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PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO 
ATLANTA SAN FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED 

LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD. 

TORONTO 



PRIMITIVE 
SECRET SOCIETIES 

A Study in Early Politics 
and Religion 



BY 



BUTTON WEBSTER, PH.D. 

PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE 
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1908 

All rights reserved 




COPYRIGHT, 1908, 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Set up and electrotyped. Published January, 1908. 



Norton ofc 

J. 8. Gushing Co. Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.8.A. 



Co 
MY FATHER AND MOTHER 



PREFACE 

RECENT years have witnessed great accretions to our 
knowledge of the initiation ceremonies and secret societies 
found among many savage and barbarous communities 
throughout the world. The data bearing upon these mat- 
ters, collected by the patient efforts of scholarly investigators 
in Australia, Melanesia, Africa, and North America, are 
of singular interest to the student of primitive sociology 
and religion. The present work represents an effort, 
necessarily provisional in the light of existing information, 
to arrive at the significance of the materials so laboriously 
and so carefully collected. Starting with no preconceived 
notions of the subject, the author has endeavored to shape 
his theories in accordance with his facts and in many in- 
stances by abstaining from generalization, to let his facts 
carry their own significance to the reader's mind. In the 
final chapter, which is to be regarded as an appendix, the 
wide diffusion of initiatory rites and secret organizations 
has been indicated. The bibliography supplied in this 
connection, though not exhaustive, probably notices nearly 
everything of importance so far published. 

The scope of the work precluded any attempt to supply a 
detailed examination of the various secret societies. More- 
over, the evidence for the men's house (Chap. I) and for the 
age-classificatory system (Chap. VI) has been presented only 
in barest outline. For additional details on these several 
topics, reference may be made to the valuable treatise by 
the late Heinrich Schurtz (Altersklassen und Manner bunde. 



viii PREFACE 

Berlin, 1902). Had I learned of Dr. Schurtz's book at 
the beginning of my studies instead of at their conclusion, 
I should have gained a greater profit from this first effort 
to summarize the evidence for the puberty institution and 
the secret society. But I am glad to acknowledge my 
indebtedness to this work as well as to the writings of Leo 
Frobenius and Dr. J. G. Frazer, for sundry references to 
literature which I had overlooked, even after a somewhat 
protracted research. 

In its original form as a thesis for the doctorate in Politi- 
cal Science at Harvard University, my study has enjoyed 
the advantage of a preliminary examination by Professor 
W. Z. Ripley and Professor T. N. Carver. To them my 
sincere thanks are due, as also to Professors Toy and Moore, 
whose reading of the manuscript a work of supereroga- 
tion on their part was all the more appreciated. To 
Professor Roland B. Dixon of the Peabody Museum, I 
feel especially indebted for helpful advice and never-failing 
encouragement from the beginning of my task to its com- 
pletion. Nor must I fail to acknowledge a non-academic 
obligation to my wife, whose unselfish devotion has light- 
ened many burdens in the preparation of this book. 

HUTTON WEBSTER. 

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, 
December, 1907. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

THE MEN'S HOUSE 

In primitive society the separation of the sexes a widespread and fundamental 
practice, p. I . This separation in part secured by the institution of 
the men's house, which serves a general purpose as the centre of the 
civil, religious, and social life of the tribe, and a special purpose as the 
abode of unmarried males, pp. I, 2. Examples of this institution to 
be found among savage and barbarous peoples in all parts of the world : 
in Australia, p. 3 ; in New Guinea, pp. 35 ; throughout the Melane- 
sian area, pp. 5, 6; among the islands of Torres Straits, pp. 6, 7 ; in 
Borneo, pp. 7, 8 ; in the East Indian and Philippine Archipelago, 
pp. 8, 9 ; in Hindustan and Further India, pp. 9, 10; throughout the 
Micronesian and Polynesian area, pp. 1012; in Africa, pp. 1214; 
in South America, pp. 14, 1 5 ; in Mexico and Central America, pp. 1 5, 
16; and in various regions of North America, pp. 1619. 

CHAPTER II 

THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 

Sexual separation within the tribe also secured by the grouping of the males 
on the basis of age distinctions, p. 20. The passage from one age 
group to another usually attended with ceremonies of a secret and initia- 
tory character, p. 20. Such ceremonies especially numerous and 
significant when the tribal youth reach the age of puberty, p. 21. 
Initiatory rites mark the completion of childhood and the separation of 
the youth from women and children, pp. 2124. Initiation into the 
tribal association consequently compulsory for the males, pp. 2427. 
The uninitiated enjoy no privileges or prestige, p. 27. Great im- 
portance must be attached to initiation as providing strong bonds of 
brotherhood within the tribe, pp. 27, 28. Initiatory performances 
form the characteristically social feature of primitive life, pp. 2831. 
. ix 



x CONTENTS 

CHAPTER III 

THE SECRET RITES 

The general features of the secret rites the periodic initiation of the young 
men by the elders, their seclusion, their subjection to various ordeals, 
their instruction in tribal wisdom and obedience much the same among 
all primitive peoples, p. 32. An example in the rites of the Tusca- 
rora Indians, pp. 32, 33. The initiatory ordeals provide a prepara- 
tion for the life of warriors and serve as tests of courage and endurance, 
pp. 34, 35. Puberty mutilations often the badges or signs of initia- 
tion, pp. 35, 36. Circumcision as the typical ordeal, p. 37. 
Initiation rites usually include a mimic representation of the death and 
resurrection of the novices, pp. 3 840. Candidates also acquire a new 
name and an esoteric dialect, pp. 4043. At the close of their 
initiatory seclusion novices often allowed sexual privileges previously 
forbidden to them, pp. 4345. The initiatory ceremonies of girls 
distinctly less impressive and important than those of the boys, pp. 45, 
46. Theories of the origin and primary significance of puberty rites, 
pp. 46-48. 

CHAPTER IV 

THE TRAINING OF THE NOVICE 

Real value of the instruction received by the novices during extended periods 
of seclusion, pp. 49, 50. The teaching of these tribal seminaries 
covers a wide range of topics, p. 50. Australian lads learn the mar- 
riage laws, the tribal customs and traditions, the native games, songs, and 
dances, and the prevailing moral code of the community, pp. 50, 51. 
Similar features characterize the initiatory preparation of candidates 
among other primitive peoples: in Torres Straits, p. 52 ; in New 
Guinea and New Pomerania, pp. 53, 54; among the inhabitants of 
Fiji, Halamahera, and Ceram, p. 54; among many African tribes, 
pp. 5456 ; and among the aborigines of South America and North 
America, pp. 5658. 

CHAPTER V 

THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 

General excellence of the initiatory training, p. 59. Its permanent effects 
in the increased respect felt by the novices for the old men and their 
customs, pp. 59, 60. Thus the mysteries as the most conservative 






CONTENTS 



of primitive customs provide an effective system of social control, p. 60. 
Elements of deceit and chicanery appear in the puberty institution 
when the elders learn to use the ceremonies for their own private ad- 
vantage, pp. 60, 6 1 . Illustrations of the mysterious and magical 
objects revealed to candidates at the time of initiation, pp. 6164. 
Rigorous restrictions imposed upon the novices which materially con- 
tribute to the prosperity of the older men, pp. 65, 66. Many exam- 
ples of the numerous food taboos usually enforced at this time, pp. 66 

70. Australia furnishes some evidence of matrimonial taboos, pp. 70, 

71. Often, also, these puberty restrictions prolonged for a lengthy 
period after the completion of the preliminary ordeals, pp. 7173. 

CHAPTER VI 
DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 

With increasing social progress, the powers of control are gradually shifted 
from the elders to the chiefs, and tribal societies charged with impor- 
tant political and judicial functions arise on the basis of the original 
puberty organizations, pp. 74, 75. As contrasted with these earlier 
institutions, tribal societies present several characteristic features : limited 
membership; "degrees"; "lodges"; and elaborate paraphernalia 
of mystery, pp. 7578. In some cases, however, the puberty insti- 
tution may undergo a process of gradual obsolescence, pp. 7880. 
In exceptional instances the initiatory rites may be retained even after 
the development of permanent chieftainships, pp. 8082. The main 
line of development is, however, into the tribal secret society with 
limited membership and numerous degrees, p. 83. Origin of grades 
or degrees in the age-classificatory system, p. 83. Australian evidence 
for age- classifications, pp. 8386. Evidence from New Guinea and 
Fiji, p. 86. Evidence from Africa, pp. 8690. Limitation of 
membership which follows upon the development of numerous degrees, 
pp. 9093. Initiation into the lower grades of the secret society may 
still be customary when the upper grades are reserved for picked initiates 
who can control the organization, pp. 9395. Originally, as in 
Australia, the mysteries embody the inner religious life of the tribe, 
pp. 9598. Subsequent utilization of the mysteries for grossly selfish 
and material ends, pp. 98, 99. Examples of the terrorism practised 
upon the women and uninitiated men : in Australia, pp. 99, I oo ; in 
Torres Straits, pp. 100, 101 ; in New Guinea and New Pomerania, 
pp. 101104. These illustrations show that the strength of the secret 



xii CONTENTS 

organizations rests largely upon the pretended association of their mem- 
bers with the spirits and ghosts of the dead, pp. 104, 105. 

CHAPTER VII 

FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 

Secret societies of the developed type may often provide strong intertribal 
bonds, pp. 1 06, VI 07. Their connection with the rising power of 
the chiefs, pp. 107109. Membership in the tribal society carries 
with it many privileges, pp. 109, no. In general the tribal society 
represents the most primitive movement towards the establishment of 
law and order, pp. 109, 1 10. The Dukduk of the Bismarck Archi- 
pelago as an excellent example of the operations of a tribal society, 
pp. 110114. West African societies often effective engines of gov- 
ernment, pp. 115118. Use of the secret societies to maintain mas- 
culine authority over the women, pp. 1 1 8 1 20. 

CHAPTER VIII 

DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 

Why developing social life naturally involves the decline of the tribal society, 
p. I2i. The admission of women characteristic of the disintegration 
of the secret rites, pp. 121123. The steady encroachment of mis- 
sionaries and traders often brings about their downfall, pp. 123, 124. 

Where the societies survive they tend to become strongholds of 
conservatism and of opposition to all foreign influences, pp. 124, 125. 

Decline of the older societies sometimes associated with rise of 
numerous smaller and more temporary organizations devoted to^sgecial 
uses, pp. 125127. Survival of the tribal societies as pure impostures, 
p. 127. Their occasional development into social clubs, pp. 127 
129. The Melanesian Suqe, pp. 129, 130. Club-like associations 
very numerous among North American Indians, pp. 130134. 

CHAPTER IX 
THE CLAN CEREMONIES 

Tribal secret societies have frequently developed into fraternities of priests 
and shamans charged with the performance of magical and dramatic 
rites, pp. 135, 136. An understanding of this development only 
possible through a study of the primitive totemic clan, pp. 136, 137. 



CONTENTS xiii 

Examination of the Australian evidence exhibits the totemic organiza- 
tion underlying the initiation ceremonies, pp. 137140. In Australia, 
also, the totem groups appear as dramatic and magical corporations, 
pp. 140143. Confirmatory evidence from Torres Straits, pp. 144 
146. Much additional evidence afforded by the fraternities of North 
American Indians, p. 147. Among the Northwest tribes the clan 
organization in decay and secret fraternities in initial stages of develop- 
ment, pp. 147152. Among the Plains Indians the clan organization 
persists in weakened form by the side of the fraternities, pp. 152155. 

Among the tribes of the Southwest the totemic clans have broken 
down to be replaced by numerous and well-developed magical fraterni- 
ties, pp. i 55- 1 59- 

CHAPTER X 

MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 

Summary of the argument that the dramatic and magical practices connected 
with primitive totemic groups survive in the ceremonies of the secret 
societies, pp. 160, 161. Secret magical rites among the natives of 
New Guinea and Torres Straits, pp. 161, 162. Similar rites among 
the Melanesian Islanders, pp. 162164. The -dreoi society of Tahiti 
and other islands in the Polynesian area, pp. 164168. The Uritoi 
society of the Carolines and Mariannes, pp. 168170. The New 
Zealand Whare Kura, pp. 170, 171. Magical rites of African secret 
societies, p. 171. Dramatic performances of African secret societies, 
pp. 172, 173. Connection of the fetish system with the fraternities 
in Africa, pp. 173176. South American examples of magical and 
dramatic rites of a secret character, pp. 176178. The several 
aspects of North American fraternities : as the repositories of tribal 
tradition, ritual, and religion, pp. 178179; as medicine orders, 
pp. 179182; as magical organizations, pp. 182, 183. Illustrations 
of the survival in the rites of Mandan, Navajo, Sia, Zuni, and Hopi 
fraternities of primitive puberty rites, pp. 183189. Conclusion, 
pp. 189, 190. 

