel the blows ; the possessing 
spirit may be prevented from escaping by a knotted and 
charmed cord hung round the bewitched person's neck, and 
when a sufficient beating has induced it to speak by the 
patient's voice and declare its name and business, it may 
either be allowed to depart, or the doctor tramples on the 
patient's stomach till the demon is stamped to death. For 
an example of invocation and offerings, one characteristic 
story told by Dr. Bastian will suffice. A Bengali cook was 
seized with an apoplectic fit, which his Burmese wife declared 
was but a just retribution, for the godless fellow had gone 
day after day to market to buy pounds and pounds of meat, 
yet in spite of her remonstrances would never give a morsel 
to the patron-spirit of the town ; as a good wife, however, 
she now did her best for her suffering husband, placing near 
him little heaps of coloured rice for the 'nat,' and putting 
on his fingers rings with prayers addressed to the same 
offended being ' Oh ride him not ! ' ' Ah let him go ! ' 
' Grip him not so hard ! ' ' Thou shalt have rice ! ' 
' Ah, how good that tastes ! ' How explicitly Buddhism 
recognizes such ideas, may be judged from one of the ques- 
tions officially put to candidates for admission as monks or 
talapoins ' Art thou afflicted by madness or the other ills 
caused by giants, witches, or evil demons of the forest and 
mountain ? ' 2 Within our own domain of British India, 

1 Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. i. p. 143, vol. ii. pp. no, 320. 

2 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. pp. 103, 152, 381, 418, vol. iii. p. 247, 


the possession-theory and the rite of exorcism belonging 
to it may be perfectly studied to this day. There the doc- 
trine of sudden ailment or nervous disease being due to a 
blast or possession by a ' bhut/ or being, that is, a demon, 
is recognized as of old ; there the old witch who has pos- 
sessed a man and made him sick or deranged, will answer 
spiritually out of his body and say who she is and where she 
lives ; there the frenzied demoniac may be seen raving, 
writhing, tearing, bursting his bonds, till, subdued by the 
exorcist, his fury subsides, he stares and sighs, falls help- 
less to the ground, and comes to himself ; and there the 
deities caused by excitement, singing, and incense to enter 
into men's bodies, manifest their presence with the usual 
hysterical or epileptic symptoms, and speaking in their own 
divine name and personality, deliver oracles by the vocal 
organs of the inspired medium. 1 

In the Ancient Babylonian- Assyrian texts, the exorcism- 
formulas show the doctrine of disease-demons in full de- 
velopment, and similar opinions were current in ancient 
Greece and Rome, to whose languages indeed our own owes 
the technical terms of the subject, such as ' demoniac ' and 
' exorcist.' Homer's sick men racked with pain are tor- 
mented by a hateful demon (o-rvyepbs 6e ol |XP &HJI>). 
' Epilepsy ' (cViA^ts) was, as its name imports, the ' seizure ' 
of the patient by a superhuman agent : the agent being 
more exactly denned in ' nympholepsy,' the state of being 
seized or possessed by a nymph, i.e., rapt or entranced 
(vv/i4>oA.7j7TTos, lymphatus). The causation of mental de- 
rangement and delirious utterance by spiritual possession 
was an accepted tenet of Greek philosophy. To be insane 
was simply to have an evil spirit, as when Sokrates said of 
those who denied demonic or spiritual knowledge, that they 

&c. See also Bowring, ' Siam,' vol. i. p. 139 ; ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iv. 
p. 507, vol. vi. p. 614 ; Turpin, in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 761 ; Kempfer, 
'Japan,' ibid. vol. vii. pp. 701, 730, &c. 

1 Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. i. p. 155, vol. ii. p. 183; Roberts, 'Oriental 
Illustrations of the Scriptures,' p. 529 ; Bastian, ' Psychologic," pp. 164., 
184-7. Sanskrit paicacha-graha = demon-seizure, possession. Ancient evi- 
dence in Pictet, ' Origines Indo-Europ.' part ii. ch. v. 

U, K 


themselves were demoniac (8a.ifj.ovav !</j), and Alexander 
ascribed to the influence of offended Dionysos the ungovern- 
able drunken fury in which he killed his friend Kleitos ; 
raving madness was obsession or possession by an evil 
demon (xaKoSeu/ioi'ia). So the Romans called madmen 
' larvati,' ' larvarum pleni,' full of ghosts. Patients pos- 
sessed by demons stared and foamed, and the spirits spoke 
from within them by their voices. The craft of the 
exorcist was well known. As for oracular possession, its 
theory and practice remained in fullest vigour through 
the classic world, scarce altered from the times of lowest 
barbarism. Could a South Sea Islander have gone to Delphi 
to watch the convulsive struggles of the Pythia, and listen 
to her raving, shrieking utterances, he would have needed 
no explanation whatever of a rite so absolutely in conformity 
with his own savage philosophy. 1 

The Jewish doctrine of possession 2 at no time in its long 
course exercised a direct influence on the opinion of the 
civilized world comparable to that produced by the mentions 
of demoniacal possession in the New Testament. It is 
needless to quote here even a selection from the familiar 
passages of the Gospels and Acts which display the manner 
in which certain described symptoms were currently ac- 
counted for in public opinion. Regarding these documents 
from an ethnographic point of view, it need only be said 
that they prove, incidentally but absolutely, that Jews and 
Christians at that time held the doctrine which had pre- 
vailed for ages before, and continued to prevail for ages 
after, referring to possession and obsession by spirits the 
symptoms of mania, epilepsy, dumbness, delirious and 
oracular utterance, and other morbid conditions, mental and 
bodily. 3 Modern missionary works, such as have been cited 

1 Homer. Odyss. v. 396, x. 64 ; Plat. Phaedr. Tim. &c. ; Pausan. iv. 
27, 2 ; Xen. Mem. I. i. 9 ; Plutarch. Vit. Alex. ; DC Orac. Def. ; Lucian. 
Philopseudes ; Petron. Arbiter, Sat. ; &c., &c. 

- Joseph. Ant. Jud. viii. 2, 5. Eisenmenger, ' Entdccktcs Judenthum,' 
part ii. p. 454. See Maury, p. 290. 

3 Matth. ix. 32, xi. 18, xii. 22, xvii. 15 ; Mark, i. 23, ix. 17 ; Luke, iv. 


here, give the most striking evidence of the correspondence 
of these demoniac symptoms with such as may still be 
observed among uncivilized races. During the early 
centuries of Christianity, demoniacal possession indeed 
becomes peculiarly conspicuous, perhaps not from unusual 
valence of the animistic theory of disease, but simply 
because a period of intense religious excitement brought it 
more than usually into requisition. Ancient ecclesiastical 
records describe, under the well-known names of ' dae- 
moniacs ' (Saifjiovi^onevoL), ' possessed ' (KaTfxoufvoi) > ' ener- 
gumens ' (evepyov/ievot), the class of persons whose bodies 
are seized or possessed by an evil spirit ; such attacks 
being frequently attended with great commotions and vexa- 
tions and disturbances of the body, occasioning sometimes 
frenzy and madness, sometimes epileptic fits, and other 
violent tossings and contortions. These energumens formed 
recognized part of an early Christian congregation, a 
standing-place apart being assigned to them in the church. 
(The church indeed seems to have been the principal habita- 
tion of these afflicted creatures, they were occupied out 
of service-time in such work as sweeping, daily food was 
provided for them, and they were under the charge of a 
special order of clergy, the exorcists, whose religious func- 
tion was to cast out devils by prayer and adjuration and lay- 
ing on of hands. As to the usual symptoms of possession, 
Justin, Tertullian, Chrysostom, Cyril, Minucius, Cyprian, 
and other early Fathers, give copious descriptions of demons 
entering into the bodies of men, disordering their health and 
minds, driving them to wander among the tombs, forcing 
them to writhe and wallow and rave and foam, howling and 
declaring their own diabolical names by the patients' voices, 
but when overcome by conjuration or by blows administered 
to their victims, quitting the bodies they had entered, and 
acknowledging the pagan deities to be but devils. 1 

33, 39, vii. 33, viii. 27, ix. 39, xiii. n ; John, x. 20; Acts, xvi. 16, xix. 
13; &c. 

1 For general evidence see Bingham, ' Antiquities of Christian Church,' 


On a subject so familiar to educated readers I may be 
excused from citing at length a vast mass of documents, 
barbaric in nature and only more or less civilized in circum- 
stance, to illustrate the continuance of the doctrine of pos- 
session and the rite of exorcism through the middle ages 
and into modern times. A few salient examples will suffice. 
For a type of medical details, we may instance the recipes 
in the ' Early English Leechdoms ' : a cake of the ' thost ' 
of a white hound baked with meal is to be taken against the 
attack by. dwarves (i.e. convulsions) ; a drink of herbs 
worked up off clear ale with the aid of garlic, holy water, 
and singing of masses, is to be drunk by a fiend-sick patient 
out of a church bell. Philosophical argument may be fol- 
lowed in the dissertations of the ' Malleus Maleficarum/ 
concerning demons substantially inhabiting men and causing 
illness in them, enquiries which may be pursued under the 
auspices of Glanvil in the ' Saducismus Triumphatus.' 
Historical anecdote bears record of the convulsive clair- 
voyant demon who possessed Nicola Aubry, and under the 
Bishop of Laon's exorcism testified in an edifying manner 
to the falsity of Calvinism ; of Charles VI. of France, who 
was possessed, and whose demon a certain priest tried in 
vain to transfer into the bodies of twelve men who were 
chained up to receive it ; of the German woman at Elbin- 
gerode who in a fit of toothache wished the devil might 
enter into her teeth, and who was possessed by six demons 
accordingly, which gave their names as Schalk der 
Wahrheit, Wirk, Widerkraut, Myrrha, Knip, Stiip ; of 
George Lukins of Yatton, whom seven devils threw into 
fits and talked and sang and barked out of, and who was 
delivered by a solemn exorcism by seven clergymen at the 
Temple Church at Bristol in the year I788. 1 A strong 

book iii. ch. iv. ; Calmet, ' Dissertation sur les Esprits ' ; Maury, ' Magic,' 
&c. ; Lccky,' Hist, of Rationalism.' Among particular passages arc Tertull. 
Apolog. 23 ; De Spectaculis, 26 ; Chrysostom. Homil. xxviii. in Matth. iv. ; 
Cyril. Hierosol. Catech. xvi. 16 ; Minuc. Fel. Octavius. xxi. ; Concil. Cart hag. 
iv. ; &c.. &c. 

1 Details in Cockayne, ' Lccchdoms, &c., of Early England,' vol. i. p. 365, 


sense of the permanence of the ancient doctrine may be 
gained from accounts of the state of public opinion in 
Europe, from Greece and Italy to France, where within the 
last century derangement and hysteria were still popularly 
ascribed to possession and treated by exorcism, just as in 
the dark ages. 1 In the year 1861, at Morzine, at the south 
of the Lake of Geneva, there might be seen in full fury an 
epidemic of diabolical possession worthy of a Red Indian 
settlement or a negro kingdom of West Africa, an outburst 
which the exorcisms of a superstitious priest had so aggra- 
vated that there were a hundred and ten raving demoniacs 
in that single village.* The following is from a letter 
written in 1862 by Mgr. Anouilh, a French missionary- 
bishop in China. ' Le croiriez-vous ? dix villages se sont 
convertis. Le diable est furieux et fait les cent coups. II y 
a eu, pendant les quinze jours que je viens de prficher, cinq 
ou six possessions. Nos cate'chumenes avec 1'eau be"nite 
chassent les diables, gue"rissent les malades. J'ai vu des 
choses merveilleuses. Le diable m'est d'un grand secours 
pour convertir les paiens. Comme au temps de Notre- 
Seigneur, quoique pere du mensonge, il ne peut s'empcher 
de dire la verite. Voyez ce pauvre posse'de' faisant mille 
contorsions et disant a grands cris : ' Pourquoi pre"ches-tu 
la vraie religion ? Je ne puis souffrir que tu m'enleves mes 
disciples.' ' Comment t'appelles-tu ? ' lui demande le cate"- 
chiste. Apres quelques refus : ' Je suis I'envoye" de Lucifer ' 
' Combien tes-vous ? ' ' Nous sommes vingt-deux.' 
' L'eau benite et le signe de la croix ont delivre ce posse'de'. ' 8 
To conclude the series with a modern spiritualistic instance, 

vol. ii. p. 137, 355; Sprenger, 'Malleus Maleficarum,' part ii.; Calmet, 
' Dissertation,' vol. i. ch. xxiv. ; Horst, ' Zauber-Bibliothek ' ; Bastian, 
4 Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 557, &c.; 'Psychologic,' p. 115, &c. ; Voltaire, 
' Questions sur 1'Encyclopidie,' art., ' Superstition ' ; ' Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica,' 5th ed. art. ' Possession.' 

1 See Maury, ' Magie,' &c., part ii. ch. ii. 

1 A. Contans, ' Rel. sur une Epidemic d'Hyst6ro-De'monopathie, en 1861.' 
2nd ed. Paris, 1863. For descriptions of such outbreaks, among the North 
American Indians, see Le Jeune in ' Rel. des Je"s. dans la Nouvelle France,' 
1639 > Brinton, p. 275 ; and in Guinea, tee J.L.Wilson,' Western Africa,' p. 217. 

8 Gaume/L'Eau Benite au Dix-Neuvieme Siecle,' 3rd <?d.Paris,i866, p. 353. 


one of those where the mediums feel themselves entered and 
acted though by a spirit other than their own soul. The 
Rev. Mr. West of Philadelphia describes how a certain pos- 
sessed medium went through the sword exercise, and fell 
down senseless ; when he came to himself again, the spirit 
within him declared itself to be the soul of a deceased ancestor 
of the minister's, who had fought and died in the American 
War. 1 We in England now hardly hear of demoniacal posses- 
sion except as a historical doctrine of divines. We have dis- 
carded from religious services the solemn ceremony of casting 
out devils from the bodies of the possessed, a rite to this day 
officially retained in the Rituals of the Greek and Roman 
Churches. Cases of diabolical influence alleged from time 
to time among ourselves are little noticed except by news- 
paper paragraphs on superstition and imposture. If, how- 
ever, we desire to understand the doctrine of possession, its 
origin and influence in the world, we must look beyond 
countries where public opinion has passed into this stage, 
and must study the demoniac theory as it still prevails in 
lower and lowest levels of culture. 

It has to be thoroughly understood that the changed aspect 
of the subject in modern opinion is not due to disappearance 
of the actual manifestations which early philosophy attri- 
buted to demoniacal influence. Hysteria and epilepsy, 
delirium and mania, and such like bodily and mental de- 
rangement, still exist. Not only do they still exist, but 
among the lower races, and in superstitious districts among 
the higher, they are still explained and treated as of old. It 
is not too much to assert that the doctrine of demoniacal 
possession is kept up, substantially the same theory to 
account for substantially the same facts, by half the human 
race, who thus stand as consistent representatives of their 
forefathers back into primitive antiquity. It is in the 
civilized world, under the influence of the medical doctrines 
which have been developing since classic times, that the 
early animistic theory of these morbid phenomena has been 

1 West, in ' Spiritual Telegraph,' cited by Bastian. 


gradually superseded by views more in accordance with 
modern science, to the great gain of our health and happi- 
ness. The transition which has taken place in the famous 
insane colony of Gheel in Belgium is typical. In old days, 
the lunatics were carried there in crowds to be exorcised 
from their demons at the church of St. Dymphna ; to Gheel 
they still go, but the physician reigns in the stead of the 
exorcist. Yet wherever, in times old or new, demoniacal 
influences are brought forward to account for affections 
which scientific physicians now explain on a different 
principle, care must be taken not to misjudge the ancient 
(joctrine and its place in history. As belonging to the 
lower culture it is a perfectly rational philosophical theory 
to account for certain pathological facts. But just as 
mechanical astronomy gradually superseded the animistic 
astronomy of the lower races, so biological pathology gra- 
dually supersedes animistic pathology, the immediate opera- 
tion of personal spiritual beings in both cases giving place 
to the operation of natural processes. 

We now pass to the consideration of another great branch 
of the lower religion of the world, a development of the 
same principles of spiritual operation with which we have 
become familiar in the study of the possession-theory. This 
is the doctrine of Fetishism. Centuries ago, the Portu- 
guese in West Africa, noticing the veneration paid by the 
negroes to certain objects, such as trees, fish, plants, idols, 
pebbles, claws of beasts, sticks and so forth, very fairly 
compared these objects to the amulets or talismans with 
which they were themselves familiar, and called them fcitifo 
or ' charm,' a word derived from Latin /actitins, in the 
sense of ' magically artful.' Modern French and English 
adopted this word from the Portuguese as fetiche, fetish, 
although curiously enough both languages had already pos- 
sessed the word for ages in a different sense, Old French 
faitis, ' well made, beautiful,' which Old English adopted 
as fetys, ' well made, neat.' It occurs in the commonest of 
all quotations from Chaucer : 


And Frensch sche spak ful faire and fetysly, 
Aftur the scole of Stratford atte Bowc, 
For Frensch of Parys was to hire unknowe.' 

The President de Brasses, a most original thinker of the 
1 8th century, struck by the descriptions of the African wor- 
ship of material and terrestrial objects, introduced the word 
Fetichisme as a general descriptive term, 1 and since then it 
has obtained great currency by Comte's use of it to denote 
a general theory of primitive religion, in which external 
objects are regarded as animated by a life analogous to 
man's. It seems to me, however, more convenient to use 
the word Animism for the doctrine of spirits in general, and 
to confine the word Fetishism to that subordinate department 
which it properly belongs to, namely, the doctrine of spirits 
embodied in, or attached to, or conveying influence through, 
certain material objects. Fetishism will be taken as in- 
cluding the worship of ' stocks and stones,' and thence it 
passes by an imperceptible gradation into Idolatry. 

Any object whatsoever may be a fetish. Of course, among 
the endless multitude of objects, not as we should say 
physically active, but to which ignorant men ascribe mys- 
terious power, we are not to apply indiscriminately the idea 
of their being considered vessels or vehicles or instruments 
of spiritual beings. They may be mere signs or tokens set 
up to represent ideal notions or ideal beings, as fingers or 
sticks are set up to represent numbers. Or they may be 
symbolic charms working by imagined conveyance of their 
special properties, as an iron ring to give firmness, or a 
kite's foot to give swift flight. Or they may be merely re- 
garded in some undefined way as wondrous ornaments or 
curiosities. The tendency runs through all human nature 
to collect and admire objects remarkable in beauty, form, 
quality, or scarceness. The shelves of ethnological museums 
show heaps of the objects which the lower races treasure up 

1 (C. de Brosses.) ' Du culte des dieux fetiches ou Parallele de 1'ancienne 
Religion de 1'Egypte avec la religion actuelle de Nigritie.' 1760. [De 
Brosses supposed the word fetiche connected with chose fee, fatum.] 


and hang about their persons teeth and claws, roots and 
berries, shells and stones, and the like. Now fetishes are in 
great measure selected from among such things as these, and 
the principle of their attraction for savage minds is clearly 
the same which still guides the superstitious peasant in 
collecting curious trifles ' for luck.' The principle is one 
which retains its force in far higher ranges of culture than 
the peasant's. Compare the Ostyak's veneration for any 
peculiar little stone he has picked up, with the Chinese love 
of collecting curious varieties of tortoise-shell, or an old- 
fashioned English conchologist's delight in a reversed shell. 
The turn of mind which in a Gold-Coast negro would mani- 
fest itself in a museum of monstrous and most potent 
fetishes, might impel an Englishman to collect scarce 
postage-stamps or queer walking-sticks. In the love of 
abnormal curiosities there shows itself a craving for the 
marvellous, an endeavour to get free from the tedious sense 
of law and uniformity in nature. As to the lower races, 
were evidence more plentiful as to the exact meaning they 
attach to objects which they treat with mysterious respect, 
it would very likely appear more often and more certainly 
than it does now, that these objects seem to them connected 
with the action of spirits, so as to be, in the strict sense in 
which the word is here used, real fetishes. But this must 
not be taken for granted. To class an object as a fetish, 
demands explicit statement that a spirit is considered as 
embodied in it or acting through it or communicating by it, 
or at least that the people it belongs to do habitually think 
this of such objects ; or it must be shown that the object 
is treated as having personal consciousness and power, is 
talked with, worshipped, prayed to, sacrificed to, petted or 
ill-treated with reference to its past or future behaviour to 
its votaries. In the instances now selected, it will be seen 
that in one way or another they more or less satisfy such 
conditions. In investigating the exact significance of fetishes 
in use among men, savage or more civilized, the peculiar 
difficulty is to know whether the effect of the object is 


thought due to a whole personal spirit embodied in or 
attached to it, or to some less definable influence exerted 
through it. In some cases this point is made clear, but 
in many it remains doubtful. 

It will help us to a clearer conception of the nature of a 
fetish, to glance at a curious group of nations which con- 
nect a disease at once with spiritual influence, and with the 
presence of some material object. They are a set of illus- 
trations of the savage principle, that a disease or an actual 
disease-spirit may exist embodied in a stick or stone or 
such-like material object. Among the natives of Australia, 
one hears of the sorcerers extracting from their own bodies 
by passes and manipulations a magical essence called 
' boylya,' which they can make to enter the patient's body 
like pieces of quartz, which causes pain there and consumes 
the flesh, and may be magically extracted either as invisible 
or in the form of a bit of quartz. Even the spirit of the 
waters, ' nguk-wonga,' which had caused an attack of 
erysipelas in a boy's leg (he had been bathing too long 
when heated) is declared to have been extracted by the 
conjurers from the affected part in the shape of a sharp 
stone. 1 The Caribs, who very distinctly referred diseases 
to the action of hostile demons or deities, had a similar 
sorcerer's process of extracting thorns or splinters from the 
affected part as the peccant causes, and it is said that in 
the Antilles morsels of stone and bone so extracted were 
wrapped up in cotton by the women, as protective fetishes 
in childbirth. 2 The Malagasy, considering all diseases as 
inflicted by an evil spirit, consult a diviner, whose method 
is often to remove the disease by means of a ' faditra ; ' 
this is some object, such as a little grass, ashes, a sheep, a 
pumpkin, the water the patient has rinsed his mouth with, 
or what not, and when the priest has counted on it the evils 

1 Grey, ' Australia,' vol. ii. p. 337 ; Eyre, ' Australia,' vol. ii. p. 362 ; 
Oldfield in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 235, &c.; G. F. Moore, ' Vocab. of 
S. W. Austr.' pp. 18, 98, 103. See Bonwick, ' Tasmanians,' p. 195. 

8 Rochefort, 'lies Antilles,' pp. 419, 508 ; J. G. Miiller, pp. 173, 207, 217. 


that may injure the patient, and charged the faditra to take 
them away for ever, it is thrown away, and the malady with 
it. 1 Among those strong believers in disease-spirits, the 
Dayaks of Borneo, the priest, waving and jingling charms 
over the affected part of the patient, pretends to extract 
stones, splinters, and bits of rag, which he declares are 
spirits ; of such evil spirits he will occasionally bring half- 
a-dozen out of a man's stomach, and as he is paid a fee of 
six gallons of rice for each, he is probably disposed (like a 
chiropodist under similar circumstances) to extract a good 
many. 2 The most instructive accounts of this kind are 
those which reach us from Africa. Dr. Callaway has taken 
down at length a Zulu account of the method of stopping 
out disease caused by spirits of the dead. If a widow is 
troubled by her late husband's ghost coming and talking to 
her night after night as though still alive, till her health is 
affected and she begins to waste away, they find a ' nyanga ' 
or sorcerer who can bar out the disease. He bids her not 
lose the spittle collected in her mouth while she is dream- 
ing, and gives her medicine to chew when she wakes. Then 
he goes with her to lay the ' itongo,' or ghost ; perhaps 
he shuts it up in a bulb of the inkomfe plant, making a 
hole in the side of this, putting in the medicine and the 
dream-spittle, closing the hole with a stopper, and re- 
planting the bulb. Leaving the place, he charges her not 
to look back till she gets home. Thus the dream is barred ; 
it may still come occasionally, but no longer infests the 
woman ; the doctor prevails over the dead man as regards 
that dream. In other cases the cure of a sick man attacked 
by the ancestral spirits may be effected with some of his 
blood put into a hole in an anthill by the doctor, who closes 
the hole with a stone, and departs without looking back ; or 
the patient may be scarified over the painful place, and the 
blood put into the mouth of a frog, caught for the purpose 
and carried back. So the disease is barred out from the 

1 Ellis, 'Madagascar,' vol. i. pp. 221, 232, 422. 

2 St. John, ' Far East,' vol. i. p. 211, see 72. 


man. 1 In West Africa, a case in point is the practice of 
transferring a sick man's ailment to a live fowl, which is set 
free with it, and if any one catches the fowl, the disease 
goes to him. 1 Captain Burton's account from Central Africa 
is as follows. Disease being possession by a spirit or ghost, 
the ' mganga ' or sorcerer has to expel it, the principal 
remedies being drumming, dancing, and drinking, till at 
last the spirit is enticed from the body of the patient into 
some inanimate article, technically called a ' keti ' or stool 
for it. This may be an ornament, such as a peculiar bead 
or a leopard's claw, or it may be a nail or rag, which by 
being driven into or hung to a ' devil's tree ' has the effect 
of laying the disease-spirit. Or disease-spirits may be ex- 
tracted by chants, one departing at the end of each stave, 
when a little painted stick made for it is flung on the 
ground, and some patients may have as many as a dozen 
ghosts extracted, for here also the fee is so much apiece.* 
In Siam, the Laos sorcerer can send his ' phi phob ' or 
demon into a victim's body, where it turns into a fleshy or 
leathery lump, and causes disease ending in death. 4 Thus, 
on the one hand, the spirit-theory of disease is seen to 
be connected with that sorcerer's practice prevalent among 
the lower races, of pretending to extract objects from 
the patient's body, such as stones, bones, balls of hair, 
&c., which are declared to be causes of disease conveyed 
by magical means into him ; of this proceeding I have 
given a detailed account elsewhere, under the name of 
the ' sucking-cure.' 6 On the other hand, there appears 
among the lower races that well-known conception of a 
disease or evil influence as an individual being, which may 
be not merely conveyed by an infected object (though this 
of course may have much to do with the idea), but may be 

1 Callawar, ' Religion of Amazulu,' p. 314. 

1 Steinhauser, I.e. p. 141. See also Steere, ' East Afr. Tribe*,' in ' Journ. 
Anthrop. Soc.' vol. i. p. cxlviii. 

' Burton, ' Central Africa,' vol. ii. p. 352. See ' Sindh,' p. 177. 

4 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. iii. p. 275. 

' Early Hist, of Mankind,' ch.x. See Haitian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 116, &c. 


removed by actual transfer from the patient into some other 
animal or object. Thus Pliny informs us how pains in the 
stomach may be cured by transmitting the ailment from the 
patient's body into a puppy or duck, which will probably 
die of it ; * it is considered baneful to a Hindu woman to be 
a man's third wife, wherefore the precaution is taken of 
first betrothing him to a tree, which dies in her stead;' 
after the birth of a Chinese baby, its father's trousers are 
hung in the room wrong side up, that all evil influences 
may enter into them instead of into the child.* Modern 
folklore still cherishes such ideas. The ethnographer may 
still study in the ' white witchcraft ' of European peasants 
the arts of curing a man's fever or headache by transferring 
it to a crawfish or a bird, or of getting rid of ague or gout 
or warts by giving them to a willow, elder, fir, or ash-tree, 
with suitable charms, ' Goe morgen, olde, ick geef oe de 
Kolde/ ' Goden Abend, Herr Fleder, hier bring ick mien 
Feber, ick bind em di an und gah davan,' ' Ash-tree, 
ashen tree, pray buy this wart of me,' and so forth ; or of 
nailing or plugging an ailment into a tree-trunk, or con- 
veying it away by some of the patient's hair or nail-parings 
or some such thing, and so burying it. Looking at these 
proceedings from a moral point of view, the practice of 
transferring the ailment to a knot or a lock of hair and 
burying it is the most harmless, but another device is a 
very pattern of wicked selfishness. In England, warts may 
be touched each with a pebble, and the pebbles in a bag left 
on the road to church, to give up their ailments to the un- 
lucky finder ; in Germany, a plaister from a sore may be 
left at a cross-way to transfer the disease to a passer-by ; 
I am told on medical authority that the bunches of flowers 
which children offer to travellers in Southern Europe are 
sometimes intended for the ungracious purpose of sending 
some disease away from their homes. 4 One case of this 

1 Plin. xxx. 14, 20. Cardan, ' De Var. Rerum,' cap. xliii. 

* Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. i. p. 134, vol. ii. p. 247. 
3 Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. i. p. 122. 

* Grimm, ' D. M.' pp. 1118-23 Wuttke, ' Volksabcrglaube,' pp. 155-70 i 


group, mentioned to me by Mr. Spottiswoode, is particu- 
larly interesting. In Thuringia it is considered that a 
string of rowan-berries, a rag, or any small article, touched 
by a sick person and then hung on a bush beside some 
forest path, imparts the malady to any person who may 
touch this article in passing, and frees the sick person from 
the disease. This gives great probability to Captain Bur- 
ton's suggestion that the rags, locks of hair, and what not, 
hung on trees near sacred places by the superstitious from 
Mexico to India and from Ethiopia to Ireland, are depo- 
sited there as actual receptacles of disease ; the African 
' devil's trees ' and the sacred trees of Sindh, hung with 
rags through which votaries have transferred their com- 
plaints, being typical cases of a practice surviving in lands 
of higher culture. 

The spirits which enter or otherwise attach themselves to 
objects may be human souls. Indeed one of the most 
natural cases of the fetish-theory is when a soul inhabits or 
haunts what is left of its former body. It is plain enough 
that by a simple association of ideas the dead person is 
imagined to keep up a connexion with his remains. Thus 
we read of the Mandan women going year after year to take 
food to the skulls of their dead kinsfolk, and sitting by the 
hour to chat and jest in their most endearing strain with 
the relics of a husband or child ; l thus the Guinea negroes, 
who keep the bones of parents in chests, will go to talk 
with them in the little huts which serve for their tombs.' 
And thus, from the savage who keeps and carries with his 
household property the cleaned bones of his forefathers, 3 to 

Brand, ' Pop. Ant.' vol. ii. p. 375, vol. iii. p. 286 ; Halliwell, ' Pop. Rhymes,' 
p. 208 ; R. Hunt, ' Pop. Romances," 2nd Series, p. 211 ; Hylten-Cavallius, 
' Warend och Wirdarne,' vol. i. p. 173. It is said, however, that rags 
fastened on trees by Gypsies, which passers-by avoid with horror as having 
diseases thus banned into them, are only signs left for the information of 
fellow vagrants ; Liebich, ' Die Zigeuner," p. 96. 

1 Catlin, ' N. A. Indians,' vol. i. p. 90. 

2 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Africa,' p. 394. 

3 Meiners, ' Gesch. der Rel.' vol. i. p. 305 ; J. G. Muller, p. 209. 


the mourner among ourselves who goes to weep at the grave 
of one beloved, imagination keeps together the personality 
and. the relics of the dead. Here, then, is a course of 
thought open to the animistic thinker, leading him on from 
fancied association to a belief in the real presence of a 
spiritual being in a material object. Thus there is no 
difficulty in understanding how the Karens thought the 
spirits of the dead might come back from the other world 
to reanimate their bodies ; l nor how the Marian islanders 
should have kept the dried bodies of their dead ancestors 
in their huts as household gods, and even expected them to 
give oracles out of their skulls; 2 nor how the soul of a 
dead Carib might be thought to abide in one of his bones, 
taken from the grave and carefully wrapped in cotton, in 
which state it could answer questions, and even bewitch an 
enemy if a morsel of his property were wrapped up with it ; 3 
nor how the dead Santal should be sent to his fathers by the 
ceremony of committing to the sacred river morsels of his 
skull from the funeral-pile. 4 Such ideas are of great interest 
in studying the burial rites of mankind, especially the habit 
of keeping relics of the dead as vehicles of superhuman 
power, and of even preserving the whole body as a mummy, 
as in Peru and Egypt. The conception of such human 
relics becoming fetishes, inhabited or at least acted through 
by the souls which formerly belonged to them, will give a 
rational explanation of much relic-worship otherwise 

A further stretch of imagination enables the lower races 
to associate the souls of the dead with mere objects, a 
practice which may have had its origin in the merest child- 
ish make-believe, but which would lead a thorough savage 
animist straight on to the conception of the soul entering 

1 Mason, Karens, I.e. p. 231. 

2 Meiners, vol. ii. pp. 721-3. 

3 Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 418. See Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. 
p. 485 (Yumanas swallow ashes of deceased with liquor, that he may live 
again in them). 

4 Hunter, 'Rural Bengal,' p. 210. See Bastian, 'Psychologic,' p. 73; 
J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrel.' pp. 209, 262, 289, 401, 419. 


the object as a body. Mr. Darwin saw two Malay women 
in Keeling Island who held a wooden spoon dressed in 
clothes like a doll ; this spoon had been carried to the grave 
of a dead man, and becoming inspired at full moon, in fact 
lunatic, it danced about convulsively like a table or a hat 
at a modern spirit-stance. 1 Among the Salish Indians of 
Oregon, the conjurers bring back men's lost souls as little 
stones or bones or splinters, and pretend to pass them down 
through the tops of their heads into their hearts, but great 
care must be taken to remove the spirits of any dead 
people that may be in the lot, for the patient receiving one 
would die. 1 There are indigenous Kol tribes of India who 
work out this idea curiously in bringing back the soul of a 
deceased man into the house after the funeral, apparently 
to be worshipped as a household spirit ; while some catch 
the spirit re-embodied in a fowl or fish, the Bin j war of Rae- 
pore bring it home in a pot of water, and the Bunjia in a 
pot of flour.* The Chinese hold such theories with extreme 
distinctness, considering one of a man's three spirits to take 
up its abode in the ancestral tablet, where it receives 
messages and worship from the survivors ; while the long 
keeping of the dead man's gilt and lacquered coffin, and the 
reverence and offerings continued at the tomb, are connected 
with the thought of a spirit lingering about the corpse. 
Consistent with these quaint ideas are ceremonies in vogue 
in China, of bringing home in a cock (live or artificial) the 
spirit of a man deceased in a distant place, and of enticing 
into a sick man's coat the departing spirit which has already 
left his body, and so conveying it back. 4 Tatar folklore 
illustrates the idea of soul-embodiment in the quaint but 
intelligible story of the demon-giant who could not be slain, 
for he did not keep his soul in his body, but in a twelve- 

1 Darwin, ' Journal,' p. 458. 

* Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 320. 

* ' Report of Jubbulpore Ethnological Committee,' Nagpore, 1868, part i. 
p. 5. 

4 Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. i. pp. 151, 207, 214, vol. ii. p. 401 ; see Plath, 
' Religion der alten Chinesen,' part i. p. 59, part ii. p. 101. 


headed snake carried in a bag on his horse's back ; the hero 
finds out the secret and kills the snake, and then the giant 
dies too. This tale is curious, as very likely indicating the 
original sense of a well-known group of stories in European 
folklore, the Scandinavian one, for instance, where the giant 
cannot be made an end of, because he keeps his heart not 
in his body, but in a duck's egg in a well far away ; at last 
the young champion finds the egg and crushes it, and the 
giant bursts. 1 Following the notion of soul-embodiment 
into civilized times, we learn that ' A ghost may be laid for 
any term less than an hundred years, and in any place or 
body, full or empty ; as, a solid oak the pommel of a sword 
a barrel of beer, if a yeoman or simple gentleman or a 
pipe of wine, if an esquire or a justice.' This is from 
Grose's bantering description in the i8th century of the art 
of ' laying ' ghosts,* and it is one of the many good instances 
of articles of serious savage belief surviving as jests among 
civilized men. 

Thus other spiritual beings, roaming free about the world, 
find fetish-objects to act through, to embody themselves in, 
to present them visibly to their votaries. It is extremely 
difficult to draw a distinct line of separation between the 
two prevailing sets of ideas relating to spiritual action 
through what we call inanimate objects. Theoretically we 
can distinguish the notion of the object acting as it were by 
the will and force of its own proper soul or spirit, from the 
notion of some foreign spirit entering its substance or act- 
ing on it from without, and so using it as a body or instru- 
ment. But in practice these conceptions blend almost 
inextricably. This state of things is again a confirmation 
of the theory of animism here advanced, which treats both 
sets of ideas as similar developments of the same original 

1 Castrin, 'Finn. Myth.' p. 187; Dasent, 'Norse Tales,' p. 69; Lane, 
'Thousand and One Nights,' vol. iii. p 4 316; Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 1033. 
See also Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 213. Eisenmenger, ' Judenthum,' part 
ii. p. 39. 

2 Brand, ' Pop. Ant.' vol. iii. p. 72. 


idea, that of the human soul, so that they may well shade 
imperceptibly into one another. To depend on some 
typical descriptions of fetishism and its allied doctrines in 
different grades of culture, is a safer mode of treatment than 
to attempt too accurate a general definition. 

There is a quaint story, dating from the time of Columbus, 
which shows what mysterious personality and power rude 
tribes could attach to lifeless matter. The cacique Hatuey, 
it is related, heard by his spies in Hispaniola that the 
Spaniards were coming to Cuba. So he called his people 
together, and talked to them of the Spaniards how they 
persecuted the natives of the islands, and how they did such 
things for the sake of a great lord whom they much desired 
and loved. Then, taking out a basket with gold in it, he 
said, ' Ye see here their lord whom they serve and go after ; 
and, as ye have heard, they are coming hither to seek this 
lord. Therefore let us make him a feast, that when they 
come he may tell them not to do us harm.' So they danced 
and sang from night to morning before the gold-basket, and 
then the cacique told them not to keep the Christian's lord 
anywhere, for if they kept him in their very bowels they 
would have to bring him out ; so he bade them cast him to 
the bottom of the river, and this they did. 1 If this story 
be thought too good to be true, at any rate it does not 
exaggerate authentic savage ideas. The ' maraca ' or cere- 
monial rattle, used by certain rude Brazilian tribes, was an 
eminent fetish. It was a calabash with a handle and a hole 
for a mouth, and stones inside ; yet to its votaries it seemed 
no mere rattle, but the receptacle of a spirit that spoke from 
it when shaken ; therefore the Indians set up their maracas, 
talked to them, set food and drink and burned incense be- 
fore them, held annual feasts in their honour, and would 
even go to war with their neighbours to satisfy the rattle- 
spirits' demand for human victims.* Among the North 
American Indians, the fetish-theory seems involved in that 

1 Hen-era, ' Hist, de las Indias Occidentals, ' Dec. i. be. 3. 
1 Lery, Bresil, p. 249 ; J. G. Miiller, pp. 210, 262. 


remarkable and general proceeding known as getting 
' medicine.' Each youth obtains in a vision or dream a 
sight of his medicine, and considering how thoroughly the 
idea prevails that the forms seen in visions and dreams are 
spirits, this of itself shows the animistic nature of the 
matter. The medicine thus seen may be an animal, or part 
of one, such as skin or claws, feather or shell, or such a 
thing as a plant, a stone, a knife, a pipe ; this object he 
must obtain, and thenceforward through life it becomes his 
protector. Considered as a vehicle or receptacle of a spirit, 
its fetish-nature is shown in many ways ; its owner will do 
homage to it, make feasts in its honour, sacrifice horses, 
dogs, and other valuable objects to it or its spirit, fast to 
appease it if offended, have it burned with him to conduct 
him as a guardian-spirit to the happy hunting-grounds. 
Beside these special protective objects, the Indians, especially 
the medicine-men (the word is French, ' medecin/ applied 
to these native doctors or conjurers, and since stretched to 
take in all that concerns their art), use multitudes of other 
fetishes as means of spiritual influence. 1 Among the 
Turanian tribes of Northern Asia, where Castren describes 
the idea of spirits contained in material objects, to which 
they belong, and wherein they dwell in the same incompre- 
hensible way as the souls in a man's body, we may notice 
the Ostyak's worship of objects of scarce or peculiar quality, 
and also the connexion of the shamans or sorcerers with 
fetish-objects, as where the Tatars consider the innumer- 
able rags and tags, bells and bits of iron, that adorn the 
shaman's magic costume, to contain spirits helpful to their 
owner in his magic craft. 2 John Bell, in his journey across 
Asia in 1719, relates a story which well illustrates Mongol 
ideas as to the action of self-moving objects. A certain 
Russian merchant told him that once some pieces of damask 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes ' ; Waitz, vol. iii. ; Catlin, 'N. A. Ind.' vol. i. 
p. 36 ; Keating, ' Narrative,' vol. i. p. 421 ; J. G. Miiller, p. 74, &c. See 
Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 274. 

* Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' pp. 162, 221, 230 ; Meiners, vol. i. p. 170. 


were stolen out of his tent. He complained, and the 
Kutuchtu Lama ordered the proper steps to be taken to find 
out the thief. One of the Lamas took a bench with four 
feet, and after turning it several times in different directions, 
at last it pointed directly to the tent where the stolen goods 
lay concealed. The Lama now mounted astride the bench, 
and soon carried it, or, as was commonly believed, it carried 
him, to the very tent, where he ordered the damask to be 
produced. The demand was directly complied with : for it 
is vain in such cases to offer any excuse. 1 

A more recent account from Central Africa may be placed 
as a pendant to this Asiatic account of divination by a fetish- 
object. The Rev. H. Rowley says of the Manganja, that 
they believed the medicine-men could impart a power for 
good or evil to objects either animate or inanimate, which 
objects the people feared,though they did not worship them. 
This missionary once saw this art employed to detect the 
thief who had stolen some corn. The people assembled 
round a large fig-tree. The magician, a wild-looking man, 
produced two sticks, like our broomsticks, which after 
mysterious manipulation and gibberish he delivered to four 
young men, two holding each stick. A zebra-tail and a 
calabash-rattle were given to a young man and a boy. The 
medicine-man rolled himself about in hideous fashion, and 
chanted an unceasing incantation ; the bearers of the tail 
and rattle went round the stick-holders, and shook these 
implements over their heads. After a while the men with 
the sticks had spasmodic twitchings of the arms and legs, 
these increased nearly to convulsions, they foamed at the 
mouth, their eyes seemed starting from their heads, they 
realized to the full the idea of demoniacal possession. 
According to the native notion, it was the sticks which were 
possessed primarily, and through them the men, who could 
hardly hold them. The sticks whirled and dragged the men 
round and round like mad, through bush and thorny shrub, 
and over every obstacle, nothing stopped them, their bodies 

1 Bell, in Pinkerton, vol. vii. p. 357. 


were torn and bleeding ; at last they came back to the 
assembly, whirled round again, and rushed down the path 
to fall panting and exhausted in the hut of one of a chief's 
wives, the sticks rolling to her very feet, denouncing her as 
the thief. She denied it, but the medicine-man answered, 
' The spirit has declared her guilty, the spirit never lies.' 
However, the ' muavi ' or ordeal-poison was administered 
to a cock, as deputy for the woman ; the bird threw it up, 
and she was acquitted. 1 

Fetishism in the lower civilization is thus by no means 
confined to the West African negro with whom we specially 
associate the term. Yet, what with its being in fact ex- 
tremely prevalent there, and what with the attention of 
foreign observers having been particularly drawn to it, the 
accounts from West Africa are certainly the fullest and 
most minute on record. The late Professor Waitz's 
generalization of the principle involved in these is much to 
the purpose. He thus describes the negro's conception 
of his fetish. ' According to his view, a spirit dwells or can 
dwell in every sensible object, and often a very great and 
mighty one in an insignificant thing. This spirit he does 
not consider as bound fast and unchangeably to the corporeal 
thing it dwells in, but it has only its usual or principal 
abode in it. The negro indeed in his conception not un- 
commonly separates the spirit from the sensible object 
which it inhabits, he even sometimes contrasts the one with 
the other, but most usually combines the two as forming a 
whole, and this whole is (as the Europeans call it) the 
" fetish," the object of his religious worship.' Some fur- 
ther particulars will show how this principle is worked out. 
Fetishes (native names for them are ' grigri,' ' juju,' 
&c.) may be mere curious mysterious objects that strike a 
negro's fancy, or they may be consecrated or affected by 
a priest or fetish-man ; the theory of their influence is that 
they belong to or are made effectual by a spirit or demon 
yet they have to stand the test of experience, and if they 

1 H. Rowley, ' Universities' Mission to Central Africa,' p. 217. 


fail to bring their owner luck and safety, he discards them 
for some more powerful medium. The fetish can see and 
hear and understand and act, its possessor worships it, 
talks familiarly with it as a dear and faithful friend, pours 
libations of rum over it, and in times of danger calls loudly 
and earnestly on it as if to wake up its spirit and energy. 
To give an idea of the sort of things which are chosen as 
fetishes, and of the manner in which they are associated 
with spiritual influences, Romer's account from Guinea 
about a century ago may serve. In the fetish-house, he 
says, there hang or lie thousands of rubbishy trifles, a pot 
with red earth and a cock's feather stuck in it, pegs wound 
over with yarn, red parrots' feathers, men's hair, and so 
forth. The principal thing in the hut is the stool for the 
fetish to sit on, and the mattress for him to rest on, the 
mattress being no bigger than a man's hand and the stool 
in proportion, and there is a little bottle of brandy always 
ready for him. Here the word fetish is used as it often is, 
to denote the spirit which dwells in this rudimentary temple, 
but we see that the innumerable quaint trifles which we call 
fetishes were associated with the deity in his house. Romer 
once peeped in at an open door, and found an old negro 
caboceer sitting amid twenty thousand fetishes in his private 
fetish-museum, thus performing his devotions. The old 
man told him he did not know the hundredth part of the 
use they had been to him ; his ancestors and he had col- 
lected them, each had done some service. The visitor took 
up a stone about as big as a hen's egg, and its owner told 
its history. He was once going out on important business, 
but crossing the threshold he trod on this stone and hurt 
himself. Ha ha ! thought he, art thou here ? So he took 
the stone, and it helped him through his undertaking for 
days. In our own time, West Africa is still a world of 
fetishes. The traveller finds them on every path, at every 
ford, on every house-door, they hang as amulets round 
every man's neck, they guard against sickness or inflict it 
if neglected, they bring rain, they fill the sea with fishes 


willing to swim into the fisherman's net, they catch and 
punish thieves, they give their owner a bold heart and con- 
found his enemies, there is nothing that the fetish cannot 
do or undo, if it be but the right fetish. Thus the one- 
sided logic of the barbarian, making the most of all that fits 
and glossing over all that fails, has shaped a universal 
fetish-philosophy of the events of life. So strong is the 
pervading influence, that the European in Africa is apt to 
catch it from the negro, and himself, as the saying is, 
' become black.' Thus even yet some traveller, watching 
a white companion asleep, may catch a glimpse of some 
claw or bone or such-like sorcerer's trash secretly fastened 
round his neck. 1 

European life, lastly, shows well-marked traces of the 
ancient doctrine of spirits or mysterious influences inhabit- 
ing objects. Thus a mediaeval devil might go into an old 
sow, a straw, a barleycorn, or a willow-tree. A spirit might 
be carried about in a solid receptacle for use : 

' Besides in glistering glasses fayre, or else in christall cleare, 
They sprightes enclose.' 

Modern peasant folklore knows that spirits must have some 
animal body or other object to dwell in, a feather, a bag, a 
bush, for instance. The Tyrolese object to using grass for 
toothpicks because of the demons that may have taken up 
their abode in the straws. The Bulgarians hold it a great 
sin not to fumigate the flour when it is brought from the 
mill (particularly if the mill be kept by a Turk) in order to 
prevent the devil from entering into it. 2 Amulets are still 
carried in the most civilized countries of the world, by the 

1 Waitz, ' Anthropologie," vol. ii. p. 174 ; Romer, ' Guinea,' p. 56, &c. ; 
J. L. Wilson, 'West Africa,' pp. 135, 211-6, 275, 338; Burton, 'Wit and 
Wisdom from W. Afr.' pp. 174, 455 ; Steinhauser, 'I.e. p. 134; Bosman, 
' Guinea,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 397 , Meiners, ' Gesch. der Relig.' vol. i. 
p. 173. See also' Ellis, 'Madagascar,' vol. i. p. 396; Flacourt, ' Madag.' 
p. 191. 

1 Brand, ' Popular Antiquities,' vol. iii. p. 255, &c. Bastian, ' Psychologic,' 
p. 171. Wuttke, ' Deutsche Volksaberglaube,' pp. 75-95, 225, &c. St. Clair 
and Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' p. 46. 


ignorant and superstitious with real savage faith in their 
mysterious virtues, by the more enlightened in quaint sur- 
vival from the past. The mental and physical phenomena 
of what is now called ' table-turning ' belong to a class of 
proceedings which have here been shown to be familiar to 
the lower races, and accounted for by them on a theory of 
extra-human influence which is in the most extreme sense 

In giving its place in the history of mental development 
to the doctrine of the lower races as to embodiment in or 
penetration of an object by a spirit or an influence, there is 
no slight interest in comparing it with theories familiar to 
the philosophy of cultured nations. Thus Bishop Berkeley 
remarks on the obscure expressions of those who have de- 
scribed the relation of power to the objects which exert it. 
He cites Torricelli as likening matter to an enchanted vase 
of Circe serving as a receptacle of force, and declaring that 
power and impulse are such subtle abstracts and refined 
quintessences, that they cannot be enclosed in any other 
vessels but the inmost materiality of natural solids ; also 
Leibnitz as comparing active primitive power to soul or 
substantial form. Thus, says Berkeley, must even the 
greatest men, when they give way to abstraction, have re- 
course to words having no certain signification, and indeed 
mere scholastic shadows. 1 We may fairly add that such 
passages show the civilized metaphysician falling back on 
such primitive conceptions as still occupy the minds of the 
rude natives of Siberia and Guinea. To go yet farther, I 
will venture to assert that the scientific conceptions current 
in my own schoolboy days, of heat and electricity as in- 
visible fluids passing in and out of solid bodies, are ideas 
which reproduce with extreme closeness the special doctrine 
of Fetishism. 

Under the general heading of Fetishism, but for con- 
venience' sake separately, may be considered the worship of 
' stocks and stones.' Such objects, if merely used as 

1 Berkeley, ' Concerning Motion,' in ' Works,' vol. ii. p. 86. 


altars, are not of the nature of fetishes, and it is first 
necessary to ascertain that worship is actually addressed 
to them. Then arises the difficult question, are the stocks 
and stones set up as mere ideal representatives of deities, 
or are these deities considered as physically connected with 
them, embodied in them, hovering about them, acting 
through them ? In other words, are they only symbols, or 
have they passed in the minds of their votaries into real 
fetishes ? The conceptions of the worshippers are sometimes 
in this respect explicitly stated, may sometimes be fairly 
inferred Irom the circumstances, and are often doubtful. 

Among the lower races of America, the Dacotas would 
pick up a round boulder, paint it, and then, addressing it 
as grandfather, make offerings to it and pray to it to deliver 
them from danger; 1 in the West India Islands, mention is 
made of three stones to which the natives paid great devo- 
tion one was piofitable for the crops, another for women 
to be delivered without pain, the third for sunshine and 
rain when they were wanted ; ' and we hear of Brazilian 
tribes setting up stakes in the ground, and making offerings 
before them to appease their deities or demons.' Stone- 
worship held an important place in the midst of the com- 
paratively high culture of Peru, where not only was rever- 
ence given to especial curious pebbles and the like, but 
stones were placed to represent the penates of households 
and the patron-deities of villages. It is related by Monte- 
sinos that when the worship of a certain sacred stone was 
given up, a parrot flew from it into another stone, to which 
adoration was paid : and though this author is not of good 
credit, he can hardly have invented a story which, as we 
shall see, so curiously coincides with the Polynesian idea of 
a bird conveying to and from an idol the spirit which em- 
bodies itself in it. 4 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part ii. p. 196, part iii. p. 229. 
1 Hcrrcra, ' Indias Occidentales,' dec. i. iii. 3. 
* De Laet, Novus Orbis, xv. 2. 

4 Garcilaso de la Vega, ' Commentaries Reales," i. 9 ; J. G. Miiller, pp. 263, 
311,371,387; Waitz, vol. iv. p. 454 ; see below, p. 175. 


In Africa, stock-and-stone worship is found among the 
Damaras of the South, whose ancestors are represented at 
the sacrificial feasts by stakes cut from trees or bushes con- 
secrated to them, to which stakes the meat is first offered ; l 
among the Dinkas of the White Nile, where the missionaries 
saw an old woman in her hut offering the first of her food 
and drink before a short thick staff planted in the ground, 
that the demon might not hurt her ; * among the Gallas of 
Abyssinia, a people with a well-marked doctrine of deities, 
and who are known to worship stones and logs, but not 
idols. 8 In the island of Sambawa, the Orang Dongo attri- 
bute all supernatural or incomprehensible force to the sun, 
moon, trees, &c.,but especially to stones, and whan troubled 
by accident or disease, they carry offerings to certain stones 
to implore the favour of their genius or devva. 4 Similar 
ideas are to be traced through the Pacific islands, both 
among the lighter and the darker races. Thus in the 
Society Islands, rude logs or fragments of basalt columns, 
clothed in native cloth and anointed with oil, received 
adoration and sacrifice as divinely powerful by virtue of the 
atua or deity which had filled them. 5 So in the New 
Hebrides worship was given to water-worn pebbles, 6 while 
Fijian gods and goddesses had their abodes or shrines in 
black stones like smooth round milestones, and there re- 
ceived their offerings of food. 7 The curiously anthropo- 
morphic idea of stones being husbands and wives, and even 
having children, is familiar to the Fijians as it is to the 
Peruvians and the Lapps. 

The Turanian tribes of North Asia display stock-and- 
stone worship in full sense and vigour. Not only were 

Hahn, ' Gramm. des Herer6,' s.v. ' omu-makisina.' 

Kaufmann, ' Central- Afrika,' (White Nile), p. 131. 

Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 518, 5*3. 

Zollinger in ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. ii. p. 692. 

Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 337. See also Ellis, ' Madagascar,' vol. i. 


Turner, ' Polynesia,' pp. 347, 526. 
Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 220 ; Seemann, ' Viti,' pp. 66, 89. 


stones, especially curious ones and such as were like men 
or animals, objects of veneration, but we learn that they 
were venerated because mighty spirits dwelt in them. The 
Samoyed travelling ark-sledge, with its two deities, one 
with a stone head, the other a mere black stone, both 
dressed in green robes with red lappets, and both smeared 
with sacrificial blood, may serve as a type of stone-worship. 
And as for the Ostyaks, had the famous King Log presented 
himself among them, they would without more ado have 
wrapped his sacred person in rags, and set him up for 
worship on a mountain-top or in the forest. 1 The frequent 
stock-and-stone worship of modern India belongs especially 
to races non-Hindu or part-Hindu in race and culture. 
Among such may serve as examples the bamboo which 
stands for the Bodo goddess Mainou, and for her receives 
the annual hog, and the monthly eggs offered by the women ; 8 
the stone under the great cotton-tree of every Khond village, 
shrine of Nadzu Pennu the village deity; 8 the clod or stone 
under a tree, which in Behar will represent the deified soul 
of some dead personage who receives worship and inspires 
oracles there ; 4 the stone kept in every house by the Baka- 
dara and Betadara, which represents their god Buta, whom 
they induce by sacrifice to restrain the demon-souls of the 
dead from troubling them ; 5 the two rude stones placed 
under a shed among the Shanars of Tinnevelly, by the 
medium of which the great god and goddess receive sacri- 
fice, but which are thrown away or neglected when done 
with. 6 , The remarkable groups of standing-stones in India 
are, in many cases at least, set up for each stone to represent 

1 Castren, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 193, &c., 204, &c. ; ' Voyages au Nord,' vol. 
viii. pp. 103, 410 ; Klemm, ' C. G.' vol. iii. p. 120. See also Steller, 
' Kamtschatka,' pp. 265, 276. 

* Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 174. See also Macrae in ' As. Res.' vol. 
vii. p. 196 ; Dalton, ' Kols,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 33. 

8 Macpherson, 'India,' pp. 103, 358. 

4 Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 177. See also Shortt, ' Tribes of Neil- 
gherries,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vii. p. 281. 

8 Elliot in ' Journ. Eth. Soc.' vol. i. 1869, p. 115. 

Buchanan, ' Mysore,' in Pinkerton, vol. vii. p. 739. 


or embody a deity. Mr. Hislop remarks that in every part 
of Southern India, four or five stones may often be seen in 
the ryot's field, placed in a row and daubed with red paint, 
which they consider as guardians of the field and call the 
five Pandus ; he reasonably takes these Hindu names to 
have superseded more ancient native appellations. In the 
Indian groups it is a usual practice to daub each stone with 
red paint, forming as it were a great blood-spot where the 
face would be if it were a shaped idol. 1 In India, moreover, 
the rites of stone-worship are not unexampled among the 
Hindus proper. Shashti, protectress of children, receives 
worship, vows, and offerings, especially from women ; yet 
they provide her with no idol or temple, but her proper 
representative is a rough stone as big as a man's head, 
smeared with red paint and set at the foot of the sacred 
vata-tree. Even Siva is worshipped as a stone, especially 
that Siva who will afflict a child with epileptic fits, and then, 
speaking by its voice, will announce that he is Panchanana 
the Five-faced, and is punishing the child for insulting his 
image ; to this Siva, in the form of a clay idol or of a stone 
beneath a sacred tree, there are offered not only flowers and 
fruits, but also bloody sacrifices. 1 

This stone-worship among the Hindus seems a survival 
of a rite belonging originally to a low civilization, probably 
a rite of the rude indigenes of the land, whose religion, 
largely incorporated into the religion of the Aryan invaders, 
has contributed so much to form the Hinduism of to-day. 
It is especially interesting to survey the stock-and-stone 
worship of the lower culture, for it enables us to explain by 
the theory of survival the appearance in the Old World, in 
the very midst of classic doctrine and classic art, of the 

1 Elliot in ' Journ. Eth. Soc.' vol. i. pp. 96, 115, 125. Lubbock, ' Origin 
of Civilization,' p. 222. Forbes Leslie, ' Early Races of Scotland,' vol. ii. 
p. 462, &c. Prof. Liebrecht, in 'Ztschr. fur Ethnologic,' vol. v. p. 100, 
compares the field-protecting Priapos-hermrs of ancient Italy, daubed with 

* Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. ii. pp. 142, 182, &c.. see 221. See also Latham, 'Descr. 
Eth.' vol. ii. p. 239. (Siah-push, stone offered to the representative of deity.) 


worship of the same rude objects, whose veneration no 
doubt dated from remote barbaric antiquity. As Mr. Grote 
says, speaking of Greek worship, ' The primitive memorial 
erected to a god did not even pretend to be an image, but 
was often nothing more than a pillar, a board, a shapeless 
stone or a post, receiving care and decoration from the 
neighbourhood, as well as worship.' Such were the log 
that stood for Artemis in Eubcea, the stake that repre- 
sented Pallas Athene, ' sine effigie rudis palus, et informe 
lignum,' the unwrought stone (Ai0os a/oyo's) at Hyettos 
which ' after the ancient manner ' represented Herakles, 
the thirty such stones which the Pharaeans in like archaic 
fashion worshipped for the gods, and that one which re- 
ceived such honour in Boeotian festivals as representing 
the Thespian Eros. Theophrastus, in the 4th century B.C., 
depicts the superstitious Greek passing the anointed stones 
in the streets, taking out his phial and pouring oil on them, 
falling on his knees to adore, and going his way. Six cen- 
turies later, Arnobius could describe from his own heathen 
life the state of mind of the stock-and-stone worshipper, 
telling how when he saw one of the stones anointed with 
oil, he accosted it in nattering vords, and asked benefits 
from the senseless thing as though it contained a present 
power. 1 The ancient and graphic passage in the book of 
Isaiah well marks stone-worship within the range of the 
Semitic race : 

' Among the smooth stones of the valley is thy portion : 
They, they are thy lot : 

Even to them hast thou poured a drink-offering, 
Hast thou offered a meat-offering.' * 

Long afterwards, among the local deities which Mohammed 

1 Grote, ' Hist, of Greece,' vol. iv. p. 132 ; Welcker, ' Griechische Gotter- 
lehre,' vol. i. p. 220. Meiners, vol. i. p. 1 50, &c. Details esp. in Pausanias ; 
Theophrast. Charact. xvi. ; Tacit. Hist. ii. 3 ; Arnobius, Adv. Gent. ; Ter- 
tullianus ; Clemens Alexandr. 

2 Is. Ivii. 6. The first line, ' behhalkey-nahhal hhe'lkech,' turns on the 
pun on hhlk= smooth (stone), and also lot or portion ; a double sense prob- 
ably connected with the use of smooth pebbles for casting lots. 


found in Arabia, and which Dr. Sprenger thinks he even 
acknowledged as divine during a moment when he well-nigh 
broke down in his career, were Manah and Lat, the one a 
rock, the other a stone or a stone idol ; while the veneration 
of the black stone of the Kaaba, which Captain Burton 
thinks an aerolite, was undoubtedly a local rite which the 
Prophet transplanted into his new religion, where it 
flourishes to this day. 1 The curious passage in Sanchonia- 
thon which speaks of the Heaven-god forming the ' baetyls, 
animated stones ' ($os Oupavos BatruXia, A.i$ovs ffj,\f/vxov<s t 
firjxavTio-a-pfvos) perhaps refers to meteorites or supposed 
thunderbolts fallen from the clouds. To the old Phoenician 
religion, which made so deep a contact with the Jewish world 
on the one side and the Greek and Roman on the other, 
there belonged the stone pillars of Baal and the wooden 
ashera-posts, but how far these objects were of the character 
of altars, symbols, or fetishes, is a riddle. 2 We may still 
say with Tacitus, describing the conical pillar which stood 
instead of an image to represent the Paphian Venus ' et 
ratio in obscuro.' 

There are accounts of formal Christian prohibitions of 
stone-worship in France and England, reaching on into the 
early middle ages, 8 which show this barbaric cultus as then 
distinctly lingering in popular religion. Coupling this fact 
with the accounts of the groups of standing-stones set up to 
represent deities in South India, a corresponding explan- 
ation has been suggested in Europe. Are the menhirs, 
cromlechs, &c., idols, and circles and lines of idols, wor- 
shipped by remotely ancient dwellers in the land as repre- 
sentatives or embodiments of their gods ? The question at 
least deserves consideration, although the ideas with which 

1 Sprenger, ' Mohammad,' vol. ii. p. 7, &c. Burton, ' El Medinah,' &c., 
vol. ii. p. 157. 

1 Euseb. Praep. Evang. i. 10. Deut. xii. 3 ; Micah v. 13, &c. Movers, 
' Phonizier,' vol. i. pp. 105, 569, and see index, ' Saule,' &c. See De Brasses, 
' Dieux Fetiches,' p. 135 (considers baetyl=beth-el, &c.). 

1 For references see Ducange s.v. ' petra ' ; Leslie, ' Early Races of Scot- 
land,' vol. i. p. 256. 


stone- worship is carried on by different races are multi- 
farious, and the analogy may be misleading. It is remark- 
able to what late times full and genuine stone-worship has 
survived in Europe. In certain mountain districts of 
Norway, up to the end of the last century, the peasants 
used to preserve round stones, washed them every Thursday 
evening (which seems to show some connection with Thor), 
smeared them with butter before the fire, laid them in the 
seat of honour on fresh straw, and at certain times of the 
year steeped them in ale, that they might bring luck and 
comfort to the house. 1 In an account dating from 1851, 
the islanders of Inniskea, off Mayo, are declared to have a 
stone carefully wrapped in flannel, which is brought out 
and worshipped at certain periods, and when a storm arises 
it is supplicated to send a wreck on the coast. 2 No savage 
ever showed more clearly by his treatment of a fetish that 
he considered it a personal being, than did these Nor- 
wegians and Irishmen. The ethnographic argument from 
the existence of stock-and-stone worship among so many 
nations of comparatively high culture seems to me of great 
weight as bearing on religious development among mankind. 
To imagine that peoples skilled in carving wood and stone, 
and using these arts habitually in making idols, should 
have gone out of their way to invent a practice of worship- 
ping logs and pebbles, is not a likely theory. But on the 
other hand, when it is considered how such a rude object 
serves to uncultured men as a divine image or receptacle, 
there is nothing strange in its being a relic of early bar- 
barism holding its place against more artistic models 
through ages of advancing civilization, by virtue of the 
traditional sanctity which belongs to survival from remote 

1 Nilsson, ' Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia,' p. 241. See also 
Meiners, vol. ii. p. 671 (speaking stones in Norway, &c.). 

1 Earl of Roden, 'Progress of Reformation in Ireland,' London, 1851, 
p. 51. Sir J. E. Tennent in ' Notes and Queries,' Feb. 7, 1852. See Borlase, 
1 Antiquities of Cornwall,' Oxford, 1754, book iii. ch. 2. 


By a scarcely perceptible transition, we pass to Idolatry. 
A few chips or scratches or daubs of paint suffice to convert 
the rude post or stone into an idol. Difficulties which com- 
plicate the study of stock-and-stone worship disappear in 
the worship of even the rudest of unequivocal images, which 
can no longer be mere altars, and if symbols must at least 
be symbols of a personal being. Idolatry occupies a re- 
markable district in the history of religion. It hardly 
belongs to the lowest savagery, which jsimply seems not to 
have attained to it, and it hardly belongs to the highest 
civilization, which has discarded it. Its place is inter- 
mediate, ranging from the higher savagery where it first 
clearly appears, to the middle civilization where it reaches 
its extreme development, and thenceforward its continuance 
is in dwindling survival and sometimes expanding revival. 
The position thus outlined is, however, very difficult to map 
exactly. Idolatry does not seem to come in uniformly among 
the higher savages ; it belongs, for instance, fully to the 
Society Islanders, but not to the Tongans and Fijians. 
Among higher nations, its presence or absence does not 
necessarily agree with particular national affinities or levels 
of culture compare the idol-worshipping Hindu with his 
ethnic kinsman the idol-hating Parsi, or the idolatrous 
Phoenician with his ethnic kinsman the Israelite, among 
whose people the incidental relapse into the proscribed 
image-worship was a memory of disgrace. Moreover, its 
tendency to revive is ethnographically embarrassing. The 
ancient Vedic religion seems not to recognize idolatry, yet 
the modern Brahmans, professed followers of Vedic doc- 
trine, are among the greatest idolaters of the world. Early 
Christianity by no means abrogated the Jewish law against 
image-worship, yet image-worship became and still remains 
widely spread and deeply rooted in Christendom. 

Of Idolatry, so far as its nature is symbolic or representa- 
tive, I have given some account elsewhere. 1 The old and 

1 ' Early Hist, of Mankind,' chap. vi. 


greatest difficulty in investigating the general subject is 
this, that an image may be, even to two votaries kneeling 
side by side before it, two utterly different things ; to the 
one it may be only a symbol, a portrait, a memento ; while 
to the other it is an intelligent and active being, by virtue 
of a life or spirit dwelling in it or acting through it. In 
both cases Image-worship is connected with the belief in 
spiritual beings, and is in fact a subordinate development 
of animism. But it is only so far as the image approxi- 
mates to the nature of a material body provided for a spirit, 
that Idolatry comes properly into connexion with Fetishism. 
It is from this point of view that it is proposed to examine 
here its purpose and its place in history. An idol, so far as 
it belongs to the theory .of spirit-embodiment, must combine 
the characters of portrait and fetish. Bearing this in mind, 
and noticing how far the idol is looked on as in some way 
itself an energetic object, or as the very receptacle enshrin- 
ing a spiritual god, let us proceed to judge how far, along 
the course of civilization, the idea of the image itself exert- 
ing power or being personally animate has prevailed in the 
mind of the idolater. 

As to the actual origin of idolatry, it need not be 
supposed that the earliest idols made by man seemed to 
their maker living or even active things. It is quite likely 
that the primary intention of the image was simply to 
serve as a sign or representative of some soul or deity, and 
certainly this original character is more or less maintained 
in the world through the long history of image-worship. 
At a stage succeeding this original condition, it may be 
argued, the tendency to identify the symbol and the 
symbolized, a tendency so strong among children and the 
ignorant everywhere, led to the idol being treated as a 
living powerful being, and thence even to explicit doctrines 
as to the manner of its energy .or animation. It is, then, 
in this secondary stage, where the once merely repre- 
sentative image is passing into the active image-fetish, 
that we are particularly concerned to understand it. 


Here it is reasonable to judge the idolater by his distinct 
actions and beliefs. A line of illustrative examples will 
carry the personality of the idol through grade after 
grade of civilization. Among the lower races, such 
thoughts are displayed by the Kurile islander throwing 
his idol into the sea to calm the storm ; by the negro who 
feeds ancestral images and brings them a share of his 
trade profits, but will beat an idol or fling it into the fire if 
it cannot give him luck or preserve him from sickness ; by 
famous idols of Madagascar, of which one goes about of 
himself or guides his bearers, and another answers when 
spoken to at least, they did this till they were ignominiously 
found out a few years ago. Among Tatar peoples of North 
Asia and Europe, conceptions of this class are illustrated 
by the Ostyak, who clothes his puppet and feeds it with 
broth, but if it brings him no sport will try the effect of a 
good thrashing on it, after which he will clothe and feed it 
again ; by the Lapps, who fancied their uncouth images 
could go about at will ; or the Esths, who wondered that 
their idols did not bleed when Dieterich the Christian priest 
hewed them down. Among high Asiatic nations, what 
could be more anthropomorphic than the rites of modern 
Hinduism, the dances of the nautch-girls before the idols, 
the taking out of Jagannath in procession to pay visits, the 
spinning of tops before Krishna to amuse him ? Buddhism 
is a religion in its principles little favourable to idolatry. 
Yet, from setting up portrait-statues of Gautama and other 
saints, there developed itself the full worship of images, and 
even of images with hidden joints and cavities, which moved 
and spoke as in our own middle ages. In China, we read 
stories of worshippers abusing some idol that has failed in 
its duty. ' How now,' they say, ' you dog of a spirit ; we 
have given you an abode in a splendid temple, we gild you 
and feed you and fumigate you with incense, and yet you 
are so ungrateful that you won't listen to our prayers ! ' So 
they drag him in the dirt, and then, if they get what they 
want, it is but to clean him and set him up again, with 


apologies and promises of a new coat of gilding. There is 
what appears a genuine story of a Chinaman who had paid 
an idol priest to cure his daughter, but she died ; whereupon 
the swindled worshipper brought an action at law against 
the god, who for his fraud was banished from the province. 
The classic instances, again, are perfect the dressing and 
anointing of statues, feeding them with delicacies and divert- 
ing them with raree-shows, summoning them as witnesses ; 
the story of the Arkadian youths coming back from a bad 
day's hunting and revenging themselves by scourging and 
pricking Pan's statue, and the companion tale of the image 
which fell upon the man who ill-treated it ; the Tyrians 
chaining the statue of the Sun-god that he might not 
abandon their city ; Augustus chastising in effigy the ill- 
behaved Neptune ; Apollo's statue that moved when it 
would give an oracle ; and the rest of the images which 
brandished weapons, or wept, or sweated, to prove their 
supernatural powers. Such ideas continued to hold their 
place in Christendom, as was natural, considering how 
directly the holy image or picture took the place of the 
household god or the mightier idol of the temple. The 
Russian boor covering up the saint's picture that it may 
not see him do wrong ; the Mingrelian borrowing a suc- 
cessful neighbour's saint when his own crop fails, or when 
about to perjure himself choosing for the witness of his 
deceitful oath a saint of mild countenance and merciful 
repute ; the peasant of Southern Europe, alternately coax- 
ing and trampling on his special saint-fetish, and ducking 
the Virgin or St. Peter for rain ; the winking and weeping 
images that are worked, even at this day, to the greater 
glory of God, or rather to the greater shame of Man 
these are but the extreme instances of the worshipper's 
endowment of the sacred image with a life and personality 
modelled on his own. 1 

1 For general collections of evidence, see especially Meiners, ' Geschichte 
der Religionen,' vol. i. books i. and v. ; Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. ; Waitz, 
4 Anthropologiej ' De Drosses, 4 Dieux Fe'tiches,' &c. Particular details in 


The appearance of idolatry at a grade above the lowest 
of known human culture, and its development in extent 
and elaborateness under higher conditions of civilization, 
are well displayed among the native races of America. 
' Conspicuous by its absence ' among many of the lower 
tribes, image-worship comes plainly into view toward the 
upper levels of savagery, as where, for instance, Brazilian 
native tribes set up in their huts, or in the recesses of 
the forest, their pygmy heaven-descended figures of wax 
or wood; 1 or where the Mandans, howling and whining, 
made their prayers before puppets of grass and skins ; or 
where the spiritual beings of the Algonquins (manitu) or 
the Hurons (oki) were represented by, and in language 
identified with, the carved wooden heads or more complete 
images to which worship and sacrifice were offered. Among 
the Virginians and other of the more cultured Southern 
tribes, these idols even had temples to dwell in. 8 The 
discoverers of the New World found idolatry an accepted 
institution among the islanders of the West Indies. 
These strong animists are recorded to have carved their 
little images in the shapes in which they believed the 
spirits themselves to have appeared to them ; and some 
human figures bore the names of ancestors in memory of 
them. The images of such ' cemi ' or spirits, some animal, 
but most of human type, were found by thousands ; and 
it is even declared that an island near Hayti had a 
population of idol-makers, who especially made images of 
nocturnal spectres. The spirit could be conveyed with 
the image, both were called ' cemi,' and in the local ac- 
counts of sacrifices, oracles, and miracles, the deity and 
the idol are mixed together in a way which at least shows 
the extreme closeness of their connexion in the native 

J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' p. 393; Ellis, 'Madagascar,' vol. i. p. 395; Castrln, 
' Finnische Mythologie,' p. 193, &c. ; Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. ; Koppen, 
' Rel. des Buddha,' vol. i. p. 493, &c. ; Grote, ' Hist, of Greece.' 

1 J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrelig.''p/263 ; Meiners, vol i..p, 163. 

* Loskiel, ' Ind. of N. A.' vol. i. p; 39. Smith, ' Virginia,' in Pinkerton, 
vol. xiii. p. 14. Waitz, vol. iii. p. 203 ; J. G. Miiller, pp.. 95-8, 128. 


mind. 1 If we pass to the far higher culture of Peru, we 
find idols in full reverence, some of them complete figures, 
but the great deities of Sun and Moon figured by discs with 
human countenances, like those which to this day represent 
them in symbol among ourselves. As for the conquered 
neighbouring tribes brought under the dominion of the 
Incas, their idols were carried, half trophies and half hos- 
tages, to Cuzco, to rank- among the inferior deities of the 
Peruvian Pantheon. 2 In Mexico, idolatry had attained to its 
full barbaric development. As in the Aztec mind the world 
swarmed with spiritual deities, so their material representa- 
tives, the idols, stood in the houses at the corners of the 
streets, on every hill and rock, to receive from passers-by some 
little offering a nosegay, a whiff of incense, a drop or two of 
blood ; while in the temples more huge and elaborate images 
enjoyed the dances and processions in their honour, were 
fed by the bloody sacrifice of men and beasts, and received 
the tribute and reverence paid to the great national gods. 8 
Up to a certain point, such evidence bears upon the present 
question. We learn that the native races of the New World 
had idols, that those idols in some sort represented ances- 
tral souls and other deities, and for them received adora- 
tion and sacrifice. But whether the native ideas of the 
connexion of spirit and image were obscure, or whether the 
foreign observers did not get at these ideas, or partly for 
both reasons, there is a general want of express statement 
how far the idols of America remained mere symbols or 
portraits, or how far they had come to be considered the 
animated bodies of the gods. 
It is not always thus, however. In the island regions of 

1 Fernando Colombo, ' Vita del Amm. Cristoforo Colombo,' Venice, 1571, 
p. 127, &c. ; and ' Life of Colon,' in Pinkerton, vol. xii. p. 84. Herrera, 
dec. i. iii. 3. Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' pp. 421-4. Waitz, vol. iii. p. 384 ; 
J. G. Miiller, pp. 171-6, 182, 210, 232. 

* Prescott, ' Peru,' vol. i. pp. 71, 89 ; Waitz, vol. iv. p. 458 ; J. G. Muller, 
pp. 322, 371. 

8 Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 486 ; Waitz, vol. iv. p. 148 ; J. G. 
Muller, p. 642. 


the Southern Hemisphere, while image-worship scarcely 
appears among the Andaman islanders, Tasmanians, or 
Australians, and is absent or rare in various Papuan and 
Polynesian districts, it prevails among the majority of the 
island tribes who have attained to middle and high savage 
levels. In Polynesian islands, where the meaning of the 
native idolatry has been carefully examined, it is found to 
rest on the most absolute theory of spirit-embodiment. 
Thus, New-Zealanders set up memorial idols of deceased 
persons near the burial-place, talking affectionately to them 
as if still alive, and casting garments to them when they 
passed by, also they preserve in their houses small carved 
wooden images, each dedicated to the spirit of an ancestor. 
It is distinctly held that such an atua or ancestral deity 
enters into the substance of an image in order to hold con- 
verse with the living. A priest can by repeating charms 
cause the spirit to enter into the idol, which he will even jerk 
by a string round its neck to arrest its attention ; it is the 
same atua or spirit which will at times enter not the image 
but the priest himself, throw him into convulsions, and de- 
liver oracles through him ; while it is quite understood that 
the images themselves are not objects of worship, nor do 
they possess in themselves any virtue, but derive their 
sacredness from being the temporary abodes of spirits. 1 
In the Society Islands, it was noticed in Captain Cook's ex- 
ploration that the carved wooden images at burial-places 
were not considered mere memorials, but abodes into which 
the souls of the departed retired. In Mr. Ellis 's account 
of the Polynesian idolatry, relating as it seems especially to 
this group, the sacred objects might be either mere stocks 
and stones, or carved wooden images, from six or eight feet 
long down to as many inches. Some of these were to re- 
present ' tii,' divine manes or spirits of the dead, while 
others were to represent ' tu,' or deities of higher rank 
and power. At certain seasons, or in answer to the prayers 
of the priests, these spiritual beings entered into the idols, 

1 Shortland, ' Trads. of N. Z.* &c., p. 83 ; Taylor, pp. 171, 183, 212. 


Which then became very powerful, but when the spirit de- 
parted, the idol remained only a sacred object. A god 
often came to and passed from an image in the body of a 
bird, and spiritual influence could be transmitted from an 
idol by imparting it by contact to certain valued kinds of 
feathers, which could be carried away in this ' inhabited ' 
state, and thus exert power elsewhere, and transfer it to 
new idols. Here then we have the similarity of souls to 
other spirits shown by the similar way in which both be- 
come embodied in images, just as these same people con- 
sider both to enter into human bodies. And we have the 
pure fetish, which here is a feather or a log or stone, brought 
together with the more elaborate carved idol, all under one 
common principle of spirit-embodiment. 1 In Borneo, not- 
withstanding the Moslem prohibition of idolatry, not only 
do images remain in use, but the doctrine of spirit-embodi- 
ment is distinctly applied to them. Among the tribes of 
Western Sarawak the priestesses have made for them rude 
figures of birds, which none but they may touch. These 
are supposed to become inhabited by spirits, and at the 
great harvest feasts are hung up in bunches of ten or twenty 
in the long common room, carefully veiled with coloured 
handkerchiefs. Again, among some Dayak tribes, they will 
make rude figures of a naked man and woman, and place 
these opposite to one another on the path to the farms. On 
their heads are head-dresses of bark, by their sides is the 
betel-nut basket, and in their hands a short wooden spear. 
These figures are said to be inhabited each by a spirit who 
prevents inimical influences from passing on to the farms, 
and likewise from the farms to the village, and evil betide 
the profane wretch who lifts his hand against them violent 
fever and sickness would be sure to follow.* 

West Africa naturally applies its familiar fetish-doctrine 

1 J. R. Forster, ' Obs. during Voyage,' London, 1778, p. 534, &c. ; Ellis, 
' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 281, &c., 323, &c. See also Earl, ' Papuans,' p. 84 ; 
Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 78 (Nias). 

* St. John, ' Far East,' vol. i. p. 198. 


of spirit-embodiment to images or idols. How an image 
may be considered a receptacle for a spirit, is well shown 
here by the straw and rag figures of men and beasts made 
in Calabar at the great triennial purification, for the ex- 
pelled spirits to take refuge in, whereupon they are got rid 
of over the border. 1 As to positive idols, nothing could 
be more explicit than the Gold-Coast account of certain 
wooden figures called ' amagai,' which are specially 
treated by a ' wong-man ' or priest, and have a ' wong ' 
or deity in connexion with them ; so close is the connexion 
conceived between spirit and image, that the idol is itself 
called ' wong.' 2 So in the Ewe district, the same ' edro ' 
or deity who inspires the priest is also present in the idol, 
and ' edro ' signifies both god and idol. 3 Waitz sums up 
the principles of West African idolatry in a distinct theory 
of embodiment, as follows : ' The god himself is invisible, 
but the devotional feeling and especially the lively fancy of 
the negro demands a visible object to which worship may be 
directed. He wishes really and sensibly to behold the god, 
and seeks to shape in wood or clay the conception he has 
formed of him. Now if the priest, whom the god himself 
at times inspires and takes possession of, consecrates this 
figure to him, the idea has only to follow that the god may 
in consequence be pleased to take up his abode in the 
figure, to which he may be specially invited by the conse- 
cration, and thus image-worship is seen to be comprehen- 
sible enough. Denham found that even to take a man's 
portrait was dangerous and caused mistrust, from the fear 
that a part of the living man's soul might be conveyed by 
magic into the artificial figure. The idols are not, as Bos- 
man thinks, deputies of the gods, but merely objects in 
which the god loves to place himself, and which at the same 
time display him in sensible presence to his adorers. The 

1 Hutchinson in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. i. p. 336 ; see Bastian, ' Psychologic,' 
p. 172. 

2 Steinhauser, in ' Magaz. der Evang. Missionen,' Basel, 1856, No. 2, 
p. 131. 

3 Schlegel, ' Ewe-Sprache," p. xvi. 


god is also by no means bound fast to his dwelling in the 
image, he goes out and in, or rather is present in it some- 
times with more and sometimes with less intensity.' 1 

Castren's wide and careful researches among the rude 
Turanian tribes of North Asia led him to form a similar 
conception of the origin and nature of their idolatry. The 
idols of these people are uncouth objects, often mere stones 
or logs with some sort of human countenance, or sometimes 
more finished images, even of metal ; some are large, some 
mere dolls ; they belong to individuals, or families, or 
tribes ; they may be kept in the yurts for private use, or 
set up in sacred groves or on the steppes or near the hunt- 
ing and fishing places they preside over, or they may even 
have special temple-houses ; some open-air gods are left 
naked, not to spoil good clothes, but others under cover are 
decked out with all an Ostyak's or Samoyed's wealth of 
scarlet cloths and costly furs, necklaces and trinkets ; and 
lastly, to the idols are made rich offerings of food, clothes, 
furs, kettles, pipes, and the rest of the inventory of Siberian 
nomade riches. Now these idols are not to be taken as 
mere symbols or portraits of deities, but the worshippers 
mostly imagine that the deity dwells in the image or, so to 
speak, is embodied in it, whereby the idol becomes a real 
god capable of giving health and prosperity to man. On 
the one hand, the deity becomes serviceable to the wor- 
shipper by being thus contained and kept for his use, and 
on the other hand, the god profits by receiving richer offer- 
ings, failing which it would depart from its receptacle. We 
even hear of numerous spirits being contained in one image, 
and flying off at the death of the shaman who owned it. In 
Buddhist Tibet, as in West Africa, the practice of conjuring 
into puppets the demons which molest men is a recognized 
rite ; while in Siam the making of clay puppets to be ex- 
posed on trees or by the roadside, or set adrift with food- 

1 Waitz, ' Anthropologie,' vol. ii. p. 183; Denham, 'Travels,' vol. i. 
p. 113 ; Romer, ' Guinea ' ; Bosnian, ' Guinea,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. See 
also Livingstone, ' S. Afr.' p. 282 (Balonda). 


offerings in baskets, is a recognized manner of expelling 
disease-spirits. 1 In the image-worship of modern India, 
there crop up traces of the embodiment-theory. It is pos- 
sible for the intelligent Hindu to attach as little real per- 
sonality to a divine image, as to the man of straw which he 
makes in order to celebrate the funeral rites of a relative 
whose body cannot be recovered. He can even protest 
against being treated as an idolater at all, declaring the 
images of his gods to be but symbols, bringing to his mind 
thoughts of the real deities, as a portrait reminds one of a 
friend no longer to be seen in the body. Yet in the popular 
religion of his country, what could be more in conformity 
with the fetish-theory than the practice of making tem- 
porary hollow clay idols by tens of thousands, which receive 
no veneration for themselves, and only become objects of 
worship when the officiating brahman has invited the deity 
to dwell in the image, performing the ceremony of the 
' adhivasa ' or inhabitation, after which he puts in the eyes 
and the ' prana,' i.e., breath, life, or soul.* 

Nowhere, perhaps, in the wide history of religion, can 
we find definitions more full and absolute of the theory of 
deities actually animating their images, than in those pas- 
sages from early Christian writers which describe the nature 
and operation of the heathen idols. Arnobius introduces 
the heathen as declaring that it is not the bronze or gold and 
silver material they consider to be gods, but they worship 
in them those beings which sacred dedication introduces, 
and causes to inhabit the artificial images. 3 Augustine 
cites as follows the opinions attributed to Hermes Trisme- 
gistus. This Egyptian, he tells us, considers some gods as 
made by the highest Deity, and some by men ; ' he asserts 
the visible and tangible images to be as it were bodies of 

1 Castrdn, ' Finn. Myth,' p. 193, &c. ; Bastian, ' Psych.' p. 34, 208, 
4 Oestl. Asien,' vol. iii. pp. 293, 486. See ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. ii. p. 350 

* Max Mtiller, ' Chips,' vol. i. p. xvii.; ' Ward, 'Hindoos,' vol. i. p. 198, 
vol. ii. pp. xxxv. 164, 234, 292, 485. 

3 Arnobius Ad versus Gentes, vi. 17-19. 


gods, for there are within them certain invited spirits, of 
some avail for doing harm or for fulfilling certain desires 
of those who pay them divine honours and rites of worship. 
By a certain art to connect these invisible spirits with visible 
objects of corporeal matter, that such may be as it were 
animated bodies, effigies dedicate and subservient to the. 
spirits this is what he calls making gods, and men have 
received this great and wondrous power.' And further, 
this Trismegistus is made to speak of 'statues animated 
with sense and full of spirit, doing so great things ; statues 
prescient of the future, and predicting it by lots, by priests, 
by dreams, and by many other ways.' 1 This idea, as ac- 
cepted by the early Christians themselves, with the qualifi- 
cation that the spiritual beings inhabiting the idols were not 
beneficent deities but devils, is explicitly stated by Minucius 
Felix, in a passage in the ' Octavius,' which gives an in- 
structive account of the aministic philosophy of Christianity 
towards the beginning of the third century : ' Thus these 
impure spirits or demons, as shown by the magi, by the 
philosophers, and by Plato, are concealed by consecration 
in statues and images, and by their afflatus obtain the 
authority as of a present deity when at times they inspire 
priests, inhabit temples, occasionally animate the filaments 
of the entrails, govern the flight of birds, guide the falling 
of lots, give oracles enveloped in many falsehoods . . . 
also secretly creeping into (men's) bodies as thin spirits, 
they feign diseases, terrify minds, distort limbs, in order to 
compel men to their worship ; that fattening on the steam 
of altars or their offered victims from the flocks, they may 
seem to have cured the ailments which they had constrained. 
And these are the madmen whom ye see rush forth into 

1 Augustinus ' De Civ. Dei,' viii. 23 : 'at ille visibilia et contrectabilia 
simulacra, velut corpora deorum esse asserit ; inesse autem his quosdam 

spiritus invitatos, &c Hos ergo spiritus invisibiles per artem 

quandam visibilibus rebus corporalis materiae copulare, ut sint quasi 
animata corpora, illis spiritibus dicata et subdita simulacra, &c. See also 
Tertullianus De Spectaculis, xii. : ' In mortuorum autem idolis dxmonia 
consistunt, &C.' 


public places ; and the very priests without the temple thus 
go mad, thus rave, thus whirl about. . . . All these 
things most of you know, how the very demons confess of 
themselves, so often as they are expelled by us from the 
patients' bodies with torments of word and fires of prayer. 
Saturn himself, and Serapis, and Jupiter, and whatsoever 
demons ye worship, overcome by pain declare what they 
are ; nor surely do they lie concerning their iniquity, above 
all when several of you are present. Believe these wit- 
nesses, confessing the truth of themselves, that they are 
demons. F<3r adjured by the true and only God, they 
shudder reluctant in the wretched bodies ; and either they 
issue forth at once, or vanish gradually, according as the 
faith of the patient aids, or the grace of the curer 
favours.' 1 

The strangeness with which such words now fall upon 
our ears is full of significance. It is one symptom of that 
vast quiet change which has come over animistic philosophy 
in the modern educated world. Whole orders of spiritual 
beings, worshipped in polytheistic religion, and degraded 
in early Christendom to real but evil demons, have since 
passed from objective to subjective existence, have faded 
from the Spiritual into the Ideal. By the operation of 
similar intellectual changes, the general theory of spirit- 
embodiment, having fulfilled the great work it had for ages 
to do in religion and philosophy, has now dwindled within 
the limits of the educated world to near its vanishing-point. 
The doctrines of Disease-possession and Oracle-possession, 
once integral parts of the higher philosophy, and still main- 
taining a vigorous existence in the lower culture, seem to 
be dying out within the influence of the higher into dog- 
matic survival, conscious metaphor, and popular super- 
stition. The doctrine of spirit-embodiment in objects, 
Fetishism, now scarcely appears outside barbaric regions 

1 Marcus Minucius Felix, Octavius, cap. xxvii. : ' Isti igitur impuri 
spiritus, darmones, ut ostensum a magis, a philosophis, et a Platone sub 
statuis et imaginibus consecrati delitescunt, &c.' 


save in the peasant folklore which keeps it up amongst us 
with so many other remnants of barbaric thought. And 
the like theory of spiritual influence as applied to Idolatry, 
though still to be studied among savages and barbarians, 
and on record in past ages of the civilized world, has per- 
ished so utterly amongst ourselves, that few but students 
are aware of its ever having existed. 

To bring home to our minds the vastness of the intel- 
lectual tract which separates modern from savage philo- 
sophy, and to enable us to look back along the path where 
step by step the mind's journey was made, it will serve us 
to glance over the landmarks which language to this day 
keeps standing. Our modern languages reach back through 
the middle ages to classic and barbaric times, where in this 
matter the transition from the crudest primaeval animism is 
quite manifest. We keep in daily use, and turn to modern 
meaning, old words and idioms which carry us home to the 
philosophy of ancient days. We talk of ' genius ' still, 
but with thought how changed. The genius of Augustus 
was a tutelary demon, to be sworn by and to receive offer- 
ings on an altar as a deity. In modern English, Shakspere, 
Newton, or Wellington, is said to be led and prompted by 
his genius, but that genius is a shrivelled philosophic meta- 
phor. So the word ' spirit ' and its kindred terms keep 
up with wondrous pertinacity the traces which connect the 
thought of the savage with its hereditary successor, the 
thought of the philosopher. Barbaric philosophy retains 
as real what civilized language has reduced to simile. The 
Siamese is made drunk with the demon of the arrack that 
possesses the drinker, while we with so different sense still 
extract the ' spirit of wine.' 1 Look at the saying ascribed 
to Pythagoras, and mentioned by Porphyry. ' The sound 
indeed which is given by striking brass, is the voice of a 
certain demon contained .in that brass.' These might have 
been the representative words of some savage animistic 

1 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. p. 455. See Spiegel, ' Avesta,' vol. ii. 
p. 54. 


philosopher ; but with the changed meaning brought by cen- 
turies of philosophizing, Oken hit upon a definition almost 
identical in form, that ' What sounds, announces its spirit ' 
(' Was tont, gibt seinen Geist kund ').* What the savage 
would have meant, or Porphyry after him did mean, was that 
the brass was actually animated by a spirit of the brass apart 
from its matter, but when a modern philosopher takes up 
the old phrase, all he means is the qualities of the brass. 
As in other animistic phrases of thought and feeling such 
as ' animal spirits,' or being in ' good and bad spirits,' the 
term only recalls with an effort the long-past philosophy 
which it once expressed. The modern theory of the 
mind considers it capable of performing even exalted and 
unusual functions without the intervention of prompting or 
exciting demons ; yet the old recognition of such beings 
crops up here and there in phrases which adapt animistic 
ideas to commonplaces of human disposition, as when a 
man is still said to be animated by a patriotic spirit, or 
possessed by a spirit of disobedience. In old times the 
ryyaorpt/ivtfos, or ' ventriloquus ' was really held to have a 
spirit rumbling or talking from inside his body, as when 
Eurykles the soothsayer was inspired by such a familiar ; 
or when a certain Patriarch mentioning a demon heard to 
speak out of a man's belly, remarks on the worthy place it 
had chosen to dwell in. In the time of Hippokrates, the 
giving of oracular responses by such ventriloquism was 
practised by certain women as a profession. To this day 
in China one may get an oracular response from a spirit 
apparently talking out of a medium's stomach, for a fee of 
about twopence-halfpenny. How changed a philosophy it 
marks, that among ourselves the word ' ventriloquist ' 
should have sunk to its present meaning.* Nor is that 

1 Porphyr. de Vita Pythagorz. Oken, ' Lehrbuch der Naturphilosophie,' 

* Suidas, s.v. tyyaffrplnvtiot ; Isidor. Gloss, s.v. 'praecantatores'; Bastian, 
4 Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 578. Maury, ' Magic,' &c. p. 269. Doolittle, ' Chinese,' 
vol. ii. p. 115. 


change less significant which, starting with the conception 
of a man being really v0os, possessed by a deity within 
him, carries on a metamorphosed relic of this thorough 
animistic thought, from evflowwur/ios to 'enthusiasm.' 
With all this, let it not be supposed that such change of 
opinion in the educated world has come about through 
wanton incredulity or decay of the religious temperament. 
Its source is the alteration in natural science, assigning new 
causes for the operations of nature and the events of life. 
The theory of the immediate action of personal spirits has 
here, as so widely elsewhere, given place to ideas of force 
and law. No indwelling deity now regulates the life of the 
burning sun, no guardian angels drive the stars across the 
arching firmament, the divine Ganges is water flowing down 
into the sea to evaporate into cloud and descend again in 
rain. No deity simmers in the boiling pot, no presiding 
spirits dwell in the volcano, no howling demon shrieks from 
the mouth of the lunatic. There was a period of human 
thought when the whole universe seemed actuated by 
spiritual life. For our knowledge of our own history, it 
is deeply interesting that there should remain rude races 
yet living under the philosophy which we have so far passed 
from, since Physics, Chemistry, Biology, have seized whole 
provinces of the ancient Animism, setting force for life and 
law for will. 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Spirits regarded as personal causes of Phenomena of the World Pervading 
Spirits as good and evil Demons affecting man Spirits manifest in 
Dreams and Visions : Nightmares ; Incubi and Succubi ; Vampires ; 
Visionary Demons Demons of darkness repelled by fire Demons other- 
wise manifest : seen by animals ; detected by footprints Spirits con- 
ceived and treated as material Guardian and Familiar Spirits Nature- 
Spirits ; historical course of the doctrine Spirits of Volcanoes, Whirl- 
pools, Rocks Water-Worship : Spirits of Wells, Streams, Lakes, &c. 
Tree-Worship : Spirits embodied in or inhabiting Trees ; Spirits of 
Groves and Forests Animal- Worship : Animals worshipped, directly, or 
as incarnations or representatives of Deities ; Totem-Worship ; Serpent- 
Worship Species-Deities ; their relation to Archetypal Ideas. 

WE have now to enter on the final topic of the investiga- 
tion of Animism, by completing the classified survey of 
spiritual beings in general, from the myriad souls, elves, 
fairies, genii, conceived as filling their multifarious offices in 
man's life and the world's, up to the deities who reign, few 
and mighty, over the spiritual hierarchy. In spite of end- 
less diversity of detail, the general principles of this investi- 
gation seem comparatively easy of access to the enquirer, 
if he will use the two keys which the foregoing studies 
supply : first, that spiritual beings are modelled by man on 
his. primary conception of his own human soul, and second, 
that their purpose is to explain nature on the primitive 
childlike theory that it is truly and throughout ' Animated 
Nature.' If, as the poet says, ' Felix qui potuit rerum 
cognoscere causas,' then rude tribes of ancient men had 
within them this source of happiness, that they could 
explain to their own content the causes of things. For to 



them spiritual beings, elves and gnomes, ghosts and manes, 
demons and deities, were the living personal causes of 
universal life. ' The first men found everything easy, the 
mysteries of nature were not so hidden from them as from 
us/ said Jacob Bohme the mystic. True, we may well 
answer, if these primitive men believed in that animistic 
philosophy of nature which even now survives in the savage 
mind. They could ascribe to kind or hostile spirits all good 
and evil of their own lives, and all striking operations of 
nature ; they lived in familiar intercourse with the living 
and powerful souls of their dead ancestors, with the spirits 
of the stream and grove, plain and mountain, they knew 
well the living mighty Sun pouring his beams of light and 
heat upon them, the living mighty Sea dashing her fierce 
billows on the shore, the great personal Heaven and Earth 
protecting and producing all things. For as the human 
body was held to live and act by virtue of its own inhabiting 
spirit-soul, so the operations of the world seemed to be 
carried on by the influence of other spirits. And thus 
Animism, starting as a philosophy of human life, extended 
and expanded itself till it became a philosophy of nature 
at large. 

To the minds of the lower races it seems that all nature 
is possessed, pervaded, crowded, with spiritual beings. In 
seeking by a few types to give an idea of this conception of 
pervading Spirits in its savage and barbaric stage, it is not 
indeed possible to draw an absolute line of separation between 
spirits occupied in affecting for good and ill the life of Man, 
and spirits specially concerned in carrying on the operations 
of Nature. In fact these two classes of spiritual beings blend 
into one another as inextricably as do the original animistic 
doctrines they are based on. As, however, the spirits con- 
sidered direct!}' to affect the life and fortune of Man lie 
closest to the centre of the animistic scheme, it is well to 
give them precedence. The description and function of 
these beings extend upwards from among the rudest human 
tribes. Milligan writes of the Tasmanians : ' They v/crc 


polythcists ; that is, they believed in guardian angels or 
spirits, and in a plurality of powerful but generally evil- 
disposed beings, inhabiting crevices and caverns of rocky 
mountains, and making temporary abode in hollow trees and 
solitary valleys ; of these a few were supposed to be of great 
power, while to the majority were imputed much of the 
nature and attributes of the goblins and elves of our native 
land.' 1 Oldfield writes of the aborigines of Australia, ' The 
number of supernatural beings, feared if not loved, that they 
acknowledge, is exceedingly great ; for not only are the 
heavens peopled with such, but the whole face of the country 
swarms with them ; every thicket, most watering-places, and 
all rocky places abound with evil spirits. In like manner, 
every natural phenomenon is believed to be the work of 
demons, none of which seem of a benign nature, one and 
all apparently striving to do all imaginable mischief to the 
poor black fellow.'* It must be indeed an unhappy race 
among whom such a demonology could shape itself, and it 
is a relief to find that other people of low culture, while 
recognizing the same spiritual world swarming about them, 
do not hold its main attribute to be spite against themselves. 
Among the Algonquin Indians of North America, School- 
craft finds the very groundwork of their religion in the 
belief ' that the whole visible and invisible creation is 
animated with various orders of malignant or benign 
spirits, who preside over the daily affairs and over the final 
destinies of men.' 3 Among the Khonds of Orissa, Mac- 
pherson describes the greater gods and tribal manes, and 
below these the order of minor and local deities : ' They 
are the tutelary gods of every spot on earth, having power 
over the functions of nature which operate there, and over 
everything relating to human life in it. Their number is 

1 F. R. Nixon, ' Cruise of the Beacon ' ; Bonwick, p. 182. 

1 Oldfield in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 228. 

3 Schoolcraft, ' Algic Res.' vol. i. p. 41. ' Indian Tribes,' vol. iii. p. 327. 
Waitz, vol. iii. p. 191. See also J. G. Muller, p. 175. (Antilles Islanders); 
Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 482. 


unlimited. They fill all nature, in which no power or object, 
from the sea to the clods of the field, is without its deity. 
They are the guardians of hills, groves, streams, fountains, 
paths, and hamlets, and are cognizant of every human 
action, want, and interest in the locality, where they pre- 
side.' 1 Describing the animistic mythology of the Turanian 
tribes of Asia and Europe, Castren has said that every land, 
mountain, rock, river, brook, spring, tree, or whatsoever it 
may be, has a spirit for an inhabitant ; the spirits of the 
trees and stones, of the lakes and brooks, hear with pleasure 
the wild man's pious prayers and accept his offerings. 2 Such 
are the conceptions of the Guinea negro, who 'finds the 
abodes of his good and evil spirits in great rocks, hollow 
trees, mountains, deep rivers, dense groves, echoing caverns, 
and who passing silently by these sacred places leaves some 
offering, if it be but a leaf or a shell picked up on the 
beach. 8 Such are examples which not unfairly picture the 
belief of the lower races in a world of spirits on earth, and 
such descriptions apply to the state of men's minds along 
the course of civilization. 

The doctrine of ancient philosophers such as Philo 4 
and lamblichus, 5 of spiritual beings swarming through the 
atmosphere we breathe, was carried on and developed in 
special directions in the discussions concerning the nature 
and functions of the world-pervading host of angels and 
devils, in the writings of the early Christian Fathers.* 
Theologians of modern centuries have for the most part 
seen reason to reduce within comparatively narrow limits 
the action ascribed to external spiritual beings on mankind ; 

1 Macpherson, ' India,' p. 90. See also Cross, ' Karens,' in ' Journ. Amer. 
Or. Soc.' vol. iv. p. 315 ; Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 239. 

Castren, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 114, 182, &c. 

J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' p. 218, 388 ; Waitz, vol. ii. p. 171. 

Philo, De Gigant. I. iv. 

lamblichus, ii. 

Collected passages in Calmet, ' Diss. sur les Esprits ' ; Horst, ' Za'uber- 
Bibliothck,' vol. ii. p. 263, &c. ; vol. vi. p. 49, &c. ; see Migne's Dic- 


yet there are some who retain to the full the angelology 
and demonology of Origen and Tertullian. These two 
views well contrasted by setting side by side the 
judgments of two ecclesiastics of the Roman Church, as 
to the belief in pervading demons prevalent in uncivilized 
countries. The celebrated commentator, Dom Calmet, 
lays down in the most explicit terms the doctrine of 
angels and demons, as a matter of dogmatic theology. But 
he is less inclined to receive unquestioned the narratives 
of particular manifestations in the mediaeval and modern 
world. He mentions indeed the testimony of Louis Vivez, 
that in the newly discovered countries of America, nothing 
is more common than to see spirits which appear at noon- 
day, not only in the country but in towns and villages, 
speaking, commanding, sometimes even striking men ; 
and the account by Olaus Magnus of the spectres or 
spirits seen in Sweden and Norway, Finland and Lapland, 
which do wonderful things, some even serving men as 
domestics and driving the cattle out to pasture. But 
what Calmet remarks on these stories, is that the greater 
ignorance prevails in a country, the more superstitition 
reigns there. 1 It seems that in our own day, however, 
the tendency is to encourage less sceptical views. Mon- 
signor Gaume's book on ' Holy Water,' which not long 
since received the special and formal approval of Pius IX., 
appears ' at an epoch when the millions of evil angels which 
surround us are more enterprising than ever ; ' and here 
Olaus Magnus' story of the demons infesting Northern 
Europe is not only cited but corroborated. 1 On the whole, 
the survey of the doctrine of pervading spirits through all 
the grades of culture is a remarkable display of intellectual 
continuity. Most justly does Ellis the missionary, depict- 
ing the South Sea Islanders' world crowded with its in- 
numerable pervading spirits, point out the closeness of cor- 
respondence here between doctrines of the savage and the 

1 Calmet, ' Dissertation sur les Esprit*,' vol. i. ch. xlviii. 
1 Gaume, ' L'Eau Benite au XIX me Siecle,' pp. 295, 341. 


civilized animist, expressed as both may be in Milton's 
familiar lines : 

' Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth, 
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep.' * 

As with souls, so with other spirits, man's most distinct 
and direct intercourse is had where they become actually 
present to his senses in dreams and visions. The belief 
that such phantoms are real and personal spirits, suggested 
and maintained as it is by the direct evidence of the senses 
of sight, touch, and hearing, is naturally an opinion usual 
in savage philosophy, and indeed elsewhere, long and ob- 
stinately resisting the attacks of the later scientific doctrine. 
The demon Koin strives to throttle the dreaming Austra- 
lian ; * the evil ' na ' crouches on the stomach of the 
Karen ; * the North American Indian, gorged with feasting, 
is visited by nocturnal spirits; 4 the Caribs, subject to 
hideous dreams, often woke declaring that the demon 
Maboya had beaten them in their sleep, and they could 
still feel the pain.* These demons are the very elves 
and nightmares that to this day in benighted districts of 
Europe ride and throttle the snoring peasant, and whose 
names, not forgotten among the educated, have only 
made the transition from belief to jest.* A not less dis- 
tinct product of the savage animistic theory of dreams 
as real visits from personal spiritual beings, lasted on 
without a shift or break into the belief of mediaeval 
Christendom. This is the doctrine of the incubi and 
succubi, those male and female nocturnal demons which 
consort sexually with men and women. We may set out 

Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 331. 

Backhouse, ' Australia,' p. 555 ; Grey, ' Australia,' vol. ii. p. 337. 

Mason, ' Karens,' I.e. p. 211. 

Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part iii. p. 226. 

Rochefort, ' Antilles,' p. 419. 

Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 1193 ; Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 332 ; St. Clair 
and Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' p. 59; Wuttke, ' Volksaberglaube,' p. 122 ; Bastian, 
4 Psychologic,' p. 103 ; Brand, vol. iii. p. 279. The mare in nightmare 
means spirit, elf, or nymph ; compare Anglo-Sax, vmdumare (wood-mare) 


with their descriptions among the islanders of the Antilles, 
where they are the ghosts of the dead, vanishing when 
clutched ; l in New Zealand, where ancestral deities ' form 
attachments with females and pay them repeated visits/ 
while in the Samoan Islands such intercourse of mis- 
chievious inferior gods caused ' many supernatural concep- 
tions; ' and in Lapland, where details of this last extreme 
class have also been placed on record. 8 From these lower 
grades of culture the idea may be followed onward. Formal 
rites are specified in the Hindu Tantra, which enable a 
man to obtain a companion-nymph by worshipping her and 
repeating her name by night in a cemetery. 4 Augustine, in 
an instructive passage, states the popular notions of the 
visits of incubi, vouched for, he tells us, by testimony of 
such quantity and quality that it may seem impudence to 
deny it ; yet he is careful not to commit himself to a positive 
belief in such spirits. 8 Later theologians were less cautious, 
and grave argumentation on nocturnal intercourse with 
incubi and succubi was carried on till, at the height of 
mediaeval civilization, it is found accepted in full belief by 
ecclesiastics and lawyers. Nor is it to be counted as an 
ugly but harmless superstition, when for example it is 
set forth in the Bull of Pope Innocent VIII. in 1484, as an 

1 ' Vita del Amm. Christoforo Colombo,' ch. xiii. ; and ' Life of Colon,' in 
Pinkerton, vol. xii. p. 84. 

1 Taylor, ' New Zealand,' pp. 149, 389. Mariner, ' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. 
p. 119. 

3 Hogstrom, ' Lapmark,' ch. xi. 

' Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 151. See also Borri, ' Cochin-China,' in 
Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 823. 

' Augustin. ' De Civ. Dei,' xv. 23 : ' Et quoniam creberrima fama est, 
multique se expertos, vel ab eis qui experti essent, de quorum fide dubitan- 
dum non esset, audisse confirmant, Silvanos et Faunos, quos vulgo incubos 
vocant, improbos saepe extitisse mulieribus, et earum appetisse ac peregisse 
concubitum; et quosdam daemones, quos Dusioe Galli nuncupant, hanc 
assidue immunditiam et tentare ct efficerc ; plures talesque asseverant, ut 
hoc negare impudentix videatur ; non hinc aliquid audeo definire, utrum 
aliqui spiritus . . . possint etiam hanc pati libidinem ; ut . . . . sentien- 
tibus feminibus misceantur.' See also Grimm, ' D. M.' pp. 449, 479 ; 
Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 332 ; Cockayne, ' Leechdoms of Early England,' 
vol. i. p. xxxviii., vol. ii. p. 345. 


accepted accusation against ' many persons of both sexes, 
forgetful of their own salvation, and falling away from the 
Catholic faith.' The practical outcome of this belief is 
known to students who have traced the consequence of the 
Papal Bull in the legal manual of the witchcraft tribunals, 
drawn up by the three appointed Inquisitors, the infamous 
Malleus Maleficarum ; and have followed the results of this 
again into those dreadful records which relate in their bald 
matter-of-fact phraseology the confessions of the crime of 
diabolic intercourse, wrung from the wretched victims 
worked on by threat and persuasion in the intervals of the 
rack, till enough evidence was accumulated for clear judg- 
ment, and sentence of the stake. 1 I need not dwell on the 
mingled obscenity and horror of these details, which here 
only have their bearing on the history of animism. But it 
will aid the ethnographer to understand the relation of 
modern to savage philosophy, if he will read Richard Bur- 
ton's seriously believing account in the ' Anatomy of Melan- 
choly/ where he concludes with acquiescence in a declara- 
tion lately made by Lipsius, that on the showing of daily 
narratives and judicial sentences, in no age had these 
lecherous demons appeared in such numbers as in his own 
time and this was about A.D. i6oo. 2 

In connexion with the nightmare and the incubus, another 
variety of nocturnal demon requires notice, the vampire. 
Inasmuch as certain patients arc seen becoming day by day, 
without apparent cause, thin, weak, and bloodless, savage 
animism is called upon to produce a satisfactory explana- 
tion, and does so in the doctrine that there exist certain 
demons which cat out the souls or hearts or suck the blood 
of their victims. The Polynesians said that it was the 

1 The ' Malleus Maleficarum ' was published about 1489. See on the 
general subject, Horst, ' Zauber-Bibliothek,' vol. vi. ; Ennemoser, ' Magic,' 
vol. ii. ; Maury, ' Magie,' &c. p. 256 ; Lecky, ' Hist, of Rationalism,' vol. i. 

* Burton, ' Anatomy of Melancholy,' iii. 2. ' Unum dixt-ro, non opinari 
me ullo retro aevo tantam copiam Satyrorum, ct snlacium istorum Geniorum 
se ostendisse, quantum mine quotidians? narrntioncs, et judiciaks sentcntizc 


departed souls (tii) which quitted the graves and grave-idols 
to creep by night into the houses, and devour the heart and 
entrails of the sleepers, and these died. 1 The Karens tell 
of the ' kephu,' which is a wizard's stomach going forth in 
the shape of a head and entrails, to devour the souls of 
men, and they die. 1 The Mintira of the Malay Peninsula 
have their ' hantu penyadin ; ' he is a water-demon, with a 
dog's head and an alligator's mouth, who sucks blood from 
men's thumbs and great toes, and they die.* It is in Sla- 
vonia and Hungary that the demon blood-suckers have their 
principal abode, and to this district belongs their special 
name of vampire, Polish upior, Russian />>. There is a 
whole literature of hideous vampire-stories, which the stu- 
dent will find elaborately discussed in Calmet. The shortest 
way of treating the belief is to refer it directly to the prin- 
ciples of savage animism. We shall see that most of its 
details fall into their places at once, and that vampires are 
not mere creations of groundless fancy, but causes conceived 
in spiritual form to account for specific facts of wasting 
disease. As to their nature and physical action, there are 
two principal theories, but both keep close to the original 
animistic idea of spiritual beings, and consider these demons 
to be human souk. The first theory is that the soul of a 
living man, often a sorcerer, leaves its proper body asleep 
and goes forth, perhaps in the visible form of a straw or 
fluff of down, slips through keyholes and attacks its sleep- 
ing victim. If the sleeper should wake in time to clutch 
this tiny soul-embodiment, he may through it have his 
revenge by maltreating or destroying its bodily owner. 
Some say these ' mury ' come by night to men, sit upon 
their breasts and suck their blood, while others think it is 
only children's blood they suck, they being to grown people 
mere nightmares. Here we have the actual phenomenon 
of nightmare, adapted to a particular purpose. The second 

1 J. R. Forstcr, ' Observations during Voyage round World,' p. 543. 

1 Cross, ' Karens,' I.e. p. 312. 

* ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. p. 307. 


theory is that the soul of a dead man goes out from its 
buried corpse and sucks the blood of living men. The 
victim becomes thin, languid, and bloodless, falls into a 
rapid decline and dies. Here again is actual experience, 
but a new fancy is developed to complete the idea. The 
corpse thus supplied by its returning soul with blood, is 
imagined to remain unnaturally fresh and supple and ruddy ; 
and accordingly the means of detecting a vampire is to 
open his grave, where the reanimated corpse may be found 
to bleed when cut, and even to move and shriek. One 
way to lay a vampire is to stake down the corpse (as with 
suicides and with the same intention) ; but the more effec- 
tual plan is to behead and burn it. This is the substance 
of the doctrine of vampires. Still, as one order of demons 
is apt to blend into others, the vampire-legends are much 
mixed with other animistic folklore. Vampires appear in 
the character of the poltergeist or knocker, as causing 
those disturbances in houses which modern spiritualism 
refers in like manner to souls of the departed. Such was 
the ghost of a certain surly peasant who came out of his 
grave in the island of Mycone in 1700, after he had been 
buried but two days ; he came into the houses, upset the 
furniture, put the lamps out, and carried on his tricks till 
the whole population went wild with terror. Tournefort 
happened to be there and was present at the exhumation ; 
his account is curious evidence of the way an excited mob 
could persuade themselves, without the least foundation 
of fact, that the body was warm and its blood red. Again, 
the blood-sucker is very generally described under the 
Slavonic names of werewolf (wilkodlak, brukolaka, &c.); 
the descriptions of the two creatures are inextricably mixed 
up, and a man whose eyebrows meet, as if his soul were 
taking flight like a butterfly, to enter some other body, 
may be marked by this sign either as a werewolf or a vam- 
pire. A modern account of vampirism in Bulgaria well 
illustrates the nature of spirits as conceived in such beliefs 
as these. A sorcerer armed with a saint's picture will hunt 


a vampire into a bottle containing some of the filthy food 
that the demon loves ; as soon as he is fairly inside he is 
corked down, the bottle is thrown into the fire, and the 
vampire disappears for ever. 1 

As to the savage visionary and the phantoms he beholds, 
the Greenlander preparing f6r the profession of sorcerer 
may stand as type, when, rapt in contemplation in his 
desert solitude, emaciated by fasting and disordered by fits, 
he sees before him scenes with figures of men and animals, 
which he believes to be spirits. Thus it is interesting to 
read the descriptions by Zulu converts of the dreadful 
creatures which they see in moments of intense religious 
exaltation, the snake with great eyes and very fearful, the 
leopard creeping stealthily, the enemy approaching with his 
long assagai in his hand these coming one after another 
to the place where the man has gone to pray in secret, and 
striving to frighten him from his knees. 2 Thus the visionary 
temptations of the Hindu ascetic and the mediaeval saint are 
happening in our own day, though their place is now rather 
in the medical handbook than in the record of miracle. 
Like the disease-demons and the oracle-demons, these 
spiritual groups have their origin not in fancy, but in real 
phenomena interpreted on animistic principles. 

In the dark especially, harmful spirits swarm. Round 
native Australian encampments, Sir George Grey used to 
see the bush dotted with little moving points of fire ; these 
were the firesticks carried by the old women sent to look 
after the young ones, but who dared not quit the firelight 
without a brand to protect them from the evil spirits. 1 So 
South American Indians would carry brands or torches for 
fear of evil demons when they ventured into the dark. 4 

1 J. V. Grohmann, ' Aberglauben aus Bohmen,' &c., p. 24 ; Calmet, ' Diss. 
sur les Esprits,' vol. ii.; Grimm, 'D.M.' p. 1048, &c. ; St. Clair and Brophy, 
' Bulgaria,' p. 49 ; see Ralston, ' Songs of Russian People/ p. 409. 

* Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 268. Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 246, &c. 

* Grey, ' Australia,' vol. ii. p. 302. See. also Bonwick, ' Tasmanians,' 
p. I So. 

4 Southey, 'Brazil,' part i. p. 23%. See also Rochefort, p. 418; J. G. 


Tribes of the Malay Peninsula light fires near a mother at 
childbirth, to scare away the evil spirits. 1 Such notions 
extend to higher levels of civilization. In Southern India, 
where for fear of pervading spirits only pressing need will 
induce a man to go abroad after sundown, the unlucky 
wight who has to venture into the dark will carry a fire- 
brand to keep off the spectral foes. Even in broad day- 
light, the Hindu lights lamps to keep off the demons,* a 
ceremony which is to be noticed again at a Chinese wed- 
ding. 3 In Europe, the details of the use of fire to drive off 
demons and witches are minute and explicit. The ancient 
Norse colonists in Iceland carried fire round the lands they 
intended to occupy, to expel the evil spirits. Such ideas 
have brought into existence a whole group of Scandinavian 
customs, still remembered in the country, but dying out in 
practice. Till a child is baptized, the fire must never be 
let out, lest the trolls should be able to steal the infant; a 
live coal must be cast after the mother as she goes to be 
churched, to prevent the trolls from carrying her off bodily 
or bewitching her ; a live coal is to be thrown after a troll- 
wife or witch as she quits a house, and so forth. 4 Into 
modern times, the people of the Hebrides continued to 
protect the mother and child from evil spirits, by carrying 
fire round them. 5 In modern Bulgaria, on the Feast of 
St. Demetrius, lighted candles are placed in the stables and 
the wood-shed, to prevent evil spirits from entering into 

Miiller, p. 273 (Caribs) ; Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 301 ; Schoolcraft, ' Indian 
Tribes,' part iii. p. 140. 

1 ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. pp. 270, 298 ; vol. ii. ' N. S.' p. 1 17. 

* Roberts, ' Oriental Illustrations,' p. 531 ; Colebrook in ' As. Res.' vol. 
vii. p. 274. 

8 Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. i. p. 77. 

4 Hylten-Cavallius, ' Warend och Wirdarne,' vol. i. p. 191 ; Atkinson, 
' Glossary of Cleveland Dial.' p. 597. [Prof. Liebrecht, in ' Zeitschrift 
fur Ethnologic,' vol. v. 1873, p. 99, adds comparison of the still usual 
German custom of keeping a light burning in the lying-in room till 
the child is baptized (Wuttke, 2nd ed. No. 583), and the similar ancient 
Roman practice whence the goddess Candelifera had her name (note to 
2nd. ed.).] 

6 Martin, ' Western Islands,' in Pinkerton, vol. iii. p. 612. 


the domestic animals. 1 Nor did this ancient idea remain 
a mere lingering notion of peasant folklore. Its adoption 
by the Church is obvious in the ceremonial benediction of 
candles in the Roman Ritual : ' Ut quibuscumque locis 
accensae, sive positae fuerint, discedant principes tenebra- 
rum, et contremiscant, et fugiant pavidi cum omnibus 
ministris suis ab habitationibus illis, &c.' The metrical 
translation of Naogeorgus shows perfectly the retention of 
primitive animistic ideas in the middle ages : 

.... a wondrous force and might 
Doth in these candels lie, which if at any time they light, 
They sure beleve that neyther storm or tempest dare abide, 
Nor thunder in the skies be heard, nor any devil's spide, 
Nor fearefull sprightes that walke by night, nor hurts of frost or 

Animals stare and startle when we see no cause ; is it 
that they see spirits invisible to man ? Thus the Green- 
lander says that the seals and wildfowl are scared by 
spectres, which no human eye but the sorcerer's can be- 
hold ; 3 and thus the Khonds hold that their flitting 
ethereal gods, invisible to man, are seen by beasts. 4 The 
thought holds no small place in the folklore of the world. 
Telemachos could not discern Athene standing near him, 
for not to all do the gods visibly appear ; but Odysseus saw 
her, and the dogs, and they did not bark, but with low 
whine slunk across the dwelling to the further side. 8 So 
in old Scandinavia, the dogs could see Hela the death- 
goddess move unseen by men ; so Jew and Moslem, 
hearing the dogs howl, know that they have seen the 
Angel of Death come on his awful errand; 7 while the 

1 St. Clair and Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' p. 44. 

* Rituale Romanum ; Benedictio Candelarum. Brand, ' Popular Antiqui- 
ties,' vol. i. p. 46. 

Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 267, see 296. 
Macpherson, ' India,' p. 100. 
Homer, Odyss, xvi. 160. 
Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 632. 

Eisenmenger, ' Judenthum,' part i. p. 872. Lane, ' Thousand and One 
Nights,' vol. ii. p. 56. 


beliefs that animals see spirits, and that a dog's melancholy 
howl means death somewhere near, are still familiar to our 
own popular superstition. 

Another means by which men may detect the presence of 
invisible spirits, is to adopt the thief-catcher's well-known 
device of strewing ashes. According to the ideas of a cer- 
tain stage of animism, a spirit is considered substantial 
enough to leave a footprint. The following instances relate 
sometimes to souls, sometimes to other beings. The Philip- 
pine islanders expected the dead to return on the third day 
to his dwelling, wherefore they set a vessel of water for him 
to wash himself clean from the grave-mould, and strewed 
ashes to see footprints. 1 A more elaborate rite forms part 
of the funeral customs of the Hos of North-East India. 
On the evening of a death, the near relatives perform the 
ceremony of calling the dead. Boiled rice and a pot of 
water are placed in an inner room, and ashes sprinkled 
from thence to the threshold. Two relatives go to the 
place where the body was burnt, and walk round it beating 
ploughshares and chanting a plaintive dirge to call the spirit 
home ; while two others watch the rice and water to see 
if they are disturbed, and look for the spirit-footsteps in 
the ashes. If a sign appears, it is received with shivering 
horror and weeping, the mourners outside coming in to 
join. Till the survivors are thus satisfied of the spirit's 
return, the rite must be repeated. 2 In Yucatan there is 
mention of the custom of leaving a child alone at night in a 
place strewn with ashes ; if the footprint of an animal were 
found next morning, this animal was the guardian deity of 
the child. 3 Beside this may be placed the Aztec ceremony 
at the second festival of the Sun-god Tezcatlipoca, when 
they sprinkled maize-flour before his sanctuary, and his 

1 Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 162. Other localities in ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' 
vol. iv. p. 333. 

* Tickell in ' Journ. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. ix. p. 795. The dirge is given 
above, p. 32. 

3 De Brasses, ' Dieux Fetiches,' p. 46. 


high-priest watched till he beheld the divine footprints, 
and then shouted to announce, ' Our great god is come.' l 
Among such rites in the Old World, the Talmud contains 
a salient instance ; there are a great multitude of devils, it 
is said; and he who will be aware of them let him take 
sifted ashes and strew them by his bed, and in the early 
morning he shall see as it were marks of cocks' feet. 1 
This is an idea that has widely spread in the modern 
world, as where in German folklore the little ' earth- 
men ' make footprints like a duck's or goose's in the 
strewn ashes. Other marks, too, betoken the passage of 
spirit-visitors ; * and as for ghosts, our own superstition 
is among the most striking of the series. On St. Mark's 
Eve, ashes are to be sifted over the hearth, and the foot- 
prints will be seen of any one who is to die within the year ; 
many mischievous wight has made a superstitious family 
miserable by slily coming down stairs and marking the 
print of some one's shoe. 4 Such details as these may 
justify us in thinking that the lower races are apt to ascribe 
to spirits in general that kind of ethereal materiality which 
we have seen they attribute to souls. Explicit statements 
on the subject are scarce till we reach the level of early 
Christian theology. The ideas of Tertullian and Origen, 
as to the thin yet not immaterial substance of angels and 
demons, probably represent the conceptions of primitive 
animism far more clearly than the doctrine which Calmet 
lays down with the weight of theological dogma, that 
angels, demons, and disembodied souls are pure im- 
material spirit ; but that when by divine permission spirits 
appear, act, speak, walk, eat, they must produce tangible 
bodies by either condensing the air, or substituting 

1 Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. p. 79. 
1 Tractat. Berachoth. 

* Grimm, ' D. M.' pp. 420, 1117; St. Clair and Brophy, 'Bulgaria,' 
p. 54. See also Bastian, ' Mensch.' vol. ii. p. 325 ; Tschudi, ' Peru,' vol. ii. 

P- 355- 

* Brand, ' Popular Antiquities,' vol. i. p. 193. See Boeder, ' Ehsten 
Abergl.' p. 73. 


other terrestrial solid bodies capable of performing these 
functions. 1 

No wonder that men should attack such material beings 
by material means, and even sometimes try to rid them- 
selves by a general clearance from the legion of ethereal 
beings hovering around them. As the Australians annually 
drive from their midst the accumulated ghosts of the last 
year's dead, so the Gold Coast negroes from time to time 
turn out with clubs and torches to drive the evil spirits 
from their towns ; rushing about and beating the air with 
frantic howling, they drive the demons into the woods, and 
then come home and sleep more easily, and for a while 
afterwards enjoy better health. 2 When a baby was born in 
a Kalmuk horde, the neighbours would rush about crying 
and brandishing cudgels about the tents, to drive off the 
harmful spirits who might hurt mother and child. 3 Keep- 
ing up a closely allied idea in modern Europe, the Bohe- 
mians at Pentecost, and the Tyrolese on Walpurgisnacht, 
hunt the witches, invisible and imaginary, out of house 
and stall. 4 

Closely allied to the doctrine of souls, and almost rival- 
ling it in the permanence with which it has held its place 
through all the grades of animism, is the doctrine of patron, 
guardian, or familiar spirits. These are beings specially 
attached to individual men, soul-like in their nature, and 
sometimes considered as actually being human souls. 
These beings have, like all others of the spiritual world as 
originally conceived, their reason and purpose. The 
special functions which they perform are twofold. First, 
while man's own proper soul serves him for the ordinary 
purposes of life and thought, there are times when powers 

1 Tertullian, De Came Christ!, vi. ; Adv. Marcion, ii. ; Origen, De Princip. 
i. 7. See Horst, I.e. Calmet, ' Dissertation,' vol. i. ch. xlvi. 

1 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr." p. 217. See Bosman, ' Guinea,' in Pinkerton, 
vol. xvi. p. 402. 

* Pallas, ' Reisen,' vol. i. p. 360. 

4 Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 1212; Wuttke, ' Volksaberglaube,' p. 119; see 
Hylte'n-Cavallius, part i. p. 178 (Sweden). 


and impressions out of the course of the mind's normal 
action, and words that seem spoken to him by a voice from 
without, messages of mysterious knowledge, of counsel or 
warning, seem to indicate the intervention of as it were a 
second superior soul, a familiar demon. And as enthu- 
siasts, seers, sorcerers, are the men whose minds most 
often show such conditions, so to these classes more than 
to others the informing and controlling patron-spirits are 
attached. Second, while the common expected events of 
daily life pass unnoticed as in the regular course of things, 
such events as seem to fall out with especial reference to 
an individual, demand an intervening agent ; and thus the 
decisions, discoveries, and deliverances, which civilized 
men variously ascribe to their own judgment, to luck, and 
to special interposition of Providence, are accounted for 
in the lower culture by the action of the patron-spirit or 
guardian-genius. Not to crowd examples from all the dis- 
tricts of animism to which this doctrine belongs, let us 
follow it by a few illustrations from the lower grades of 
savagery upward. Among the Watchandis of Australia, it 
is held that when a warrior slays his first man, the spirit of 
the dead enters the slayer's body and becomes his 'woo- 
rie' or warning spirit; taking up its abode near his liver, 
it informs him by a scratching or tickling sensation of the 
approach of danger. 1 In Tasmania, Dr. Milligan heard 
a native ascribe his deliverance from an accident to the 
preserving care of his deceased father's spirit, his guardian 
angel.* That the most important act of the North 
American Indian's religion is to obtain his individual 
patron genius or deity, is well known. Among the Esqui- 
maux, the sorcerer qualifies for his profession by getting a 
' torngak ' or spirit which will henceforth be his familiar 
demon, and this spirit may be the soul of a deceased 
parent.* In Chili, as to guardian spirits, it has been re- 

1 Oldfield, ' Abor. of Australia,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. Hi. p. 240. 

* Bon wick, ' Tasmanians,' p. 182. 

8 Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 268 ; Egcde, p. 187. 


marked that every Araucanian imagines he has one in 
his service ; ' I keep my amchi-malghen (guardian nymph) 
still/ being a common expression when they succeed in 
any undertaking. 1 The Caribs display the doctrine well in 
both its general and special forms. On the one hand, there 
is a guardian deity for each man, which accompanies his 
soul to the next life ; on the other hand, each sorcerer has 
his familiar demon, which he evokes in mysterious dark- 
ness by chants and tobacco-smoke ; and when several 
sorcerers call up their familiars together, the consequence 
is apt to be a quarrel among the demons, and a fight. 2 In 
Africa, the negro has his guardian spirit how far identified 
with what Europeans call soul or conscience, it may be 
hard to determine ; but he certainly looks upon it as a 
being separate from himself, for he summons it by sorcery, 
builds a little fetish-hut for it by the wayside, rewards and 
propitiates it by libation? of liquor and bits of food. 3 In 
Asia, the Mongols, each with his patron genius, 4 and the 
Laos sorcerers who can send their familiar spirits into 
others' bodies to cause disease, 8 are examples equally to 
the purpose. 

Among the Aryan nations of Northern Europe, 8 the old 
doctrine of man's guardian spirit may be traced, and in 
classic Greece and Rome it renews with philosophic elo- 
quence and cultured custom the ideas of the Australian 
and the African. The thought of the spiritual guide and 
protector of the individual man is happily defined by 
Menander, who calls the attendant genius, which each man 
has from the hour of birth, the good mystagogue (i.e. the 
novice's guide to the mysteries) of this life. 

1 Molina, ' Chili,' vol. ii. p. 86. 

* Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' pp. 416, 429; J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrel.' 
pp. 171,217. 

8 Waitz, vol. ii. p. 182 ; J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' p. 387 ; Stcinhauser, I.e. 
p. 134. Compare Callaway, p. 327, &c. 

* Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 77. 

* Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. iii. p. 275. 

* Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 829 ; Rochholz, ' Deutscher Glaube,' part i. p. 92 ; 
Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 247. 



" Pi.Tra.vri Sai/uDV aVSpi 
Ev#vs yvo/*ev<|) fiixrraywybs TOU /Stow. 
Aya#oV KaKciv yap Saifiov ov vopurrfov 
Etvat TOV j3tov jSXaTTTOvra XP 1 ?O~''<>'' Havra ya/> 
Act dyaflbv efvai TOV 6eov. 

The divine warning voice which Sokrates used to hear, is a 
salient example of the mental impressions leading to the 
belief in guardian spirits. 1 In the Roman world, the 
doctrine came to be accepted as a philosophy of human 
life. Each man had his ' genius natalis,' associated with 
him from birth to death, influencing his action and his fate, 
standing represented by its proper image as a lar among 
the household gods ; and at weddings and joyous times, 
and especially on the anniversary of the birthday when 
genius and man began their united career, worship was 
paid with song and dance to the divine image, adorned with 
garlands, and propitiated with incense and libations of 
wine. The demon or genius was, as it were, the man's 
companion soul, a second spiritual ego. The Egyptian 
astrologer warned Antonius to keep far from the young 
Octavius, ' for thy demon,' said he, ' is in fear of his ; ' 
and truly in after years that genius of Augustus had be- 
come an imperial deity, by whom Romans swore solemn 
oaths, not to be broken. 1 The doctrine which could thus 
personify the character and fate of the individual man, 
proved capable of a yet further development. Converting 
into animistic entities the inmost operations of the human 
mind, a dualistic philosophy conceived as attached to every 
mortal a good and an evil genius, whose efforts through lif e 
drew him backward and forward toward virtue and vice, 
happiness and misery. It was the kakodaimSn of Brutus 

1 Menander, 205, in Clement. Stromat. ; Xenophon, Memor. Socr. ; 
Plato, Apol. Socr. &c. See Plotin. Ennead. iii. 4 ; Porphyr. Plotin. 

* Paulus Diaconus : ' Genium appellant Deum, qui vim obtineret rerum 
omnium generandarum.' Censorin. de Die Natali, 3 : ' Eundem esse genium 
et larem, multi veteres memoria? prodiderunt.' Tibull. Eleg. i. 2, 7 ; Ovid. 
Trist. iii. 13, 18, v. 5, 10 ; Horat. Epist. ii. I, 140, Od. iv. n, 7. Appian. 
de Belli* Parth. p. 156. Tertullian, Apol. xxiii. 


which appeared to him by night in his tent : ' I am thy 
evil genius,' it said, ' we meet again at Philippi.' 1 

As we study the shapes which the attendant spirits of the 
individual man assumed in early and mediaeval Christendom, 
it is plain that the good and evil angels contending for man 
from birth to death, the guardian angel watching and pro- 
tecting him, the familiar spirit giving occult knowledge or 
serving with magic art, continue in principle, and even in 
detail, the philosophy of earlier culture. Such beings even 
take visible form. St. Francisca had a familiar angel, not 
merely that domestic one that is given as a guardian to 
every man, but this was as it were a boy of nine years old, 
with a face more splendid than the sun, clad in a little 
white tunic ; it was in after years that there came to her a 
second angel, with a column of splendour rising to the sky, 
and three golden palm-branches in his hands. Or such 
attendant beings, though invisible, make their presence 
evident by their actions, as in Calmet's account of that 
Cistercian monk whose familiar genius waited on him, and 
used to get his chamber ready when he was coming back 
from the country, so that people knew when to expect him 
home.* There is a pleasant quaintness in Luther's remark 
concerning guardian angels, that a prince must have a 
greater, stronger, wiser angel than a count, and a count 
than a common man. 3 Bishop Bull, in one of his vigorous 
sermons, thus sums up a learned argument : ' I cannot but 
judge it highly probable, that every faithful person at least 
hath his particular good Genius or Angel, appointed by God 
over him, as the Guardian and Guide of his Life.' But he 

1 Serv. in Virg. ^En. vi. 743 : ' Cum nascimur, duos genios sortimur : unus 
hortatur ad bona, alter depravat ad mala, quibus assistentibus post mortem 
aut asserimur in meliorem vitam, aut condemnamur in deteriorem.' Horat. 
Epist. ii. 187; Valer. Max. i. 7; Plutarch, Brutus. See Pauly, ' Real- 
Encyclop. ; ' Smith's ' Die. of Biog. & Myth.' s.v. ' genius.' 

* Acta Sanctorum Holland. : S. Francisca Romana ix. Mart. Calmet, 
' Dissertation,' ch. iv. xxx. ; Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. pp. 140, 347, vol. iii. 
p. 10 ; Wright, ' St. Patrick's Purgatory,' p. 33. 

3 Rochholz, p. 93. 


will not insist on the belief, provided that the general 
ministry of angels be accepted. 1 Swedenborg will go beyond 
this. ' Every man/ he says, ' is attended by an associate 
spirit ; for without such an associate, a man would be inca- 
pable of thinking analytically, rationally, and spiritually.' 1 
Yet in the modern educated world at large, this group of 
beliefs has passed into the stage of survival. The concep- 
tion of the good and evil genius contending for man through 
life, indeed, perhaps never had much beyond the idealistic 
meaning which art and poetry still give it. The traveller 
in France may hear in our own day the peasant's saluta- 
tion, ' Bonjour a vous et a votre compagnie ! ' (i.e. your 
guardian angel). But at the birthday festivals of English 
children, how few are even aware of the historical sequence, 
plain as it is, from the rites of the classic natal genius and 
the mediaeval natal saint ! Among us, the doctrine of 
guardian angels is to be found in commentaries, and may 
be sometimes mentioned in the pulpit ; but the once distant 
conception of a present guardian spirit, acting on each 
individual man and interfering with circumstances on his 
behalf, has all but lost its old reality. The familiar demon 
which gave occult knowledge and did wicked work for the 
magician, and sucked blood from miserable hags by witch- 
teats, was two centuries ago as real to the popular mind as 
the alembic or the black cat with which it was associated. 
Now, it has been cast down to the limbo of unhallowed 

To turn from Man to Nature. General mention has been 
made already of the local spirits which belong to mountain 
and rock and valley, to well and stream and lake, in brief 
to those natural objects and places which in early ages 
aroused the savage mind to mythological ideas, such as 
modern poets in their altered intellectual atmosphere strive 

1 Bull, ' Sermons,' 2nd cd. London, 1714, vol. ii. p. 506. 
* Swedenborg, ' True Christian Religion,' p. 380. See also A. J. Davis, 
' Philosophy of Spiritual Intercourse,' p. 38. 
' D. Monnier, ' Traditions Populaires,' p. 7. 


to reproduce. In discussing these imaginary beings, it is 
above all things needful to bring our minds into sympathy 
with the lower philosophy. Here we must seek to realize 
to the utmost the definition of the Nature-Spirits, to under- 
stand with what distinct and full conviction savage philo- 
sophy believes in their reality, to discern how, as living 
causes, they can fill their places and do their daily work in 
the natural philosophy of primaeval man. Seeing how the 
Iroquois at their festivals could thank the invisible aids or 
good spirits, and with them the trees, shrubs, and plants, 
the springs and streams, the fire and wind, the sun, moon, 
and stars in a word, every object that ministered to their 
wants we may judge what real personality they attached 
to the myriad spirits which gave animated life to the world 
around them. 1 The Gold Coast negro's generic name for 
a fetish-spirit is ' wong ; ' these aerial beings dwell in 
temple-huts and consume sacrifices, enter into and inspire 
their priests, cause health and sickness among men, and 
execute the behests of the mighty Heaven-god. But part 
or all of them are connected with material objects, and the 
negro can say, ' In this river, or tree, or amulet, there is a 
wong.' But he more usually says, ' This river, or tree, 
or amulet is a wong.' Thus among the wongs of the 
land are rivers, lakes, and springs, districts of land, termite- 
hills, trees, crocodiles, apes, snakes, elephants, birds.* In 
a word, his conceptions of animating souls and presiding 
spirits as efficient causes of all nature are two groups of 
ideas which we may well find it hard to distinguish, for the 
sufficient reason that they are but varying developments of 
the same fundamental animism. 

In the doctrine of nature-spirits among nations which 
have reached a higher grade of culture, are found at once 
traces of such primitive thought, and of its change under 

1 L. H. Morgan, ' Iroquois,' p. 64. Brebeuf in ' Rel. des Je"s.' 1636, p. 107. 
See Schoolcraft, ' Tribes,' vol. iii. p. 337. 

1 Steinhauser, ' Religion des Negers,' in ' Magazin der Evang. Misiionen,' 
Basel, 1856; No. 2, p. 127, &c. 


new intellectual conditions. Knowing the thoughts of rude 
Turanian tribes of Siberia as to pervading spirits of nature, 
we are prepared to look for remodelled ideas of the same 
class among a nation whose religion shows plain traces of 
evolution from the low Turanian stage. The archaic sys- 
tem of manes-worship and nature-worship, which survives 
as the state religion of China, fully recognizes the worship 
of the numberless spirits which pervade the universe. The 
belief in their personality is vouched for by the sacrifices 
offered to them. ' One must sacrifice to the spirits,' says 
Confucius, ' as though they were present at the sacrifice.' 
At the same time, spirits were conceived as embodied in 
material objects. Confucius says, again : ' The action of 
the spirits, how perfect is it ! Thou perceivest it, and 
yet seest it not ! Incorporated or immembered in things, 
they cannot quit them. They cause men, clean and pure 
and better clothed, to bring them sacrifice. Many, many, 
are there of them, as the broad sea, as though they were 
above and right and left.' Here are traces of such a primi- 
tive doctrine of personal and embodied nature-spirits as is 
still at home in the religion of rude Siberian hordes. But 
it was natural that Chinese philosophers should find means 
of refining into mere ideality these ruder animistic crea- 
tions. Spirit (shin), they tell us, is the fine or tender part 
in all the ten thousand things ; all that is extraordinary or 
supernatural is called spirit ; the unsearchable of the male 
and female principles is called spirit ; he who knows the 
way of passing away and coming to be, he knows the work- 
ing of spirit. 1 

The classic Greeks had inherited from their barbaric an- 
cestors a doctrine of the universe essentially similar to that 
of the North American Indian, the West African, and the 
Siberian. We know, more intimately than the heathen 
religion of our own land, the ancient Greek scheme of 
nature-spirits impelling and directing by their personal 
power and will the functions of the universe, the ancient 

1 Plath, ' Religion der alten Chinesen,' part i. p. 44. 


Greek religion of nature, developed by imagination, adorned 
by poetry, and consecrated by faith. History records for 
our instruction, how out of the midst of this splendid and 
honoured creed there were evolved the germs of the new 
philosophy. Led by minuter insight and stricter reason, 
thoughtful Greeks began the piecemeal supersession of the 
archaic scheme, and set in movement the transformation of 
animistic into physical science, which thence pervaded the 
whole cultured world. Such, in brief, is the history of 
the doctrine of nature-spirits from first to last. Let us 
endeavour, by classifying some of its principal special 
groups, to understand its place in the history of the human 

What causes volcanos ? The Australians account for 
volcanic rocks by the tradition that the sulky underground 
' ingna ' or demons made great fires and threw up red-hot 
stones. 1 The Kamchadals say that just as they themselves 
warm up their winter-houses, so the ' kamuli ' or moun- 
tain-spirits heat up the mountains in which they dwell, and 
fling the brands out of the chimney.* The Nicaraguans 
offered human sacrifices to Masaya or Popogatepec (Smok- 
ing-Mountain), by throwing the bodies into the crater. 
It seems as though it were a controlling deity, not the 
mountain itself, that they worshipped ; for one reads of the 
chiefs going to the crater, whence a hideous old naked 
woman came out and gave them counsel and oracle ; at the 
edge were placed earthen vessels of food to please her, or 
to appease her when there was a storm or earthquake. 3 
Thus animism provided a theory of volcanoes, and so it was 
likewise with whirlpools and rocks. In the Vei country in 
West Africa, there is a dangerous rock on the Mafa river, 
which is never passed without offering a tribute to the 
spirit of the flood a leaf of tobacco, a handful of rice, or 

1 Oldfield, ' Abor. of Austr.' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 232. 

* Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' pp. 47, 265. 

* Oviedo, ' Nicaragua,' in Ternaux-Compans, part xiv. pp. 132, 160. Com- 
pare Catlin, ' N. A. Ind.' vol. ii. p. 169. 


a drink of rum. 1 An early missionary account of a rock- 
demon worshipped by the Huron Indians will show with 
what absolute personality savages can conceive such a being. 
In the hollow of a certain sacred rock, it is related, dwells 
an ' oki ' or spirit who can give success to travellers, 
wherefore they put tobacco into one of the cracks, and pray 
thus : ' Demon who dwellest in this place, behold tobacco 
I present to thee ; help us, keep us from shipwreck, defend 
us against our enemies, and vouchsafe that when we have 
made a good trade, we may return safe and sound to our 
village.' Father Marquette relates how, travelling on a 
river in the then little known region of North America, he 
was told of a dreadful place to which the canoe was just 
drawing near, where dwells a demon waiting to devour such 
as dare to approach ; this terrific manitu proved on arrival 
to be some high rocks in the bend of the river, against 
which the current runs violently. 1 Thus the missionary 
found in living belief among the savage Indians the very 
thought which had so long before passed into the classic 
tale of Skylla and Charybdis. 

In those moments of the civilized man's life when he 
casts off hard dull science, and returns to childhood's 
fancy, the world-old book of animated nature is open to 
him anew. Then the well-worn thoughts come back fresh 
to him, of the stream's life that is so like his own ; once 
more he can see the rill leap down the hillside like a child, 
to wander playing among the flowers ; or can follow it as, 
grown to a river, it rushes through a mountain gorge, 
henceforth in sluggish strength to carry heavy burdens 
across the plain. In all that water does, the poet's fancy 
can discern its personality of life. It gives fish to the 
fisher, and crops to the husbandman ; it swells in fury 
and lays waste the land ; it grips the bather with chill 

1 Creswick, ' Veys,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 359. See Du Chaillu, 
' Ashango-land,' p. 106. 

1 Brebeuf in ' Rel. des JeV 1636, p. 108. Long's Exp. vol. i. p. 46. See 
Loskiel, ' Indians of N. A.' part i. p. 45. 


and cramp, and holds with inexorable grasp its drowning 
victim : l 

" Tweed said to Till, 

' What gars ye rin sae still ? ' 
Till said to Tweed, 

' Though ye rin wi' speed, 
And I rin slaw, 

Yet, where ye drown ae man, 
I drown twa.' " 

What ethnography has to teach of that great element of 
the religion of mankind, the worship of well and lake, 
brook and river, is simply this that what is poetry to us 
was philosophy to early man ; that to his mind water acted 
not by laws of force, but by life and will ; that the water- 
spirits of primaeval mythology are as souls which cause the 
water's rush and rest, its kindness and its cruelty ; that 
lastly man finds, in the beings which with such power can 
work him weal and woe, deities with a wider influence over 
his life, deities to be feared and loved, to be prayed to and 
praised and propitiated with sacrificial gifts. 

In Australia, special water-demons infest pools and 
watering-places. In the native theory of disease and 
death, no personage is more prominent than the water- 
spirit, which afflicts those who go into unlawful pools or 
bathe at unlawful times, the creature which causes women 
to pine and die, and whose very presence is death to the 
beholder, save to the native doctors, who may visit the 
water-spirit's subaqueous abode and return with bleared 
eyes and wet clothes to tell the wonders of their stay. 1 It 
would seem that creatures with such attributes come 
naturally into the category of spiritual beings, but in 
such stories as that of the bunyip living in the lakes 

1 For details of the belief in water-spirits as the cause of drowning, see 
ante, vol. i. p. 109. 

* Oldfield in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. in. p. 328 ; Eyre, vol. ii. p. 362 ; Grey, 
vol. ii. p. 339 ; Bastian, ' Vorstellungen von Wasser und Feuer,' in 'Zeit- 
schrift fur Ethnologic ,' vol. i. (contains a general collection of details as to 


and rivers and seen floating as big as a calf, which carries 
off native women to his retreat below the waters, there 
appears that confusion between the spiritual water-demon 
and the material water-monster, which runs on into the 
midst of European mythology in such conceptions as that 
of the water-kelpie and the sea-serpent. 1 America gives 
cases of other principal animistic ideas concerning water. 
The water has its own spirits, writes Cranz, among the 
Greenlanders, so when they come to an untried spring, an 
angekok or the oldest man must drink first, to free it from 
a harmful spirit.* ' Who makes this river flow ? ' asks the 
Algonquin hunter in a medicine-song, and his answer is, 
' The spirit, he makes this river flow.' In any great river, 
or lake, or cascade, there dwell such spirits, looked upon as 
mighty manitus. Thus Carver mentions the habit of the 
Red Indians, when they reached the shores of Lake Su- 
perior or the banks of the Mississippi, or any other great 
body of water, to present to the spirit who resides there 
some kind of offering ; this he saw done by a Winnebago 
chief who went with him to the Falls of St. Anthony. 
Franklin saw a similar sacrifice made by an Indian, whose 
wife had been afflicted with sickness by the water-spirits, 
and who accordingly to appease them tied up in a small 
bundle a knife and a piece of tobacco and some other 
trifling articles, and committed them to the rapids.' On 
the river-bank, the Peruvians would scoop up a handful of 
water and drink it, praying the river-deity to let them cross 
or to give them fish, and they threw maize into the stream 
as a propitiatory offering ; even to this day the Indians of 
the Cordilleras perform the ceremonial sip before they will 
pass a river on foot or hoiseback. 4 Africa displays well the 

1 Compare John Morgan, ' Life of William Buckley ' ; Bonwick, p. 203 ; 
Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 48, with Forbes Leslie, Brand, &c. 
1 Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 267. 

Tanner, ' Narr.' p. 341 ; Carver, ' Travels,' p. 383 ; Franklin, ' Journey 
to Polar Sea,' vol. ii. p. 245 ; Lubbock, ' Origin of Civilization,' pp. 213-20 
(contains details as to water-worship) ; see Brinton, p. 124. 

Rivero and Tschudi, ' Peruvian Ant.' p. 161 ; Garcilaso de la Vega, 


rites of water-worship. In the East, among the Wanika, 
every spring has its spirit, to which oblations are made ; 
in the West, in .the Akra district, lakes, ponds, and rivers 
received worship as local deities. In the South, among the 
Kafirs, streams are venerated as personal beings, or the 
abodes of personal deities, as when a man crossing a river 
will ask leave of its spirit, or having crossed will throw in a 
stone ; or when the dwellers by a stream will sacrifice a 
beast to it in time of drought, or, warned by illness in the 
tribe that their river is angry, will cast into it a few hand- 
fuls of millet or the entrails of a" slaughtered ox. 1 Not 
less strongly marked are such ideas among the Tatar races 
of the North. Thus the Ostyaks venerate the river Ob, 
and when fish is scanty will hang a stone about a reindeer's 
neck and cast it in for a sacrifice. Among the Buraets, who 
are professing Buddhists, the old worship may still be seen 
at the picturesque little mountain lake of Ikeougoun, where 
they come to the wooden temple on the shore to offer sacri- 
fices of milk and butter and the fat of the animals which 
they burn on the altars. So across in Northern Europe, 
almost every Esthonian village has its sacred sacrificial 
spring. The Esths could at times even see the churl with 
blue and yellow stockings rise from the holy brook Woh- 
handa, no doubt that same spirit of the brook to whom in 
older days there were sacrificed beasts and little children ; 
in newer times, when a German landowner dared to build a 
mill and dishonour the sacred water, there came bad seasons 
that lasted year after year, and the country people burned 
down the abominable thing. 2 As for the water-worship 
prevailing among non-Aryan indigenes of British India, it 

' Comm. Real.' i. 10. Sec also J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrelig.' pp. 258, 260, 

1 Krapf, ' E. Afr.' p. 198 ; Steinhauser, I.e. p. 131 ; Villault in Astley, 
vol. i. p. 668 ; Backhouse, ' Afr.' p. 230 ; Callaway, ' Zulu Tales,' vol. i. 
p. 90 ; Bastian, I.e. 

1 Castren, ' Vorlesungen iiber die Altaischen Volker,' p. 114. 'Finn. 
Myth.' p. 70. Atkinson, ' Siberia,' p. 444. Boeder, ' Ehsten Aberglaub. 
Gebrauche,' ed. Kreutzwald, p. 6. 


seems to reach its climax among the Bodo and Dhimal of 
the North-East, tribes to whom the local rivers are the local 
deities, 1 so that men worship according to their water-sheds, 
and the map is a pantheon. 

Nor is such reverence strange to Aryan nations. To the 
modern Hindu, looking as he still does on a river as a living 
personal being to be adored and sworn by, the Ganges is no 
solitary water deity, but only the first and most familiar of 
the long list of sacred streams. 2 Turn to the classic world, 
and we but find the beliefs and rites of a lower barbaric 
culture holding their place, consecrated by venerable an- 
tiquity and glorified by new poetry and art. To the great 
Olympian assembly in the halls of cloud-compelling Zeus, 
came the Rivers, all save Ocean, and thither came the 
nymphs who dwell in lovely groves and at the springs of 
streams, and in the grassy meads ; and they sate upon the 
polished seats : 

Ovre TIS o$v IIoTa/ia)v dirfTjv, vocrfi Qfceavoia, 
OUT' apa Nu/w/xxwv rat T* aAxrta *aAa ve/^ovrat, 
Kat Tn/yas Trora/iwv, KCU wwrca ironjevra. 
EA0OJ/T4S 8' ? 8w/^ia Aids ve<t>e\r)yepeTao, 
, as Ait irarpi 

Even against Hephaistos the Fire-god, a River-god dared 
to stand opposed, deep-eddying Xanthos, called of men 
Skamandros. He rushed down to overwhelm Achilles and 
bury him in sand and slime, and though Hephaistos pre- 
vailed against him with his flames, and forced him, with the 
fish skurrying hither and thither in his boiling waves and 
the willows scorched upon his banks, to rush on no more 
but stand, yet at the word of white-armed Here, that it was 
not fit for mortals' sake to handle so roughly an immortal 
god, Hephaistos quenched his furious fire, and the returning 
flood sped again along his channel : 

1 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 164; Hunter, 'Rural Bengal.' p. 184. 
See also Lubbock, I.e. ; Forbes Leslie, ' Early Races of Scotland,' vol. i. 
p. 163, vol. ii. p. 497. 

1 Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 206, Ac. 


"H<ai<rre, (r\eo t Tfxvov dya/<' ov yap 

'Addvarov $ebv a>8e /Sporwv 

"12s f<f>ad'' "H<awrTos 

"A^oppov 8' apa KVfia KaTr<rvTO xaAa pt 

To beings thus conceived in personal divinity, full wor- 
ship was given. Odysseus invokes the river of Scheria ; 
Skamandros had his priest and Spercheios his grove ; and 
sacrifice was done to the rival of Herakles, the river-god 
Acheloos, eldest of the three thousand river-children of 
old Okeanos. 1 Through the ages of the classic world, 
the river-gods and the water-nymphs held their places, 
till within the bounds of Christendom they came to be 
classed with ideal beings like them in the mythology of the 
northern nations, the kindly sprites to whom offerings were 
given at springs and lakes, and the treacherous nixes who 
entice men to a watery death. In times of transition, the 
new Christian authorities made protest against the old 
worship, passing laws to forbid adoration and sacrifice 
to fountains as when Duke Bretislav forbade the still 
half -pagan country folk of Bohemia to offer libations and 
sacrifice victims at springs, 8 and in England Ecgbert's 
Poenitentiale proscribed the like rites, 'if any man vow 
or bring his offerings to any well,' ' if one hold his 
vigils at any well.' 3 But the old veneration was too strong 
to be put down, and with a varnish of Christianity and some- 
times the substitution of a saint's name, water- worship has 
held its own to our day. The Bohemians will go to pray 
on the river-bank where a man has been drowned, and 
there they will cast in an offering, a loaf of new bread and 
a pair of wax-candles. On Christmas Eve they will put 

1 Homer, II. xx. xxi. . See Gladstone, ' Ju vent us Mundi,' pp. 190, 345, 
&c., &c. 

* Cosmas, book iii. p. 197, ' supers titios as institutiones, quas villani adhuc 
semipagani in Pentecosten tertia give quarta feria observabant offerentes 
libamina super fontes mactabant victimas et da^monibus immolabant.' 

3 Poenitentiale Ecgbcrti, ii. 22, 'gif hwilc man his aelmessan gehate oththe 
bringe to hwilcon wylle ; ' iv. 19, ' gif hwa his wxccan zt xnigum wylle 
hzbbe.' Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 54.9, &c. See Hylten-Cavallius, ' Warend och 
Wirdarne,' part i. pp. 131, 171 (Sweden). 


a spoonful of each dish on a plate, and after supper throw 
the food into the well, with an appointed formula, some- 
what thus : 

' House-father gives thee greeting, 
Thee by me entreating : 
Springlet, share our feast of Yule, 
But give us water to the full ; 
When the land is plagued with drought, 
Drive it with thy well-spring out.' l 

It well shows the unchanged survival of savage thought 
in modern peasants' minds, to find still in Slavonic lands 
the very same fear of drinking a harmful spirit in the 
water, that has been noticed among the Esquimaux. It 
is a sin for a Bulgarian not to throw some water out of 
every bucket brought from the fountain; some elemental 
spirit might be floating on the surface, and if not thrown 
out, might take up his abode in the house, or enter into 
the body of some one drinking from the vessel.* Elsewhere 
in Europe, the list of still existing water-rites may be 
extended. The ancient lake-offerings of the South of 
France seem not yet forgotten in La Lozere, the Bretons 
venerate as of old their sacred springs, and Scotland 
and Ireland can show in parish after parish the sites and 
even the actual survivals of such observance at the holy 
wells. Perhaps Welshmen no longer offer cocks and hens 
to St. Tecla at her sacred well and church of Llandegla, 
but Cornish folk still drop into the old holy- wells offerings 
of pins, nails, and rags, expecting from their waters cure 
for disease, and omens from their bubbles as to health 
and marriage.* 

The spirits of the tree and grove no less deserve our 

1 Grohmann, ' Aberglauben aus Bohmen und Mahren,' p. 43, &c 
Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 291, &c. Ralston, ' Songs of Russian People,' 
p. 139, &c. 

1 St. Clair and Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' p. 46. Similar ideas in Grohmann, 
p. 44. Eisenmenger, ' Entd. Judenthum,' part i. p. 426. 

8 Maury, 'Magic,' &c., p. 158. Brand, * rp. Ant." vol. ii. p. 366, &c. 
Hunt, ' Pop. Rom. 2nd Series,' p. 40, &c. Forbes Leslie, ' Early Races of 
Scotland,' vol. i. p. 1 56, &c. 


study for their illustrations of man's primitive animistic 
theory of nature. This is remarkably displayed in that 
stage of thought where the individual tree is regarded as 
a conscious personal being, and as such receives adoration 
and sacrifice. Whether such a tree is looked on as in- 
habited, like a man, by its own proper life or soul, or as 
possessed, like a fetish, by some other spirit which has 
entered it and uses it for a body, is often hard to deter- 
mine. Shelley's lines well express a doubting conception 
familiar to old barbaric thought 

' Whether the sensitive plant, or that 
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat 
Ere its outward form had known decay, 
Now felt this change, I cannot say.' 

But this vagueness is yet again a proof of the principle which 
I have confidently put forward here, that the conceptions of 
the inherent soul and of the embodied spirit are but modi- 
fications of one and the same deep-lying animistic thought. 
The Mintira of the Malay Peninsula believe in ' hantu 
kayu,' i.e. ' tree-spirits,' or ' tree-demons,' which fre- 
quent every species of tree, and afflict men with diseases ; 
some trees are noted for the malignity of their demons. 1 
Among the Dayaks of Borneo, certain trees possessed by 
spirits must not be cut down ; if a missionary ventured to 
fell one, any death that happened afterwards would naturally 
be set down to this crime. 2 The belief of certain Malays of 
Sumatra is expressly stated, that certain venerable trees are 
the residence, or rather the material frame, of spirits of the 
woods. 3 In the Tonga Islands, we hear of natives laying 
offerings at the foot of particular trees, with the idea of 
their being inhabited by spirits. 4 So in America, the 
Ojibwa medicine-man has heard the tree utter its complaint 

1 ' Jourri. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. p. 307. 

* Becker, ' Dyaks,' in ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iii. p. 1 1 1. 