CHAPTER XI 

DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 

Australia, pp. 191-194. Tasmania, pp. 195, 196. Melanesia, pp. 196- 
202. Polynesia, pp. 202206. Africa, pp. 206211. South 
America and Central America, pp. 212, 213. North America, 
213-221. 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



CHAPTER I 
THE MEN'S HOUSE 

THE separation of the sexes which exists in civilized so- 
cieties is the outcome, in part, of natural distinctions of sex 
and economic function; in part it finds an explanation in 
those feelings of sexual solidarity to which we owe the 
existence of our clubs and unions. Sexual solidarity itself 
is only another expression for the working of that uni- 
versal law of human sympathy, or in more modern phrase, 
of consciousness of kind, which lies at the foundation of all 
social relations. But in primitive societies, to these forces 
bringing about sexual separation, there is added a force even 
more potent, which originates in widespread beliefs as to 
the transmissibility of sexual characteristics from one in- 
dividual to another. Out of these beliefs have arisen many 
curious and interesting taboos designed to prevent the real 
or imagined dangers incident to the contact of the sexes. 
Sexual separation is further secured and perpetuated by 
the institution known as the men's house, of which examples 
are to be found among primitive peoples throughout the 
world. 

The men's house is usually the largest building in a tribal 
settlement. It belongs in common to the villagers ; it serves 
as council-chamber and town hall, as a guest-house for 
strangers, and as the sleeping resort of the men. Fre- 
quently seats in the house are assigned to elders and other 
leading individuals according to their dignity and importance. 
Here the more precious belongings of the community, such as 



2 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

trophies taken in war or in the chase, and religious emblems 
of various sorts are preserved. Within its precincts, women 
and children, and men not fully initiated members of the 
tribe, seldom .or never enter. When marriage and the 
exclusive possession of a woman do not follow immediately 
upon initiation into the tribe, the institution of the men's 
house becomes an effective restraint upon the sexual pro- 
clivities of the unmarried youth. It then serves as a club- 
house for the bachelors, whose residence within it may be 
regarded as a perpetuation of that formal seclusion of the 
lads from the women, which it is the purpose of the initiation 
ceremonies in the first place to accomplish. Such communal 
living on the part of the young men is a visible token of their 
separation from the narrow circle of the family, and of their 
introduction to the duties and responsibilities of tribal life. 
The existence of such an institution emphasizes the fact that 
a settled family life with a private abode is the privilege of 
the older men, who alone have marital rights over the women 
of the tribe. For promiscuity, either before or after mar- 
riage, is the exception among primitive peoples, who attempt 
not only to regulate by complicated and rigorous marriage 
systems the sexual desires of those who are competent to 
marry, but actually to prevent any intercourse at all of those 
who are not fully initiated members of the community. 

An institution so firmly established and so widely spread 
may be expected to survive by devotion to other uses, as the 
earlier ideas which led to its foundation fade away. As 
guard posts where the young men are confined on military 
duty and are exercised in the arts of war, these houses often 
become a serviceable means of defence. The religious wor- 
ship of the community frequently centres in them. Often 
they form the theatre of dramatic representations. In rare 
instances these institutions seem to have lost their original 
purpose and to have facilitated sexual communism rather 
than sexual separation. Among some tribes the men's 
house is used as the centre of the puberty initiation ceremonies. 
With the development of secret societies, replacing the earlier 
tribal puberty institutions, the men's house frequently be- 
comes the seat of these organizations and forms the secret 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 3 

"lodge." The presence then in a primitive community of 
the men's house in any one of its numerous forms points 
strongly to the existence, now, or in the past, of secret initia- 
tion ceremonies. 

Australian natives, who have no settled abode, present the 
institution in its rudest 'form. Among the Kurnai in south- 
eastern Victoria, the "young men . . . and the married 
men who have not their wives with them, always encamp 
together at some distance from the camps of the married 
men." The bachelors' camp of the Euahlayi, 

a tribe in the northwestern part of New South Wales, was 
known as the Weedegab Gabreemai. 2 The Ungunja of 
the Arunta and other central tribes is defined by Messrs. 
Spencer and Gillen as the "special part of the main camp 
where the men assemble and near to which the women may 
not go." The large Wurley in which Port Dar- 

win (Northern Territory) lads live during their initiatory 
seclusion, has obvious resemblances to the more developed 
form of the men's house found in New Guinea. 4 

Men's houses are numerous in New Guinea. At Dorey 
Bay, in Dutch New Guinea, we find the Rumslam "des 
maisons sacrees, sortes de temples de Venus ou habitent les 
jeunes gens . . ." 5 Similar edifices are reported at Hum- 
boldt Bay. 6 At Berlin Haven, in Kaiser Wilhelm 

Land, the men's house has differentiated into the Parak, or 
spirit-house, and the Alol which serves as a common resort 

1 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Eyre, Journals of Expeditions of Dis- 
xiv (1885), 318 ff. 1 ; cf. 307. The covery into Central Australia, ii, 302- 
Tasmanian custom seems to have 304. 

been the same. We are told that the 4 Parkhouse in Rep. Austr. Assoc. 

unmarried grown lads "slept at fires Adv. Sci., vi (Sidney, 1895), 643. 
removed from the families." (Bon- 5 Raffray in Bull. Soc. Geogr., sixth 

wick, Daily Life and Origin of the series, xv (1878), 393. Cf. also van 

Tasmanians, n.) Hasselt in Zeits.f. . Ethnol., viii (1876), 

2 Mrs. Parker, Euahlayi Tribe, 197; Reise der Osterreichischen Fre- 
61. gatte Novarra um der Erde. Anthro- 

3 Native Tribes of Central Aus- pologischer Theil (Wien, 1868), 17; 
tralia, 656; cf. also Northern Tribes F. H. H. Guillemard, The Cruise of 
of Central Australia, 335 ; Schulze the Marchesa to Kamschatka and New 
in Trans, and Proc. and Rep. Roy. Guinea (London, 1886), ii, 281-282. 
Soc. South Australia, xiv (1891), 6 Otto Finsch, Samoafahrten 
230-231 ; Curr, Australian Race, i, 71 ; (Leipzig, 1888), 356. 



4 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

of the men and as a bachelor's club-house. 1 At Finsch 
Haven the original meaning of the word barium seems to 
have been that of a house set apart for certain purposes; a 
Lum is a guest-house found in every larger village. A Bar- 
ium is a greater house. The word now has come to signify 
the ceremonies of initiation as well as the mysterious spirit 
supposed to preside over them. The bull-roarer employed 
in the ceremonies is called by the natives "the roar of the 
Barium." 2 In the Constantine Haven district we find the 
Buambramba, 3 and at Astrolabe Bay, the Bantje. 4 At Bo- 
gadjim, a village in this region, the men's house is on its 
way toward becoming the centre of the initiation rites. 5 In 
the D'Entrecasteaux Islands every village has its house which 
serves as a gathering place for the men. 6 In British 

New Guinea we find the Eramos (Elamos, Erabos, Eravos), 
M areas, and Dubus. 1 "The fully initiated native regards 
his Eravo as his alma mater; all he knows of the past his- 
tpjry of his tribe; his knowledge of his duties and obliga- 
tions to his tribe and community; his contempt and dislike 
for all and everything opposed to the interests of his tribe 
and community; in brief, all that he is he owes to his Eravo, 
and the teaching he received in h: during his initiation will 
dominate his actions through life/) 8 Of these structures the 
Dubu found along the southern coast east of Port Moresby, 
is the simplest form. It is merely a large open-air, four- 
cornered platform supported by carved posts. The Marea 
of the Mekeo district and the Eramo of the Gulf tribes are 
decorated houses of much more elaborate construction. 

1 Parkinson in Intern. Archil) f. Naturhistorischen Hofsmuseums, vi 
Ethnogr., xiii (1900), 33~35- (Wien, 1891), 24. 

2 Schellong in Intern. Archiv /. 7 Seligmann in Rep. Brit. Assoc. 
Ethnogr., ii (1889), 147, 151. Adv. Sci., Ixix (1899), 591; Mac- 

3 Finsch, op. tit., 47-48. Gregor in Scottish Geogr. Mag., xi 

4 ~Baessler,Sudsee-Bilder, 73;Hoff- (1895), 164; Chalmers and Gill, 
mann in Nachrichten uber Kaiser Work and Adventure in New Guinea, 
Wilhelms-Land und den Bismarck- 185 ; L. M. D'Albertis, New Guinea 
Archipel, xiv (1898), 72-73; Finsch, (London, 1880), i, 318-320; Haddon 
op. tit., 74-75; Lauterbach in Zeits. in Geogr. Jour., xvi (1900), 424-425; 
d. Gesells.f. Erdkunde, xxxiii (1898), Finsch in Mitth. Anthrop. Gesells. 
148. in Wien, xvii (1887), 1-15; Chal- 

5 Hagen, Unter den Papua's, 200. mers, Pioneering in New Guinea, 180. 
8 Finsch in Annalen des k. k. 8 Holmes in Man, v (1905), 3-4. 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 5 

Several of these structures occupied by the different clans 
are found in every village of the Motumotuan tribe. 1 Boys 
undergoing initiation are confined in the upper story of such 
buildings. When an Eramo is built some human life must 
be sacrificed, else the boys will not become strong and brave 
fighting men. 2 West of the Yule Island, among both the 
coast and interior tribes, the men's house disappears in the 
large communal houses inhabited by the men and the smaller 
houses where the women live. 3 In certain other districts 
farther to the west, as at Daudai and on the Fly River, 
these houses are large enough to accommodate many families. 
Sexual separation is still preserved, however, by the practice 
of keeping the end rooms as the club apartments of the men, 
the women and children entering their rooms by the side 
doors. 4 Such houses are obviously a close approach to 
the communal dwellings found among the aborigines of 
Borneo. 

Throughout the Melanesian area the men's house is met 
under various names in the different islands. The so-called 
"temples" found in the Admiralty group are one form of 
this widely prevalent institution. 5 In New Pome- 

rania, the large assembly houses for all the men appear 
to be absent; the men's house is here chiefly the resort of 
the bachelors. 6 Among the Sulka of New Pomerania cir- 
cumcision takes place in the men's house, or A Ngaula. 1 In 
the Gazelle Peninsula the men's house is called Palnatarei. 8 
In New Mecklenburg, the club-houses are also used for the 
reception of guests. 9 The Tohes of Santa Anna, 

St. Christoval, and neighboring islands of the Solomon 
group are of great size and beauty. In them the natives 



1 Haddon in Science Progress, ii e Finsch in Annalen des k. k. 

(1894), 85-86. Naturhistorischen Hofsmuseums, iii 

3 Edelfeldt, quoted in Amer. An- (Wien, 1888), 100. 
thropologist, v (1892), 288. 7 Rascher in Archiv /. Anthrop., 

3 MacGregor, British New Guinea, xxix (1904), 212-213. 

85. 8 Hahl in Nachrichten uber Kaiser 

4 Haddon in Geogr. Jour., xvi Wilhelms-Land und den Bismarck- 
(1900), 421. Archipel., xiii (1897), 70. 

6 Birgham in Globus, xxxi (1897), ' Finsch, op. cit., 130. 

202. 



6 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

keep their war canoes. Such houses serve also as sanc- 
tuaries; blood is rarely shed within their precincts. In the 
Tohes are preserved the bones of the chiefs and great war- 
riors as well as the skulls of ordinary men. Boys at puberty 
are confined in these houses for a year or more until initiation 
is completed. 1 At Alu and Treasury Island in Bougain- 
ville Straits the Tobe is represented by a mere open canoe 
shed almost destitute of ornament and apparently held in 
little veneration. 2 In the eastern islands of 

the Melanesian Archipelago we find the Madai of the Santa 
Cruz group, 3 the Gamal of the Torres Islands, Banks 
Islands, and Northern New Hebrides, 4 the Imeium of 
Tanna and the Simanlo of Erromanga, islands of the South- 
ern New Hebrides. 5 In the Banks Islands when a boy 
passes out of childhood he is sent to sleep in the Gamal, 
his parents saying, "He is a boy; it is time to separate him 
from the girls." 6 In all the islands of this region the men's 
house appears as a club-house for which preliminary pay- 
ments at entrance and additional payments at later periods 
are required. Thus at Meli, one of the New Hebrides, 
the men prepare all their food in their own club-house which 
is of course tabooed to women. Anything that a woman 
cooks would be considered unclean. Only in childhood 
does a boy eat with his mother. 7 In the Loyalty 

Islands, bachelors' establishments are common, 8 and they 
are probably to be found in New Caledonia. 9 

In every inhabited island of Torres Straits "there was a 
certain area set apart for the use of the men which was 
known as a Kwod." Some islands appear to have had one 

1 Gaggin, Among the Man-Eaters, * Codrington, op. cit., 101; Gaggin, 
159-161, 212-213; Guppy, The op. cit., 93; Coote, The Western 
Solomon Islands and their Natives, Pacific (London, 1883), 64; Baessler, 
53 67-71 ; Hagen in Tour du Monde, Sudsee-Bilder, 203. 

Ixv (1893), 375; Woodford in Proc. 5 Gray in Intern. Archiv f. Eth- 

Roy. Geogr. Soc., new series, x (1888), nogr., vii (1894), 230; H. A. Robert- 

372; Elton in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., son, Erromanga, the Martyr Isle, 375. 

xvii (1887), 97; C. F. Wood, A 6 Codrington, op. cit., 231. 

Yachting Cruise in the South Seas 7 Baessler, Sudsee-Bilder, 203. 

(London, 1875), 118-121. 8 Ella in Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. 

2 Guppy, op. cit., 71. Sci., iv (Sidney, 1893), 625. 

3 Codrington, Melanesians, 102. 9 Codrington, op. cit., 101. 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 7 

only; others had several. 1 The term kwod was also applied 
to the village houses for the reception of visitors. The 
institution of the Kwod " lent itself to prolonged intercourse, 
as we may safely regard each Kwod as being the real centre 
of the public life of individual communities." 2 No woman 
or girl "might visit a Kwod, boy-children might go, but not 
when a ceremony was taking place. After initiation the 
young men could frequent the Kwod and they habitually 
slept there and they had to look after the place, keep it in] 
order, fetch water, collect firewood, attend to the fires, and, 
in fact, to do whatever the elder men required of them. If 
the elder men went out to fish or to harpoon dugong or turtle 
and had good luck, they would probably bring some fish 
or meat to the Kwod, and it was the duty of the young men 
to cook it. Grey-headed men talked and discussed about 
fighting, dancing, tai, augud, women, and other matters of 
interest. The young men sat still and learnt from the old 
men, as my informant said, 'it was like a school.'" 3 

The men's house in one or more of its numerous forms is 
found among many Borneo tribes. 4 The Pangab, or head- 
house, of the Land Dyaks of Sarawak serves both as the 
abode of the unmarried men and as the place of reception 
for guests. 5 The long houses of the Sea Dyaks 

contain an entire village community settled, primarily for 
safety, in one building. Such houses "are really villages 
of a single street, the veranda being a public thoroughfare, 
unobstructed throughout its whole length, in front of the 
private family rooms." 6 This veranda, or Ruai, is the sole 
survival of the men's house. Here all male visitors are 

1 Haddon in Reports of the Cam- 5 Roth, Natives of Sarawak and 
bridge Anthropological Expedition to British North Borneo, ii, 156; Col- 
Torres Straits, v, 3. lingwood, Rambles of a Naturalist, 

2 Ibid., 263-264. 3 Ibid., 365-366. 237-240; Spencer St. John, Life in 
4 Forrest, A Voyage to New the Forests of the Far Easf, i, 139, 

Guinea and the Moluccas (Dublin, 167; Sir Hugh Low, Sarawak (Lon- 

1779), 102; Boyle, Adventures among don, 1848), 280; A. R. Hein, Die 

the Dyaks of Borneo (London, 1865), Bildenden Kunste bei den Dayaks auf 

63; Wallace, The Malay Archipelago, Borneo (Wien, 1890), 15, 216. 

i, 103; Bock, The Head-Hunters of e Furness, Home Life of Borneo 

Borneo, 197; Yule, in Jour. An- Head-Hunters, 2. 

throp. Inst., ix (1880), 296. 



8 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

invariably received and here at night they sleep with the 
boys and bachelors. 1 

The existence of the men's house is disclosed in many of 
the East Indian islands. Among the Battaks of Sumatra 
the institution is known as the Balei, or town hall, 2 the 
Djamboer, 3 and the Sopo. In the districts where the Sopos 
are found they are open to the women who sit in them and 
ply their daily tasks of weaving. 4 " La notte vi dormono i 
giovanotti non ammogliati e siccome le donne non maritate 
non devono dormire a casa loro, ma presso qualche vecchia 
vedova che le ospita tutte, non e raro che quel chaperon 
poco severo le accompagni nel Sopo per conversare coi loro 
giovani amici." 5 At Nias, an island off the western 

coast of Sumatra, the Osale is "la sala delle adunanze, ove si 
riuniscono col Capo i piu vecchi guerrieri per discutere 
questioni che interessano 1'intero villaggio, come il dichiarar 
guerra, concludere la pace ed amministrare la giustizia." 
The "guest-house" of the Mentawai group, south of Nias, 
is used for similar purposes. 7 In the central parts 

of Celebes, the men's house is known as the Lobo. s In 

many islands of the Banda Sea such as Flores, Letti, and 
Timorlaut, we meet with the same institution. In Flores it 
is called Romaluli* in the Kei Islands, Roemah kompani 
in Timor, Umalulik. 11 In Ceram, the Baleuw, or 

men's house, is employed as the secret lodge of the powerful 

1 Roth, op. tit., ii, 12; Henry 162; Volz in Tijds. k. n. Aardrijks.- 
Keppel, The Expedition to Borneo of Genoots., second series, xvi (1899), 
H.M.S. Dido (New York, 1846), 33. 432. 

2 Marsden, History of Sumatra 5 Modigliani, Fra i Batacchi In- 
(London, 1811), 56, 266-267; Von dipendenti, 28. 

Hiigel in Geogr. Jour., vii (1896), 6 Id., Un Viaggio a Nias, 209. 

177; Emil and Lenore Selenka, Son- 1 Maass, Bei liebenwiirdigen Wil- 

nige Welten, 308, 337; Giesenhagen, den, 104 sq. 

Auf Java und Sumatra, 219, 226-227; 8 Paul and Fritz Sarasin in Zeits. 

Julius Jacobs, Het Famil'ie-en Kam- d. Gesells. f. Erdkunde, xxix (1894), 

pong-leven op Groot-Atjeh (Leiden, 332. 

1894), i, 74-75. 9 Jacobsen, Reise in die Inselwelt 

3 Westenberg in Tijds. k. n. des Banda-Meeres, 46, 140, 213. 
Aardrijks. -Genoots., second series, 10 Plantin in Globus, Ixii (1892), 
xiv (1897), 10. 316. 

4 Kodding in Globus, liii (1888), " Forbes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
76; Schreiber in Ausland, Iv (1882), xiii (1883), 411-412. 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 9 

Kakian organization. The rites of the society take place 
in an enclosed part of the structure hidden from the gaze of 
the uninitiated. 1 In each village of Formosa there 

are one or more Palangkans, large enough to hold all the 
boys who have reached the age of puberty and are still un- 
married. In the Palangkans^ also, various public matters are 
discussed by the village elders. As public caravanserais, 
they are often open to all visitors. 2 

The men's house exists among the less civilized inhabit- 
ants of the Philippine Archipelago. The Igorot, who 
dwell in the mountains of northern Luzon, possess the in- 
stitution in a double form. The Pabafunan "is the man's 
club by day, and the unmarried man's dormitory by night, 
and, as such, it is the social centre for all men of the Ato 
[political division], and it harbors at night all men visiting 
from other pueblos." 3 In addition there is the Fawi, or 
council-house, which is more frequented by the older than 
by the younger men. In some cases the two structures 
are under the same roof. 4 

Common to all the Dravidian tribes of India is the hab- 
itation called among the Oraons, Dhumkuria, in which 
the bachelors reside. In some of the villages the young 
unmarried women have a separate building of their own like 
the Dhumkuria, where they sleep under the guardianship 
of elderly women. In other villages the women sleep in 
the bachelors' houses. "The Dhumkuria fraternity are 
under the severest penalties bound down to secrecy in regard 
to all that takes place in their dormitory; and even girls 
are punished if they dare to tell tales. They are not allowed 
to join in the dances till the offence is condoned. They 
have a regular system of fagging in this curious institution. 
The small boys serve those of larger growth, shampoo their 
limbs, and comb their hair, etc., and they are sometimes 
subjected to severe discipline to make men of them." 5 

1 Prochnik in Mitth. k. k. Geogr. Ethnographical Survey of the PhUip- 
Gesells.inWien, xxxv (1892), 596-597. pines, i (Manila, 1905), 51. 

2 Taylor in Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc., 4 Ibid., 52. 

new series, xi (1889), 231; Kisak 5 E. T. Dalton, Descriptive Eth- 

Tamai in Globus, Ixx (1896), 96. nology of Bengal (Calcutta, 1872), 

3 Jenks, "The Bontoc Igorot" in 248. See also 272. 



io PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Among the various primitive tribes of Indonesian type 
occupying mountainous districts of further India, the 
men's house flourishes to-day chiefly as a guard-house 
where the young men live in a semi-military organization. 
"I could not find," writes one observer of the Nagas of 
eastern Assam, "that there was any initiation when boys 
first left their parents' homes and slept at the Morang; it 
seemed to be a civil rather than a social institution." l 
Among the Kolya Nagas the young married men are to- 
gether with the bachelors in the club-houses. 2 In addition 
to the separate sleeping quarters which the Angami, or 
Western Nagas, provide for their young men, there are 
platforms in the centre of every village, where the old men 
and the young men meet separately for their tribal discus- 
sions. The decision of the elders usually prevails. 3 Among 
the Abors the village notables meet daily in the Morang for 
discussion of affairs of state. "The most important and 
the most trivial matters are there discussed. Apparently 
nothing is done without a consultation, and an order of the 
citizens in Morang assembled is issued daily regulating the 
day's work." Similar institutions are found 

among the Mois and Khas of Siam, 5 and among various 
tribes of Anam, 6 and Cambodia. 7 

Some form of the men's house appears to be widely ex- 
tended throughout both Micronesia and Polynesia. 8 In 

1 Furness in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., by S. E. Peal, "On the Morong as 
xxxii (1902), 454. See also Peal in possibly a Relic of Pre-marriage 
Jour. Roy. Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, Hi, Communism," Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
part ii (1883), 16-17. xxn ' (^93)) 248-249. 

2 Watt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 5 Bonin in Bull. Soc. Geogr., 
xvi (1887), 358. seventh series, xvii (Paris, 1896), 

3 Prain in Revue Coloniale Inter- 112; Bel, ibid., xix (1898), 270. 
nationale, v (1887), 480, 491. 6 Cupet in Tour du Monde, Ixv 

4 Dalton, op. cit., 24. See also (1893), 200-207, 216, 218; Lemire in 
for further descriptions Schlagintweit Revue d' Ethnographic, viii (1889), 
in Globus, xxxiv (1878), 264; Brown- 282-283. 

low in Proc. Asiatic Soc. of Bengal 7 Aymonier, Le Cambodge (Paris, 

(January, 1874), 17-18, and plate ii; 1900), i, 32. 

Needham in Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc., 8 For examples from the Pelew 

new series, viii (1886), 317; Miss Islands, the Carolines, and the La- 

Godden in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., drones, see infra, pp. 168-170. 
xxvi (1896), 179-192; and the paper 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 11 

the Polynesian area the men's house is largely a social and 
religious institution, often under the direct control of the 
chiefs and leading families. Many illustrations are found 
in the Maniapa of the Gilbert Islands, the council-house of 
the men where every noble family had its own seat along 
the sides of the structure, 1 in the Heiau of the Hawaiian 
Islands, 2 the Malai of the Tonga group, 3 and in the struc- 
tures generally called Maraes or Marais, found in the Austral 
or Tubuai group,. 4 the Union group, 5 the Society Islands, 6 
the Navigator and Friendly Islands, 7 at Penrhyn Island, 8 
and at Fanning Island. 9 At Niue or Savage Island, the 
Tutu where chiefs sat in council with the king was a struc- 
ture similar to the Marais. 10 The Mara or Moroi of the 
Marquesas Islands, also served as a temporary resting-place 
for the bodies of deceased chiefs. 11 In the Hervey group, 
at convenient intervals, the king as high priest of all the 
gods, summoned the young people to their various family 
Maraes to be publicly "named." In Samoa, 

the annual feasts in honor of the gods were celebrated in the 
central Maraes of the villages. 13 The Faletele, or spirit- 
houses, of the Samoan villages were generally placed in the 
principal Maraes. Here the young men slept by themselves 

1 Hale in United States Exploring 8 Smith in Trans, and Proc. New 
Expedition, vii (Philadelphia, 1846), Zealand Inst., xxii (1889), 92. 