8 Marsden, ' Sumatra,' p. 301. 

4 S. S. Farmer, ' Tonga,' p. 127. 


when wantonly cut down. 1 A curious and suggestive 
description bearing on this point is given in Friar Roman 
Pane's account of the religion of the Antilles islanders, 
drawn up by order of Columbus. Certain trees, he declares, 
were believed to send for sorcerers, to whom they gave 
orders how to shape their trunks into idols, and these 
' cemi ' being then installed in temple-huts, received prayer 
and inspired their priests with oracles. 1 Africa shows as 
well-defined examples. The negro woodman cuts down 
certain trees in fear of the anger of their inhabiting demons, 
but he finds his way out of the difficulty by a sacrifice to 
his own good genius, or, when he is giving the first cuts to 
the great asorin-tree, and its indwelling spirit comes out 
to chase him, he cunningly drops palm-oil on the ground, 
and makes his escape while the spirit is licking it up.* A 
negro was once worshiping a tree with an offering of food, 
when some one pointed out to him that the tree did not 
eat ; the negro answered, ' O the tree is not fetish, the 
fetish is a spirit and invisible, but he has descended into 
this tree. Certainly he cannot devour our bodily food, but 
he enjoys its spiritual part and leaves behind the bodily 
which we see.' 4 Tree-worship is largely prevalent in 
Africa, and much of it may be of this fully animistic kind ; 
as where in Whidah Bosnian says that ' the trees, which 
are the gods of the second rank of this country, are only 
prayed to and presented with offerings in time of sickness, 
more especially fevers, in order to restore the patients to 
health; ' or where in Abyssinia the Gallas made pil- 
grimage from all quarters to their sacred tree Wodanabe on 
the banks of the Hawash, worshipping it and praying to it 
for riches, health, life, and every blessing/ 

1 Bastian, ' Der Baum in vergleichender Ethnologic,' in Lazarus and 
Steiathal's 'Zeitschrift fur Volkerpiychologie,' &c., vol. v. 1868. 

Chr. Colombo, ch. xix. ; and in Pinkerton, vol. xii. p. 87. 

Burton, ' W. ic W. fr. W. Afr.' pp. 205, 243. 

Waitz, vol. ii. p. 188. 

Bosnian, letter 19, and in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 500. 

Krapf, ' E. Afr.' p. 77 ; Prichard, ' N. H. of Man,' p. 290 ; Waitz, vol. 
ii. p. 518. See also Merolla, 'Congo,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 236. 


The position of tree-worship in Southern Asia in relation 
to Buddhism is of particular interest. To this day there 
are districts of this region, Buddhist or under strong 
Buddhist influence, where tree-worship is still displayed with 
absolute clearness of theory and practice. Here in legend 
a dryad is a being capable of marriage with a human hero, 
while in actual fact a tree-deity is considered human enough 
to be pleased with dolls set up to swing in the branches. 
The Talein of Burmah, before they cut down a tree, offer 
prayers to its ' kaluk ' (i.q., ' kelah '), its inhabiting spirit 
or soul. The Siamese offer cakes and rice to the takhien- 
tree before they fell it, and believe the inhabiting nymphs 
or mothers of trees to pass into guardian-spirits of the boats 
built of their wood, so that they actually go on offering 
sacrifice to them in this their new condition. 1 These people 
have indeed little to learn from any other race, however 
savage, of the principles of the lower animism. The ques- 
tion now arises, did such tree-worship belong to the local 
religions among which Buddhism established itself ? There 
is strong evidence that this was the case. Philosophic 
Buddhism, as known to us by its theological books, does 
not include trees among sentient beings possessing mind, 
but it goes so far as to acknowledge the existence of the 
' dewa ' or genius of a tree. Buddha, it is related, told a 
story of a tree crying out to the brahman carpenter who 
was going to cut it down, ' I have a word to say, hear my 
word ! ' but then the teacher goes on to explain that it was 
not really the tree that spoke, but a dewa dwelling in it. 
Buddha himself was a tree-genius forty-three times in the 
course of his transmigrations. Legend says that during one 
such existence, a certain brahman used to pray for protec- 
tion to the tree which Buddha was attached to ; but the 
transformed teacher reproved the tree-worshipper for thus 

1 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. pp. 457, 461, vol. iii. pp. 187, 251, 289, 
497. For details of tree-worship from other Asiatic districts, see Ainsworth, 
' Yezidis,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. i. p. 23 -, Jno. Wilson, ' Parsi Reli-ion,' 
p. 262. 


addressing himself to a senseless thing which hears and 
knows nothing. 1 As for the famous Bo tree, its miraculous 
glories are not confined to the ancient Buddhist annals ; 
for its surviving descendant, grown from the branch of the 
parent tree sent by King Asoka from India to Ceylon in 
the 3rd century B.C., to this day receives the worship of the 
pilgrims who come by thousands to do it honour, and offer 
prayer before it. Beyond these hints and relics of the old 
worship, however, Mr. Fergusson's recent investigations, 
published in his ' Tree and Serpent Worship,' have 
brought to light an ancient state of things which the ortho- 
dox Buddhist literature gives little idea of. It appears 
from the sculptures of the Sanchi tope in Central India, 
that in the Buddhism of about the ist century A.D., sacred 
trees had no small place as objects of authorized worship. 
It is especially notable that the representatives of indigenous 
race and religion in India, the Nagas, characterized by their 
tutelary snakes issuing from their backs between their 
shoulders and curving over their heads, and other tribes 
actually drawn as human apes, are seen adoring the divine 
tree in the midst of unquestionable Buddhist surroundings.* 
Tree-worship, even now well marked among the indigenous 
tribes of India, was obviously not abolished on the Buddhist 
conversion. The new philosophic religion seems to have 
amalgamated, as new religions ever do, with older native 
thoughts and rites. And it is quite consistent with the 
habits of the Buddhist theologians and hagiologists, that 
when tree-worship was suppressed, they should have slurred 
over the fact of its former prevalence, and should even 
have used the recollection of it as a gibe against the hostile 

Conceptions like those of the lower races in character, 
and rivalling them in vivacity, belong to the mythology 
of Greece and Rome. The classic thought of the tree in- 
habited by a deity and uttering oracles, is like that of 

1 Hardy, ' Manual of Budhism,' pp. 100, 443. 

* Fergusson, ' Tree and Serpent Worship,' pi. xxiv. xxvi. <tc. 


other regions. Thus the sacred palm of Negra in Yemen, 
whose demon was propitiated by prayer and sacrifice to 
give oracular response, 1 or the tall oaks inhabited by 
the gods, where old Slavonic people used to ask questions 
and hear the answers, 2 have their analogue in the pro- 
phetic oak of Dodona, wherein dwelt the deity, 'vaiev 
8' tvl TrvOufvt, fayov.' 3 The Homeric hymn to Aphrodite 
tells of the tree-nymphs, long-lived yet not immortal 
they grow with their high-topped leafy pines and oaks 
upon the mountains, but when the lot of death draws nigh, 
and the lovely trees are sapless, and the bark rots away 
and the branches fall, then their spirits depart from the 
light of the sun : 


at roSe vaifTa.ov(riv opos fieya TC a$eov Tf 
ai p ovTf 6vT)Tois ovr' ddavdrouru' effovrat" 
cri Kal a.fjL/3pOTov e?<$ap eSovcrc, 
i T /icr' dflavuTOMri KaXov \ppov e 

8e ^th.rivoi rf KOI fvcrKcnros 
fj-uryovr' tv </>iAoT?/Ti (J.i>x<i> 

8' a^t' fi eAarat >} Spi'es I'l 

t<J>v<ra.:' ri 
KaXai, TT)\t8dova'a.i t fv ovptcriv vi/rjAoicrii/ 1 

aXA' ore Kev 8r) /xoipa irapea-Tr'jKji OVLVVLTOIO, 
afaverai fitv irptHtrov eirl x^ovt SevSpea KaAa, 
</>Aotbs 8* dfji.<f>nrpi<f>6 kvvOtt, Triirrovm &' O.TT' o{bt, 
TWV 8f & ofiov ^vx>) AttVet </>aos t}eX.ioto.' * 

The hamadryad's life is bound to her tree, she is hurt 
when it is wounded, she cries when the axe threatens, she 
dies with the fallen trunk : 

' Non sine hamadryadis fato cadit arborea trabs.' 5 

How personal a creature the tree-nymph was to the 
classic mind, is shown in legends like that of Paraibios, 

1 Tabary in Bastian, I.e. p. 295. 

* Hartknoch, ' Alt. und Neues Preussen,' part i. ch. v. 

3 See Pauly, ' Real-Encyclopedic.' Homer. Odyss. xiv. 327, xix. 296. 

4 Hymn. Homer. Aphrod. 257. 
8 Ausonii Idyll. De^Histor. 7. 


whose father, regardless of the hamadryad's entreaties, cut 
down her ancient trunk, and in himself and in his off- 
spring suffered her dire vengeance. 1 The ethnographic 
student finds a curious interest in transformation-myths 
like Ovid's, keeping up as they do vestiges of philosophy 
of archaic type Daphne turned into the laurel that 
Apollo honours for her sake, the sorrowing sisters of Phae- 
thon changing into trees, yet still dropping blood and 
crying for mercy when their shoots are torn. 1 Such 
episodes mediaeval poetry could still adapt, as in the path- 
less infernal forest whose knotted dusk-leaved trees re- 
vealed their human animation to the Florentine when 
he plucked a twig, 

4 Allor porti la mano un poco avante, 
colsi un ramoscel da un gran pruno : 
' 1 tronco suo gridd : Perche mi schiant e ? ' * 

or the myrtle to which Ruggiero tied his hippogrif!, who 
tugged at the poor trunk till it murmured and oped its 
mouth, and with doleful voice told that it was Astolfo, 
enchanted by the wicked Alcina among her other lovers, 

' D* entrar o in fera o in fonte o in legno o in sasso.' 4 

If these seem to us now conceits over quaint for beauty, 
we need not scruple to say so. They are not of Dante and 
Ariosto, they are sham antiques from classic models. And 
if even the classic originals have become unpleasing, we 
need not perhaps reproach ourselves with decline of poetic 
taste. We have lost something, and the loss has spoiled 
our appreciation of many an old poetic theme, yet it is not 
always our sense of the beautiful that has dwindled, but 
the old animistic philosophy of nature that is gone from 
us, dissipating from such fancies their meaning, and with 

1 Apollon. Rhod. Argonautica, ii. 476. See Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' 
vol. iii. p. 57. 

* Ovid. Metamm. i. 452, ii. 345, xi. 67. 

8 Dante, ' Divina Commedia,' ' Inferno,' canto xiii. 

4 Ar<osto, ' Orlando Furioso,' canto vi. 


their meaning their loveliness. Still, if we look for living 
men to whom trees are, as they were to our distant fore- 
fathers, the habitations and embodiments of spirits, we 
shall not look in vain. The peasant folklore of Europe 
still knows of willows that bleed and weep and speak when 
hewn, of the fairy maiden that sits within the fir-tree, of 
that old tree in Rugaard forest that must not be felled, for 
an elf dwells within, of that old tree on the Heinzenberg 
near Zell, which uttered its complaint when the woodman 
cut it down, for in it was Our Lady, whose chapel now 
stands upon the spot. 1 One may still look on where Fran- 
conian damsels go to a tree on St. Thomas's Day, knock 
thrice solemnly, and listen for the indwelling spirit to give 
answer .by raps from within, what manner of husbands they 
are to have. 8 

In the remarkable document of mythic cosmogony, pre- 
served by Eusebius under the alleged authorship of the 
Phoenician Sanchoniathon, is the following passage : ' But 
these first men consecrated the plants of the earth, and 
judged them gods, and worshipped the things upon which 
they themselves lived and their posterity, and all before 
them, and (to these) they made libations and sacrifices.' 3 
From examples such as have been here reviewed, it seems 
that direct and absolute tree-worship of this kind may in- 
deed lie very wide and deep in the early history of religion. 
But the whole tree-cultus of the world must by no means 
be thrown indiscriminately into this one category. It is 
only on such distinct evidence as has been here put forward, 
that a sacred tree may be taken as having a spirit em- 
bodied irt or attached to it. Beyond this limit, there is 
a wider range of animistic conceptions connected with tree 
and forest worship. The tree may be the spirit's perch or 
shelter or favourite haunt. Under this definition come the 

1 Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 61 5, &c. Bastian, ' Der Baum,' I.e. p. 297 ; Hanusch, 
4 Slaw. Myth.' p. 313. 

* Wuttke, ' Volksaberglaube,' p. 57, see 183. 
1 Euseb. ' Praep. Evang.' i. 10. 


trees hung with objects which are the receptacles of disease- 
spirits. As places of spiritual resort, there is no real dis- 
tinction between the sacred tree and the sacred grove. The 
tree may serve as a scaffold or altar, at once convenient 
and conspicuous, where offerings can be set out for some 
spiritual being, who may be a tree-spirit, or perhaps the 
local deity, living there just as a man might do who had 
his hut and owned his plot of land around. The shelter 
of some single tree, or the solemn seclusion of a forest 
grove, is a place of worship set apart by nature, of some 
tribes the only temple, of many tribes perhaps the earliest. 
Lastly, the tree may be merely a sacred object patronized 
by or associated with or symbolizing some divinity, often 
one of those which we shall presently notice as presiding 
over a whole species of trees or other things. How all 
these conceptions, from actual embodiment or local resi- 
dence or visit of a demon or deity, down to mere ideal 
association, can blend together, how hard it often is to 
distinguish them, and yet how in spite of this confusion 
they conform to the animistic theology in which all 
have their essential principles, a few examples will show 
better than any theoretical comment. 1 Take the groups 
of malicious wood-fiends so obviously devised to account 
for the mysterious influences that beset the forest wan- 
derer. In the Australian bush, demons whistle in the 
branches, and stooping with outstretched arms sneak 
among the trunks to seize the wayfarer ; the lame demon 
leads astray the hunter in the Brazilian forest ; the Karen 
crossing a fever-haunted jungle shudders in the grip of the 
spiteful ' phi," and runs to lay an offering by the tree he 
rested under last, from whose boughs the malaria-fiend 
came down upon him ; the negro of Senegambia seeks to 
pacify the long-haired tree-demons that send diseases ; the 
terrific cry of the wood-demon is heard in the Finland 

1 Further details as to tree-worship in Bastian, ' Der Baum,' &c., here 
cited ; Lubbock, ' Origin of Civilization,' p. 206, &c. ; Fergusson, ' Tree and 
Serpent Worship,' &c. 


forest ; the baleful shapes of terror that glide at night 
through our own woodland are familiar still to peasant and 
poet. 1 The North American Indians of the Far West, 
entering the denies of the Black Mountains of Nebraska, 
will often hang offerings on the trees or place them on the 
rocks, to propitiate the spirits and procure good weather 
and hunting. 2 In South America, Mr. Darwin describes the 
Indians offering their adorations by loud shouts when they 
came in sight of the sacred tree standing solitary on a 
high part of the Pampas, a landmark visible from afar. To 
this tree were hanging by threads numberless offerings such 
as cigars, bread, meat, pieces of cloth, &c., down to the mere 
thread pulled from his poncho by the poor wayfarer who 
had nothing better to give. Men would pour libations of 
spirits and mate into a certain hole, and smoke upwards to 
gratify Walleechu, and all around lay the bleached bones 
of the horses slaughtered as sacrifices. All Indians made 
their offerings here, that their horses might not tire, and 
that they themselves might prosper. Mr. Darwin reason- 
ably judges on this evidence that it was to the deity Wal- 
leechu that the worship was paid, the sacred tree being only 
his altar ; but he mentions that the Gauchos think the 
Indians consider the tree as the god itself, a good example 
of the misunderstanding possible in such cases. 3 The New 
Zealanders would hang an offering of food or a lock of hair 
on a branch at a landing place, or near remarkable rocks or 
trees would throw a bunch of rushes as an offering to the 
spirit dwelling there. 4 The Dayaks fasten rags of their 
clothes on trees at cross roads, fearing for their health if 
they neglect the custom; 5 the Macassar man halting to eat 
in the forest will put a morsel of rice or fish on a leaf, and 
lay it on a stone or stump. 8 The divinities of African tribes 

1 Bastian, ' Dcr Baum,' I.e. &c. 

2 Irving, ' Astoria,' vol. ii. ch. viii. 
8 Darwin, ' Journal,' p. 68. 

4 Polack, ' NewZ.' vol. ii. p. 6 ; Taylor, p. 171, see 99. 

5 St. John, ' Far East,' vol. i. p. 89. 

* Wallace, ' Eastern Archipelago,' vol. i. p. 338. 


may dwell in trees remarkable for size and age, or inhabit 
sacred groves where the priest alone may enter. 1 Trees 
treated as idols by the Congo people, who put calabashes of 
palm wine at their feet in case they should be thirsty,* and 
amongst West African negro tribes farther north, trees hung 
with rags by the passers-by, and the great baobabs pegged 
to hang offerings to, and serving as shrines before which 
sheep are sacrificed, 3 display well the rites of tree sacrifice, 
though leaving undefined the precise relation conceived 
between deity and tree. 

The forest theology that befits a race of hunters is 
dominant still among Turanian tribes of Siberia, as of old 
it was across to Lapland. Full well these tribes know the 
gods of the forest. The Yakuts hang on any remarkably 
fine tree iron, brass, and other trinkets ; they choose a 
green spot shaded by a tree for their spring sacrifice of 
horses and oxen, whose heads are set up in the boughs ; 
they chant their extemporised songs to the Spirit of the 
Forest, and hang for him on the branches of the trees along 
the roadside offerings of horsehair, emblems of their most 
valued possession. A clump of larches on a Siberian steppe, 
a grove in the recesses of a forest, is the sanctuary of a 
Turanian tribe. Gaily-decked idols in their warm fur-coats, 
each set up beneath its great tree swathed with cloth or 
tinplate, endless reindeer-hides and peltry hanging to the 
trees around, kettles and spoons and snuff-horns and house- 
hold valuables strewn as offerings before the gods such is 
the description of a Siberian holy grove, at the stage when 
the contact of foreign civilization has begun by ornament- 
ing the rude old ceremonial it must end by abolishing. 4 A 
race ethnologically allied to these tribes, though risen to 
higher culture, kept up remarkable relics of tree-worship in 
Northern Europe. In Esthonian districts, during the last 

1 Prichard, ' Nat. Hist, of Man,' p. 531. 

2 Merolla in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 236. 

8 Lubbock, p. 193 ; Basuan, I.e. ; Park, ' Travels,' vol. i. pp. 64, 106. 
* Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 86, &c., 191, &c. ; Latham, ' Descr. Eth.' vol. i. 
p. 363 ; Simpson, ' Journey,' vol. ii. p. 261. 


century, the traveller might often see the sacred tree, 
generally an ancient lime, oak, or ash, standing inviolate in 
a sheltered spot near the dwelling-house, and old memories 
are handed down of -the time when the first blood of a 
slaughtered beast was sprinkled on its roots, that the cattle 
might prosper, or when an offering was laid beneath the 
holy linden, on the stone where the worshipper knelt on his 
bare knees, moving from east to west and back, which stone 
he kissed thrice when he had said, ' Receive the food as an 
ofiering ! ' It may well have been an indwelling tree-deity 
for whom this worship was intended, for folklore shows that 
the Esths recognized such a conception with the utmost 
distinctness ; they have a tale of the tree-elf who appeared 
in personal shape outside his crooked birch- tree, whence 
he could be summoned by three knocks on the trunk and 
the inquiry, ' Is the crooked one at home ? ' But also it 
may have been the Wood-Father or Tree-King, or some 
other deity, who received sacrifice and answered prayer be- 
neath his sacred tree, as in a temple. 1 If, again, we glance 
at the tree-and-grove worship of the non- Aryan indigenous 
tribes of British India, we shall gather clear and instructive 
hints of its inner significance. In the courtyard of a Bodo 
house is planted the sacred ' sij ' or euphorbia of Batho, 
the national god, to whom under this representation the 
' deoshi ' or priest offers prayer and kills a pig.* When 
the Khonds settle a new village, the sacred cotton-tree must 
be planted with solemn rites, and beneath it is placed the 
stone which enshrines the village deity. 8 Nowhere, per- 
haps, in the world in these modern days is the original 
meaning of the sacred grove more picturesquely shown than 
among the Mundas of Chota-Nagpur, in whose settlements 
a sacred grove of sal-trees, a remnant of the primaeval forest 
spared by the woodman's axe, is left as a home for the 

1 Boeder, ' Ehsten Aberglaubische Gebrauche,' &c., ed. Kreutzwald, pp. 2, 
112, 146. 

8 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' pp. 165, 173. 
3 Macpherson, p. 61. 


spirits, and in this hallowed place offerings to the gods are 
made. 1 

Here, then, among the lower races, is surely evidence 
enough to put on their true historic footing the rites of tree 
and grove which are found flourishing or surviving within 
the range of Semitic or Aryan culture. Mentions in the 
Old Testament record the Canaanitish Ashera- worship, the 
sacrifice under every green tree, the incense rising beneath 
oak and willow and shady terebinth, rites whose obstinate 
revival proves how deeply they were rooted in the old reli- 
gion of the land. 2 The evidence of these Biblical passages 
is corroborated by other evidence from Semitic regions, as 
in the lines by Silius Italicus which mention the prayer and 
sacrifice in the Numidian holy groves, and the records of 
the council of Carthage which show that in the 5th century, 
an age after Augustine's time, it was still needful to urge 
that the relics of idolatry in trees and groves should be 
done away. 3 From the more precise descriptions which lie 
within the range of Aryan descent and influence, examples 
may be drawn to illustrate every class of belief and rite of 
the forest. Modern Hinduism is so largely derived from 
the religions of the non- Aryan indigenes, that we may fairly 
explain thus a considerable part of the tree-worship of 
modern India, as where in the Birbhum district of Bei gal 
a great annual pilgrimage is made to a shrine in a jungle, 
to give offerings of rice and money and sacrifice animals to 
a certain ghost who dwells in a bela-tree. 4 In thoroughly 
Hindu districts may be seen the pippala (Ficus religiosa) 
planted as the Village tree, the ' chaityataru ' of Sanskrit 

1 Dalton, ' Kols,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' Vol. vi. p. 34. Bastian, ' Oestl. 
Asien.' vol. i. p. 134, vol. iii. p. 252. 

2 Deut. xii. 3 ; xvi. 21. Judges vi. 25. I Kings xiv. 23 ; xv. 13 ; xviii. 
19. 2 Kings xvii. 10 ; xxiii. 4. Is. Ivii. 5. Jerem. xvii. 2. Ezek. vi. 13 ; 
xx. 28. Hos. iv. 13, &c., &c. 

3 Sil. Ital. Punica, iii. 675, 690. Harduin, Acta Conciliorum, vol. i. 
For further evidence as to Semitic trec-and-grove worship, see Movers, 
' Phonizier,' vol. i. p. 560, &c. 

4 Hunter, ' Rural Bengal,' pp. 131, 194. 


literature, while the Hindu in private life plants the banyan 
and other trees and worships them with divine honours. 1 
Greek and Roman mythology give perfect types not only of 
the beings attached to individual trees, but of the dryads, 
fauns, and satyrs living and roaming in the forest crea- 
tures whose analogues are our own elves and fairies of 
the woods. Above these graceful fantastic beings are the 
higher deities who have trees for shrines and groves for 
temples. Witness the description in Ovid's story of 
Erisichthon : 

' And Ceres' grove he ravaged with the axe, 
They say, and shame with iron the ancient glades. 
There stood a mighty oak of age-long strength, 
Festooned with garlands, bearing on its trunk 
Memorial tablets, proofs of helpful vows. 
Beneath, the dryads Jed their festive dance, 
And circled hand-in-hand the giant bole.' a 

In more prosaic fashion, Cato instructs the woodman 
how to gain indemnity for thinning a holy grove ; he must 
offer a hog in sacrifice with this prayer, ' Be thou god or 
goddess to whom this grove is* sacred, permit me, by the 
expiation of this pig, and in order to restrain the over- 
growth of this wood, &c., &c.' 3 Slavonic lands had their 
groves where burned the everlasting fire of Piorun the 
Heaven-god ; the old Prussians venerated the holy oak of 
Romowe, with its drapery and images of the gods, standing 
in the midst of the sacred inviolate forest where no twig 
might be broken nor beast slain; and so on down to the 
elder-tree beneath which Pushkait was worshipped with 
offerings of bread and beer. 4 The Keltic Heaven-god, 
whose image was a mighty oak, the white-robed Druids 
climbing the sacred tree to cut the mistletoe, and sacrificing 

1 Boehtlingk and Roth, s.v. ' chaityataru.' Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. 
p. 204. 

1 Ovid. Metamm. viii. 741. 

8 Cato de Re Rustica, 139 ; Plin. xvii. 47. 

* Hanusch, 'Slaw. Myth.' pp. 98, 229. Hartknoch, part i. ch. v. vii.; 
Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 67. 


the two white bulls beneath, are types from another national 
group. 1 Teutonic descriptions begin with Tacitus, ' Lucos 
ac nemora consecrant, deorumque nominibus adpellant 
secretum illud, quod sola reverentia vident,' and the 
curious passage which describes the Semnones entering 
the sacred grove in bonds, a homage to the deity that dwelt 
there; many a century after, the Swedes were still hold- 
ing solemn sacrifice and hanging the carcases of the 
slaughtered beasts in the grove hard by the temple of 
Upsal. 1 With Christianity comes a crusade against the 
holy trees and groves. Boniface hews down in the presence 
of the priest the huge oak of the Hessian Heaven-god, 
and builds of the timber a chapel to St. Peter. Amator 
expostulated with the hunters who hung the heads of wild 
beasts to the boughs of the sacred pear-tree of Auxerre, 
' Hoc opus idololatriae culturae est, non christianae elegant- 
issimae discipline ; ' but this mild persuasion not avail- 
ing, he chopped it down and burned it. In spite of all 
such efforts, the old religion of the tree and grove sur- 
vived in Europe often in most pristine form. Within the 
last two hundred years, there were old men in Goth- 
land who would ' go to pray under a great tree, as their 
forefathers had done in their time ; ' and to this day the 
sacrificial rite of pouring milk and beer over the roots 
of trees is said to be kept up on out-of-the-way Swedish 
farms. 8 In Russia, the Lyeshy or wood-demon still pro- 
tects the birds and beasts in his domain, and drives his 
'flocks of field-mice and squirrels from forest to forest, 
when we should say they are migrating. The hunter's 
luck depends on his treatment of the forest-spirit, where- 
fore he will leave him as a sacrifice the first game he 
kills, or some smaller offering of bread or salted pancake 
on a stump. Or if one falls ill on returning from the 
forest, it is known that this is the Lyeshy 's doing, so 

1 Maxim. Tyr. viii. ; Plin. xvi. 95. 

* Tacit. Germania, 9, 39, &c. ; Grimm, ' D. M." p. 66. 

* Hylt^n-Cavallius, ' Warend och Wirdarne,' part i. p. 141. 


the patient carries to the wood some bread and salt in a 
clean rag, and leaving it with a prayer, comes home cured. 1 
Names like Holyoake and Holywood record our own old 
memories of the holy trees and groves, memories long 
lingering in the tenacious peasant mind ; and it was a great 
and sacred linden-tree with three stems, standing in the 
parish of Hvitaryd in South Sweden, which with curious 
fitness gave a name to the family of Linn&us. Lastly, 
Jakob Grimm even ventures to connect historically the 
ancient sacred inviolate wood with the later royal forest, an 
ethnological argument which would begin with the savage 
adoring the Spirit of the Forest, and end with the modern 
landowner preserving his pheasants. 1 

To the modern educated world, few phenomena of the 
lower civilization seem more pitiable than the spectacle of 
a man worshipping a beast. We have learnt the lessons of 
Natural History at last thoroughly enough to recognize our 
superiority to our 'younger brothers,' as the Red Indians 
call them, the creatures whom it is our place not to adore 
but to understand and use. By men at lower levels of cul- 
ture, however, the inferior animals are viewed with a very 
different eye. For various motives, they have become ob- 
jects of veneration ranking among the most important in 
the lower ranges of religion. Yet I must here speak shortly 
and slightly of Animal- worship, not as wanting in interest, 
but as over-abounding in difficulty. Wishing rather to 
bring general principles into view than to mass uninter- 
preted facts, all I can satisfactorily do is to give some select 
examples from the various groups of evidence, so as at once 
to display the more striking features of the subject, and to 
trace the ancient ideas upward from the savage level far 
into the higher civilization. 

First and foremost, uncultured man seems capable of 
simply worshipping a beast as beast, looking on it as pos- 
sessed of power, courage, cunning, beyond his own, and 

1 Ralston, ' Songs of Russian People,' p. 153, see 238. 
* Grimm, 'D. M.' p. 62, &C. 


animated like a man by a soul which continues to exist after 
bodily death, powerful as ever for good and harm. Then 
this idea blends with the thought of the creature as being 
an incarnate deity, seeing, hearing, and acting even at a 
distance, and continuing its power after the death of the 
animal body to which the divine spirit was attached. Thus 
the Kamchadals, in their simple veneration of all things 
that could do them harm or good, worshipped the whales 
that could overturn their boats, and the bears and wolves 
of whom they stood in fear. The beasts, they thought, 
could understand their language, and therefore they ab- 
stained from calling them by their names when they met 
them , but propitiated them with certain appointed formulas . l 
Tribes of Peru, says Garcilaso de la Vega, worshipped the 
fish and vicunas that provided them food, the monkeys for 
their cunning, the sparrowhawks for their keen sight. The 
tiger and the bear were to them ferocious deities, and man- 
kind, mere strangers and intruders in the land, might well 
adore these beings, its old inhabitants and lords. 2 How, 
indeed, can one wonder that in direct and simple awe, the 
Philippine islanders, when they saw an alligator, should 
have prayed him with great tenderness to do them no harm, 
and to this end offered him of whatever they had in their 
boats, casting it into the water. 8 Such rites display at 
least a partial truth in the famous apophthegm which attri- 
butes to fear the origin of religion : ' Primes in orbe deos 
fecit timor.' 4 In discussing the question of the souls of 
animals in a previous chapter, instances were adduced of 
men seeking to appease by apologetic phrase and rite the 
animals they killed. 5 It is instructive to observe how 
naturally such personal intercourse between man and animal 
may pass into full worship, when the creature is powerful 

1 Stelleiy/^Kamtschatka,' p. 276. 

2 Garcilaso de la Vega, ' Comentarioe Reales,' i. ch. ix. &c. 

3 Marsden, ' Sumatra,' p. 303. 

4 Petron. Arb. Fragm. ; Statius, Hi. Theb. 66 1. 

5 See ante, ch.jci. 


or dangerous enough to claim it. When the Sti&is of 
Kambodia asked pardon of the beast they killed, and offered 
sacrifice in expiation, they expressly did so through fear 
lest the Creature's disembodied soul should come and tor- 
ment them. 1 Yet, strange to say, even the worship of the 
animal as divine does not prevent the propitiatory ceremony 
from passing into utter mockery. Thus Charlevoix de- 
scribes North American Indians who, when they had killed 
a bear, would set up its head painted with many colours, 
and offer it homage and praise while they performed the 
painful duty of feasting on its body. 2 So among the Ainos, 
the indigenes of Yesso, the bear is a great divinity. It 
is true they slay him when they can, but while they are 
cutting him up they salute him with obeisances and fair 
speeches, and set up his head outside the house to preserve 
them from misfortune. 8 In Siberia, the Yakuts worship 
the bear in common with the spirits of the forest, bowing 
toward his favourite haunts with appropriate phrases of 
prose and verse, in praise of the bravery and generosity of 
their ' beloved uncle.' Their kindred the Ostyaks swear 
in the Russian courts of law on a bear's head, for the bear, 
they say, is all-knowing, and will slay them if they lie. 
This idea actually serves the people as a philosophical, 
though one would say rather superfluous, explanation of a 
whole class of accidents : when a hunter is killed by a 
bear, it is considered that he must at some time have for- 
sworn himself, and now has met his doom. Yet these 
Ostyaks, when they have overcome and slain their deity, 
will stuff its skin with hay, kick it, spit on it, insult and 
mock it till they have satiated their hatred and revenge, 
and are ready to set it up in a yurt as an object of 
worship. 4 

Whether an animal be worshipped as the receptacle or 

1 Mouhot, ' Indo-China,' vol. i. p. 252. 

2 Charlevoix, ' Nouvelle France,' vol. v. p. 443. 

3 W. M. Wood in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iv. p. 36. 

* Simpson, ' Journey,' vol. ii. p. 269 ; Erman, ' Siberia,' vol. i. p. 492 ; 
Latham, ' Descr. Eth.' vol. i. p. 456 ; ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iv. p. 590. 


incarnation of an indwelling divine soul or other deity, or 
as one of the myriad representatives of the presiding god 
of its class, the case is included under and explained by the 
general theory of fetish-worship already discussed. Evi- 
dence which displays these two conceptions and their blend- 
ing is singularly perfect in the islands of the Pacific. In the 
Georgian group, certain herons, kingfishers, and woodpeckers 
were held sacred and fed on the sacrifices, with the distinct 
view that the deities were embodied in the birds, and in this 
form came to eat the offered food and give the oracular re- 
sponses by their cries. 1 The Tongans never killed certain 
birds, or the shark, whale, &c., as being sacred shrines in 
which gods were in the habit of visiting earth ; and if they 
chanced in sailing to pass near a whale they would offer 
scented oil or kava to him.* In the Fiji Islands, certain 
birds, fish, plants, and some men, were supposed to have 
deities closely connected with or residing in them. Thus 
the hawk, fowl, eel, shark, and nearly every other animal 
became the shrine of some deity, which the worshipper of 
that deity might not eat, so that some were even tabued 
from eating human flesh, the shrine of their god being a 
man. Ndengei, the dull and otiose supreme deity, had his 
shrine or incarnation in the serpent. 3 Every Samoan 
islander had his tutelary deity or ' aitu,' appearing in 
some animal, an eel, shark, dog, turtle, &c., which species 
became his fetish, not to be slighted or injured or eaten, 
an offence which the deity would avenge by entering the 
sinner's body and generating his proper incarnation within 
him till he died. 4 The ' atua ' of the New Zealander, corre- 
sponding with this in name, is a divine ancestral soul, and 
is also apt to appear in the body of an animal. 6 If we pass 
to Sumatra, we shall find that the veneration paid by the 
Malays to the tiger, and their habit of apologizing to it 

Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 336. 

Farmer, ' Tonga,' p. 126 ; Mariner, vol. ii. p. 106. 

Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 217, &c. 

Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 238. 

Shortland, ' Trads. of N. Z.' ch. iv. 


when a trap is laid, is connected with the idea of tigers 
being animated by the souls of departed men. 1 In other 
districts of the world, one of the most important cases 
connected with these is the worship paid by the North 
American Indian to his medicine-animal, of which he kills 
one specimen to preserve its skin, which thenceforth re- 
ceives adoration and grants protection as a fetish. 2 In 
South Africa, as has been already mentioned, the Zulus 
hold that divine ancestral shades are embodied in certain 
tame and harmless snakes, whom their human kinsfolk 
receive with kindly respect and propitiate with food. 3 In 
West Africa, monkeys near a grave-yard are supposed to 
be animated by the spirits of the dead, and the general 
theory of sacred and worshipped crocodiles, snakes, birds, 
bats, elephants, hyaenas, leopards, &c., is divided between 
the two great departments of the fetish-theory, in some 
cases the creature being the actual embodiment or per- 
sonation of the spirit, and in other cases sacred to it or 
under its protection. 4 Hardly any region of the world 
displays so perfectly as this the worship of serpents as 
fetish-animals endowed with high spiritual qualities, to kill 
one of whom would be an offence unpardonable. For a 
single description of negro ophiolatry, may be cited Bos- 
man's description from Whydah in the Bight of Benin; 
here the highest order of deities were a kind of snakes 
which swarm in the villages, reigned over by that huge 
chief monster, uppermost and greatest and as it were the 
grandfather of all, who dwelt in his snake-house beneath a 
lofty tree, and there received the royal offerings of meat 
and drink, cattle and money and stuffs. So heartfelt was 
the veneration of the snakes, that the Dutchmen made it a 

1 Marsden, ' Sumatra,' p. 292. 

* Loskicl, ' Ind. of N. A.' part i. p. 40 ; Catlin, ' N. A. Ind.' vol. i. 
p. 36 ; Schoolcraft, ' Tribes," part i. p. 34, part v. p. 652 ; Waitz, vol. iii. 
p. 190. 

3 See ante, p. 8 ; Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 196. 

4 Steinhauser, ' Religion des Negers,' I.e. p. 133. J. L. Wilson, ' W. Air.' 
pp. 210, 218. Schlegel, ' Ewe-Sprache,' p. xv. 

II. Q. 


means of clearing their warehouses of tiresome visitors ; as 
Bosman says, ' If we are ever tired with the natives of this 
country, and would fain be rid of them, we need only speak 
ill of the snake, at which they immediately stop their ears 
and run out of doors.' 1 Lastly, among the Tatar tribes 
of Siberia, Castren finds the explanation of the veneration 
which the nomade pays to certain animals, in a distinct 
fetish-theory which he thus sums up : ' Can he also con- 
trive to propitiate the*snake, bear, wolf, swan, and various 
other birds of the air and beasts of the field, he has in them 
good protectors, for in them are hidden mighty spirits.'* 
In the lower levels of civilization the social institution 
known as Totemism is of frequent occurrence. Its anthro- 
pological importance was especially brought into notice by 
J. F. McLennan, whose views as to an early totem-period of 
society have much influenced opinion since his time. 3 The 
totemic tribe is divided into clans, the members of each 
clan connecting themselves with, calling themselves by the 
name of, and even deriving their mythic pedigree from some 
animal, plant, or thing, but most often an animal ; these 
totem-dans are exogamous, marriage not being permissible 
within the clan, while permissible or obligatory between 
clan and clan. Thus among the Ojibwa Indians of North 
America, the names of such clan-animals, Bear, Wolf, 
Tortoise, Deer, Rabbit, &c., served to designate the inter- 
marrying clans into which the tribes were divided, Indians 
being actually spoken of as bears, wolves, &c., and the 
figures of these animals indicating their clans in the native 
picture-writing. The Ojibwa word for such a clan-name 
has passed into English in the form ' totem,' and thus has 
become an accepted term among anthropologists to denote 

1 Bosman, ' Guinea,' letter 19 ; in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 499. See 
Burton, ' Dahome,' ch. iv., xvii. An account of the Vaudoux serpent-wor- 
ship still carried on among the negroes of Hayti, in ' Lippincott's Magazine,' 
Philadelphia, March, 1870. 

* Castren, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 196, see 228. 

* J. F. McLennan in 'Fortnightly Review,' 1869-70; reprinted in 'Studies 
in Ancient History,' 2nd Series, pp. 117, 491, 


similar clan-names customary over the world, this system 
of dividing tribes being called Totemism. Unfortunately 
for the study of the subject, John Long, the trader inter- 
preter who introduced the Ojibwa word totem into Europe 
in 1791, does not seem to have grasped its meaning in the 
native law of marriage and clanship, but to have confused 
the totem-animal of the clan with the patron or guardian 
animal of the individual hunter, his manitu or ' medicine.' 1 
Even when the North American totem-clans came to be 
better understood as social institutions regulating marriage, 
the notion of the guardian spirit still clung to them. Sir 
George Grey, who knew of the American totem-clans from 
the ' Archaeologia Americana,' put on record in 1841 a list 
of exogamous classes in West Australia, and mentioned the 
opinion frequently given by the natives as to the origin of 
these class-names, that they were derived from some animal 
or vegetable being very common in the district which the 
family inhabited, so that the name of this animal or 
vegetable came to be applied to the family. This seems 
so far valuable evidence, but Grey was evidently led by 
John Long's mistaken statement, which he quotes, to fall 
himself into the same confusion between the tribal name 
and the patron animal or vegetable, the 'kobong' of his 
natives, which he regarded as a tribal totem.* In Mr. J. G. 
Frazer's valuable collection of information on totemism, 8 
the use of the self -contradictory term 'individual totem' 
has unfortunately tended to perpetuate this confusion. In 
the present state of the problem of totemism, it would be 
premature to discuss at length its development and pur- 
pose. Mention may however be made of observations 
which tend to place it on a new footing, as being distinctly 
related to the transmigration of souls. In Melanesia men 

1 John Long, ' Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter,' London, 
1791, p. 86. See pp. 233, 41 1 of present volume. 

* Grey, ' Journals of Expeditions in N. W. & W. Australia,' vol. ii. 
pp. 225-9 > ' Archaeologia Americana,' vol. ii. p. 109. 

* J. G. Frazer, ' Totemism,' p. 53 ; ' Golden Bough/ 2nd ed. vol. iii. 
pp. 419, 423. 


may say that after death they will reappear for instance as 
sharks or bananas, and the family will acknowledge the 
kinship by feeding the sharks and abstaining from the 
bananas. It is not unreasonable that Dr. Codrington should 
suggest such practices as throwing light on the origin of 
totemism. 1 The late investigations of Spencer and Gillen, 
conducted with scrupulous care in an almost untouched 
district of Central Australia, show totemism in the Arunta 
tribe, not as the means of regulating the intermarriage of 
clans, but as based on a native theory of the ancestry of 
the race, as descended from the Alcheringa, quasi-human 
animal or vegetable ancestors, whose souls are still reborn 
in human form in successive generations.* This careful and 
definite account may be the starting-point of a new study. 
Savages would be alive to the absurdity of naming clans 
after animals in order to indicate a prohibition of marrying- 
in> opposed to the habit of the animals themselves. Indeed, 
it seems more likely that such animal-names may have com- 
monly belonged to inbred clans, before the rule of exogamy 
was developed. At present the plainest fact as to Totemism 
is its historical position as shown by its immense geographical 
distribution. Its presence in North America and Australia has 
been noticed. It extends its organization through the forest- 
region of South America from Guyana to Patagonia. North- 
ward of Australia it is to be traced among the more un- 
changed of the Malay populations, who underneath foreign 
influence still keep remains of a totemic system like that of 
the American tribes. Thence we follow the totem-clan into 
India, when it appears among non- Aryan hill-tribes such as 
the Oraons and Mundas, who have clans named after Eel, 
Hawk, Heron, and so on, and must not kill or eat these 
creatures. North of the Himalaya it appears among Mon- 
goloid tribes in their native low cultured state, such as the 
Yakuts with their intermarrying totem-clans Swan, Raven, 

1 Codrington, ' Melanesians,' pp. 32-3, 170. 

' Spencer and Gillen, ' Native Tribes of Central Australia,' 1899, PP- 73> 


and the like. In Africa totemism appears in the Bantu 
district up to the West Coast. For example, the Bechuana 
are divided into Bakuena, men of the crocodile ; Batlapi, of 
the fish ; Balaung, of the lion ; Bamorara, of the wild vine. 
A man does not eat his tribe-animal, or clothe himself in its 
skin, and if he must kill it as hurtful, the lion for instance, 
he asks pardon of it, and purifies himself from the sacrilege. 
These few instances illustrate the generalization that 
totemism in its complete form belongs to the savage and 
early barbaric stages of culture, only partial remains or 
survivals of it having lasted into the civilized period. 
Though appearing in all other quarters of the globe, it is 
interesting to notice that there is no distinct case of 
totemism found or recorded in Europe. 1 

The three motives of animal-worship which have been 
described, viz., direct worship of the animal for itself, in- 
direct worship of it as a fetish acted through by a deity, 
and veneration for it as a totem or representative of a tribe- 
ancestor, no doubt account in no small measure for the 
phenomena of Zoolatry among the lower races, due allow- 
ance being also made for the effects of myth and symbolism, 
of which we may gain frequent glimpses. Notwithstanding 
the obscurity and complexity of the subject, a survey of 
Animal- worship as a whole may yet justify an ethnographic 
view of its place in the history of civilization. If we turn 
from its appearances among the less cultured races to notice 
the shapes in which it has held its place among peoples 
advanced to the stage of national organization and stereo- 
typed religion, we shall find a reasonable cause for its new 
position in the theory of development and survival, whereby 
ideas at first belonging to savage theology have in part con- 
tinued to spread and solidify in their original manner, while in 
part they have been changed to accommodate them to more 
advanced ideas, or have been defended from the attacks of 
reason by being set up as sacred mysteries. Ancient Egypt 

1 General references in J. F. McLennan, ' Studies in Ancient History ; ' 
J. G. Frazer, ' Totemism.' 


was a land of sacred cats and jackals and hawks, whose 
mummies are among us to this day, but the reason of whose 
worship was a subject too sacred for the Father of History 
to discuss. Egyptian animal-worship seems to show, in a 
double line, traces of a savage ancestry extending into ages 
lying far behind even the remote antiquity of the Pyramids. 
Deities patronising special sacred animals, incarnate in 
their bodies, or represented in their figures, have nowhere 
better examples than the divine bull-dynasty of Apis, 
the sacred hawks caged and fed in the temple of Horus, 
Thoth and his cynocephalus and ibis, Hathor the cow 
and Sebek the crocodile. Moreover, the local character 
of many of the sacred creatures, worshipped in certain 
nomes yet killed and eaten with impunity elsewhere, 
fits remarkably with that character of tribe-fetishes and 
deified totems with which Mr. McLennan's argument is 
concerned. See the men of Oxyrynchos reverencing and 
sparing the fish oxyrynchos, and those of Latopolis like- 
wise worshipping the latos. At Apollinopolis men hated 
crocodiles and never lost a chance of killing them, while 
the people of the Arsinoite nome dressed geese and fish for 
these sacred creatures, adorned them with necklaces and 
bracelets, and mummified them sumptuously when they 
died. 1 In the modern world the most civilized people 
among whom animal-worship vigorously survives, lie within 
the range of Brahmanism, where the sacred animal, the 
deity incarnate in an animal or invested with or symbolized 
by its shape, may to this day be studied in clear example. 
The sacred cow is not merely to be spared, she is as a deity 
worshipped in annual ceremony, daily perambulated and 
bowed to by the pious Hindu, who offers her fresh grass 
and flowers ; Hanuman the monkey-god has his temples 
and his idols, and in him Siva is incarnate, as Durga is in 
the jackal ; the wise Ganesa wears the elephant's head ; 

1 Herod, ii. ; Plutarch, De Iside tt Osiride ; Strabo, xvii. i ; Wilkinson, 
' Ancient Eg.,' edited by Birch, vol. Hi. ; Bunsen, 2nd Edition, with note* 
by Birch, vol. i. 


the divine king of birds, Garuda, is Vishnu's vehicle ; the 
forms of fish, and boar, and tortoise, were assumed in 
those avatar-legends of Vishnu which are at the intellectual 
level of the Red Indian myths they so curiously resemble. 1 
The conceptions which underlie the Hindu creed of divine 
animals were not ill displayed by that Hindu who, being 
shown the pictures of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John 
with their respective man, lion, ox, and eagle, explained 
these quite naturally and satisfactorily as the avatars or 
vehicles of the four evangelists. 

In Animal-worship, some of the most remarkable cases 
of development and survival belong to a class from which 
striking instances have already been taken. Serpent-wor- 
ship unfortunately fell years ago into the hands of specu- 
lative writers, who mixed it up with occult philosophies, 
Druidical mysteries, and that portentous nonsense called 
the ' Arkite Symbolism/ till now sober students hear the 
very name of Ophiolatry with a shiver. Yet it is in itself 
a rational and^ instructive subject of inquiry, especially 
notable for its width of range in mythology and religion. 
We may set out among the lower races, with such accounts 
as those of the Red Indian's reverence to the rattlesnake, 
as grandfather and king of snakes, as a divine protector 
able to give fair winds or cause tempests ; * or of the wor- 
ship of great snakes among the tribes of Peru before they 
received the religion of the Incas, as to whom an old author 
says, ' They adore the demon when he presents himself to 
them in the figure of some beast or serpent, and talks with 
them.' 3 Thenceforth such examples of direct Ophiolatry 
may be traced on into classic and barbaric Europe ; the 
great serpent which defended the citadel of Athens and 
enjoyed its monthly honey-cakes ; ' the Roman genius loci 
appearing in the form of the snake (Nullus eiiim locus sine 


1 Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 195, &c. 
* Schoolcraft, part iii. p. 231 ; Brinton, p. 108, &c. 
8 Garcilaso dc la Vega, ' Comentarios Rcales,' i. 9. 
4 Herodot. viii. 41. 


genio est, qui per anguem plerumque ostenditur) ; l the old 
Prussian serpent- worship and offering of food to the 
household snakes ; * the golden viper adored by the Lom- 
bards, till Barbatus got it in his hands and the goldsmiths 
made it into paten and chalice. 3 To this day, Europe has 
not forgotten in nursery tales or more serious belief the 
snake that comes with its golden crown and drinks milk out 
of the child's porringer ; the house-snake, tame and kindly 
but seldom seen, that cares for the cows and the children 
and gives omens of a death in the family ; the pair of 
household snakes which have a mystic connexion of life 
and death with the husband and housewife themselves. 4 
Serpent-worship, apparently of the directest sort, was pro- 
minent in the indigenous religions of Southern Asia. It 
now even appears to have maintained no mean place in 
early Indian Buddhism, for the sculptures of the Sanchi 
tope show scenes of adoration of the five-headed snake- 
deity in his temple, performed by a race of serpent- wor- 
shippers, figuratively represented with snakes growing from 
their shoulders, and whose raja himself has a five-headed 
snake arching hood- wise over his head. Here, moreover, 
the totem-theory comes into contact with ophiolatry. The 
Sanskrit name of the snake, ' naga/ becomes also the 
accepted designation of its adorers, and thus mythological 
interpretation has to reduce to reasonable sense legends of 
serpent-races who turn out to be simply serpent-worship- 
pers, tribes who have from the divine reptiles at once their 
generic name of Nagas, and with it their imagined ancestral 
descent from serpents.* In different ways, these Naga 
tribes of South Asia are on the one hand analogues of the 

1 Servius ad /En. v. 95. 

* Hartknoch, ' Prcussen,' part i. pp. 143, 162. 

3 Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 648. 

4 Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 650. Rochholz, ' Dcutscher Glaube,' &c., vol. i. p. 146. 
Monnier, ' Traditions Populaires,' p. 644. Grohmann, ' Aberglauben aut 
Bohmen,' &c., p. 78. Ralston, ' Songs of Russian People,' p. 175. 

6 Fergusson ' Tree and Serpent Worship,' p. 55, &c., pi. xxiv. McLennan 
l.c. p. 563, &c. 


Snake Indians of America, and on the other of the Ophio- 
genes or Serpent-race of the Troad, kindred of the vipers 
whose bite they could cure by touch, and descendants of an 
ancient hero transformed into a snake. 1 

Serpents hold a prominent place in the religions of the 
world, as the incarnations, shrines, or symbols of high 
deities. Such were the rattlesnake worshipped in the 
Natchez temple of the Sun, and the snake belonging in 
name and figure to the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl ; * the 
snake as worshipped still by the Slave Coast negro, not for 
itself but for its indwelling deity ; 3 the snake kept and fed 
with milk in the temple of the old Slavonic god Potrimpos ; * 
the serpent-symbol of the healing deity Asklepios, who 
abode in or manifested himself through the huge tame 
snakes kept in his temples 5 (it is doubtful whether this had 
any original connexion with the adoption of the snake, from 
its renewal by casting its old slough, as the accepted emblem 
of new life or immortality in later symbolism) ; and lastly, 
the Phoenician serpent with its tail in its mouth, symbol of 
the world and of the Heaven-god Taaut, in its original 
meaning perhaps a mythic world-snake like the Scandina- 
vian Midgard-worm, but in the changed fancy of later ages 
adapted into an emblem of eternity. 9 It scarcely seems 
proved that savage races, in all their mystic contemplations 
of the serpent, ever developed out of their own minds the 
idea, to us so familiar, of adopting it as a personification of 
evil. 7 In ancient times, we may ascribe this character per- 
haps to the monster whose well-known form is to be seen 
on the mummy-cases, the Apophis-serpent of the Egyptian 

1 Strabo, xiii. i, 14. 

* J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrel.' pp. 62, 585. 

8 J. B. Schlegel, ' Ewe-Sprache,' p. xiv. 

4 Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 217. 

8 Pausan. ii. 28 ; JElian. xvi. 39. See Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. ii. 

P- 734- 

8 Macrob. Saturnal. i. 9. Movers, ' Phonizier,' vol. i. p. 500. 

7 Details such as in Schoolcraft, ' Ind. Tribes,' part i. pp. 38, 414, may be 
ascribed to Christian intercourse. See Brinton, p. 121. 


Hades ; l and it unequivocally belongs to the destroying set- 
pent of the Zarathustrians, Azhi Dahaka,* a figure which 
bears so remarkable a relation to that of the Semitic serpent 
of Eden, which may possibly stand in historical connexion 
with it. A wondrous blending of the ancient rites of Ophi- 
olatry with mystic conceptions of Gnosticism appears in the 
cultus which tradition (in truth or slander) declares the semi- 
Christian sect of Ophites to have rendered to their tame 
snake, enticing it out of its chest to coil round the sacra- 
mental bread, and worshipping it as representing the great 
king from heaven who in the beginning gave to the man 
and woman the knowledge of the mysteries.* Thus the 
extreme types of religious veneration, from the soberest 
matter-of-fact to the dreamiest mysticism, find their places 
in the worship of animals.' 

Hitherto in the study of animistic doctrine, our attention 
has been turned especially to those minor spirits whose 
functions concern the closer and narrower detail of man's 
life and its surroundings. In passing thence to the con- 
sideration of divine beings whose functions have a wider 
scope, the transition may be well made through a special 
group. An acute remark of Auguste Comte's calls attention 
to an important process of theological thought, which we 
may here endeavour to bring as clearly as possible before 
our minds. In his ' Philosophic Positive,' he defines deities 
proper as differing by their general and abstract character 
from pure fetishes (i.e., animated objects), the humble 
fetish governing but a single object from which it is 
inseparable, while the gods administer a special order 
of phenomena at once in different bodies. When, he con- 

1 Lepsius, ' Todtenbuch,' and Birch's transl. in Bunsen's ' Egypt,' vol. v. 

* Spiegel, ' Avesta,' vol. i. p. 66, vol. iii. p. lix. 

* Epiphan. Adv. Hxres. xxxvii. Tertullian. De Prescript, contra 
Haereticos, 47. 

4 Further collections of evidence relating to Zoohtry in general may be 
found in Bastian, ' Das Thier in seiner mythologischen Bedeutung,' in 
Bastian and Hartmann's ' Zeitschrift fur Ethnologic,' vi-i. i. , Meiners, 
' Geschichte der Religionen,' vol. L 


tinues, the similar vegetation of the different oaks of a 
forest led to a theological generalization from their common 
phenomena, the abstract being thus produced was no longer 
the fetish of a single tree, but became the god of the forest ; 
here, then, is the intellectual passage from fetishism to 
polytheism, reduced to the inevitable preponderance of 
specific over individual ideas. 1 Now this observation of 
Comte's may be more immediately applied to a class of 
divine beings which may be accurately called species-deities. 
It is highly suggestive to study the crude attempts of bar- 
baric theology to account for the uniformity observed in 
large classes of objects, by making this generalization from 
individual to specific ideas. To explain the existence of 
what we call a species, they would refer it to a common 
ancestral stock, or to an original archetype, or to a species- 
deity, or they combined these conceptions. For such specu- 
lations, classes of plants and animals offered perhaps an 
early and certainly an easy subject. The uniformity of each 
kind not only suggested a common parentage, but also the 
notion that creatures so wanting in individuality, with 
qualities so measured out as it were by line and rule, might 
not be independent arbitrary agents, but mere copies from 
a common model, or mere instruments used by controlling 
deities. Thus in Polynesia, as has been just mentioned, 
certain species of animals were considered as incarnations 
of certain deities, and among the Samoans it appears that 
the question as to the individuality of such creatures was 
actually asked and answered. If, for instance, a village 
god were accustomed to appear as an owl, and one of his 
votaries found a dead owl by the roadside, he would mourn 
over the sacred bird and bury it with much ceremony, but 
the god himself would not be thought to be dead, for he 
remains incarnate in all existing owls. 1 According to 
Father Geronimo Boscana, the Acagchemen tribe of Upper 
California furnish a curious rJarallel to this notion. They 

1 Comte, ' Philosophic Positive/ voL v. p. 101. 
* Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 242. 


worshipped the ' panes ' bird, which seems to have been 
an eagle or vulture, and each year, in the temple of each 
village, one of them was solemnly killed without shedding 
blood, and the body burned. Yet the natives maintained 
and believed that it was the same individual bird they sacri- 
ficed each year, and more than this, that the same bird was 
slain by each of the villages. 1 Among the comparatively 
cultured Peruvians, Acosta describes another theory of 
celestial archetypes. Speaking of star-deities, he says that 
shepherds venerated a certain star called Sheep, another 
star called Tiger protected men from tigers, &c. : ' And 
generally, of all the animals and birds there are on the 
earth, they believed that a like one lived in heaven, in whose 
charge were their procreation and increase, and thus they 
accounted of divers stars, such as that they call Chacana, 
and Topatorca, and Mamana, and Mizco, and Miquiquiray, 
and other such, so that in a manner it appears that they 
were drawing towards the dogma of the Platonic ideas.'* 
The North American Indians also have speculated as to the 
common ancestors or deities of species. One missionary 
notes down their idea as he found it in 1634. ' They say, 
moreover, that all the animals of each species have an elder 
brother, who is as it were the principle and origin of all the 
individuals, and this elder brother is marvellously great and 
powerful. The elder brother of the beavers, they told me, 
is perhaps as large as our cabin.' Another early account 
is that each species of animals has its archetype in the land 
of souls; there exists, for example/ a manitu or archetype 
of all oxen, which animates all oxen. 8 Here, again, occurs 
a noteworthy correspondence with the ideas of a distant 
race. In Buyan, the island paradise of Russian myth, there 

1 Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 105. 

8 Acosta, ' Historia de las Indias,' book v. c. iv. ; Rivero & Tschudi, 
pp. 161, 179; J. G. Miiller, p. 365. 

3 Le Jcune in 'sRel. des Jis. dans la Nouvelle France,' 1634, p. 13. 
Lafitau, ' Moeurs des Sauvagcs,' vol. i. p. 370. See also VVaitz, vol. iii. 
p. 194; Schoolcraft, part iii. p. 327. 


are to be found the Snake older than all snakes, and the 
prophetic Raven, elder brother of all ravens, and the Bird, 
the largest and oldest of all birds, with iron beak and 
copper claws, and the Mother of Bees, eldest among bees. 1 
Morgan's comparatively modem account of the Iroquois 
mentions their belief in a spirit of each species of trees 
and plants, as of oak, hemlock, maple, whortleberry, rasp- 
berry, spearmint, tobacco ; most objects of nature being 
thus under the care of protecting spirits.* The doctrine of 
such species-deities is perhaps nowhere more definitely 
stated than by Castren in his ' Finnish Mythology.' In 
his description of the Siberian nature-worship, the lowest 
level is exemplified by the Samoyeds, whose direct worship 
of natural objects for themselves may perhaps indicate the 
original religious condition of the whole Turanian race. 
But the doctrine of the comparatively cultured heathen 
Finns was at a different stage. Here every object in nature 
has a ' haltia,' a guardian deity or genius, a being which 
was its creator and thenceforth became attached to it. 
These deities or genii are, however, not bound to each 
single transitory object, but are free personal beings which 
have movement, form, body, and soul. Their existence in 
no wise depends on the existence of the individual objects, 
for although no object in nature is without its guardian 
deity, this deity extends to the whole race or species. This 
ash-tree, this stone, this house, has indeed its particular 
' haltia,' yet these same ' haltiat ' concern themselves with 
other ash-trees, stones, and houses, of which the indi- 
viduals may perish, but their presiding genii live on in the 
species. 3 It seems as though some similar view ran through 
the doctrine of more civilized races, as in the well-known 

1 Ralston, ' Songs of the Russian People,' p. 375. The Slavonic myth of 
Buyan with its dripping oak and the snake Garafena lying beneath, is 
obviously connected with the Scandinavian myth of the dripping ash, 
Yggdrasill, the snake Nidhogg below, and the two Swans of the Urdhar- 
fount, parents of all swans. 

8 Morgan, ' Iroquois,' p. 162. 

3 Caa trlii, 'Finn. Myth.' pp. 106, 160, 189, &c. 


Egyptian and Greek examples where whole species of ani- 
mals, plants, or things, stand as symbolic of, and as pro- 
tected by, particular deities. The thought appears with 
most perfect clearness in the Rabbinical philosophy which 
apportions to each of the 2100 species, of plants for in- 
stance, a presiding angel in heaven, and assigns this as the 
motive of the Levitical prohibition of mixtures among ani- 
mals and plants. 1 The interesting likeness pointed out by 
Father Acosta between these crude theological conceptions 
and the civilized philosophical conceptions which have re- 
placed them, was again brought into view in the last century 
by the President De Brosses, in comparing the Red Indians' 
archetypes of species with the Platonic archetypal ideas.* 
As for animals and plants, the desire of naturalists to ascend 
to primal unity to some extent finds satisfaction in a theory 
tracing each species to an origin in a single pair. And 
though this is out of the question with inanimate objects, 
our language seems in suggestive metaphor to lay hold on 
the same thought, when we say of a dozen similar swords, 
or garments, or chairs, that they have the same pattern 
(patronus, as it were father), whereby they were shaped 
from their matter (materia, or mother substance). 

1 Eisenmenger, ' Judenthum,' part ii. p. 376 ; Bastion, ' Mensch,' vol. iii. 
p. 194. 

1 De Brosses, ' Dieux Fetiches,' p. 58. 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Higher Deities of Polytheism Human characteristics applied to Deity 
Lords of Spiritual Hierarchy Polytheism : its course of development 
in lower and higher Culture Principles of its investigation ; classifi- 
cation of Deities according to central conceptions of their significance 
and function Heaven-god Rain-god Thunder-god Wind-gods 
Earth-god Water-god Sea-god Fire-god Sun-god Moon-god. 

SURVEYING the religions of the world and studying the 
descriptions of deity among race after race, we may recur 
to old polemical terms in order to define a dominant idea of 
theology at large. Man so habitually ascribes to his deities 
human shape, human passions, human nature, that we may 
declare him an Anthropomorphite, an Anthropopathite, and 
(to complete the series) an Anthropophysite. In this state 
of religious thought, prevailing as it does through so im- 
mense a range among mankind, one of the strongest con- 
firmations may be found of the theory here advanced con- 
cerning the development of Animism. This theory that 
the conception of the human soul is the very ' fons et 
origo ' of the conceptions of spirit and deity in general, 
has been already vouched for by the fact of human souls 
being held to pass into the characters of good and evil 
demons, and to ascend to the rank of deities. But beyond 
this, as we consider the nature of the great gods of the 
nations, in whom the vastest functions of the universe arc 
vested, it will still be apparent that these mighty deities are 
modelled on human souls, that in great measure their feeling 
and sympathy, their character and habit, their will and 
action, even their material and form, display throughout 
their adaptations, exaggerations and distortions, charac- 


teristics shaped upon those of the human spirit. The key 
to investigation of the Dii Ma jorum Gentium of the world 
is the reflex of humanity, and as we behold their figures in 
their proper districts of theology, memory ever brings back 
the Psalmist's words, ' Thou thoughtest I was altogether 
as thyself.' 

The higher deities of Polytheism have their places in the 
general animistic system of mankind. Among nation after 
nation it is still clear how, man being the type of deity, 
human society and government became the model on which 
divine society and government were shaped. As chiefs 
and kings are among men, so are the great gods among 
the lesser spirits. They differ from the souls and minor 
spiritual beings which we have as yet chiefly considered, 
but the difference is rather of rank than of nature. They 
are personal spirits, reigning over personal spirits. Above 
the disembodied souls and manes, the local genii of rocks 
and fountains and trees, the host of good and evil demons, 
and the rest of the spiritual commonality, stand these 
mightier deities, whose influence is less confined to local or 
individual interests, and who, as it pleases them, can act 
directly within their vast domain, or control and operate 
through the lower beings of their kind, their servants, 
agents, or mediators. The great gods of Polytheism, 
numerous and elaborately defined in the theology .of the 
cultured world, do not however make their earliest ap- 
pearance there. In the religions of the lower races their 
principal types were already cast, and thenceforward, for 
many an age of progressing or relapsing culture, it became 
the work of poet and priest, legend-monger and historian, 
theologian and philosopher, to develop and renew, to de- 
grade and abolish, the mighty lords of the Pantheon. 

With little exception, wherever a savage or barbaric sys- 
tem of religion is thoroughly described, great gods make 
their appearance in the spiritual world as distinctly as 
chiefs in the human tribe. In the lists, it is true, there are 
set down great deities, good or evil, who probably came 


in from modern Christian missionary teaching, or other- 
wise by contact with foreign religions. It is often difficult 
to distinguish from these the true local gods, animistic 
figures of native meaning and origin. Among the follow- 
ing polytheistic systems, examples may be found of such 
combinations, with the complex theological problems 
they suggest. Among the Australians, above the swarm- 
ing souls, nature-spirits, demons, there stand out mythic 
figures of higher divinity ; Nguk-wonga, the Spirit of 
the Waters ; Biam, who gives ceremonial songs and 
causes disease, and is perhaps the same as Baiame the 
creator ; Nambajandi and Warrugura, lords of heaven and 
the nether world. 1 In South America, if we look into the 
theology of the Manaos (whose name is well known in the 
famous legend of El Dorado and the golden city of Manoa), 
we see Mauari and Saraua, who may be called the Good 
and Evil Spirit, and beside the latter the two Gamainhas, 
Spirits of the Waters and the Forest. 2 In North America 
the description of a solemn Algonquin sacrifice introduces 
a list of twelve dominant manitus or gods ; first the Great 
Manitu in heaven, then the Sun, Moon, Earth, Fire, Water, 
the House-god, the Indian corn, and the four Winds or 
Cardinal Points. 3 The Polynesian's crowd of manes, and 
the lower ranks of deities of earth, sea, and air, stand below 
the great gods of Peace and War, Oro and Tane the national 
deities of Tahiti and Huahine, Raitubu the Sky-producer, 
Hina who aided in the work of forming the world, her 
father Taaroa, the uncreate Creator who dwells in Heaven. 4 
Among the Land Dayaks of Borneo, the commonalty of 
spirits consists of the souls of the departed, and of such 
beings as dwell in the noble old forests on the tops of lofty 
hills, or such as hover about villages and devour the stores 
of rice ; above these are Tapa, creator and preserver of man, 

1 Eyre, ' Australia,' vol. ii. p. 362 ; Oldfield in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. 
p. 228 ; Lang, ' Queensland,' p. 444. 

2 Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 583. 

3 Loskiel, ' Ind. of N. America,' part'i. p. 43. 

4 Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p.*322. 


and lang, who taught the Dayaks their religion, Jirong, 
whose function is the birth and death of men, and Ten- 
abi, who made, and still causes to flourish, the earth 
and all things therein save the human race. 1 In West 
Africa, an example may be taken from the theology of the 
Slave Coast, a systematic scheme of all nature as moved 
and quickened by spirits, kindly or hostile to mankind. 
These spirits dwell in field and wood, mountain and 
valley; they live in air and water; multitudes of them 
have been human souls, such ghosts hover about the 
graves and near the living, and have influence with the 
under-gods, whom they worship ; among these ' edro ' are 
the patron-deities of men and families and tribes ; through 
these subordinate beings works the highest god, Mawu. 
The missionary who describes this negro hierarchy quite 
simply sees in it Satan and his Angels. 1 In Asia, the 
Samoyed's little spirits that are bound to his little fetishes, 
and the little elves of wood and stream, have greater beings 
above them, the Forest-Spirit, the River-Spirit, the Sun 
and Moon, the Evil Spirit and the Good Spirit above all.* 
The countless host of the local gods of the Khonds per- 
vade the world, rule the functions of nature, and control 
the life of men, and these have their chiefs; above them 
rank the deified souls of men who have become tutelary 
gods of tribes ; above these are the six great gods, the Rain- 
god, the goddess of Firstfruits, the god of Increase, the god 
of Hunting, the iron god of War, the god of Boundaries, 
with which group stands also the Judge of the Dead, and 
above all other gods, the Sun-god and Creator Boora 
Pennu, and his wife the mighty Earth-goddess,Tari Pennu. 4 
The Spanish conquerors found in Mexico a complex and 
systematic hierarchy of spiritual beings ; numberless were 
the little deities who had their worship in house and lane, 

1 St. John, ' Far East,' vol. i. p. 180. 

1 J. B. Schlegel, ' Schlussel zur Ewe Sprache,' p. xii. ; compare Bowen, 
'Yoruba Lang.' in 'Smithsonian Contrib.' vol. i. p. xvi. 
* Samoiedia, in Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 531. 

4 Macpherson, p. 84, &c. 


grove and temple, and from these the worshipper could 
pass to gods of flowers or of pulque, of hunters and gold- 
smiths, and then to the great deities of the nation and the 
world, the figures which the mythologist knows so well, 
Centeotl the Earth-goddess, Tlaloc the Water-god, Huit- 
zilopochtli the War-god, Mictlanteuctli the Lord of Hades, 
Tonatiuh and Metztli the Sun and Moon. 1 Thus, starting 
from the theology of savage tribes, the student arrives at 
the polytheistic hierarchies of the Aryan nations. In 
ancient Greece, the cloud-compelling Heaven-god reigns 
over such deities as the god of War and the goddess of 
Love, the Sun-god and the Moon-goddess, the Fire-god and 
the ruler of the Under- world, the Winds and Rivers, the 
nymphs of wood and well and forest. 2 In modern India, 
Brahma- Vishnu-Siva reign pre-eminent over a series of 
divinities, heterogeneous and often obscure in nature, but 
among whom stand out in clear meaning and purpose such 
figures as Indra of Heaven and Surya of the Sun, Agni of 
the Fire, Pavana of the Winds and Varuna of the Waters, 
Yama lord of the Under-world, Kama god of Love and 
Karttikeya of War, Panchanana who gives epilepsy and 
Manasa who preserves from snake-bites, the divine Rivers, 
and below these the ranks of nymphs, elves, demons, minis- 
tering spirits, of heaven and earth Gandharvas, Apsaras, 
Siddhas, Asuras, Bhutas, Rakshasas. 3 

The systematic comparison of polytheistic religions has 
been of late years worked with admirable results. These 
have been due to the adoption of comparatively exact 
methods, as where the ancient Aryan deities of the Veda 
have been brought into connexion with those of the Homeric 
poems, in some cases as clearly as where we Englishmen 
can study in the Scandinavian Edda the old gods of our 
own race, whose names stand in local names on the map of 
England, and serve as counters to reckon our days of the 

1 Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. ch. i. 

2 Gladstone, ' Juventus Mundi,' ch. vii. &c. 

3 Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. 


week. Yet it need scarcely be said that to compare in full 
detail the deities even of closely connected nations, and a 
fortiori those of tribes not united in language and history, 
is still a difficult and unsatisfactory task. The old-fashioned 
identifications of the gods and heroes of different nations 
admitted most illusory evidence. Some had little more 
ground than similar-sounding names, as when the Hindu 
Brahma and Prajapati were discovered to be the Hebrew 
Abraham and Japhet, and when even Sir William Jones 
identified Woden with Buddha. With not much more 
stringency, it is still often taken as matter of course that 
the Keltic Beal, whose bealtines correspond with a whole 
class of bonfire-customs among several branches of the Aryan 
race, is the Bel or the Baal of the Semitic cultus. Unfor- 
tunately, classical scholarship at the Renaissance started 
the subject on an unsound footing, by accepting the Greek 
deities with the mystified shapes and perverted names they 
had assumed in Latin literature. That there was a partial 
soundness in such comparisons, as in identifying Zeus and 
Jupiter, Hestia and Vesta, made the plan all the more mis- 
leading when Kronos came to figure as Saturn, Poseidon 
as Neptune, Athene as Minerva. To judge by example of 
the possible results of comparative theology worked on such 
principles, Thoth being identified with Hermes, Hermes 
with Mercury, and Mercury with Woden, there comes to 
pass the absurd transition from the Egyptian ibis-headed 
divine scribe of the gods, to the Teutonic heaven-dwelling 
driver of the raging tempest. It is not in this loose fashion 
that the mental processes are to be sought out, which led 
nations to arrange so similarly and yet so diversely their 
array of deities. 

A twofold perplexity besets the soberest investigator on 
this ground, caused by the modification of deities by deve- 
lopment at home and adoption from abroad. Even among 
the lower races, gods of long traditional legend and worship 
acquire a mixed and complex personality. The mythologist 
who seeks to ascertain the precise definition of the Red 


Indian Michabu in his various characters of Heaven-god 
and Water-god, Creator of the Earth and first ancestor of 
Man, or who examines the personality of the Polynesian 
Maui in his relation to Sun, lord of Heaven or Hades, first 
Man, and South Sea Island hero, will sympathize with the 
Semitic or Aryan student bewildered among the hetero- 
geneous attributes of Baal and Astarte, Herakles and 
Athene. Sir William Jones scarcely overstated the per- 
plexity of the problem in the following remarkable forecast 
delivered more than a century ago, in the first anniver- 
sary discourse before the Asiatic Society of Bengal, at a 
time when glimpses of the relation of the Hindu to the 
Greek Pantheon were opening into a new broad view of 
comparative theology in his mind. ' We must not be sur- 
prised,' he says, ' at finding, on a close examination, that 
the characters of all the Pagan deities, male and female, 
melt into each other and at last into one or two ; for it 
seems a well-founded opinion, that the whole crowd of 
gods and goddesses in ancient Rome, and modern Varanes 
[Benares] mean only the powers of nature, and principally 
those of the Sun, expressed in a variety of ways and by a 
multitude of fanciful names.' As to the travelling of gods 
from country to country, and the changes they are apt to 
suffer on the road, we may judge by examples of what has 
happened within our knowledge. It is not merely that one 
nation borrows a god from another with its proper figure 
and attributes and rites, as where in Rome the worshipper 
of the Sun might take his choice whether he-would adore in 
the temple of the Greek Apollo, the Egyptian Osiris, the 
Persian Mithra, or the Syrian Elagabalus. The intercourse 
of races can produce quainter results than this. Any 
Orientalist will appreciate the wonderful hotchpot of Hindu 
and Arabic language and religion in the following details, 
noted down among rude tribes of the Malay Peninsula. We 
hear of Jin Bumi the Earth-god (Arabic jin = demon, 
Sanskrit bhumi = earth) ; incense is burnt to Jewajewa 
(Sanskrit dewa = god) who intercedes with Pirman the 


supreme invisible deity above the sky (Brahma ?) ; the 
Moslem Allah Taala, with his wife Nabi Mahamad (Prophet 
Mohammed), appear in the Hinduized characters of creator 
and destroyer of all things ; and while the spirits worshipped 
in stones are called by the Hindu term of ' dewa ' or deity, 
Moslem conversion has so far influenced the mind of the 
stone-worshipper, that he will give to his sacred boulder 
the title of a Prophet Mohammed. 1 If we would have ex- 
amples nearer home, we may trace the evil demon Aeshma 
Daeva of the ancient Persian religion becoming the Asmo- 
deus of the book of Tobit, afterwards to find a place in the 
devilry of the middle ages, and to end his career as the 
Diable Boiteux of Le Sage. Even the Aztec war-god 
Huitzilopochtli may be found figuring as the demon Vizli- 
puzli in the popular drama of Doctor Faustus. 

In ethnographic comparisons of the religions of mankind, 
unless there is evidence of direct relation between gods be- 
longing to two peoples, the safe and reasonable principle is 
to limit the identification of deities to the attributes they 
have in common. Thus it is proper to compare the Dendid 
of the White Nile with the Aryan Indra, in so far as both 
are Heaven-gods and Rain-gods; the Aztec Tonatiuh with 
the Greek Apollo, in so far as both are Sun-gods ; the 
Australian Baiame with the Scandinavian Thor, in so far 
as both are Thunder-gods. The present purpose of dis- 
playing Polytheism as a department of Animism does not 
require that elaborate comparison of systems which would 
be in place in a manual of the religions of the world. The 
great gods may be scientifically ranged and treated accord- 
ing to their fundamental ideas, the strongly-marked and 
intelligible conceptions which, under names often obscure 
and personalities often mixed and mystified, they stand to 
represent. It is enough to show the similarity of principle 
on which the theologic mind of the lower races shaped 
those old familiar types of deity, with which our first 
acquaintance was gained in the pantheon of classic mytho- 

1 ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. pp. 33, 255, 275, 338, vol. ii. p. 691. 


logy. It will be observed that not all, but the principal 
figures, belong to strict Nature-worship. These may be 
here first surveyed. They are Heaven and Earth, Rain 
and Thunder, Water and Sea, Fire and Sun and Moon, 
worshipped either directly for themselves, or as animated 
by their special deities, or these deities are more fully set 
apart and adored in anthropomorphic shape a group of 
conceptions distinctly and throughout based on the princi- 
ples of savage fetishism. True, the great Nature-gods are 
huge in strength and far-reaching in influence, but this is 
because the natural objects they belong to are immense 
in size or range of action, pre-eminent and predominant 
among lesser fetishes, though still fetishes themselves. 

In the religion of the North American Indians, the 
Heaven-god displays perfectly the gradual blending of the 
material sky itself with its personal deity. In the early 
times of French colonization, Father Brebeuf mentions the 
Hurons addressing themselves to the earth, rivers, lakes, 
and dangerous rocks, but above all to heaven, believing 
that it is all animated, and some powerful demon dwells 
therein. He describes them as speaking directly to 
heaven by its personal name ' Aronhiate ! ' Thus when 
they throw tobacco into the fire as sacrifice, if it is 
Heaven they address, they say ' Aronhiat ! (Heaven !) 
behold my sacrifice, have pity on me, aid me ! ' They 
have recourse to Heaven in almost all their necessities, 
and respect this great body above all creatures, remarking 
in it particularly something divine. They imagine in the 
sky an ' oki/ i.e. demon or power, which rules the seasons 
of the year and controls the winds and waves. They 
dread its anger, calling it to witness when they make 
some important promise or treaty, saying, Heaven hears 
what we do this day, and fearing chastisement should 
their word be broken. One of their renowned sorcerers 
said, Heaven will be angry if men mock him ; when 
they cry .every day to Heaven, Aronhiate ! yet give him 
nothing, he will avenge himself. Etymology again suggests 


the divine sky as the inner meaning of the Iroquois 
supreme deity, Taronhiawagon the ' sky-comer ' or ' sky- 
holder/ who had his festival about the winter solstice, who 
brought the ancestral race out of the mountain, taught them 
hunting, marriage, and religion, gave them corn and beans, 
squashes and potatoes and tobacco, and guided them on 
their migrations as they spread over the land. Among the 
North American tribes, not only does the conception of the 
personal divine Heaven thus seem the fundamental idea of 
the Heaven-god, but it may expand under Christian in- 
fluence into a yet more general thought of divinity in the 
Great Spirit in Heaven. 1 In South Africa, the Zulus speak 
of the Heaven as a person, ascribing to it the power of ex^ 
ercising a will, and they also speak of a Lord of Heaven, 
whose wrath they deprecate during a thunderstorm. In the 
native legends of the Zulu princess in the country of the 
Half -Men, the captive maiden expostulates personally with 
the Sky, for only acting in an ordinary way, and not in the 
way she wishes, to destroy her enemies : 

' Listen, yon heaven. Attend ; mayoya, listen. 
Listen, heaven. It does not thunder with loud thunder. 
It thunders in an undertone. What is it doing ? 
It thunders to produce rain and change of season.' 

Thereupon the clouds gather tumultuously ; the princess 
sings again and it thunders terribly, and the Heaven kills 
the Half-Men round about her, but she is left unharmed. 1 
West Africa is another district where the Heaven-god reigns, 
in whose attributes may be traced the transition from the 
direct conception of the personal sky to that of the supreme 
creative deity. Thus in Bonny, one word serves for god, 
heaven, cloud ; and in Aquapim, Yankupong is at once 
the highest god and the weather. Of this latter deity, the 

1 Brebeuf in 'Rel. des J6s./ 1636, p. 107; Lafitau, 'Mceurs des Sauvages 
Ameriquains,' vol. i. p. 132. Schoolcraft, 'Iroquois,' 'p. 36, &c. 237. 
Brinton, 'Myths of New World,' pp. 48, 172. J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. 
Urrelig.' p. 119. 