101 ; Meinicke, Die Inseln des StUkn R. F. de Tolna, Chez les Can- 
Oceans, ii, 335. nibales (Paris, 1903), 39. 

2 William Ellis, Narrative of a 10 Smith in Jour. Polynesian Soc., 
Tour through Hawaii or Owhyhee xi (1902), 174. 

(London, 1827), 52, 81-85, 248; n Lament, Wild Life among the 

Moseley, Notes by a Naturalist, 439 ; Pacific Islanders (London, 1867), 

Bastian, Zur Kenntniss Hawaii's, 120-122,275; G. H. von Langsdorff, 

34. Voyages and Travels in Various Parts 

3 Mariner, An Account of the of the World (London, 1813), i, 
Natives of the Tonga Islands (Edin- 134; Baessler, Neue SUdsee-Bilder, 
burgh, 1827), i, 91-92 n. Cf. also 219. 

Basil Thompson, The Diversions of 12 Gill, Myths and Songs from 

a Prime Minister (Edinburgh, 1894), the South Pacific, 38; see also 

300, 379. S. P. Smith, "Arai-Te-Tonga, the 

4 Globus, Iv (1886), 68. Ancient Marae at Rarotonga," in 

5 Hale, op. cit., vii, 157. Jour. Polynesian Soc., xii (1903), 
' Baessler, Neue Sudsee-Bilder, 218-220. 

111-148. 13 Stair in Jour. Polynesian Soc., 

7 Hale, op. cit., 26. v (1896), 54; George Turner, Nine- 



12 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

and received the visitors to the community. 1 In 

the Fiji Islands, at least two Bures-ni-sa, or strangers' houses, 
were found in every village. In them all the male popu- 
lation passed the night. "The women and girls sleep at 
home; and it is quite against Fijian etiquette for a husband 
to take his night's repose anywhere except at one of the public 
bures of his town or village, though he will go to his family 
soon after dawn." 2 In New Zealand the Marae 

survived as the courtyard in front of the large assembly 
houses where dances or meetings were held and speeches 
were made. 3 

Africa yields sufficient evidence to indicate the existence 
of the men's house throughout that continent. Basutos 
boys, until marriage, live in a common house and are con- 
isidered at the public service. 4 In the Kbotla of the Bech- 
uanas, the tribesmen meet in general assembly for the dis- 
cussion of matters of common interest. The Kbotla also 
serves as the audience room of the chiefs. 5 Adjoining the 
structure is the chamber where initiation ceremonies take 
place. 6 After initiation and until their marriage, the young 
men remain in the Kbotla on guard-post duty. 7 The Tondo 
of the Bawenda, a Transvaal tribe, serves as a resort for the 
young men and as a watch-house for the town guard. 8 

teen Years in Polynesia (London, cient history, genealogies, and religion 

1861), 288; id., Samoa, 93, 181. of the people. In the Whare Mata, 

1 Stair, Old Samoa, 84, 109-110, the manufacture of traps and snares 
129; id. in Jour. Polynesian Soc., iii was carried on. The Whare Taper e 
(1894), 240; v (1896), 45. was the place where the village young 

2 Seemann, Viti (London, 1862), people met at night for games. Best 
no. See also, Williams and Cal vert, in Trans, and Proc.. New Zealand 
Fiji and the Fijians, 132; Wilkes, Inst., xxxi (1898), 626; Hamilton, 
Narrative of the United States Ex- op. cit., 96; H. G. Robley, Moko; 
ploring Expedition (Philadelphia, or Maori Tattooing (London, 1896), 
1845), i", 86. 118. 

* A. Hamilton, Maori Art (Wei- 4 Casalis, Les Bassoutos, 281. 

lington, 1896), 73. The New Zea- 5 Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Sud- 

land men's house appears to have Afrika's, 194, 208. 
developed into a number of separate 6 James Chapman, Travels in the 

institutions. Every important Maori Interior of South Africa (London, 

village contained several houses spe- 1868), i, 44. 
cially built for various purposes. The 7 Fritsch, op. cit., 208. 

Whare Maire or Whare Takiura was 8 Gottschling in Jour. Anthrop. 

a sacred house for teaching the an- Inst., xxxv (1905), 369, 372. 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 13 

Among the tribes inhabiting the Bondei country (German 
East Africa) all the bachelors and the boys who are too 
old to remain at home occupy the Bweni. Such persons 
are not regarded as members of the tribe, at least 
so far as to assume all the tribal obligations. 1 The 
Hotibo of the Ba-Ronga of Delagoa Bay is described as 
"la place publique sur laquelle les hommes se reunissent 
pour jouer, pour causer, ou pour discuter de leurs 
affaires." 2 Among the Uriyamwesi east of Lake 

Tanganyika, there are usually two Iwan-zas, or club-houses, 
in every village. "As soon as a boy attains the age of 
seven or eight years, he throws off the authority of his 
mother, and passes most of his time at the club, usually 
eating, and often sleeping there." 3 The Iwanza was "a 
long room, twelve by eighteen feet, with one door, a 
low flat roof, well blackened with smoke, and no chim- 
ney. Along its length there ran a high inclined bench, 
on which cow-skins were spread for men to take their 
siesta. Some huge drums were hung in one corner, and 
logs smouldered on the ground. The young men of the 
village gathered at the club-house to get the news. . . . 
Dances would take place in the space in front of it, either , 
by day or night." 4 Masai boys, after circumcision, live ! 
for a number of years in the Kraal of the unmarried men. 5 ! 
The men's house is found in the Congo Free State 
among the East Manyema 6 and Mogwandi, 7 among the 
Wapokomo of British East Africa, 8 the Yaunde and 
other tribes of Kamerun, 9 the Fang of French Congo, 



1U 



1 Dale in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxv 7 Thonner, Im Afrikanischen Ur- 
(1896), 196-197. ivald, 71. 

2 Junod, Les Ba-Ronga, 104. 8 Denhardt in Petermanns Mit- 
8 V. L. Cameron, Across Africa, i, teilungen, xxvii (1881), 18. 

181; see also Burton, Lake Regions 9 Zenker in Mitth. v. Forschungs- 

of Central Africa, i, 354; ii, 27-28, reisenden und Gelehrten aus den 

279, 285. Deutschen Schutzgebieten, iv (1891), 

4 J. A. Grant, A Walk Across 139; viii (1895), 39, 56; Tappenbeck, 
Africa, 65-66. ibid., \ (1888), 115-116; Contau, 

5 Joseph Thomson, Through ibid., xii (1899), 202; Dominik, 
Masai Land, 248. Kamerun, 55. 

6 Stanley, Through the Dark Con- 10 Bennett in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
tinent, ii, 82. xxix (1899), 70-71, 79. 



i 4 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

and the Mandingoes of Western Soudan. 1 Some 

interesting survivals among the Mohammedan tribes of 
northern Africa should be noticed. In Wadai, separate 
dwellings are provided for the elders (Dschemma), the 
middle-aged men, and for the youths. In these resorts 
the men sit from morning till night and here they take their 
meals. 2 The Djemaa of the Kabyles of Algeria is the gen- 
eral assembly of the citizens in which all the men who have 
reached their majority take part. The term is also applied 
to the public building where their meetings are held. 3 
Among the Djebala of Morocco, the name Djemaa is ap- 
plied to the organization of the elders who form the govern- 
ing body of the tribe; the men's house is called Be'it-e$- 
ohfa. "Tout ce beau monde se reunit dans chaque village 
au Beit-e$-{obfa, sorte de maison commune ou ont enfermees 
les armes et les munitions du village et qui est en meme 
temps le theatre d'orgies effrenees." 4 

Among the Bororo, an aboriginal tribe of Brazil, the 
Batto, or men's house, is the central feature of their existence. 
The family huts serve for little more than as the resorts of 
the women and children and of the older warriors and 
hunters. The associated men are called Aroe. "Der 
Stamm macht den Eindruck eines aus Jagern zusammen- 
gesetzen Mannergesangvereins, dessen Mitglieder sich ver- 
pflichten, solange sie nicht etwa 40 Jahre alt sind, nicht zu 
heiraten sondern in ihrem Klubhaus mit einander zu 
leben." 5 Among the Kulisehu, a neighboring tribe which 
has developed an agricultural life, the organization of the 
younger men in the Aroe is of far less importance; family 
life is customary and the Aroe is prominent chiefly as a 
dancing organization. 6 Many other Brazilian tribes have 

1 Park, Travels, i, 59. Geogr. et d'Archeol. de la Province 

2 Nachtigal, Sahara und Sudan, d'Oran, xix (1899), 23. 

iii, 244-246. 5 Von den Steinen, Unter den 

3 Hanoteau and Letourneux, Le Naturvolkern Zentral-Brasiliens, 480. 
Kabylie et les Coutumes Kabyles, ii, See also on the Baito or Bahito, Frie 
20-21; Randall-Maciver and Wilkin, and Radin in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
Libyan Notes, plate vii, 2. xxxvi (1906), 388. 

4 Doutte, Les Djebala du Maroc, 6 Von den Steinen, op. cit., 59, 
separate reprint from Bull. Soc. de 480 sq. 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 15 

one form or another of the men's house. 1 There is also 
some evidence for the institution among Guiana tribes. 2 

In Mexico and Central America, the men's house is 
found among some of the tribes still living in a primitive 
condition. The Huichol Indians of the Mexican state of 
Jalisco have the Tokipa, the "house of all." 3 The Tejas, 
an old Mexican tribe, had special houses used solely for 
council meetings. 4 With many of the interior tribes of 
Honduras, the village consists merely of one large building 
like the long houses of the Borneo aborigines. The back 
part of such a structure is partitioned off into small bedrooms 
for married couples and unmarried women. A platform 
immediately under the roof serves for the boys. 5 Among 
the Isthmian tribes "each village has a public, town, or 
council-house," 6 and these are also found among the 
Guatemala Indians. 7 The secret councils and assemblies 
of the Nicaragua Indians were held in a house called 
Grepon. 8 In every city and town of ancient Mexico 

there were large houses situated near the temples where 
the young men were taught by the priests. These Tel- 
puckcali, as they were called, appear to have been used also 
as the sleeping resorts of the young men. 9 Very similar 
were the Calpules found in the provinces now a part of 
Guatemala. These were barracks where the warriors and 



1 Ehrenreich in Veroffentlichungen 4 Mrs. Harby in Ann. Rep. Amer. 
aus dem Koniglichen Museum f. Hist. Assoc. for 1894 (Washington, 
Volkerkunde, ii (Berlin, 1891), 34; 1895), 80. 

C. F. P. von Martius, Beitrdge zur 5 Bancroft, Native Races of the 

Ethnographic und Sprachenkunde Pacific States, i, 718. 

Amerika's zumal Brasiliens (Leipzig, 6 Ibid., i, 756. 

1867), i, 65-67, 113, 391, 410, 597; 7 Ibid., i, 693. 

Steere in Ann. Rep. U. S. Nat. Mus. 8 G. F. de Oviedo y Valdes, His- 

for 1901 (Washington, 1903), 382- toire du Nicaragua in Ternaux- 

383. Compans, Voyages, Relations, et Me- 

2 Brett, Indian Tribes of Guiana moires, etc., xiv (Paris, 1840), 62. 
(New York, 1852), 60, 63 ; Harris 9 Bernardino de Sahagun, His- 
in Fifteenth Annual Archaeological toria general de las cosas de Nueva 
Report of David Boyle to the Minister Espana (Mexico, 1829, ed. Busta- 
of Education, Ontario (Toronto, mente), 66 n. 2 , 268-270, 306; F. J. 
1904), 141. Clavigero, Historia antigua de Mex- 

3 Lumholtz in Mem. Amer. Mus. ico (Mexico, 1844, Eng. trans.), i, 
Nat. Hist., iii (1900), 9. 336-337- 



16 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

the young unmarried men passed the night. 1 " In the town 
of Tepeaca," writes Herrera, "was a great House, in the 
Nature of a College, where four hundred Youths chosen 
by the Prime Men resided. These men were authorized 
to stand in the Tianguez, which is the Market, and if any 
Woman brought with her a Maiden Daughter, above twelve 
Years of Age, they ask'd the Mother, why she did not marry 
that Girl ? She gave what reason she thought fit; the young 
Man reply'd, It is now Time for her to breed, and not to 
spend her Time in vain, carry her to the House of the young 
Batchelors, and he appointed the Time. She rejoyn'd, that 
she had not the Dues belonging to it, but would bring them 
by such a Day, and that was a Mantle, and the Cloth two 
Yards long, which the Men wore instead of Breeches. 
Then she carry'd the Girl, whom the Youth kept one Night, 
and deflowered, if he lik'd, he took her to Wife, departed 
the College, and went home to live with her, and another was 
put into the College in his Stead. If he did not like, he 
restor'd her to the Mother, ordering that she should be 
marry'd and multiply. Such Colleges as these there were in 
other great Towns." 2 

Among the Pueblo Indians in the southwestern part of 
the United States, the well-known Kivas appear to be a 
survival of this primitive institution of the men's house. 
The Kivas are subterranean rooms and are used as a gather- 
ing place for the numerous secret societies found in every 
pueblo. 3 In the seven pueblos which make up the Tusayan 
confederacy of northeastern Arizona, there are thirty-three 
Kivas. Walpi, one of these pueblos, contains five Kivas 
which appear to have belonged originally to the different 
clans. At present they are the property of the various 
secret societies. It is not now customary for all the mem- 
bers of a clan to be members of the same Kiva.* Each 

1 D. G. de Palacio, " Carta dirijida 3 Fewkes in Jour. Amer. Eth- 
al Rey de Espana" in E. G. Squier's nol. and ArchceoL, i (1891), 2 n. 1 ; ii 
Collection (New York, 1860), 74-75. (1892), 6 n. 1 , 14 sq. 