2 Callaway, ' Zulu Tales,' vol. i. p. 203. 


Nyankupon of the Oji nation, it is remarked by Riis, 
' The idea of him as a supreme spirit is obscure and un- 
certain, and often confounded with the visible heavens 
or sky, the upper world (sorro) which lies beyond human 
reach ; and hence the same word is used also for heavens, 
sky, and even for rain and thunder.' 1 The same transi- 
tion from the divine sky. to its anthropomorphic deity 
shows out in the theology of the Tatar tribes. The rude 
Samoyed's mind scarcely if at all separates the visible per- 
sonal Heaven from the divinity united with it under one 
and the same name, Num. Among the more cultured Finns, 
the cosmic attributes of the Heaven-god, Ukko the Old 
One, display the same original nature ; he is the ancient 
of Heaven, the father of Heaven, the bearer of the Firma- 
ment, the god of the Air, the dweller on the Clouds, the 
Cloud-driver, the shepherd of the Cloud-lambs. 1 So far 
as the evidence of language, and document, and ceremony, 
can preserve the record of remotely ancient thought, China 
shows in the highest deity of the state religion a like 
theologic development. Tien, Heaven, is in personal shape 
the Shang-ti or Upper Emperor, the Lord of the Uni- 
verse. The Chinese books may idealize this supreme 
divinity ; they may say that his command is fate, that he 
rewards the good and punishes the wicked, that he loves 
and protects the people beneath him, that he manifests 
himself through events, that he is a spirit full of insight, 
penetrating, fearful, majestic. Yet they cannot refine him 
so utterly away into an abstract celestial deity, but that 
language and history still recognize him as what he was 
in the beginning, Tien, Heaven. 8 

1 Waitz, ' Anthropologie,' vol. ii. p. 168, &c. ; Burton, ' W. & W. fr. W. 
Afr.' p. 76. 

* Castre"n, ' Finn. Myth." p. 7, &c. 

8 Plath, ' Religion und Cultus der alten Chinesen,' part i. p. 18, &c. ; 
part ii. p. 32; Doolittle, 'Chinese/ vol. ii. p. 396. See Max Muller, 
' Lectures,' 2nd S. p. 437; Legge, 'Confucius,' p. 100. For further evidence 
as to savage and barbaric worship of the Heaven as Supreme Deity, see 
chap. xvii. 


With such evidence perfectly accords the history of the 
Heaven-god among our Indo-European race. This being, 
adored in ancient Aryan religion, was 

. ' . . . the whole circle of the heavens, for him 
A sensitive existence, and a God, 
With lifted hands invoked, and songs of praise.' 

The evidence of language to this effect has been set 
forth with extreme clearness by Professor Max Muller. In 
the first stage, the Sanskrit Dyu (Dyaus), the bright sky, 
is taken in a sense so direct that it expresses the idea of 
day, and the storms are spoken of as going about in it ; while 
Greek and Latin rival this distinctness in such terms as 
tvStos, ' in the open air,' evSios, ' well-skyed, calm,' sub 
divo, ' in the open air,' sub Jove frigido, ' under the cold 
sky,' and that graphic description by Ennius of the bright 
firmament, Jove whom all invoke : 

' Aspice hoc sublime candens, quern invocant omncs Jovem.' 

In the second stage, Dyaus pitar, Heaven-father, stands in 
the Veda as consort of Prithivi matar, Earth-mother, ranked 
high or highest among the bright gods. To the Greek he 
is Zevs Trarjjp, the Heaveji-father, Zeus the All-seer, the 
Cloud-compeller, King of Gods and Men. As Max Muller 
writes : ' There was nothing that could be told of the sky 
that was not in some form or other ascribed to Zeus. It 
was Zeus who rained, who thundered, who snowed, who 
hailed, who sent the lightning, who gathered the clouds, 
who let loose the winds, who held the rainbow. It is Zeus 
who orders the days and nights, the months, seasons, and 
years. It is he who watches over the fields, who sends rich 
harvests, and who tends the flocks. Like the sky, Zeus 
dwells on the highest mountains ; like the sky, Zeus em- 
braces the earth ; like the sky, Zeus is eternal, unchanging, 
the highest god. For good and for evil, Zeus the sky and 
Zeus the god are wedded together in the Greek mind, lan- 
guage triumphing over thought, tradition over religion.' 
The same Aryan Heaven-father is Jupiter, in that original 

RAIN-GOD. 259 

name and nature which he bore in Rome long before they 
arrayed him in the borrowed garments of Greek myth, and 
adapted him to the ideas of classic philosophy. 1 Thus, in 
nation after nation, took place the great religious develop- 
ment by which the Father-Heaven became the Father in 

The Rain-god is most often the Heaven-god exercising a 
special function, though sometimes taking a more distinctl y 
individual form, or blending in characteristics with a general 
Water-god. In East Central Africa, the spirit of an old 
chief dwelling on a cloudy mountain-top may receive the 
worship of his votaries and send down the refreshing 
showers in answer to their prayers ; among the Damaras 
the highest deity is Omakuru the Rain-giver, who dwells 
in the far North ; while to the negro of West Africa 
the Heaven-god is the rain-giver, and may pass in name 
into the rain itself. 2 Pachacamac, the Peruvian world- 
creator, has set the Rain-goddess to pour waters over the 
land, and send down hail and snow. 3 The Aztec Tlaloc 
was no doubt originally a Heaven-god, for he holds the 
thunder and lightning, but he has taken especially the attri- 
butes of Water-god and Rain-god ; and so in Nicaragua 
the Rain-god Quiateot (Aztec quiahuitl = rain, teotl = god) 
to whom children were sacrificed to bring rain, shows his 
larger celestial nature by being also sender of thunder and 
lightning. 4 The Rain-god of the Khonds is Pidzu Pennu, 
whom the priests and elders propitiate with eggs and arrack 
and rice and a sheep, and invoke with quaintly pathetic 
prayers. They tell him how, if he will not give water, the 

1 Max Muller, ' Lectures,' 2nd Series, p. 425 ; Grimm, ' D. M.' ch. ix.; 
Cicero, De Natura Deorum, iii. 4. Connexion of the Sanskrit Dyu with 
the Scandinavian Tyr and the Anglo Saxon Tiw is perhaps rather of 
etymology than definition. 

* Duff Macdonald, ' Africana,' vol. i. p. 60 (E. Centr. Air.). Waitr, 
' Anthropologie,' vol. ii. p. 169 (W. Afr.) p. 416 (Damaras). 

8 Markham, ' Quichua Gr. and Die.' p. 9 ; J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrel.' 
pp. 318, 368. 

4 Ibid. pp. 496-9 ; Oviedo, ' Nicaragua,' pp. 40, 72. 


land must remain unploughed, the seed will rot in the 
ground, they and their children and cattle will die of want, 
the deer and the wild hog will seek other haunts, and then 
of what avail will it be for the Rain-god to relent, how little 
any gift of water will avail, when there shall be left neither 
man, nor cattle, nor seed ; so let him, resting on the sky, 
pour waters down upon them through his sieve, till the deer 
are drowned out of the forest and take refuge in the 
houses, till the soil of the mountains is washed into the 
valleys, till the cooking-pots burst with the force of the 
swelling rice, till the beasts gather so plentifully in the 
green and favoured land, that men's axes shall be blunted 
with cutting up the game. 1 With perfect meteorological 
fitness, the Kol tribes of Bengal consider their great 
deity Marang Bum, Great Mountain, to be the Rain-god. 
Marang Bum, one of the most conspicuous hills of the 
plateau near Lodmah in Chota-Nagpur, is the diety himself 
or his dwelling. Before the rains come on, the women 
climb the hill, led by the wives of the pahans, with girls 
drumming, to carry offerings of milk and bel-leaves, which 
are put on the flat rock at the top. Then the wives of the 
pahans kneel with loosened hair and invoke the deity, be- 
seeching him to give the crops seasonable rain. They 
shake their heads violently as they reiterate this prayer, 
till they work themselves into a frenzy, and the movement 
becomes involuntary. They go on thus wildly gesticula- 
ting, till a cloud is seen ; then they rise, take the drums, 
and dance the kurrun on the rock, till Marang Bum's re- 
sponse to their prayer is heard in the distant rumbling of 
thunder, and they go home rejoicing. They mut go fasting 
to the mount, and stay there till there is ' a sound of 
abundance of rain,' when they get them down to eat 
and drink. It is said that the rain always comes before 
evening, but the old women appear to choose their 
own moment for beginning the fast.* It was to Ukko the 

1 Macpherson, ' India,' pp. 89, 355. 

* Dalton, ' Kols,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 34. Compare i Kings xviii. 

RAIN-GOD. 26l 

Heaven-god, that in old days the Finn turned with such 
prayers : 

' Ukko, thou, O God above us 
Thou, O Father in the heavens, 
Thou who rulest in the cloud-land, 
And the little cloud-lambs leadest, 
Send us down the rain from heaven, 
Make the clouds to drop with honey, 
Let the drooping corn look upward, 
Let the grain with plenty rustle.' 1 

Quite like this were the classic conceptions of Zeus ve'nos 
Jupiter Pluvius. They are typified in the famous Athenian 
prayer recorded by Marcus Aurelius, ' Rain, rain, O dear 
Zeus, on the plough-lands of the Athenians, and the 
plains ! '* and in Petronius Arbiter's complaint of the 
irreligion of his times, that now no one thinks heaven is 
heaven, no one keeps a fast, no one cares a hair for Jove, 
but all men with closed eyes reckon up their goods. Afore- 
time the ladies walked up the hill in their stoles with bare 
feet and loosened hair and pure minds, and entreated Jove 
for water ; then all at once it rained bucketsfull, then or 
never, and they all went home wet as drowned rats. 3 In 
later ages, when drought parched the fields of the mediaeval 
husbandman, he transferred to other patrons the functions 
of the Rain-god, and with procession and litany sought 
help from St. Peter or St. James, or, with more of mytho- 
logical consistency, from the Queen of Heaven. As for 
ourselves, we have lived to see the time when men shrink 
from addressing even to Supreme Deity the old customary 
rain-prayers, for the rainfall is passing from the region of 
the supernatural, to join the tides and seasons in the realm 
of physical science. 

1 Castr^n, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 36 ; Kalcwala, Rune ii. 317. 

* Marc. Antonin. v. 7. ' EI'-XTJ 'A.0rjva.t<i>v, vjov, VITOV, u> (j>i\e Zed, KCLTO. rrjt 
d/>o!'pa? TUIV \0 i]ve.ib)v KO.I rOiv ireSiwv. 

3 Petron. Arbiter. Sat. xliv. ' Antea stolatrc ibant nudis pedibus in 
clivum, passis capillis, mentibus puris, et Jovem aquam exorabant. Itaque 
statim urceatim pluebat : aut tune aut nunquam ; et omnes redibant udi 
tanquam mures.' Sec Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 160. 


The place of the Thunder-god in polytheistic religion is 
similar to that of the Rain-god, in many cases even to 
entire coincidence. But his character is rather of wrath 
than of beneficence, a character which we have half lost the 
power to realize, since the agonizing terror of the thunder- 
storm which appals savage minds has dwindled away in 
ours, now that we behold in it not the manifestation of 
divine wrath, but the restoration of electric equilibrium. 
North American tribes, as the Mandans, heard in the 
thunder and saw in the lightning the clapping wings and 
flashing eyes of that awful heaven-bird which belongs to, or 
even is, the Great Manitu himself. 1 The Dacotas could 
show at a place called Thunder-tracks, near the source of 
the St. Peter's River, the footprints of the thunder-bird 
five and twenty miles apart. It is to be noticed that these 
Sioux, among their varied fancies about thunder-birds and 
the like, give unusually well a key to the great thunderbolt- 
myth which recurs in so many lands. They consider the 
lightning entering the ground to scatter there in all direc- 
tions thunderbolt-stones, which are flints, &c., their reason 
for this notion being the very rational one, that these siliceous 
stones actually produce a flash when struck.* In an account 
of certain Carib deities, who were men and are now stars, 
occurs the name of Savacou, who was changed into a great 
bird ; he is captain of the hurricane and thunder, he blows 
fire through a tube and that is lightning, he gives the great 
rain. Rochefort describes the effect of a thunderstorm on 
the partly Europeanized Caribs of the West Indies two 
centuries ago. When they perceive its approach, he says, 
they quickly betake themselves to their cabins, and range 
themselves in the kitchen on their little seats near the fire ; 
hiding their faces and leaning their heads in their hands 
and on their knees, they fall to weeping and lamenting in 
their jargon ' Maboya mouche fache contre Caraibe,' i.e., 

1 Pr. Max v. Wied, ' N. Amer.' voL ii. pp. 152, 223 ; J. G. Muller, p. no ; 
Waitz, vol. iii. p. 179, 

1 Keating, 'Narr.' vol. i. p. 407; Eastman, 'Dahcotah,' p. 71 ; Brinton, 
p. 150, &c. ; see M'Coy, ' Baptist Indian Missions,' p. 363. 


Maboya (the evil demon) is very angry with the Caribs. 
This they say also when there comes a hurricane, not leaving 
off this dismal exercise till it is over, and there is no end to 
their astonishment that the Christians on these occasions 
manifest no such affliction and fear. 1 The Tupi tribes of 
Brazil are an example of a race among whom the Thunder 
or the Thunderer, Tupan, flapping his celestial wings and 
flashing with celestial light, was developed into the very 
representative of highest deity, whose name still stands 
among their Christian descendants as the equivalent of 
God.* In Peru, a mighty and far-worshipped deity was 
Catequil the Thunder-god, child of the Heaven-god, he 
who set free the Indian race from out of the ground by 
turning it up with his golden spade, he who in thunder- 
flash and clap hurls from his sling the small round smooth 
thunderstones, treasured in the villages as fire-fetishes and 
charms to kindle the flames of love. How distinct in per- 
sonality and high in rank was the Thunder and Lightning 
(Chuqui yllayllapa) in the religion of the Incas, may be 
judged from his huaca or fetish-idol standing on the bench 
beside the idols of the Creator and the Sun at the great 
Solar festival in Cuzco, when the beasts to be sacrificed were 
led round them, and the priests prayed thus : ' O Creator, 
and Sun, and Thunder, be for ever young ! do not grow old. 
Let all things be at peace ! let the people multiply, and their 
food, and let all other things continue to increase.' 3 

In Africa, we may contrast the Zulu, who perceives in 
thunder and lightning the direct action of Heaven or 
Heaven's lord, with the Yoruba, who assigns them not to 
Olorun the Lord of Heaven, but to a lower deity, Shango 
the Thunder-god, whom they call also Dzakuta the Stone- 
caster, for it is he who (as among so many other peoples 

1 De la Bordc, ' Caraibes,' p. 530 ; Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 431. 

1 De Laet, ' Novus Orbis,' xv. 2. Waitz, vol. iii. p. 417 ; J. G. Muller, 
p. 270 ; also 421 (thunderstorms by anger of Sun, in Cumana, &c.). 

* Brinton, p. 153; Herrera, ' Indias Occidentals,' Dec., v. 4. J. G. 
Muller p. 327. ' Rites and Laws of the Yncas,' tr. & ed. by C. R. Markham, 
p. 16, see 81 ; Prescott, ' Peru,' vol. i. p. 86. 


who have forgotten their Stone Age) flings down from 
heaven the stone hatchets which are found in the ground, 
and preserved as sacred objects. 1 In the religion of the 
Kamchadals, Billukai, the hem of whose garment is the 
rainbow, dwells in the clouds with many spirits, and sends 
thunder and lightning and rain.* Among the Ossetes of the 
Caucasus the Thunderer is Ilya, in whose name mytholo- 
gists trace a Christian tradition of Elijah, whose fiery 
chariot seems indeed to have been elsewhere identified with 
that of the Thunder-god, while the highest peak of jEgina, 
once the seat of Pan-hellenic Zeus, is now called Mount 
St. Elias. Among certain Moslem schismatics, it is even 
the historical Ali, cousin of Mohammed, who is enthroned 
in the clouds, where the thunder is his voice, and the light- 
ning the lash wherewith he smites the wicked. 3 Among the 
Turanian or Tatar race, the European branch shows most 
distinctly the figure of the Thunder-god. To the Lapps, 
Tiermes appears to have been the Heaven-god, especially 
conceived as Aija the Thunder-god ; of old they thought 
the Thunder (Aija) to be a living being, hovering in the air 
and hearkening to the talk of men, smiting such as spoke 
of him in an unseemly way; or, as some said, the Thunder- 
'god is the foe of sorcerers, whom he drives from heaven 
and smites, and then it is that men hear in thunder-peals 
the hurtling of his arrows, as he speeds them from his 
bow, the Rainbow. In Finnish poetry, likewise, Dkko 
the Heaven-god is portrayed with such attributes. The 
Runes call him Thunderer, he speaks through the clouds, 
his fiery shirt is the lurid storm-cloud, men talk of his stones 
and his hammer, he flashes his fiery sword and it lightens, 
or he draws his mighty rainbow, Ukko's bow, to shoot his 
fiery copper arrows, wherewith men would invoke him to 

1 Bowen, ' Yoruba Lang.' p. xvi. in ' Smithsonian Contr.' vol. i. See 
Burton, ' Dahome,' vol. ii. p. 142. Details as to thunder-axes, &c., in ' Early 
Hist, of Mankind,' ch. viii. 

1 Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 266. 

* Klemm, ' C. G.' vol. iv. p. 85. (Ossetes, &c.) See Welcker, vol. i. p. 170 ; 
Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 1 58. Bastian, ' Mensch.' vol. ii. p. 423 (Ali-sect.). 


smite their enemies. Or when it is dark in his heavenly 
house he strikes fire, and that is lightning. To this day 
the Philanders call a thunderstorm an ' ukko,' or an ' uk- 
konen,' that is, ' a little ukko/ and when it lightens they 
say, ' There is Ukko striking fire ! .' l 

What is the Aryan conception of the Thunder-god, but a 
poetic elaboration of thoughts inherited from the savage 
state through which the primitive Aryans had passed ? The 
Hindu Thunder-god is the Heaven-god Indra, Indra's bow 
is the rainbow, Indra hurls the thunderbolts, he smites his 
enemies, he smites the dragon-clouds, and the rain pours 
down on earth, and the sun shines forth again. The Veda 
is full of Indra's glories : ' Now will I sing the feats of 
Indra, which he of the thunderbolt did of old. He smote 
Ahi, then he poured forth the waters ; he divided the rivers 
of the mountains. He smote Ahi by the mountain ; Tvash- 
tar forged for him the glorious bolt.' ' Whet, O strong 
Indra, the heavy strong red weapon against the enemies ! ' 
' May the axe (the thunderbolt) appear with the light ; 
may the red one blaze forth bright with splendour ! ' 
' When Indra hurls again and again his thunderbolt, 
then they believe in the brilliant god.' Nor is Indra merely 
a great god in the ancient Vedic pantheon, he is the very 
patron-deity of the invading Aryan race in India, to whose 
help they look in their conflicts with the dark-skinned tribes 
of the land. ' Destroying the Dasyus, Indra protected the 
Aryan colour ' ' Indra protected in battle the Aryan 
worshipper, he subdued the lawless for Manu, he conquered 
the black skin.' 1 This Hindu Indra is the offspring of 
Dyaus the Heaven. But in the Greek religion, Zeus is 
himself Zeus Kerauneios, the wielder of the thunderbolt, 
and thunders from the cloud-capped tops of Ida or Olym- 
pos. In like manner the Jupiter Capitolinus of Rome is 
himself Jupiter Tonans : 

1 Castren, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 39, &c. 

' Rig- Veda,' i. 32. i, 55. 5, 130. 8, 165 ; iii. 34. 9 ; vi. 20 ; x. 44. 9, 89, 
9. Max Miiller, ' Lectures,' 2nd S. p. 427 ; ' Chips,' vol. i. p. 42, vol. ii. 
p. 323. See Muir, ' Sanskrit Texts.' 

II. 3 


' Ad penetrale Numae, CapJtolinumque Tonantem.' l 

Thus, also, it was in accurate language that the old Slavonic 
nations were described as adoring Jupiter Tonans as their 
highest god. He was the cloud-dwelling Heaven-god, his 
weapon the thunder-bolt, the lightning-flash, his name 
Perun the Smiter (Perkun, Perkunas). In the Lithuanian 
district, the thunder itself is Perkun ; in past times the 
peasant would cry when he heard the thunder peal ' Dewe 
Perkune apsaugog mus ! God Perkun spare us ! ' and to 
this day he says, ' Perkunas gravja ! Perkun is thunder- 
ing ! ' or ' Wezzajs barrahs ! the Old One growls ! ' The 
old German and Scandinavian theology made Thunder, 
Donar, Thor, a special deity to rule the clouds and rain, 
and hurl his crushing hammer theough the air. He reigned 
high in the Saxon heaven, till the days came when the 
Christian convert had to renounce him in solemn form, 
' ec forsacho Thunare ! I forsake Thunder ! ' Now, his 
survival is for the most part in mere verbal form, in the 
etymology of such names as Donnersberg, Thorwaldsen, 
Thursday. 3 

In the polytheism of the lower as of the higher races, 
the Wind-gods are no unknown figures. The Winds them- 
selves, and especially the Four Winds in their four regions, 
take name and shape as personal divinities, while some 
deity of wider range, a Wind-god, Storm-god, Air-god, or 
the mighty Heaven-god himself, may stand as compeller or 
controller of breeze and gale and tempest. We have 
already taken as examples from the Algonquin mythology 
of North America the four winds whose native legends 
have been versified in ' Hiawatha ; ' Mudjekeewis the West 
Wind, Father of the Winds of Heaven, and his children, 
Wabun the East Wind, the morning-bringer, the lazy 
Shawondasse the South Wind, the wild and cruel North 

1 Homer. II. viii. 170, xvii. 595. Ovid. Fast. ii. 69. See Welcker, 
' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. ii. p. 194. 
* Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' p. 257. 
3 Grimm, ' Deutsche Myth.' ch. viii. Edd i ; G y If agi lining, 21, 44. 

WIND-GOD. 267 

Wind, the fierce Kabibonokka. Viewed in their religious 
aspect, these mighty beings correspond with four of the 
great manitus sacrificed to among the Delawares, the West, 
South, East, and North ; while the Iroquois acknowledged 
a deity of larger grasp, Gaoh, the Spirit of the Winds, who 
holds them prisoned in the mountains in the Home of the 
Winds. 1 The Polynesian Wind-gods are thus described by 
Ellis : ' The chief of these were Veromatautoru and Tairibu 
brother and sister to the children of Taaroa, their dwelling 
was near the great rock, which was the foundation of the 
world. Hurricanes, tempests, and all destructive winds, 
were supposed to be confined within them, and were em- 
ployed by them to punish such as neglected the worship of 
the gods. In stormy weather their compassion was sought 
by the tempest-driven mariner at sea, or the friends of such 
on shore. Liberal presents, it was supposed, would at any 
time purchase a calm. If the first failed, subsequent ones 
were certain of success. The same means were resorted to 
for procuring a storm, but with less certainty. Whenever 
the inhabitants of one island heard of invasion from those 
of another, they immediately carried large offerings to these 
deities, and besought them to destroy by tempest the hos- 
tile fleet whenever it might put to sea. Some of the most 
intelligent people still think evil spirits had formerly great 
power over the winds, as they say there have been no such 
fearful storms since they abolished idolatry, as there were 
before.' Or, again, the great deity Maui adds a new com- 
plication to his enigmatic solar-celestial character by appear- 
ing as a Wind-God. In Tahiti he was identified with the 
East Wind ; in New Zealand he holds all the winds but the 
west in his hands, or he imprisons them with great stones 
rolled to the mouths of their caves, save the West Wind 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Algic Res.' vol. i. p. 139, vol. ii. p. 214; Loskiel, part i. 
p. 43; Waitz, vol. iii. p.. 190. Morgan, 'Iroquois,' p. 157; J. G. Miiller, 
p. 56. Further American evidence in Brinton, 'Myths of New World,' 
pp. 50, 74 ; Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 267 (Sillagiksartok, Weather-spirit) ; De la 
Borde, ' Caraibes,' p. 530 (Carib Star Curumon, makes the billows and upsets 


which he cannot catch or prison, so that it almost always 
blows. 1 To the Kamchadal, it is Billukai the Heaven-god 
who comes down and drives his sledge on earth, and men 
see his traces in the wind-drifted snow.* To the Finn, 
while there are traces of subordinate Wind-gods in his 
mythology, the great ruler of wind and storm is Ukko the 
Heaven-god ;* while the Esth looked rather to Tuule-ema, 
Wind's Mother, and when the gale shrieks he will still say 
' Wind's mother wails, who knows what mothers shall wail 
next.' 4 Such instances from Allophylian mythology 5 show 
types which are found developed in full vigour by the Aryan 
races. In the Vedic hymns, the Storm Gods, the Maruts. 
borne along with the fury of the boisterous winds, with the 
rain-clouds distribute showers over the earth, make dark- 
ness during the day, rend the trees and devour the forests 
like wild elephants . No e ff ort of the Red Indian's personify- 
ing fancy in the tales of the dancing Pauppuk-keewis the 
Whirlwind, or that fierce and shifty hero, Manabozho the 
North- West Wind, can more than match the description in 
the Iliad, of Achilles calling on Boreas and Zephyros with 
libations and vows of sacrifice, to blow into a blaze the 
funeral pyre of Patroklos 

.... his prayer 

Swift Iris heard, and bore it to the Winds. 
They in the hall of gusty Zephyrus 
Were gathered round the feast ; in haste appearing, 
Swift Iris on the stony threshold stood. 
They saw, and rising all, besought her each 
To sit beside him ; she with their requests 
Refused compliance, and addressed them thus,' &c. 

1 Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 329 (compare with the Maori Tempest-god 
Tawhirimatea, Grey, ' Polyn. Myth.' p. 5) ; Schirren, ' Wandersage der 
Neuseelander,' Ac. p. 85 ; Yate, ' New Zealand,' p. 144. See also Mariner, 
' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 1 1.5. 

2 Steller, ' Kamschatka,' p. z66. 

3 Castren, ' Finn. Myth.' pp. 37, 68. 

4 Boeder, pp. 106, 147. 

8 See also KJemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. iv. p. 85 (Circassian Water-god 
and Wind-god). 

Muir, ' Sanskrit Texts,' vol. v. p. 150. 

WIND-GOD. 269 

^Eolus with the winds imprisoned in his cave has the 
office of the Red Indian Spirit of the Winds, and of the 
Polynesian Maui. With quaint adaptation to nature-myth 
and even to moral parable, the Harpies, the Storm-gusts 
that whirl and snatch and dash and smirch with eddying 
dust-clouds, become the loathsome bird-monsters sent to 
hover over the table of Phineus to claw and defile his dainty 
viands. 1 If we are to choose an Aryan Storm-god for ideal 
grandeur, we must seek him in 

'. . . . the hall where Runic Odin 
Howls his war-song to the gale.' 

Jakob Grimm has denned Odin or Woden as ' the all- 
penetrating creative and formative power.' But such ab- 
stract conceptions can hardly be ascribed to his barbaric 
worshippers. As little may his real nature be discovered 
among the legends which degrade him to a historical king 
of Northern men, an ' Othinus rex.' See the All-father sit- 
ting cloud-mantled on his heaven-seat, overlooking the deeds 
of men, and we may discern in him the attributes of the 
Heaven-god. Hear the peasant say of the raging tempest, 
that it is ' Odin faring by ; ' trace the mythological transi- 
tion from Woden's tempest to the ' Wiitende Heer,' the 
' Wild Huntsman ' of our own grand storm-myth, and we 
shall recognize the old Teutonic deity in his function of 
cloud-compeller, of Tempest-god.* The ' rude Carinthian 
boor ' can show a relic from a yet more primitive stage of 
mental history, when he sets up a wooden bowl of various 
meats on a tree before his house, to fodder the wind that it 
may do no harm. In Swabia, Tyrol, and the Upper Pala- 
tinate, when the storm rages, they will fling a spoonful or 
a handful of meal in the face of the gale, with this formula 
in the last-named district, ' Da Wind, hast du Mehl fur 
dein Kind, aber aufhoren musst du ! '* 

1 Homer. II. xxiii. 192, Odyss. xx. 66, 77 ; Apollon. Rhod. Argonautica ; 
Apollodor. i. 9. 21 ; Virg. ./En. i. 56; Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. i. 
p. 707, vol. iii. p. 67. 

* Grimm, ' Deutsche Myth.' pp. 121, 871. 

8 Wuttke, ' Deutsche Volksabergl.' p. 86. 


The Earth-deity takes an important place in polytheistic 
religion. The Algonquins would sing medicine-songs to 
Mesukkummik Okwi, the Earth, the Great-Grandmother of 
all. In her charge (and she must be ever at home in her 
lodge) are left the animals whose flesh and skins are man's 
food and clothing, and the roots and medicines of sovereign 
power to heal sickness and kill game in time of hunger ; 
therefore good Indians never dig up the roots of which 
their medicines are made, without depositing an offering in 
the earth for Mesukkummik Okwi. 1 In the list of fetish- 
deities of Peruvian tribes, the Earth, adored as Mamapacha, 
Mother Earth, took high subordinate rank below Sun and 
Moon in the pantheon of the Incas, and at harvest-time 
ground corn and libations of chicha were offered to her 
that she might grant a good harvest. 2 Her rank is similar 
in the Aquapim theology of West Africa ; first the Highest 
God in the firmament, then the Earth as universal mother, 
then the fetish. The negro, offering his libation before 
some great undertaking, thus calls upon the triad : ' Crea- 
tor, come drink ! Earth, come drink ! Bosumbra, come 
drink ! >s 

Among the indigenes of India, the Bygah tribes of 
Seonee show a well-marked worship of the Earth. They 
call her ' Mother Earth ' or Dhurteemah, and before 
praying or eating their food, which is looked on always as 
a daily sacrifice, they invariably offer some of it to the 
earth, before using the name of any other god.* Of all 
religions of the world, perhaps that of the Khonds of Orissa 
gives the Earth-goddess her most remarkable place and 
function. Boora Pennu or Bella Pennu, the Light-god or 
Sun-god, created Tari Pennu the Earth-goddess for his 

1 Tanner's ' Narrative,' p. 193 ; Loskiel, I.e. See also Rochefort, ' lies 
Antilles,' p. 414 ; J. G. Miiller, p. 178 (Antilles). 

* Garcilaso de la Vega, ' Commentaries Reales,' i. 10 ; Rivero & Tschudi, 
p. 161 ; J. G. Miiller, p. 369. 

3 Waitz, ' Anthropologie,' vol. ii. p. 170. 

4 ' Report of Ethnological Committee, Jubbulpore Exhibition,' 1866-7. 
Nagpore, 1868, pan ii. p. ^4. 


consort, and from them were born the other great gods. 
But strife arose between the mighty parents, and it became 
the wife's work to thwart the good creation of her husband, 
and to cause all physical and moral ill. Thus to the Sun- 
worshipping sect she stands abhorred on the bad eminence 
of the Evil Deity. But her own sect, the Earth-worship- 
ping sect, seem to hold ideas of her nature which are more 
primitive and genuine. The functions which they ascribe 
to her, and the rites with which they propitiate her, display 
her as the Earth-mother, raised by an intensely agricultural 
race to an extreme height of divinity. It was she who with 
drops of her blood made the soft muddy ground harden 
into firm earth ; thus men learnt to offer human victims, 
and the whole earth became firm ; the pastures and ploughed 
fields came into use, and there were cattle and sheep and 
poultry for man's service ; hunting began, and there were 
iron and ploughshares and harrows and axes, and the 
juice of the palm-tree ; and love arose between the sons 
and daughters of the people, making new households, and 
society with its relations of father and mother, and wife 
and child, and the bonds between ruler and subject. It 
was the Khond Earth-goddess who was propitiated with 
those hideous sacrifices, the suppression of which is 
matter of recent Indian history. With dances and drunken 
orgies, and a mystery play to explain in dramatic dialogue 
the purpose of the rite, the priest offered Tari Pennu 
her sacrifice, and prayed for children and cattle and 
poultry and brazen pots and all wealth ; every man and 
woman wished a wish, and they tore the slave-victim 
piecemeal, and spread the morsels over the fields they 
were to fertilize. 1 In Northern Asia, also, among the 
Tatar races, the office of the Earth-deity is strongly and 
widely marked. Thus in the nature-worship of the 
Tunguz and Buraets, Earth stands among the greater 
divinities. It is especially interesting to notice among the 
Finns a transition like that just observed from the god 

1 Macpherson, ' India,' chap. vi. 


Heaven to the Heaven-god. In the designation of Maa- 
ema, Earth-mother, given to the earth itself, there may be 
traced survival from the stage of direct nature-worship, while 
the passage to the conception of a divine being inhabiting 
and ruling the material substance, is marked by the use of 
the name Maan emo, Earth's mother, for the ancient sub- 
terranean goddess whom men would ask to make the grass 
shoot thick and the thousandfold ears mount high, or might 
even entreat to rise in person out of the earth to give them 
strength. The analogy of other mythologies agrees with 
the definition of the divine pair who reign in Finn theology : 
as Ukko the Grandfather is the Heaven-god, so his spouse 
Akka the Grandmother is the Earth-goddess. 1 Thus in 
the ancient nature-worship of China, the personal Earth 
holds a place below the Heaven. Tien and Tu are closely 
associated in the national rites, and the idea of the pair 
as universal parents, if not an original conception in 
Chinese theology, is at any rate developed in Chinese 
classic symbolism. Heaven and Earth receive their solemn 
sacrifices not at the hands of common mortals but of the 
Son of Heaven, the Emperor, and his great vassals and 
mandarins. Yet their adoration is national ; they are wor- 
shipped by the people who offer incense to them on the 
hill-tops at their autumn festival, they are adored by suc- 
cessful candidates in competitive examination ; and, espe- 
cially and appropriately, the prostration of bride and 
bridegroom before the father and mother of all things, the 
' worshipping of Heaven and Earth/ is the all-important 
ceremony of a Chinese marriage. 1 

The Vedic hymns commemorate the goddess Prithivi, the 
broad Earth, and in their ancient strophes the modern 
Brahmans still pray for benefits to mother Earth and father 
Heaven, side by side : 

1 Georgi, ' Reise im Russ. Reich,' vol. i. pp. 275, 317. Castrln, ' Finn. 
Myth,' p. 86, &c. 

* Plath, ' Religion dcr alien Chincscn,' part i. pp. 36, 73, part ii. p. 32. 
Doolittle. ' Chinese,' vol. i. pp. 86, 354, 413, vol. ii. pp. 67, 380, 455. 


' Tanno Vato mayobhu vatu bheshajam tanmata Prithivt tatpita 
Dyauh.' 1 

Greek religion shows a transition to have taken place like 
that among the Turanian tribes, for the older simpler 
nature-deity Gaia, FT} TTCUTWV wrnp, Earth the All-Mother, 
seems to have faded into the more anthropomorphic De- 
meter, Earth-Mother, whose eternal fire burned in Man- 
tinea, and whose temples stood far and wide over the land 
which she made kindly to. the Greek husbandman.* The 
Romans acknowledged her plain identity as Terra Mater, 
Ops Mater. 8 Tacitus could rightly recognize this deity of 
his own land among German tribes, worshippers of ' Ner- 
thum (or, Hertham), id est Terram matrem,' Mother Earth, 
whose holy grove stood in an ocean isle, whose chariot 
drawn by cows passed through the land making a season of 
peace and joy, till the goddess, satiated with mortal conver- 
sation, was taken back by her priest to her temple, and the 
chariot and garments and even the goddess herself were 
washed in a secret lake, which forthwith swallowed up the 
ministering slaves ' hence a mysterious terror and sacred 
ignorance, what that should be which only the doomed to 
perish might behold.' 4 If in these modern days we seek 
in Europe traces of Earth-worship, we may find them in 
curiously distinct survival in Germany, if no longer in the 
Christmas food-offerings buried in and for the earth up to 
early in this century, 4 at any rate among Gypsy hordes. 
Dewel, the great god in heaven (dewa, deus), is rather 
feared than loved by these weatherbeaten outcasts, for he 
harms them on their wanderings with his thunder and 
lightning, his snow and rain, and his stars interfere with 
their dark doings. Therefore they curse him foully when 
misfortune falls on them, and when a child dies, they say 
that Dewel has eaten it. But Earth, Mother of all good, 

1 ' Rig-Veda,' i. 89. 4, &c., &c. 

* Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. i. p. 385, Stc. 

* Varro de Ling. Lat. iv. 

4 Tacit. Germania, 40. Grimm, ' Deutsche Myth.' p. 229, &c. 
4 Wuttkc, ' Deutsche Volksabergl.' p. 87. 


self-existing from the beginning, is to them holy, so holy 
that they take heed never to let the drinking-cup touch 
the ground, for it would become too sacred to be used by 
men. 1 

Water-worship, as has been seen, may be classified as a 
special department of religion. It by no means follows, 
however, that savage water-worshippers should necessarily 
have generalized their ideas, and passed beyond their par- 
ticular water-deities to arrive at the conception of a general 
deity presiding over water as an element. Divine springs, 
streams, and lakes, water-spirits, deities concerned with the 
clouds and rain, are frequent, and many details of them are 
cited here, but I have not succeeded in finding among the 
lower races any divinity whose attributes, fairly criticized, 
will show him or her to be an original and absolute ele- 
mental Water-god. Among the deities of the Dakotas, 
Unktahe the fish-god of the waters is a master-spirit of 
sorcery and religion, the rival even of the mighty Thunder- 
bird.* In the Mexican pantheon, Tlaloc god of rain and 
waters, fertilizer of earth and lord of paradise, whose wife 
is Chalchihuitlicue, Emerald-Skirt, dwells among the 
mountain-tops where the clouds gather and pour down the 
streams.* Yet neither of these mythic beings approaches 
the generality of conception that belongs to full elemental 
deity, and even the Greek Nereus, though by his name he 
should be the very personification of water (VTJPOS), seems 
too exclusively marine in his home and family to be cited 
as the Water-god. Nor is the reason of this hard to find. 
It is an extreme stretch of the power of theological gene- 
ralization to bring water in its myriad forms under one 
divinity, though each individual body of water, even the 
smallest stream or lake, can have its personal individuality 
or indwelling spirit. 

1 Liebich, ' Die Zigeuner,' pp. 30, 84. 

* Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes," part iii. p. 485 ; Eastman, ' Dahcotah,' 
pp. i. 118, 161. 

* Clavigero, vol. ii. p. 14. 


Islanders and coast-dwellers indeed live face to face with 
mighty water-deities, the divine Sea and the great Sea-gods. 
What the sea may seem to an uncultured man who first 
beholds it, we may learn among the Lampongs of Sumatra : 
' The inland people of that country are said to pay a kind 
of adoration to the sea, and to make to it an offering of 
cakes and sweetmeats on their beholding it for the first 
time, deprecating its power of doing them mischief.' 1 The 
higher stage of such doctrine is where the sea, no longer 
itself personal, is considered as ruled by indwelling spirits. 
Thus Tuaraatai and Ruahatu, principal among marine 
deities of Polynesia, send the sharks to execute their ven- 
geance. Hiro descends to the depths of the ocean and 
dwells among the monsters, they lull him to sleep in a 
cavern, the Wind-god profits by his absence to raise a 
violent storm to destroy the boats in which Hire's friends 
are sailing, but, roused by a friendly spirit-messenger, the 
Sea-god rises to the surface and quells the tempest.* This 
South Sea Island myth might well have been in the Odyssey. 
We may point to the Guinea Coast as a barbaric region 
where Sea-worship survives in its extremest form. It ap- 
pears from Bosnian's account, about 1700, that in the 
religion of Whydah, the Sea ranked only as younger bro- 
ther in the three divine orders, below the Serpents and 
Trees. But at present, as appears from Captain Burton's 
evidence, the religion of Whydah extends through Dahome, 
and the divine Sea has risen in rank. ' The youngest 
brother of the triad is Hu, the ocean or sea. Formerly it 
was subject to chastisement, like the Hellespont, if idle or 
useless. The Huno, or ocean priest, is now considered the 
highest of all, a fetish king, at Whydah, where he has 500 
wives. At stated times he repairs to the beach, begs ' Ag- 
bwe,' the . . . ocean god, not to be boisterous, and throws 
in rice and corn, oil and beans, cloth, cowries, and other valu- 
ables. ... At times the king sends as an ocean sacrifice 

1 Marsden, ' Sumatra,' p. 301 ; see also 303 (Tapals). 

2 Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 328. 


from Agbome a man carried in a hammock, with the dress, 
the stool, and the umbrella of a caboceer ; a canoe takes 
him out to sea, where he is thrown to the sharks.' 1 While 
in these descriptions the individual divine personality of the 
sea is so well marked, an account of the closely related 
Slave Coast religion states that a great god dwells in the 
sea, and it is to him, not to the sea itself, that offerings 
are cast in. 1 In South America the idea of the divine 
Sea is clearly marked in the Peruvian worship of Mama- 
cocha, Mother Sea, giver of food to men. 8 Eastern Asia, 
both in its stages of lower and higher civilization, contri- 
butes members to the divine group. In Kamchatka, Mitgk 
the Great Spirit of the Sea, fish-like himself, sends the fish 
up the rivers. 4 Japan deifies separately on land and at sea 
the lords of the waters ; Midsuno Kami, the Water-god, is 
worshipped during the rainy season ; Jebisu, the Sea-god, is 
younger brother of the Sun. 

Among barbaric races we thus find two conceptions 
current, the personal divine Sea and the anthropomorphic 
Sea-god. These represent two stages of development of 
one idea the view of the natural object as itself an ani- 
mated being, and the separation of its animating fetish-soul 
as a distinct spiritual deity. To follow the enquiry into 
classic times shows the same distinction as strongly marked- 
When Kleomenes marched down to Thyrea, having slaugh- 
tered a bull to the Sea (o-^ayioo-a/ievos Sc T-Q OaXaavg ravpov) 

he embarked his army in ships for the Tirynthian land and 
Nauplia.* Cicero makes Cotta remark to Balbus that ' our 
generals, embarking on the sea, have been accustomed to 
immolate a victim to the waves,' and he goes on to argue. 

1 Bosnian, ' Guinea,' letter xix. ; in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 494. Burton, 
'Dahome,' vol. ii. p. 141. See also below, chap, xviii. (sacrifice). . 

Schlegel, ' Ewe Sprache,' p. xiv. 

Garcilaso de la Vega, ' Commentaries Reales,' i. 10, vi. 17 ; Rivero & 
Tt hudi, ' Peru,' p. 161. 

Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 265. 

Siebold, ' Nippon,' part v. p. 9. 

Herod, vi. 76. 

SEA-GOD. 277 

not unfairly, that if the Earth herself is a goddess, what is 
she other than Tellus, and ' if the Earth, the Sea too, 
whom thou saidst to be Neptune.' 1 Here is direct nature- 
worship in its extremest sense of fetish-worship. But in 
the anthropomorphic stage appear that dim prae-Olympian 
figure of Nereus the Old Man of the Sea, father of the Ne- 
reids in their ocean caves, and the Homeric Poseidon the 
Earth-shaker, who stables his coursers in his cave in the 
jEgean deeps, who harnesses the gold-maned steeds to his 
chariot and drives through the dividing waves, while the 
subject sea-beasts come up at the passing of their lord, a 
king so little bound to the element he governs, that he can 
come from the brine to sit in the midst of the gods in the 
assembly on Olympos, and ask the will of Zeus.* 

Fire-worship brings into view again, though under dif- 
ferent aspects and with different results, the problems pre- 
sented by water-worship. The real and absolute worship 
of fire falls into two great divisions, the first belonging 
rather to fetishism, the second to polytheism proper, and 
the two apparently representing an earlier and later stage of 
theological ideas. The first is the rude barbarian's adora- 
tion of the actual flame which he watches writhing, roaring, 
devouring like a live animal ; the second belongs to an ad- 
vanced generalization, that any individual fire is a mani- 
festation of one general elemental being- the Fire-god. 
Unfortunately, evidence of the exact meaning of fire-worship 
among the lower races is scanty, while the transition from 
fetishism to polytheism seems a gradual process of which 
the stages elude close definition. Moreover, it must be 
borne in mind that rites performed with fire are, though 
often, yet by no means necessarily, due to worship of the 
fire itself. Authors who have indiscriminately mixed up 
such rites as the new fire, the perpetual fire, the passing 

1 Cicero, De Natura Deorum, iii. 20. 

1 Homer, II. i. 538, xiii. 18, xx. 13. Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. i. 
p. 616 (Nereus), p. 622 (Poseidon). Cox, ' Mythology of Aryan Nations,' 
vol. ii. ch. vi, 


through the fire, classing them as acts of fire-worship, with- 
out proper evidence as to their meaning in any particular 
case, have added to the perplexity of a subject not too easy 
to deal with; even under strict precautions. Two sources 
or error are especially to be noted. On the one hand, fire 
happens to be a usual means whereby sacrifices are trans- 
mitted to departed souls and deities in general ; and on the 
other hand, the ceremonies of earthly fire-worship are habi- 
tually and naturally transferred to celestial fire-worship in 
the religion of the Sun. 

It may best serve the -present purpose to carry a line of 
some of the best-defined facts which seems to bear on fire- 
worship proper, from savagery on into the higher culture. 
In the last century, Loskiel, a missionary among the North 
American Indians, remarks that ' In great danger, an 
Indian has been observed to lie prostrate on his face, and 
throwing a handful of tobacco into the fire, to call aloud, as 
in an agony of distress, " There, take and smoke, be paci- 
fied, and don't hurt me." ' Of course this may have been 
a mere sacrifice transmitted to some other spiritual being 
through fire, but we have in this region explicit statements 
as to a distinct fire-deity. The Delawares, it appears from 
the same author, acknowledged the Fire-manitu, first parent 
of all Indian nations, and celebrated a yearly festival in his 
honour, when twelve manitus, animal and vegetable, at- 
tended him as subordinate deities. 1 In North- West America, 
in Washington Irving's account of the Chinooks and other 
Columbia River Tribes, mention is made of the spirit which 
inhabits fire. Powerful both for evil and good, and seem- 
ingly rather evil than good in nature, this being must be 
kept in good humour by frequent offerings. The Fire-spirit 
has great influence with the winged aerial supreme deity, 
wherefore the Indians implore him to be their interpreter, 
to procure them success in hunting and fishing, fleet horses, 
obedient wives, and male children. 2 In the elaborately 

1 Loskiel, ' Ind. of N. A.' part i. pp. 41, 45. See also J. G. Muller, p. 55. 
1 Irving, ' Astoria,' vol. ii. ch. xxii. 

FIRE-GOD. 279 

systematic religion of Mexico, there appears in his proper 
place a Fire-god, closely related to the Sun-god in character, 
but keeping well marked his proper identity. His name 
was Xiuhteuctli, Fire-lord, and they called him likewise 
Huehueteotl, the old god. Great honour was paid to this 
god Fire, who gives them heat, and bakes their cakes, and 
roasts their meat. Therefore at every meal the first morsel 
and libation were cast into the fire, and every day the deity 
had incense burnt to him. Twice in the year were held his 
solemn festivals. At the first, a felled tree was set up in 
his honour, and the sacrificers danced round his fire with 
the human victims, whom afterwards they cast into a great 
fire, only to drag them out half roasted for the priests to 
complete the sacrifice. The second was distinguished by 
the rite of the new fire, so well known in connexion with 
solar worship ; the friction-fire was solemnly made before 
the image of Xiuhteuctli in his sanctuary in the court of 
the great teocalli, and the game brought in at the great 
hunt which began the festival was cooked at the sacred 
fire for the banquets that ended it. 1 Polynesia well knows 
from the mythological point of view Mahuika the Fire-god, 
who keeps the volcano-fire on his subterranean hearth, 
whither Maui goes down (as the Sun into the Underworld) 
to bring up fire for man ; but in the South Sea islands 
there is scarcely a trace of actual rites of fire-worship.* In 
West Africa, among the gods of Dahome is Zo the fire- 
fetish ; a pot of fire is placed in a room, and sacrifice is 
offered to it, that fire may ' live ' there, and not go forth 
to destroy the house. 3 

Asia is a region where distinct fire-worship may be pecu- 
liarly well traced through the range of lower and higher 
civilization. The rude Kamchadals, worshipping all things 

1 Torquemada, ' Monarquia Indiana,' vi. c. 28, x. c. 22, 30 ; Brasseur, 
' Mexique,' vol. iii. pp. 492, 522, 536. 

* Schirren, ' Wandersage dcr Neuscelander,' &c., p. 32 ; Turner, ' Poly- 
nesia,' pp. 252, 527. 

3 Burton, ' Dahome,' vol. ii. p. 148 ; Schlcgel, ' Ewe Sprache,' p. xv. 


that did them harm or good, worshipped the fire, offering 
to it noses of foxes and other game, so that one might tell 
by looking at furs whether they had been taken by baptized 
or heathen hunters. 1 The Ainos of Yesso worship Abe kamui 
the Fire-deity as the benefactor of men, the messenger to 
the other gods, the purifier who heals the sick. 1 Turanian 
tribes likewise hold fire a sacred element, many Tunguz, Mon- 
gol, and Turk tribes sacrifice to Fire, and some clans will not 
eat meat without first throwing a morsel upon the hearth. 
The following passage is from a Mongol wedding-song to 
the personified Fire, ' Mother Ut, Queen of Fire, thou who 
art made from the elm that grows on the mountain-tops of 
Changgai-Chan and Burchatu-Chan, thou who didst come 
forth when heaven and earth divided, didst come forth from 
the footsteps of Mother Earth, and wast formed by the 
King of Gods. Mother Ut, whose father is the hard steel, 
whose mother is the flint, whose ancestors are the elm-trees, 
whose shining reaches to the sky and pervades the earth. 
Goddess Ut, we bring thee yellow oil for offering, and a 
white wether with yellow head, thou who hast a manly son, 
a beauteous daughter-in-law, bright daughters. To thee, 
Mother Ut, who ever lookest upward, we bring brandy in 
bowls, and fat in both hands. Give prosperity to the 
King's son (the bridegroom), to the King's daughter (the 
bride), and to all the people ! ' 8 As an analogue to 
Hephaistos the Greek divine smith, may stand the Cir- 
cassian Fire-god, Tleps, patron of metal-workers, and the 
peasants whom he has provided with plough and hoe. 4 

Among the most ancient cultured nations of the Old 
World, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, accounts of fire- 
worship are absent, or so scanty and obscure that their 

1 Steller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 276. 

* Batchelor in ' Tr. As. Soc. Japan,' vols. x. xvi. 

3 Castren, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 57 ; Billings, ' N. Russia,' p. 123 (Yakuts) 
Bastian, ' Vorstellungcn von Wasser und Feuer,' in ' Zeitschr. fur Ethno- 
logic,' vol. i. p. 383 (Mongols). 

4 Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. vi. p. 85 (Circassia). Welcker, vol. i. 
p. 663. 

FIRE-GOD. 28l 

study is more valuable in compiling the history than in 
elucidating the principles of religion. 1 For this scientific 
purpose, the more full and minute documents of Aryan 
religion can give a better answer. In various forms and 
under several names, the Fire-god is known. Nowhere 
does he carry his personality more distinctly than under 
his Sanskrit name of Agni, a word which keeps its quality, 
though not his divinity, in the Latin ' ignis.' The name 
of Agni is the first word of the first hymn of the Rig- Veda : 
Agnim ile puro-hitarh yajnasya devarh ritvijam 1 Agni I 
entreat, divine appointed priest of sacrifice ! ' The sacri- 
fices which Agni receives go to the gods, he is the mouth 
of the gods, but he is no lowly minister, as it is said in 
another hymn : 

' No god indeed, no mortal is beyond the might of thee, the mighty 
one, with the Maruts come hither, O Agni ! ' 

Such the mighty Agni is among the gods, yet he comes 
within the peasant's cottage to be protector of the domestic 
hearth. His worship has survived the transformation of the 
ancient patriarchal Vedic religion of nature into the priest- 
ridden Hinduism of our own day. In India there may yet be 
found the so-called Fire-priests (Agnihotri) who perform ac- 
cording to Vedic rite the sacrifices entitling the worshippers 
to heavenly life. The sacred fire-drill for churning the 
new fire by friction of wood (arani) is used so that Agni 
still is new-born of the twirling fire-sticks, and receives 
the melted butter of the sacrifice. 8 Among the records of 
fire-worship in Asia, is the account of Jonas Hanways's 
' Travels,' dating from about 1740, of the everlasting fire 
at the burning wells near Baku, on the Caspian. At the 
sacred spot stood several ancient stone temples, mostly 
arched vaults 10 to 15 feet high. One little temple was 

1 See 'Records of the Past,' vol. iii. p. 137, vol. ix. p. 143; Sayce, 
' Lectures on Rel. of Ancient Babylonians,' p. 170. For accounts of Semitic 
fire-worship, see Movers, ' Phonizier,' vol. i. p. 327, &c., 337, &c., 401. 

2 ' Rig- Veda,' i. I. i, 19. 2, iii. I. 18, &c. ; Max Miiller, vol. i. p. 39 ; 
Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 53. Haug, ' Essays on Parsis,' iv. ; ' Early 
Hist, of Mankind,' p. 255. 


still used for worship, near the altar of which, about 
three feet high, a large hollow cane conveyed the gas up 
from the ground, burning at the mouth with a blue flame. 
Here were generally forty or fifty poor devotees, come on 
pilgrimage from their country to make expiation for them- 
selves and others, and subsisting on wild celery, &c. These 
pilgrims are described as marking their foreheads with 
saffron, and having great veneration for a red cow ; they 
wore little clothing, and the holiest of them kept one arm 
on their heads, or continued unmoved in some other pos- 
ture ; they are described as Ghebers, or Gours, the usual 
Moslem term for Fire-worshippers. 1 

In general, this name of Ghebers is applied to the 
Zoroastrians or Parsis, whom a modern European would all 
but surely point to if asked to instance a modern race of 
Fire-worshippers. Classical accounts of the Persian reli- 
gion set down fire-worship as part and parcel of it ; the 
Magi, it is recorded, hold the gods to be Fire and Earth 
and Water ; and again, the Persians reckon the Fire to be 
a god (0eo</>opoGo-tv). s On the testimony of the old religious 
books of the Parsis themselves, Fire, as the greatest Ized, 
as giver of increase and health, as craving for wood and 
scents and fat, seems to take the distinctest divine per- 
sonality. Their doctrine that Ardebehist, the presiding 
angel or spirit of fire, is adored, but not the material object 
he belongs to, is a perfect instance of the development of 
the idea of an elemental divinity from that of an animated 
fetish. When, driven by Moslem persecution from Persia, 
Parsi exiles landed in Gujarat, they described their reli- 
gion in an official document as being the worship of Agni 
or Fire, thus claiming for themselves a place among recog- 
nized Hindu sects. 3 In modern times, though for the most 
part the Parsis have found toleration and prosperity in 

1 Hanway, ' Journal of Travels,' London, 1753, vol. i. ch. Ivii. 

8 Diog. Laert. Prooem. ii. 6. Sextus Empiricus adv. Physicos, ix. ; Strabo, 
xv. 3, 13. 

8 John Wilson, ' The Parsi Religion,' ch. iv. ; ' Avesta,' tr. by Spiegel, 
Yacna, i. Ixi. 

FIRE-GOD. 283 

India, yet an oppressed remnant of the race still keeps up 
the everlasting fires at Yezd and Kirman, in their old Per- 
sian land. The modern Parsis, as in Strabo's time, scruple 
to defile the fire or blow it with their breath, they abstain 
from smoking out of regard not to themselves but to the 
sacred element, and they keep up consecrated ever-burning 
fires before which they do worship. Nevertheless, Prof. 
Max Miiller is able to say of the Parsis of our own day : 
' The so-called Fire-worshippers certainly do not worship 
the fire, and they naturally object to a name which seems 
to place them on a level with mere idolaters. All they 
admit is, that in their youth they are taught to face some 
luminous object while worshipping God, and that they 
regard the fire, like other great natural phenomena, as an 
emblem of the Divine power. But they assure us that they 
never ask assistance or blessings from an unintelligent 
material object, nor is it even considered necessary to turn 
the face to any emblem whatever in praying to Ormuzd ' l 
Now, admitting this view of fire-worship as true of the more 
intelligent Parsis, and leaving aside the question how far 
among the more ignorant this symbolism may blend (as in 
such cases is usual) into actual adoration, we may ask what 
is the history of ceremonies which thus imitate, yet are not, 
fire-worship. The ethnographic answer is clear and instruc- 
tive. The Parsi is the descendant of a race in this respect 
represented by the modern Hindu, a race who did simply 
and actually worship Fire. Fire-worship still forms a link 
historically connecting the Vedic with the Zoroastrian 
ritual ; for the Agnishtoma or praise of Agni the Fire, 
where four goats are to be sacrificed and burnt, is repre- 
sented by the Yajishn ceremony, where the Parsi priests 
are now content to put some hair of an ox in a vessel and 
show in to the Fire. But the development of the more 
philosophic Zarathustrian doctrines has led to a result com- 
mon in the history of religion, that the ancient distinctly 

1 Max Miiller, ' Chips,' vol. i. p. 169. Haug, ' Essays on Parsis,' p. 281. 


meant rite has dwindled to a symbol, to be preserved with 
changed sense in a new theology. 

Somewhat of the same kind may have taken place among 
the European race who seem in some respects the closest 
relatives of the old Persians. Slavonic history possibly 
keeps up some trace of direct and absolute fire-worship, as 
where in Bohemia the Pagans are described as worshipping 
fires, groves, trees, stones. But though the Lithuanians 
and Old Prussians and Russians are among the nations 
whose especial rite it was to keep up sacred everlasting fires, 
yet it seems that their fire-rites were in the symbolic stage, 
ceremonies of their great celestial-solar religion, rather than 
acts of direct worship to a Fire-god. 1 Classical religion, 
on the other hand, brings prominently into view the special 
deities of fire. Hephaistos, Vulcan, the divine metallurgist 
who had his temples on JEtna. and Lipari, stands in especial 
connexion with the subterranean volcanic fire, and combines 
the nature of the Polynesian Mahuika and the Circassian 
Tleps. The Greek Hestia, the divine hearth, the ever- 
virgin venerable goddess, to whom Zeus gave fair office 
instead of wedlock, sits in the midst of the house, receiv- 
ing fat : 

Tfl 8 irarrjp Zev? 8(oKf KaXhv yepas dvrl ydfioio, 
Kai rt. /zr<t> ouc(j> KO.T' ap' CTO rriap 

In the high halls of gods and men she has her everlasting 
seat, and without her are no banquets among mortals, for 
to Hestia first and last is poured the honey-sweet wine : 

EOTIT;, YI TravTiov ev S<o/&a<riv v 
AOavdratv re $<3v X a / xa ' ep\OfjV<av r avdpwirtav 

KaXbv e\ovcra yepas tat TI/XIOV ov yap arep crov 


ea oivov. 9 

In Greek civil life, Hestia sat in house and assembly as 

1 Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' pp. 88, 98. 

* Homer. Hymn. Aphrod. 29, Hestia i. Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' 
vol. ii. pp. 686, 691. 

SUN-GOD. 285 

representative of domestic and social order Like her in 
name and origin, but not altogether in development, is 
Vesta with her ancient Roman cultus, and her retinue of 
virgins to keep up her pure eternal fire in her temple, need- 
ing no image, for she herself dwelt within : 

' Esse diu stultus Vesta- simulacra putavi : 

Mox didici curvo nulla subesse tholo. 
Ignis inextinctus templo celatur in illo. 
Effigiem nullam Vesta nee ignis habet.' 1 

The last lingering relics of fire-worship in Europe reach us, 
as usual, both through Turanian and Aryan channels of 
folklore. The Esthonian bride consecrates her new hearth 
and home by an offering of money cast into the fire, or laid 
on the oven for Tule-ema, Fire-mother. 2 The Carinthian 
peasant will ' fodder ' the fire to make it kindly, and throw 
lard or dripping to it, that it may not burn his house. To 
the Bohemian it is a godless thing to spit into the fire, 
' God's fire ' as he calls it. It is not right to throw away 
the crumbs after a meal, for they belong to the fire. Of 
every kind of dish some should be given to the fire, and if 
some runs over it is wrong to scold, for it belongs to the 
fire. It is because these rites are now so neglected that 
harmful fires so often break out. 3 

What the Sea is to Water-worship, in some measure the 
Sun is to Fire-worship. From the doctrines and rites of 
earthly fire, various and ambiguous in character, generalized 
from many phenomena, applied to many purposes, we pass 
to the religion of heavenly fire, whose great deity has a 
perfect definiteness from his embodiment in one great indi- 
vidual fetish, the Sun. 

Rivalling in power and glory the all-encompassing Heaven, 
the Sun moves eminent among the deities of nature, no 
mere cosmic globe affecting distant material worlds by force 

1 Ovid. Fast. vi. 295. 
* Boeder, ' Ehsten Abergl.' p. 29, &c. 

3 Wuttke, ' Volksabergl.' p. 86. Grohmann, ' Aberglauben aus Bohmen,' 
p. 41. 


in the guise of light and heat and gravity, but a living 
reigning Lord : 

' O thou, that with surpassing glory crown'd, 
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God 
Of this new world.' 

It is no exaggeration to say, with Sir William Jones, that 
one great fountain of all idoltary in the four quarters of the 
globe was the veneration paid by men to the sun : it is no 
more than an exaggeration to say with Mr. Helps of the 
sun-worship in Peru, that it was inevitable. Sun-worship is 
by no means universal among the lower races of mankind, 
but manifests itself in the upper levels of savage religion 
in districts far and wide over the earth, often assuming the 
prominence which it keeps and develops in the faiths of 
the barbaric world. Why some races are sun-worshippers 
and others not, is indeed too hard a question to answer in 
general terms. Yet one important reason is obvious, that 
the Sun is not so evidently the god of wild hunters and 
fishers, as of the tillers of the soil, who watch him day by 
day giving or taking away their wealth and their very life. 
On the geographical significance of sun-worship, D'Orbigny 
has made a remark, suggestive if not altogether sound, 
connecting the worship of the sun not so much with the 
torrid regions where his glaring heat oppresses man all day 
long, and drives him to the shade for refuge, as with 
climates where his presence is welcomed for his life-giving 
heat, and nature chills at his departure. Thus while the 
low sultry forests of South America show little prominence 
of Sun-worship, this is the dominant organized cultus of 
the high table-lands of Peru and Cundinamarca. 1 The 
theory is ingenious, and if not carried too far may often be 
supported. We may well compare the feelings with which 
the sun-worshipping Massagetae of Tartary must have 
sacrificed their horses to the deity who freed them from the 
miseries of winter, with the thoughts of men in those burn- 

1 D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Am^ricain,' vol. i. p. 242. 

SUN-GOD. 287 

ing lands of Central Africa where, as Sir Samuel Baker 
says, ' the rising of the sun is always dreaded . . . the sun 
is regarded as the common enemy,' words which recall 
Herodotus' old description of the Atlantes or Atarantes who 
dwelt in the interior of Africa, who cursed the sun at his 
rising, and abused him with shameful epithets for afflicting 
them with his burning heat, them and their land. 1 

The details of Sun-worship among the native races of 
America give an epitome of its development among man- 
kind at large. Among many of the ruder tribes of the 
northern continent, the Sun is looked upon as one of the 
great deities, as representative of the greatest deity, or as 
that greatest deity himself. Indian chiefs of Hudson's Bay 
smoked thrice to the rising sun. In Vancouver Island men 
pray in time of need to the sun as he mounts toward the 
zenith. Among the Delawares the sun received sacrifice as 
second among the twelve great manitus : the Virginians 
bowed before him with uplifted hands and eyes as he rose 
and set ; the Pottawatomis would climb sometimes at sun- 
rise on their huts, to kneel and offer to the luminary a mess 
of Indian corn ; his likeness is found representing the 
Great Manitu in Algonquin picture-writings. Father Hen- 
nepin, whose name is well known to geologists as the 
earliest visitor to the Falls of Niagara, about 1678, gives 
an account of the native tribes, Sioux and others, of this 
far-west region. He describes them as venerating the Sun, 
' which they recognize, though only in appearance, as the 
Maker and Preserver of all things ; ' to him first they offer 
the calumet when they light it, and to him they often 
present the best and most delicate of their game in the lodge 
of the chief, ' who profits more by it than the Sun.' The 
Creeks regarded the Sun as symbol or minister of the Great 
Spirit, sending toward him the first puff of the calumet at 
treaties, and bowing reverently toward him in confirming 
their council talk or haranguing their warriors to battle. 2 

1 Herod, i. 216, iv. 184. Baker, 'Albert Nyanza,' vol. i. p. 144. 

1 Waitz, ' Anthropologie,' vol. iii. p. 181 (Hudson's B., Pottawatomies), 


Among the rude Botocudos of Brazil, the idea of the Sun 
as the great good deity seems not unknown ; the Arauca- 
nians are described as bringing offerings to him as highest 
deity ; the Puelches as ascribing to the sun, and praying to 
him for, all good things they possess or desire ; the Dia- 
guitas of Tucuman as having temples dedicated to the Sun, 
whom they adored, and to whom they consecrated birds' 
feathers, which they then brought back to their cabins, and 
sprinkled from time to time with the blood of animals. 1 

Such accounts of Sun-worship appearing in the lower 
native culture of America, may be taken to represent its 
first stage. It is on the whole within distinctly higher cul- 
ture that its second stage appears, where it has attained to 
full development of ritual and appurtenance, and become in 
some cases even the central doctrine of national religion 
and statecraft. Sun-worship had reached this level among 
the Natchez of Louisiana, with whom various other tribes of 
this district stood in close relation. Every morning at sun- 
rise the great Sun-chief stood at the house-door facing the 
east, shouted and prostrated himself thrice, and smoked 
first toward the sun, and then toward the other three 
quarters. The Sun-temple was a circular hut some thirty 
feet across and dome-roofed : here in the midst was kept up 
the everlasting fire, here prayer was offered thrice daily, and 
here were kept images and fetishes and the bones of dead 
chiefs. The Natchez government was a solar hierarchy. 
At its head stood the great chief, called the Sun or the 

205 (Virginians). J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrel.' p. 117 (Delawares, Sioux, 
Mingos, &c.). Sproat, ' Ind. of Vancouver's I.' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. v. 
p. 253. Loskiel, ' Ind. of N. A.' part i. p. 43 (Delawares). Hennepin, ' Voyage 
dans I'Amerique,' p. 302 (Sioux), &c. Bartram, ' Creek and Cherokee Ind.' 
in ' Tr. Amer. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. part i. pp. 20, 26 ; see also Schoolcraft, 
' Ind. Tribes,' part ii. p. 127 (Comanches, &c.) ; Morgan, ' Iroquois,' p. 164 ; 
Gregg, vol. ii. p. 238 (Shawnees) ; but compare the remarks of Brinton, 
' Myths of New World,' p. 141. 

1 Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 327 (Botocudos). Waitz, vol. iii. 
p. 518 (Araucanians). Dobrizhoffer, vol. ii. p. 89 (Puelches). Charlevoix, 
'Hist, du Paraguay," vol. i. p. 331 (Diaguitas). J. G. Miiller, p. 255 
(Botocudos, Aucas, Diaguitas). 

SUN-GOD. 289 

Sun's brother, high priest and despot over his people. By 
his side stood his sister or nearest female relative, the 
female chief who of all women was alone permitted to 
enter the Sun-temple. Her son, after the custom of female 
succession common among the lower races, would succeed 
to the primacy and chiefship ; and the solar family took to 
themselves wives and husbands from the plebeian order, 
who were their inferiors in life, and were slain to follow them 
as attendants in death. 1 Another nation of sun-worship- 
pers were the Apalaches of Florida, whose daily service was 
to salute the Sun at their doors as he rose and set. The 
Sun, they said, had built his own conical mountain of 
Olaimi, with its spiral path leading to the cave-temple, in 
the east side. Here, at the four solar festivals, -the 
worshippers saluted the rising sun with chants and incense 
as his rays entered the sanctuary, and 'again when at mid- 
day the sunlight poured down upon the altar through the 
hole or shaft pierced for this purpose in the rocky vault of 
the cave ; through this passage the sun-birds, the tonat- 
zuli, were let fly up sunward as messengers, and the cere- 
mony was over. 8 Day by day, in the temples of Mexico, 
the rising sun was welcomed with blast of horns, and 
incense, and offering of a little of the officiators' own blood 
drawn from their ears, and a sacrifice of quails. Saying, 
the Sun has risen, we know not how he will fulfil his 
course nor whether misfortune will happen, they prayed to 
him ' Our Lord, do your office prosperously.' In dis- 
tinct and absolute personality, the divine Sun in Aztec 
theology was Tonatiuh, whose huge pyramid-mound stands 
on the plain of Teotihuacan, a witness of his worship for 
future ages. Beyond this, the religion of Mexico, in its 
complex system or congeries of great gods, such as results 
from the mixture and alliance of the deities of several 
nations, shows the solar element rooted deeply and widely 
in other personages of its divine mythology, and attributes 

1 Charlevoix, ' Nouvelle France,' vol. vi. p. 172 ; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 217. 
* Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' book ii. ch. viii. 


especially to the Sun the title of Teotl, God. 1 Again, 
the high plateau of Bogota in New Granada was the seat 
of the semi-civilized Chibchas or Muyscas, of whose myth- 
ology and religion the leading ideas were given by the 
Sun. The Sun was the great deity to whom the human 
sacrifices were offered, and especially the holiest sacrifice, 
the blood of a pure captive youth daubed on a rock on a 
mountain-top for the rising sun to shine on. In native 
Muysca legend, the mythic civilizer of the land, the teacher 
of agriculture, the founder of the theocracy and institutor 
of sun-worship, is a figure in whom we cannot fail to 
discern the personal Sun himself. 1 It is thus, lastly, in 
the far more celebrated native theocracy to the south. In 
the royal religion of Peru, the Sun was at once ancestor 
and founder of the dynasty of Incas, who reigned as his 
representatives and almost in his person, who took wives 
from the convent of virgins of the Sun, and whose de- 
scendants were the solar race, the ruling aristocracy. The 
Sun's innumerable flocks of llamas grazed on the mountains, 
and his fields were tilled in the valleys, his temples stood 
throughout the land, and first among them the ' Place of 
Gold ' in Cuzco, where his new fire was kindled at the 
annual solar festival of Raymi, and where his splendid 
golden disc with human countenance looked forth to receive 
the first rays of its divine original. Sun-worship was 
ancient in Peru, but it was the Incas who made it the great 
state religion, imposing it wherever their wide conquests 
reached, till it became the central idea of Peruvian life. 3 

1 Torquemada, ' Monarquia Indiana,' ix. c. 34 ; Sahagun, ' Hist, de Nueva 
Espana,' ii. App. in Kingsborough, ' Antiquities of Mexico ; ' Waitz, vol. iv. 
p. 138; J. G. Miiller, p. 474, &c. ; Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 487; 
Tylor, ' Mexico," p. 141. 

a Piedrahita,' Hist. Gen. de las Conquistas del Nuevo Reynode Granada,' 
Antwerp, 1688 : part i. book i. c. iii. iv. ; Humboldt, ' Vues des Cordilleres ; ' 
Waitz, vol. iv. p. 352, &c. ; J. G. Miiller, p. 432, &c. 

8 Garcilaso de la Vega, ' Commentaries Reales,' lib. i. c. 1 5, &c., iii. c. 20 ; 
v. c. 2, 6 ; ' Rites and Laws of the Yncas,' tr. & ed. by C. R. Markham, 
(Hakluyt Soc., 1873) P- 8 4 5 Prescott, ' Peru,' book i. ch. iii. ; Waitz, vol. 
iv. p. 447, &c. ; J. G. Miiller, p. 362, &c. 

SUN-GOD. 291 

The culture of the Old World never surpassed this highest 
range of Sun-worship in the New. 

. In Australia and Polynesia the place of the solar god or 
hero is rather in myth than in religion. In Africa, though 
found in some districts, 1 Sun-worship is not very con- 
spicuous out of Egypt. In tracing its Old World develop- 
ment, we begin among the ruder Allophylian tribes of Asia, 
and end among the great polytheistic nations. The north- 
east quarter of India shows the doctrine well denned among 
the indigenous stocks. The Bodo and Dhimal place the Sun 
in the pantheon as an elemental god, though in practical 
rank below the sacred rivers. 2 The Kol tribes of Bengal, 
Mundas, Oraons, Santals, know and worship as supreme, 
Sing-bonga, the Sun-god ; to him some tribes offer white 
animals in token of his purity, and while not regarding him 
as author of sickness or calamity, they will resort to him 
when other divine aid breaks down in sorest need. 3 Among 
the Khonds, Bura Pennu the Light-god, or Bella Pennu 
the Sun-god, is creator of all things in heaven and earth, 
and great first cause of good. As such, he is worshipped 
by his own sect above the ranks of minor deities whom he 
brought into being to carry out the details of the universal 
work.* The Tatar tribes with much unanimity recognize as 
a great god the Sun, whose figure may be seen beside the 
Moon's on their magic drums, from Siberia to Lapland. 
Castre"n, the ethnologist, speaking of the Samoyed expres- 
sion for heaven or deity in general (jilibeambaertje), tells an 
anecdote from his travels, which gives a lively idea of the 
thorough simple nature-religion still possible to the wan- 
derers of the steppes. ' A Samoyed woman,' he says, ' told 
me it was her habit every morning and evening to step out 
of her tent and bow down before the sun ; in the morning 

1 Meiners, ' Gesch. der Rel.' vol. i. p. 383. Burton, ' Central Afr.' vol ii.. 
p. 346 ; ' Dahome,' vol. ii. p. 147. 

1 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' pp. 167, 175 (Bodos, &c.). 

8 Dalton, ' Kols,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 33 (Oraons, &c.) ; Hunter, 
' Annals of Rural Bengal,' p. 184 (Santals). 

4 Macpherson, ' India,' p. 84, &c. (Khonds). 


saying, ' When thou Jilibeambaertje risest, I too rise from 
my bed ! ' in the evening, ' When thou Jilibeambaertje sinkest 
down, I too get me to rest ! ' The woman brought this as a 
proof of her assertion that even among the Samoyeds they 
said their morning and evening prayers, but she added with 
pity that ' there were also among them wild people who never 
sent up a prayer to God.' Mongol hordes may still be met 
with whose shamans invoke the Sun, and throw milk up 
into the air as an offering to him, while the Karagas Tatars 
would bring to him as a sacrifice the head and heart of 
bear or stag. Tunguz, Ostyaks, Woguls, worship him in a 
character blending with that of their highest deity and 
Heaven-god ; while among the Lapps, Baiwe the Sun, 
though a mighty deity, stood in rank below Tiermes the 
Thunder-god, and the great celestial ruler who had come to 
bear the Norwegian name of Storjunkare. 1 

In direct personal nature-worship like that of Siberian 
nomades of our day, the solar cultus of the ancient pastoral 
Aryans had its source. The Vedic bards sing of the great 
god Surya, knower of beings, the all-revealer before whom 
the stars depart with the nights like thieves. We approach 
Surya (they say) shining god among the gods, light most 
glorious. He shines on the eight regions, the three worlds, 
the seven rivers ; the golden-handed Savitar, all-seeing, 
goes between heaven and earth. To him they pray, ' On 
thy ancient paths, O Savitar, dustless, well made, in the 
air, on those good-going paths this day preserve us and 
bless us, O God ! ' Modern Hinduism is full of the 
ancient Sun-worship, in offerings and prostrations, in daily 
rites and appointed festivals, and it is Savitar the Sun 
who is invoked in the ' gayatri,' the time-honoured formula 
repeated day by day since long-past ages by every Brah- 
man : ' Tat Savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi 

1 Castrdn, ' Finn. Myth.' pp. 16, 51, &c. Meiners, I.e. Georgi, ' Reise im 
Russ. Reich.' vol. i. pp. 275, 317. Klemm, ' Cultur-Geschichte,' voL iii. p. 87. 
Sun-Worship in Japan, Siebold, ' Nippon," part v. p. 9. For further evidence 
as to savage and barbaric worship of the Sun as Supreme Deity, see chap. 

SUN-GOD. 293 

dhiyo yo nah prakodayat. Let us meditate on the desirable 
light of the divine Sun ; may he rouse our minds ! ' Every 
morning the Brahman worships the sun, standing on one 
foot and resting the other against his ankle or heel, looking 
towards the east, holding his hands open before him in a 
hollow form, and repeating to himself these prayers : ' The 
rays of light announce the splendid fiery sun, beautifully 
rising to illumine the universe.' ' He rises, wonderful, the 
eye of the sun, of water, and of fire, collective power of 
gods ; he fills heaven, earth, and sky with his luminous net ; 
he is the soul of all that is fixed or locomotive.' ' That 
eye, supremely beneficial, rises pure from the east ; may we 
see him a hundred years ; may we live a hundred years ; 
may we hear a hundred years.' ' May we, preserved by 
the divine power, contemplating heaven above the region of 
darkness, approach the deity, most splendid of luminaries!' 1 
A Vedic celestial deity, Mitra the Friend, came to be deve- 
loped in the Persian religion into that great ruling divinity 
of light, the victorious Mithra, lord of life and head of all 
created beings. The ancient Persian Mihr-Yasht invokes 
him in the character of the sun-light, Mithra with wide 
pastures, whom the lords of the regions praise at early dawn, 
who as the first heavenly Yazata rises over Hara-berezaiti 
before the sun, the immortal with swift steeds, who first 
with golden form seizes the fair summits, then surrounds 
the whole Aryan region. Mithra came to be regarded as 
the very Sun, as where Dionysos addresses the Tyrian Bel, 
'eiTt <rv Mtflprjs HeAios Ba/3vA<3vos.' His worship spread 
from the East across the Roman empire, and in Europe he 
takes rank among the great solar gods absolutely identified 
with the personal Sun, as in this inscription on a Roman 
altar dating from Trajan's time ' Deo Soli Mithrae.'* 

1 ' Rig- Veda,' i. 35, 50 ; iii. 62, 10. Max Muller, ' Lectures,' 2nd Ser. 
pp. 378, 411;' Chips,' vol. i. p. 19. Colebrooke, ' Essays,' vol. i. pp. 30, 133. 
Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 42. 

2 ' Khordah-Avesta,' xxvi. in Avesta tr. by Spiegel, vol. iii. ; M. Haug, 
' Essays on Parsis.' Strabo, xv. 3,13. Nonnus, xl. 400. Movers, ' Phonizier," 
vol. i. p. 1 80 : ' ' HXiy Miffpq, dvt/cijrv ' ; ' Atit toucf/rov ' HXlov.' 


The earlier Sun-worship of Europe, upon which this new 
Oriental variety was intruded, in certain of its developments 
shows the same clear personality. The Greek Helios, to 
whom horses were sacrificed on the mountain-top of Tau- 
getos, was that same personal Sun to whom Sokrates, when 
he had staid rapt in thought till daybreak, offered a prayer 
before he departed (' <!>x T> diriwv 7rpoo-va/vos T<j> 7jA.i<{>). 
Caesar devotes to the German theology of his time three 
lines of his Commentaries. They reckon in the number 
of the gods, he says, those only whom they perceive and 
whose benefits they openly enjoy, Sun and Vulcan and Moon, 
the rest they know not even by report.* It is true that 
Caesar's short summary does no justice to the real number 
and quality of the deities of the German pantheon, yet his 
forcible description of nature-worship in its most primitive 
stage may probably be true of the direct adoration of the 
sun and moon, and possibly of fire. On the other hand, 
European sun-worship leads into the most perplexing pro- 
blems of mythology. Well might Cicero exclaim, ' How 
many suns are set forth by the theologians ! '* The 
modern student who shall undertake to discriminate among 
the Sun-gods of European lands, to separate the solar and 
non-solar elements of the Greek Apollo and Herakles, or 
of the Slavonic Swatowit, has a task before him complicate 
with that all but hopeless difficulty which besets the study 
of myth, the moment that the clue of direct comparison 
with nature falls away. 