2 The General History of the Vast 4 Mindeleff in Eighth Ann. Rep. 
Continent and Islands of America Bur. EthnoL, 134. 

(London, 1740, transl. Stevens), iv, 
127-128. 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 17 

society has its own Kiva which only initiated members may 
enter during the performance of the secret rites. Women 
are always excluded. The Kivas are also used for secular 
purposes. They serve as a place of assembly and as the 
sleeping place of the men and boys who have membership 
in them. The institution, here as elsewhere, emphasized 
the separation of the sexes. None of the Kivas "are now 
preserved exclusively for religious purposes; they are all 
places of social resort for the men, especially during the 
winter, when they occupy themselves with the arts common 
among them. The same Kiva thus serves as a temple 
during a sacred feast, at other times as a council-house for 
the discussion of public affairs. It is also used as a work- 
shop by the industrious and as a lounging place by the 
idle." l Structures similar to the Kivas formerly existed 
among the Cliff Dwellers 2 and the village Indians of New 
Mexico. 3 Presenting close resemblance to the 

Kivas was the council-house of the Indian tribes which lived 
in what are now the Gulf states. "The great council-house, 
or rotunda," says an old writer, "is appropriated to much 
the same purpose as the public square, but more private, 
and seems particularly dedicated to political affairs; women 
and youth are never admitted; and I suppose it is death for 
a female to presume to enter the door, or approach within 
its pale." The council-houses of the Delaware Indians 
were a similar institution. 5 The Kivas of the 

Pueblo Indians, though properly distinguished from the 
Estufas, or Sweat-houses, were occasionally used for the 
same purpose as the latter structures. 6 Among the Indian 
tribes of the Northwest, the Sweat-house, besides its purely 
medicinal uses, was also the centre of community life. The 



1 Bandelier, quoted in Amer. Anti- and West Florida (Philadelphia, 1791), 
quarian, xix (1897), 174. Cf. ibid., 448. 

xx (1898), 238. 6 Loskiel, Geschichte der Mission 

2 Peet in Amer. Antiquarian, x der evangelischen Briider unter den 
(1888), 351. Indianern in Nordamerika (Barby, 

3 Ingersoll in Jour. Amer. Geogr. 1789), 168, 173. 

Soc., vii (1875), I2 3- e Powell in Jour. Amer. Geogr. 

4 Bartram, Travels through North Soc., viii (1876), 264; Bancroft, 
and South Carolina, Georgia, East Native Races, i, 537-538. 

c 



1 8 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Taikyuw of the Northern California Hupas is the general 
resort of the men for visiting and gossiping. Here all the 
men, married and unmarried, sleep at night. Women 
seldom enter it. 1 

The men's house has survived in much of its original 
vigor among the Eskimo tribes of Alaska. The Kozges or 
Kashims of the Eskimo of Cape Prince of Wales (Bering 
Straits) is only visited by women when public dances are 
given in it. Each Kashim is built and maintained by the 
community as the club-house, workshop, and gambling- 
house. Here are held the religious dances and the recep- 
tions to members of neighboring tribes. 2 There is "scarcely 
an occurrence of note in the life of an Eskimo man which 
he cannot connect with rites in which the Kashim plays 
an important part. This is essentially the house of the 
men; at certain times, and during the performance of 
certain rites, the women are rigidly excluded, and the 
men sleep there at all times when their observances re- 
quire them to keep apart from their wives." 3 Structures 
similar to the Kaskims formerly existed among the 



1 Goddard in Publications of the tion, the candidate's thoughts must 

University of California. Series in dwell upon the seriousness of the 

Amer. Archceol. and Ethnol., i (1903), course he is pursuing and the sacred 

15-17, 50. See also Kroeber, ibid., character of the new life he is 

11(1904), 86. Upper Klamath Indians about to assume." (Hoffman in 

use the Sweat-house in connection Seventh Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 

with the mysterious Sifsan cere- 204.) 

monies. On these ceremonies, see 2 Wickersham in Amer. Anti- 

Miss Fry in Out West, xxi (1904), 509. quarian, xxiv (1902), 221-223. 

The Sweat-bath among the Thomp- 3 Nelson in Eighteenth Ann. Rep. 

son Indians of British Columbia has Bur. Amer. Ethnol., 286. For fur- 

a religious significance when employed ther interesting details regarding 

by the lads at puberty (Teit in Mem. the Kashim, see Erman in Zeits. 

Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., ii (1900), /. Ethnol., ii (1870), 315; A. Woldt, 

319 sq.). Its use among the Apache Capitain Jacobsen's Reise an der 

medicine-men as a preparation for NordwestkusteAmerikas,i^g;Whym- 

the celebration of various religious per, Travel and Adventure in the 

rites, is well known (Burke in Ninth Territory of Alaska, 141-143 ; Sir 

Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 455). Among John Richardson, Arctic Searching 

the Ojibwa, novices undergoing Expedition, 365-369; Gilder, Ice- 

initiation into the Midewiwin must Pack and Tundra, 56-58; Elliott, 

take a sweat bath once a day for four Our Arctic Province, 385-387, 39 

days. " During the process of purga- 393~394- 



THE MEN'S HOUSE 19 

Tlinkit Indians l and there is some evidence for their 
previous existence among the Labrador and Greenland 
Eskimo. 2 

1 Krause, Die Tlinkit-Indianer, Rink, The Eskimo Tribes, 11-12; 
129, 234. Packard, The Labrador Coast, 254- 

2 Richardson, op. cit. t 254, 366; 255. 



CHAPTER II 

THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 

THAT system of sexual separation which, as we have seen, 
arranges the tribe into two great divisions, is reenforced by 
the presence of another factor. Within the ranks of the 
males further separations and groupings, based on distinc- 
tions of age, assert themselves and ultimately develop into 
what constitute the earliest systems of caste. In every 
primitive society there is a natural tendency for those of 
the same age, who have consequently the same interests and 
duties, to group themselves on the basis of these distinctions, 
and by that very grouping of like with like to separate them- 
selves from other and unlike groups. Such rude classes as 
form themselves in obedience to this instinct are, therefore, 
those of boys who have not yet arrived at puberty; un- 
married youths; mature men on whom the duties and re- 
sponsibilities of tribesmen rest; and, finally, old men, the 
repositories of tribal wisdom and the directors of the com- 
munity. On the attainment of puberty a lad is enrolled in 
the ranks of the bachelors, or, where marriage immediately 
succeeds puberty, is made at once a full tribesman. Tribes- 
man and warrior he continues until, in process of time, his 
eldest son has himself reached manhood and is ready to 
assume those duties which have previously rested on the 
father alone. He then becomes an elder and retires from 
active service. While each separate class so formed has 
a unity and a solidarity of its own, yet each is comprehended 
in the higher unity of the tribal organization consisting of 
all initiated men. The tribe becomes, in fact, a secret as- 
sociation, divided into grades or classes out of which as a 
later development arise the "degrees" of the secret societies. 
The passage from one class to another immediately higher 
is usually attended with various ceremonies of a secret and 
initiatory character. 



THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 21 

Of these ceremonies of initiation, the most interesting 
and important are those which transfer the youth, arrived 
at puberty, from association with the women and children 
and introduce him to the wider life of the tribe, and to the 
society of men. During the years of infancy and early boy- 
hood, whatever care and training the lad receives naturally 
comes from his mother. As he gains in years and experience 
the mother's influence over him declines and the father be- 
gins to assume a greater part in his education. The in- 
itiation ceremonies at puberty serve to complete this trans- 
fer of the child from mother-right to father- and tribal-right. 
The period of their celebration constitutes the most solemn 
and important epoch in his entire life. 

In some of the initiation rites, the surrender of the boys 
by their mothers is dramatically represented. At some Bora 
ceremonies in New South Wales after preliminary per- 
formances lasting three days, one morning after sunrise 
all the people men, women, and children assembled ad- 
jacent to a large circle which had been previously marked out 
on the ground. The men formed into a group and danced 
in front of the women and children. The mothers of those 
to be initiated stood in the front row of the women during 
the dance, and at its conclusion "they commanded the novices 
to enter the circle, thus relinquishing their authority over 
them. Up to this time the women retained possession of 
the youths, but now surrendered them to the headmen of 
the tribes." 1 Among the Yaroinga tribe of Queensland, 
when initiation draws nigh, the novice, who has been elab- 
orately decorated with waist-belt and head-dress, is brought 
before his parents and friends. "When the women first 
gaze upon the lad thus ornamented, they all begin to cry, 
and so do his immediate relatives, his father and mother's 
brothers, who further smear themselves over with grease 
and ashes to express their grief." 2 In the puberty 

rites of the Andaman Islanders, at a certain stage in the 

1 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. For the curious ceremony of the War- 
Roy. Soc. New South Wales, xxviii ramunga tribe, cf. Spencer and Gillen, 
(1894), 117. Northern Tribes of Central Australia, 

2 Roth, Ethnological Studies, 172. 362-363. 



22 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

proceedings, the mother, sister, and other female relatives 
of the novice come and weep over him, the reason given 
being "that the youth has now entered upon an important 
epoch in his life, and is about to experience the trials and 
vicissitudes incidental thereto." * 

The women, however, seldom manifest any unwilling- 
ness at thus losing the control of their children. In one of 
the Boras after the secret rites are over, "the youths are 
brought back to the camp and shown to the women, who 
pretend to feel deep sorrow for them, but who are in reality 
very proud of having their sons or brothers initiated to 
manhood, as it gives them a status in the tribe which they 
did not before possess." 2 

Every effort is made by the directors of the ceremonies to 
impress upon the novices the necessity of their strict separa- 
tion henceforth, not only from the women, but from all their 
childhood ways and life. In certain Australian ceremonies 
novices lose one or more of their teeth. When a tooth is 
not readily dislodged and many blows are required, the ex- 
planation always given is that "'the boy has not kept to 
himself, but has been too much in the company of the girls 
and women.'" 3 At the Kuringal of the Coast Murring, 
" two old men sat down on the ground, in front of the novices, 
and proceeded, with most ludicrous antics, to make a 'dirt- 
pie,' after the manner of children, while the men danced 
round them. The Kabos told their charges that this was to 
show them that they must no longer consort with children 
and play at childish games, but for the future act as men." 4 
Arunta boys while being painted the first initiatory cere- 
mony are informed that this will promote their growth 
to manhood, "and they are also told by tribal fathers and 
elder brothers that in future they must not play with the 
women and girls, nor must they camp with them as they 
have hitherto done, but henceforth they must go to the camp 
of the men, which is known as the Ungunja. Up to this 

1 Man in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 3 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. t 
xii (1882), 131 n 3 . xiii (1884), 448. 