The religion of ancient Egypt is one of which we know 
much, yet little much of its temples, rites, names of 
deities, liturgical formulas, but little of the esoteric reli- 
gious ideas which lay hidden within these outer manifesta- 
tions. Yet it is clear that central solar conceptions as it 

1 Plat. Sympos. xxxvi. Sec Welcker, ' Griech. GStterlehre,' vol. i. pp. 400, 

* Caesar de Bello Gallico, vi. 21 : ' Deorum numero cos solos ducunt, 
quos cernunt et quorum aperte opibus juvantur, Solem et Vulcanum et 
Lunam, reliquos ne fama quidem acceperunt.' 

' Cicero de Natura Deorum, Hi. 21. 

SUN-GOD. 295 

were radiate through the Egyptian theology. Ra, who 
traverses in his boat the upper and lower regions of the 
universe, is the Sun himself in plain cosmic personality. 
And to take two obvious instances of solar characters in 
other deities, Osiris the manifester of good and truth, who 
dies by the powers of darkness and becomes judge of the 
dead in the west-land of Amenti, is solar in his divine 
nature, as is also his son Horus, smiter of the monster Set. 1 
In the religions of the Semitic race, the place of the Sun is 
marked through a long range of centuries. The warning 
to the Israelites lest they should worship and serve sun, 
moon, and stars, and the mention of Josiah taking away the 
horses that the Kings of Judah had given to the sun, and 
burning the chariots of the sun with fire,* agree with the 
place given in other Semitic religions to the Sun-god, 
Shamas of Assyria, or Baal, even expressly qualified as 
Baal-Shemesh or Lord Sun. Syrian religion, like Persian, 
introduced a new phase of Sun-worship into Rome, the 
cultus of Elagabal, and the vile priest emperor who bore 
this divine name made it more intelligible to classic ears 
as Heliogabalus. 3 Eusebius is a late writer as regards 
Semitic religion, but with such facts as these before us 
we need not withhold our confidence from him when he 
describes the Phoenicians and Egyptians as holding Sun, 
Moon, and Stars to be gods, sole causes of the generation 
and destruction of all things. 4 

The widely spread and deeply rooted religion of the Sun 
naturally offered strenuous resistance to the invasion of 
Christianity, and it was one of the great signs of the reli- 
gious change of the civilized world when Constantine, that 
ardent votary of the Sun, abandoned the faith of Apollo 
for that of Christ. Amalgamation even proved possible 

1 See Wilkinson, ' Ancient Egyptians ' ; Renouf, ' Religion of Ancient 

* Deut. iv. 19, xvii. 3 ; 2 Kings xxiii. n. 

* Movers, ' Phonizier,' vol. i. pp. 162, 180, &c. Lamprid. Heliogabal. i. 
4 Euseb. Prseparat. Evang. i. 6. 


between the doctrines of Sabaeism and Christianity, and in 
and near Armenia a sect of Sun-worshippers have lasted on 
into modern times under the profession of Jacobite Chris- 
tians ; l a parallel case within the limits of Mohammedanism 
being that of Beduin Arabs who still continue the old ado- 
ration of the rising sun, in spite of the Prophet's expressed 
command not to bow before the sun or moon, and in spite 
of the good Moslem's dictum, that ' the sun rises between 
the devil's horns.' 2 Actual worship of the sun in Chris- 
tendom soon shrank to the stage of survival. In Lucian's 
time the Greeks kissed their hands as an act of worship to 
the rising sun ; and Tertullian had still to complain of many 
Christians that with an affectation of adoring the heavenly 
bodies they would move their lips toward the sunrise (Sed 
et plerique vestrum affectatione aliquando et coelestia 
adorandi ad solis ortum labia vibratis).* In the 5th century, 
Leo the Great complains of certain Christians who, before 
entering the Basilica of St. Peter, or from the top of a hill, 
would turn and bow to the rising sun ; this comes, he says, 
partly of ignorance and partly of the spirit of paganism. 4 
To this day, in the Upper Palatinate, the peasant takes off 
his hat to the rising sun ; and in Pomerania, the fever- 
stricken patient is to pray thrice turning toward the sun 
at sunrise, ' Dear Sun, come soon down, and take the 
seventy-seven fevers from me. In the name of God the 
Father, &c.' 6 

For the most part, the ancient rites of solar worship are 
represented in modern Christendom in two ways ; by the 
ceremonies connected with turning to the east, of which an 
account is given in an ensuing chapter under the heading 
of Orientation ; and in the continuance of the great sun- 

1 Neander, ' Church History,' vol. vi. p. 341. Carsten Niebuhr, ' Reise- 
beschr.' vol. ii. p. 396. 

1 Palgrave, ' Arabia,' vol. i. p. 9 ; vol. ii. p. 258. See Koran, xli. 37. 

* Tertullian. Apolog. adv. Gentes, xvi. See Lucian. de Saltat. xvii. ; com- 
pare Job. xxxi. 26. 

4 Leo. I. Serm. viii. in Natal. Dom. 

' Wuttke, ' Volksaberglaube,' p. 1 50. 

SUN-GOD. 297 

festivals, countenanced by or incorporated in Christianity. 
Spring-tide, reckoned by so many peoples as New- Year, has 
in great measure had its solar characteristics transferred to 
the Paschal festival. The Easter bonfires with which the 
North German hills used to be ablaze mile after mile, are 
not altogether given up by local custom. On Easter morn- 
ing in Saxony and Bradenburg, the peasants still climb the 
hill-tops before dawn, to see the rising sun give his three 
joyful leaps, as our forefathers used to do in England in the 
days when Sir Thomas Browne so quaintly apologized for 
declaring that ' the sun doth not dance on Easter Day.' 
The solar rite of the New Fire, adopted by the Roman 
Church as a Paschal ceremony, may still be witnessed in 
Europe, with its solemn curfew on Easter Eve, and the 
ceremonial striking of the new holy fire. On Easter Eve, 
under the solemn auspices of the Greek Church, a mob of 
howling fanatics crush and trample to death the victims 
who faint and fall in their struggles to approach the most 
shameless imposture of modern Christendom, the miracu- 
lous fire from heaven which descends into the Holy Sepul- 
chre. 1 Two other Christian festivals have not merely had 
solar rites transferred to them, but seem distinctly them- 
selves of solar origin. The Roman winter-solstice festival, 
as celebrated on December 25 (VIII. Kal. Jan.) in con- 
nexion with the worship of the Sun-god Mithra, appears to 
have been instituted in this special form after the Eastern 
campaign of Aurelian A.D. 273, and to this festival the day 
owes its apposite name of Birthday of the Unconquered 
Sun, ' Dies Natalis Solis invicti.' With full symbolic 
appropriateness, though not with historical justification, 
the day was adopted in the Western Church, where it 
appears to have been generally introduced by the 4th 
century, and whence in time it passed to the Eastern 
Church, as the solemn anniversary of the birth of Christ, 

1 Grijnm, ' Deutsche Myth.' p. 581, &c. Wuttke, pp. 17, 93. Brand, 
Pop. Ant.' vol. i. p. 157, &c. ' Early Hist, of Mankind,' p. 260. Murray's 
Handbook for Syria and Palestine,' 1868, p. 162. 

H. u 


the Christian Dies Natalis, Christmas Day. Attempts 
have been made to ratify this date as matter of history, 
but no valid nor even consistent early Christian tradition 
vouches for it. The real solar origin of the festival is 
clear from the writings of the Fathers after its institution. 
In religious symbolism of the material and spiritual sun, 
Augustine and Gregory of Nyassa discourse on the glowing 
light and dwindling darkness that follow the Nativity, while 
Leo the Great, among whose people the earlier solar mean- 
ing of the festival evidently remained in strong remem- 
brance, rebukes in a sermon the pestiferous persuasion, as 
he calls it, that this solemn day is to be honoured not for 
the birth of Christ, but for the rising, as they say, of the new 
sun. 1 As for modern memory of the sun-rites of mid-winter, 
Europe recognizes Christmas as a primitive solar festival by 
bonfires which our ' yule-log,' the ' souche de Noel,' still 
keeps in mind ; while the adaptation of ancient solar thought 
to Christian allegory is as plain as ever in the Christmas 
service chant, ' Sol novus oritur.'* The solar Christmas 
festival has its pendant at Midsummer. The summer 
solstice was the great season of fire-festivals throughout 
Europe, of bonfires on the heights, of dancing round and 
leaping through the fires, of sending blazing fire-wheels to 
roll down from the hills into the valleys in sign of the sun's 
descending course. These ancient rites attached themselves 
in Christendom to St. John's Eve. 8 It seems as though 
the same train of symbolism which had adapted the mid- 
winter festival to the Nativity, may have suggested the 
dedication of the midsummer festival to John the Baptist, 
in clear allusion to his words, ' He must increase, but I 
must decrease.' 

1 See Pauly, ' Real-Encyclop.' s.v. ' Sol ; ' Petavius, ' Julian! Imp. Opera,' 
290-2, 277. Bingham, ' Antiquities of Christian Church,' book xx. ch. iv. ; 
Neander, ' Church Hist.' vol. iii. p. 437 ; Beausobre, ' Hist, de Maniche'e,' 
vol. ii. p. 691 ; Gibbon, ch. xxii. ; Creuzer, ' Symbolik,' vol. i. p. 761, &c. 

8 Grimm, ' D. M.' pp. 593, 1223. Brand, ' Popular Antiquities,' vol. i. 
p. 467. Monnier, 'Traditions Populaires,' p. 188. 

* Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 583 ; Brand, vol. i. p. 298 ; Wuttke, pp. 14, 140. 
Beausobre, I.e. 

MOON-GOD. 299 

Moon-worship, naturally ranking below Sun-worship in 
importance, ranges through nearly the same district of 
culture. There are remarkable cases in which the Moon 
is recognized as a great deity by tribes who take less ac- 
count, or none at all, of the Sun. The rude savages of 
Brazil seem especially to worship or respect the moon, by 
which they regulate their time and festivals, and draw their 
omens. They would lift up their hands to the moon with 
wonder-struck exclamations of teh ! teh ! they would have 
children smoked by the sorcerers to preserve them from 
moon-given sickness, or the women would hold up their 
babes to the luminary. The Botocudos are said to give the 
highest rank among the heavenly bodies to Taru the Moon, 
as causing thunder and lightning and the failure of vege- 
tables and fruits, and as even sometimes falling to the earth, 
whereby many men die. 1 An old account of the Caribs 
describes them as esteeming the Moon more than the Sun, 
and at new moon coming out of their houses crying ' Be- 
hold the Moon ! '* The Ahts of Vancouver's Island, it is 
stated, worship the Sun and Moon, particularly the full 
moon and the sun ascending to the zenith. Regarding the 
Moon as husband and the Sun as wife, their prayers are 
more generally addressed to the Moon as the superior deity ; 
he is the highest object of their worship, and they speak of 
him as ' looking down upon the earth in answer to prayer, 
and seeing everybody.' 3 With a somewhat different turn 
of mythic fancy, the Hurons seems to have considered Ata- 
entsic the Moon as maker of the earth and man, and grand- 
mother of louskeha the Sun, with whom she governs the 
world. 4 In Africa, Moon-worship is prominent in an im- 
mense district where Sun-worship is unknown or insignifi- 
cant. Among south-central tribes, men will watch for the 

1 Spix and Martins, ' Reise in Brasilien,' vol. i. pp. 377, 381 ; Martius, 
4 Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 327 ; Pr. Max. v. Wied, vol. ii. p. 58 ; J. G. 
Miiller, pp. 218, 254; also Musters, ' Patagonians,' pp. 58, 179. 

8 De la Borde, ' Caraibes,' p. 525. 

8 Sproat, ' Savage Life,' p. 206 ; ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. v. p. 253. 

4 Brebeuf in ' Rel. des J6s.' 1635, p. 34. 


first glimpses of the new Moon, which they hail with shouts 
of kua ! and vociferate prayers to it ; on such an occasion 
Dr. Livingstone's Makololo prayed, ' Let our journey with 
the white man be prosperous ! ' &c. J These people keep 
holiday at new-moon, as indeed in many countries her 
worship is connected with the settlement of periodic festival . 
Negro tribes seem almost universally to greet the new Moon, 
whether in delight or disgust. The Guinea people fling 
themselves about with droll gestures, and pretend to throw 
firebrands at it ; the Ashango men behold it with super- 
stitious fear ; the Fetu negroes jumped thrice into the air 
with hands together and gave thanks. 1 The Congo people 
fell on their knees, or stood and clapped their hands, crying, 
' So may I renew my life as thou art renewed ! ' * The 
Hottentots are described early in the last century as dancing 
and singing all night at new and full moon, calling the Moon 
the Great Captain, and crying to him ' Be greeted ! ' 
' Let us get much honey ! ' ' May our cattle get much to 
eat and give much milk ! ' With the same thought as that 
just noticed in the district north-west of them, the Hotten- 
tots connect the Moon in legend with that fatal message 
sent to Man, which ought to have promised to the human 
race a moon-like renewal of life, but which was perverted 
into a doom of death like that of the beast who brought it. 4 
The more usual status of the Moon in the religions of 
the world is, as nature suggests, that of a subordinate com- 
panion deity to the Sun, such a position as is acknowledged 
in the precedence of Sunday to Monday. Their various 
mutual relations as brother and sister, husband and wife, 
have already been noticed here as matter of mythology. 
As wide-lying rude races who place them thus side by side 
in their theology, it is enough to mention the Delawares of 

1 Livingstone, ' S. Afr.' p. 235 ; Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 175, 342. 

1 Romer, ' Guinea,' p. 84 ; Du Chaillu, ' Ashango-land,' p. 428 ; see 
Purchas, vol. v. p. 766. Muller, ' Fetu,' p. 47. 

8 Merolla, ' Congo,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 273. 

4 Kolbe, ' Beschryving van de Kaap de Goede Hoop,' part i. xxix. See 
ante, vol. i. p. 355. 


North America, 1 the Ainos of Yesso,* the Bodos of North- 
East-India, 8 the Tunguz of Siberia. 4 This is the state of 
things which continues at higher levels of systematic civili- 
zation. Beside the Mexican Tonatiuh the Sun, Metztli the 
Moon had a smaller pyramid and temple ; 6 in Bogota, the 
Moon, identified in local myth with the Evil Deity, had 
her place and figure in the temple beside the Sun her hus- 
band;' the Peruvian Mother-Moon, Mama-Quilla, had her 
silver disc-face to match the golden one of her brother and 
husband the Sun, whose companion she had been in the- 
legendary civilizing of the land. 7 In the ancient Kami- 
religion of Japan, the supreme Sun-god ranks high above 
the Moon-god, who was worshipped under the form of a 
fox. 8 Among the historic nations of the Old World, docu- 
ments of Semitic culture show Sun and Moon side by side. 
For one, we may take the Jewish law, to stone with stones 
till they died the man or woman who ' hath gone and 
served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, 
or moon, or any of the host of heaven.' For another, let 
us glance over the curious record of the treaty-oath between 
Philip of Macedon and the general of the Carthaginian and 
Libyan army, which so well shows how the original identity 
of nature-deities may be forgotten in their different local 
shapes, so that the same divinity may come twice or even 
three times over in as many national names and forms. 
Herakles and Apollo stand in company with the personal 
Sun, and as well as the personal Moon is to be seen the 
' Carthaginian deity,' whom there is reason to look on as 
Astarte, a goddess latterly of lunar nature. This is the 
list of deities invoked : ' Before Zeus and Hera and 

1 Loskiel, ' Ind. of N. A.' part i. p. 43. 

1 Bickmore, ' Ainos,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vii. p. 20. 

8 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 167. 

4 Georgi, ' Reise im Russ. R.' vol. i. p. 275. 

5 Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. pp. 9, 35 ; Tylor, ' Mexico,' I.e. 

6 Waitz, vol. iv. p. 362. 

7 Garcilaso de la Vega, ' Commentaries Reales,' iii. 21. 

8 Siebold, ' Nippon/ part v. p. 9. 


Apollo; before the goddess of the Carthaginians ( 
Kapxr)8ovi<av) and Herakles and lolaos ; before Ares, Triton, 
Poseidon ; before the gods who fought with the armies, 
and Sun and Moon and Earth ; before the rivers and 
meadows and waters ; before all the gods who rule Mace- 
donia and the rest of Greece ; before all the gods who 
were at the war, they who have presided over this oath.' 1 
When Lucian visited the famous temple of Hierapolis in 
Syria, he saw the images of the other gods, ' but only of 
the Sun and Moon they show no images.' And when 
he asked why, they told him that the forms of other gods 
were not seen by all, but Sun and Moon are altogether 
clear, and all men see them. 2 In Egyptian theology, not 
to discuss other divine beings to whom a lunar nature has 
been ascribed, it is at least certain that Khonsu is the Moon in 
absolute personal divinity. 8 In Aryan theology, the personal 
Moon stands as Selene beside the more anthropomorphic 
forms of Hekate and Artemis, 4 as Luna beside the less 
understood Lucina, and Diana with her borrowed attri- 
butes, 5 while our Teutonic forefathers were content with his 
plain name of Moon. 6 As for lunar survivals in the higher 
religions, they are much like the solar. Monotheist as he 
is, the Moslem still claps his hands at sight of the new 
moon, and says a prayer. 7 In Europe in the I5th century 
it was matter of complaint that some still adored the new 
moon with bended knee, or hood or hat removed, and to 
this day we may still see a hat raised or a curtsey dropped 
to her, half in conservatism and half in jest. It is with 
reference to silver as the lunar metal, that money is turned 

1 Deuteron. xvii. 3; Polyb. vii. 9; see Movers, ' Phonizier,' pp. 159, 
536, 605. 

Lucian. de Syria Dea, iv. 34. 

Wilkinson, ' Ancient Egyptians,' ed. by Birch, vol. iii. p. 174. See 
Plutarch. Is. et Osir. 

Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. i. p. 550, &c. 

Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 27. 

Grimm, ' D. M.' ch. xxii. 

7 Akerblad, ' Lettre a Italinsky.' Burton, ' Central Afr.' vol. ii. p. 346. 
Mungo Park, ' Travels,' in ' Pinkerton,' vol. xvi. p. 875. 

MOON-GOD. 303 

when the act of adoration is performed, while practical 
peasant wit dwells on the ill-luck of having no piece of 
silver when the new moon is first seen. 1 

Thus, in tracing the development of Nature-Worship, it 
appears that though Fire, Air, Earth, and Water are not 
yet among the lower races systematized into a quaternion of 
elements, their adoration, with that of Sun and Moon, shows 
already arising in primitive culture the familiar types of 
those great divinities, who received their further develop- 
ment in the higher Polytheism. 

1 Grimm, ' D. M.' pp. 29, 667 ; Brand, vol. iii. p. 146 ; Forbes Leslie, 
' Early Races of Scotland,' vol. i. p. 136. 


ANIMISM (continued). 

Polytheism comprises a class of Great Deities, ruling the course of Nature 
and the life of Man Childbirth-god Agriculture-god War-god God 
of the Dead First Man as Divine Ancestor Dualism ; its rudimen- 
tary and unethical nature among low races ; its development through 
the course of culture Good and Evil Deity Doctrine of Divine 
Supremacy, distinct from, while tending towards, the doctrine of 
Monotheism Idea of a Highest or Supreme Diety evolved in various 
forms ; its place as completion of the Polytheistic system and out- 
come of the Animistic philosophy ; its continuance and development 
among higher nations General survey of Animism as a Philo- 
sophy of Religion Recapitulation of the theory advanced as to its 
development through successive stages of culture ; its primary phases 
best represented among the lower races, while survivals of these among 
the higher races mark the transition from savage through barbaric to 
civilized faiths Transition of Animism in the History of Religion ; 
its earlier and later stages as a Philosophy of the Universe ; its later 
stages as the principle of a Moral Institution. 

POLYTHEISM acknowledges, beside great fetish-deities like 
Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon, another class of great 
gods whose importance lies not in visible presence, but 
in the performance of certain great offices in the course 
of Nature and the life of Man. The lower races can 
furnish themselves with such deities, either by giving the 
recognized gods special duties to perform, or by attributing 
these functions to beings invented in divine personality for 
the purpose. The creation of such divinities is however 
carried to a much greater extent in the complex systems of 
the higher polytheism. For a compact group of examples 
showing to what different ideas men will resort for a deity 
to answer a special end, let us take the deity presiding over 



Childbirth. In the West Indies, a special divinity occupied 
with this function took rank as one of the great indigenous 
fetish-gods ; l in the Samoan group, the household god of 
the father's or mother's family was appealed to ; 2 in Peru the 
Moon takes to this office, 3 and the same natural idea recurs 
in Mexico; 4 in Esthonian religion the productive Earth- 
mother appropriately becomes patroness of human birth ; 5 
in the classic theology of Greece and Italy, the divine spouse 
of the Heaven-king, Hera, 6 Juno, 7 favours and protects on 
earth marriage and the birth of children ; and to conclude 
the list, the Chinese work out the problem from the manes- 
worshipper's point of view, for the goddess whom they call 
' Mother ' and propitiate with many a ceremony and sacrifice 
to save and prosper their children, is held to have been in 
human life a skilful midwife. 8 

The deity of Agriculture may be a cosmic being affecting 
the weather and the soil, or a mythic giver of plants and 
teacher of their cultivation and use. Thus among the 
Iroquois, Heno the Thunder, who rides through the heavens 
on the clouds, who splits the forest-trees with the thunder- 
bolt-stones he hurls at his enemies, who gathers the clouds 
and pours out the warm rains, was fitly chosen as patron of 
husbandry, invoked at seed-time and harvest, and called 
Grandfather by his children the Indians. 9 It is interesting 
to notice again on the southern continent the working out 
of this idea in the Tupan of Brazilian tribes; Thunder and 
Lightning, it is recorded, they call Tupan, considering 
themselves to owe to him their hoes and the profitable 
art of tillage, and therefore acknowledging him as a deity. 10 

1 Herrera, ' Indias Occidentales," Dec. i. 3, 3 ; J. G. Miillcr, ' Amcr. 
Urrel.' pp. 175, 221. 

Turner, ' Polynesia," p. 174. 
Rivero and Tschudi, ' Peru," p. 160. 
Kingsborough, 'Mexico,' vol. v. p. 179. 
Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 89. 
Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. i. p. 371. 

7 Ovid. Fast. ii. 449. 

8 Doolittle, 'Chinese,' vol. i. p. 264. * Morgan, ' Iroquois,' p. 158. 
10 De Laet, ' Novus Orbis,' xv. 2 ; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 417 ; Brinion, pp. 1 52, 

185 ; J. G. Miiller, p. 271, &c. 


Among the Guarani race, Tamoi the Ancient of Heaven 
had no less rightful claim, in his character of heaven-god, 
to be venerated as the divine teacher of agriculture to his 
people. 1 In Mexico, Centeotl the Grain-goddess received 
homage and offerings at her two great festivals, and took 
care of the growth and keeping of the corn. 2 In Polynesia, 
we hear in the Society Islands of Ofanu the god of hus- 
bandry, in the Tonga Islands of Alo Alo the fanner, god of 
wind and weather, bearing office as god of harvest, and 
receiving his offering of yams when he had ripened them. 3 
A picturesque figure from barbaric Asia is Pheebee Yau, the 
Ceres of the Karens, who sits on a stump and watches the 
growing and ripening corn, to fill the granaries of the frugal 
and industrious. 4 The Khonds worship at the same shrine, 
a stone or tree near the village, both Burbi Pennu the god- 
dess of new vegetation, and Pidzu Pennu the rain-god. 5 
Among Finns and Esths it is the Earth-mother who appro- 
priately undertakes the task of bringing forth the fruits.* 
And so among the Greeks it is the same being, Demeter the 
Earth-mother, who performs this function, while the Roman 
Ceres who is confused with her is rather, as in Mexico, a 
goddess of grain and fruit.' 

The War -god is another being wanted among the lower 
races, and formed or adapted accordingly. Areskove the 
Iroquois War-god seems to be himself the great celestial 
deity ; for his pleasant food they slaughtered human victims, 
that he might give them victory over their enemies ; as a 
pleasant sight for him they tortured the war-captives ; on 
him the war-chief called in solemn council, and the warriors, 
shouting his name, rushed into the battle he was surveying 

D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Ame'ricain,' vol. ii. p. 319. 
Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. pp. 16, 68, 75. 

Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 333. Mariner, ' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 115. 
Cross, in ' Journ. Amer. Oriental Soc.' vol. iv. p. 316 ; Mason, p. 215. 
Macpherson, ' India,' pp. 91, 355. 
Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 89. 

Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. ii. p. 467. Cox, ' Mythology of Aryan 
Nations,' vol ii. p. 308. 

GOD OF WAR. 307 

from on high. Canadian Indians before the fight would 
look toward the sun, or addressed the Great Spirit as god of 
war ; Floridan Indians prayed to the Sun before their wars. 1 
Araucanians of Chili entreated Pillan the Thunder-god 
that he would scatter their enemies, and thanked him 
amidst their cups after a victory. 2 The very name of Mexico 
seems derived from Mexitli, the national War-god, iden- 
tical or identified with the hideous gory Huitzilopochtli. 
Not to attempt a general solution of the enigmatic nature 
of this inextricable compound parthenogenetic deity, we 
may notice the association of his principal festival with 
the winter-solstice, when his paste idol was shot through 
with an arrow, and being thus killed, was divided into 
morsels and eaten, wherefore the ceremony was called 
the teoqualo or ' god-eating.' This and other details tend 
to show Huitzilopochtli as originally a nature-deity, 
whose life and death were connected with the year's, 
while his functions of War-god may be of later addition.' 
Polynesia is a region where quite an assortment of war- 
gods may be collected. Such, to take but one example, 
was Tairi, war-god of King Kamehameha of the Sandwich 
Islands, whose hideous image, covered with red feathers, 
shark-toothed, mother-of-pearl-eyed, with helmet-crest of 
human hair, was carried into battle by his special priest, 
distorting his own face into hideous grins, and uttering 
terrific yells which were considered to proceed from the 
god.* Two examples from Asia may show what different 
original conceptions may serve to shape such deities as 
these upon. The Khond War-god, who entered into all 
weapons, so that from instruments of peace they became 
weapons of war, who gave edge to the axe and point 
to the arrow, is the very personified spirit of tribal war, 

1 J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrel.' pp. 141, 271, 274, 591, &c. 
* Dobrizhoffer, ' Abipones,' vol. ii. p. 90. 
8 Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. pp. 17, 81. 

4 Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 326; vol. iv. p. 158. See also Mariner, 
Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 112 ; Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 218. 


his token is the relic of iron and the iron weapons buried 
in his sacred grove which stands near each group of 
hamlets, and his name is Loha Pennu or Iron-god. 1 The 
Chinese War-god, Kuang Ta, on the other hand, is an 
ancient military ghost ; he was a distinguished officer, as 
well as a ' faithful and honest courtier/ who flourished 
during the wars of the Han dynasty, and emperors since 
then have delighted to honour him by adding to his usual 
title more and more honorary distinctions.* Looking at 
these selections from the army of War-gods of the different 
regions of the world, we may well leave their classic 
analogues, Ares and Mars, as beings whose warlike function 
we recognize, but not so easily their original nature. 3 

It would be easy, going through the religious systems of 
Polynesia and Mexico, Greece and Rome, India and China, 
to give the names and offices of a long list of divinities, 
patrons of hunting and fishing, carpentering and weaving, 
and so forth. But studying here rather the continuity of 
polytheistic ideas than the analysis of polytheistic divinities, 
it is needless to proceed farther in the comparison of these 
deities of special function, as recognized to some extent in 
the lower civilization, before their elaborate development 
became one of the great features of the higher. 

The great polytheistic deities we have been examining, 
concerned as they are with the earthly course of nature and 
human life, are gods of the living. But even in savage 
levels man began to feel an intellectual need of a God of the 
Dead, to reign over the souls of men in the next life, and 
this necessity has been supplied in various ways. Of the 
deities set up as lords of Deadman's Land, some are beings 
whose original meaning is obscure. Some are distinctly 
nature-deities appointed to this office, often for local reasons, 
as happening to belong to the regions where the dead take 


1 Macpherson, ' India,' pp. 90, 360. 
1 Doolittle, ' Chinese,' vol. i. p. 267. 

8 Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. i. p. 413. Cox, ' Myth, of Aryan N.,' 
vol. ii. pp. 254, 311. 


up their abode. Some, again, are as distinctly the deified 
souls of men. The two first classes may be briefly instanced 
together in America, where the light-side and shadow-side 
(as Dr. J. G. Miiller well calls them) of the conception of a 
future life are broadly contrasted in the definitions of the 
Lord of the Dead. Among the Northern Indians this may 
be Tarenyawagon the Heaven-God, identified with the Great 
Spirit, who receives good warriors in his happy hunting- 
grounds, or his grandmother, the Death-goddess Atahentsic. 1 
In Brazil, the Under-world-god, who places good warriors 
and sorcerers in Paradise, contrasts with Aygnan the evil 
deity who takes base and cowardly Tupi souls, 2 much as 
the Mexican Tlaloc, Water-god and lord of the earthly 
paradise, contrasts with Mictlanteuctli, ruler of the dismal 
dead-land in the shades below. 3 In Peru there has been 
placed on record a belief that the departed spirits went to 
be with the Creator and Teacher of the World ' Bring us 
too near to thee . . . that we may berortunateTbeing near 
to thee, O Uira-cocha ! ' There are^a%) statements as to 
an under-world of shades, the land^of the demon Supay. 4 
Accounts of this class must often be suspected of giving 
ideas mis-stated under European influence, or actually 
adopted from Europeans, but there is in some a look of 
untouched genuineness. Thus in Polynesia, the idea of a 
Devil borrowed from colonists or missionaries may be sus- 
pected in such a figure as the evil deity Wiro, chief of 
Reigna, the New Zealander's western world of departed 
souls. But few conceptions of deity are more quaintly 
original than that of the Samoan deity Saveasiuleo, at once 

1 J. G. Muller, ' Amer. Urrel.' pp. 137, &c., 272, 286, &c., 500, &c. See 
Sproat, p. 213 (Ahts), cited ante, p. 85. Chay-her signifies not only the 
world below, but Death personified as a boneless greybeard who wanders at 
night stealing men's souls away. 

* Lery, ' Bresil,' p. 234. 

8 Clavigero, vol. ii. pp. 14, 17; Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 495. 

* ' Rites and Laws of Yncas,' tr. and ed. by C. R. Markham, pp. 32, 48 
(prayer from MS. communication by C. R. M.); Garcilaso de la Vega, lib. ii. 
c. 2, 7 ; Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 251. 


ruler of destinies of war and other affairs of men and 
chief of the subterranean Bulotu, with the human upper 
half of his body reclining in his great house in company 
with the spirits of departed chiefs, while his tail or extremity 
stretches far away into the sea, in the shape of an eel or 
serpent. Under a name corresponding dialectically (Siuleo 
= Hikuleo), this composite being reappears in the kindred 
myths of the neighbouring group, the Tonga Islands. The 
Tongan Hikuleo has his home in the spirit-land of Bulotu, 
here conceived as out in the far western sea. Here we are 
told the use of his tail. His body goes away on journeys, 
but his tail remains watching in Bulotu, and thus he is 
aware of what goes on in more places than one. Hikuleo 
used to carry off the first-born sons of Tongan chiefs, to 
people his island of the blest, and he so thinned the ranks 
of the living that at last the other gods were moved to 
compassion. Tangaloa and Maui seized Hikuleo, passed a 
strong chain round him, and fastened one end to heaven 
and the other to earth. Another god of the dead, of well- 
marked native type, is the Rarotongan Tiki, an ancestral 
deity as in New Zealand, to whose long house, a place 
of unceasing joys, the dead are to find their way. 1 Among 
Turanian tribes, there are Samoyeds who believe in a deity 
called 'A,' dwelling in impenetrable darkness, sending disease 
and death to men and reindeer, and ruling over a crowd of 
spirits which are manes of the dead. Tatars tell of the 
nine Irle-Chans, who in their gloom)' subterranean kingdom 
not only rule over souls of the dead, but have at their com- 
mand a multitude of ministering spirits, visible and invisible. 
In the gloomy under-world of the Finns reigns Mana or 
Tuoni, a being whose nature is worked out by personifica- 
tion from the dismal dead-land or death itself. 2 Much the 

1 Turner, 'Polynesia,' p. 237 ; Farmer, 'Tonga,' p. 126. Yate, 'New 
Zealand,' p. 140 ; J. Williams, ' Missionary Enterprise,' p. 145. See 
Schirren, ' Wandersagen der Neuseelander,' p. 89 ; Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. 
p. 246. 

* Castren, 'Finn. Myth.' pp. 128, 147, 155; Waitz, vol. ii. p. 171 


same may be said of the Greek Aides, Hades, and the 
Scandinavian Hel, whose names, perhaps not so much by 
confusion as with a sense of their latent significance, have 
become identified in language with the doleful abodes over 
which a personifying fancy set them to preside. 1 As ap- 
propriately, though working out a different idea, the ancient 
Egyptians conceived their great solar deity to rule in the 
regions of his western under-world Osiris is Lord of the 
Dead in Amenti. 2 

In the world's assembly of great gods, an important place 
must be filled up by the manes-worshipper in logical 
development of his special system. The theory of family 
manes, carried back to tribal gods, leads to the recognition 
of superior deities of the nature of Divine Ancestor or First 
Man, and it is of course reasonable that such a being, if 
recognized, should sometimes fill the place of lord of the 
dead, whose ancestral chief he is. There is an anecdote 
among the Mandans told by Prince Maximilian von Wied, 
which brings into view conceptions lying in the deepest 
recesses of savage religion, the idea of the divine first 
ancestor, the mythic connexion of the sun's death and 
descent into the under-world, with the like fate of man and 
the nature of the spiritual intercourse between man's own 
soul and his deity. The First Man, it is said, promised 
the Mandans to be their helper in time of need, and then 
departed into the West. It came to pass that the Mandans 
were attacked by foes. One Mandan would send a bird to 
the great ancestor to ask for help, but no bird could fly so 
far. Another thought a look would reach him, but the hills 
walled him in. Then said a third, thought must be the 
safest way to reach the First Man. He wrapped himself in 
his buffalo-robe, fell down, and spoke, ' I think I have 
thought I come back.' Throwing off the fur, he was 
bathed in sweat. The divine helper he had called on in his 

1 Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterl.' vol. i. p. 395 ; Roscher, s.v. ' Hades.' 
Grimm, ' Deutsch. Myth.' p. 288. 

2 Brugsch, ' Religion der alten Aegypter ' ; ' Book of Dead,' 


distress appeared. 1 There is instructive variety in the ways 
in which the lower American races work out the conception 
of the divine forefather. The Mingo tribes revere and 
make offerings to the First Man, he who was saved at the 
great deluge, as a powerful deity under the Master of Life, 
or even as identified with him ; some Mississippi Indians 
said that the First Man ascended into heaven, and thunders 
there ; among the Dog-ribs, he was creator of sun and 
moon ; 2 Tamoi, the grandfather and ancient of heaven of 
the Guaranis, was their first ancestor, who dwelt among 
them and taught them to till the soil, and rose to heaven in 
the east, promising to succour them on earth, and at death 
to carry them from the sacred tree into a new life where 
they should all meet again, and have much hunting. 3 

Polynesia, again, has thoroughly worked the theory of 
divine ancestors into the native system of multiform and 
blending nature-deities. Men are sprung from the divine 
Maui, whom Europeans have therefore called the ' Adam 
of New Zealand,' or from the Rarotongan Tiki, who seems 
his equivalent (Mauitiki), and who again is the Tii of 
the Society Islands ; it is, however, the son of Tii who* 
precisely represents a Polynesian Adam, for his name is 
Taata, i.e., Man, and he is the ancestor of the human race. 
There is perhaps also reason to identify Maui and the First 
Man with Akea, first King of Hawaii, who at his earthly 
death descended to rule over his dark subterranean kingdom, 
where his subjects are the dead who recline under the 
spreading kou-trees, and drink of the infernal rivers, and 
feed on lizards and butterflies.* In the mythology of Kam- 
chatka, the relation between the Creator and the First Man 
is one not of identity but of parentage. Among the sons of 

1 Pr. Max. v. Wied, ' N. Amerika,' vol. ii. p. 157. 

* J. G. Mviller, ' Amer. Urrel.' pp. 133, &c., 228, 255. Catlin, ' N. A. Ind.' 
vol. i. pp. 159, 177 ; Pr. Max v. Wied, vol. ii. pp. 149, &c. Compare Sproat, 
' Savage Life,' p. 179 (Quawteaht the Great Spirit is also First Man). 

8 D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Amiricain,' vol. ii. p. 319. 

4 Schirren,' ' Wandersagen der Neuseelander,' p. 64, &c., 88, &c. Ellis, 
' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. HI, vol. iv. pp. 145, 366. 


Kutka the Creator is Haetsh the First Man, who dwelt on 
earth, and died, and descended into Hades to be chief of 
the under-world ; there he receives the dead and new-risen 
Kamchadals, to continue a life like that of earth in his 
pleasant subterranean land where mildness and plenty pre- 
vail, as they did in the regions above in the old days when 
the Creator was still on earth. 1 Among all the lower races 
who have reasoned out this divine ancestor, none excel 
those consistent manes-worshippers, the Zulus. Their 
worship of the manes of the dead has not only made the 
clan-ancestors of a few generations back into tribal deities 
(Unkulunkulu), but beyond these, too far off and too little 
known for actual worship, yet recognized as the original 
race-deity and identified with the Creator, stands the First 
Man, he who ' broke off in the beginning,' the Old-Old- 
One, the great Unkulunkulu. While the Zulu's most 
intense religious emotions are turned to the ghosts of the 
departed, while he sacrifices his beloved oxen and prays 
with agonising entreaty to his grandfather, and carries his 
tribal worship back to those ancestral deities whose praise- 
giving names are still remembered, the First Man is beyond 
the reach of such rites. ' At first we saw that we were 
made by Unkulunkulu. But when we were ill we did not 
worship him, nor ask anything of him. We worshipped 
those whom we had seen with our eyes, their death and 

their life among us Unkulunkulu had no longer a 

son who could worship him ; there was no going back to 
the beginning, for people increased, and were scattered 
abroad, and each house had its own connections ; there 
was no one who said, " For my part I am of the house of 
Unkulunkulu." ' Nay more, the Zulus who would not dare 
to affront an ' idhlozi,' a common ghost, that might be 
angry and kill them, have come to make open mock of the 
name of the great first ancestor. When the grown-up 
people wish to talk privately or eat something by them- 
selves, it is the regular thing to send the children out to 

1 Stcller, ' Kamtschatka,' p. 271. 


call at the top of their voices for Unkulunkulu. ' The 
name of Unkulunkulu has no respect paid to it among black 
men ; for his house no longer exists. It is now like 
the name of a very old crone, who has no power to do 
even a little thing for herself, but sits continually where she 
sat in the morning till the sun sets. And the children 
make sport of her, for she cannot catch them and flog them, 
but only talk with her mouth. Just so is the name of Un- 
kulunkulu when all the children are told to go and call him. 
He is now a means of making sport of children.' 1 

In Aryan religion, the divinities just described give us 
analogues for the Hindu Yama, throughout his threefold 
nature as First Man, as solar God of Hades, as Judge of the 
Dead. Professor Max Miiller thus suggests his origin, 
which may indeed be inferred from his being called the 
child of Vivasvat, himself the Sun : ' The sun, conceived 
as setting or dying every day, was the first who had 
trodden the path of life from East to West the first 
mortal the first to show us the way when our course is 
run, and our sun sets in the far West. Thither the fathers 
followed Yama ; there they sit with him rejoicing, and 
thither we too shall go when his messengers (day and night) 

have found us out Yama is said to have crossed the 

rapid waters, to have shown the way to many, to have first 
known the path on which our fathers crossed over.' It is 
a perfectly consistent myth-formation, that the solar Yama 
should become the first of mortals who died and discovered 
the way to the other world, who guides other man thither 
and assembles them in a home which is secured to them for 
ever. As representative of death, Yama had even in early 
Aryan times his aspects of terror, and in later Indian theo- 
logy he becomes not only the Lord but the awful Judge of 
the Dead, whom some modern Hindus are said to worship 
alone of all the gods, alleging that their future state is to 
be determined only by Yama, and that they have nothing 
therefore to hope or fear from any beside him. In these 

1 Call away, ' Religion of Amazulu,' pp. 1-104. 


days, Hindu and Parsi in Bombay are learning from 
scholars in Europe the ancient connexion of their long 
antagonistic faiths, and have to hear that Yama son of 
Visavat sitting on his awful judgment-seat of the dead, to 
reward the good and punish the wicked with hideous 
tortures, and Yima son of Vivanhao who in primaeval days 
reigned over his happy deathless kingdom of good Zarathu- 
strian men, are but two figures developed in the course of 
ages out of one and the same Aryan nature-myth. 1 Within 
the limits of Jewish, Christian, and Moslem theology, the 
First Man scarcely occupies more than a place of pre- 
cedence among the human race in Hades or in Heaven, not 
the high office of Lord of the Dead. Yet that tendency to 
deify an ideal ancestor, which we observe to act so strongly 
on lower races, has taken effect also here. The Rabbinical 
Adam is a gigantic being reaching from earth to heaven, for 
the definition of whose stature Rabbi Eliezer cites Deute- 
ronomy iv. 32, ' God made man (Adam) upon the earth, 
and from one end of heaven to the other.' 1 It is one of 
the familiar episodes of the Koran, how the angels were 
bidden to bow down before Adam, the regent of Allah upon 
earth, and how Eblis (Diabolus) swelling with pride, refused 
the act of adoration.* Among the Gnostic sect of the 
Valentinians, Adam the primal man in whom the Deity 
bad revealed himself, stood as earthly representative of the 
Demiurge, and was even counted among the ^Eons.* 

The figures of the great deities of Polytheism, thus 
traced in outline according to the determining idea on 
which each is shaped, seem to show that conceptions 
originating under rude and primitive conditions of human 
thought and passing thence into the range of higher culture, 

1 ' Rig-Veda,' x. 'Atharva-Veda,' xviii. Max Miiller, ' Lectures,' and Ser. 




1 Eisenmenger, part i. p. 365. 

8 Koran, ii. 28, vii. 10, &c. 

4 Neander, ' Hist, of Chr.' vol. ii. pp. 81, 109, 174. 


may suffer in the course of ages the most various fates, to 
be expanded, elaborated, transformed, or abandoned. Yet 
the philosophy of modern ages still to a remarkable degree 
follows the primitive courses of savage thought, even as the 
highways of our land so often follow the unchanging tracks 
of barbaric roads. Let us endeavour timidly and circum- 
spectly to trace onward from savage times the courses of 
vast and pregnant generalization which tend towards the 
two greatest of the world's schemes of religious doctrine, 
the systems of Dualism and Monotheism. 

Rudimentary forms of Dualism, the antagonism of a Good 
and Evil Deity, are well known among the lower races of 
mankind. The investigation of these savage and barbaric 
doctrines, however, is a task demanding peculiar caution. 
The Europeans in contact with these rude tribes since their 
discovery, themselves for the most part holding strongly 
dualistic forms of Christianity, to the extent of practically 
subjecting the world to the contending influences of armies 
of good and evil spirits under the antagonistic control of 
God and Devil, were liable on the one hand tomis take 
and exaggerate savage ideas in this direction, so that their 
records of native religion can only be accepted with reserve, 
while on the other hand there is no doubt that dualistic 
ideas have been largely introduced and developed among the 
savages themselves, under this same European influence. 
For instance, among the natives of Australia, we hear of 
the great deity Nambajandi who dwells in his heavenly 
paradise, where the happy shades of black men feast and 
dance and sing for evermore ; over against him stands the 
great evil being Warrugura, who dwells in the nethermost 
regions, who causes the great calamities which befall man- 
kind, and whom the natives represent with horns and tail, 
although no homed beast is indigenous in the land. 1 There 
may be more or less native substratum in all this, but the 
hints borrowed from popular Christian ideas are unmistake- 

1 Oldfield in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 228. See also Eyre, vol. ii. p. 356 ; 
Lang, ' Queensland,' p. 444. 


able. Thus also, among the North American Indians, the 
native religion was modified under the influence of ideas 
borrowed from the white men, and there arose a full 
dualistic scheme, of which Loskiel, a Moravian missionary 
conversant especially with Algonquin and Iroquois tribes, 
gives the following suggestive particulars, dating from 1794. 
' They (the Indians) first received in modern times through 
the Europeans the idea of the Devil, the Prince of Darkness. 
They consider him as a very mighty spirit, who can only 
do evil, and therefore call him the Evil One. Thus 
they now believe in a great good and a great evil spirit ; 
to the one they ascribe all good, and to the other all evil. 
About thirty years ago, a remarkable change took place in 
the religious opinions of the Indians. Some preachers of 
their own nation pretended to have received revelations 
from above, to have travelled into heaven, and conversed 
with God. They gave different accounts of their journey 
to heaven, but all agreed in this, that no one could arrive 
there without great danger ; for the road runs close by 
the gates of hell. There the Devil lies in ambush, and 
snatches at every one who is going to God. Now those 
who have passed by this dangerous place unhurt, come first 
to the Son of God, and from him to God himself, from 
whom they pretend to have received a commandment, to 
instruct the Indians in the way to heaven. By them 
the Indians were informed that heaven was the dwelling 
of God, and hell that of the Devil. Some of these 
preachers had not indeed reached the dwelling of God, 
but professed to have approached near enough to hear the 
cocks in heaven crow, or to see the smoke of the chimneys 
in heaven, &c., &C.' 1 

Such unequivocal proofs that savage tribes can adopt and 
work into the midst of their native beliefs the European 
doctrine of the Good and Evil Spirit, must induce us to 
criticize keenly all recorded accounts of the religion of un- 

1 Loskiel, ' Gesch. der Mission unter den Ind. in Nord-Amer.' part i. 
ch. 3. 


cultured tribes, lest we should mistake the confused reflexion 
of Christendom for the indigenous theology of Australia or 
Canada. It is the more needful to bring this state of things 
into the clearest light, in order that the religion of the lower 
tribes may be placed in its proper relation to the religion 
of the higher nations. Genuine savage faiths do in fact 
bring to our view what seem to be rudimentary forms of 
ideas which underlie dualistic theological schemes among 
higher nations. It is certain that even among rude savage 
hordes, native thought has already turned toward the deep 
problem of good and evil. Their crude though earnest 
speculation has already tried to solve the great mystery 
which still resists the efforts of moralists and theologians. 
But as in general the animistic doctrine of the lower races 
is not yet an ethical institution, but a philosophy of man 
and nature, so savage dualism is not yet a theory of abstract 
moral principles, but a theory of pleasure or pain, profit or 
loss, affecting the individual man, his family, or at the 
utmost stretch, his people. This narrow and rudimentary 
distinction between good and evil was not unfairly stated by 
the savage who explained that if any body took away his wife, 
that would be bad, but if he himself took someone's else.that 
would be good. Now by the savage or barbarian mind, the 
spiritual beings which by their personal action account for 
the events of life and the operations of nature, are apt to 
be regarded as kindly or hostile, sometimes or always, like 
the human beings on whose type they are so obviously 
modelled. In such a case, we may well judge by the safe 
analogy of disembodied human souls, and it appears that 
these are habitually regarded as sometimes friends and 
sometimes foes of the living. Nothing could be more con- 
clusive in this respect than an account of the three days' 
battle between two factions of Zulu ghosts for the life of 
a man and wife whom the one rpiritual party desired to 
destroy and the other to save ; the defending spirits pre- 
vailed, dug up the bewitched charm-bags which had been 
buried to cause sympathetic disease, and flung these objects 


into the midst of the assembly of the people watching in 
silence, just as the spirits now fling real flowers at a table- 
rapping stance. 1 For spirits less closely belonging to the 
definition of ghosts, may be taken Rochefort's remarks in the 
I7th century as to the two sorts of spirits, good and bad, 
recognized by the Caribs of the West Indies. This writer 
declares that their good spirits or divinities are in fact so 
many demons who seduce them and keep them enchained 
in their damnable servitude ; but nevertheless, he says, 
the people themselves do distinguish them from their evil 
spirits.* Nor can we pronounce this distinction of theirs 
unreasonable, learning from other authorities that it was 
the office of some of these spirits to attend men as familiar 
genii, and of others to inflict diseases. After the numerous 
details which have incidentally been cited in the present 
volumes, it will be needless to offer farther proof that 
spiritual beings are really conceived by savages and barba- 
rians as ranged in antagonistic ranks as good and evil, i.e., 
friendly and hostile to themselves. The interesting enquiry 
on which it is here desirable to collect evidence, is this : 
how far are the doctrines of the higher nations anticipated 
in principle among the lower tribes, in the assignment of 
the conduct of the universe to two mighty hostile beings, in 
whom the contending powers of good and evil are personi- 
fied, the Good Deity and the Evil Deity, each the head 
and ruler of a spiritual host like-minded ? The true answer 
seems to be that savage belief displays to us the primitive 
conceptions which, when developed in systematic form and 
attached to ethical meaning, take their place in religious 
systems of which the Zoroastrian is the type. 

First, when in district after district two special deities 
with special native names are contrasted in native religion 
as the Good and Evil Deity, it is in some cases easier to 
explain these beings as native at least in origin, than to 
suppose that foreign intercourse should have exerted the 

1 Callaway, ' Rel. of Amazulu,' p. 348. 

* Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 416. See J. G. Muller, p. 207. 


consistent and far-reaching influence needed to introduce 
them. Second, when the deities in question are actually 
polytheistic gods, such as Sun, Moon, Heaven, Earth, con- 
sidered as of good or evil, i.e., favourable or unfavourable 
aspect, this looks like native development, not innovation 
derived from a foreign religion ignoring such divinities. 
Third, when it is held that the Good Deity is remote and 
otiose, but the Evil Deity present and active, and worship 
is therefore directed especially to the propitiation of the 
hostile principle, we have here a conception which appears 
native in the lower culture, rather than derived from the 
higher culture to which it is unfamiliar and even hateful. 
Now Dualism, as prevailing among the lower races, will be 
seen in a considerable degree to assert its originality by 
satisfying one or more of these conditions. 

There have been recorded among the Indians of North 
America a group of mythic beliefs, which display the funda- 
mental idea of dualism in the very act of germinating in 
savage religion. Yet the examination of these myths leads 
us first to destructive criticism of a picturesque but not 
ancient member of the series. An ethnologist, asked to 
point out the most striking savage dualistic legend of the 
world, would be likely to name the celebrated Iroquois myth 
of the Twin Brethren. The current version of this legend 
is that set down in 1825 by the Christian chief of the Tus- 
caroras, David Cusick, as the belief of his people. Among 
the ancients, he relates, there were two worlds, the lower 
world in darkness and possessed by monsters, the upper 
world inhabited by mankind. A woman near her travail 
sank from this upper region to the dark world below. She 
alighted on a Tortoise, prepared to receive her with a little 
earth on his back, which Tortoise became an island. The 
celestial mother bore twin sons into the dark world, and 
died. The tortoise increased to a great island, and the 
twins grew up. One was of gentle disposition, and was 
called Enigorio, the Good Mind, the other was of insolent 
character, and was named Enigonhahetgea, the Bad Mind. 


The Good Mind, not contented to remain in darkness, 
wished to create a great light ; the Bad Mind desired that 
the world should remain in its natural state. The Good 
Mind took his dead mother's head and made it the sun, and 
of a remnant of her body he made the moon. These were 
to give light to the day and to the night. Also he created 
many spots of light, now stars : these were to regulate the 
days, nights, seasons, years. Where the light came upon 
the dark world, the monsters were displeased, and hid 
themselves in the depths, lest man should find them. The 
Good Mind continued the creation, formed many creeks and 
rivers on the Great Island, created small and great beasts 
to inhabit the forests, and fishes to inhabit the waters. 
When he had made the universe, he doubted concerning 
beings to possess the Great Island. He formed two images 
of the dust of the ground in his own likeness, male and 
female, and by breathing into their nostrils gave them 
living souls, and named them Ea-gwe-howe, that is ' real 
people ; ' and he gave the Great Island all the animals 
of game for their maintenance ; he appointed thunder 
to water the earth by frequent rains ; the island became 
fruitful, and vegetation afforded to the animals subsistence. 
The Bad Mind went throughout the island and made high 
mountains and waterfalls and great steeps, and created rep- 
tiles injurious to mankind; but the Good Mind restored 
the island to its former condition. The Bad Mind made 
two clay images in the form of man, but while he was giving 
them existence they became apes ; and so on. The Good 
Mind accomplished the works of creation, notwithstanding 
the imaginations of the Bad Mind were continually evil ; 
thus he attempted to enclose all the animals of game in the 
earth away from mankind, but his brother set them free, 
and traces of them were made on the rocks near the cave 
where they were shut in. At last the brethren came to 
single combat for the mastery of the universe. The Good 
Mind falsely persuaded the Bad Mind that whipping with 
flags would destroy his own life, but he himself used the 


deer-horns, the instrument of death. After a two days' 
fight, the Good Mind slew his brother and crushed him in 
the earth ; and the last words of the Bad Mind were that 
he would have equal power over men's souls after death, 
then he sank down to eternal doom and became the Evil 
Spirit. The Good Mind visited the people, and then retired 
from the earth. 1 

This is a graphic tale. Its versions of the cosmic myth 
of the World-Tortoise, and its apparent philosophical myth 
of fossil footprints, have much mythological interest. But 
its Biblical copying extends to the very phraseology, and 
only partial genuineness can be allowed to its main theme. 
Dr. Brinton has shown from early American writers how 
much dualistic fancy has sprung up since the times of first 
intercourse between natives and white men. When this 
legend is compared with the earlier version given by Father 
Brebeuf, missionary to the Hurons in 1636, we find its 
whole complexion altered ; the moral dualism banishes ; 
the names of Good and Bad Mind do not appear ; it is the 
story of loskeha the White One, with his brother Tawiscara 
the Dark One, and we at once perceive that Christian in- 
fluence in the course of two centuries had given the tale a 
meaning foreign to its real intent. Yet to go back to the 
earliest sources and examine this myth of the White One 
and the Dark One, proves it to be itself a perfect example of 
the rise of primitive dualism in the savage mind. Father 
Brebeuf 's story is as follows : Aataentsic the Moon fell 
from heaven on earth, and bore two sons, Taouiscaron and 
louskeha, who being grown up quarrelled ; judge, he says, 
if there be not in this a touch of the death of Abel. They 
came to combat, but with very different weapons. louskeha 
had a stag-horn, Taouiscaron contented himself with some 
wild-rose berries, persuading himself that as soon as he 
should thus smite his brother, he would fall dead at his 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part v. p. 632 ; see part i. p. 316, part 
vi. p. 166 ; ' Iroquois,' p. 36, see 237 ; Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' 
p. 63. 


feet ; but it fell out quite otherwise than he had promised 
himself, and louskeha struck him so heavy a blow in the 
side that the blood gushed forth in streams. The poor 
wretch fled, and from his blood which fell upon the land 
came the flints which the savages still call Taouiscara, 
from the victim's name. From this we see it to be true 
that the original myth of the two brothers, the White One 
and the Dark One, had no moral element. It seems mere 
nature-myth, the contest between Day and Night, for the 
Hurons knew that louskeha was the Sun, even as his 
mother or grandmother Aataentsic was the Moon. Yet in 
the contrast between these two, the Huron mind had 
already come to the rudimentary contrast of the Good and 
Evil Deity. louskeha the Sun, it is expressly said, seemed 
to the Indians their benefactor ; their kettle would not 
boil were it not for him ; it was he who learnt from the 
Tortoise the art of making fire ; without him they would 
have no luck in hunting ; it is he who makes the corn 
to grow. louskeha the Sun takes care for the living and 
all things concerning life, and therefore, says the mis- 
sionary, they say he is good. But Aataentsic the Moon, 
the creatress of earth and man, makes men die and has 
charge of their departed souls, and they say she is evil. 
The Sun and Moon dwell together in their cabin at the end 
of the earth, and thither it was that the Indians made the 
mythic journey of which various episodes have been more 
than once cited here ; true to their respective characters, 
the Sun receives the travellers kindly and saves them from 
the harm the beauteous but hurtful Moon would have done 
them. Another missionary of still earlier time identifies 
louskeha with the supreme deity Atahocan : ' louskeha,' he 
says, ' is good and gives growth and fair weather ; his 
grandmother Eatahentsic is wicked and spoils.' 1 Thus in 
early Iroquois legend, the Sun and Moon, as god and god- 

1 Brebeuf in ' Rel. des Jisuites dans la Nouvelle France,' 1635, p. 34, 1636, 
p. too. Sagard, ' Histoire du Canada,' Paris, 1636, p. 490. L. H. Morgan, 
' Iroquois.' p. 156. See ante, vol. i. pp. 288, 349. 


dess of Day and Night, had already acquired the characters 
of the great friend and enemy of man, the Good and Evil 
Deity. And as to the related cosmic legend of Day and 
Night, contrasted in the persons of the two brothers, the 
White One and the Dark One, though this was originally 
pure unethic nature-myth, yet it naturally took the same 
direction among the half-Europeanized Indians of later 
times, becoming a moral myth of Good and Evil. The idea 
comes to full maturity in the modern shaping of Iroquois 
religion, where the good and great deity Hawenneyu the 
Ruler has opposed to him a rival deity keeping the same 
name as in the myth, Hanegoategeh the Evil-minded. We 
have thus before us the profoundly interesting fact, that 
the rude North American Indians have more than once 
begun the same mythologic transition which in ancient Asia 
shaped the contrast of light and darkness into the contrast 
of righteousness and wickedness, by following out the same 
thought which still in the European mind arrays in the 
hostile forms of Light and Darkness the contending powers 
of Good and Evil. 

Judging by such evidence, at once of the rudimentary 
dualism springing up in savage animism, and of the 
tendency of this to amalgamate with similar thought 
brought in by foreign intercourse, it is possible to account 
for many systems of the dualistic class found in the native 
religions of America. While the evidence may lead us to 
agree with Waitz that the North American Indian dualism, 
the most distinct and universal feature of their religion, is 
not to be altogether referred to a modern Christian origin, 
yet care must be taken not to claim as the result of prim- 
itive religious development what shows signs of being 
borrowed civilized theology. The records remain of the 
Jesuit missionary teaching under which the Algonquins 
came to use their native term Manitu, that is, spirit or 
demon, in speaking of the Christian God and Devil as the 
good and the evil Manitu. Still later, the Great Spirit and 
the Evil Spirit, Kitchi Manitu and Matchi Manitu, gained 


a wider place in the beliefs of North American tribes, who 
combined these adopted Christian conceptions with older 
native beliefs in powers of light and warmth and life and 
protection, of darkness and cold and death and destruction. 
Thus the two great antagonistic Beings became chiefs of the 
kindly and harmful spirits pervading the world and strug- 
gling for the mastery over it. Here the nature-religion of 
the savage was expanded and developed rather than set on 
foot by the foreigner. Among other American races, such 
combinations of foreign and native religious ideas are easy 
to find, though hard to analyse. In the extreme north-west, 
we may doubt any native origin in the semi-Christianized 
Kodiak's definition of Shljem Shoa the creator of heaven 
and earth, to whom offerings were made before and after 
the hunt, as contrasted with Ijak the bad spirit dwelling 
in the earth. In the extreme south-east may be found more 
originality among the Floridan Indians two or three cen- 
turies ago, for they are said to have paid solemn worship 
to the Bad Spirit Toia who plagued them with visions, but 
to have had small regard for the Good Spirit, who troubles 
himself little about mankind. 1 On the southern continent, 
Martius makes this characteristic remark as to the rude 
tribes of Brazil : ' All Indians have a lively conviction of 
the power of an evil principle over them ; in many there 
dawns also a glimpse of the good ; but they revere the one 
less than they fear the other. It might be thought that 
they hold the Good Being weaker in relation to the fate of 
man than the evil.' This generalization is to some extent 
supported by statements as to particular tribes. The 
Macusis are said to recognize the good creator Macunaima, 
' he who works by night,' and his evil adversary Epel or 
Horiuch : of these people is is observed that 'All the powers 
of nature are products of the Good Spirit, when they do 

1 Waitz, ' Anthropologie,' vol. iii. pp. 182, 330, 335, 345 ; Le Jeune in 
' Rcl. des Je"s.' 1637, p. 49 ; La Potherie, ' Hist, de 1'Amer. Septentrionale,' 
Paris, 1722, vol. i. p. 121 ; J. G. Miiller, p. 149, &c. Schoolcraft, ' Indian 
Tribes,' part i. p. 35, &c., 320, 412 ; Catlin, vol. i. p. 156 ; Cranz, ' Gron- 
land,' p. 263. 


not disturb the Indian's rest and comfort, but the work of 
evil spirits when they do.' Uauiiloa and Locozy, the good 
and evil deity of the Yumanas, live above the earth and 
toward the sun ; the Evil Deity is feared by these savages, 
but the Good Deity will come to eat fruit with the departed 
and take their souls to his dwelling, wherefore they bury 
the dead each doubled up in his great earthen pot, with 
fruit in his lap, and looking toward the sunrise. Even the 
rude Botocudos are thought to recognize antagonistic prin- 
ciples of good and evil in the persons of the Sun and Moon. 1 
This idea has especial interest from its correspondence on 
the one hand with that of the Iroquois tribes, and on the 
other with that of the comparatively civilized Muyscas of 
Bogota, whose good deity is unequivocally a mythic Sun, 
thwarted in his kindly labours for man by his wicked wife 
Huythaca the Moon. 2 The native religion of Chili is said 
to have placed among the subaltern deities Meulen, the 
friend of man, and Huecuvu the bad spirit and author of 
evil. These people can hardly have learnt from Christianity 
to conceive their evil spirit as simply and fully the general 
cause of misfortune : if the earth quakes, Huecuvu has given 
it a shock ; if a horse tires, Huecuvu has ridden him ; if 
a man falls sick, Huecuvu has sent the disease into his 
body, and no man dies but that Huecuvu suffocates him.* 
In Africa, again, allowing for Moslem influence, dualism 
is not ill represented in native religion. An old account 
from Loango describes the natives as theoretically recogniz- 
ing Zambi the supreme deity, creator of good and lover of 
justice, and over against him Zambi-anbi the destroyer, the 
counsellor of crime, the author of loss and accident, of 
disease and death. But when it conies to actual worship, as 

1 Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. pp. 327, 485, 583, 645, see 247, 393, 427, 
696. See also J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrelig.' pp. 259, &c., 403, 423 ; 
D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Ame'ricain,' vol. i. p. 405, vol. ii. p. 257 ; Falkner, 
'Patagonia,' p. 114; Musters, ' Patagonians,' p. 179; Fitzroy, ' Voy. of 
Adventure and Beagle,' vol. i. pp. 180, 190. 

1 Piedrahita, ' Hist, de Neuv. Granada,' part i. book i. ch. 3. 

' Molina, ' Hist, of Chili,' voL ii. p. 84 ; Febres, ' Diccionario Chileno,' t.v. 


the good god will always be favourable, it is the god of evil 
who must be appeased, and it is for his satisfaction that men 
abstain some from one kind of food and some from another. 1 
Among accounts of the two rival deities in West Africa, one 
describes the Guinea negroes as recognizing below the Su- 
preme Deity two spirits (or classes of spirits), Ombwiri and 
Onyambe, the one kind and gentle, doing good to men and 
rescuing them from harm, the other hateful and wicked, 
whose seldom mentioned name is heard with uneasiness and 
displeasure.* It would be scarcely profitable, in an enquiry 
where accurate knowledge of the doctrine of any insignifi- 
cant tribe is more to the purpose than vague speculation on 
the theology of the mightiest nation, to dwell on the enig- 
matic traces of ancient Egyptian dualism. Suffice it to say 
that the two brother-deities Osiris and Seti, Osiris the bene- 
ficent solar divinity whose nature the blessed dead took on 
them, Seti perhaps a rival national god degraded to a Typhon, 
seem to have become the representative figures of a con- 
trasted scheme of light and darkness, good and evil; the sculp- 
tured granite still commemorates the contests of their long- 
departed sects, where the hieroglyphic square-eared beast of 
Seti has been defaced to substitute for it the figure of Osiris. 8 
The conception of the light-god as the good deity in con- 
trast to a rival god of evil, is one plainly suggested by 
nature, and naturally recurring in the religions of the world. 
The Khonds of Orissa may be counted its most perfect 
modern exponents in barbaric culture. To their supreme 
creative deity, Bura Pennu or Bella Pennu, Light-god or 
Sun-god, there stands opposed his evil consort Tari Pennu 
the Earth-goddess, and the history of good and evil in the 
world is the history of his work and her counterwork. He 
created a world paradisaic, happy, harmless ; she rebelled 
against him, and to blast the lot of his new creature, man, 

1 Proyart, 'Loango,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 504. Bastian, 'Mensch,' 
vol. ii. p. 109. See Kolbe, ' Kaap de Goede Hoop,' part i. xxix. : Waitz, 
vol. ii. p. 342 (Hottentots). 

1 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' pp. 217, 387. Waitz, vol. ii. p. 173. 

8 Birch, in Bunsen, vol. v. p. 136. Wilkinson, ' Ancient Eg.' &c. 


she brought in disease, and poison, and all disorder, ' sow- 
ing the seeds of sin in mankind as in a ploughed field.' 
Death became the divine punishment of wickedness, the 
spontaneously fertile earth went to jungle and rock and 
mud, plants and animals grew poisonous and fierce, through- 
out nature good and evil were commingled, and still the 
fight goes on between the two great powers. So far all 
Khonds agree, and it is on the practical relation of good 
and evil that they split into their two hostile sects of Bura 
and Tari. Bura's sect hold that he triumphed over Tari, 
in sign of her discomfiture imposed the cares of childbirth 
on her sex, and makes her still his subject instrument 
wherewith to punish ; Taxi's sect hold that she still main- 
tains the struggle, and even practically disposes of the hap- 
piness of man, doing evil or good on her own account, and 
allowing or not allowing the Creator's blessings to reach 
mankind. 1 

Now that the sacred books of the Zend-Avesta are open 
to us, it is possible to compare the doctrines of savage 
tribes with those of the great faith through which of all 
others Dualism seems to have impressed itself on the 
higher nations. The religion of Zarathustra was a schism 
from that ancient Aryan nature-worship which is represented 
in a pure and early form in the Veda, and in depravity and 
decay in modern Hinduism. The leading thought of the 
Zarathustrian faith was the contest of Good and Evil in the 
world, a contrast typified and involved in that of Day and 
Night, Light and Darkness, and brought to personal shape 
in the warfare of Ahura-Mazda and Anra-Mainyu, the Good 
and Evil Deity, Ormuzd and Ahriman. The prophet 
Zarathustra said : ' In the beginning there was a pair of 
twins, two spirits, each of a peculiar activity. These are 
the good and the base in thought, word, and deed. Choose 
one of these two spirits. Be good, not base ! ' The sacred 
Vendidad begins with the record of the primaeval contest of 
the two principles . Ahura-Mazda created the best of regions 

1 Macpherson, ' India,' p. 84. 


and lands, the Aryan home, Sogdia, Bactria, and the rest ; 
Anra-Mainyu against his work created snow and pestilence, 
buzzing insects and poisonous plants, poverty and sickness, 
sin and unbelief. The modern Parsi, in passages of his 
formularies of confession, still keeps alive the old antagonism. 
I repent, he says, of all kind of sins which the evil Ahriman 
produced amongst the creatures of Ormazd in opposition. 
' That which was the wish of Ormazd the Creator, and I 
ought to have thought and have not thought, what I ought 
to have spoken and have not spoken, what I ought to have 
done and have not done ; of these sins repent I with 
thoughts, words, and works, corporeal as well as spiritual, 
earthly as well as heavenly, with the three words : Pardon, 
O Lord, I repent of sin. That which was the wish of 
Ahriman, and I ought not to have thought and yet have 
thought, what I ought not to have spoken and yet have 
spoken, what I ought not to have done and yet have done ; 
of these sins repent I with thoughts, words, and works, 
corporeal as well as spiritual, earthly as well as heavenly, 
with the three words : Pardon, O Lord, I repent of sin.' 
. . . ' May Ahriman be broken, may Ormazd increase.' 1 
The Izedis or Yezidis, the so-called Devil-worshippers, still 
remain a numerous though oppressed people in Mesopotamia 
and adjacent countries. Their adoration of the sun and 
horror of .defiling fire accord with the idea of a Persian 
origin of their religion (Persian ized = god), an origin under- 
lying more superficial admixture of Christian and Moslem 
elements. This remarkable sect is distinguished by a 
special form of dualism. While recognizing the existence 
of a Supreme Being, their peculiar reverence is given to 
Satan, chief of the angelic host, who now has the means of 
doing evil to mankind, and in his restoration will have the 
power of rewarding them. ' Will not Satan then reward 
the poor Izedis, who alone have never spoken ill of him, and 
have suffered so much for him ? ' Martyrdom for the rights 

1 Avesta, tr. by Spiegel. Vendidad, i. ; ' Khorda-A vesta.' xlv. xlvi, 
Max Miiller, ' Lectures,' ist Ser. p. 208. 

II. Y 


of Satan ! exclaims the German traveller to whom an old 
white-bearded devil-worshipper thus set forth the hopes of 
his religion. 1 

Direct worship of the Evil Principle, familiar as it is to 
low barbaric races, is scarcely to be found among people 
higher in civilization than these persecuted and stubborn 
sectaries of Western Asia. So far as such ideas extend in 
the development of religion, they seem fair evidence how 
far worship among low tribes turns rather on fear than love. 
That the adoration of a Good Deity should have more and 
more superseded the propitiation of an Evil Deity, is the 
sign of one of the great movements in the education of 
mankind, a result of happier experience of life, and of 
larger and more gladsome views of the system of the 
universe. It is not, however, through the inactive systems 
of modern Parsism and Izedism that the mighty Zoroastrian 
dualism has exerted its main influence on mankind. We 
must look back to long-past ages for traces of its contact 
with Judaism and Christianity. It is often and reasonably 
thought that intercourse between Jews and ancient Persians 
was an effective agent in producing that theologic change 
which differences the later Jew of the Rabbinical books from 
the earlier Jew of the Pentateuch, a change in which one im- 
portant part is the greater prominence of the dualistic scheme. 
So in later times (about the fourth century), the contact of 
Zoroastrism and Christianity appears to have been influential 
in producing Manichaeism. Manichaeism is known mostly on 
the testimony of its adversaries, but thus much seems clear, 
that it is based on the very doctrine of the two antagonistic 
principles of good and evil, of spirit and matter. It sets on 
the one hand God, original good and source of good alone, 
primal light and lord of the kingdom of light, and on the 
other hand the Prince of Darkness, with his kingdom of 
darkness, of matter, of confusion, and destruction. The 
theory of ceaseless conflict between these contending 

1 Layard, ' Nineveh,' vol. i. p. 297 ; Ainsworth, ' Izedii,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' 
vol. i. p. ii. 


powers becomes a key to the physical and moral nature and 
course of the universe. 1 Among Christian or semi-Christian 
sects, the Manichaeans stand as representatives of dualism 
pushed to its utmost development. It need scarcely be said, 
however, that Christian dualism is not bounded by the 
limits of this or that special sect. In so far as the Evil 
Being, with his subordinate powers of darkness, is held to 
exist and act in any degree in independence of the Supreme 
Deity and his ministering spirits of light, so far theological 
schools admit, though in widely different grades of impor- 
tance, a philosophy of nature and of life which has its basis 
rather in dualism than in monotheism. 

We now turn to the last objects of our present survey, 
those theological beliefs of the lower tribes of mankind 
which point more or less distinctly toward a doctrine of 
Monotheism. Here it is by no means proposed to examine 
savage ideas from the point of view of doctrinal theology, 
an undertaking which would demand arguments quite 
beyond the present range. Their treatment is limited to 
classifying the actual beliefs of the lower races, with some 
ethnographic considerations as to their origin and their 
relation to higher religions. For this purpose it is desir- 
able to distinguish the prevalent doctrines of the uncultured 
world from absolute monotheism. At the outset, care is 
needed to exclude an ambiguity of which the importance 
often goes unnoticed. How are the mighty but subordinate 
divinities, recognized in different religions, to be classed ? 
Beings who in Christian or Moslem theology would be 
called angels, saints, demons, would under the same defini- 
tions be called deities in polytheistic systems. This is 
obvious, but we may realize it more distinctly from its 
actually having happened. The Chuwashes, a race of 
Tatar affinity, are stated to reverence a god of Death, 
who takes to himself the souls of the departed, and whom 
they call Esrel ; it is curious that Castre"n, in mentioning 

1 Heausobre, ' Hist, de Manichie,' &c. Neander, ' Hist, of Christian 
Religion,' vol. ii. p. 157, &c. 


this, should fail to point out that this deity is no other than 
Azrael the angel of death, adopted under Moslem influence. 1 
Again, in the mixed Pagan and Christian religion of the 
Circassians, which at least in its recently prevalent form 
would be reckoned polytheistic, there stand beneath the 
Supreme Being a number of mighty subordinate deities, of 
whom the principal are lele the Thunder-god, Tleps the 
Fire-god, Seoseres the god of Wind and Water, Misitcha 
the Forest-god, and Mariam the Virgin Mary. 1 If the 
monotheistic criterion be simply made to consist in the 
Supreme Deity being held as creator of the universe and 
chief of the spiritual hierarchy, then its application to 
savage and barbaric theology will lead to perplexing conse- 
quences. Races of North and South America, of Africa, 
of Polynesia, recognizing a number of great deities, are 
usually and reasonably considered polytheists, yet under 
this definition their acknowledgment of a Supreme Creator, 
of which various cases will here be shown, would entitle 
them at the same time to the name of monotheists. To 
mark off the doctrines of monotheism, closer definition 
is required, assigning the distinctive attributes of deity to 
none save the Almighty Creator. It may be declared that, 
in this strict sense, no savage tribe of monotheists has been 
ever known. Nor are any fair representatives of the lower 
culture in a strict sense pantheists. The doctrine which 
they do widely hold, and which opens to them a course 
tending in one or other of these directions, is polytheism 
culminating in the rule of one supreme divinity. High 
above the doctrine of souls, of divine manes, of local nature- 
spirits, of the great deities of class and element, there are 
to be discerned in barbaric theology shadowings, quaint or 
majestic, of the conception of a Supreme Deity, henceforth 
to be traced onward in expanding power and brightening 
glory along the history of religion. It is no unimportant 
task, partial as it is, to select and group the typical data 

1 Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' p. 155. 

1 Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch." vol. vi. p. 85. 


which show the nature and position of the doctrine of 
supremacy, as it comes into view within the lower culture. 
On the threshold of the investigation, there meets us the 
same critical difficulty which obstructs the study of primi- 
tive dualism. Among low tribes who have been in contact 
with Christianity or Mohammedanism, how are we to tell to 
what extent, under this foreign influence, dim, uncouth 
ideas of divine supremacy may have been developed into 
more cultured forms, or wholly foreign ideas implanted ? 
We know how the Jesuit missionaries led the native 
Canadians to the conception of the Great Manitu ; how 
they took up the native Brazilian name of the divine 
Thunder, Tupan, and adapted its meaning to convey in 
Christian teaching the idea of God. Thus, again, we find 
most distinctly-marked African ideas of a Supreme Deity 
in the West, where intercourse with Moslems has actually 
Islamized or semi-Islamized whole negro nations, and the 
name of Allah is in all men's mouths. The ethnographer 
must be ever on the look-out for traces of such foreign 
influence in the definition of the Supreme Deity acknow- 
ledged by any uncultured race, a divinity whose nature 
and even whose name may betray his adoption from 
abroad. Thus the supreme Iroquois deity, Neo or Hawa- 
neu, the pre-existent creator, has been triumphantly adduced 
to show the monotheism underlying the native creeds of 
America. But it seems that this divinity was introduced 
by the French Catholic missionaries, and that Niio is an 
altered form of Dieu. 1 Among the list of supreme deities 
of the lower races who are also held to be first ancestors 
of man, we hear of Louquo, the uncreate first Carib, who 
descended from the eternal heaven, made the flat earth, and 
produced man from his own body. He lived long on earth 
among men, died and came to life again after three days, 

and returned to heaven.* It would be hardly reasonable 


1 ' Etudes Philologiques sur quelques Langues Sauvages de I'Am^rique,' 
par N. O. (J. A. Cuoq.) Montreal, 1866, p. 14. Brinton, ' Myths of New 
World,' p. 53. Schoolcraft, ' Iroquois,' p. 33. 

* De la Borde, ' Caraibes,' p. 524. J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrel.' p. 228. 

334 . ANIMISM. 

to enumerate, among genuine deities of native West Indian 
religion, a being with characteristics thus on the face of 
them adopted from the religion of the white men. Yet 
even in such extreme cases, it does not necessarily follow 
that the definitions of these deities, vitiated as they are for 
ethnographical use by foreign influence, have not to some ex- 
tent a native substratum. In criticising details, moreover, it 
must not be forgotten how largely the similarities in the reli- 
gions of different races may be of independent origin, and 
how closely allied are many ideas in the rude native theolo- 
gies of savages to ideas holding an immemorial place in the 
religions of their civilized invaders. For the present pur- 
pose, however, it is well to dwell especially on such evidence 
as by characteristic traits or early date is farthest removed 
from suspicion of being borrowed from a foreign source. 

In surveying the peoples of the world, the ethnographer 
finds many who are not shown to have any definite concep- 
tion of a supreme deity ; and even where such a conception 
is placed on record, it is sometimes so vaguely asserted, or 
on such questionable authority, that he can but take note 
of it and pass on. In numerous cases, however, illustrated 
by the following collection from different regions, certain 
leading ideas, singly or blended, may be traced. There 
are many savage and barbaric religions which solve their 
highest problem by the simple process of raising to divine 
primacy one of the gods of polytheism itself. Even the 
system of the manes-worshipper has been stretched to reach 
the limit of supreme deity, in the person of the primaeval 
ancestor. More frequently, it is the nature-worshipper's 
principle which has prevailed, giving to one of the great 
nature-deities the precedence of the rest. Here, by no re- 
condite speculation, but by the plain teaching of nature, 
the choice has for the most part lain between two mighty 
visible divinities, the all-animating Sun and the all-encom- 
passing Heaven. In the study of such schemes, we are on 
intellectual terra firma. There is among the religions of 
the lower races another notable group of systems, seemingly 


in close connexion with the first. These display to us a 
heavenly pantheon arranged on the model of an earthly 
political constitution, where the commonalty are crowds of 
human souls and other tribes of world-pervading spirits,, 
the aristocracy are great polytheistic gods, and the King is 
the supreme Deity. To this comparatively intelligible side 
of the subject, a more perplexed and obscure side stands 
contrasted. Among thoughtful men whose theory of the 
soul animating the body has already led them to suppose 
a diving spirit animating the huge mass of earth or sky, 
this idea needs but a last expansion to become a doctrine 
of the universe as animated by one greatest, all-pervad- 
ing divinity, the World-Spirit. Moreover, where specula- 
tive philosophy grapples with the vast fundamental 
world-problem, the solution is attained by ascending from 
the Many to the One, by striving to discern through and 
beyond the Universe a First Cause. Let the basis of such 
reasoning be laid in theological ground, then the First 
Cause is realized as the Supreme Deity. In such ways, 
the result of carrying to their utmost limits the animistic 
conceptions which among low races and high pervade 
the philosophy of religion, is to reach an idea of as it were 
a soul of the world, a shaper, animator, ruler of the uni- 
verse. Entering these regions of transcendental theology, 
we are not to wonder that the comparative distinctness 
belonging to conceptions of lower spiritual beings here 
fades away. Human souls, subordinate nature-spirits, and 
huge polytheistic nature-gods, carry with the defined special 
functions they perform some defined character and figure, 
but beyond such limits form and function blend into the 
infinite and universal in the thought of supreme divinity. 
To realize this widest idea, two especial ways are open. 
The first way is to fuse the attributes of the great poly- 
theistic powers into more or less of common personality, 
thus conceiving that, after all, it is the same Highest 
Being who holds up the heavens, shines in the sun, smites 
his foes in the thunder, stands first in the human pedigree as 


the divine ancestor. The second way is to remove the limit 
of theologic speculation into the region of the indefinite 
and the inane. An unshaped divine entity looming vast, 
shadowy, and calm beyond and over the material world, too 
benevolent or too exalted to need human worship, too huge, 
too remote, too indifferent, too supine, too merely existent, 
to concern himself with the petty race of men, this is a 
mystic form of formlessness in which religion has not 
seldom pictured the Supreme. 