2 Cameron in Jour. Anthrop. I fist., 4 Ibid., 444. 
xiv (1884), 359. 



THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 23 

time they have been accustomed to go out with the women 
as they searched for vegetable food and the smaller animals, 
such as lizards and rats; now they begin to accompany the 
men in their search for larger game, and begin also to look 
forward to the time when they will become fully initiated 
and admitted to all the secrets of the tribe, which are as yet 
kept hidden from them." * Among the Gulf 

Papuans, when a boy has reached five years of age, his 
father or male guardian takes the first step towards initiation 
by giving a dedicatory feast, a purely family affair, the object 
of which is to enable the father to announce to the relatives 
of the family and to the tribe in general that at the proper 
time he intends to present his child for initiation. The 
maternal relatives of the boy share largely in the food. 
The feast is an intimation to them that henceforth the boy 
is to leave their control and enter that of the father or male 
guardian. To the tribe, also, it forms a public acknowledg- 
ment that the father or guardian will become responsible 
for all the fees which are necessary for passage through the 
initiation ceremonies. 2 In New Caledonia where 

puberty rites are obsolete, circumcision occurring at three 
years of age, a boy remains with his mother only until he 
is weaned. After circumcision he receives the marrow, or 
emblem of manhood, and from this moment he "no longer 
has anything to do with his mother and sees in her nothing 
more than an ordinary woman." 3 During their 

novitiate, boys of the Yaunde tribe of Kamerun must fasten 
banana leaves to their legs as a symbol that they are as yet 
like women. On their return to the village as initiated 
men these humiliating reminders of their inferiority are torn 
off by the female members of the community, amid great 
rejoicings. 4 Among the Hottentots, according to an old 
account, the boys remained entirely with their mothers up 
to their eighteenth year. Before initiation they might not 

1 Spencer and Gillen, Native 3 Opigez in Bull. Soc. Geogr. de 
Tribes of Central Australia, 215- Paris, seventh series, vii (1886), 

21 7- 436-437- 

2 Holmes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 4 Morgen, Durch Kamerun von 
xxxii (1902), 419. Sud nach Nord, 52. 



24 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

converse with men, not even with their own fathers. At 
the great feast which introduced the initiation rites, the old- 
est man present thus addressed the youth: ' 'That the Men 
having thought him worthy to be admitted into their Society, 
he was now to take an Eternal Farewel of his Mother and the 
Nursery, and of all his Boy's Tricks and Gewgaws. That 
if he is but once seen again to chat with his Mother, and 
does not always carefully avoid her Company, he will be 
look'd upon as a Babe, and as altogether unworthy of the 
Conversation of the Men, and will be banish'd the same, 
and must again undergo the Andersmaken to repossess him- 
self of that Honour. That all his Thoughts, Words and 
Actions are from that Time forward to be Manly; and that 
he is never to admit the least Effeminacy or Tarnish of the 
Nursery into any of 'em." A Hottentot "thus discharged 
from the Tuition of his Mother, may insult her when he will 
with Impunity. . . . Immediately after the Reception of 
a young Fellow into the Society of the Men, it is an ordinary 
Thing for him to go and abuse his Mother, and make a 
reproachful Triumph upon his being discharg'd from her 
Tuition, in Testimony of the Sincerity of his Intentions to 
follow the Admonition of the Declaimer at his Admission." 
In the Ona tribe of Tierra del Fuego the men "form a 
conspiracy whose object is to frighten the women by tricks 
and certain other inventions into an unquestioning obedi- 
ence. Women are looked upon as social inferiors. . . . 
To no woman must a warrior show his whole mind but only 
to his father and his friend, or to little children. . . . These 
and many other lessons are instilled into the boy's mind 
during the long winter nights by his elders, to whom he 
yields unfailing respect and obedience. The tie between 
brother and brother, man and man, is with the Onas far 
more binding than that between the opposite sexes." 

With the tribe as a secret association consisting of all 
initiated men, it follows that initiation is practically com- 
pulsory. Failure to undergo the rites means deprivation 



1 Kolben, The Present State of the 3 Barclay in The Nineteenth Cen- 
Cape of Good Hope, i, 121. tury and After, January, 1904, 99- 

2 Ibid., i, 124. 100. 



THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 25 

of all tribal privileges and disgrace for life. The uninitiated 
are the " barbarians " of primitive society. They belong with 
the women and children. Those who would remain with the 
women after having reached manhood are the subjects of 
ridicule and abuse. They are "milk-sops" and "pariahs" 
with whom real men will have nothing to do. Under sterner 
conditions death or expulsion from the tribe is the punish- 
ment of such renegades. "I observed," writes Mr. Fison 
of the Fijians, "that the old Wainimala man made no dis- 
tinction between the uninitiated men and the children. 
He classed them all together in his narrative as ' Ko ira na 
ngone' = they, the children." l An old West Kimberley 
native told another observer that until the boys were sub- 
incised, a rite which occurs five years after circumcision, 
" they were all the same dog (or other animal)/" 2 At the 
Kadjawalung of the Coast Murring, witnessed by Mr. 
Howitt, a "singular feature now showed itself. There 
were at this time two or three Biduelli men with their wives 
and children in the encampment, and also one of the Krau- 
atungalung Kurnai, with his wife and child. When these 
ceremonies commenced they, with one exception, went away, 
because neither the Biduelli or the Krauatun Kurnai had, 
as I have said before, any initiation ceremonies, and these 
men had therefore never been 'made men/ The one man 
who remained was the old patriarch of the Biduelli, and he 
was now driven crouching among the women and children. 
The reason was self-evident; he had never been made a 
man, and therefore was no more than a mere boy." 3 
Among the natives of the Papuan Gulf, the stages of 
initiation are marked by feasts given by the relatives of the 
initiates. "Unless the father or male guardian of the boy 
who is being initiated provides a pig for each stage of the 
boy's initiation, the boy is marked henceforth as not having 
been fully initiated ; this is a serious matter to him when he 
becomes a man, and debars him from many privileges as well 

1 Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiv (1884), New South Wales, second series, iii 
18 n l . (1888), 652. 

2 Froggatt in Proc. Linnean Soc. 3 N ative Tribes of South-East Aus- 

tralia t 530. 



26 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

as lays him open to many a taunt and insult from his com- 
peers." l The circumcision lodges of some of the 
Transvaal tribes are held at intervals of four or five years. 
"Native public opinion drives many to submit to the rites. 
They are jeered at if they refuse, and are treated to ridicule, 
such as the following expressions: 'You are a woman/ 
'Your eyes are unopened/ and perhaps the still greater 
taunt, 'You will not please the women, who prefer circum- 
cised men." The "devil bush" of the Vey peoples 
of Liberia is "an institution for instructing every man in the 
tribe as to his duty to the commonwealth." No one may 
hold office until after initiation. The visible symbol of such 
initiation consists of deep scarifications from the back of the 
neck downward. Should a boy before initiation get such 
scars even by accident, he would be severely punished. 3 

Of such great importance is initiation that it is sometimes 
undergone by those who are no longer children, but who, 
for one reason or another, have been unable to pass through 
the rites at an earlier date. The Nanga ceremonies of the 
Fijians took place at intervals, the length of which was deter- 
mined by the elders. The existence of war or the presence of 
famine or disease might cause a long period to elapse be- 
tween initiations, and so it would happen that bearded men 
who had children of their own might be seen in the Nanga 
enclosure along with youths just arrived at puberty. 4 In 
the Barium ceremonies of the natives of Finsch Haven, Kaiser 
Wilhelm Land, which took place every twenty years, mar- 
ried men were occasionally circumcised and made members 
of the tribe; sometimes as many as a hundred men and boys 
were initiated at once. 5 The Anyasa of East Central 
Africa do not have initiation ceremonies. Should a member 



1 Holmes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Ethnogr., ii (1889), 154; Vetter in 
xxxii (1902), 419. Nachrichten uber Kaiser Wilhelms- 

2 Wheelwright in Jour. Anthrop. Land und den Bismarck- Archipel., 
Inst., xxxv (1905), 254. xiii (1897), 93. The " huskanawing " 

3 Penick, quoted in Jour. Amer. of Powhatan youths was every four- 
Folk-Lore, ix (1896), 221-222. teen or fifteen years (Beverley, His- 

4 Fison in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., tory of Virginia, 177). But such long 
xiv (1884), 19-20. intervals between initiation rites are 

5 Schellong in Intern. Archiv f. not usual. 



THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 27 

of this tribe be captured by the Wayao and be made a slave, 
he would be put through the Wayao rites, even were he an 
old man and already married, 1 

Initiation, moreover, is the privilege only of those who are 
by birth true members of the tribe. Aliens may aid in the 
preparations for the great Nanga ceremonies of the Fijians 
and may share in the feasts that follow; but in the sacred 
rites they have no part. 2 The Elema natives of the Papuan 
Gulf exclude all illegitimate children. 3 The Australians will 
not allow the presence of half-castes. " ' These half-castes/ ' 
said a native to Mr. Howitt, "'have nothing to do with us." 

It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of 
these ceremonies as providing social bonds based upon ideas 
of kinship and brotherhood in societies without a central- 
ized political control, and as promoting a very real sense of 
solidarity in a tribal organization consisting only of initiated 
men. A primitive sort of caste feeling is the outcome, 
serving to emphasize the separation of the initiated men, 
not only from the women and children, but from all uniniti- 
ated men, whether of the tribe itself or of outside tribes. And 
though such a conception of human brotherhood cannot 
extend beyond the narrow confines of the tribe, the require- 
ment of tribal solidarity in this stage of social evolution is 
far more pressing than that of tribal expansion. " Between 
the males of a tribe," writes Mr. Curr, of the Australians, 
"there always exists a strong feeling of brotherhood, so that, 
come weal come woe, a man can always calculate on the aid, 
in danger, of every member of his tribe." 5 Of the Kurnai 
initiation, Mr. Howitt says : " It formed a bond of peculiar 
strength, binding together all the contemporaries of the 
various clans of the Kurnai. It was a brotherhood including 
all the descendants of the eponymous male and female 
ancestors, Yeerung and Djeetgun." 6 All the lads who have 
gone through the Jeraeil at the same time " are brothers, and 
in the future address each other's wives as 'wife,' and each 

1 Macdonald, Africana, i, 127. 4 Ibid., xiv (1885), 303. 

2 Fison in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 6 Australian Race, i, 62. 

xiv (1884), 1 6. 6 Kdmilarti and Kurnai, 199. 

3 Holmes, ibid., xxxii (1902), 420. 



28 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

other's children as 'child/" * Of the Bondei of German 
East Africa, Mr. Dale writes that the "friendships made in 
the Galo are said to be life long." 2 

For the successful conduct of the initiatory rites, prolonged 
tribal assemblies are required. Such assemblies are naturally 
made the occasion of extended festivities and celebrations, 
at which there is much friendly intercourse and intermingling 
of distant and perhaps hostile contingents, as well as trans- 
action of matters important to the tribal polity. Thus from 
another point of view the peaceful initiatory gatherings 
indicate a considerable advance in social relations and con- 
tribute to the process ever going on of welding small local 
groups into larger tribal aggregates. 3 Australia furnishes 
some apt examples. Here every tribe has its fixed territorial 
limits beyond which it may not expand, except at the cost of 
war. Such tribes are frequently bound together into larger 
aggregates, and form a community united by the possession 
of the same divisional system and language. Between such 
tribes there is more or less intermarriage and participation 
in identical or similar initiation ceremonies. 4 The five tribes 
of New South Wales whose initiation ceremonies were 
studied by Mr. Howitt " represent a social aggregate, namely, 
a community bound together, in spite of diversity of class 
system, by ceremonies of initiation, which, although they 
vary slightly in different localities, are yet substantially 
the same, and are common to all." Each of these tribes is 
connected in the same way with neighboring tribes, so that 
the community, as indicated by the initiation ceremonies, 
covers a much greater extent of territory than that which the 
five tribes alone occupy. These widely scattered tribes may 



1 Kdmilaroi and Kurnai, 198. For examples from Australia, Fiji, 

2 Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxv (1896), and North America, see Mathews 
192. in Proc. Roy. Soc. Victoria, new series, 

3 The sexual license involving the ix(i897), 153; Fisonin/owr. Anthrop. 
relaxation of the usual totemic re- Inst., xiv (1885), 28; Catlin, O- 
strictions which is so often a feature Kee-Pa, 32 sq. 

of these meetings, may possibly be 4 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. 

a survival of earlier promiscuous prac- Soc. New South Wales, xxxii (1898), 

tices. In some cases it certainly 66 sq. 
seems to have a religious significance. 



THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 29 

attend initiation, because connubium exists between them. 1 
Messengers, bearing as the symbol of their office the sacred 
bull-roarers, are sent out to summon the tribes to participation 
in the Boras, or initiation meetings. No tribesman having 
seen the bull-roarers and heard the message would dare to 
disregard the invitation. When at length the various con- 
tingents which have received the summons arrive at the 
locality agreed upon, all hostile feelings are put aside and the 
utmost friendship prevails throughout the entire period of 
the ceremonies. 2 These initiatory meetings naturally furnish 
an opportunity for the transaction of tribal or intertribal 
business. After the great Bunan of the Coast Murring of 
New South Wales, a fair is frequently held just before the 
people return. There is much bartering of goods which have 
been made and brought to the Bunan for this special purpose. 3 
Matrimonial arrangements and other regulations are some- 
times made at this time. Mr. Mathews writes: "When all 
the merry-making is over, if any of the people present have a 
personal grievance to bring before the headmen or a com- 
plaint to make respecting a violation of the tribal laws, the 
matter is fully discussed by the elders of the several tribes, 
and punishment is meted out to the offending parties in the 
presence of the men and women of the whole assemblage." 
The leading elders among the Port Macquarrie natives when 
assembled for the initiatory performances "form a council, 
by whose authority wars are proclaimed, boundaries settled, 

1 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., hundred miles in order to be present, 
xiii (1884), 433 sq.; id., Native Tribes Consequently, while only five weeks 
of South-East Australia, 512. were actually taken up with the initia- 

2 Fraser in Amer. Antiquarian, tion rites, over four months elapsed 
xxi (1899), 2 34; Enright in Jour, and from the arrival of the first contin- 
Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales, gent to the final dispersion of the 
xxxiii (1899), 116 n*. At the Bora tribes (Mathews in Jour. Anthrop. 
of the Kamilaroi of New South Wales, Inst., xxiv (1895), 413 sq.). 

which took place in 1894, three tribes 3 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

participated, and 203 persons were xiii (1884), 456 n 3 . The conclusion 

present. Of these 58 were women of the Asa ceremonies of the Tamo, 

and 49 were children. Twenty youths Kaiser Wilhelm Land, is also marked 

were initiated. The Bora did not by a primitive sort of fair (Hagen, 

begin promptly after the call for its Unter den Papua's, 238). 
celebration had been issued, for some 4 Amer. Anthropologist, ix (1896), 

of the natives had to travel over one 343. 



30 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

and one tribe prevented from interfering with, or encroaching 
upon, another." 1 Such Australian ceremonies, requiring 
the presence of every member of the tribe, naturally serve 
as the chief vehicle for the transmission of the customs and 
traditions of the community from one generation to another. 
At a recent Bora, for example, there were present a number 
of young men, tuggabillas, who had been initiated at a pre- 
vious inaugural rite. They "walked unrestrained with the 
old men all over the Bora ground, and everything on it was 
fully explained to them, so that when they become old men 
they may be able to produce similar figures and explain 
their meaning to the young men of the tribe, so that their 
customs and traditions, rites and ceremonies, may be handed 
down from one generation to another." 2 The meetings of 
the Central Australian tribes for the Engwura rites, though 
their general result is to strengthen the hold of the tribal 
customs upon the initiated, do sometimes serve as a vehicle 
for the introduction of changes in these customs. Innova- 
tions introduced by important elders at their local group 
might be discussed at the general meetings of the elders of 
the tribes, and if favorably received, would be communicated 
to all the tribesmen present. "We have already pointed 
out," writes Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, "that there are 
certain men who are especially respected for their ability, 
and after watching large numbers of the tribe, at a time when 
they were assembled together for months to perform certain 
of their most sacred ceremonies, we have come to the con- 
clusion that at a time such as this, when the older and more 
powerful men from various groups are met together, and 
when day by day and night by night around their camp fires 
they discuss matters of tribal interest, it is quite possible for 
changes of custom to be introduced." 3 

1 Breton, Excursions in New tralia, 12. For the success with 
South Wales, Western Australia, and which obedience to the tribal regula- 
Van Dieman's-Land, 234. tions is secured among the Austra- 

2 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. lians, cf. Mathew, Eaglehawk and 
Roy. Soc. New South Wales, xxviii Crow, 93; Ridley, Kdmilaroi and 
(1894), 119. Cf. ibid., xxxi (1897), other Australian Languages, 155; 
127. . Curr, The Australian Race, i, 54-55, 

3 Native Tribes of Central Aus- 72. 



THE PUBERTY INSTITUTION 31 

Other regions of the world provide additional illustrations 
of the social aspects of initiation. The Barium ceremonies 
of Kaiser Wilhelm Land, lasting an entire year, often bring 
together from the various villages of the neighborhood as 
many as half a thousand men. Singing, dancing, and feast- 
ing form the usual preliminaries to the secret rites. During 
this period the greatest sociability prevails; among the men 
the Barium forms the sole topic of conversation; and the 
boys who are so soon to suffer initiation, picture its terrors 
to one another. 1 At the Asa rites practised by the Tamo 
natives, young men from all the outlying districts are present 
for initiation. During the ceremonies a general peace is 
proclaimed between the districts contributing boys to be 
initiated. 2 At a Marawot festival, one of the great 

ceremonies of the Dukduk society of Bismarck Archipelago, 
there were present some four hundred spectators from all the 
near-lying islands; the Kanakas "who otherwise would 
scarcely care to meet give up all hostile feeling for the time, 
and ... an omnium gatherum takes place, which shows 
that, although the desire for seclusion is an obstacle to all 
traffic, there are yet ties between the people that prove their 
consanguinity." 3 Among the Fijians, it was cus- 

tomary for two years to elapse between the building of the 
Nanga and the actual initiation ceremony. During this 
time great preparations were made by all for the feasts to 
come. 4 At the puberty celebration of the Yaunde 

of Kamerun, sometimes over a thousand spectators are 
present. 5 When the Sun Dance, the most impor- 

tant rite of the Plains Indians, is to be celebrated, messengers 
are sent out to invite all the tribes privileged to participate. 
"Though some of the visitors are hereditary enemies, it 
matters not during the sun-dance; they visit one another; 
they shake hands and form alliances." 6 

1 Schellong in Intern. Archiv f. * Fison, ibid., xiv (1884), 20 sq. 
Ethnogr., ii (1889), 147 sq. 5 Zenker in Mitth. von Forschungs- 

2 Bartels in Verhandl. Berlin. reisenden und Gelehrten aus den 
Gesells. f. Anthrop. Ethnol. u. Ur- Deutschen Schutzgebieten, viii (1895), 
geschichte, xxvi (1894), 200. 55. 

3 Graf v. Pfeil in Jour. Anthrop. 6 Bushotter, quoted by Dorsey in 
Inst., xxvii (1897), 188. Eleventh Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 452. 



CHAPTER III 

THE SECRET RITES 

PUBERTY institutions for the initiation of young men into 
manhood are among the most widespread and characteristic 
features of primitive life. They are found among peoples 
considered the lowest of mankind: among Andamanese, 
Hottentots, Fuegians, and Australians; and they exist in 
various stages of development among peoples emerging from 
savagery to barbarism. Their foundation goes back to an 
unknown antiquity; their mysteries, jealously guarded from 
the eyes of all save the initiated, preserve the religion and 
morality of the tribe. Though varying endlessly in detail, 
their leading characteristics reproduce themselves with sub- 
stantial uniformity among many different peoples and in 
widely separated areas of the world. The initiation by the 
tribal elders of the young men of the tribe, their rigid se- 
clusion, sometimes for a lengthy period, from the women and 
children; their subjection to certain ordeals and to rites 
designed to change their entire natures; the utilization of this 
period of confinement to convey to the novices a knowledge 
of the tribal traditions and customs; and finally, the inculca- 
tion by most practical methods of habits of respect and obe- 
dience to the older men all these features are well described 
in the quaint and vigorous account by an old writer of the 
ceremonies once practised by the Tuscarora Indians of 
North Carolina. 

According to Lawson, these Indians had "one most 
abominable custom amongst them, which they call hus- 
quenawing their young men. . . . You must know, that 
most commonly, once a year, at farthest, once in two years, 
these people take up so many of their young men as they 
think are able to undergo it, and husquenaugh them, which is 
to make them obedient and respective to their superiors, and, 

32 



THE SECRET RITES 33 

as they say, it is the same to them as it is to us to send our 
children to school to be taught good breeding and letters. 
This house of correction is a large, strong cabin, made on 
purpose for the reception of the young men and boys, that 
have not passed the graduation already; and it is always 
at Christmas that they husquenaugh their youth, which is by 
bringing them into this house and keeping them dark all the 
time, where they more than half starve them. Besides, they 
give them pellitory bark, and several intoxicating plants, that 
make them go raving mad as ever were any people in the 
world; and you may hear them make the most dismal and 
hellish cries and howlings that ever human creatures ex- 
pressed; all which continues about five or six weeks, and 
the little meat they eat, is the nastiest, loathsome stuff, 
and mixt with all manner of filth it is possible to get. After 
the time is expired, they are brought out of the cabin, which 
never is in the town, but always a distance off, and guarded 
by a jailor or two, who watch by turn. Now when they 
first come out, they are as poor as ever any creatures were; 
for you must know several die under this diabolical purgation. 
Moreover, they either really are, or pretend to be, dumb, and 
do not speak for several days ; I think twenty or thirty, and 
look so ghastly, and are so changed, that it is next to an im- 
possibility to know them again, although you was never so 
well acquainted with them before. I would fain have gone 
into the mad house, and have seen them in their time of 
purgatory, but the king would not suffer it, because, he told 
me they would do me or any other white man an injury, that 
ventured in amongst them, so I desisted. . . . Now the 
savages say that if it was not for this, they could never keep 
their youth in subjection, besides that it hardens them ever 
after to the fatigues of war, hunting, and all manner of hard- 
ship, which their way of living exposes them to. Besides, 
they add, that it carries off those infirm weak bodies, that 
would have been only a burden and disgrace to their nation, 
and saves the victuals and clothing for better people that 
would have been expended on such useless creatures." 1 

1 History of Carolina, 380-382. Virginia the intoxicating drink ad- 
Among the Powhatan Indians of ministered to the novices was called 

D 



34 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

It is in their nature as ordeals that puberty rites have 
attracted most attention. Where the obligations of a mili- 
tary career rest upon every tribesman, these ordeals represent 
an effort to impress upon the novice by the vivid means of 
bodily torments, the necessary qualities of a warrior, and to 
inculcate the indispensable tribal virtues of bravery, obedi- 
ence, and self-control. In part there exists a real desire to 
submit to the proof the manly qualities of the candidates 
for admission, by ordeals as difficult as they are often dis- 
gusting. With advancing culture and the decline of mili- 
tancy, the purely brutal aspect of such practices tends to pass 
away, but in their original form they certainly make large 
drafts upon the strength and courage of the young men who 
must undergo them. Sometimes they are so severe as to 
ruin the health, and even to cause the death of the weaker 
novices an outcome which is always defended by the old 
men on well-known Darwinian principles. 1 Inability to 
support the torments is of course unusual and would sub- 
ject the unhappy youth to the direst penalties. Among the 
Macquarrie, if a boy gives any indication of his sufferings, he 
is handed over to the women and henceforth becomes the 
comrade of children. 2 Should the novices of the Euahlayi 
tribe "show fear and quail at the Little Boorah, they would 
be returned to their mothers as cowards unfitted for initia- 
tion, and sooner or later sympathetic magic would do its 
work, a poison-stick or bone would end them." Ob- 
servers have frequently commented upon the utter impas- 
sibility displayed by the novices throughout the proceedings. 
"I remember/' writes Mr. Howitt, "one young lad of about 

vjysoccan (Beverley, History of Vir- Dubois in Amer. Anthropologist, new 

ginia, 178). It was a decoction of the series, vii, 1905, 622-623). 

leaves and twigs of cassina or ilex. l For some examples from Aus- 

Many other Indian tribes make use tralia and Africa, see Taplin in Native 

of similar preparations to induce ex- Tribes of South Australia, 18; Daw- 

hilaration and frenzy. The Walapai son, Australian Aborigines, 30; Casa- 

of Arizona steep the leaves, roots, and lis, Les Bassoutos, 279; Macdonald in 

flowers of Datura stramonium for Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xix (1889), 268. 

this purpose (Bourke in Ninth Ann. * Angas, Savage Life and Scenes 

Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 455). The Dieg- in Australia and New Zealand, ii, 224. 

uenos of Southern California used 3 Mrs. Parker, Euahlayi Tribe, 

the roots of Datura metaloides (Miss 72-73. 



THE SECRET RITES 35 

twelve, who showed no more sense of anything going on 
round him than if he had been a bronze statue, and yet, as 
he afterwards said, he felt quite sure several times that he 
was about to be killed." l 

It would be, however, an error to infer that the real cruelty 
of these ordeals is due mainly to a savage delight in witness- 
ing suffering. Even the brutal beatings received by the 
novices must serve to emphasize the instruction conveyed. 2 
And it is most likely that in many cases what we regard as 
merely tests of courage and endurance were once of 
deeper significance and were imposed originally for religious 
or magical purposes. Thus cannibalism, formerly an 
initiatory rite among some Australian tribes, may have been 
retained as a magical practice intended to convey the virtues 
of the eaten man to the novices, long after it had been 
abandoned as a general custom. 3 In such primitive con- 
ceptions lies very probably the explanation of many of 
the phallic and scatalogic rites practised by Australian 
natives. 4 

The various mutilations at puberty in many instances are 
significant not simply as ordeals, the purpose of which is to 
test the constancy of the novice; they are further service- 
able as indicating to the uninitiated the reception of the 
candidate into the ranks of men. In this category belong 
knocking out of teeth and scarification, both of which oper- 
ations leave permanent records upon the body of the novice; 

1 Jour. Anlhrop. Inst., xiii (1884), 278; Jour, and Proc. Roy. Soc. New 
451 n l . South Wales, xxx (1896), 212; xxxi 

2 For some illustrations Aus- (1897), 141; Mackillop in Trans, and 
tralia: Mackenzie in Jour. Anthrop. Proc. and Rep. Roy. Soc. South Aus- 
Inst., vii (1878), 252; Torres Straits: tralia, xvii (1893), 261. Cf. also 
Haddon, ibid., xix (1890), 360; Mackenzie in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
Africa: Cole, ibid., xxxii (1902), vii (1878), 252; Ridley, Kdmilaroi 
308. and other Australian Languages, 154. 