Thus, then, it appears that the theology of the lower races 
already reaches its climax in conceptions of a highest of the 
gods, and that these conceptions in the savage and barbaric 
world are no copies stamped from one common type, but 
outlines widely varying among mankind. The degenera- 
tion-theory, in some instances no doubt with justice, may 
claim such beliefs as mutilated and perverted remnants of 
higher religions. Yet for the most part, the development- 
theory is competent to account for them without seeking 
their origin in grades of culture higher than those in which 
they are found existing. Looked upon as products of 
natural religion, such doctrines of divine supremacy seem 
in no way to transcend the powers of the low-cultured mind 
to reason out, nor of the low-cultured imagination to deck 
with mythic fancy. There have existed in times past, 
and do still exist, savage or barbaric peoples who hold 
such views of a highest god as they may have attained to 
of themselves, without the aid of more cultured nations. 
Among these races, Animism has its distinct and consistent 
outcome, and Polytheism its distinct and consistent com- 
pletion, in the doctrine of a Supreme Deity. 

The native religions of South America and the West 
Indies display a well-marked series of types. The primacy 
of the Sun was long ago well stated by the Moluches when 
a Jesuit missionary preached to them, and they replied, 
' Till this hour, we never knew nor acknowledged anything 
greater or better than the Sun.' 1 So when a later mis- 

1 Dobrizhoffer, ' Abipones,' vol. ii. p. 89. 


sionary argued with the chief of the Tobas, ' My god is 
good and punishes wicked people,' the chief replied, ' My 
God (the Sun) is good likewise ; but he punishes nobody, 
satisfied to do good to all.' 1 In various manifestations, 
moreover, there reigns among barbarians a supreme being 
whose characteristics are those of the Heaven-god. It 
is thus with the Tamoi of the Guaranis, ' that beneficent 
deity worshipped in his blended character of ancestor of 
mankind and ancient of heaven, lord of the celestial 
paradise.' 1 It is so with the highest deity of the Arauca- 
nians, Pillan the Thunder or the Thunderer, called also 
Huenu-Pillan or Heaven-Thunder, and Vuta-gen or Great 
Being. ' The universal government of Pillan,' says 
Molina, ' is a prototype of the Araucanian polity. He is 
the great Toqui (Governor) of the invisible world, and as 
such has his Apo-Ulmenes, and his Ulmenes, to whom he 
entrusts the administration of affairs of less importance. 
These ideas are certainly very rude, but it must be acknow- 
ledged that the Araucanians are not the only people who 
have regulated the things of heaven by those of the earth.'* 
A different but not less characteristic type of the Supreme 
Deity is placed on record among the Caribs, a beneficent 
power dwelling in the skies, reposing in his own happi- 
ness, careless of mankind, and by them not honoured nor 
adored. 4 

The theological history of Peru, in ages before the 
Spanish conquest, has lately had new light thrown on it by 
the researches of Mr. Markham. Here the student comes 
into view of a rivalry full of interest in the history of 
barbaric religion, the rivalry between the Creator and 
the divine Sun. In the religion of the Incas, precedence 
was given to Uiracocha, called Pachacamac, ' Creator of 
the World.' The Sun (with whom was coupled his sister- 

1 Hutchinson, ' Chaco Ind.' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 327. 

* D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Ame'ricain,' vol. ii. p. 319. 

* Molina, ' Hist, of Chili,' vol. ii. p. 84, &c. Compare Febres, ' Diccionario 

* Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 415. Musters, ' Patagonians,' p. 179. 


wife the Moon) was the divine ancestor, the dawn or origin, 
the totem or lar, of the Inca family. The three great 
deities were the Creator, Sun, and Thunder ; their images 
were brought out together at great festivals into the square 
of Cuzco, llamas were sacrificed to all three, and they could 
be addressed in prayer together, ' O Creator, and Sun, and 
Thunder, be for ever young, multiply the people, and let 
them always be at peace.' Yet the Thunder and Light- 
ning was held to come by the command of the Creator, and 
the following prayer shows clearly that even ' our father the 
Sun ' was but his creature : 

' Uiracocha I Thou who gavest being to the Sun, and afterwards laid 
let there be day and night. Raise it and cause it to shine, and preserve 
that which thou hast created, that it may give light to men. Grant this, 
Uiracocha ! 

' Sun ! Thou who art in peace and safety, shine upon us, keep us from 
sickness, and keep. us in health and safety.' 

Among the transitions of religion, however, it is not strange 
that a subordinate God, by virtue of his nearer intercourse 
and power, should usurp the place of the supreme deity. 
Among the various traces of this taking place under the 
Incas, are traditions of the great temple at Cuzco called 

The Golden Place,' where Manco Ccapac originally set up 
aflat oval golden plate to signify the Creator ; Mayta Ccapac, 
it is said, renewed the Creator's symbol, but Huascar Inca 
took it down, and set up in its stead in the place of honour 
a round golden plate like the sun with rays. The famous 
temple itself, Ccuricancha the ' Golden Place,' was known 
to the Spaniards as the Temple of the Sun ; no wonder that 
the idea has come to be so generally accepted, that the Sun 
was the chief god of Peru. There is even on record a 
memorable protest made by one Inca, who dared to deny 
that the Sun could be the maker of all things, comparing 
him to a tethered beast that must make ever the same daily 
round, and to an arrow that must go whither it is sent, not 

whither it will. But what availed philosophic protest, even 
from the head of church and state himself, against a state 


church of which the world has seldom seen the equal for 
stiff and solid organization ? The Sun reigned in Peru till 
Pizarro overthrew him, and his splendid golden likeness 
came down from the temple wall to be the booty of a Casti- 
lian soldier, who lost it in one night at play. 1 

Among rude tribes of the North American continent, 
evidence of the primacy of the divine Sun is not unknown. 
Father Hennepin's account of the Sioux worshipping the 
Sun as the Creator is explicit enough, and agrees with the 
argument of the modern Shawnees, that the Sun animates 
everything, and therefore must be the Master of Life or 
Great Spirit. 8 It is the widespread belief in this Great 
Spirit which has long and deservedly drawn the attention 
of European thinkers to the native religions of the North 
American tribes. The name of the Great Spirit originates 
with the equivalent term Kitchi Manitu in the language 
of the Algonquin Indians. Before the European intercourse 
in the I7th century, these tribes had indeed no deity so 
called, but as has been already pointed out, the term came 
first into use by the application of the native word manitu, 
meaning demon or deity, to the Christian God. During 
the following centuries, the name of the Great Spirit, with 
the ideas belonging to the name, travelled far and wide 
over the continent. It became the ordinary expression 
of Europeans in their descriptions of Indian religion, and 
in discourse carried on in English words between Europeans 
and Indians, and was more or less naturalized among the 
Indians themselves. On their religions it had on the one 

1 ' Narratives of the Rites and Laws of the Yncas,' trans, from the original 
Spanish MSS., and ed. by C. R. Markham, Hakluyt Soc. 1873, p. ix. 5, 16, 
30, 76, 84, 1 54, &c. The above remarks are based on the early evidence here 
printed for the first time, and on private suggestions for which I am also 
indebted to Mr. Markham. The title Pachacamac has been also considered 
to mean Animator or Soul of the World, camani=I create, camac=creator, 
cama= soul (note to 2nd ed.). Garcilaso de la Vega, lib. i., ii. c. 2, iii. c. 20 ; 
Herrera, dec. v. 4 ; Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 177, see 142 ; Rivero 
and Tschudi, ' Peruvian Antiquities,' ch. vii. ; Waitz, vol. iv. p. 447 ; J. G. 
Mailer, p. 317, &c. 

1 Sagard, ' Hist, du Canada,' p. 490. Hennepin, ' Voy. dans I'Ame'rique,' 
p. 302. Gregg, ' Commerce of Prairies,' vol. ii. p. 237. 


hand a transforming influence, while on the other hand, as 
is usual in the combination of religions, the new divinity 
incorporated into himself the characteristics of native 
divinities, so that native ideas remained in part repre- 
sented in him. A divine being whose characteristics are 
often so unlike what European intercourse would have 
suggested, could be hardly altogether of foreign origin. 1 
Again, among the Greenlanders, Torngarsuk or Great 
Spirit (his name is an augmentative of ' torngak ' 
' demon ') was known to the early Danish missionary 
Egede as the oracular deity of the angekoks, to whose 
under-world souls hope to descend at death. He so far 
held the place of supreme deity in the native mind, that, 
as Cranz the missionary relates somewhat afterwards, 
many Greenlanders hearing of God and his almighty 
power were apt to fall on the idea that it was their Torn- 
garsuk who was meant ; but he was eventually identified 
with the Devfl.* In like manner, Algonquin Indians, early 
in the iyth century, hearing of the white man's Deity, 
identified him with one known to their own native belief, 
Atahocan the Creator. When Le Jeune the missionary talked 
to them of an almighty creator of heaven and earth, they 
began to say to one another, ' Atahocan, Atahocan, it is 
Atahocan ! ' The traditional idea of such a being seems in- 
deed to have lain in utter mythic vagueness in their thoughts, 
for they had made his name into a verb, ' Nitatahocan/ 
meaning, ' I tell a fable, an old fanciful story.'* 

In late times, Schoolcraft represents the Great Spirit as a 
Soul of the Universe, inhabiting and animating all things, 
recognized in rocks and trees, in cataracts and clouds, in 
thunder and lightning, in tempest and zephyr, becoming 
incarnate in birds and beasts as titular deities, existing in 
the world under every possible form, animate and inani- 

1 Le Jeune, ' Rel. des Jes.' 1637, P- 49 5 Brinton, p. 52 ; Lafitau, ' Moeur* 
des Sauvages Ameriquains,' vol. i. pp. 126, 145 (note to 3rd ed.). 

* Egede, ' Descr. of Greenland,' ch. xviii. ; Cranz, ' Gronland,' p. 263 ; 
Kink, ' Eskimoiske Eventyr,' &c., p. 28. 

Le Jeune, 1633, p. 16 ; 1634, p. 13. 


mate. 1 Whether the Red Indian mind even in modern 
times really entertained this extreme pantheistic scheme, 
we may well doubt. In early times of American discovery, 
the records show a quite different and more usual concep- 
tion of a supreme deity. Among the more noteworthy of 
these older documents are the following. Jacques Cartier, 
in his second Canadian voyage (1535), speaks of the people 
having no valid belief in God, for they believe in one whom 
they call Cudouagni, and say that he often speaks with 
them, and tells them what the weather will be ; they say 
that when he is angry with them he casts earth in their 
eyes. Thevet's statement somewhat later is as follows : 
' As to their religion, they have no worship or prayer to 
God, except that they contemplate the new moon, called in 
their language Osannaha, saying that Andouagni calls it 
thus, sending it little by little to advance or retard the 
waters. For the rest, they fully believe that there is a 
Creator, greater than the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, 
and who holds all in his power. He it is whom they call 
Andouagni, without however having any form or method of 
prayer to him.* In Virginia about 1586, we learn from 
Heriot that the natives believed in many gods, which they 
call ' mantoac,' but of different sorts and degrees, also 
that there is one chief god who first made other principal 
gods, and afterwards the sun, moon, and stars as petty 
gods. In New England, in 1622, Winslow says that they 
believe, as do the Virginians, in many divine powers, yet of 
one above all the rest ; the Massachusetts call their great 
god Kiehtan, who made all the other gods ; he dwells far 
westerly above the heavens, whither all good men go when 
they die ; ' They never saw Kiehtan, but they hold it a 
great charge and dutie, that one age teach another ; and to 
him they make feasts, and cry and sing for plentie and 
victorie, or anything is good.' Another famous native 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 15. 

* Cartier, 'Relation;' Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 212 ; Lescarbot, ' Nouvelle 
France,' p. 613. Thevet, 'Singularitez de la France Antarctique,' Paris, 
1558, ch. 77. See also J. G. Miiller, p. 102. Andouagni is perhaps a mis- 
copied form of Cudouagni. Other forms, Cudruagni, &c., occur. 


American name for the supreme deity is Oki. Captain 
John Smith, the hero of the colonization of Virginia in 1607, 
he who was befriended by Pocahontas, ' La Belle Sauvage,' 
thus describes the religion of the country, and especially of 
her tribe, the Powhatans : ' There is yet in Virginia no 
place discovered to be so Savage in which they haue not a 
Religion, Deer, and Bow and Arrowes. All things that 
are able to doe them hurt beyond their prevention, they 
adore with their kinde of divine worship ; as the fire, water, 
lightning, thunder, our Ordnance peeces, horses, &c. But 
their chief e god they worship is the Devill. Him they call 
Okee, and serue him more of feare than loue. They say 
they haue conference with him, and fashion themselves as 
neare to his shape as they can imagine. In their Temples 
they haue his image evill favouredly carved, and then 
painted and adorned with chaines of copper, and beads, and 
covered with a skin in such manner as the deformities may 
well suit with such a God.' 1 This quaint account deserves 
to be quoted at length as an example of the judgment which 
a half -educated and whole-prejudiced European is apt to 
pass on savage deities, which from his point of view seem 
of simply diabolic nature. It is known from other sources 
that Oki, a word belonging not to the Powhatan but to the 
Huron language, was in fact a general name for spirit or deity. 
We may judge the real belief of these Indians better from 
Father Brebeuf 's description of the Heaven God, cited here in 
a former chapter : they imagine in the heavens an Oki, that 
is, a Demon or power ruling the seasons of the year, and 
controlling the winds and waves, a being whose anger they 
fear, and whom they call on in making solemn treaties. 1 

1 Smith, ' Hist, of Virginia,' London, 1632, in Pinkerton, ' Voyages,' 
vol. xiii. pp. 13, 1 8, 244. (New Eng.) ; see Arber's edition. Priority has been 
claimed for E. Strachey (see Lang, ' Making of Religion,' p. 254), but this 
copyist seems only to have copied Capt. Smith's ' Map of Virginia ' (1608). 
Brinton, p. 58; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 177, &c. J. G. Miiller, pp. 99, &c. ; 
Loskiel, part i. pp. 33, 43. 

* Brebeuf in ' Rel. des JeV 1636, p. 107; see above, p. 255. Sagard, 
p. 494 ; Cuoq, p. 176 ; J. G. Muller, p. 103. For other mention of a Supreme 
Deity among North American tribes see Joutel, ' Journal du Voyage,' &c., 

aris, 1713, p. 224 (Louisiana); Sproat in 'Tr. Eth. Soc." vol. v. p. 253 . 
^Vancouver's I.). 


About a century later, Father Lafitau wrote passages which 
illustrate well the transformation of native animistic con- 
ceptions under missionary influence into analogues of 
Christian theology. Such general terms for spiritual beings 
as 'old' or 'manitu' had become to him individual names 
of one supreme being. ' This great Spirit, known among 
the Caribs under the name of Chemiin, under that of 
Manitou among the Algonquin nations, and under that of 
Okki among those who speak the Huron tongue . . .' &c. 
All American tribes, he says, use expressions which can only 
denote God : they call him the great Spirit, sometimes 
the Master and Author of Life . . .' &c. 1 The longer rude 
tribes of America have been in contact with European 
belief, the less confidently can we ascribe to purely native 
sources the theologic scheme their religions have settled 
into. Yet the Greeks towards the end of the i8th century 
preserved some elements of native faith. They believed 
in the Great Spirit, the Master of Breath (a being whom 
Bartram represents as a soul and governor of the uni- 
verse) : to him they would address their frequent prayers 
and ejaculations, at the same time paying a kind of homage 
to the sun, moon, and stars, as the mediators or ministers 
of the Great Spirit, in dispensing his attributes for their 
comfort and well-being in this life. 1 In our own day, among 
the wild Comanches of the prairies, the Great Spirit, their 
creator and supreme deity, is above Sun and Moon and 
Earth ; towards him is sent the first puff of tobacco-smoke 
before the Sun receives the second, and to him is offered 
the first morsel of the feast. 8 

Turning from the simple faiths of savage tribes of North 
America to the complex religion of the half-civilized 
Mexican nation, we find what we might naturally except, 
a cumbrous polytheism complicated by mixture of several 
national pantheons, and beside and beyond this, certain 

1 Lafitau, ' Moeurs des Sauvages Am6riquains,' 1724, vol. i. pp. 124-6. 
* Bartram in ' Tr. Amer. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. pp. 20, 26. 
8 Schoolcraft, ' Ind. Tribes,' part ii. p. 127. 


appearances of a doctrine of divine supremacy. But these 
doctrines seem to have been spoken of more definitely than 
the evidence warrants. A remarkable native development 
of Mexican theism must be admitted, in so far as we may 
receive the native historian Ixtlilxochitl's account of the 
worship paid by Nezahualcoyotl, the poet king of Tezcuco, 
to the invisible supreme Tloque Nahuaque, he who has all 
in him, the cause of causes, in whose star-roofed pyramid 
stood no idol, and who there received no bloody sacrifice, 
but only flowers and incense. Yet it would have been 
more satisfactory were the stories told by this Aztec 
panegyrist of his royal ancestor confirmed by other re- 
cords. Traces of divine supremacy in Mexican religion are 
especially associated with Tezcatlipoca, ' Shining Mirror,' 
a deity who seems in his original nature the Sun-God, and 
thence by expansion to have become the soul of the world, 
creator of heaven and earth, lord of all things, Supreme 
Deity. Such conceptions may in more or less measure 
have arisen in native thought, but it should be pointed out 
that the remarkable Aztec religious formulas collected by 
Sahagun, in which the deity Tezcatlipoca is so prominent 
a figure, show traces of Christian admixture in their mate- 
rial, as well as of Christian influence in their style. For 
instance, all students of Mexican antiquities know the 
belief in Mictlan, the Hades of the dead. But when one 
of these Aztec prayer-formulas (concerning auricular con- 
fession, the washing away of sins, and a new birth) makes 
mention of sinners being plunged into a lake of intolerable 
misery and torment, the introduction of an idea so obviously 
European condemns the composition as not purely native. 
The question of the actual developments of ideas verging 
on pantheism or theism, among the priests and philosophers 
of native Mexico, is one to be left for further criticism. 1 
In the islands of the Pacific, the idea of Supreme Deity 

1 Prescott, ' Mexico,' book i. ch. vi. Sahagun, ' Hist, de Nueva Espana,' 
lib. vi. in Kingsborough, vol. v. ; Torquemada, ' Monarq. Ind.' lib. x. c. 14. 
Waitz, vol. iv. p. 136 ; J. G. Miillcr, p. 621, &c. 


s especially manifested in that great mythologic divinity of 
he Polynesian race, whom the New Zealanders call Tan- 
jaroa, the Hawaiians Kanaroa, the Tongans and Samoans 
fangaloa, the Georgian and Society islanders Taaroa. 
students of the science of religion who hold polytheism to 
>e but the mis-development of a primal idea of divine 
mity, which in spite of corruption continues to pervade it, 
night well choose this South Sea Island divinity as their 
iptest illustration from the savage world. Taaroa, says 
tfoerenhout, is their supreme or rather only god ; for all 
he others, as in other known polytheisms, seem scarcely 
nore than sensible figures and images of the infinite attri- 
butes united in his divine person. The following is given 
is a native poetic definition of the Creator. ' He was ; 
faaroa was his name ; he abode in the void. No earth, no 
>ky, no men. Taaroa calls, but nought answers ; and alone 
sxisting, he became the universe. The props are Taaroa ; 
:he rocks are Taaroa ; the sands are Taaroa ; it is thus he 
limself is named.' According to Ellis, Taaroa is described 
n the Leeward Islands as the eternal parentless uncreate 
Creator, dwelling alone in the highest heaven, whose bodily 
orm mortals cannot see, who after intervals of innumerable 
easons casts off his body or shell and becomes renewed. 
(t was he who created Hina his daughter, and with her aid 
ormed the sky and earth and sea. He founded the world 
m a solid rock, which with all the creation he sustains by 
lis invisible power. Then he created the ranks of lesser 
leities such as reign over sea and land and air, and govern 
oeace and war, and preside over physic and husbandry, and 
anoe-building, and roofing, and theft. The version from 
he Windward Islands is that Taaroa's wife was the rock, 
he foundation of all things, and she gave birth to earth and 
ea. Now, fortunately for our understanding of this myth, 
he name of Taaroa's wife, with whom he begat the lesser 
.cities, was taken down in Tahiti in Captain Cook's time. 
>he was a rock called Papa, and her name plainly suggests 
ier identity with Papa the Earth, the wife of Rangi the 


Heaven in the New Zealand myth of Heaven and Earth, 
the great first parents. If this inference be just, then it 
seems that Taaroa the Creator is no personification of a 
primaeval theistic idea, but simply the divine personal 
Heaven transformed under European influence into the 
supreme Heaven-god. Thus, when Turner gives the Samoan 
myths of Tangaloa in heaven presiding over the production 
of the earth from beneath the waters, or throwing down from 
the sky rocks which are now islands, the classic name by 
which he calls him is that which rightly describes his nature 
and mythic origin Tangaloa, the Polynesian Jupiter. Yet 
in island district after district, we find the name of the 
mighty heavenly creator given to other and lesser mythic 
beings. In Tahiti, the manes-worshipper's idea is applied ' 
not only to lesser deities, but to Taaroa the Creator himself, 
whom some maintained to be but a man deified after death. 
In the New Zealand mythology, Tangaroa figures on the 
one hand as Sea-god and father of fish and reptiles, on the 
other as the mischievous eaves-dropping god who reveals 
secrets. In Tonga, Tangaloa was god of artificers and arts, 
and his priests were carpenters ; it was he who went forth 
to fish, and dragged up the Tonga islands from the bottom 
of the sea. Here, then, he corresponds with Maui, and 
indeed Tangaroa and Maui are found blending in Polynesia 
even to full identification. It is neither easy nor safe to 
fix to definite origin the Protean shapes of South Sea 
mythology, but on the whole the native myths are apt to 
embody cosmic ideas, and as the idea of the Sun preponde- 
rates in Maui, so the idea of the Heaven in Taaroa. 1 In the 
Fiji Islands, whose native mythology is on the whole distinct 
from that of Polynesia proper, a strange weird figure takes 
the supreme place among the gods. His name is Ndengei, 

1 Moerenhout, ' Voyvaux lies du Grand Oce"an,' vol. i. pp. 419, 437. Ellis, 
1 Polyn. Res.' voL i. p. 321, &c. J. R. Forster, ' Voyage round the World,' 
pp. 540, 567. Grey, ' Polyn. Myth.' p. 6. Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 118 ; 
ee above, rot i. p. 322. Turner, ' Polynesia," p. 244. Mariner, ' Tonga 
Is.' vol. ii. pp. 116, 121. Schirren, 'Wandersagen der Neuseelander,' 
pp. [68, 89. 


the serpent is his shrine, some traditions represent him with 
a serpent's head and body and the rest of him stone. He 
passes a monotonous existence in his gloomy cavern, feeling 
no emotion nor sensation, nor any appetite but hunger ; he 
takes no interest in any one but Uto, his attendant, and 
gives no sign of life beyond eating, answering his priest, 
and changing his position from one side to the other. No 
wonder Ndengei is less worshipped than most of the inferior 
gods. The natives have even made a comic song about 
him, where he talks with his attendant, Uto, who has been 
to attend the feast at Rakiraki, where Ndengei has espe- 
cially his temple and worship. 

Ndengei. ' Have you been to the sharing of food to-day ? * 

Uto. ' Yes : and turtles formed a part ; but only the under-shell 

was shared to us two.' 
Ndengei. ' Indeed, Uto ! This is very bad. How is it ? We made them 

men, placed them on the earth, gave them food, and yet 

they share to us only the under-shell. Uto, how is 

this ? ' 

The native religion of Africa, a land pervaded by the doc- 
trines of divine hierarchy and divine supremacy, affords apt 
evidence for the problem before us. The capacity of the 
manes-worshipper's scheme to extend in this direction may 
be judged from the religious speculations of the Zulus, 
where may be traced the merging of the First Man, the 
Old-Old-One, Unkulunkulu, into the ideal of the Creator, 
Thunderer, and Heaven-god. 2 If we examine a collection 
of documents illustrating the doctrines of the West African 
races lying between the Hottentots on the south and the 
Berbers on the north, we may fairly judge their concep- 
tions, evidently influenced as these have been by Chris- 
tian intercourse, to be nevertheless based on native ideas 
of the personal Heaven. 3 Whether they think of their 

1 Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 217. 

2 Callaway, ' Religion of Amazulu,' part i. See ante, pp. 116, 313. 

3 See especially Waitz, vol. ii. p. 167, &c. ; J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' 
pp. 209, 387 ; Bosman, Mungo Park, &c. Comp. Ellis, ' Madagascar,' 
vol. i. p. 390. 


supreme deity as actively pervading and governing his 
universe, or as acting through his divine subordinates, or as 
retiring from his creation and leaving the lesser spirits to 
work their will, he is always to their minds the celestial 
ruler, the Heaven-god. Examples may be cited, each in its 
way full of instruction. In the mind of the Gold-coast 
negro, tendencies towards theistic religion seem to have been 
mainly developed through the idea of Nyongmo, the personal 
Heaven, or its animating personal deity. Heaven, wide- 
arching, rain-giving, light-giving, who has been and is and 
shall be, is to him the Supreme Deity. The sky is Ny- 
ongmo's creature, the clouds are his veil, the stars his face- 
ornaments. Creator of all things, and of their animating 
powers whose chief and elder he is, he sits in majestic rest 
surrounded by his children, the wongs, the spirits of the 
air who serve him and represent him on earth. Though 
men's worship is for the most part paid to these, reverence 
is also given to Nyongmo, the Eldest, the Highest. Every 
day, said a fetish-man, we sec how the ftfass and corn and 
trees spring forth by the rain and sunshine that Nyongmo 
sends, how should he not be the Creator ? Again, the 
mighty Heaven-god, far removed from man and seldom 
roused to interfere in earthly interests, is the type on which 
the Guinea negroes may have modelled their thoughts of a 
Highest Deity who has abandoned the control of his world 
to lesser and evil spirits. 1 The religion of another district 
seems to show clearly the train of thought by which such 
ideas may be worked out. Among the Kimbunda race of 
Congo, Suku-Vakange is the highest being. He takes little 
interest in mankind, leaving the real government of the 
world to the good and evil kilulu or spirits, into whose ranks 
the souls of men pass at death. Now in that there are more 
bad spirits who torment, than good who favour living men, 
human misery would be unbearable, were it not that from 

1 Steinhauser, 'Religion des Negers,' in 'Mag. der Miss.' Basel, 1856. 
No. 2, p. 128. J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr. 'pp. 92, 209 ; Romcr, ' Guinea,' p. 42. 
See also Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 171, 419. 


time to time Suku-Vakange, enraged at the wickedness of 
the evil spirits, terrifies them with thunder, and punishes 
the more obstinate with his thunderbolts. Then he returns 
to rest, and lets the kilulu rule again. 1 Who, we may ask, 
is this divinity, calm and indifferent save when his wrath 
bursts forth in storm, but the Heaven himself ? The rela- 
tion of the Supreme Deity to the lesser gods of polytheism is 
graphically put in the following passage, where an American 
missionary among the Yorubas describes the relation of 
Olorung, the Lord of Heaven, to his lesser deities (orisa), 
among whom the chief are the androgynous Obatala, repre- 
senting the reproductive power of nature, and Shango the 
Thunder-god. 'The doctrine of idolatry prevalent in 
Yoruba appears to be derived by analogy from the form and 
customs of the civil government. There is but one king in 
the nation, and one God over the universe. Petitioners to 
the king approach him through the intervention of his 
servants, courtiers, and nobles : and the petitioner con- 
ciliates the courtier whom he employs by good words and 
presents. In like manner no man can directly approach 
God ; but the Almighty himself, they say, has appointed 
various kinds of orisas, who are mediators and intercessors 
between himself and mankind. No sacrifices are made to 
God, because he needs nothing ; but the orisas, being much 
like men, are pleased with offerings of sheep, pigeons, and 
other things. They conciliate the orisa or mediator that he 
may bless them, not in his own power, but in the power 
of God.' 8 

Rooted as they are in the depths of nature-worship, the 
doctrines of the supreme Sun and Heaven both come to the 
surface again in the native religions of Asia. The divine 
Sun holds his primacy distinctly enough among the rude 
indigenous tribes of India. Although one sect of the 
Khonds of Orissa especially direct their worship to Tari 

1 Magyar, ' Reisen in Siid-Afrika,' pp. 125, 335. 

* Bowen, ' Gr. and Die. of Yoruba,' p. xvi. in ' Smithsonian Contr.' 
vol. i. 


Pennu the Earth-goddess, yet even they agree theoretically 
with the sect who worship Bura Pennu or Bella Pennu, 
Light-god or Sun-god, in giving to him supremacy above 
the manes-gods and nature-gods, and all spiritual powers. 1 
Among the Kol tribes of Bengal, the acknowledged primate 
of all classes of divinities is the beneficient supreme deity, 
Sing-bonga, Sun-god. Among some Munda tribes his 
authority is so real that they will appeal to him for help 
where recourse to minor deities has failed ; while among the 
Santals his cultus has so dwindled away that he receives less 
practical worship than his malevolent inferiors, and is scarce 
honoured with more than nominal dignity and an occasional 
feast. 2 These are rude tribes who, so far as we know, have 
never been other than rude tribes. The Japanese are a 
comparatively civilized nation, one of those so instructive to 
the student of culture from the stubborn conservatism with 
which they have consecrated by traditional reverence, and 
kept up by state authority, the religion of their former 
barbarism. This is the Kami-religion, Spirit-religion, the 
ancient but mixed faith of divine spirits of ancestors, nature- 
spirits, and polytheistic gods, which still holds official place 
by the side of the imported Buddhism and Confucianism. 
The Sun-goddess, Amaterasu, ' Heaven-shiner/ though but 
sprung from the left eye of the parent Izanagi, came to be 
honoured above all lesser kamis or gods, while by a fiction 
of ancestor-worship the solar race, as in Peru, became the 
royal family, her spirit descending to animate the Mikado. 
Kaempfer, in his ' History of Japan,' written early in the 
i8th century, showed how absolutely the divine Tensio Dai 
Sin, represented below on the imperial throne, was looked 
upon as ruler of the minor powers; he mentions the Japanese 
tenth month, called the ' godless month,' because then the 
lesser gods are considered to be away from their temples, gone 
to pay their annual homage to the Dairi. He describes, as it 

1 Macpherson, ' India,' p. 84, &c. 

z Dalton, ' Kols,' in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 32. Hunter, ' Rural 
Bengal,' p. 184. 


was in his time, the great Japanese place of pilgrimage, Yse. 
There was to be seen the small cavern in a hill near the sea, 
where the divine Sun once hid herself, depriving the world 
of light, and thus showing herself to be supreme above 
all gods. Within the small ancient temple hard by, of 
which an account and a picture are given from a Japanese 
book, there were to be seen round the walls the usual 
pieces of cut white paper, and in the midst nothing but a 
polished metal mirror. 1 

Over the vast range of the Tatar races, it is the type of 
the supreme Heaven that comes prominently into view. 
Nature-w.orshippers in the extreme sense, these rude tribes 
conceived their ghosts and elves and demons and great 
powers of the earth and air to be, like men themselves, 
within the domain of the divine Heaven, almighty and all- 
encompassing. To trace the Samoyed's thought of Num 
the personal Sky passing into vague conceptions of pervad- 
ing deity ; to see with the Tunguz how Boa the Heaven- 
god, unseen but all-knowing, kindly but indifferent, has 
divided the business of his world among such lesser powers 
as sun and moon, earth and fire ; to discern the meaning of 
the Mongrel Tengri, shading from Heaven into Heaven-god, 
and thence into god or spirit in general ; to follow the 
records of Heaven-worship among the ancient Turks and 
Hiong-nu ; to compare the supremacy among the Lapps of 
Tiermes, the Thunderer, with the supremacy among the 
Finns of Jumala and Ukko, the Heaven-god and heavenly 
Grandfather such evidence seems good ground for Castren's 
argument, that the doctrine of the divine Sky underlay the 
first Turanian conceptions, not merely of a Heaven-god, but 
of a highest deity who in after ages of Christian conversion 
blended into the Christian God. 2 Here, again, we may have 

1 Siebold, ' Nippon.' Kaempfer, ' Hist, of Japan,' 1727, book I. ch. I, IV. 
For accurate modern information, see papers of Chamberlain and Satow in 
' Tr. As. Soc. Japan,' and Murray's Handbook (note to 3rd ed.). 

2 Castren, ' Finn. Myth." p. i, &c. Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. iii. p. 101. 
' Samoiedia,' in Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 531. ' G corgi, Reise im Russ. Reich.' 
vol. i. p. 275. 



the advantage of studying among a cultured race the survi- 
val of religion from ruder ancient times, kept up by official 
ordinance. The state religion of China is in its dominant 
doctrine the worship of Tien, Heaven, identified with Shang- 
ti, the Emperor-above, next to whom stands Tu, Earth ; 
while below them are worshipped great nature-spirits and 
ancestors. It is possible that this faith, as Professor Max 
Miiller argues, may be ethnologically and even linguistically 
part and parcel of the general Heaven-worship of the 
Turanian tribes of Siberia. At any rate, it is identical with 
it in its primary idea, the adoration of the supreme Heaven. 
Dr. Legge charges Confucius with an inclination to sub- 
stitute in his religious teaching the name of Tien, Heaven, 
for that known to more ancient religion and used in more 
ancient books, Shang-ti, the personal ruling Deity. But it 
seems rather that the sage was in fact upholding the tradi- 
tions of the ancient faith, thus acting according to the 
character on which he prided himself, that of a transmitter 
and not a maker, a preserver of old knowledge, not a new 
revealer. It is in accordance with the usual course of 
theologic development, for the divine Heaven to reign in 
rude mythologic religion over the lesser spirits of the world 
before the childlike poetic thought passes into the states- 
man's conception of a Celestial Emperor. As Plath well 
remarks, ' It belongs to the Chinese system that all nature 
is animated by spirits, and that all these follow one order. 
As* the Chinese cannot think of a Chinese Empire with an 
Emperor only, and without the host of vassal-princes and 
officials, so he cannot think of the Upper Emperor without 
the host of spirits.' Developed in a different line, the idea 
of a supreme Heaven comes to pervade Chinese philosophy 
and ethics as a general expression of fate, ordinance, duty. 
' Heaven's order is nature ' ' The wise man readily awaits 
Heaven's command ' ' Man must first do his own part ; 
when he has done all, then he can wait for Heaven to 
complete it '- -' All state officers are Heaven's workmen, 
and represent him ' 'How does Heaven speak ? The four 


seasons have their course, the hundred things arise, what 
speaks he ? ' ' No, Heaven speaks not ; by the course of 
events he makes himself understood, no more.' 1 

These stray scraps from old Chinese literature are intel- 
ligible to European ears, for our Aryan race has indeed 
worked out religious ideas from the like source and almost 
in the like directions. The Samoyed or Tunguz Heaven- 
god had his analogue in Dyu, Heaven, of the Vedic hymns. 
Once meaning the sky, and the sky personified, this Zeus 
came to mean far more than mere heaven in the minds of 
Greek poets and philosophers, when it rose toward 'that 
conception which in sublimity, brightness, and infinity 
transcended all others as much as the bright blue sky 
transcended all other things visible upon earth.' At the 
lower level of mythic religion, the ideal process of shaping 
the divine world into a monarchic constitution was worked 
out by the ancient Greeks, on the same simple plan as among 
such barbarians as the Kols of Chota-Nagpur or the Gallas 
of Abyssinia ; Zeus is King over Olympian gods, and below 
these again are marshalled the crowded ranks of demigods, 
heroes, demons, nymphs, ghosts. At the higher level of 
theologic speculation, exalted thoughts of universal cause 
and being, of physical and moral law, took personality under 
the name of Zeus. It is in direct derivation along this 
historic line, that the classical heaven-cultus still asserts 
itself in song and pageant among us, in that quaintest of 
quaint survivals, the factitious religion of the Italian Opera, 
where such worship as artistic ends require is still addressed 
to the divine Cielo. Even in our daily talk, colloquial ex- 
pressions call up before the mind of the ethnographer out- 
lines of remotest religious history. Heaven grants, forbids, 
blesses still in phrase, as heretofore in fact. 

Vast and difficult as is the research into the full scope 
and history of the doctrine of supremacy among the higher 

1 Plath, ' Rel. der Alten Chinesen,' part i. p. 18, &c. See Max Mailer, 
4 Lectures on Science of Religion,' No. III. in ' Eraser's Mag.' 1870. Legge, 
' Confucius,' p. ico. 


nations, it may be at least seen that helpful clues exist to 
lead the explorer. The doctrine of mighty nature-spirits, 
inhabiting and controlling sky and earth and sea, seems to 
expand in Asia into such ideas as that of Mahatman the 
Great Spirit, Paramatman the Highest Spirit, taking per- 
sonality as Brahma the all-pervading universal soul 1 in 
Europe into philosophic conceptions of which a grand type 
stands out in Kepler's words, that the universe is a harmo- 
nious whole, whose soul is God. There is a saying of 
Comte's that throws strong light upon this track of specula- 
tive theology : he declares that the conception among the 
ancients of the Soul of the Universe, the notion that the 
earth is a vast living animal, and in our own time, the 
obscure pantheism which is so rife among German meta- 
physicians, are only fetishism generalized and made syste- 
matic. 2 Polytheism, in its inextricable confusion of the 
persons and functions of the great divinities, and in its 
assignment of the sovereignty of the world to a supreme 
being who combines in himself the attributes of several such 
minor deities, tends toward the doctrine of fundamental 
unity. Max Miiller, in a lecture on the Veda, has given 
the name of kathenotheism to the doctrine of divine unity 
in diversity which comes into view in these instructive 
lines : 

' Indram Mitram Varunam Agnim ahur atho 

divyah sa suparno Garutman : 
Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti Agnim 
Yamam Mataricvanam ahuh.' 

'They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni; then he is the beautiful- 
winged heavenly Garutmat : That which is One the wise call it in divers 
manners ; they call it Agni, Yama, Matari?van.' 3 

1 See Colebrooke, ' Essays,' vol. ii. VVuttke, ' Heidenthum,' part i. p. 254. 
Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. i. p. xxi. vol. ii. p. I. 

2 Comte, ' Philosophic Positive.' Cf. Bp. Berkeley's ' Siris ' ; and for a 
modern dissertation on the universal aether as the divine soul of the world, 
see Phil. Spillcr, ' Gott im Lichte der Naturwissenschaften,' Berlin, 1873 
(note to 2nd ed.). 

3 ' Rig- Veda,' i. 164, 46. Max Miiller, ' Chips,' vol. i. pp. 27, 241. 


The figure of the supreme deity, be he Heaven-god, Sun- 
god, Great Spirit, beginning already in uncultured thought 
to take the form and function of a divine ruler of the 
world, represents a conception which it becomes the age-long 
work of systematic theology to develop and to define. 
Thus in Greece arises Zeus the highest, greatest, best, ' who 
was and is and shall be,' ' beginning and chief of all things/ 
' who rules over all mortals and immortals,' ' Zeus the god 
of gods.' 1 Such is Ahura Mazda in the Persian faith, 
among whose seventy-two names of might are these : Crea- 
tor, Protector, Nourisher, Holiest Heavenly One, Healing 
Priest, Most Pure, Most Majestic, Most Knowing, Most 
Ruling at Will. 2 There may be truth in the assertion that 
the esoteric religion of ancient Egypt centred in a doctrine 
of divine unity, manifested through the heterogeneous crowd 
of popular deities. 3 It may be a hopeless task to disentangle 
the confused personalities of Baal, Bel, and Moloch, and no 
antiquary may ever fully solve the enigma how far the divine 
name of El carried in its wide range among the Jewish and 
other Semitic nations a doctrine of divine supremacy. 4 The 
great Syro-Phcenician kingdoms and religions have long 
since passed away into darkness, leaving but antiquarian 
relics to vouch for their former might. Far other has been the 
history of their Jewish kindred, still standing fast to their 
ancient nationality, still upholding to this day their patri- 
archal religion, in the midst of nations who inherit from 
the faith of Israel the belief in one God, highest, almighty, 
who in the beginning made the heavens and the earth, whose 
throne is established of old, who is from everlasting to 

Before now bringing these researches to a close, it will be 
well to state compactly the reasons for treating the animism 
of the modern savage world as more or less representing the 

1 See Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterlehre,' pp. 143, 175. 
8 Avesta ; trans, by Spiegel, ' Ormazd-Yasht.' 12. 
3 Wilkinson, ' Ancient Eg.' vol. iv. ch. xii. ; Bunsen, ' Egypt,' vol. iv. 

P- 325- 

* Movers, ' Phonizier,' vol. i. p. 169, &c. 


animism of remotely ancient races of mankind. Savage 
animism, founded on a doctrine of souls carried to an extent 
far beyond its limits in the cultivated world, and thence 
expanding to a yet wider doctrine of spiritual beings ani- 
mating and controlling the universe in all its parts, becomes 
a theory of personal causes developed into a general philo- 
sophy of man and nature. As such, it may be reasonably 
accounted for as the direct product of natural religion, 
using this term according to the sense of its definition by 
Bishop Wilkins : ' I call that Natural Religion, wfrich men 
might know, and should be obliged unto, by the meer prin- 
ciples of Reason, improved by Consideration and Experience , 
without the help of Revelation.' 1 It will scarcely be argued 
by theologians familiar with the religions of savage tribes, 
that they are direct or nearly direct products of revelation, 
for the theology of our time would abolish or modify their 
details till scarce one was left intact. The main issue of 
the problem is this, whether savage animism is a primary 
formation belonging to the lower culture, or whether it con- 
sists, mostly or entirely, of beliefs originating in some 
higher culture, and conveyed by adoption or degradation 
into the lower. The evidence for the first alternative, 
though not amounting to complete demonstration, seems 
reasonably strong, and not met by contrary evidence ap- 
proaching it in force. The animism of the lower tribes, 
self-contained and self-supporting, maintained in close con- 
tact with that direct evidence of the senses on which it 
appears to be originally based, is a system which might 
quite reasonably exist among mankind, had they never any- 

1 ' Of the Principles and Duties of Natural Religion,' London, 1678, book 
i. ch. vi. Johnson's Dictionary, 8.v. The term ' natural religion ' is used in 
various and even incompatible senses. Thus Butler in his ' Analogy of 
Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature,' 
signifies by ' natural religion ' a primaeval system which he expressly argues 
to have been not reasoned out, but taught first by revelation. This system, 
of which the main tenets are the belief in one God, the Creator and Moral 
Governor of the World, and in a future state of moral retribution, differs 
in the extreme from the actual religions of the lower races. 


where risen above the savage condition. Now it does not 
seem that the animism of the higher nations stands in a 
connexion so direct and complete with their mental state. 
It is by no means so closely limited to doctrines evidenced 
by simple contemplation of nature. The doctrines of the 
lower animism appear in the higher often more and more 
modified, to bring them into accordance with an advancing 
intellectual condition, to adapt them at once to the limits of 
stricter science and the needs of higher faith ; and in the 
higher animism these doctrines are retained side by side 
with other and special beliefs, of which the religions of the 
lower world show scarce a germ. In tracing the course of 
animistic thought from stage to stage of history, instruction 
is to be gained alike from the immensity of change and 
from the intensity of permanence. Savage animism, both 
by what it has and by what it wants, seems to represent the 
earlier system in which began the age-long course of the 
education of the world. Especially is it to be noticed that 
various beliefs and practices, which in the lower animism 
stand firm upon their grounds as if they grew there, in the 
higher animism belong rather to peasants than philosophers, 
exist rather as ancestral relics than as products belonging 
to their age, are falling from full life into survival. Thus 
it is that savage religion can frequently explain doctrines 
and rites of civilized religion. The converse is far less often 
the case. Now this is a state of things which appears to 
carry a historical as well as a practical meaning. The 
degradation-theory would expect savages to hold beliefs and 
customs intelligible as broken-down relics of former higher 
civilization. The develo pment-theory would expect civilized 
men to keep up beliefs and customs which have their reason- 
able meaning in less cultured states of society. So far as 
the study of survival enables us to judge between the two 
theories, it is seen that what is intelligible religion in the 
lower culture is often meaningless superstition in the higher, 
and thus the development-theory has the upper hand. 
Moreover, this evidence fits with the teaching of prehistoric 


archaeology. Savage life, carrying on into our own day the 
life of the Stone Age, may be legitimately claimed as repre- 
senting remotely ancient conditions of mankind, intellectual 
and moral as well as material. If so, a low but progressive 
state of animistic religion occupies a like ground in savage 
and in primitive culture. 

Lastly, a few words of explanation may be offered as to 
the topics which this survey has included and excluded. To 
those who have been accustomed to find theological subjects 
dealt with on a dogmatic, emotional, and ethical, rather 
than an ethnographic scheme, the present investigation 
may seem misleading, because one-sided. This one-sided 
treatment, however, has been adopted with full considera- 
tion. Thus, though the doctrines here examined bear not 
only on the development but the actual truth of religious 
systems, I have felt neither able nor willing to enter into 
this great argument fully and satisfactorily, while experience 
has shown that to dispose of such questions by an occasional 
dictatorial phrase is one of the most serious of errors. The 
scientific value of descriptions of savage and barbarous 
religions, drawn up by travellers and especially by mission- 
aries, is often lowered by their controversial tone, and by 
the affectation of infallibility with which their relation to 
the absolutely true is settled. There is something pathetic 
in the simplicity with which a narrow student will judge the 
doctrines of a foreign religion by their antagonism or con- 
formity to his own orthodoxy, on points where utter differ- 
ence of opinion exists among the most learned and enlight- 
ened scholars. The systematization of the lower religions, 
the reduction of their multifarious details to the few and 
simple ideas of primitive philosophy which form the com- 
mon groundwork of them all, appeared to me an urgently 
needed contribution to the science of religion. This work 
I have carried out to the utmost of my power, and I can now 
only leave the result in the hands of other students, whose 
province it is to deal with such evidence in wider schemes 
of argument. Again, the intellectual rather than the emo- 


tional side of religion has here been kept in view. Even in 
the life of the rudest savage, religious belief is associated 
with intense emotion, with awful reverence, with agonizing 
terror, with rapt ecstasy when sense and thought utterly 
transcend the common level of daily life. How much the 
more in faiths where not only does the believer experience 
such enthusiasm, but where his utmost feelings of love and 
hope, of justice and mercy, of fortitude and tenderness and 
self-sacrificing devotion, of unutterable misery and dazzling 
happiness, twine and clasp round the fabric of religion. 
Language, dropping at times from such words as soul and 
spirit their mere philosophic meaning, can use them in full 
conformity with this tendency of the religious mind, as 
phrases to convey a mystic sense of transcendent emotion. 
Yet of all this religion, the religion of vision and of passion, 
little indeed has been said in these pages, and even that 
little rather in incidental touches than with purpose. Those 
to whom religion means above all things religious feeling, 
may say of my argument that I have written soullessly of 
the soul, and unspiritually of spiritual things. Be it so : I 
accept the phrase not as needing an apology, but as ex- 
pressing a plan. Scientific progress is at times most 
furthered by working along a distinct intellectual line> 
without being tempted to diverge from the main object to 
what lies beyond, in however intimate connexion. The 
anatomist does well to discuss bodily structure independ- 
ently of the world of happiness and misery which depends 
upon it. It would be thought a mere impertinence for a 
strategist to preface a dissertation on the science of war, 
by an enquiry how far it is lawful for a Christian man to 
bear weapons and serve in the wars. My task has been 
here not to discuss Religion in all its bearings, but to 
portray in outline the great doctrine of Animism, as found 
in what I conceive to be its earliest stages among the lower 
races of mankind, and to show its transmission along the 
lines of religious thought. 

The almost entire exclusion of ethical questions from 


this investigation has more than a mere reason of arrange- 
ment. It is due to the very nature of the subject. To 
some the statement may seem startling, yet the evidence 
seems to justify it, that the relation of morality to religion 
is one that only belongs in its rudiments, or not at all, to 
rudimentary civilization. The comparison of savage and 
civilized religions bring into view, by the side of a deep- 
lying resemblance in their philosophy, a deep-lying contrast 
in their practical action on human life. So far as savage 
religion can stand as representing natural religion, the 
popular idea that the moral government of the universe is 
an essential tenet of natural religion simply falls to the 
ground. Savage animism is almost devoid of that ethical 
element which to the educated modern mind is the very 
mainspring of practical religion. Not, as I have said, that 
morality is absent from the life of the lower races. Without 
a code of morals, the very existence of the rudest tribe 
would be impossible ; and indeed the moral standards of 
even savage races are to no small extent well-defined and 
praiseworthy. But these ethical laws stand on their own 
ground of tradition and public opinion, comparatively in- 
dependent of the animistic belief and rites which exist 
beside them. The lower animism is not immoral, it is 
unmoral. For this plain reason, it has seemed desirable to 
keep the discussion of animism, as far as might be, separate 
from that of ethics. The general problem of the relation of 
morality to religion is difficult, intricate, and requiring im- 
mense array of evidence, and may be perhaps more profit- 
ably discussed in connexion with the ethnography of morals. 
To justify their present separation, it will be enough to 
refer in general terms to the accounts of savage tribes 
whose ideas have been little affected by civilized inter- 
course ; proper caution being used not to trust vague state- 
ments about good and evil, but to ascertain whether these 
are what philosophic moralists would call virtue and vice, 
righteousness and wickedness, or whether they are mere 
personal advantage and disadvantage. The essential con- 


nexion of theology and morality is a fixed idea in many 
minds. But it is one of the lessons of history that subjects 
may maintain themselves independently for ages, till the 
event of coalescence takes place. In the course of history, 
religion has in various ways attached to itself matters small 
and great outside its central scheme, such as prohibition of 
special meats, observance of special days, regulation of mar- 
riage as to kinship, division of society into castes, ordinance 
of social law and civil government. Looking at religion 
from a political point of view, as a practical influence on 
human society, it is clear that among its greatest powers 
have been its divine sanction of ethical laws, its theological 
enforcement of morality, its teaching of moral government 
of the universe, its supplanting the ' continuance-doctrine ' 
of a future life by the ' retribution-doctrine ' supplying 
moral motive in the present. But such alliance belongs 
almost or wholly to religions above the savage level, not to 
the earlier and lower creeds. It will aid us to see how 
much more the fruit of religion belongs to ethical influence 
than to philosophical dogma, if we consider how the intro- 
duction of the moral element separates the religions of the 
world, united as they are throughout by one animistic 
principle, into two great classes, those lower systems whose 
best result is to supply a crude childlike natural philosophy, 
and those higher faiths which implant on this the law of 
righteousness and of holiness, the inspiration of duty and 
of love. 

II. 2 A 



Religious Rites : their purpose practical or symbolic Prayer : its con- 
tinuity from low to high levels of Culture ; its lower phases Unethical ; 
its higher phases Ethical Sacrifice : its original Gift-theory passes 
into the Homage-theory and the Abnegation-theory Manner of re- 
ception of Sacrifice by Deity Material Transfer to elements, fetish- 
animals, priests ; consumption of substance by deity or idol ; offering 
of blood ', transmission by fire ; incense Essential Transfer : con- 
sumption of essence, savour, &c. Spiritual Transfer : consumption or 
transmission of soul of offering Motive of Sacrificer Transition from 
Gift-theory to Homage-theory : insignificant and formal offerings ; 
sacrificial banquets Abnegation-theory ; sacrifice of children, &c. 
Sacrifice of Substitutes : part given for whole ; inferior life for superior ; 
effigies Modern survival of Sacrifice in folklore and religion Fasting, 
as a means of producing ecstatic vision ; its course from lower to 
higher Culture Drugs used to produce ecstasy Swoons and fits in- 
duced for religious purposes Orientation : its relation to Sun-myth 
and Sun-worship ; rules of East and West as to burial of dead, position 
of worship, and structure of temple Lustration by Water and Fire : 
its transition from material to symbolic purification ; its connexion 
with special events of life ; its appearance among the lower races 
Lustration of new-born children ; of women ; of those polluted by 
bloodshed or the dead Lustration continued at higher levels of Culture 

RELIGIOUS rites fall theoretically into two divisions, 
though these blend in practice. In part, they are ex- 
pressive and symbolic performances, the dramatic utter- 
ance of religious thought, the gesture-language of theology. 
In part, they are means of intercourse with and influence 
on spiritual beings, and as such, their intention is as 
directly practical as any chemical or mechanical process, 
for doctrine and worship correlate as theory and practice. 
Tn the science of religion, the study of ceremony has its 



strong and weak sides. On the one hand, it is generally 
easier to obtain accurate accounts of ceremonies by eye- 
witnesses, than anything like trustworthy and intelligible 
statements of doctrine ; so that very much of our know- 
ledge of religion in the savage and barbaric world consists 
in acquaintance with its ceremonies. It is also true that 
some religious ceremonies are marvels of permanence, 
holding substantially the same form and meaning through 
age after age, and far beyond the range of historic record. 
On the other hand, the signification of ceremonies is not to 
be rashly decided on by mere inspection. In the long and 
varied course in which religion has adapted itself to new 
intellectual and moral conditions, one of the most marked 
processes has affected time-honoured religious customs, 
whose form has been faithfully and even servilely kept up, 
while their nature has often undergone transformation. In 
the religions of the great nations, the natural difficulty of 
following these changes has been added to by the sacer- 
dotal tendency to ignore and obliterate traces of the in- 
evitable change of religion from age to age, and to convert 
into mysteries ancient rites whose real barbaric meaning is 
too far out of harmony with the spirit of a later time. The 
embarrassments, however, which beset the enquirer into the 
ceremonies of a single religion, diminish in a larger com- 
parative study. The ethnographer who brings together 
examples of a ceremony from different stages of culture 
can often give a more rational account of it, than the 
priest, to whom a special signification, sometimes very 
unlike the original one, has become matter of orthodoxy. 
As a contribution to the theory of religion, with especial 
view to its lower phases as explanatory of the higher, I 
have here selected for ethnographic discussion a group of 
sacred rites, each in its way full of instruction, different as 
these ways are. All have early place and rudimentary 
meaning in savage culture, all belong to barbaric ages, all 
have their, representatives within the limits of modern 
Christendom. They are the rites of Prayer, Sacrifice, 


Fasting and other methods of Artificial Ecstasy, Orienta- 
tion, Lustration. 

Prayer, ' the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unex- 
pressed,' is the address of personal spirit to personal spirit. 
So far as it is actually addressed to disembodied or deified 
human souls, it is simply an extension of the daily inter- 
course between man and man ; while the worshipper who 
looks up to other divine beings, spiritual after the nature of 
his own spirit, though of place and power hi the universe 
far beyond his own, still has his mind in a state where 
prayer is a reasonable and practical act. So simple and 
familiar indeed is the nature of prayer, that its study does 
not demand that detail of fact and argument which must be 
given to rites in comparison practically insignificant. It 
has not indeed been placed everywhere on record as the 
necessary outcome of animistic belief, for especially, at low 
levels of civilization there are many races who distinctly 
admit the existence of spirits, but are not positively known 
to pray to them. Beyond this lower level, however, anim- 
ism and ceremonial prayer become nearly conterminous ; 
and a view of their relation in their earlier stages may be 
best gained from a selection of actual prayers taken down 
word for word, within the limits of savage and barbaric life. 
These agree with an opinion that prayer appeared in the 
religion of the lower culture, but that in this its earlier 
stage it was unethical. The accomplishment of desire is 
asked for, but desire is as yet limited to personal advantage. 
It is at later and higher moral levels, that the worshipper 
begins to add to his entreaty for prosperity the claim for 
help toward virtue and against vice, and prayer becomes 
an instrument of morality. 

In the Papuan Island of Tanna, where the gods are the 
spirits of departed ancestors, and preside over the growth 
of fruits, a prayer after the offering of first-fruits is spoken 
aloud by the chief who acts as high priest to the silent 
assembly : ' Compassionate father ! Here is some food 
for you ; eat it ; be kind to us on account of it ! ' Then 

PRAYER. 365 

all shout together. 1 In the Samoan Islands, when the 
libation of ava was poured out at the evening meal, the 
head of the family prayed thus : 

' Here is ava for you, O gods ! Look kindly towards this family : 
let it prosper and increase ; and let us all be kept in health. Let 
our plantations be productive ; let food grow ; and may there be 

F abundance of food for us, your creatures. Here is ava for you, 
our war gods ! Let there be a strong and numerous people for you in 
this land. 

' Here is ava for you, O sailing gods (gods who come in Tongan canoes 
and foreign vessels). Do not come on shore at this place ; but be pleased 
to depart along the ocean to some other land.' * 

Among the Indians of North America, more or less under 
European influence, the Sioux will say, ' Spirits of the dead, 
have mercy on me ! ' then they will add what they want, 
if good weather they say so, if good luck in hunting, they 
say so. 8 Among the Osages, prayers used not long since to 
be offered at daybreak to Wohkonda, the Master of Life. 
The devotee retired a little from the camp or company, 
and with affected or real weeping, in loud uncouth voice 
of plaintive piteous tone, howled such prayers as these : 
' Wohkonda, pity me, I am very poor ; give me what I 
need ; give me success against mine enemies, that I may 
avenge the death of my friends. May I be able to take 
scalps, to take horses ! &c.' Such prayers might or might 
not have allusion to some deceased relative or friend. 4 
How an Algonquin Indian undertakes a dangerous voyage, 
we may judge from John Tanner's account of a fleet of 
frail Indian bark canoes setting out at dawn one calm morn- 
ing on Lake Superior. We had proceeded, he writes, about 
two hundred yards into the lake, when the canoes all 
stopped together, and the chief, in a very loud voice, ad- 
dressed a prayer to the Great Spirit, entreating him to 

1 Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 88 ; see p. 427. 

1 Ibid. p. 200; see p. 174. See also Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 343. 
Mariner, ' Tonga Is.' vol. ii. p. 235. 

' Schoolcraft, ' Ind. Tribes,' part Hi. p. 237. 
4 M'Coy, ' Baptist Indian Missions,' p. 359. 


give us a good look to cross the lake. ' You/ said he, 
' have made this lake, and you have made us, your 
children ; you can now cause that the water shall remain 
smooth while we pass over in safety.' In this manner he 
continued praying for five or ten minutes ; he then threw 
into the lake a small quantity of tobacco, in which each of 
the canoes followed his example. 1 A Nootka Indian, pre- 
p'aring for war, prayed thus : ' Great Quahootze, let me 
live, not be sick, find the enemy, not fear him, find him 
asleep, and kill a great many of him.'* There is more 
pathos in these lines from the war-song of a Delaware : 

' O Great Spirit there above 
Have pity on my children 
And my wife 1 

Prevent that they shall mourn tor me ! 
Let me succeed in this undertaking, 
That I may slay my enemy 
And bring home the tokens of victory 
To my dear family and my friends 
That we may rejoice together . . . 
Have pity on me and protect my life, 
And I will bring thee an offering.' 8 

The following two prayers are among those recorded by 
Molina, from the memory of aged men who described to 
him the religion of Peru under the Incas, in whose rites 
they had themselves borne part. The first is addressed to 
the Sun, the second to the World-creator : 

' O Sun ! Thou who hast said, let there be Cuzcos and Tampus, grant 
that these thy children may conquer all other people. We beseech thee 
that thy children the Yncas may be the conquerors always, for this hast 
thou created them.' 

' O conquering Uiracocha ! Ever present Uiracocha ! Thou who art 
in the ends of the earth without equal 1 Thou who gavest life and valour 
to men, saying " Let this be a man 1 " and to women, saying, " Let this 
be a woman 1 " Thou who madest them and gavest them being 1 Watch 
over them that they may live in health and peace. Thou who art in the 

1 Tanner, ' Narrative," p. 46. 

1 Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 197. 

8 Heckewelder, ' Ind. Vdlkerschaften,' p. 354. 

PRAYER. 367 

high heavens, and among the clouds of the tempest, grant this with long 
life, and accept this sacrifice, O Uiracocha 1 ' 1 

In Africa, the Zulus, addressing the spirits of their ances- 
tors, think it even enough to call upon them without saying 
what they want, taking it for granted that the spirits know, 
so that the mere utterance ' People of our house ! ' is a 
prayer. When a Zulu sneezes, and is thus for the moment 
in close relation to the divine spirits, it is enough for him 
to mention what he wants (' to wish a wish,' as our own 
folklore has it), and thus the words ' A cow ! ' ' Children ! ' 
are prayers. Fuller forms are such as these : ' People of 
our house ! Cattle ! ' ' People of our house ! Good luck 
and health ! ' ' People of our house ! Children ! ' On 
occasions of ancestral cattle-sacrifice the prayers extend to 
actual harangues, as when, after the feast is over, the head- 
man speaks thus amid dead silence : ' Yes, yes, our people, 
who did such and such noble acts, I pray to you I pray 
for prosperity after having sacrificed this bullock of yours. 
I say, I cannot refuse to give you food, for these cattle 
which are here you gave me. And if you ask food of me 
which you have given me, is it not proper that I should 
give it to you ? I pray for cattle, that they may fill this 
pen. I pray for corn, that many people may come to this 
village of yours, and make a noise, and glorify you. I ask 
also for children, that this village may have a large popula- 
tion, and that your name may never come to an end.' So 
he finishes. 8 From among the negro races near the equator, 
the following prayers may be cited, addressed to that Su- 
preme Deity whose nature is, as we have seen, more or less 
that of the Heaven-god. The Gold Coast negro would 
raise his eyes to Heaven and thus address him : ' God, 
give me to-day rice and yams, gold and agries, give me 

1 ' Narratives of Rites and Laws of Yncas,' tr. and ed. by C. R. Markham, 
PP- 3'j 33- See also Brinton, p. 298. 

2 Callaway, 'Religion of Amazulu,' pp. 141, 174, 182. 'Remarks on 
Zulu Lang.' Pietermaritzburg, 1870, p. 22. 


slaves, riches, and health, and that I may be brisk and 
swift ! ' the fetish-man will often in the morning take water 
in his mouth and say, ' Heaven ! grant that I may have 
something to eat to-day ; ' and when giving medicine shown 
him by the fetish, he will hold it up to heaven first, and 
say, ' Ata Nyongmo ! (Father Heaven !) bless this medicine 
that I now give.' The Yebu would say, ' God in heaven, 
protect me from sickness and death. God give me happi- 
ness and wisdom ! ' l When the Manganja of Lake Nyassa 
were offering to the Supreme Deity a basketful of meal and 
a pot of native beer, that he might give them rain, the 
priestess dropped the meal handful by handful on the ground , 
each time calling, in a high-pitched voice, 'Hear thou, O 
God, and send rain ! ' and the assembled people responded, 
clapping their hands softly and intoning (they always intone 
their prayers) ' Hear thou, O God ! '* 

Typical forms of prayer may be selected in Asia near the 
junction-line of savage and barbaric culture. Among the 
Karens of Burma, the Harvest-goddess has offerings made 
to her in a little house in the paddy-field, in which two 
strings are put for her to bind the spirits of any persons 
who may enter her field. Then they entreat her on this 
wise : ' Grandmother, thou guardest my field, thou watchest 
over my plantation. Look out for men entering ; look 
sharp for people coming in. If they come, bind them with 
this string, tie them with this rope, do not let them go ! ' 
And at the threshing of the rice they say : ' Shake thyself, 
Grandmother, shake thyself ! Let the paddy ascend till it 
equals a hill, equals a mountain. Shake thyself, Grand- 
mother, shake thyself ! ' The following are extracts from 
the long-drawn prayers of the Khonds of Orissa : ' O Boora 
Pennu ! and O Tari Pennu, and all other gods ! (naming 
them). You, O Boora Pennu ! created us, giving us the 
attribute of hunger ; thence corn food was necessary to us, 

1 Waitz, vol. ii. p. 169. Steinhauser, I.e. p. 129. 

* Rowley, ' Universities' Mission to Central Africa,' p. 226. 

3 Mason, ' Karens,' I.e. p. 215. 

PRAYER. 369 

and thence were necessary producing fields. You gave us 
every seed, and ordered us to use bullocks, and to make 
ploughs, and to plough. Had we not received this art, we 
might still indeed have existed upon the natural fruits of 
the jungle and the plain, but, in our destitution, we could 
not have performed your worship. Do you, remembering 
this the connexion betwixt our wealth and your honour 
grant the prayers which we now offer. In the morning, we 
rise before the light to our labour, carrying the seed. Save 
us from the tiger, and the snake, and from stumblingblocks. 
Let the seed appear earth to the eating birds, and stones to 
the eating animals of the earth. Let the grain spring up 
suddenly like a dry stream that is swelled in a night. Let 
the earth yield to our ploughshares as wax melts before hot 
iron. Let the baked clods melt like hailstones. Let our 
ploughs spring through the furrows with a force like the 
recoil of a bent tree. Let there be such a return from our 
seed, that so much shall fall and be neglected in the fields, 
and so much on the roads in carrying it home, that, when 
we shall go out next year to sow, the paths and the fields 
shall look like a young corn-field. From the first times we 
have lived by your favour. Let us continue to receive it. 
Remember that the increase of our produce is the increase 
of your worship, and that its diminution must be the diminu- 
tion of your rites.' The following is the conclusion of a 
prayer to the Earth-goddess : ' Let our herds be so nume- 
rous that they cannot be housed ; let children so abound 
that the care of them shall overcome their parents as shall 
be seen by their burned hands ; let our heads ever strike 
against brass pots innumerable hanging from our roofs ; let 
the rats form their nests of shreds of scarlet cloth and silk ; 
let all the kites in the country be seen in the trees of our 
village, from beasts being killed there every day. We are 
ignorant of what it is good to ask for. You know what is 
good for us. Give it to us f J 1 

1 Macpherson, ' India,' pp. no, 128. See also Hunter, ' Rural Bengal,' 
p. 182 (Santals). 


Such are types of prayer in the lower levels of culture, 
and in no small degree they remain characteristic of the 
higher nations. If, in long-past ages, the Chinese raised 
themselves from the condition of rude Siberian tribes to 
their peculiar culture, at any rate their consecutive religion 
has scarce changed the matter-of-fact prayers for rain and 
good harvest, wealth and long life, addressed to manes and 
nature-spirits and merciful Heaven. 1 In other great national 
religions of the world, not the whole of prayer, but a smaller 
or larger part of it, holds closely to the savage definition. 
This is a Vedic prayer : ' What, Indra, has not yet been 
given me by thee, Lightning-hurler, all good things bring 
us hither with both hands . . . with mighty riches 
fill me, with wealth of cattle, for thou art great ! ' a This 
is Moslem : ' Allah ! unloose the captivity of the captives, 
and annul the debts of the debtors : and make this town to 
be safe and secure, and blessed with wealth and plenty, and 
all the towns of the. Moslems, O Lord of all creatures ! and 
decree safety and health to us and to all travellers, and 
pilgrims, and warriors, and wanderers, upon thy earth, 
and upon thy sea, such as are Moslems, O Lord of all crea- 
tures ! ' Thus also, throughout the rituals of Christendom, 
stand an endless array of supplications unaltered in principle 
from savage times that the weather may be adjusted to 
our local needs, that we may have the victory over all our 
enemies, that life and health and wealth and happiness may 
be ours. 

So far, then, is permanence in culture: but now let us 
glance at the not less marked lines of modification and new 
formation. The vast political effect of a common faith in 
developing the idea of exclusive nationality, a process 
scarcely expanding beyond the germ among savage tribes, 
but reaching its full growth in the barbaric world, is apt to 
have its outward manifestation in hostility to those of another 

1 Plath, ' Religion der Chinesen,' part ii. p. 2 ; Doolittle, vol. ii. p. 116. 

* ' Sama-Veda,' i. 4, 2. Wuttke, ' Gesch. des Heidenthums,' part ii. 
P- 342- 

* Lane, ' Modern Egyptians,' vol. i. p. 128. 

PRAYER. 371 

creed, a sentiment which finds vent in characteristic prayers. 
Such are these from the Rig- Veda : ' Take away our 
calamities. By sacred verses may we overcome those who 
employ no holy hymns ! Distinguish between the Aryas and 
those who are Dasyus : chastising those who observe no 
sacred rites, subject them to the sacrificer . . . Indra 
subjects the impious to the pious, and destroys the irre- 
ligious by the religious.' 1 The following is from the closing 
prayer which the boys in many schools in Cairo used to 
repeat some years ago, and very likely do still : ' I seek 
refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed. In the name 
of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful ... Lord of 
all creatures ! O Allah ! destroy the infidels and polytheists, 
, thine enemies, the enemies of the religion ! O Allah ! make 
their children orphans, and defile their abodes, and cause 
their feet to slip, and give them and their families and their 
households and their women and their children and their 
relations by marriage and their brothers and their friends 
and their possessions and their race and their wealth and 
their lands as booty to the Moslems ! O Lord of all 
creatures ! ' z Another powerful tendency of civilization, 
that of regulating human affairs by fixed ordinance, has 
since early ages been at work to arrange worship into 
mechanical routine. Here, so to speak, religion deposits 
itself in sharply defined shape from a supersaturated solu- 
tion, and crystallizes into formalism. Thus prayers, from 
being at first utterances as free and flexible as requests to a 
living patriarch or chief, stiffened into traditional formulas, 
whose repetition required verbal accuracy, and whose nature 
practically assimilated more or less to that of charms. 
Liturgies, especially in those three quarters of the world 
where the ancient liturgical language has become at once 
unintelligible and sacred, are crowded with examples of this 
historical process. Its extremest development in Europe 
is connected with tie use of the rosary. This devotional 

1 ' Rig- Veda,' i. 51, 8, x. 105, 8. Muir, ' Sanskrit Texts,' part ii. ch. Hi. 
1 Lane, ' Modern Egyptians,' vol. ii. p. 383. 


calculating-machine is of Asiatic invention ; it had if not its 
origin at least its special development among the ancient 
Buddhists, and its 108 balls still slide through the modern 
Buddhist's hands as of old, measuring out the sacred 
formulas whose reiteration occupies so large a fraction of a 
pious life. It was not till toward the middle ages that the 
rosary passed into Mohammedan and Christian lands, and 
finding there conceptions of prayer which it was suited to 
accompany, has flourished ever since. How far the Buddhist 
devotional formulas themselves partake of the nature of 
prayer, is a question opening into instructive considerations, 
which need only be suggested here. By its derivation from 
Brahmanism and its fusion with the beliefs of rude spirit- 
worshipping populations, Buddhism practically retains in 
no small measure a prayerful temper and even practice. Yet, 
according to strict and special Buddhist philosophy, where 
personal divinity has faded into metaphysical idea, even 
devotional utterances of desire are not prayers ; as Koppen 
says, there is no ' Thou ! ' in them. It must be only with 
reservation that we class the rosary in Buddhist hands as an 
instrument of actual prayer. The same is true of the still 
more extreme development of mechanical religion, the 
prayer-mill of the Tibetan Buddhists. This was perhaps 
originally a symbolic ' chakra ' or wheel of the law, but has 
become a cylinder mounted on an axis, which by each rota- 
tion is considered to repeat the sentences written on the 
papers it is filled with, usually the ' Om mani padme hum ! ' 
Prayer-mills vary in size, from the little wooden toys held 
in the hand, to the great drums turned by wind or water- 
power, which repeat their sentences by the million. 1 The 
Buddhist idea, that ' merit ' is produced by the recitation 
of these sentences, may perhaps lead us to form an opinion 
of large application in the study of religion and superstition, 
namely, that the theory of prayers may explain the origin of 
charms. Charm-formulas are in very many cases actual 

1 See Koppen, ' Religion des Buddha,' vol. i. pp. 345, 556 ; vol. ii. pp. 303, 
319. Compare Fcrgusson, ' Tree and Serpent Worship, ' pi. xlii. 

PRAYER. 373 

prayers, and as such are intelligible. Where they are mere 
verbal forms, producing their effect on nature and man by 
some unexplained process, may not they or the types they 
were modelled on have been originally prayers, since 
dwindled into mystic sentences ? 

The worshipper cannot always ask wisely what is for his 
good, therefore it may be well for him to pray that the 
greater power of the deity may be guided by his greater 
wisdom this is a thought which expands and strengthens 
in the theology of the .higher nations. The simple prayer 
of Sokrates, that the gods would give such things as are 
good, for they know best what are good, 1 raises a strain of 
supplication which has echoed through Christendom from 
its earliest ages. Greatest of all changes which difference the 
prayers of lower from those of higher nations, is the work- 
ing out of the general principle that the ethical element, so 
scanty and rudimentary in the lower forms of religion, be- 
comes in the higher its most vital point ; while it scarcely 
appears as though any savage prayer, authentically native 
in its origin, were ever directed to obtain moral goodness or 
to ask pardon for moral sin. Among the semi-civilized 
Aztecs, in the elaborate ritual which from its early record 
and its original characteristics may be thought to have a 
partial authenticity, we mark the appearance of ethical 
prayer. Such is the supplication concerning the newly- 
elect ruler : ' Make him, Lord, as your true image, and 
permit him not to be proud and haughty in your throne and 
court ; but vouchsafe, Lord, that he may calmly and care- 
fully rule and govern them whom he has in charge, the 
people, and permit not, Lord, that he may injure or vex his 
subjects, nor without reason and justice cause loss to any ; 
and permit not, Lord, that he may spot or soil your throne 
or court with any injustice or wrong, &c.'* Moral prayer, 
sometimes appearing in rudiment, sometimes shrunk into 

1 Xenoph. Memorabilia Socrat. i. 3, z. 

* Sahagun, ' Retorica, &c., de la Gente Mexicana,' lib. vi. c. 4, in Kings- 
borough, ' Antiquities of Mexico,' vol. v. 


insignificance, sometimes overlaid by formalism, sometimes 
maintained firm and vigorous in the inmost life, has its 
place without as well as within the Jewish-Christian scheme. 
The ancient Aryan prayed : ' Through want of strength, 
thou strong and bright god, have I gone wrong ; have 
mercy, almighty, have mercy ! . . . . Whenever we men, 
O Varuna, commit an offence before the heavenly host, when- 
ever we break the law through thoughtlessness, have mercy, 
almighty, have mercy!' 1 The modern Parsi prays: 'Of 
my sins which I have committed against the ruler Ormazd, 

against men, and the different kinds of men Deceit, 

contempt, idol-worship, lies, I repent of All and 

every kind of sin which men have committed because of 
me, or which I have committed because of men ; pardon, I 
repent with confession ! ' * As a general rule it would be 
misleading to judge utterances of this kind in the religions 
of classic Greece and Rome as betokening the intense 
habitual prayerfulness which pervades the records of 
Judaism, Mohammedanism, Christianity. Moralists admit 
that prayer can be made an instrument of evil, that it may 
give comfort and hope to the superstitious robber, that it 
may strengthen the heart of the soldier to slay his foes in 
an unrighteous war, that it may uphold the tyrant and the 
bigot in their persecution of freedom in life and thought. 
Philosophers dwell on the subjective operation of prayer, as 
acting not directly on outward events, but on the mind and 
will of the worshipper himself, which it influences and con- 
firms. The one argument tends to guide prayer, the other to 
suppress it. Looking on prayer in its effect on man himself 
through the course of history, both must recognize it as even 
in savage religion a means of strengthening emotion, of sus- 
taining courage and exciting hope, while in higher faiths it be- 
comes a great motive power of the ethical system, controlling 
and enforcing, under an ever-present sense of supernatural 
intercourse and aid, the emotions and energies of moral life. 

1 ' Rig- Veda,' vii. 89, 3. Max Miiller, ' Chips,' vol. i. p. 39. 
* ' Avesta,' tr. by Spiegel ; ' Khorda-A vesta,' Patet Qod. 


Sacrifice has its apparent origin in the same early period 
of culture and its place in the same animistic scheme as 
prayer, with which through so long a range of history it has 
been carried on in the closest connexion. As prayer is a 
request made to a deity as if he were a man, so sacrifice 
is a gift made to a deity as if he were a man. The human 
types of both may be studied unchanged in social life to this 
day. The suppliant who bows before his chief, laying a 
gift at his feet and making his humble petition, displays the 
anthropomorphic model and origin at once of sacrifice and 
prayer. But sacrifice, though in its early stages as intelli- 
gible as prayer is in early and late stages alike, has passed 
in the course of religious history into transformed condi- 
tions, not only of the rite itself but of the intention with 
which the worshipper performs it. And theologians, having 
particularly turned their attention to sacrifice as it appears 
in the higher religions, have been apt to gloss over with 
mysticism ceremonies which, when traced ethnographically 
up from their savage forms, seem open to simply rational 
interpretation. Many details of offerings have already been 
given incidentally here, as a means of elucidating the nature 
of the deities they are offered to. Moreover, a main part 
of the doctrine of sacrifice has been anticipated in examining 
the offerings to spirits of the dead, and indeed the ideal dis- 
tinction between soul and deity breaks down among the 
lower races, when it appears how often the deities receiving 
sacrifice are themselves divine human souls. In now at- 
tempting to classify sacrifice in its course through the reli- 
gions of the world, it seems a satisfactory plan to group 
the evidence as far as may be according to the manner 
in which the offering is given by the worshipper, and re- 
ceived by the deity. At the same time, the examples may 
be so arranged as to bring into view the principal lines along 
which the rite has undergone alteration. The ruder con- 
ception that the deity takes and values the offering for itself, 
gives place on the one hand to the idea of mere homage 
expressed by a gift, and on the other to the negative view 


that the virtue lies in the worshipper depriving himself of 
something prized. These ideas may be broadly distin- 
guished as the gift-theory, the homage-theory, and the 
abnegation-theory. Along all three the usual ritualistic 
change may be traced, from practical reality to formal 
ceremony. The originally valuable offering is compromised 
for a smaller tribute or a cheaper substitute, dwindling at 
last to a mere trifling token or symbol. 

The gift-theory, as standing on its own independent 
basis, properly takes the first place. That most childlike 
kind of offering, the giving of a gift with as yet no definite 
thought how the receiver can take and use it, may be the 
most primitive as it is the most rudimentary sacrifice. 
Moreover, in tracing the history of the ceremony from level 
to level of culture, the same simple unshaped intention may 
still largely prevail, and much of the reason why it is often 
found difficult to ascertain what savages and barbarians 
suppose to become of the food and valuables they offer to 
the gods, may be simply due to ancient sacrificers knowing 
as little about it as-modern ethnologists do, and caring less. 
Yet rude races begin and civilized races continue to furnish 
with the details of their sacrificial ceremonies the key also to 
their meaning, the explanation of the manner in which the 
offering is supposed to pass into the possession of the deity. 

Beginning with cases in which this transmission is per- 
formed bodily, it appears that when the deity is the personal 
Water, Earth, Fire, Air, or a fetish-spirit animating or 
inhabiting such element, he can receive and sometimes 
actually consume the offerings given over to this material 
medium. How such notions may take shape is not ill 
shown in the quaintly rational thought noticed in old Peru, 
that the Sun drinks the libations poured out before him ; 
and in modern Madagascar, that the Angatra drinks the 
arrack left for him in the leaf-cup. Do not they see the 
liquids diminish from day to day s* 1 The sacrifice to Water 

1 Garcilaso de la Vega, ' Commentaries Reales,' v. 19. Ellis, ' Madagascar,' 
vol. i. p. 421. 


is exemplified by Indians caught in a storm on the North 
American lakes, who would appease the angry tempest- 
raising deity by tying the feet of a dog and throwing it 
overboard. 1 The following case from Guinea well shows 
the principle of such offerings. Onee in.. 1693, the sea 
being unusually rough, the headmen complained to the 
king, who desired them to be easy, and he would make the 
sea quiet next day. Accordingly he sent his fetishman 
with a jar of palm oil, a bag of rice and corn, a jar of pitto, 
a bottle of brandy, a piece of painted calico, and several 
other things to present to the sea. Being come to the sea- 
side, he made a speech to it, assuring it that his king was 
its friend, and loved the white men ; that they were honest 
fellows and came to trade with him for what he wanted ; 
and that he requested the sea not to be angry, nor hinder 
them to land their goods ; he told it, that if it wanted palm 
oil, his king had sent it some ; and so threw the jar with 
the oil into the sea, as he did, with the same compliment, 
the rice, corn, pitto, brandy, calico, &c. z Among the North 
American Indians the Earth also receives offerings buried 
in it. The distinctness of idea with which such objects 
may be given is well shown in a Sioux legend. The Spirit 
of the earth, it seems, requires an offering from those who 
perform extraordinary achievements, and accordingly the 
prairie gapes open with an earthquake before the victorious 
hero of the tale ; he casts a partridge into the crevice, and 
springs over. 8 One of the most explicit recorded instances 
of the offering to the Earth is the hideous sacrifice to the 
Earth-goddess among the Khonds of Orissa, the tearing of the 
flesh of the human victim from the bones, the priest burying 
half of it in a hole in the earth behind his back without 

1 Charlevoix, ' Nouv. Fr.' vol. i. p. 394. See also Smith, ' Virginia,' in 
' Pinkerton,' vol. xiii. p. 41. 

* Phillips in Astley's ' Voyages,' vol. ii. p. 41 1 ; Lubbock, ' Origin of Civi- 
lization,' p. 216. Bosnian, ' Guinea,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 500. Bastian 
in 'Ztschr. fur Ethnologic,' 1869, p. 315. 

8 Schoolcraft, ' Algic Res.' vol. ii. p. 75. See also Tanner, ' Narr.' p. 193, 
and above, p. 270. 

U. 2 B 


looking round, and each householder carrying off a particle 
to bury in like manner in his favourite field. 1 For offerings 
to the Fire, we may take for an example the Yakuts, who 
not only give him the first spoonful of food, but instead of 
washing their earthen pots allow him to clean out the re- 
mains.* Here is a New Zealand charm called Wangaihau, 
i.e., feeding the Wind : 

' Lift up his offering, 
To Uenga a te Rangi his offering, 
Eat, O invisible one, listen to me, 
Let that food bring you down from the sky.' 3 

Beside this may be set the quaint description of the Fanti 
negroes assisting at the sacrifice of men and cattle to the 
local fetish ; the victims were considered to be carried up in 
a whirlwind out of the midst of the small inner ring of 
priests and priestesses ; this whirlwind was, however, not 
perceptible to the senses of the surrounding worshippers.* 
These series of details collected from the lower civilization 
throw light on curious problems as to sacrificial ideas in 
the religions of the classic world ; such questions as what 
Xerxes meant when he threw the golden goblet and the 
sword into the Hellespont, which he had before chained 
and scourged ; why Hannibal cast animals into the sea as 
victims to Poseidon ; what religious significance underlay 
the patriotic Roman legend of the leap of Marcus 
Curtius. 6 

Sacred animals, in their various characters of divine 
beings, incarnations, representatives, agents, symbols, natu- 
rally receive meat and drink offerings, and sometimes other 
gifts. For examples, may be mentioned the sun-birds 
(tonatzuli), for which the Apalaches of Florida set out 

1 Macpherson, ' India,' p. 129. 

* Billings, ' Exp. to Northern Russia,' p. 125. Chinese sacrifice* buried 
for earth spirits, see ante, vol. i. p. 107 ; Plath, part ii. p. 50. 

* Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 182. 
4 Romer, ' Guinea,' p. 67. 

8 Herod, vii. 35, 54. Liv. vii. 6. Grote, ' Hist, of Greece,' vol. x. p. 589, 
see p. 715. 


crushed maize and seed; 1 the Polynesian deities coming 
incarnate in the bodies of birds to feed on the meat-offerings 
and carcases of human victims set out upon the altar- 
scaffolds ; a the well-fed sacred snakes of West Africa, and 
local fetish animals like the alligator at Dix Cove which 
will come up at a whistle, and follow a man half a mile if he 
carries a white fowl in his hands, or the shark at Bonny 
that comes to the river bank every day to see if a human 
victim has been provided for his repast ; 3 in modern India 
the cows reverently fed with fresh grass, Durga's meat- 
offerings laid out on stones for the jackals, the famous 
alligators in their temple-tanks. 4 The definition of sacred 
animal from this point of view distinctly includes "man. 
Such in Mexico was the captive youth adored as living re- 
presentative of Tezcatlipoca, and to whom banquets were 
made during the luxurious twelvemonth which preceded his 
sacrifice at the festival of the deity whom he personated : 
such still more definitely was Cortes himself, when Monte- 
zuma supposed him to be the incarnate Quetzalcoatl come 
back into the land, and sent human victims accordingly to 
be slaughtered before him, should he seem to lust for blood. 5 
Such in modern India is the woman who as representative 
of Radha eats and drinks the offerings at the shameless 
orgies of the Saktas. 6 More usually it is the priest who as 
minister of the deities has the lion's share of the offerings 
or the sole privilege of consuming them, from the Fijian 
priest who watches for the turtle and puddings apportioned 
to his god, 7 and the West African priest who carries the 
allowances of food sent to the local spirits of mountain, or 
river, or grove, which food he eats himself as the spirit's 

1 Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 367. 

Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. pp. 336, 358. Williams, ' Fiji,' vol. i. p. 220. 

Bosnian, ' Guinea,' in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 494 ; J. L. Wilson, ' W. 
Af .' p. 218 ; Burton, ' W. & W. fr. W. Afr.' p. 331. 

Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. p. 195, &c. 

Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. p. 69. J. G. Mullet, p. 631. 

Ward, vol. ii. p. 194 ; ' Mem. Anthrop. Soc.' vol. i. p. 332. 
7 Williams, * Fiji,' vol. i. p. 226. 


proxy, 1 to the Brahmans who receive for the divine ancestors 
the oblation of a worshipper who has no sacred fire to 
consume it, ' for there is no difference between the Fire 
and a Brahman, such is the judgment declared by them 
who know the Veda.'* It is needless to collect details of 
a practice so usual in the great systematic religions of the 
world, where priests have become professional ministers and 
agents of deity, as for them to partake of the sacrificial meats . 
It by no means follows from this usage that the priest is 
necessarily supposed to consume the food as representative 
of his divinity ; in the absence of express statement to such 
effect, the matter can only be treated as one of ceremonial 
ordinance. Indeed, the case shows the caution needed in 
interpreting religious rites, which in particular districts 
may have meanings attached to them quite foreign to their 
general intent. 

The feeding of an idol, as when Ostyaks would pour daily 
.broth into the dish at the image's mouth, 3 or when the 
Aztecs would pour the blood and put the heart of the 
slaughtered human victim into the monstrous idol's mouth, 4 
seems ceremonial make-believe, but shows that in each case 
the deity was somehow considered to devour the meal. 
The conception among the lower races of deity, as in dis- 
embodied spiritual form, is even less compatible with the 
notion that such a being should consume solid matter. It 
is true that the notion does occur. In old times it appears 
in the legend of Bel and the Dragon, where the footprints 
in the strewn ashes betray the knavish priests who come by 
secret doors to eat up the banquet set before Bel's image. 5 
In modern centuries, it may be exemplified by the negroes 
of Labode, who could hear the noise of their god Jimawong 
emptying one after another the bottles of brandy handed in 

1 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Afr.' p. 218. 

' Manu, iii. 212. See also ' Avesta,' tr. by Spiegel, vol. ii. p. Ixxvii. 
(sacrificial cakes eaten by priest). 

3 Ysbrants Ides, ' Reize naar China,' p. 38. Meioers, vol. i. p. 162. 

4 Clavigero, vol. ii. p. 46. J. G. Muller, p. 631. 
6 Bel and the Dragon. 


at the door of his straw-roofed temple; 1 or among the 
Ostyaks, who, as Pallas relates, used to leave a horn of snuff 
for. their god, with a shaving of willow bark to stop his 
nostrils with after the country fashion ; the traveller 
describes their astonishment when sometimes an unbeliev- 
ing Russian has emptied it in the night, leaving the simple 
folk to conclude that the deity must have gone out hunting 
to have snuffed so much.* But these cases turn on fraud, 
whereas absurdities in which low races largely agree are apt 
to have their origin rather in genuine error. Indeed, their 
dominant theories of the manner in which deities receive 
sacrifice are in accordance not with fraud but with facts, and 
must be treated as strictly rational and honest developments 
of the lower animism. The clearest and most general of 
these theories are as follows. 

When the deity is considered to take actual possession of 
the food or other objects offered, this may be conceived to 
happen by abstraction of their life, savour, essence, quality, 
and in yet more definite conception their spirit or soul. 
The solid part may die, decay, be taken away or consumed 
or destroyed, or may simply remain untouched. Among 
this group of conceptions, the most materialized is that 
which carries out the obvious primitive world-wide doc- 
trine that the life is the blood. Accordingly, the blood 
is* offered to the deity, and even disembodied spirits are 
thought capable of consuming it, like the ghosts for whom 
Odysseus entering Hades poured into the trench the 
blood of the sacrificed ram and black ewe, and the pale 
shades drank and spoke; 8 or the evil spirits which the 
Mintira of the Malay Peninsula keep away from the wife in 
childbirth by placing her near the fire, for the demons 
are believed to drink human blood when they can find it. 4 
Thus in Virginia the Indians (in pretence or reality) 
sacrificed children, whose blood the oki or spirit was said 

1 Romer, ' Guinea,' p. 47. 

* Bastian, ' Mcnsch,' part ii. p. 210. 

8 Homer, Odyss. xi. xii. 

4 ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. p. 270. 


to suck from their left breast. 1 The Kayans of Bornao 
used to offer human sacrifice when a great chief took 
possession of a newly built house ; in one late case, about 
1847, a Malay slave girl was bought for the purpose and 
bled to death, the blood, which alone is efficacious, being 
sprinkled on the pillars and under the house, and the body 
being thrown into the river.* The same ideas appsar 
among the indigenes of India, alike in North Bengal and 
in the Deccan, where the blood alone of the sacrificed animal 
is for the deities, and the votary retains the meat. 3 Thus, 
in West Africa, the negroes of Benin are described as offering 
a cock to the idol, but it receives only the blood, for they 
like the flesh very well themselves ; * while in the Yoruba 
country, when a beast is sacrificed for a sick man, the 
blood is sprinkled on the wall and smeared on the 
patient's forehead, with the idea, it is said, of thus trans- 
ferring to him the victim's life. 5 The Jewish law of 
sacrifice marks clearly the distinction between shedding 
the blood as life, and offering it as food. As the Israelites 
themselves might not eat with the flesh the blood which 
is the life, but must pour it on the earth as water, so 
the rule applies to sacrifice. The blood must be sprinkled 
before the sanctuary, put upon the horns of the altar, and 
there sprinkled or poured out, but not presented as a 
drink offering ' their drink-offerings of blood will I not 
offer.' 6 

Spirit being considered in the lower animism as some- 
what of the ethereal nature of smoke or mist, there is an 

1 Smith, ' Virginia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. p. 41 ; see J. G. Muller, 
p. 143 ; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 207. Comp. Meiners, vol. ii. p. 89. See also 
Bollaert in ' Mem. Anthrop. Soc.' vol. ii. p. 96. 

* ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iii. p. 145. See also St. John, ' Far East,' 
vol. i. p. 1 60. 

3 Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 147 ; Hunter, ' Rural Bengal,' p. 181 ; 
Forbes Leslie, ' Early Races of Scotland,' vol. ii. p. 458. 

4 Bosman, 'Guinea,' letter xxi. in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 531. See 
also Waitz, vol. ii. p. 192. 

8 Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 96. 

Levit. i. &c. ; Deuteron. xii. 23 ; Psalm xvi. 4. 


obvious reasonableness in the idea that offerings reduced to 
this condition are fit to be consumed by, or transmitted to, 
spiritual beings towards whom the vapour rises in the air. 
This idea is well shown in the case of incense, and especially 
a peculiar kind of incense offered among the native tribes of 
America. The habit of smoking tobacco is not suggestive 
of religious rites among ourselves, but in its native country, 
where it is so widely diffused as to be perhaps the best point 
assignable in favour of a connexion in the culture of the 
northern and southern continent, its place in worship is 
very important. The Osages would begin an undertaking 
by smoking a pipe, with such a prayer as this : ' Great 
Spirit, come down to smoke with me as a friend ! Fire 
and Earth, smoke with me and help me to overthrow my 
foes ! ' The Sioux in. Hennepin's time would look toward 
the Sun when they smoked, and when the calumet was 
lighted, they presented it to him, saying : ' Smoke, Sun ! ' 
The Natchez chief at sunrise smoked first to the east and 
then to the other quarters ; and so on. It is not merely, 
however, that puffs from the tobacco-pipe are thus offered 
to deities as drops of drink or morsels of food might be. 
The calumet is a special gift of the Sun or the Great 
Spirit, tobacco is a sacred herb, and smoking is an agree- 
able sacrifice ascending into the air to the abode of gods 
and spirits. 1 Among the Caribs, the native sorcerer evoking 
a demon would puff tobacco-smoke into the air as an agree- 
able perfume to attract the spirit ; while among Brazilian 
tribes the sorcerers smoked round upon the bystanders and 
on the patient to be cured. 2 How thoroughly incense and 
burnt-offering are of the same nature, the Zulus well show, 
burning incense together with the fat of the caul of the 
slaughtered beast, to give the spirits of the people a sweet 

1 Waitz, vol. Hi. p. 181. Hennepin, ' Voyage,' p. 302. Charlevoix, 
* Nouvelle France,' vol. v. p. 311, vi. p. 178. Schoolcraft, ' Ind. Tribes,' 
part i. p. 49, part ii. p. 127. Catlin, vol. i. pp. 181, 229. Morgan, 
'Iroquois,' p. 164. J. G. Muller, p. 58. 

1 Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' pp. 418, 507. Lery, ' Voy. en Br6sil,' p. 268. 
See also Musters in ' Journ. Anthrop. Inst.' vol. i. p. 202 (Patagonians). 


savour. 1 As to incense more precisely of the sort we 
are familiar with, it was in daily use in the temples of 
Mexico, where among the commonest antiquarian relics are 
the earthen incense-pots in which ' copalli ' (whence our 
word copal) and bitumen were burnt. 1 Though incense was 
hardly usual in the ancient religion of China, yet in modern 
Chinese houses and temples the ' joss-stick ' and censer do 
honour to all divine beings, from the ancestral manes to the 
great gods and Heaven and Earth. 8 The history of incense 
in the religion of Greece and Rome points the contrast 
between old thrift and new extravagance, where the early 
fumigations with herbs and chips of fragrant wood are con- 
trasted with the later oriental perfumes, myrrh and cassia 
and frankincense. 4 In the temples of ancient Egypt, num- 
berless representations of sacrificial ceremony show the 
burning of the incense-pellets in censers before the images 
of the gods ; and Plutarch speaks of the incense burnt 
thrice daily to the Sun, resin at his rising, myrrh at his 
meridian, kuphi at his setting. 8 The ordinance held as pro- 
minent a place among the Semitic nations. At the yearly 
festival of Bel in Babylon, the Chaldaeans are declared by 
Herodotus to have burned a thousand talents of incense on 
the large altar in the temple where sat his golden image/ 
In the records of ancient Israel, there has come down to 
us the very recipe for compounding incense after the art 
of the apothecary. The priests carried every man his 
censer, and on the altar of incense, overlaid with gold, 
standing before the vail in the tabernacle, sweet spices 

1 Callaway, ' Religion of Amazulu,' pp. u, 141, 177. See also Casalis, 
' Basutos,' p. 258. 

* Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. p. 39. See also Piedrahita, part i. lib. i. 
c. 3 (Muyscas). 

8 Plath, ' Religion der alt en Chines en,' part ii. p. 31. Doolittle, 
' Chinese.' 

4 Porphyr. de Abstinentia, ii. 5. Arnob. contra Gentes. vii. 26. Meiners, 
vol. ii. p. 14. 

* Wilkinson, ' Ancient Egyptians,' vol. v. pp. 315, 338. Plutarch, de Is. 
et Osir. 

* Herodot. i. 183. 


were burned morn and even, a perpetual incense before 
the Lord. 1 

The sacrifice by fire is familiar to the religion of North 
American tribes. Thus the Algonquins knew the practice 
of casting into the fire the first morsel of the feast ; and 
throwing fat into the flames for the spirits, they would pray 
to them ' make us find food.' Catlin has described and 
sketched the Mandans dancing round the fire where the first 
kettleful of the green-corn is being burned, an offering to 
the Great Spirit before the feast begins. 2 The Peruvians 
burnt llamas as offerings to the Creator, Sun, Moon, and 
Thunder, and other lesser deities. As to the operation of 
sacrifice, an idea of theirs comes well into view in the 
legend of Manco Ccapac ordering the sacrifice of the most 
beautiful of his sons, ' cutting off his head, and sprinkling 
the blood over the fire, that the smoke might reach the 
Maker of heaven and earth.' 8 In Siberia the sacrifices of 
the Tunguz and Buraets, in the course of which bits of 
meat and liver and fat are cast into the fire, carry on the 
same idea. 4 Chinese sacrifices to sun and moon, stars and 
constellations , show their purpose in most definite fashion ; 
beasts and even silks and precious stones are burned, that 
their vapour may ascend to these heavenly spirits. 5 No less 
significant, though in a different sense, is the Siamese offer- 
ing to the household deity, incense and arrack and rice 
steaming hot ; he does not eat it all, not always any part of 
it, it is the fragrant steam which he loves to inhale. 6 Look- 
ing now to the records of Aryan sacrifice, views similar to 
these are not obscurely expressed. When the Brahman 
burns the offerings on the altar-fire, they are received by 

1 Exod. xxx., xxxvii. Lev. x. I, xvi. iz, &c. 

1 Smith, ' Virginia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. p. 41. Le Jeune in ' Rel. 
des Je's.' 1634, p. 16. Catlin, ' N. A. Ind.' vol. i. p. 189. 

8 ' Rites and Laws of Incas," p. 16, &c., 79 ; see ' Ollanta, an ancient Ynca 
Drama,' tr. by C. R. Markham, p, 81. Garcilaso de la Vega, lib. i. ii. vi. 

4 Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. Hi. pp. 106, 114. 

5 Plath, part ii. p. 65. 

Latham, ' Descr. Eth.' vol. i. p. 191. 


Agni the divine Fire, mouth of the gods, messenger of the 
All-knowing, to whom is chanted the Vedic strophe, 'Agni ! 
the sacrifice which thou encompassest whole, it goes unto 
the gods ! ' 1 The Homeric poems show the plain meaning 
of the hecatombs of old barbaric Greece, where the savour 
of the burnt offering went up in wreathing smoke to heaven, 

KvMTxnj 8 ovpavbv IKCV (\ur<rofj*vr) ircpl Kairvip. Passed into 

a far other stage of history, men's minds had not lost sight 
of the archaic thought even in Porphyry's time, for he 
knows how the demons who desire to be gods rejoice in the 
libations and fumes of sacrifice, whereby their spiritual and 
bodily substance fattens, for this lives on the steam and 
vapours and is strengthened by the fumes of the blood 
and flesh. 8 \^ 

The view of commentators that sacrifice, as a religious 
act of remote antiquity and world-wide prevalence, was 
adopted, regulated, and sanctioned in the Jewish law, is in 
agreement with the general ethnography of the subject. 
Here sacrifice appears not with the lower conception 
of a gift acceptable and even beneficial to deity, but 
with the higher significance of devout homage or expia- 
tion for sin. As is so usual in the history of religion, 
the offering consisted in general of food, and the consumma- 
tion of the sacrifice was by fire. To the ceremonial 
details of the sacrificial rites of Israel, whether prescribing 
the burning of the carcases of oxen and sheep or of the 
bloodless gifts of flour mingled with oil, there is appended 
again and again the explanation of the intent of the rite ; 
it is ' an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto 
the Lord.' The copious records of sacrifice in the Old 
Testament enable us to follow its expansion from the simple 
patriarchal forms of a pastoral tribe, to the huge and 
complex system organized to carry on the ancient service 
in a now populous and settled kingdom. Among writers 
on the Jewish religion, Dean Stanley has vividly por- 

1 ' Rig-Veda,' i. i, 4. * Homer, II. i. 317. 

* Porphyr. De Abstinentia, ii. 42 ; see 58. 


trayed the aspect of the Temple, with the flocks of sheep 
and droves of cattle crowding its courts, the vast apparatus 
of slaughter, the great altar of burnt-offering towering 
above the people, where the carcases were laid, the drain 
beneath to carry off the streams of blood. To this historian, 
in sympathy rather with the spirit of the prophet than the 
ceremony of the priest, it is a congenial task to dwell upon 
the great movement in later Judaism to maintain the 
place of ethical above ceremonial religion. 1 In those times 
of Hebrew history, the prophets turned with stern rebuke 
on those who ranked ceremonial ordinance above weightier 
matters of the law. ' I desired mercy and not sacrifice, and 
the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.' ' I 
delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he 
goats . . . Wash you, make you clean ; put away the evil 
of your doings from before mine eyes. Cease to do evil, 
learn to do well.' 

Continuing the enquiry into the physical operation 
ascribed to sacrifice, we turn to a different conception. It 
is an idea well vouched for in the lower culture, that the 
deity, while leaving apparently untouched the offering set 
out before him, may nevertheless partake of or abstract 
what in a loose way may be described as its essence. The 
Zulus leave the flesh of the sacrificed bullock all night, and 
the divine ancestral spirits come and eat, yet next morning 
everything remains just as it was. Describing this practice, 
a native Zulu thus naively comments on it : ' But when we 
ask, " What do the Amadhlozi eat ? for in the morning we 
still see all the meat," the old men say, " The Amatongo lick 
it." And we are unable to contradict them, but are silent, 
for they are older than we, and tell us all things and we 
listen ; for we are told all things, and assent without seeing 
clearly whether they are true or not.' 2 Such imagination 

1 Stanley, ' Jewish Church,' 2d Ser. pp. 410, 424. See Kalis ch on Leviti- 
cus ; Barry in Smith's ' Dictionary of the Bible,' art. ' sacrifice.' 

2 Callaway, ' Religion of Amazulu,' p. 1 1 (amadhlozi or amatongo = ances- 
tral spirits). 


was familiar to the native religion of the West Indian 
islands. In Columbus' time, and with particular reference 
to Hispaniola, Roman Pane describes the native mode of 
sacrifice. Upon any solemn day, when they provide much 
to eat, whether fish, flesh, or any other thing, they put it all 
into the house of the cemis, that the idol may feed on it. 
The next day they carry all home, after the cemi has eaten. 
And God so help them (says the friar), as the cemi eats of 
that or anything else, they being inanimate stocks or stones. 
A century and a half later, a similar notion still prevailed 
in these islands. Nothing could show it more neatly than 
the fancy of the Caribs that they could hear the spirits in 
the night moving the vessels and champing the food set out 
for them, yet next morning there was nothing touched ; it 
was held that the viands thus partaken of by the spirits 
had become holy, so that only the old men and considerable 
people might taste them, and even these required a certain 
bodily purity. 1 Islanders of Pulo Aur, though admitting 
that their banished disease-spirits did not actually consume 
the grains of rice set out for them, nevertheless believed 
them to appropriate its essence.* In India, among the 
indigenes of the Garo hills, we hear of the head and blood 
of the sacrificed animal being placed with some rice under a 
bamboo arch covered with a white cloth ; the god comes 
and takes what he wants, and after a time this special offer- 
ing is dressed for the company with the rest of the animal.' 
The Khond deities live on the flavours and essences drawn 
from the offerings of their votaries, or from animals or grain 
which they cause to die or disappear. 4 When the Buraets 
of Siberia have sacrificed a sheep and boiled the mutton, 
they set it up on a scaffold for the gods while the shaman is 

1 Roman Pane, ch. xvi. in ' Life of Colon,' in Pinkerton, vol. xii. p. 86. 
Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 418 ; see Meiners, vol. ii., p. 516 ; J. G. Muller, 
p. 212. 

1 ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iv. p. 194. 

* Eliot in ' As. Res.' vol. iii. p. 30. 

4 Macpherson, ' India,' p K . 88, 100. 


chanting his song, and then themselves fall to. 1 And thus, 
in the folklore of mediaeval Europe, Domina Abundia would 
come with her dames into the houses at night, and eat and 
drink from the vessels left uncovered for their increase- 
giving visit, yet nothing was consumed.* 

The extreme animistic view of sacrifice is that the soul 
of the offered animal or thing is abstracted by or trans- 
mitted to the deity. This notion of spirits taking souls is 
in a somewhat different way exemplified among the Binua 
of Johore, who hold that the evil River-spirits inflict 
diseases on man by feeding on the ' semangat,' or unsub- 
stantial body (in ordinary parlance the spirit) in which his 
life resides, 8 while the Karen demon devours not the body 
but the ' la,' spirit or vital principle ; thus when it eats a 
man's eyes, their material part remains, but they are blind.* 
Now an idea similar to this furnished the Polynesians with 
a theory of sacrifice. The priest might send commissions 
by the sacrificed human victim; spirits of the dead are 
eaten by the gods or demons ; the spiritual part of the 
sacrifices is eaten by the spirit of the idol (i.e. the deity 
dwelling or embodied in the idol) before whom it is pre- 
sented. 8 Of the Fijians it is observed that of the great 
offerings of food native belief apportions merely the soul to 
the gods, who are described as being enormous eaters ; the 
substance is consumed by the worshippers. As in various 
other districts of the world, human sacrifice is here in fact 
a meat-offering ; cannibalism is a part of the Fijian religion, 
and the gods are described as delighting in human flesh.* 
Such ideas are explicit among Indian tribes of the American 
lakes, who consider that offerings, whether abandoned or 
consumed by the worshippers, go in a spiritual form to the 

1 Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. Hi. p. 114. 

* Grimm, ' Deutsche Myth.' p. 264. 
8 ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. i. p. 27. 

* Mason, ' Karens,' I.e. p. 208. 

* Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 407. Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 358. 
Taylor, ' New Zealand,' pp. 104, 220. 

6 Williams, 'Fiji,' vol.J. p. 231. 


spirit they are devoted to. Native legends afford the 
clearest illustrations. The following is a passage from an 
Ottawa tale which recounts the adventures of Wassamo, he 
who was conveyed by the spirit-maiden to the lodge of her 
father, the Spirit of the Sand Downs, down below the 
waters of Lake Superior. ' Son-in-law,' said the Old 
Spirit, ' I am in want of tobacco. You shall return to visit 
your parents, and can make known my wishes. For it is 
very seldom that those few who pass these Sand Hills, offer 
a piece of tobacco. When they do it, it immediately comes 
to me. Just so,' he added, putting his hand out of the 
side of the lodge, and drawing in several pieces of tobacco, 
which some one at that moment happened to offer to the 
Spirit, for a smooth lake and prosperous voyage. ' You 
see,' he said, ' every thing offered me on earth, comes 
immediately to the side of my lodge.' Wassamo saw the 
women also putting their hands to the side of the lodge, 
and then handing round something, of which all partook. 
This he found to be offerings of food made by mortals on 
earth. The distinctly spiritual nature of this transmission 
is shown immediately after, for Wassamo cannot eat such 
mere spirit-food, wherefore his spirit-wife puts out her 
hand from the lodge and takes in a material fish out of the 
lake to cook for him. 1 Another Ottawa legend, the already 
cited nature-myth of the Sun and Moon, is of much interest 
not only for its display of this special thought, but as show- 
ing clearly the motives with which savage animists offer 
sacrifices to their deities, and consider these deities to 
accept them. Onowuttokwutto, the Ojibwa youth who has 
followed the Moon up to the lovely heaven-prairies to be 
her husband, is taken one day by her brother the Sun to 
see how he gets his dinner. The two look down together 
through the hole in the sky upon the earth below, the Sun 
points out a group of children playing beside a lodge, at 
the same time throwing a tiny stone to hit a beautiful boy. 
The child falls, they see him carried into the lodge, they 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Algic Researches,' vol. ii. p. 140 ; see p. 190. 


hear the sound of the sheesheegwun (the rattle), and the 
song and prayer of the medicine-man that the child's life 
may be spared. To this entreaty of the medicine-man, the 
Sun makes answer, ' Send me up the white dog.' Then 
the two spectators above could distinguish on the earth the 
hurry and bustle of preparation for a feast, a white dog 
killed and singed, and the people who were called assembling 
at the lodge. While these things were passing, the Sun 
addressed himself to Onowuttokwutto, saying,' There are 
among you in the lower world some whom you call great 
medicine-men ; but it is because their ears are open, and 
they hear my voice, when I have struck any one, that they 
are able to give relief to the sick. They direct the people 
to send me whatever I call for and when they have sent it, 
I remove my hand from those I had made sick.' When 
he had said this, the white dog was parcelled out in dishes 
for those that were at the feast ; then the medicine-man 
when they were about to begin to eat, said, ' We send thee 
this, Great Manito.' Immediately the Sun and his Ojibwa 
companion saw the dog, cooked and ready to be eaten, 
rising to them through the air and then and there they 
dined upon it. 1 How such ideas bear on the meaning of 
human sacrifice, we may perhaps judge from this prayer of 
the Iroquois, offering a human victim to the War-god : To 
thee, O Spirit Arieskoi, we slay this sacrifice, that thou 
mayst feed upon the flesh, and be moved to give us hence- 
forth luck and victory over our enemies ! ' 2 So among the 
Aztec prayers, there occurs this one addressed to Tezcatli- 
poca-Yautl in time of war : ' Lord of battles ; it is a very 
certain and sure thing, that a great war is beginning to 
make, ordain, form, and concert itself ; the War-god opens 
his mouth, hungry to swallow the blood of many who shall 
die in this war ; it seems that the Sun and the Earth-God 
Tlatecutli desire to rejoice ; they desire to give meat and 
drink to the gods of Heaven and Hades, making them a 

1 Tanner's 'Narrative,' pp. 286, 318. See also Waitz, vol. iii. p. 207. 
* J. G. Miiller, p. 142 ; see p. 282. 


banquet of the flesh and blood of the men who are to die 
in this war,' &C. 1 There is remarkable definiteness in the 
Peruvian idea that the souls of human victims are trans- 
mitted to another life in divine as in funeral sacrifice ; at 
one great ceremony, where children of each tribe were sacri- 
ficed to propitiate the gods, ' they strangled the children, 
first giving them to eat and drink, that they might not enter 
the presence of the Creator discontented and hungry.' * 
Similar ideas of spiritual sacrifice appear in other regions of 
the world. Thus in West Africa we read of the tree-fetish 
enjoying the spirit of the food-offering, but leaving its sub- 
stance, and an account of the religion of the Gold Coast 
mentions how each great wong or deity has his house, and 
his priest and priestess to clean the room and give him 
daily bread kneaded with palm-oil, ' of which, as of all gifts 
of this kind, the wong eats the invisible soul.' 3 So, in 
India, the Limbus of Darjeeling make small offerings of 
grain, vegetables, and sugar-cane, and sacrifice cows, pigs, 
fowls, &c., on the declared principle ' the life breath to the 
gods, the flesh to ourselves.' * It seems likely that such 
meaning may largely explain the sacrificial practices of 
other religions. In conjunction with these accounts, the 
unequivocal meaning of funeral sacrifices, whereby offerings 
are conveyed spiritually into the possession of spirits of the 
dead, may perhaps justify us in inferring that similar ideas 
of spiritual transmission prevail extensively among the 
many nations whose sacrificial rites we know in fact, but 
cannot trace with certainty to their original significance. 

Having thus examined the manner in which the operation 
of sacrifice is considered to take physical effect, whether 
indefinitely or definitely, and having distinguished its actual 
transmission as either substantial, essential, or spiritual, 

1 Sahagun, lib. vi. in Kingsborough, vol. v. 

* ' Rites and Laws of Yncas,' tr. and ed. by C. R. Ma rich am, pp. 55, 58, 
166. See ante, p. 385 (possible connexion of smoke with soul). 

* Waitz, vol. ii. pp. 188, 196. Steinhauser, l.c. p. 136. See also 
' Ewe-Sprache,' p. xv. ; Magyar, ' Sud-Afrika,' p. 273, 

* A. Campbell in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vii. p. 153. 


let us now follow the question of the sacrificer's motive in 
presenting the sacrifice. Important and complex as this 
problem is, its key is so obvious that it may be almost 
throughout treated by mere statement of general principle. 
If the main proposition of animistic natural religion be 
granted, that the idea of the human soul is the model of 
the idea of deity, then the analogy of man's dealings with 
man ought, inter alia, to explain his motives in sacrifice. 
It does so, and very fully. The proposition may be main- 
tained in wide generality, that the common man's present 
to the great man, to gain good or avert evil, to ask aid or to 
condone offence, needs only substitution of deity for chief, 
and proper adaptation of the means of conveying the gift 
to him, to produce a logical doctrine of sacrificial rites, 
in great measure explaining their purpose directly as they 
stand, and elsewhere suggesting what was the original 
meaning which has passed into changed shape in the course 
of ages. Instead of offering a special collection of evidence 
here on this proposition, it may be enough to ask attentive 
reference to any extensive general collection of accounts of 
sacrifice, such for instance as those cited for various pur- 
poses in these volumes. It will be noticed that offerings to 
divinities may be classed in the same way as earthly gifts. 
The occasional gift made to meet some present emergency, 
the periodical tribute brought by subject to lord, the royalty 
paid to secure possession or protection of acquired wealth, 
all these have their evident and well-marked analogues 
in the sacrificial systems of the world. It may impress 
some minds with a stronger sense of the sufficiency of this 
theory of sacrifice, to consider how the transition is made 
in the same imperceptible way from the idea of substantial 
value received, to that of ceremonial homage rendered, 
whether the recipient be man or god. We do not find it 
easy to analyse the impression which a gift makes on our 
own feelings, and to separate the actual value of the object 
from the sense of gratification in the giver's good-will or 
respect, and thus we may well scruple to define closely how 


uncultured men work out this very same distinction in their 
dealings with their deities. In a general way it may be 
held that the idea of practical acceptableness of the food or 
valuables presented to the deity, begins early to shade into 
the sentiment of divine gratification or propitiation by a 
reverent offering, though in itself of not much account to 
so mighty a divine personage. These two stages of the 
sacrificial idea may be fairly contrasted, the one among the 
Karens who offer to a demon arrack or grain or a portion 
of the game they kill, considering invocation of no avail 
without a gift, 1 the other among the negroes of Sierra 
Leone, who sacrifice an ox ' to make God glad very much, 
and do Kroomen good.'* 

Hopeless as it may be in hundreds of accounts of sacrifice 
to guess whether the worshipper means to benefit or merely 
to gratify the deity, there are also numbers of cases in which 
the thought in the sacrificer's mind can scarcely be more 
than an idea of ceremonial homage. One of the best- 
marked sacrificial rites of the world is that of offering by 
fire or otherwise morsels or libations at meals. This ranges 
from the religion of the North American Indian to that of 
the classic Greek and the ancient Chinese, and still holds 
its place in peasant custom in Europe.* Other groups of 
cases pass into yet more absolute formality of reverence. 
See the Guinea negro passing in silence by the sacred tree 
or cavern, and dropping a leaf or a sea-shell as an offering 
to the local spirit; 4 the Talein of Burma holding up the 
dish at his meal to offer it to the nat, before the company 
fall to; 6 the Hindu holding up a little of his rice in his 
fingers to the height of his forehead, and offering it in 

1 O'Riley, in ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iv. p. 592. Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' 
vol. ii. p. 12. 

* R. Clarke, ' Sierra Leone,' p. 43. 

* Smith, 'Virginia,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. p. 41. Welcker, ' Griech. 
Gotterlehre,' vol. ii. p. 693. Legge, 'Confucius,' p. 179. Grohmann, 
' Aberglauben aus Bohmen,' p. 41, &c. 

4 J. L. Wilson, ' W. Air.' p. 218 ; Bosnian, ' Guinea,' in Pinkerton, vol. 
xvi. p. 400. 

' Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. p. 387. 


thought to Siva or Vishnu before he eats it. 1 The same 
argument applies to the cases ranging far and wide through 
religion, where, whatever may have been the original intent 
of the sacrifice, it has practically passed into a feast. A 
banquet where the deity has but the pretence and the wor- 
shippers the reality, may seem to us a mere mockery of 
sacrifice. Yet how sincerely men regard it as a religious 
ceremony, the following anecdote of a North American 
Indian tribe will show. A travelling party of Potawatomis, 
for three days finding no game, were in great distress for 
want of food. On the third night, a chief, named Saugana, 
had a dream, wherein a person appearing to him showed 
him that they were suffering because they had set out with- 
out a sacrificial feast. He had started, on this important 
journey, the dreamer said, ' as a white man would,' without 
making any religious preparation. Therefore the Great 
Spirit had punished them with scarcity. Now, however, 
twelve men were to go and kill four deer before the sun was 
thus high (about nine o'clock). The chief in his dream had 
seen these four deer lying dead, the hunters duly killed 
them, and the sacrificial feast was held. 2 Further illustra- 
tive examples of such sacred banquets may be chosen 
through the long range of culture. The Zulus propitiate 
the Heaven-god above with a sacrifice of black cattle, 
that they may have rain ; the village chiefs select the 
oxen, one is killed, the rest are merely mentioned ; the 
flesh of the slaughtered ox is eaten in the house in perfect 
silence, a token of humble submission ; the bones are burnt 
outside the village ; and after the feast they chant in 
musical sounds, a song without words. 3 The Serwatty 
Islanders sacrifice buffaloes, pigs, goats, and fowls to the 
idols when an individual or the community undertakes an 
affair or expedition of importance, and as the carcases are 
devoured by the devotees, this ensures a respectable 

1 Roberts, ' Oriental Illustrations,' p. 545. 
* M'Coy, ' Baptist Indian Missions,' p. 305. 
8 Callaway, ' Religion of Arinzulu,' p. 59. See Casalis, p. 252. 


attendance when the offerings are numerous. 1 Thus among 
rude tribes of Northern India, sacrifices of beasts are 
accompanied by libations of fermented liquor, and in fact 
sacrifice and feast are convertible words.* Among the 
Aztecs, prisoners of war furnished first an acceptable sacri- 
fice to the deity, and then the staple of a feast for the 
captors and their friends; 8 while in ancient Peru whole 
flocks of sacrificed llamas were eaten by the people.* The 
history of Greek religion plainly records the transition 
from the early holocausts devoted by fire to the gods, to 
the great festivals where the sacrifices provided meat for 
the public banquets held to honour them in ceremonial 

Beside this development from gift to homage, there 
arises also a doctrine that the gist of sacrifice is rather in 
the worshipper giving something precious to himself, than 
in the deity receiving benefit. This may be called the 
abnegation-theory, and its origin may be fairly explained 
by considering it as derived from the original gift-theory. 
Taking our own feelings again for a guide, we know how it 
satisfies us to have done our part in giving, even if the gift 
be ineffectual, and how we scruple to take it back if not 
received, but rather get rid of it in some other way it is 
corban. Thus we may enter into the feelings of the 
Assinaboin Indians, who considered that the blankets 
and pieces of cloth and brass kettles and such valuables 
abandoned in the woods as a medicine-sacrifice, might be 
carried off by any friendly party who chanced to discover 
them ; or of the Ava Buddhists bringing to the temples 
offerings of boiled rice and sweetmeats and coco-nut fried 

1 Earl in ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. iv. p. 174 

' Hodgson, ' Abor. of India,' p. 170, see p. 146; Hooker, 'Himalayan 
Journals,' vol. ii. p. 276. 

Prescott, ' Mexico,' book i. ch. Hi. 

' Rites and Laws of Yncas,' p. 33, &c. 

Welcker, ' Griech. Gotterlehre,' vol. ii. p. 50 ; Pauly, ' Real-Encyclo- 
pedic,' s.v. ' Sacrificia.' 

Tanner's ' Nar.' p. 154 ; see also Waitz. vol. iii. p. 167. 


in oil, and never attempting to disturb the crows and wild 
dogs who devoured it before their eyes; 1 of the modern 
Moslems sacrificing sheep, oxen, and camels in the valley 
of Muna on their return from Mekka, it being a meritorious 
act to give away a victim without eating any of it, while 
parties of Takruri watch around like vultures, ready to 
pounce upon the carcases.* If the offering to the deity be 
continued in ceremonial survival, in spite of a growing 
conviction that after all the deity does not need and cannot 
profit by it, sacrifice will be thus kept up in spite of having 
become practically unreasonable, and the worshipper may 
still continue to measure its efficacy by what it costs him. 
But to take this abnegation theory as representing the 
primitive intention of sacrifice would be, I think, to turn 
history upside down. The mere fact of sacrifices to deities, 
from the lowest to the highest levels of culture, consisting 
to the extent of nine-tenths or more of gifts of food and 
sacred banquets, tells forcibly against the originality of the 
abnegation-theory. If the primary motive had been to give 
up valuable property, we should find the sacrifice of weapons, 
garments, ornaments, as prevalent in the lower culture as in 
fact it is unusual. Looking at the subject in a general view, 
to suppose men to have started by devoting to their deities 
what they considered practically useless to them, in order 
that they^themselves might suffer a loss which none is to 
gain, is to undervalue the practical sense of savages, who 
are indeed apt to keep up old rites after their meaning has 
fallen away, but seldom introduce new ones without a 
rational motive. In studying the religion of the lower 
races, men are found dealing with their gods in as practical 
and straightforward a way as with their neighbours, and 
where plain original purpose is found, it may well be ac- 
cepted as sufficient explanation. Of the way in which gift 
can pass into abnegation, an instructive example is forth- 

1 Symes, ' Ava,' in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 440 ; Caron, ' Japan,' ib. vol. 
vii. p. 629. 

1 Burton, ' Medinah,' &c., vol. iii. p. 302 ; Lane, ' Mod. Eg.' vol. i. p. 132. 


coming in Buddhism. It is held that sinful men are liable 
to be re-born in course of transmigration as wandering, 
burning, miserable demons (preta). Now these demons 
may receive offerings of food and drink from their relatives, 
who can further benefit them by acts of merit done in their 
name, as giving food to priests, unless the wretched spirits 
be so low in merit that this cannot profit them. Yet even 
in this case it is held that though the act does not benefit 
the spirit whom it is directed to, it does benefit the person 
who performs it. 1 Unequivocal examples of abnegation in 
sacrifice may be best found among those offerings of which 
the value to the offerer utterly exceeds the value they can 
be supposed to have to the deity. The most striking of 
these found among nations somewhat advanced in general 
culture, appear in the history of human sacrifice among 
Semitic nations. The king of Moab, when the battle was too 
sore for him, offered up his eldest son for a burnt-offering 
on the wall. The Phoenicians sacrificed the dearest children 
to propitiate the angry gods, they enhanced their value by 
choosing them of noble families, and there was not wanting 
among them even the utmost proof that the efficacy of the 
sacrifice lay in the sacrificer's grievous loss, for they must 
have for yearly sacrifice only-begotten sons of their parents 

(Kpov<p yap $>oivtK(<; Ka.6 exaoTov era? (Ovov ra dyairrfra KO.I 

novoyevt) TMV TtKvwv). Heliogabalus brought the hideous 
Oriental rite into Italy, choosing for victims to his solar 
divinity high-born lads throughout the land. Of all such 
cases, the breaking of the sacred law of hospitality by 
sacrificing the guest to Jupiter hospitalis, Zevs ^vios, shows 
in the strongest light in Semitic regions how the value to 
the offerer might become the measure of acceptableness to 
the god. 1 In such ways, slightly within the range of the 
lower culture, but strongly in the religion of the higher 

1 Hardy, ' Manual of Budhism,' p. 59. 

* 2 Kings iii. 27. Euseb. Praep. Evang. i. 10, iv. 156 ; Laud. Constant, 
xiii. Porphyr. De Abstin. ii. 56, &c. Lamprid. Heliogabal. vii. Movers, 
' Phonizier,' vol. i. p. 30x3, &c. 


nations, the transition from the gift-theory to the abnegation 
theory seems to have come about. Our language displays 
it in a word, if we do but compare the sense of presentation 
and acceptance which ' sacrificium ' had in a Roman temple, 
with the sense of mere giving up and loss which ' sacri- 
fice ' conveys in an English market. 

Through the history of sacrifice, it has occurred to many 
nations that cost may be economized without impairing effi- 
ciency. The result is seen in ingenious devices to lighten 
the burden on the worshipper by substituting something 
less valuable than what he ought to offer, or pretends to. 
Even in such a matter as this, the innate correspondence 
in the minds of men is enough to produce in distant and 
independent races so much uniformity of development, that 
three or four headings will serve to class the chief divisions 
of sacrificial substitution among mankind. 

To give part for the whole is a proceeding so closely con- 
formed to ordinary tribute by subject to lord, that in great 
measure it comes directly under the gift-theory, and as such 
has already had its examples here. It is only when the 
part given to the gods is of contemptible value in propor- 
tion to the whole, that full sacrifice passes gradually into 
substitution. This is the case when in Madagascar the 
head- of the sacrificed beast is set up on a pole, and the 
blood and fat are rubbed on the stones of the altar, but the 
sacrificers and their friends and the officiating priest devour 
the whole carcase ; l when rich Guinea negroes sacrifice a 
sheep or goat to the fetish, and feast on it with their friends, 
only leaving for the deity himself part of the entrails; 2 
when Tunguz, sacrificing cattle, would give a bit of liver 
and fat and perhaps hang up the hide in the woods as the 
god's share, or Mongols would set the heart of the beast 
before the idol till next day. 3 Thus the most ancient whole 

1 Ellis, ' Madagascar,' vol. i. p. 419. 

1 Romer, ' Guinea,' p. 59. Bosnian in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. p. 399. 
3 Klcmm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. iii. p. 106 ; Castrin, ' Finn. Myth.' 
p. 232. 


burnt-offering of the Greeks dwindled to burning for the 
gods only the bones and fat of the slaughtered ox, while the 
worshippers feasted themselves on the meat, an economic 
rite which takes mythic shape in the legend of the sly 
Prometheus giving Zeus the choice of the two parts of the 
sacrificed ox he had divided for gods and mortals, on the 
one side bones covered seemly with white fat, on the other 
the joints hidden under repulsive hide and entrails. 1 With 
a different motive, not that of parsimony, but of keeping 
up in survival an ancient custom, the Zarathustrian religion 
performed by substitution the old Aryan sacrifice by fire. 
The Vedic sacrifice Agnishtoma required that animals should 
be slain, and their flesh partly committed to the gods by 
fire, partly eaten by sacrificers and priests. The Parsi 
ceremony Izeshne, formal successor of this bloody rite, 
requires no animal to be killed, but it suffices to place the 
hair of an ox in a vessel, and show it to the fire. 2 

The offering of a part of the worshipper's own body is a 
most usual act, whether its intention is simply that of gift 
or tribute, or whether it is considered as a pars pro toto 
representing the whole man, either in danger and requiring 
to be ransomed, or destined to actual sacrifice for another 
and requiring to be redeemed. How a finger- joint may thus 
represent a whole body, is perfectly shown in the funeral 
sacrifices of the Nicobar islanders ; they bury the dead 
man's property with him, and his wife has a finger-joint cut 
off (obviously a substitute for herself), and if she refuses 
even this, a deep notch is cut in a pillar of the house.' We 
are now concerned, however, with the finger-offering, not 
as a sacrifice to the dead, but as addressed to other deities. 
This idea is apparently worked out in the Tongan custom 
of tutu-nima, the chopping off a portion of the little finger 
with a hatchet or sharp stone as a sacrifice to the gods, for 
the recovery of a sick relation of higher rank ; Mariner saw 

1 Hcsiod. Thcog. 537. Wclckcr, vol. i. p. 764; vol. ii p. 51. 

2 Haug, ' Parsis,' Bombay, 1862, p. 238. 

3 Hamilton in ' As. Res.' vol. ii. p. 342. 


children of five years old quarrelling for the honour of 
having it done to them. 1 In the Mandan ceremonies of 
initiation into manhood, when the youth at last hung sense- 
less and (as they called it) lifeless by the cords made fast to 
splints through his flesh, he was let down, and coming to 
himself crawled on hands and feet round the medicine-lodge 
to where an old Indian sat with hatchet in his hand and 
a buffalo skull before him ; then the youth, holding up the 
little finger of his left hand to the Great Spirit, offered it as 
a sacrifice, and it was chopped off, and sometimes the fore- 
finger afterwards, upon the skull. 2 In India, probably as a 
Dravidian rather than Aryan rite, the practice with full 
meaning comes into view ; as Siva cut off his finger to 
appease the wrath of Kali, so in the southern provinces 
mothers will cut off their own fingers as sacrifices lest they 
lose their children, and one hears of a golden finger being 
allowed instead, the substitute of a substitute. 3 The New 
Zealanders hang locks of hair on branches of trees in the 
burying-ground, a recognised place for offerings.* That 
hair may be a substitute for its owner is well shown in 
Malabar, where we read of the demon being expelled from 
the possessed patient and flogged by the exorcist to a tree ; 
there the sick man's hair is nailed fast, cut away, and left 
for a propitiation to the demon. 8 Thus there is some ground 
for interpreting the consecration of the boy's cut hair in 
Europe as a representative sacrifice. 6 As for the formal 
shedding of blood, it may represent fatal bloodshed, as when 

1 Mariner's ' Tonga Is.' vol. i. p. 454 ; vol. ii. p. 222. Cook's ' 3rd Voy.' 
vol. i. p. 403. Details from S. Africa in Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. iii. pp. 4, 
24 ; Scherzer, ' Voy. of Novara,' vol. i. p. 212. 

2 Catlin, ' N. A. Ind.' vol. i. p. 172; Klemm, 'Cultur-Gesch.' vol. ii. p. 170. 
See also Venegas, ' Noticia de la California,' vol. i. p. 117 ; Garcilaso de la 
Vega, lib. ii. c. 8 (Peru). 

8 Buchanan, ' Mysore,' &c., in Pinkerton, vol. viii. p. 66 1 ; Meiners, vol. 
ii. p. 472 ; Bastian, I.e. See also Dubois, ' India,' vol. i. p. 5. 

4 Polack, ' New Zealand,' vol. i. p. 264. 

5 Bastian, ' Psychologic,' p. 184. 

8 Theodoret. in Levit. xix. ; Hanusch, ' Slaw. Myth.' Details in Bastian, 
1 Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 229, &c. 


the Jagas or priests in Quilombo only marked with spears 
the children brought in, instead of running them through ; * 
or when in Greece a few drops of human blood had come to 
stand instead of the earlier and more barbaric human sacri- 
fice ; * or when in our own time and under our own rule a 
Vishnuite who has inadvertently killed a monkey, a garuda, 
or a cobra, may expiate his offence by a mock sacrifice, in 
which a human victim is wounded in the thigh, pretends to 
die, and goes through the farce of resuscitation, his drawn 
blood serving as substitute for his life. 3 One of the most 
noteworthy cases of the survival of such formal bloodshed 
within modern memory in Europe must be classed as not 
Aryan but Turanian, belonging as it does to the folklore of 
Esthonia. The sacrificer had to draw drops of blood from 
his forefinger, and therewith to pray this prayer, which was 
taken down verbatim from one who remembered it : ' I 
name thee with my blood and betroth thee with my blood, 
and point thee out my buildings to be blessed, stables and 
cattle-pens and hen-roosts ; let them be blessed through my 
blood and thy might ! ' 'Be my joy, thou Almighty, up- 
holder of my forefathers, my protector and guardian of my 
life ! I beseech thee by strength of flesh and blood ; receive 
the food that I bring thee to thy sustenance and the joy of 
my body ; keep me as thy good child, and I will thank and 
praise thee. By the help of the Almighty, my own God, 
hearken to me ! What through negligence I have done 
imperfectly toward thee, do thou forget ! But keep it truly 
in remembrance, that I have honestly paid my gifts to my 
parents' honour and joy and requital. Moreover falling 
down I thrice kiss the earth. Be with me quick in doing, 
and peace be with thee hitherto!' 4 These various rites 
of finger-cutting, hair-cutting, and blood-letting, have re- 
quired mention here from the special point of view of their 

1 Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. iii. p. 113 (see other details). 

* Pausan. viii. 23 j ix. 8. 

8 'TEncyc. Brit.' art. ' Brahma.' See ' Asiat. Res.' vol. ix. p. 387. 

4 Boeder, ' Ehsten Aberglaiibische Gebrauche,' &c., p. 4. 


connexion with sacrifice. They belong to an extensive 
series of practices, due to various and often obscure motives, 
which come under the general heading of ceremonial muti- 

When a life is given for a life, it is still possible to offer a 
life less valued than the life in danger. When in Peru the 
Inca or some great lord fell sick, he would offer to the deity 
one of his sons, imploring him to take this victim in his 
stead. 1 The Greeks found it sufficient to offer to the gods 
criminals or captives ; 2 and the like was thfe practice of the 
heathen tribes of northern Europe, to whom indeed Christian 
dealers were accused of selling slaves for sacrificial purposes.* 
Among such accounts, the typical story belongs to Punic 
history. The Carthaginians, overcome and hard pressed 
in the war with Agathokles, set down the defeat to divine 
wrath. Now Kronos had in former times received his 
sacrifice of the chosen of their sons, but of late they had 
put him off with children bought and nourished for the 
purpose. In fact they had obeyed the sacrificer's natural 
tendency to substitution, but now in time of misfortune 
the reaction set in. To balance the account and condone 
the parsimonious fraud, a monstrous sacrifice was celebrated. 
Two hundred children, of the noblest of the land, were 
brought to the idol. ' For there was among them a brazen 
statue of Kronos, holding out his hands sloping downward, 
so that the child placed on them rolled off and fell into 
a certain chasm full of fire.' 4 The Phoenician god here 
called Kronos is commonly though not certainly identified 
with Moloch. Next, it will help us to realize how the 
sacrifice of an animal may atone for a human life, if we 
notice in South Africa how a Zulu will redeem a lost child 
from the finder by a bullock, or a Kimbunda will expiate 
the blood of a slave by the offering of an ox, whose blood 

1 Rivero and Tschudi, p. 196. See ' Rites of Yncas,' p. 79. 

2 Bastian, p. 112, &c.; Smith's 'Die. of Gr. and Rom. Ant.' art. 'Sacri- 

3 Grimm, ' Deutsche Myth.' p. 40. 

4 Diodor. Sic. xx. 14. 


will wash away the other. 1 For instances of the animal 
substituted for man in sacrifice the following may serve. 
Among the Khonds of Orissa, when Colonel Macpherson 
was engaged in putting down the sacrifice of human victims 
by the sect of the Earth-goddess, they at once began to 
discuss the plan of sacrificing cattle by way of substitutes. 
Now there is some reason to think that this same course 
of ceremonial change may account for the following sacri- 
ficial practice in the other Khond sect. It appears that 
those who worship the Light-god hold a festival in his 
honour, when they slaughter a buffalo in commemoration 
of the time when, as they say, the Earth-goddess was pre- 
vailing on men to offer human sacrifices to her, but the 
Light-god sent a tribe-deity who crushed the bloody- 
minded Earth-goddess under a mountain, and dragged a 
buffalo out of the jungle, saying, ' Liberate the man, and 
sacrifice the buffalo ! ' 2 This legend, divested of its mythic 
garb, may really record a historical substitution of animal 
for human sacrifice. In Ceylon, the exorcist will demand 
the name of the demon possessing a demoniac, and the 
patient in frenzy answers, giving the demon's name, ' I am 
So-and-so, I demand a human sacrifice and will not go out 
without ! ' The victim is promised, the patient comes to 
from the fit, and a few weeks later the sacrifice is made, 
but instead of a man they offer a fowl. 3 Classic examples 
of substitution of this sort may be found in the sacrifice of 
a doe for a virgin to Artemis in Laodicaea, a goat for a boy 
to Dionysos at Potniae. There appears to be Semitic con- 
nexion here, as there clearly is in the story of the ^Eolians 
of Tenedos sacrificing to Melikertes (Melkarth) instead of a 
new-born child a new-born calf; shoeing it with buskins 
and tending the mother-cow as if a human mother. 4 
One step more in the course of substitution leads the 

1 Callaway, ' Zulu Talcs,' vol. i. p. 88 ; Magyar, ' Siid-Afrika,' p. 256. 

Maf*nVipr*rt * Trt^ii * r\ /\fl ifi* 

Bastian, ' Mensch,' 


worshipper to make his sacrifice by effigy. An instructive 
example of the way in which this kind of substitution arises 
may be found in the rites of ancient Mexico. At the yearly 
festival of the water-gods and mountain-gods, certain actual 
sacrifices of human victims took place in the temples. At 
the same time, in the houses of the people, there was 
celebrated an unequivocal but harmless imitation of this 
bloody rite. They made paste images, adored them, and 
in due pretence of sacrifice cut them open at the breast, 
took out their hearts, cut off their heads, divided and de- 
voured their limbs. 1 In the classic religions of Greece 
and Rome, the desire to keep up the consecrated rites 
of ages more barbaric, more bloodthirsty, or more pro- 
fuse, worked itself out in many a compromise of this class, 
such as the brazen statues offered for human victims, the 
cakes of dough or wax in the figure of the beasts for which 
they were presented as symbolic substitutes.* Not for 
economy, but to avoid taking life, Brahmanic sacrifice 
has been known to be brought down to offering models 
of the victim-animals in meal and butter. 8 The modern 
Chinese, whose satisfaction in this kind of make-believe 
is so well shown by their despatching paper figures 
to serve as attendants for the dead, work out in the 
same fanciful way the idea of the sacrificial effigy, in 
propitiating the presiding deity of the year for the cure of 
a sick man. The rude figure of a man is drawn on or cut 
out of a piece of paper, pasted on a slip of bamboo, and 
stuck upright in a packet of mock-money. With proper 
exorcism, this representative is carried out into the street 
with the disease, the priest squirts water from his 
mouth over patient, image, and mock-money, the two 
latter are burnt, and the company eat up the little feast 

1 Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. p. 82 ; Torquemada, ' Monarquia Indiana,' 
x. c. 29; J. G. Miiller, pp. 502, 640. See also ibid. p. 379 (Peru); 'Rites 
and Laws of Yncas,' pp. 46, 54. 

* Grote, vol. v. p. 366. Schmidt in Smith's ' Die. of Gr. and Rom. Ant.' 
art. ' Sacrificium.' Bastian, I.e. 

8 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. iii. p. 501. 


laid out for the year-deity. 1 There is curious historical 
significance in the custom at the inundation of the Nile at 
Cairo, of setting up a conical pillar of earth which the flood 
washes away as it rises. This is called the aruseh or bride, 
and appears to be a substitute introduced under humaner 
Moslem influence, for the young virgin in gay apparel who 
in older time was thrown into the river, a sacrifice to obtain 
a plentiful inundation. 2 Again, the patient's offering the 
model of his diseased limb is distinctly of the nature of a 
sacrifice, whether it be propitiatory offering before cure, or 
thank-offering after. On the one hand, the ex-voto models 
of arms and ears dedicated in ancient Egyptian temples are 
thought to be grateful memorials, 8 as seems to have been 
the case with metal models of faces, breasts, hands, &c., in 
Boeotian temples.* On the other hand, there are cases 
where the model and, as it were, substitute of the diseased 
part is given to obtain a cure; thus in early Christian 
times in Germany protest was made against the heathen 
custom of hanging up carved wooden limbs to a helpful idol 
for relief, 6 and in modern India the pilgrim coming for cure 
will deposit in the temple the image of his diseased limb, 
in gold or silver or copper according to his means.* 

If now we look for the sacrificial idea within the range 
of modern Christendom, we shall find it in two ways not ob- 
scurely manifest. It survives in traditional folklore, and it 
holds a place in established religion. One of its most re- 
markable survivals may be seen in Bulgaria, where sacrifice 
of live victims is to this day one of the accepted rites of the 
land. They sacrifice a lamb on St. George's day, telling to ac- 
count for the custom a legend which combines the episodes of 
the offering of Isaac and the miracle of the Three Children. 

Doolittle, 'Chinese,' vol. i. p. 152. 

Lane, ' Modern Eg.' vol. ii. p. 262. Meiners, vol. ii. p. 85. 
Wilkinson, ' Ancient Eg.' vol. iii. p. 395 ; and in Rawlinson's Herodotus , 
vo ii. p. 137. See i Sam. vi. 4. 

Grimm, ' Deutsche Myth.' p. 1131. 


Bastian, vol. iii. p. 116. 


On the feast of the Panagia (Virgin Mary) sacrifices of 
lambs, kids, honey, wine, &c., are offered in order that the 
children of the house may enjoy good health throughout the 
year. A little child divines by touching one of three saints' 
candles to which the offering is to be dedicated ; when the 
choice is thus made, the bystanders each drink a cup of 
wine, saying ' Saint So-and-So, to thee is the offering.' 
Then they cut the throat of the lamb, or smother the bees, 
and in the evening the whole village assembles to eat the 
various sacrifices, and the men end the ceremony with the 
usual drunken bout. 1 Within the borders of Russia, many 
and various sacrifices are still offered ; such is the horse with 
head smeared with honeyand mane decked with ribbons, cast 
into the river with two millstones to its neck to appease the 
water-spirit, the Vodyany, at his spiteful flood-time in early 
spring ; and such is the portion of supper left out for the 
house-demon, the domovoy, who if not thus fed is apt to 
turn spirit-rapper, and knock the tables and benches about 
at night. 8 In many another district of Europe, the tenaci- 
ous memory of the tiller of the soil has kept up in wondrous 
perfection heirlooms from prae-Christian faiths. In Fran- 
conia, people will pour on the ground a libation before 
drinking ; entering a forest they will put offerings of bread 
and fruit on a stone, to avert the attacks of the demon of- 
the woods, the ' bilberry-man ; ' the bakers will throw 
white rolls into the oven flue for luck, and say, ' Here, 
devil, they are thine ! ' The Carinthian peasant will fodder 
the wind by setting up a dish of food in a tree before his 
house, and the fire by casting in lard and dripping, in order 
that gale and conflagration may not hurt him. At least up 
to the end of the i8th century this most direct elemental 
sacrifice might be seen in Germany at the midsummer 
festival in the most perfect form ; some of the porridge 

1 St. Clair and Brophy, ' Bulgaria,' p. 43. Compare modern Circassian 
sacrifice of animal before cross, as substitute for child, in Bell, ' Circassia,' 
vol. ii. 

1 Ralston, ' Songs of Russian People,' pp. 123, 153, &c. 


from the table was thrown into the fire, and some into run- 
ning water, some was buried in the earth, and some smeared 
on leaves and put on the chimney-top for the winds. 1 
Relics of such ancient sacrifice may be found in Scandi- 
navia to this day ; to give but one example, the old country 
altars, rough earth-fast stones with cup-like hollows, are still 
visited by mothers whose children have been smitten with 
sickness by the trolls, and who smear lard into the hollows 
and leave rag-dolls as offerings. 1 France may be repre- 
sented by the country-women's custom of beginning a meal 
by throwing down a spoonful of milk or bouillon ; and by 
the record of the custom of Andrieux in Dauphiny, where 
at the solstice the villagers went out upon the bridge when 
the sun rose, and offered him an omelet.* The custom of 
burning alive the finest calf, to save a murrain-struck herd, 
had its last examples in Cornwall in the iQth century ; 
the records of bealtuinn sacrifices in Scotland continue in 
the Highlands within a century ago ; and Scotchmen still 
living remember the corner of a field being left untilled for 
the Goodman's Croft (i.e., the Devil's), but the principle of 
' cheating the devil ' was already in vogue, and the piece 
of land allotted was but a worthless scrap. 4 It is a 
remnant of old sacrificial rite, when the Swedes still bake 
at yule-tide a cake in the shape of a boar, representing the 
boar sacrificed of old to Freyr, and Oxford to this day com- 
memorates the same ancestral ceremony, when the boar's 
head is carried in to the Christmas feast at Queen's College, 
with its appointed carol, ' Caput apri defero, Reddens 
laudes Domino.'* With a lingering recollection of the old 

1 Wuttke, 4 Deutsche Volksaberglaube,' p. 86. See also Grimm, ' Deutsche 
Myth.' pp. 417, 602. 

* Hyltin-Cavallius, ' Warend och Wirdarne,' part i. pp. 131, 146, 157, Ac. 

* Monnier, ' Traditions Populaires,' pp. 187, 666. 

4 R. Hunt, ' Pop. Rom. of W. of England,' ist Ser. p. 237. Pennant, 
4 Tour in Scotland,' in Pinkerton, vol. Hi. p. 49. J. Y. Simpson, Address 
to Soc. Antiq. Scotland, 1861, p. 33 ; Brand, ' Pop. Ant.' vol. iii. pp. 74, 


* Brand, vol. i. p. 484. Grimm, ' D. M.' pp. 45, 194, 1188, see p. 250 5 
' Deutsche Rechtsalterthumer,' p. 900 ; Hyltin-Cavallius, part i. p. 175. 


libations, the German toper's saying still runs that heeltaps 
are a devil's offering. 1 

As for sacrificial rites most fully and officially existing in 
modern Christendom, the presentation of ex-votos is one. 
The ecclesiastical opposition to the continuance of these 
classic thank-offerings was but temporary and partial. In 
the 5th century it seems to have been usual to offer silver 
and gold eyes, feet, &c., to saints in acknowledgment of 
cures they had effected. At the beginning of the i6th 
century, Polydore Vergil, describing the classic custom, 
goes on to say : ' In the same manner do we now offer up 
in our churches sigillaria, that is, little images of wax, and 
oscilla. As oft as any part of the body is hurt, as the hand, 
foot, breast, we presently make a vow to God, and his 
saints, to whom upon our recovery we make an offering of 
that hand or foot or breast shaped in wax, which custom 
has so far obtained that this kind of images have passed to 
the other animals. Wherefore so for an ox, so for a horse, 
so for a sheep, we place puppets in the temples. In which 
thing any modestly scrupulous person may perhaps say he 
knows not whether we are rivalling the religion or the 
superstition of the ancients.' 2 In modern Europe the 
custom prevails largely, but has perhaps somewhat subsided 
into low levels of society, to judge by the general use of 
mock silver and such-like worthless materials for the dedi- 
cated effigies. In Christian as in prae-Christian temples, 
clouds of incense rise as of old. Above all, though the 
ceremony of sacrifice did not form an original part of 
Christian worship, its prominent place in the ritual was 
obtained in early centuries. In that Christianity was re- 
cruited among nations to whom the conception of sacrifice 
was among the deepest of religious ideas, and the ceremony 
of sacrifice among the sincerest efforts of worship, there 
arose an observance suited to supply the vacant place. 

1 Grimm, ' D. M.' p. 962. 

* Beausobre, vol. ii. p. 667. Polydorus Vergilius, De Inventoribus Rerum. 
(Basel, 1521), lib. v. i. 


This result was obtained not by new introduction, but by 
transmutation. The solemn eucharistic meal of the primi- 
tive Christians in time assumed the name of the sacrifice 
of the mass, and was adapted to a ceremonial in which an 
offering of food and drink is set out by a priest on an altar 
in a temple, and consumed by priest and worshippers. The 
natural conclusion of an ethnographic survey of sacrifice, 
is to point to the controversy between Protestants and 
Catholics, for centuries past one of the keenest which 
have divided the Christian world, on this express question 
whether sacrifice is or is not a Christian rite. 

The next group of rites to be considered comprises 
Fasting and certain other means of producing ecstasy and 
other morbid exaltation for religious ends. In the fore- 
going researches on animism, it is frequently observed or 
implied that the religious beliefs of the lower races are in 
no small measure based on the evidence of visions and 
dreams, regarded as actual intercourse with spiritual beings. 
From the earliest phases of culture upward, we find religion 
in close alliance with ecstatic physical conditions. These 
are brought on by various means of interference with the 
healthy action of body and mind, and it is scarcely needful 
to remind the reader that, according to philosophic theories 
antecedent to those of modern medicine, such morbid dis- 
turbances are explained as symptoms of divine visitation, 
or at least of superhuman spirituality. Among the strongest 
means of disturbing the functions of the mind so as to 
produce ecstatic vision, is fasting, accompanied as it 
so usually is with other privations, and with prolonged 
solitary contemplation in the desert or the forest. Among 
the ordinary vicissitudes of savage life, the wild hunter has 
many a time to try involuntarily the effects of such a life 
for days and weeks together, and under these circumstances 
he soon comes to see and talk with phantoms which are to 
him visible personal spirits. The secret of spiritual inter- 
course thus learnt, he has thenceforth but to reproduce the 
cause in order to renew the effects. 


The rite of fasting, and the utter objective reality ascribed 
to what we call its morbid symptoms, are shown in striking 
details among the savage tribes of North America. Among 
the Indians (the accounts mostly refer to the Algonquin 
tribes), long and rigorous fasting is enjoined among boys 
and girls from a very early age ; to be able to fast long is 
an enviable distinction, and they will abstain from food 
three to seven days, or even more, taking only a little 
water. During these fasts, especial attention is paid to 
dreams. Thus Tanner tells the story of a certain Net- 
no-kwa, who at twelve years old fasted ten successive days, 
till in a dream a man came and stood before her, and after 
speaking of many things gave her two sticks, saying, ' I 
give you these to walk upon, and your hair I give it to be 
like snow ; ' this assurance of extreme old age was through 
life a support to her in times of danger and distress. At 
manhood the Indian lad, retiring to a solitary place to fast 
and meditate and pray, receives visionary impressions 
which stamp his character for life, and especially he waits 
till there appears to him in a dream some animal or thing 
which will be henceforth his ' medicine,' the fetish-repre- 
sentative of his manitu or protecting genius. For instance, 
an aged warrior who had thus in his youth dreamed of a 
bat coming to him, wore the skin of a bat on the crown of 
his head henceforth, and was all his life invulnerable to his 
enemies as a bat on the wing. In after life, an Indian who 
wants anything will fast till he has a dream that his manitu 
will grant it him. While the men are away hunting, the 
children are sometimes made to fast, that in their dreams 
they may obtain omens of the chase. Hunters fasting 
before an expedition are informed in dreams of the haunts 
of the game, and the means of appeasing the wrath of the 
bad spirits ; if the dreamer fancies he sees an Indian who 
has been long dead, and hears him say, ' If thou wilt 
sacrifice to me thou shalt shoot deer at pleasure,' he will 
prepare a sacrifice, and burn the whole or part of a deer, 
in honour of the apparition. Especially the ' meda ' or 


' medicine-man ' receives in fasts much of his qualifica- 
tion for his sacred office. The Ojibwa prophetess, known 
in after life as Catherine Wabose, in telling the story of 
her early years, relates how at the age of womanhood she 
fasted in her secluded lodge till she went up into the 
heavens and saw the spirit at the entrance, the Bright Blue 
Sky ; this was the first supernatural communication of her 
prophetic career. The account given to Schoolcraft by 
Chingwauk, an Algonquin chief deeply versed in the mystic 
lore and picture-writing of his people, is as follows : 
' Chingwauk began by saying that the ancient Indians 
made a great merit of fasting. They fasted sometimes 
six or seven days, till both their bodies and minds became 
free and light, which prepared them to dream. The object 
of the ancient seers was to dream of the sun, as it was 
believed that such a dream would enable them to see every- 
thing on the earth. And by fasting long and thinking 
much on the subject, they generally succeeded. Fasts 
and dreams were at first attempted at an early age. What 
a young man sees and experiences during these dreams and 
fasts, is adopted by him as truth, and it becomes a prin- 
ciple to regulate his future life. He relies for success on 
these revelations. If he has been much favoured in his 
fasts, and the people believe that he has the art of looking 
into futurity, the path is open to the highest honours. 
The prophet, he continued, begins to try his power in 
secret, with only one assistant, whose testimony is neces- 
sary should he succeed. As he goes on, he puts down 
the figures of his dreams and revelations, by symbols, 
on bark or other material, till a whole winter is some- 
times passed in pursuing the subject, and he thus has 
a record of his principal revelations. If what he pre- 
dicts is verified, the assistant mentions it, and the record 
is then appealed to as proof of his prophetic power and 
skill. Time increases his fame. His kee-keS-wins, or 
records, are finally shown to the old people, who meet 
together and consult upon them, for the whole nation 


believe in these revelations. They in the end give their 
approval, and declare that he is gifted as a prophet is 
inspired with wisdom, and is fit to lead the opinions of the 
nation. Such, he concluded, was the ancient custom, and 
.the celebrated old war-captains rose to their power in this 
manner.' It remains to say that among these American 
tribes, the ' jossakeed ' or soothsayer prepares himself by 
fasting and the use of the sweating-bath for the state of 
convulsive ecstasy in which he utters the dictates of his 
familiar spirits. 1 

The practice of fasting is described in other districts of 
the uncultured world as carried on to produce similar 
ecstasy and supernatural converse. The account by Roman 
Pane in the Life of Colon describes the practice in Hayti 
of fasting to obtain knowledge of future events from the 
spirits (cemi) ; and a century or two later, rigorous fasting 
formed part of the apprentice's preparation for the craft of 
' boye" ' or sorcerer, evoker, consulter, propitiator, and 
exerciser of spirits.* The ' keebet ' or conjurers of the 
Abipones were believed by the natives to be able to inflict 
disease and death, cure all disorders, make known distant 
and future events, cause rain, hail, and tempests, call up 
the shades of the dead, put on the form of tigers, handle 
serpents unharmed, &c. These powers were imparted by 
diabolical assistance, and Father Dobrizh offer thus describes 
the manner of obtaining them : ' Those who aspire to the 
office of juggler are said to sit upon an aged willow, over- 
hanging some lake, and to abstain from food for several 
days, till they begin to see into futurity. It always 
appeared probable to me that these rogues, from long 
fasting, contract a weakness of brain, a giddiness, and kind 

1 Tanner's ' Narrative,' p. 288. Loskiel, ' N. A. Ind.' part i. p. 76, School- 
craft, ' Ind. Tribes,' part i. pp. 34, 113, 360, 391 ; part iii. p. 227. Catlin, 
' N. A. Ind.' vol. i. p. 36. Charlevoix, ' Nouv. Fr.' vol. ii. p. 170 ; vol. vi. 
p. 67. Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. ii. p. 170. Waitz, ' Anthropologie,' vol. 
iii. pp. 206, 217. 

1 Colombo, ' Vita,' ch. xxv. Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 501. See also 
Meiners, vol. ii. p. 143 (Guyana). 


of delirium, which makes them imagine that they are gifted 
with superior wisdom, and give themselves out for magi- 
cians. They impose upon themselves first, and afterwards 
upon others.' 1 The Malay, to make himself invulnerable, 
retires for three days to solitude and scanty food in the 
jungle, and if on the third day he dreams of a beautiful 
spirit descending to speak to him, the charm is worked.* 
The Zulu doctor qualifies himself for intercourse with the 
' amadhlozi,' or ghosts, from whom he is to obtain direc- 
tion in his craft, by spare abstemious diet, want, suffering, 
castigation, and solitary wandering, till fainting fits or coma 
bring him into direct intercourse with the spirits. These 
native diviners fast often, and are worn out by fastings, 
sometimes of several days' duration, when they become 
partially or wholly ecstatic, and see visions. So thoroughly 
is the connexion between fasting and spiritual intercourse 
acknowledged by the Zulus, that it has become a saying 
among them, ' The continually stuffed body cannot see 
secret things.' They have no faith in a fat prophet.* 

The effects thus looked for and attained by fasting among 
uncultured tribes continue into the midst of advanced civili- 
zation. No wonder that, in the Hindu tale, king Vasava- 
datta and his queen after a solemn penance and a three 
days' fast should see Siva in a dream and receive his gra- 
cious tidings ; no wonder that, in the actual experience of 
to-day, the Hindu yogi should bring on by fasting a state 
in which he can with bodily eyes behold the gods. 4 The 
Greek oracle-priests recognized fasting as a means of bring- 
ing on prophetic dreams and visions ; the Pythia of Delphi 
herself fasted for inspiration ; Galen remarks that fasting 
dreams are the clearer. 8 Through after ages, both cause 

Dobrizhoffer, ' Abiponei,' vol. ii. p. 68. 

St. John, ' Far East,' vol. i. p. 144. 

Dohne, ' Zulu Die.' s.v. ' nyanga ; ' Grout, ' Zulu-land,' p. 158; Calla- 
way, ' Religion of Amazulu,' p. 387. 

Somadeva Bhatta, tr. Brockhaus, vol. ii. p. 81. Meinen, vol. ii. p. 147. 

Maury, ' Magic,' &c., p. 237 ; Pausan. i. 34 ; Philostrat. Apollon. Tyan. 
i. ; Galen. Comment, in Hippocrat. i. 


and consequence have held their places in Christendom. 
Thus Michael the Archangel, with sword in right hand 
and scales in left, appears to a certain priest of Siponte, 
who during a twelvemonth's course of prayer and fasting 
had been asking if he would have a temple built in his 
honour : 

' precibus jejunia longis 
Addiderat, totoque orans se afflixcrat anno.' 1 

Reading the narratives of the wondrous sights seen by 
St. Theresa and her companions, how the saint went in 
spirit into hell and saw the darkness and fire and unutter- 
able despair, how she had often by her side her good patrons 
Peter and Paul, how when she was raised in rapture above 
the grate at the nunnery where she was to take the sacra- 
ment, Sister Mary Baptist and others being present, they 
saw an angel by her with a golden fiery dart at the end 
whereof was a little fire, and he thrust it through her heart 
and bowels and pulled them out with it, leaving her wholly 
inflamed with a great love of God the modern reader 
naturally looks for details of physical condition and habit 
of life among the sisterhood, and as naturally finds that 
St. Theresa was of morbid constitution and subject to 
trances from her childhood, in after life subduing her flesh 
by long watchings and religious discipline, and keeping 
severe fast during eight months of the year.* It is needless 
to multiply such mediaeval records of fasts which have pro- 
duced their natural effects in beatific vision are they not 
written page after page in the huge folios of the Bollandists ? 
So long as fasting is continued -as a religious rite, so long 
its consequences in morbid mental exaltation will continue 
the old and savage doctrine that morbid phantasy is super- 
natural experience. Bread and meat would have robbed 
the ascetic of many an angel's visit ; the opening of the 
refectory door must many a time have closed the gates of 
heaven to his gaze. 

1 Baptist. Mantuan. Fast. ix. 350. 

* ' Acta Sanctorum Holland.' S. Theresa. 


It is indeed not the complete theory of fasting as a reli- 
gious rite, but only an important and perhaps original part 
of it, that here comes into view. Abstinence from food 
has a principal place among acts of self-mortification or 
penance, a province of religious ordinance into which the 
present argument scarcely enters. Looking at the practice 
of fasting here from an animistic point of view, as a process 
of bringing on dreams and visions, it will be well to mention 
with it certain other means by which ecstatic phenomena 
are habitually induced. 

One of these means is the use of drugs. In the West India 
Islands at the time of the discovery, Columbus describes 
the religious ceremony of placing a platter containing ' co- 
hoba ' powder on the head of the idol, the worshippers then 
snuffing up this powder through a cane with two branches 
put to the nose. Pane further describes how the native 
priest, when brought to a sick man, would put himself in 
communication with the spirits by thus snuffing cohoba, 
' which makes him drunk, that he knows not what he does, 
and so says many extraordinary things, wherein they affirm 
that they are talking with the cemis, and that from them it 
is told them that the infirmity came.' On the Amazons, 
the Omaguas have continued to modern times the use of 
narcotic plants, producing an intoxication lasting twenty- 
four hours, during which they are subject to extraordinary 
visions ; from one of these plants they obtain the ' curupa ' 
powder which they snuff into their nostrils with a Y-shaped 
reed. 1 Here the similar names and uses of the drug plainly 
show historical connexion between the Omaguas and the An- 
tilles islanders. The Californian Indians would give children 
narcotic potions, in order to gain from the ensuing visions 
information about their enemies ; and thus the Mundrucus 

1 Colombo, ' Vita,' ch. Ixii. ; Roman Pane, ibid. ch. xv. ; and in Pinkerton, 
vol. xii. Condamine, ' Travels,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiv. p. 226 ; Martins, 
' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. pp. 441, 631 (details of snuff -powders among 
Omaguas, Otomacs, &c. ; native names curupa, parica, niopo, nupa ; made 
from seeds of Mimosa acacioides, Acacia niopo). 


of North Brazil, desiring to discover murderers, would 
administer such drinks to seers, in whose dreams the 
criminals appeared. 1 The Darien Indians used the seeds of 
the Datura sanguinea to bring on in children prophetic 
delirium, in which they revealed hidden treasure. In Peru 
the priests who talked with the ' huaca ' or fetishes used 
to throw themselves into an ecstatic condition by a narcotic 
drink called ' tonca,' made from the same plant, whence 
its name of ' huacacacha ' or fetish-herb.* The Mexican 
priests also appear to have used an ointment or drink made 
with seeds of ' ololiuhqui,' which produced delirium and 
visions. 8 In both Americas tobacco served for such pur- 
poses. It must be noticed that smoking is more or less 
practised among native races to produce full intoxication, 
the smoke being swallowed for the purpose. By smoking 
tobacco, the sorcerers of Brazilian tribes raised themselves 
to ecstasy in their convulsive orgies, and saw spirits ; no 
wonder tobacco came to be called the ' holy herb.'* So 
North American Indians held intoxication by tobacco to be 
supernatural ecstasy, and the dreams of men in this state 
to be inspired. 6 This idea may explain a remarkable pro- 
ceeding of the Delaware Indians. At their festival in 
honour of the Fire-god with his twelve attendant manitus, 
inside the house of sacrifice a small oven-hut was set up, 
consisting of twelve poles tied together at the top and 
covered with blankets, high enough for a man to stand 
nearly upright within it. After the feast this oven was 
heated with twelve red-hot stones, and twelve men crept 
inside. An old man threw twelve pipefulls of tobacco on 
these stones, and when the patients had borne to the utmost 

1 Maury, ' Magic,' &c., p. 425. 

1 Seemann, ' Voy. of Herald,' vol. i. p. 256. Rivero and Tschudi, ' Peru- 
vian Antiquities,' p. 184. J. G. Mxiller, p. 397. 

* Brasseur, ' Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 558 ; Clavigero, vol. ii. p. 40 ; J. 0. 
Mullet, p. 656. 

4 J. G. Miiller, ' Amer. Urrelig.' p. 277 ; Hernandez, ' Historia Mcxicana,' 
lib. v. c. 51 ; Purchas, vol. iv. p. 1292. 

* D. Wilson, ' Prehistoric Man,' vol. i. p. 487. 


the heat and suffocating smoke, they were taken out, gene- 
rally falling in a swoon. 1 This practice, which was carried 
on in the last century, is remarkable for its coincidence 
with the Scythian mode of purification after a funeral, as 
described by Herodotus. He relates that they make their 
hut with three stakes sloping together at the top and 
covered in with wooden felts ; then they cast red-hot stones 
into a trough placed within and throw hemp-seed on them, 
which sends forth fumes such as no Greek vapour-bath 
could exceed, and the Scyths in their sweating-hut roar 
with delight. 1 

Not to dwell on the ancient Aryan deification of an 
intoxicating drink, the original of the divine Soma of the 
Hindus and the divine Haoma of the Parsis, nor on the 
drunken orgies of the worship of Dionysos in ancient 
Greece, we find more exact Old World analogues of the 
ecstatic medicaments used in the lower culture. Such are 
the decoctions of thalassaegle which Pliny speaks of as 
drunk to produce delirium and visions ; the drugs men- 
tioned by Hesychius, whereby Hekate was evoked ; the 
mediaeval witch-ointments which brought visionary beings 
into the presence of the patient, transported him to the 
witches' sabbath, enabled him to turn into a beast.* The 
survival of such practices is most thorough among the 
Persian dervishes of our own day. These mystics are not 
only opium-eaters, like so large a proportion of their 
countrymen ; they are hashish-smokers, and the effect of 
this drug is to bring them into a state of exaltation passing 
into utter hallucination. To a patient in this condition, 
says Dr. Polak, a little stone in the road will seem a great 
block that he must stride over ; a gutter becomes a wide 
stream to his eyes, and he calls for a boat to ferry him 

1 Loskiel, ' Ind. of N. A.' part i. p. 42. 

* Herodot. iv. 73-5. 

* Maury, ' Magic,' &c., I.e. ; Plin. xxiv. 102; Hesych. s.v. ' iSn 

See also Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 152, &c. ; Baring-Gould, 'Were- 
wolves,' p. 149. 


across-; men's voices sound like thunder in his ears ; he 
fancies he has wings and can rise from the ground. These 
ecstatic effects, in which miracle is matter of hourly expe- 
rience, are considered in Persia as high religious develop- 
ments ; the visionaries and their rites are looked on as holy, 
and they make converts. 1 

Many details of the production of ecstasy and swoon by 
bodily exercises, chanting and screaming, &c., have been 
incidentally given in describing the doctrine of demoniacal 
possession. I will only further cite a few typical cases to 
show that the practice of bringing on swoons or fits by 
religious exercises, in reality or pretence, is one belonging 
originally to savagery, whence it has been continued into 
higher grades of civilization. We may judge of the mental 
and bodily condition of the priest or sorcerer in Guyana, by 
his preparation for his sacred office. This consisted in the 
first place in fasting and flagellation of extreme severity ; at 
the end of his fast he had to dance till he fell senseless, and 
was revived by a potion of tobacco- juice causing violent 
nausea and vomiting of blood ; day after day this treatment 
was continued till the candidate, brought into or confirmed 
in the condition of a ' cpnvulsionary,' was ready to pass 
from patient into doctor. 8 Again, at the Winnebago medi- 
cine-feast, members of the fraternity assemble in a long 
arched booth, and with them the candidates for initiation, 
whose preparation is a three days' fast, with severe sweating 
and steaming with herbs, under the direction of the old 
medicine-men. The initiation is performed in the assembly 
by a number of medicine-men. These advance in line, as 
many abreast as there are candidates ; holding their medi- 
cine-bags before them with both hands, they dance forward 
slowly at first, uttering low guttural sounds as they approach 
the candidates, their step and voice increasing in energy, 
until with a violent ' Ough ! ' they thrust their medicine- 

1 Polak, ' Persien,' vol. ii. p. 245 ; Vamblry in ' Mem. Anthrop. Soc.' 
vol. ii. p. 2O ; Meiners, vol. ii. p. 2l6. 
1 Meiners, vol. ii. p. 162. 


bags at their breasts. Instantly, as if struck with an electric 
shock, the candidates fall prostrate on their faces, their 
limbs extended, their muscles rigid and quivering. Blankets 
are now thrown over them, and they are suffered to lie thus 
a few moments ; as soon as they show signs of recovering 
from the shock, they are assisted to their feet and led forward. 
Medicine-bags are then put in their hands, and medicine - 
stones in their mouths ; they are now medicine men or 
women, as the case may be, in full communion and fellow- 
ship ; and they now go round the bower in company with 
the old members, knocking others down promiscuously by 
thrusting their medicine-bags at them. A feast and dance 
to the music of drum and rattle carry on the festival. 1 
Another instance may be taken from among the Alfurus of 
Celebes, inviting Empong Lembej to descend into their 
midst. The priests chant, the chief priest with twitching 
and trembling limbs turns his eyes towards heaven ; Lembej 
descends into him, and with horrible gestures he springs 
upon a board, beats about with a bundle of leaves, leaps 
and dances, chanting legends of an ancient deity. After 
some hours another priest relieves him, and sings of another 
deity. So it goes on day and night till the fifth day, and 
then the chief priest's tongue is cut, he falls into a swoon 
like death, and they cover him up. They fumigate with 
benzoin the piece taken from his tongue, and swing a censer 
over his body, calling back his soul ; he revives and dances 
about, lively but speechless, till they give him back the rest 
of his tongue, and with it his power of speech. 1 Thus, in 
the religion of uncultured races, the phenomenon of being 
' struck ' holds so recognised a position that impostors 
will even counterfeit it. In its morbid nature, its genuine 
cases at least plainly correspond with the fits which history 
records among the convulsionnaires of St. Medard and the 
enthusiasts of the Cevennes. Nor need we go even a gene- 

1 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part iii. p. 286. 

1 Bastian, ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 145. Compare ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. p. 247 


ration back to see symptoms of the same type accepted as 
signs of grace among ourselves. Medical descriptions of 
the scenes brought on by fanatical preachers at ' revivals ' 
in England, Ireland, and America, are full of interest to 
students of the history of religious rites. I will but quote a 
single case. ' A young woman is described as lying ex- 
tended at full length ; her eyes closed, her hands clasped 
and elevated, and her body curved in a spasm so violent 
that it appeared to rest arch-like upon her heels and the 
back portion of her head. In that position she lay without 
speech or motion for several minutes. Suddenly she uttered 
a terrific scream, and tore handfuls of hair from her un- 
covered head. Extending her open hands in a repelling 
attitude of the most appalling terror, she exclaimed, " Oh, 
that fearful pit ! " During this paroxysm three strong men 
were hardly able to restrain her. She extended her arms 
on either side, clutching spasmodically at the grass, shudder- 
ing with terror, and shrinking from some fearful inward 
vision ; but she ultimately fell back exhausted, nerveless, 
and apparently insensible.' 1 Such descriptions carry us 
far back in the history of the human mind, showing modern 
men still in ignorant sincerity producing the very fits and 
swoons to which for untold ages savage tribes have given 
religious import. These manifestations in modern Europe 
indeed form part of a revival of religion, the religion of 
mental disease. 

From this series of rites, practical with often harmful 
practicality, we turn to a group of ceremonies whose charac- 
teristic is picturesque symbolism. In discussing sun-myth 
and sun-worship, it has come into view how deeply the 
association in men's mind of the east with light and warmth, 
life and happiness and glory, of the west with darkness and 
chill, death and decay, has from remote ages rooted itself in 
religious belief. It will illustrate and confirm this view to 
observe how the same symbolism of east and west has taken 
shape in actual ceremony, giving rise to a series of practices 

1 D. H. Tuke in ' Journal of Mental Science,' Oct. 1870, p. 368. 


concerning the posture of the dead in their graves and the 
living in their temples, practices which may be classed under 
the general heading of Orientation. 

While the setting sun has shown to men, from savage 
ages onward, the western region of death, the rising sun has 
displayed a scene more hopeful, an eastern home of deity. 
It seems to be the working out of the solar analogy, on the 
one hand in death as sunset, on the other in new life as 
sunrise, that has produced two contrasted rules of burial, 
which agree in placing the dead in the sun's path, the line 
of east and west. Thus the natives of Australia have in 
some districts well-marked thoughts of the western land of 
the dead, yet the custom of burying the dead sitting with 
face to the east is also known among them. 1 The Samoans 
and Fijians, agreeing that the land of the departed lies in 
the far west, bury the corpse lying with head east and feet 
west ; * the body would but have to rise and walk straight 
onward to follow its soul home. This idea is stated ex- 
plicitly among the Winnebagos of North America ; they will 
sometimes bury a dead man sitting up to the breast in a 
hole in the ground, looking westward ; or graves are dug 
east and west, and the bodies laid in them with the head 
eastward, with the motive ' that they may look towards the 
happy land in the west.' 8 With these customs may be 
compared those of certain South American tribes. The 
Yumanas bury their dead bent double with faces looking 
toward the heavenly region of the sunrise, the home of 
their great good deity, who they trust will take their souls 
with him to his dwelling ; * the Guarayos bury the corpses 
with heads turned to the east, for it is in the eastern sky 
that their god Tamoi, the Ancient of Heaven, has his 
happy hunting-grounds where the dead will meet again.' 

1 Grey, ' Australia,' vol. ii. p. 327. 

* Turner, ' Polynesia,' p. 230. Seem arm, ' Viti,' p. 151. 

8 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part iv. p. 54. 

4 Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 485. 

8 D'Orbigny, ' L'Homme Americain,' vol. ii. pp. 319, 330. 


On the other hand the Peruvian custom was to place the 
dead huddled up in a sitting posture and with faces turned 
to the west. 1 Barbaric Asia may be represented by the 
modern Ainos of Yesso, burying the dead lying robed in 
white with the head to the east, ' because that is where the 
sun rises ; ' or by the Tunguz who bury with the head to 
the west ; or by the mediaeval Tatars, raising a great mound 
over the dead, and setting up thereon a statue with face 
turned toward the east, holding a drinking-cup in his hand 
before his navel ; or by the modern Siamese, who do not 
sleep with their heads to the west, because it is in this 
significant position that the dead are burned.* The burial 
of the dead among the ancient Greeks in the line of east 
and west, whether according to Athenian custom of the 
head toward the sunset, or the converse, is another link in 
the chain of custom. 8 Thus it is not to late and isolated 
fancy, but to the carrying on of ancient and widespread 
solar ideas, that we trace the well-known legend that the 
body of Christ was laid with the head toward the west, thus 
looking eastward, and the Christian usage of digging graves 
east and west, which prevailed through mediaeval times and 
is not yet forgotten. The rule of laying the head to the 
west, and its meaning that the dead shall rise looking toward 
the east, are perfectly stated in the following passage from 
an ecclesiastical treatise of the i6th century : ' Debet autem 
quis sic sepeliri, ut capite ad occidentem posito, pedes 
dirigat ad orientem, in quo quasi ipsa positione orat : et 
innuit quod promptus est, ut de occasu festinet ad ortum : 
de mundo ad seculum.' 4 

1 Rivero and Tschudi, ' Peruvian Antiquities,' p. 202. See also Arbousset 
and Daumas, 'Voyage,' p. 277 (Kafirs). 

* Biclcmore, in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vii. p. 20. Georgi, ' Reise,' vol. i. 
p. 266. Gul. de Rubruquis in Hakluyt vol. i. p. 78. Bastian, ipestl. 
Asien,' vol. iii. p. 228. 

* /Elian. Var. Hist. v. 14, vii. 19 ; Plutarch. Solon, x. ; Diog. Laert. 
Solon ; Welcker, vol. i. p. 404.. 

* Beda in Die S. Paschae. Durand, Rationale Divinorum O/ficiorum, lib. 
vii. c. 35-9. Brand, ' Popular Antiquities,' vol. ii. pp. 295, 318. 


Where among the lower races sun-worship begins to con- 
solidate itself in systematic ritual, the orientation of the 
worshipper and the temple becomes usual and distinct. 
The sun-worshipping Comanches, preparing for the war- 
path, will place* their weapons betimes on the east side of 
the lodge to receive the sun's first rays ; it is a remnant of 
old solar rite, that the Christianized Pueblo Indians of New 
Mexico turn to the sun at his rising. 1 It has been already 
noticed how in old times each morning at sunrise the Sun- 
chief of the Natchez of Louisiana stood facing the east at 
the door of his house, and smoked toward the sun first, 
before he turned to the other three quarters of the world. 8 
The cave-temple of the sun-worshipping Apalaches of 
Florida had its opening looking east, and within stood the 
priests on festival days at dawn, waiting till the first rays 
entered to begin the appointed rites of chant and incense 
and offering. 8 In old Mexico, where sun-worship was the 
central doctrine of the complex religion, men knelt in prayer 
towards the east, and the doors of the sanctuaries looked 
mostly westward. 4 It was characteristic of the solar worship 
of Peru that even the villages were habitually built on slopes 
toward the east, that the people might see and greet the 
national deity at his rising. In the temple of the sun at 
Cuzco, his splendid golden disc on the western wall looked 
out through the eastern door, so that as he rose his first 
beams fell upon it, reflected thence to light up the sanc- 
tuary. 1 

In Asia, the ancient Aryan religion of the sun manifests 
itself not less plainly hi rites of orientation. They have 
their place in the weary ceremonial routine which the Brah- 

1 Gregg, ' Commerce of Prairies,' vol. i. pp. 270, 273 ; vol. ii. p. 318. 
1 Charlevoix, ' Nouvelle France,' vol. vi. p. 178. 

* Rochefort, ' lies Antilles,' p. 365. 

4 Clavigero, ' Messico,' vol. ii. p. 24 ; J. G. Muller, p. 641. See Oviedo, 
Nicaragua,' p. 29. 

J. G. Muller, p. 363 ; Prescott, ' Peru,' book i. ch. 3. Garcilaso de la 
Vega, ' Commentaries Reales,' lib. iii. c. 20, says it was at the east end ; cf . 
lib. vi. c. 21 (llama sacrificed with head to east). 


man must daily accomplish. When he has performed the 
dawn ablution, and meditated on the effulgent sun-light 
which is Brahma, the supreme soul, he proceeds to worship 
the sun, standing on one foot and resting the other against 
his ankle or heel, looking toward the east, and holding his 
hands open before him in a hollow form. At noon, when 
he has again adored the sun, it is sitting with his face to 
the east that he must read his daily portion of the Veda ; it 
is looking toward the east that his offering of barley and 
water must be first presented to the gods, before he turns 
to north and south ; it is with first and principal direction 
to the east that the consecration of the fire and the sacrifi- 
cial implements, a ceremony which is the groundwork of ill 
his religious acts, has to be performed. 1 The significance 
of such reverence paid by adorers of the sun to the 
eastern region of his rising, may be heightened to us by 
setting beside it a ceremony of a darker faith, displaying 
the awe-struck horror of the western home of death. The 
antithesis to the eastward consecration by the orthodox 
Brahmans is the westward consecration by the Thugs, 
worshippers of Kali the death-goddess. In honour of Kali 
their victims were murdered, and to her the sacred pickaxe 
was consecrated, wherewith the graves of the slain were dug. 
At the time of the suppression of Thuggee, Englishmen 
had the consecration of the pickaxe performed in make- 
believe in their presence by those who well knew the dark 
ritual. On the dreadful implement no shadow of any living 
thing must fall, its consecrator sits facing the west to per- 
form the fourfold washing and the sevenfold passing through 
the fire, and then it being proved duly consecrated by the 
omen of the coeo-nut divided at a single cut, it is placed 
on the ground, and the bystanders worship it, turning to 
the west.* 
These two contrasted rites of east and west established 

1 Colebrooke, ' Essays/ vol. i., iv. and v. 

a ' Illustrations of the History and Practices of the Thugs,' London, 1837, 
p. 46. 

II. 2 E 


themselves and still remain established in modern European 
religion. In judging of the course of history that has 
brought about this state of things, it scarcely seems that 
Jewish influence was effective. The Jewish temple had the 
entrance in the east, and the sanctuary in the west. Sun- 
worship was an abomination to the Jews, and the orientation 
especially belonging to it appears as utterly opposed to 
Jewish usage, in Ezekiel's horror-stricken vision : ' and, 
behold, at the door of the temple ol Jehovah, between the 
porch and the altar, about five-and-twenty men, with their 
backs toward the temple of Jehovah, and their faces toward 
the east, and they worshipped the sun toward the east.' 1 
Nor is there reason to suppose that in later ages such 
orientation gained ground in Jewish ceremony. The solar 
rites of other nations whose ideas were prominent in the early 
development of Christianity, are sufficient to account for the 
rise of Christian orientation. On the one hand there was 
the Asiatic sun-worship, perhaps specially related to the 
veneration of the rising sun in old Persian religion, and 
which has left relics in the east of the Turkish empire into 
modern years ; Christian sects praying toward the sun, and 
Yezidis turning to the east as their kibleh and burying their 
dead looking thither.* On the other hand, orientation was 
recognized in classic Greek religion, not indeed in slavish 
obedience to a uniform law, but as a principle to be worked 
out in converse ways. Thus it was an Athenian practice 
for the temple to have its entrance east, looking out through 
which the divine image stood to behold the rising sun. 
This rule it is that Lucian refers to, when he talks of the 
delight of gazing toward the loveliest and most longed-for 
of the day, of welcoming the sun as he peeps forth, of taking 
one's fill of light through the wide-open doors, even as the 

1 Ezek. viii. 16 ; Mishna, ' Sukkoth,' v. See Fergusson in Smith's ' Dic- 
tionary of the Bible,' s.v. ' Temple.' 

* Hyde, ' Veterum Persarum Religionis Historia,' ch. iv. Niebuhr, 
' Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien,' vol. i. p. 396. Layard, ' Nineveh,' vol. i. 
ch. ix. 


ancients built their temples looking forth. Nor was the 
contrary rule as stated by Vitruvius less plain in meaning ; 
the sacred houses of the immortal gods shall be so arranged, 
that if no reason prevents and choice is free, the temple and 
the statue erected in the cell shall look toward the west, so 
that they who approach the altar to sacrifice and vow and 
pray may look at once toward the statue and the eastern 
sky, the divine figures thus seeming to arise and look upon 
them. Altars of the gods were to stand toward the east. 1 

Unknown in primitive Christianity, the ceremony of 
orientation was developed within its first four centuries. It 
became an accepted custom to turn in prayer toward the 
east, the mystic region of the Light of the World, the Sun 
of Righteousness. Augustine says, ' When we stand at 
prayer, we turn to the east, where the heaven arises, not as 
though God were only there, and had forsaken all other 
parts of the world, but to admonish our mind to turn to a 
more excellent nature, that is, to the Lord.' No wonder 
that the early Christians were thought to practise in sub- 
stance the rite of sun-worship which they practised in form. 
Thus Tertullian writes : ' Others indeed with greater truth 

and verisimilitude believe the sun to be our God 

the suspicion arising from its being known that we pray 
toward the region of the east.' Though some of the most 
ancient and honoured churches of Christendom stand to 
show that orientation was no original law of ecclesiastical 
architecture, yet it became dominant in early centuries. 
That the author of the ' Apostolical Constitutions ' should 
be able to give directions for building churches toward the 

east (o O?KOS ecrro) ;rt/i77/ojs, KO.T avanoAas TTpa/u/ivos), just as 

Vitruvius had laid down the rule as to the temples of the 
gods, is only a part of that assimilation of the church to the 
temple which took effect so largely in the scheme of worship. 
Of all Christian ceremony, however, it was in the rite of 
baptism that orientation took its fullest andmost picturesque 

1 Lucian. De Domo, vi. Vitruv. de Architecture, iv. 5. See Welcker, vol. i. 
P- 403- 


form. The catechumen was placed with face toward the 
west, and then commanded to renounce Satan with gestures 
of abhorrence, stretching out his hands against him, or 
smiting them together, and blowing or spitting against him 
thrice. Cyril of Jerusalem, in his ' Mystagogic Catechism,' 
thus depicts the scene : ' Ye first came into the ante-room 
of the baptistery, and standing toward the west (TTPOS ra 
^w/xas) ye were commanded to put away Satan, stretching 

out your hands as though he were present And 

why did ye stand toward the west ? It was needful, for 
sunset is the type of darkness, and he is darkness and has 
his strength in darkness ; therefore symbolically looking 
toward the west ye renounce that dark and gloomy ruler.' 
Then turning round to the east, the catechumen took up his 
allegiance to his new master, Christ. The ceremony and 
its significance are clearly set forth by Jerome, thus : ' In 
the mysteries [meaning baptism] we first renounce him who 
is in the west, and dies to us. with our sins ; and so, turning 
to the east, we make a covenant with the Sun of righteous- 
ness, promising to be his servants.' 1 This perfect double 
rite of east and west, retained in the baptismal ceremony 
of the Greek Church, may be seen in Russia to this day. 
The orientation of churches and the practice of turning to 
the cast as an act of worship, are common to both Greek 
and Latin ritual. In our own country they declined from 
the Reformation, till at the beginning of the iQth century 
they seemed falling out of use ; since then, however, they 
have been restored to a certain prominence by the revived 
medievalism of our own day. To the student of history, it 
is a striking example of the connexion of thought and cere- 
mony through the religions of the lower and higher culture, 
to see surviving in our midst, with meaning dwindled into 

^Augustin. de Serm. Dom. in Monte, ii. 5. Tertullian. Contra Valentin, 
iii. ; Apolog. xvi. Constitutions Apostolicz, ii. 57. Cyril. Catech. Mystag. 
i. 2. Hieronym. in Amos. vi. 14 ; Bingham, ' Antiquities of Chr. Church,' 
book viii. ch. 3, book xi. ch. 7, book xiii. ch. 8. Js M. Neale, ' Eastern 
Church,' part i. p. 956 ; Romanoff, ' Greco-Russian Church,' p. 67. 


symbolism, this ancient solar rite. The influence of the 
divine Sun upon his rude and ancient worshippers still 
subsists before our eyes as a mechanical force, acting 
diamagnetically to adjust the axis of the church and turn 
the body of the worshipper. 

The last group of rites whose course through religious 
history is to be outlined here, takes in the varied dramatic 
acts of ceremonial purification of Lustration. With all the 
obscurity and intricacy due to age-long modification, the 
primitive thought which underlies these ceremonies is still 
open to view. It is the transition from practical to symbolic 
cleansing, from removal of bodily impurity to deliverance 
from invisible, spiritual, and at last moral evil. Our 
language follows this ideal movement to its utmost stretch, 
where such words as cleansing and purification have passed 
from their first material meaning, to signify removal of 
ceremonial contamination, legal guilt, and moral sin. 
What we thus express in metaphor, the men of the lower 
culture began early to act in ceremony, purifying persons 
and objects by various prescribed rites, especially by dipping 
them in and sprinkling them with water, or fumigating them 
with and passing them through fire. It is the plainest proof 
of the original practicality of proceedings now passed into 
formalism, to point out how far the ceremonial lustrations 
still keep their connexion with times of life when real 
purification is necessary, how far they still consist in formal 
cleansing of the new-born child and the mother, of the man- 
slayer who has shed blood, or the mourner who has touched 
a corpse. In studying the distribution of the forms of 
lustration among the races of the world, while allowing for 
the large effect of their transmission from religion to religion, 
and from nation to nation, we may judge that their diversity 
of detail and purpose scarcely favours a theory of their being 
all historically derived from one or even several special 
religions of the ancient world. They seem more largely to 
exemplify independent working out, in different directions, 
of an idea common to mankind at large. This view may 


be justified by surveying lustration through a series ot 
typical instances, which show its appearance and character 
in savage and barbaric culture, as being an act belonging to 
certain well-marked events of human life. 

The purification of the new-born child appears among 
the lower races in various forms, but perhaps in some par- 
ticular instances borrowed from the higher. It should be 
noticed that though the naming of the child is often asso- 
ciated with its ceremonial cleansing, there is no real con- 
nexion between the two rites, beyond their coming due at 
the same early time of life. To those who look for the 
matter-of-fact origin of such ceremonies, one of the most 
suggestive of the accounts available is a simple mention of 
the two necessary acts of washing and name-giving, as done 
together in mere practical purpose, but not as yet passed 
into formal ceremony the Kichtak Islanders, it is remarked, 
at birth wash the child, and give it a name. 1 Among the 
Yumanas of Brazil, as soon as the child can sit up, it is 
sprinkled with a decoction of certain herbs, and receives a 
name which has belonged to an ancestor. 2 Among some 
Jakun tribes of the Malay Peninsula, as soon as the child 
is born it is carried to the nearest stream and washed ; it is 
then brought back to the house, the fire is kindled, and 
fragrant wood thrown on, over which it is passed several 
times. 3 The New Zealanders' infant baptism is no new 
practice, and is considered by them an old traditional rite, 
but nothing very similar is observed among other branches 
of the Polynesian race. Whether independently invented 
or not, it was thoroughly worked into the native religious 
scheme. The baptism was performed on the eighth day or 
earlier, at the side of a stream or elsewhere, by a native 
priest who sprinkled water on the child with a branch or 
twig ; sometimes the child was immersed. With this lus- 
tration it received its name, the priest repeating a list of 

1 Billings, ' N. Russia,' p. 175. 

2 Martius, ' Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 485. 

3 ' Journ. Ind. Archip.' vol. ii. p. 264. 


ancestral names till the child chose one for itself by sneez- 
ing at it. The ceremony was of the nature of a dedication, 
and was accompanied by rhythmical formulas of exhortation. 
The future warrior was bidden to flame with anger, to leap 
nimbly and ward off the spears, to be angry and bold and 
industrious, to work before the dew is off the ground ; the 
future housewife was bidden to get food and go for firewood 
and weave garments with panting of breath. In after years, 
a second sacred sprinkling was performed to admit a lad 
into the rank of warriors. It has to be noticed with refer- 
ence to the reason of this ceremonial washing, that a new- 
born child is in the highest degree tapu, and may only be 
touched by a few special persons till the restriction is 
removed. 1 In Madagascar, a fire is kept up in the room 
for several days, then the child in its best clothes is in due 
form carried out of the house and back to its mother, both 
times being carefully lifted over the fire, which is made 
near the door. 2 In Africa, some of the most noticeable 
ceremonies of the class are these. The people of Sarac 
wash the child three days after birth with holy water. 3 
When a Mandingo child was about a week old its hair was 
cut, and the priest, invoking blessings, took it in his arms, 
whispered in its ear, spat thrice in its face, and pronounced 
its name aloud before the assembled company. 4 In Guinea, 
when a child is born, the event is publicly proclaimed, the 
new-born babe is brought into the streets, and the headman 
of the town or family sprinkles it with water from a basin, 
giving it a name and invoking blessings of health and 
wealth upon it ; other friends follow the example, till the 
child is thoroughly drenched. 8 In these various examples 

1 Taylor, ' New Zealand,' p. 184; Yate, p. 82; Polack, vol. i. p. 51 ; 
A. S. Thomson, vol. i. p. 118; Klemm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. iv. p. 304. 
See Schirren, ' Wandersagen der Neuseelander,' pp. 58, 183; Shortland, 
p. 145. 

2 Ellis, ' Madagascar,' vol. i. p. 152. 

3 Munzinger, ' Ost-Afrika,' p. 387. 

4 Park, ' Travels,' ch. vi. 

6 J. L. Wilson, ' Western Africa,' p. 399. See also Bastian, ' Mensch,' 


of lustration of infants, the purifications by fire have es- 
pecial importance ethnologically, not because this proceeding 
is more natural to the savage mind than that of bathing or 
sprinkling with water, but because this latter ceremony may 
sometimes have been imitated from Christian baptism. The 
fact of savage and barbaric lustration of infants being in 
several cases associated with the belief in re-birth of ances- 
tral souls seems to mark the rite as belonging to remote 
pre-Christian ages. 1 

The purification of women at childbirth, &c., is cere- 
monially practised by the lower races under circumstances 
which do not suggest adoption from more civilized nations. 
The seclusion and lustration among North American Indian 
tribes have been compared with those of the Levitical law, 
but the resemblance is not remarkably close, and belongs 
rather to a stage of civilization than to the ordinance of a 
particular nation. It is a good case of independent develop- 
ment in such customs, that the rite of putting out the fires 
and kindling ' new fire ' on the woman's return is common 
to the Iroquois and Sioux in North America, 2 and the 
Casutos in South Africa. These latter have a well-marked 
rite of lustration by sprinkling, performed on girls at 
womanhood. 3 The Hottentots considered mother and child 
unclean till they had been washed and smeared after the 
uncleanly native fashion. 4 Lustrations with water were 
usual in West Africa. 5 Tatar tribes in Mongolia used 
bathing, while in Siberia the custom of leaping over a fire 
answered the purpose of purification. 6 The Mantras of the 
Malay Peninsula have made the bathing of the mother after 

vol. ii. p. 279 (Watje) ; 'Anthropological Review,' Nov. 1864, p. 243 
(Mpongwe) : Barker-Webb and Berthelot, vol. ii. p. 163 (Tenerife). 

1 See pp. 5, 437. 

- Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 261 ; part iii. p. 243, &c. 
Charlevoix, ' Nouvelle France,' vol. v. p. 425. Wilson in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' 
vol. iv. p. 294. 

3 Casalis, ' Basutos,' p. 267. 

4 Kolben, vol. i. pp. 273, 283. 

5 Bosman, in Pinkerton, vol. xvi. pp. 423, 527 ; Meiners, vol. ii. pp. 
107, 463- 

6 Pallas, ' Mongolische Volkerschaften,' vol. i. p. 166, &c. ; Strahlenberg, 
' Siberia,' p. 97. 


childbirth into a ceremonial ordinance. 1 It is so among the 
indigenes of India, where both in northern and southern 
districts the naming of the child comes into connexion with 
the purification of the mother, both ceremonies being per- 
formed on the same day. 2 Without extending further this 
list of instances, it is sufficiently plain that we have before 
us the record of a practical custom becoming consecrated 
by traditional habit, and making its way into the range of 
religious ceremony. 

Much the same may be said of the purification of savage 
and barbaric races on occasion of contamination by blood- 
shed or funeral. In North America, the Dacotas use the 
vapour-bath not only as a remedy, but also for the removal 
of ceremonial uncleanness, such as is caused by killing a 
person, or touching a dead body. 3 So among the Navajos, 
the man who has been deputed to carry a dead body to 
burial, holds himself unclean until he has thoroughly washed 
himself in water prepared for the purpose by certain cere- 
monies. 4 In Madagascar, no one who has attended a 
funeral may enter the palace courtyard till he has bathed, 
and in all cases there must be an ablution of the mourner's 
garments on returning from the grave. 8 Among the Basutos 
of South Africa, warriors returning from battle must rid 
themselves of the blood they have shed, or the shades of 
their victims would pursue them and disturb their sleep. 
Therefore they go in procession in full armour to the nearest 
stream to wash, and their weapons are washed also. It is 
usual in this ceremony for a sorcerer higher up the stream 
to put in some magical ingredient, such as he also uses in 
the preparation of the holy water which is sprinkled over 
the people with a beast's tail at the frequent public purifica- 
tions. These Basutos, moreover, use fumigation with burn- 
ing wood to purify growing corn, and cattle taken from the 

1 Bourien in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. Hi. p. 81. 

2 Dalton in ' Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 22 ; Shortt, ibid. vol. iii. p. 375. 
8 Schoolcraft, ' Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 255. 

' Brinton, ' Myths of New World,' p. 127. 

6 Ellis, ' Madagascar.' vol. i. p. 241 ; see pp. 407, "41 9. 


enemy. Fire serves for purification in cases too trifling to 
require sacrifice ; thus when a mother sees her child walk 
over a grave, she hastens to call it, makes it stand before 
her, and lights a small fire at its feet. 1 The Zulus, whose 
horror of a dead body will induce them to cast out and 
leave in the woods their sick people, at least strangers, 
purify themselves by an ablution after a funeral. It is to be 
noticed that these ceremonial practices have come to mean 
something distinct from mere cleanliness. Kaffirs who will 
purify themselves from ceremonial uncleanness by washing, 
are not in the habit of washing themselves or their vessels 
for ordinary purposes, and the dogs and the cockroaches 
divide between them the duty of cleaning out the milk- 
baskets. 2 Mediaeval Tatar tribes, some of whom had con- 
scientious scruples against bathing, have found passing 
through fire or between two fires a sufficient purification, 
and the household stuff of the dead was lustrated in this 
latter way. 8 

In the organised nations of the semi-civilized and civi- 
lized world, where religion shapes itself into elaborate and 
systematic schemes, the practices of lustration familiar to 
the lower culture now become part of stringent ceremonial 
systems. It seems to be at this stage of their existence 
that they often take up in addition to their earlier cere- 
monial significance an ethical meaning, absent or all but 
absent from them at their first appearance above the reli- 
gious horizon. This will be made evident by glancing over 
the ordinances of lustration in the great national religions 
of history. It will be well to notice first the usages of two 
semi-civilized nations of America, which though they have 
scarcely produced practical effect on civilization at large, 
give valuable illustration of a transition period in culture, 
leaving apart the obscure question of their special civiliza- 

1 Casalis, ' Basutos,' p. 258. 

* Grout, 'Zulu-land,' p. 147; Backhouse, 'Mauritius and S. Africa,' 
pp. 213, 225. 

3 Bastian, ' Mcnsch,' vol. iii. p. 75 ; Rubruquis, in Pinkerton, vol. vii. 
p. 82 ; Piano Carpini in Hakluyt, vol. i. p. 37. 


tion having been influenced in early or late times from the 
Old World. 

In the religion of Peru, lustration is well-marked and 
characteristic. On the day of birth, the water in which the 
child has been washed was poured into a hole in the ground, 
charms being repeated by a wizard or priest ; an excellent 
instance of the ceremonial washing away of evil influences. 
The naming of the child was also more or less generally 
accompanied with ceremonial washing, as in districts where 
at two years old it was weaned, baptized, had its hair cere- 
monially cut with a stone knife, and received its child- 
name ; Peruvian Indians still cut off a lock of the child's 
hair at its baptism. Moreover, the significance of lustra- 
tion as removing guilt is plainly recorded in ancient Peru ; 
after confession of guilt, an Inca bathed in a neighbouring 
river and repeated this formula, ' O thou River, receive the 
sins I have this day confessed unto the Sun, carry them 
down to the sea, and let them never more appear.' 1 In 
old Mexico, the first act of ceremonial lustration took place 
at birth. The nurse washed the infant in the name of the 
water-goddess, to remove the impurity of its birth, to 
cleanse its heart and give it a good and perfect life ; then 
blowing on water in her right hand she washed it again, 
warning it of forthcoming trials and miseries and labours, 
and praying the invisible Deity to descend upon the water, 
to cleanse the child from sin and foulness, and to deliver it 
from misfortune. The second act took place some four 
days later, unless the astrologers postponed it. At a festive 
gathering, amid fires kept alight from the first ceremony, 
the nurse undressed the child sent by the gods into this sad 
and doleful world, bade it receive the life-giving water, and 
washed it, driving out evil from each limb and offering to 
the deities appointed prayers for virtue and blessing. It 

1 Rivero and Tschudi, 'Peruvian Antiquities,' p. 180; J. G. Miiller, 
' Amer. Urrelig.' p. 389; Acosta, ' Ind. Occ.' v. c. 25; Brinton, p. 126. 
Sec account of the rite of driving out sicknesses and evils into the rivers, 
Rites and Laws of Incas,' tr. and ed. by C. R. Markham, p. 22. 


was then that the toy instruments of war or craft or house- 
hold labour were placed in the boy's or girl's hand (a custom 
singularly corresponding with one usual in China), and the 
other children, instructed by their parents, gave the new- 
comer its child-name, here again to be replaced by another 
at manhood or womanhood. There is nothing unlikely in 
the statement that the child was also passed four times 
through the fire, but the authority this is given on is not 
sufficient. The religious character of ablution is well 
shown in Mexico by its forming part of the daily service 
of the priests. Aztec life ended as it had begun, with 
ceremonial lustration ; it was one of the funeral ceremonies 
to sprinkle the head of the corpse with the lustral water of 
this life. 1 

Among the nations of East Asia, and across the more civi- 
lized Turanian districts of Central Asia, ceremonial lustra- 
tion comes frequently into notice ; but it would often bring 
in difficult points of ethnography to attempt a general judg- 
ment how far these may be native local rites, and how far cere- 
monies adopted from foreign religious systems. As examples 
may be mentioned in Japan the sprinkling and naming of 
the child at a month old, and other lustrations connected 
with worship ; * in China the religious ceremony at the first 
washing of the three days' old infant, the lifting of the bride 
over burning coals, the sprinkling of holy-water over sacri- 
fices and rooms and on the mourners after a funeral ; 3 in 
Burma the purification of the mother by fire, and the annual 
sprinkling-festival. 4 Within the range of Buddhism in its 
Lamaist form, we find such instances as the Tibetan and 

1 Sahagun, ' Nueva Espafia,' lib. vi. ; Torquemada, ' Monarquia Indiana,' 
lib. xii. ; Clavigero, vol. ii. pp. 39. 86, &c. ; Humboldt, ' Vues dcs Cor- 
dilleres,' Mendoza Cod. ; J. C. Miiller, p. 652. 

8 Siebold, ' Nippon,' v. p. 22 ; Kempfer, ' Japan,' ch. xiii. in Pinkerton, 
vol. vii. 

3 Doolittle, 'Chinese,' vol. i. p. 120, vol. ii. p. 273. Davis, vol. i. p. 

4 Bastian, ' Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. p. 247 ; Meiners, vol. ii. p. 106 ; Symes 
in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 435. 


Mongol lustration of the child a few days after birth, the 
lama blessing the water and immersing the child thrice, and 
giving its name ; the Buraet consecration by threefold wash- 
ing ; the Tibetan ceremony where the mourners returning 
from the funeral stand before the fire, wash their hands with 
warm water over the hot coals, and fumigate themselves 
thrice with proper formulas. 1 With this infant baptism of 
Tibetans and Mongols may be compared the rite of their 
ethnological kinsfolk in Europe. The Lapps in their semi- 
Christianized state had a form of baptism, in which a new 
name, that of the deceased ancestor who would live again 
in the child, as the mother was spiritually informed in a 
dream, was given with a threefold sprinkling and washing 
with warm water where mystic alder-twigs were put. This 
ceremony, though called by the Scandinavian name of 
' laugo ' or bath, was distinct from the Christian baptism 
to which the Lapps also conformed. 2 The natural ethno- 
graphic explanation of these two baptismal ceremonies 
existing together in Northern Europe, is that Christianity 
had brought in a new rite, without displacing a previous 
native one. 

Other Asiatic districts show lustration in more compact 
and characteristic religious developments. The Brahman 
leads a life marked by recurring ceremonial purification, 
from the time when his first appearance in the world brings 
uncleanness on the household, requiring ablution and clean 
garments to remove it, and thenceforth through his years 
from youth to old age, where bathing is a main part of the 
long minute ceremonial of daily worship, and further wash- 
ings and aspersions enter into more solemn religious acts, 
till at last the day comes when his kinsfolk, on their way 
home from his funeral, cleanse themselves by a final bath 
from their contamination by his remains. For the means 

1 Koppen, ' Religion des Buddha,' vol. ii. p. 320 ; Bastian, ' Psychologic,' 
pp. 151, 211 ; ' Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 499. 

2 Leems, ' Finnmarkens Lapper.' Copenhagen, c. xiv., xxii., and Jessen, 
c. xiv. ; Pinkerton, vol. i. p. 483 ; Klcmm, ' Cultur-Gesch.' vol. iii. p. 77. 


of some of his multifarious lustrations the Hindu has re- 
course to the sacred cow, but his more frequent medium of 
removing uncleanness of body and soul is water, the divine 
waters to which he prays, ' Take away, O Waters, whatso- 
ever is wicked in me, what I have done by violence or curse, 
and untruth ! ' l The Parsi religion prescribes a system of 
lustrations which well shows its common origin with that 
of Hinduism by its similar use of cow's urine and of water. 
Bathing or sprinkling with water, or applications of ' nirang ' 
washed off with water, form part of the daily religious rites, 
as well as of such special ceremonies as the naming of the 
new-born child, the putting on of the sacred cord, the puri- 
fication of the mother after childbirth, the purification of 
him who has touched a corpse, when the unclean demon, 
driven by sprinkling of the good water from the top of the 
head and from limb to limb, comes forth at the left toe and 
departs like a fly to the evil region of the north. It is, 
perhaps, the influence of this ancestral religion, even more 
than the actual laws of Islam, that makes the modern 
Persian so striking an example of the way in which cere- 
mony may override reality. It is rather in form than in 
fact that his cleanliness is next to godliness. He carries 
the principle of removing legal uncleanness by ablution so 
far, that a holy man will wash his eyes when they have been 
polluted by the sight of an infidel. He will carry about a 
water-pot with a long spout for his ablutions, yet he depopu- 
lates the land by his neglect of the simplest sanitary rules, 
and he may be seen by the side of the little tank where 
scores of people have been in before him, obliged to clear 
with his hand a space in the foul scum on the water, before 
he plunges in to obtain ceremonial purity.* 

1 Ward, ' Hindoos,' vol. ii. pp. 96, 246, 337 ; Colebrooke, ' Essays/ 
vol. ii. Wuttke, ' Gesch. des Heidenthums,' vol. ii. p. 378. ' Rig-Veda,' i. 

22, 2 3 . 

* Avesta, Vendidad, v.-xii. ; Lord, in Pinkerton, vol. viii. p. 570 ; 
Naoroji, ' Parsee Religion ' ; Polak, ' Persien,' vol. i. p. 355, &c., vol. ii. 
p. 271. Meiners, vol. ii. p. 125. 


Over against the Aryan rites of lustration in the religions 
of Asia, may be set the well-known types in the religions of 
classic Europe. At the Greek amphidromia, when the child 
was about a week old, the women who had assisted at the 
birth washed their hands, and afterwards the child was 
carried round the fire by the nurse, and received its name ; 
the Roman child received its praenomen with a lustration at 
about the same age, and the custom is recorded of the nurse 
touching its lips and forehead with spittle. To wash before 
an act of worship was a ceremony handed down by Greek and 
Roman ritual through the classic ages : Ka0ap<u? 81 Spoo-ois, 
a<t>v$*voi <rrxVr vaovs eo lavatum, ut sacrificem. The 
holy-water mingled with salt, the holy-water vessel at 
the temple entrance, the brush to sprinkle the worshippers, 
all belong to classic antiquity. Romans, their flocks and 
herds and their fields, were purified from disease and other 
ill by lustrations which show perfectly the equivalent nature 
of water and fire as means of purification ; the passing of 
flocks and shepherds through fires, the sprinkling water with 
laurel branches, the fumigating with fragrant boughs and 
herbs and sulphur, formed part of the rustic rites of the 
Palilia. Bloodshed demanded the lustral ceremony. Hektor 
fears to pour with unwashen hands the libation of dark 
wine, nor may he pray bespattered with gore to cloud- 
wrapped Zeus ; .<Eneas may not touch the household gods 
till cleansed from slaughter by the living stream. It was 
with far changed thought that Ovid wrote his famous reproof 
of his too-easy countrymen, who fancied that water could 
indeed wash off the crime of blood : 

' Ah nimium faciles, qui tristia crimina caedis 
Fluminea tolli posse putetis aqua.' 

Thus, too, the mourner must be cleansed by lustration 
from the contaminating presence of death. At the door of 
the Greek house of mourning was set the water- vessel, that 
those who had been within might sprinkle themselves and 
be clean ; while the mourners returning from a Roman 


funeral, aspersed with water and stepping over fire, were by 
this double process made pure. 1 

The ordinances .of purification in the Lcvitical law relate 
especially to the removal of legal uncleanness connected 
with childbirth, death, and other pollutions. Washing was 
prescribed for such purposes, and also sprinkling with 
water of separation, water mingled with the ashes of the red 
heifer. Ablution formed part of the consecration of priests, 
and without it they might not serve at the altar nor enter 
the tabernacle. In the later times of Jewish national history, 
perhaps through intercourse with nations whose lustrations 
entered more into the daily routine of life, ceremonial wash- 
ings were multiplied. It seems also that in this period 
must be dated the ceremony which in after ages has held so 
great a place in the religion of the world, their rite of 
baptism of proselytes. 2 The Moslem lustrations are ablu- 
tions with water, or in default with dust or sand, performed 
partially before prayer, and totally on special days or to 
remove special uncleanness. They are strictly religious 
acts, belonging in principle to prevalent usage of Oriental 
religion ; and their details, whether invented or adopted as 
they stand in Islam, are not carried down from Judaism or 
.Christianity. 8 The rites of lustration which have held and 
hold their places within the pale of Christianity are in well- 
marked historical connexion with Jewish and Gentile ritual. 
Purification by fire has only appeared as an actual ceremony 

1 Details in Smith's ' Die. of Gr. and Rom. Ant.' and Pauly, ' Real- 
Encyclopcdie,' s.v. ' amphidromia,' ' lustratio,' ' sacrificium,' ' funus ' ; 
Meiners, ' Gesch. dcr Religionen,' book vii. ; Lomeyer, ' De Veterum Gen- 
tilium Lustrationibus ' ; Montfaucon, ' L'Antiquite Expliquee,' &c. Special 
passages ; Homer, II. vi. 266 ; Eurip. Ion. 96 ; Theocrit. xxiv. 95 ; Virg. 
JEn. ii. 719; Plaut. Aulular. iii. 6; Pers. Sat. ii. 31 ; Ovid. Fast. i. 669, 
ii. 45, iv. 7Z7 ; Festus, s.v. ' aqua et ignis,' &c. The obscure subject of 
lustration in the mysteries is here left untouched. 

* Ex. xxix. 4, xxx. 1 8, xl. 12 ; Lev. viii. 6, xiv. 8, xv. 5, xxii. 6 ; Numb, 
xix. &c. ; Lightfoot in ' Works,' vol. xi. ; Browne in Smith's ' Die. of the 
Bible,' s.v. ' baptism ; ' Calmet, ' Die.' &c. 

3 Reland, ' De Religione Mohammedanica ; ' Lane, ' Modern Eg.' vol. i. 
p. 98, &c. 


among some little-known Christian sects, and in the Euro- 
pean folklore custom of passing children through or over 
fire, if indeed we can be sure that this rite is lustral and 
not sacrificial. 1 The usual medium of purification is water. 
Holy-water is in full use through the Greek and Roman 
churches. It blesses the worshipper as he enters the temple, 
it cures disease, it averts sorcery from man and beast, it 
drives demons from the possessed, it stops the spirit-writer's 
pen, it drives the spirit-moved table it is sprinkled upon to 
dash itself frantically against the wall ; at least these are 
among the powers attributed to it, and some of the most 
striking of them have been lately vouched for by papal 
sanction. This lustration with holy- water so exactly con- 
tinues the ancient classic rite, that its apologists are apt to 
explain the correspondence by arguing that Satan stole it 
for his own wicked ends.* Catholic ritual follows ancient 
sacrificial usage in the priest's ceremonial washing of hands 
before mass. The priest's touching with his spittle the 
ears and nostrils of the infant or catechumen, saying, 
' Ephphatha,' is obviously connected with passages in the 
Gospels ; its adoption as a baptismal ceremony has been 
compared, perhaps justly, with the classical lustration by 
spittle. 3 Finally, it has but to be said that ceremonial 
purification as a Christian act centres in baptism by water, 
that symbol of initiation of the convert which history traces 
from the Jewish rite to that of John the Baptist, and thence 
to the Christian ordinance. Through later ages adult bap- 
tism carries on the Jewish ceremony of the admission of 
the proselyte, while infant baptism combines this with the 
lustration of the new-born infant. Passing through a range 
of meaning such as separates the sacrament of the Roman 

1 Bingham, ' Antiquities of Christian Church," book xi. ch. 2. Grimm, 
' Deutsche Mythologie,' p. 592 ; Leslie, ' Early Races of Scotland,' vol. i. 
p. 113 ; Pennant, in Pinkerton, vol. iii. p. 383. 

2 Rituale Romanum ; Gaume, ' L'Eau Be'nite ; ' Middleton, ' Letter from 
Rome,' Sec. 

3 Rituale Romanum. Bingham, book x. ch. 2, book xv. ch. 3. See 
Mark vii. 34, viii. 23 ; John ix. 6. 


centurion from the sacrament of the Roman cardinal, becom- 
ing to some a solemn symbol of new life and faith, to some 
an act in itself of supernatural efficacy, the rite of baptism 
has remained almost throughout the Christian world the 
outward sign of the Christian profession. 

In considering the present group of religious ceremonies, 
their manifestations in the religions of the higher nations 
have been but scantily outlined in comparison with their 
rudimentary forms in the lower culture. Yet this reversal 
of the proportions due to practical importance in no way 
invalidates, but rather aids, the ethnographic lessons to be 
drawn by tracing their course in history. Through their 
varied phases of survival, modification, and succession, they 
have each in its own way brought to view the threads of 
continuity which connect the faiths of the lower with the 
faiths of the higher world ; they have shown how hardly 
the civilized man can understand the religious rites even of 
his own land without knowledge of the meaning, often the 
widely unlike meaning, which they bore to men of distant 
ages and countries, representatives of grades of culture far 
different from his. 



Practical results of the study of Primitive Culture Its bearing least upon 
Positive Science, greatest upon Intellectual, Moral, Social, and Political 
Philosophy Language Mythology Ethics and Law Religion 
Action of the Science of Culture, as a means of furthering progress 
and removing hindrance, effective in the course of Civilization. 

IT now remains, in bringing to a close these investigations 
on the relation of primitive to modern civilization, to urge 
the practical import of the considerations raised in their 
course. Granted that archaeology, leading the student's 
mind back to remotest known conditions of human life, 
shows such life to have been of unequivocally savage type ; 
granted that the rough-hewn flint hatchet, dug out from 
amidst the bones of mammoths in a drift gravel-bed to lie 
on an ethnologist's writing-table, is to him a very type of 
primitive culture, simple yet crafty, clumsy yet purposeful, 
low in artistic level yet fairly started on the ascent toward 
highest development what then? Of course the history 
and prae-history of man take their proper places in the 
general scheme of knowledge. Of course the doctrine of 
the world-long evolution of civilization is one which 
philosophic minds will take up with eager interest, as a 
theme of abstract science. But beyond this, such research 
has its practical side, as a source of power destined to 
influence the course of modern ideas and actions. To 
establish a connexion between what uncultured ancient men 
thought and did, and what cultured modern men think and 
do, is not a matter of inapplicable theoretic knowledge, for 
it raises the issue, how far are modern opinion and conduct 



based on the strong ground of soundest modern knowledge, 
or how far only on such knowledge as was available in the 
earlier and ruder stages of culture where their types were 
shaped. It has to be maintained that the early history of 
man has its bearing, almost ignored as that bearing has 
been by those whom it ought most stringently to affect, on 
some of the deepest and most vital points of our intellectual, 
industrial, and social state. 

Even in advanced sciences, such as relate to measure and 
force and structure in the inorganic and organic world, it is 
at once a common and a serious error to adopt the principle 
of letting bygones be bygones. Were scientific systems the 
oracular revelations they sometimes all but pretend to be, 
it might be justifiable to take no note of the condition of 
mere opinion or fancy that preceded them. But the inves- 
tigator who turns from his modern text-books to the 
antiquated dissertations of the great thinkers of the past, 
gains from the history of his own craft a truer view of the 
relation of theory to fact, learns from the course of growth 
in each current hypothesis to appreciate its raison d'etre 
and full significance, and even finds that a return to older 
starting-points may enable him to find new paths, where 
the modern track seems stopped by impassable barriers. 
It is true that rudimentary conditions of arts and sciences 
are often rather curious than practically instructive, 
especially because the modern practitioner has kept up, as 
mere elementary processes, the results of the ancient or 
savage man's most strenuous efforts. Perhaps our tool- 
makers may not gain more than a few suggestive hints from 
a museum of savage implements, our physicians may only 
be interested in savage recipes so far as they involve the 
use of local drugs, our mathematicians may leave to the 
infant-school the highest flights of savage arithmetic, our 
astronomers may only find in the star-craft of the lower 
races an uninstructive combination of myth and common- 
place. But there are departments of knowledge, of not less 
consequence than mechanics and medicine, arithmetic and 


astronomy, in which the study of the lowest stages, as influ- 
encing the practical acceptance of the higher, cannot be 
thus carelessly set aside. 

If we survey the state of educated opinion, not within the 
limits of some special school, but in the civilized world at 
large, on such subjects especially as relate to Man, his 
intellectual and moral nature, his place and function among 
his fellow-men and in the universe at large, we see existing 
side by side, as if of equal right, opinions most diverse in 
real authority. Some, vouched for by direct and positive 
evidence, hold their ground as solid truths. Others, though 
founded on crudest theories of the lower culture, have been 
so modified under the influence of advancing knowledge, 
as to afford a satisfactory framework for recognized facts ; 
and positive science, mindful of the origin of its own 
philosophic schemes, must admit the validity of such a 
title. Others, lastly, are opinions belonging properly to 
lower intellectual levels, which have held their place into 
the higher by mere force of ancestral tradition ; these are 
survivals. Now it is the practical office of ethnography to 
make known to all whom it may concern the tenure of 
opinions in the public mind, to show what is received on 
its own direct evidence, what is ruder ancient doctrine 
reshaped to answer modern ends, and what is but time- 
honoured superstition in the garb of modern knowledge. 

Topic after topic shows at a glimpse the way in which 
ethnography bears on modern intellectual conditions. 
Language, appearing as an art in full vigour among rude 
tribes, already displays the adaptation of childlike devices 
in self-expressive sound and pictorial metaphor, to utter 
thoughts as complex and abstruse as savage minds demand 
speech for. When it is considered how far the development 
of knowledge depends on full and exact means of expressing 
thought, is it not a pregnant consideration that the language 
of civilized men is but the language of savages, more or less 
improved in structure, a good deal extended in vocabulary, 
made more precise in the dictionary definition of words ? 


The development of language between its savage and 
cultured stages has been made in its details, scarcely in its 
principle. It is not too much to say that half the vast 
defect of language as a method of utterance, and half the 
vast defect of thought as determined by the influence of 
language, are due to the fact that speech is a scheme 
worked out by the rough and ready application of material 
metaphor and imperfect analogy, in ways fitting rather the 
barbaric education of those who formed it, than our own. 
Language is one of those intellectual departments in which 
we have gone too little beyond the savage stage, but are 
still as it were hacking with stone celts and twirling 
laborious friction-fire. Metaphysical speculation, again, has 
been one of the potent influences on human conduct, and 
although its rise, and one may almost say also its decline 
and fall, belong to comparatively civilized ages, yet its 
connexion with lower stages of intellectual history may to 
some extent be discerned. For example, attention may be 
recalled to a special point brought forward in this work, that 
one of the greatest metaphysical doctrines is a transfer to 
the field of philosophy from the field of religion, made when 
philosophers familiar with the conception of object-phantoms 
used this to provide a doctrine of thought, thus giving rise 
to the theory of ideas. Far more fully and distinctly, the 
study of the savage and barbaric intellect opens to us the 
study of Mythology. The evidence here brought together 
as to the relation of the savage to the cultured mind in the 
matter of mythology has, I think, at any rate justified this 
claim. With a consistency of action so general as to amount 
to mental law, it is proved that among the lower races all 
^over the world the operation of outward events on the 
inward mind leads not only to statement of fact, but to 
formation of myth. It gives no unimportant clues to the 
student of mental history, to see by what regular processes 
myths are generated, and how, growing by wear and in- 
creasing in value at secondhand, they pass into pseudo- 
historic legend. Poetry is full of myth, and he who will 


understand it analytically will do well to study it ethno- 
graphically. In so far as myth, seriously or sportively 
meant, is the subject of poetry, and in so far as it is couched 
in language whose characteristic is that wild and rambling 
metaphor which represents the habitual expression of savage 
thought, the mental condition of the lower races is the key 
to poetry nor is it a small portion of the poetic realm 
which these definitions cover. History, again, is an agent 
powerful, and becoming more powerful, in shaping men's 
minds, and through their minds their actions in the world ; 
now one of the most prominent faults of historians is that, 
through want of familiarity with the principles of myth- 
development, they cannot apply systematically to ancient 
legend the appropriate test for separating chronicle from 
myth, but with few exceptions are apt to treat the mingled 
mass of tradition partly with undiscriminating credulity and 
partly with undiscriminating scepticism. Even more in- 
jurious is the effect of such want of testing on that part of 
traditional or documentary record which, among any section 
of mankind, stands as sacred history. It is not merely that 
in turning to the index of some book on savage tribes, one 
comes on such a suggestive heading as this, ' Religion see 
Mythology.' It is that within the upper half of the scale 
of civilization, among the great historic religions of the 
world, we all know that between religion and religion, and 
even to no small extent between sect and sect, the narratives 
which to one side are sacred history, may seem to the other 
mythic legend. Among the reasons which retard the pro- 
gress of religious history in the modern world, one of the 
most conspicuous is this, that so many of its approved 
historians demand from the study of mythology always 
weapons to destroy their adversaries' structures, but never 
tools to clear and trim their own. It is an indispensable 
qualification of the true historian that he shall be able to 
look dispassionately on myth as a natural and regular product 
of the human mind, acting on appropriate facts in a manner 
suited to the intellectual state of the people producing it, 


and that he shall treat it as an accretion to be deducted 
from professed history, whenever it is recognized by the 
tests of being decidedly against evidence as fact, and at the 
same time clearly explicable as myth. It is from the ethno- 
graphic study of savage and barbaric races that the know- 
ledge of the general laws >f myth-development, required for 
the carrying out of tnls critical process, may be best or 
must necessarily be gained. 

The two vast united provinces of Morals and Law have 
been as yet too imperfectly treated on a general ethno- 
graphic scheme, to warrant distinct statement of results. 
Yet thus much may be confidently said, that where the 
ground has been even superficially explored, every glimpse 
reveals treasures of knowledge. It is already evident that 
enquirers who systematically trace each department of 
moral and legal institutions from the savage through the 
barbaric and into the civilized condition of mankind.thereby 
introduce into the scientific investigations of these subjects 
an indispensable element which merely theoretical writers 
are apt unscrupulously to dispense with. The law or 
maxim which a people at some particular stage of its his- 
tory might have made fresh, according to the information 
and circumstances of the period, is one thing. The law or 
maxim which did in fact become current among them by 
inheritance from an earlier stage, only more or less modified 
to make it compatible with the new conditions, is another 
and far different thing. Ethnography is required to bridge 
over the gap between the two, a very chasm where the argu- 
ments of moralists and legists are continually falling in, to 
crawl out maimed and helpless. Within modern grades of 
civilization this historical method is now becoming more 
and more accepted. It will not be denied that English 
law has acquired, by modified inheritance from past ages, a 
theory of primogeniture and a theory of real estate which 
are so far from being products of our own times that we 
must go back to the middle ages for anything like a satis- 
factory explanation of them ; and as for more absolute 


survival, did not Jewish disabilities stand practically, and 
the wager of battle nominally, in our law of not many 
years back ? But the point to be pressed here is, that the 
development and survival of law are processes that did not 
first come into action within the range of written codes of 
comparatively cultured nations. Admitted that civilized 
law requires its key from barbaric law ; it must be borne 
in mind that the barbarian lawgiver too was guided in 
judgment not so much by first principles, as by a reverent 
and often stupidly reverent adherence to the tradition of 
earlier and yet ruder ages. 

Nor can these principles be set aside in the scientific 
study of moral sentiment and usage. When the ethical 
systems of mankind, from the lowest savagery upward, have 
been analyzed and arranged in their stages of evolution, 
then ethical science, no longer vitiated by too exclusive 
application to particular phases of morality taken unrea- 
sonably as representing morality in general, will put its 
methods to fair trial on the long and intricate world-history 
of right and wrong. 

In concluding a work of which full half is occupied by 
evidence bearing on the philosophy of religion, it may well 
be asked, how does all this array of facts stand toward the 
theologian's special province ? That the world sorely needs 
new evidence and method in theology, the state of religion 
in our own land bears witness. Take English Protestantism 
as a central district of opinion, draw an ideal line through 
its centre, and English thought is seen to be divided as by 
a polarizing force extending to the utmost limits of repul- 
sion. On one side of the dividing line stand such as keep 
firm hold on the results of the i6th century reformation, or 
seek yet more original canons from the first Christian ages ; 
on the other side stand those who, refusing to be bound by 
the doctrinal judgments of past centuries, but introducing 
modern science and modern criticism as new factors in 
theological opinion, are eagerly pressing toward a new 
reformation. Outside these narrower limits, cxtremer 


partizans occupy more distant ground on either side. On 
the one hand the Anglican blends gradually into the Roman 
scheme, a system so interesting to the ethnologist for its 
maintenance of rites more naturally belonging to barbaric 
culture ; a system so hateful to the man of science for its 
suppression of knowledge, and for that usurpation of 
intellectual authority by a sacerdotal caste which has at 
last reached its climax, now that an aged bishop can judge, 
by infallible inspiration, the results of researches whose 
evidence and methods are alike beyond his knowledge and 
his mental grasp. On the other hand, intellect, here 
trampled under foot of dogma, takes full revenge elsewhere, 
even within the domain of religion, in those theological 
districts where reason takes more and more the command 
over hereditary belief, like a mayor of the palace supersed- 
ing a nominal king. In yet farther ranges of opinion, 
religious authority is simply deposed and banished, and the 
throne of absolute reason is set up without a rival even in 
name ; in secularism the feeling and imagination which in 
the religious world are bound to theological belief, have to 
attach themselves to a positive natural philosophy, and to a 
positive morality which shall of its own force control the acts 
of men. Such, then, is the boundless divergence of opinion 
among educated citizens of an enlightened country, in an age 
scarcely approached by any former age in the possession of 
actual knowledge and the strenuous pursuit of truth as the 
guiding principle of life. Of the causes which have brought 
to pass so perplexed a condition of public thought, in so 
momentous a matter as theology, there is one, and that a 
weighty one, which demands mention here. It is the partial 
and one-sided application of the historical method of enquiry 
into theological doctrines, and the utter neglect of the 
ethnographical method which carries back the historical 
into remoter and more primitive regions of thought. Look- 
ing at each doctrine by itself and for itself, as in the abstract 
true or untrue, theologians close their eyes to the instances 
which history is ever holding up before them, that one phase 


of a religious belief is the outcome of another, that in all 
times religion has included within its limits a system of 
philosophy, expressing its more or less transcendental con- 
ceptions in doctrines which form in any age their fittest 
representatives, but which doctrines are liable to modifica- 
tion in the general course of intellectual change, whether 
the ancient formulas still hold their authority with altered 
meaning, or are themselves reformed or replaced. Christen- 
dom furnishes evidence to establish this principle, if for 
example we will but candidly compare the educated opinion of 
Rome in the 5th with that of London in the igth century, on 
such subjects as the nature and functions of soul, spirit, deity, 
and judge by the comparison in what important respects the 
philosophy of religion has come to differ even among men 
who represent in different ages the same great principles of 
faith. The general study of the ethnography of religion, 
through all its immensity of range, seems to countenance 
the theory of evolution in its highest and widest sense. In 
the treatment of some of its topics here, I have propounded 
special hypotheses as to the order in which various stages of 
doctrine and rite have succeeded one another in the history 
of religion. Yet how far these particular theories may hold 
good, seems even to myself a minor matter. The essential 
part of the ethnographic method in theology lies in admit- 
ting as relevant the compared evidence of religion in all 
stages of culture. The action of such evidence on theology 
proper is in this wise, that a vast proportion of doctrines 
and rites known among mankind are not to be judged as 
direct products of the particular religious systems which 
give them sanction, for they are in fact more or less 
modified results adopted from previous systems. The 
theologian, as he comes to deal with each element of belief 
and worship, ought to ascertain its place in the general 
scheme of religion. Should the doctrine or rite in question 
appear to have been transmitted from an earlier to a later 
stage of religious thought, then it should be tested, like 
any other point of culture, as to its place in development. 


The question has to be raised, to which of these three cate- 
gories it belongs : is it a product of the earlier theology, 
yetsound enough to maintain a rightful place in the later? 
is it derived from a cruder original, yet so modified as to be- 
come a proper representative of more advanced views ? is 
it a survival from a lower stage of thought, imposing on the 
credit of the higher by virtue not of inherent truth but of 
ancestral belief ? These are queries the very asking of 
which starts trains of thought which candid minds should 
be encouraged to pursue, leading as they do toward the 
attainment of such measure of truth as the intellectual con- 
dition of our age fits us to assimilate. In the scientific 
study of religion, which now shows signs of becoming for 
many a year an engrossing subject of the world's thought, 
the decision must not rest with a council in which the 
theologian, the metaphysician, the biologist, the physicist, 
exclusively take part. The historian and the ethnographer 
must be called upon to show the hereditary standing of each 
opinion and practice, and their enquiry must go back as far 
as antiquity or savagery can show a vestige, for there seems 
no human thought so primitive as to have lost its bearing 
on our own thought, nor so ancient as to have broken its 
connection with our own life. 

It is our happiness to live in one of those eventful periods 
of intellectual and moral history, when the oft-closed gates 
of discovery and reform stand open at their widest. How 
long these good days may last, we cannot tell. It may be 
that the increasing power and range of the scientific method, 
with its stringency of argument and constant check of fact, 
may start the world on a more steady and continuous course 
of progress than it has moved on heretofore. But if history 
is to repeat itself according to precedent, we must look for- 
ward to stiffer duller ages of traditionalists and commenta- 
tors, when the great thinkers of our time will be appealed 
to as authorities by men who slavishly accept their tenets, 
yet cannot or dare not follow their methods through better 
evidence to higher ends. In either case, it is for those 


among us whose minds are set on the advancement of 
civilization, to make the most of present opportunities, that 
even when in future years progress is arrested, it may be 
arrested at the higher level. To the promoters of what is 
sound and reformers of what is faulty in modern culture, 
ethnography has double help to give. To impress men's 
minds with a doctrine of development, will lead them in all 
honour to their ancestors to continue the progressive work 
of past ages, to continue it the more vigorously because 
light has increased in the world, and where barbaric hordes 
groped blindly, cultured men can often move onward with 
clear view. It is a harsher, and at times even painful, office 
of ethnography to expose the remains of crude old culture 
which have passed into harmful superstition, and to mark 
these out for destruction. Yet this work, if less genial, is 
not less urgently needful for the good of mankind. Thus, 
active at once in aiding progress and in removing hind- 
rance, the science of culfare is essentially a reformer's 


Abacus, i. 270. 

Acceiu, i. 173. 

Acephali, i. 300. 

Achilles : vulnerable spot, i. 358 ; 

dream, i. 444 ; in Hades, ii. 81, 
Acosta, on American archetypal 

deities, ii. 244. 
Adam, ii. 312, 315. 
/Elian, i. 372, ii. 423 ; on Kyno- 

kephali, i. 389. 
/Bolus, i. 361, ii. 269. 
^Esculapius : incubation in temple, 

ii. 121 ; serpents of, ii. 241. 
Affirmative and negative particles, 

i. 192. 

Afghans, race-genealogy of, i. 403. 
Agni, ii. 281, 386. 
Agreement in custom and opinion 

no proof of soundness, i. 13. 
Agriculture, god of, ii. 305. 
Ahriman, ii. 328. 
Ahura-Mazda, ii. 283, 328, 355. 
Alexander the Great, i. 395, ii. 138. 
Alfonso di Liguori, St., bilocation 

of, i. 447. 

Alger, W. R., i. 471, 484, ii. 83. 
Algonquin languages, animate and 

inanimate genders^ i. 302. 
Ali as Thunder-god, ii. 264. 
All Souls', feast of dead, ii. 37. 
Allegory, i. 277, 408. 
Aloysius Gonzaga, St., letters to, ii. 

Alphabet, i. 171 ; by raps, i. 145 ; 

as numeral series, i. 258. 
Amatongo, i. 443, ii. 115, 131, 313, 

367, 387. 
Amend, Egyptian dead-land, ii. 67, 

81, ^6, 295, 311. 
Amphidromia, ii. 439. 
Analogy, myth product of, i. 297. 
Ancestors, eponymic myths of, i. 

398, ii. 234 ; worship of divine, 

ii. 113, 311 ; see Manes-worship, 

Ancestral names indicate re-birth 

of souls, ii. 5. 

Ancestral tablet, Chinese, . ii. 1 18, 

Andaman Islanders, mythic origin 
of, i. 369, 389. 

Angang, omen from meeting animal, 
i, 1 20. 

Angel, see Spirit ; of death, i. 295, 
ii. 196, 322. 

Angelo, St., legend of, i. 295. 

Anima, animus, i. 433, 470. 

Animals : omens from, i. 120 ; calls 
to and cries of, 177; imitative 
names from cries, &c., 206 ; treated 
as human, i. 467, ii. 230 ; souls of, 
i. 469 ; future life and funeral sac- 
rifice of, i. 469, ii. 75, &c. ; entry 
and transmigration of souls into 
and possession by spirits, ii. 7, 152, 
161, 175, 231, 241, 378, &c. ; dis- 
eases transferred to, ii. 147 ; see 
spirits invisible to men. ii. 196. 

Animals, sacred, incarnations or re- 
presentatives of deities, ii. 231 ; 
receive and consume sacrifices, 

Animal-worship, i. 467, ii. 229, 378. 

Animism : defined, i. 23, 425 ; is the 
philosophy of religion, i. 426, ii. 
356 ; is a primitive scientific sys- 
tem of man and nature based on 
the conception of the human soul, 
i. 428, 499, ii. 1 08, 184, 356 ; its 
stages of development, survival, 
and decline, i. 499, ii. 181, 356. 
See Soul, Spirit, &c., &c. 

Anra-Mainyu, ii. 328. 

Antar, tumulus of, ii. 29. 

Anthropomorphic conceptions of 
spirit and deity, ii. no, 184, 247 

A 33 - 5 '., 

Antipodes, i. 392. 

Ape-men, i. 379 ; apes degenerate 
men, 376 ; can but will not talk, 

Apollo, ii. 294. 
Apophis-serpent, ii. 241. 
Apotheosis, ii. 120. 


456 INDEX. 

Apparitional soul, i. 428 ; its like- 
ness to body, 450. 

Apparitions, i. 143, 440, 445, 478, u. 
24, 187, 410, &c. 

Archetypal deities and ideas, n. 243. 

Ares, ii. 308. 

Argos Panoptes, L 320. _ 

Argyll, Duke of, on primaeval man, 
i. 60. 

Arithmetic, see Counting. 

Arriero, i. 191. 

Arrows, magic, i. 34?. 

Artemidorus, on dream-omens, i. 

Artemis, ii. 302. 

Aryan race : no savage tribe among, 
i. 49 ; antiquity of culture, i. 54. 

Ascendant in horoscope, i. 129. 

Ashera, worship of, ii. 166, 226. 

Ashes strewn for spirit-footprints, i. 
455, ii. 197. 

Asmodeus, n. 254. 

Association of ideas, foundation of 
magic, i. 116. 

Astrology, i. 128, 291. 

Atahentsic, ii. 299, 309, 323. 

Atahocan, ii. 323, 340. 

Atavisnij explained by transmigra- 
tion, ii. 3. 

Atheist, use of word, i. 420. 

Augury, &c., i. 119. See ii. 179, 232. 

Augustine, St., i. 199, 441, ii. 54, 
427 ; on dreams, i. 441 ; on incubi, 
ii. 190. 

Augustus, genius of, ii. 202. 

Avatars, ii. 239. 

Avernus, Lake, ii. 45. 

Ayenbite of Inwyt, i. 456. 

Baal-Shemesh, ii. 295. 

Bacon, Lord, on allegory, i. 277. 

Baetyls, animated stones, ii. 166. 

Baku, burning wells of, ii. 281. 

Baldr, i. 464. 

Bale, Bishop, i. 384 ; on witchcraft, 

i. 142. 

Bands, clerical, i. 18. 
Baptism, ii. 440 ; orientation in, 427. 
Baring-Gould, S., on werewolves, i. 

Bastian, Adolf, Mensch in der Ge- 

schichte, i. vi. ; ii. 209, 222, 242, 

280, &c. 

Baudet, etymology of, i. 413. 
Beal, ii. 252, 408. 
Bear, Great, i. 359. 
Beast-fables, i. 381, 409. 
Bees, telling, i. 287. 
Bel, ii. 293, 380, 384. 

Berkeley, Bishop, on ideas, i. 499 ; 
on force and matter, ii. 160. 

Bewitching by objects, i. 1 16. 

Bible and key, ordeal by, i. 128. 

Bilocation, i. 447. 

Bird, of thunder, i. 362 ; bird con- 
veys spirit, ii. 161, 175. 

Blackstone's Commentaries, i. 20. 

Blemmyae, headless men, i. 390. 

Blood : related to soul, i. 43 1 ; re- 
vives ghosts, ii. 48 ; offered to 
deities, 381 ; substitute for life, 

Blood-red stain, myths to account 
for, i. 406. 

Bloodsuckers, ii. 191. 

Blow-tube, i. 67. 

Bo tree, ii. 218. 

Boar's head, ii. 408. 

Boats without iron, myth on, i. 

3 - 

Bochica, i. 353, n. 290. 

Boehme, Jacob, on man's primitive 
knowledge, ii. 185. 

Bolotu, ii. 22, 62, 310. 

Boni Homines, i. 77. 

Book of Dead, Egyptian, ii. 13, 96. 

Boomerang, i. 67. 

Boreas, i. 362, ii. 268. 

Bosjesman, etymology of word, i. 

Bow and Arrow, i. 7, 1 5, 64, 73. 

Brahma, ii. 354, 425. 

Brahmanism : funeral rites, i. 465, 
&c.; transmigration, ii. 9, 19, 
97; manes-worship, 119; stone- 
worship, 1 64 ; idolatry, 1 78 ; 
animal-worship, 238; sun-wor- 
ship, 292; orientation, 425 ; lustra- 
tion, 437. 

Breath, its relation to soul, i. 432. 

Bride-capture, game of, i. 72. 

Bridge, first crossing, i. 106 ; of 
dead, i. 495, ii. 50, 94, 100, &c. 

Brinton, D. G.j i. 53, 36ij ii. 90, 
340 ; on dualistic myths, ii. 320. 

Britain, eponymic kings of, i. 400 ; 
voyage of souls to, ii. 64. 

Brosses, C. de, on degeneration and 
development, i. 36 ; origin of lan- 
guage, 161 ; fetishism, ii. 144; 
species-deities, 246. 

Browne, Sir Thos., on magnetic 
mountain, i. 375. 

Brutus, evil genius of, ii. 203. 

Brynhild, i. 465. 

Buck, buck, game of, i. 74. 

Buddha, transmigrations of, i. 414, 
ii. ii. 

Buddhism: culture-tradition, i. 41; 
saints rise in air, i. 149; trans- 
migration, ii. n, 20, 97; nirvana, 
ii. 79; tree-worship, i. 476, ii. 217; 
serpent - worship, 240 ; religious 
formulas, 372. 

Buildings, victim immured in 
foundation, i. 104, &c. ; mythic 
founders of, i. 394. 

Bull, Bishop, on guardian angels, 
ii. 203. 

Bura Pennu, ii. 327, 35O ? 368, 404. 

Burial, ghost wanders till, ii. 27 , 
corpse laid east and west, 423. 

Burning oats from straw, i. 44. 

Burton, R. F., continuance-theory 
of future life, ii. 75 ; disease- 
spirits, 150. 

Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, in- 
cubi, &c., ii. 191. 

Buschmann, on nature-sound, i. 

Butler, Bishop, on natural religion, 
ii. 356. 

Cacodzmon, ii. 138, 202. 

Casar, on German deities, ii. 294. 

Cagots, i. 115, 384. 

Calls to animals, i. 177. 

Calmet, on souls, i. 457 ; on spirits, 

ii. 1 88, &c. 
Calumet, i. 210. 
Candles against demons, ii. 194. 
Cantj myth on word, i. 397. 
Cardinal numbers, i. 257. 
Cards, Playing, i. 82, 126. 
Cassava, i. 63. 
Castren, ii. 80, 155, 177, 245, 351, 


Cave-men, condition of, i. 59. 
Ceremonies, religious, ii. 362, &c. 
Ceres, ii. 306. 
Chances, games of, their relation to 

arts of divination, i. 78. 
Chanticleer, i. 413. 
Charivari at eclipse, i. 329. 
Charms: objects, i. 118, ii. 148; 

formulas, their relation