3 For an illustration, cf. Jour, and For similar ordeals among the natives 
Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales, of the Papuan Gulf, see Holmes in 
xxxiv (1900), 278-279. Jour. Anthrop. Inst.. xxxii (1902), 

4 For some examples see Mathews 424. The Hottentot ordeals of this 
in Proc. Amer. PhUos. Soc., xxxix nature have received more than ade- 
(1900), 634-637; xxxvii (1898), 62; quate treatment in Kolben's account, 
Amer. Anthropologist, ix (1896), 339; The Present State of the Cape of Good 
Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxvi (1897), Hope, i, 120 sq. 



36 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

nose, lip, and ear-boring, plucking out of hair, painting, and 
the widespread rite of tattooing, which is usually begun, if 
not completed, at the opening of the pubic period. Such 
significant operations may often survive the decline of the 
elaborate tribal puberty rite into a purely domestic cele- 
bration and may then be undergone years before the arrival 
of the child at manhood. 1 

The diversity of the ordeals is most interesting. Thus 
depilation, 2 head-biting; evulsion of teeth, sprinkling with 
human blood, drinking of human blood, 3 immersion in dust 
or filth, heavy floggings, 4 scarification, 5 smoking and burning, 
circumcision and subincision, are some of the forms in which 
the ordeals appear among the Australians alone. 

The knocking out of one or more teeth usually the 
front teeth of the upper jaw is the characteristic ordeal 
of the Bora rites, common to the Eastern Australian tribes. 
But this practice is not confined to Australia. The Ova- 
herero and Batoka of South Africa knock out the two middle 
incisors of the under jaw; 6 Mussurongo and Ambriz blacks 
knock out the two middle front teeth of the upper jaw. 7 
The custom of the Wagogo of German East Africa, again, 
is the same as that of the Ovaherero. 8 The great care mani- 
fested in the disposition of the teeth among some Aus- 
tralian tribes it is carefully wrapped up and kept by the boy's 
relatives 9 seems to indicate a peculiar sacredness attaching 
to them. 10 After the Kuranda of the Barkunjee tribes, at 
which the principal ordeal is plucking the hair from the 

1 Infra, 200-201, 205-206. 8 Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Sud- 

2 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. Afrika's, 235. 

Soc. New South Wales, xxxii (1898), 7 Monteiro, Angola and the River 

243 sq.; Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc., Congo, \, 262. 

xxxix (i90o) > 631 sq. For similar 8 Cole in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

depilation ordeals in New Guinea, xxxii (1902), 309. 

cf. Hagen, Unter den Papua's, 237. 9 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. 

3 Bonney in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Soc. New South Wales, xxxii (1898), 
xiii (1883), 128; Angas, Savage Life 248. 

and Scenes in Australia and New 10 A curious custom is found among 

Zealand, i, 115. the Coast Murring and the Murrum- 

4 Mackenzie in Jour. Anthrop. bidgee tribes. After the Bora is over, 
Inst., vii (1878), 252. and the natives have scattered to their 

5 Mathews in Proc. Amer. Philos. own localities, the teeth extracted 
Soc., xxxix (1900), 628 sq. from the novices at initiation are 



THE SECRET RITES 



37 



body of the novice, the hair, when removed, is carefully kept 
by itself and is disposed of in the same fashion as the ex- 
tracted teeth in other tribes. 1 

Of all these ordeals, circumcision has the greatest prom- 
inence. Its presence in the puberty rites of most primitive 
peoples as the necessary preliminary to marriage, suggests 
that the practice was originally designed to facilitate the 
reproductive act. Initiation ceremonies being intended to 
prepare the youth for the performance of the marriage 
function, and thus, indirectly, for that participation in the 
life of the tribe which is the privilege only of married men, 
circumcision naturally becomes the seal and sign of this 
admission into the tribal life. Losing its once practical 
character as a primitive effort to assist nature, it now serves 
in the puberty rites as a mere badge or evidence of incorpora- 
tion into the tribal community. 2 



passed from one headman to another 
until they have made a complete cir- 
cuit of the initiating community. 
This ceremonial transmission of the 
extracted teeth serves to indicate 
that the young men have acquired 
all the privileges of tribesmen. 
(Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiii 
(1884), 456-457; Mathews in Jour. 
and Proc. Roy. Soc. New South 
Wales, xxxi, 1897, 150-151.) 

1 Mathews, ibid., xxxii (1898), 
245; Eyre, Journals of Expeditions 
of Discovery into Central Australia, 
ii, 336 sq. 

2 This view of the origin of cir- 
cumcision agrees in the main with 
the theory developed by Ploss (Das 
Kind, i, 342 sq.), and adopted by 
Andree, Lippert, Schurtz, and other 
writers. Westermarck connects the 
practice of circumcision as well as 
of all other mutilations at puberty 
with the desire for self-decoration, 
most strongly experienced at the be- 
ginning of manhood. At first prac- 
tised to bring about variety, and 
thereby to promote sexual attractive- 
ness, it was kept up when it became 



general, from habit or religious 
motives (The History of Human 
Marriage, London, 1891, 177 sq., 
201 sq.). The difficulties of such a 
theory, obvious enough when ap- 
plied to so simple a puberty ordeal as 
that of the perforation of the septum 
or the evulsion of teeth, are redoubled 
when the theory is offered as the ex- 
planation of so widespread a custom 
as circumcision, or the remarkable 
Australian rite of subincision. At 
the present time the latter certainly 
has no decorative purpose, nor is 
there any reason to suppose such a 
purpose at an earlier period. The 
effect of the operation is not readily 
apparent and the incision itself is 
not visible (Dr. Stirling in Report 
on the Work of the Horn Scientific 
Expedition to Central Australia (Lon- 
don, 1896, part iv, 33). Wester- 
marck's theory applies with more 
reason to the puberty ordeals of 
scarification and tattooing. But it 
is most probable that in all these 
puberty mutilations the ornamental 
aspects are largely derivative. What- 
ever serves as a badge of admis- 



38 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Almost universally initiation rites include a mimic rep- 
resentation of the death and resurrection of the novice. 
The new life to which he awakes after initiation is one 
utterly forgetful of the old ; a new name, a new language, 
and new privileges are its natural accompaniments. A few 
significant examples may be cited. Novices of the Koom- 
banggary tribe of New South Wales have the hair singed off 
their heads "to make the women believe that they have been 
burnt by the evil spirit and have just emerged from the 
fire." l In the Qatu initiations of the natives of 

Northern New Hebrides, neophytes are placed in enclosures 
where they remain unwashed and with very little food and 
water for sometimes thirty days. "For a woman to see the 
newly initiated until they have returned to ordinary life 
is a mortal offence. They come out black with dirt and 
soot, and are not to be seen till they have washed." 
The Susus say that when the boys are first initiated 
their throats are cut and that they continue dead for some 
time. When at length they are reanimated they are able to 
go about with much more vigor than before. 3 Just before 
the boys are removed from their seclusion in the Poro bush, 
the Poro "devil" perambulates the town during the evening, 
blowing his red flute in a most doleful fashion, "the meaning 
of it being that he is presumed to be in the pains before 



sion into the ranks of men will iv (1891), 185-201, 244-255; Frazer, 

naturally become the object of high in Independent Rev., iv (1904), 204- 

regard and develop ornamental 218; Laf argue in Bull. Soc. d'An- 

aspects accordingly. Similarly it thropologie de Paris, third series, 

may be pointed out that the x (1887), 420-436; Bergmann in 

sacrificial and hygienic aspects of Archivio per lo Studio dette Tradi- 

circumcision, however prominent in zioni Popolari, ii (1883), 271-293, 

the later development of the rite 329-344. 

among barbarous peoples, are un- 1 Mathews in Proc. Amer. Philos. 

questionably as foreign to the most Soc., xxxvii (1898), 65. Cf. also 

primitive practice as is its perform- Helms in Proc. Linnean Soc. New 

ance in early infancy. On the origin South Wales, second series, x (1895), 

and extension of the practice of cir- 390. 

cumcision, see in addition to the refer- 2 Codrington, Melanesians, 87; 

ences cited, Andree, Ethnographische for the similar Qeta rites, ibid., 92-93. 
Parattelen und Vergleiche, second 3 Winterbottom, Native Africans 

series (Leipzig, 1889), 166-212; in the Neighborhood of Sierra Leone, 

Jacobs in Intern. Archivf. Ethnogr., i, 139. 



THE SECRET RITES 39 

child-birth, for, when the boys go first into the Poro bush, the 
devil is supposed to be pregnant, and, . . . when they 
come out of it, the devil is said to have given birth." l Can- 
didates undergoing the Ndembo rites in the vela, or place 
of seclusion, are believed "to decompose and decay, until 
but one bone of each novice is left in charge of the doctor." 2 
Among the Bondei of German East Africa there are various 
ceremonies, by which the death of the novice and his visit 
to the lower regions are represented. 3 The simula- 

tion of death and resurrection is well carried out in the in- 
itiatory rites of the Kakian society of Ceram. These take 
place in the lodge of the organization which also serves as 
the mysterious abode of the Nitu Elak under which name 
the first ancestor of the tribe is worshipped. Before leaving 
the village for the Kakian house the novices take last fare- 
well of their female relatives and sweethearts. They do 
not expect to see them again, for they are told by the priests 
of the society that Nitu Elak will take the nitu (spirit) out 
of their bodies, only to restore it after the priests have prayed 
the god long and fervently. In the lodge which is kept 
perfectly dark, their blindfolding is removed and they are 
then tattooed and smeared with powder. The boys sit 
on benches crossways with their hands in the air as if they 
were about to receive something. The priests then take 
a bamboo flute, the lower part of which they put in the 
hands of the boys and shout through the instrument all 
sorts of noises imitating the voice of the Nitu Elak. The 
novices are threatened with death unless they fulfil all the 
duties of membership and keep everything that happens in 
the lodge a secret from the uninitiated. Before they leave 
the lodge, the priests give the boys a stick ornamented with 
rooster and cassowary feathers as a certificate from the Nitu. 
On their return to the village they are required to fast for 
three days and for a long time they must act as if still pos- 
sessed by the Nitu. They may not speak, their walk is 

1 Alldridge, Tlie Sherbro and its 3 Dale in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
Hinterland, 130. xxv (1896), 189. 

2 Bentley, Pioneering on the Congo, 
i, 286. 



40 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

wobbly and uncertain, and their actions in general betoken 
those of madmen. 1 

In some cases it is possible that the neophytes are really 
hypnotized into believing that they have died and come to 
life again. In any event the simulation is usually very well 
carried out. Eyre noticed that the Murray River boys from 
the time of being seized, closed their eyes and pretended to be 
in a deep trance until the process of depilation was over. 2 
Among the Kwakiutl tribes of British Columbia, a novice 
who is taking the Hamatsa degree "feigns to have forgotten 
the ordinary ways of man, and has to learn everything 



anew." 



The new name acquired by the novice at the close of 
initiation is, of course, a part of the general dramatic features 
of the ceremonies. It forms a lasting reminder of the great 
change which has come over him. Such a name is usually 
secret, knowledge of it being confined to the initiated men 
of the tribe. The secret name of an Arunta native is known 
only to the fully initiated men of his own local group. It is 
never uttered except during the solemn ceremony of ex- 
amining the sacred Churinga at the initiation rites. 4 When 
boys of the Dippil tribes of Queensland receive their new 
names, there is a special ceremony to impress the sacredness 
of these upon them. Some of the elders secrete themselves 
in the tops of trees and as the new names are pronounced, 
all the men in charge of the boys utter a great shout which is 
answered by those in the tree-tops, "giving the novices the 
impression that ancestral spirits are hovering about in the 
air." 5 Among the Queensland tribes studied by Mr. Roth, 
the lad gets his individual personal name only after cir- 
cumcision. Then he may wear, as a full-fledged yuppieri, 
the grass necklace, human-hair waist-belt, and the opossum- 
string phallo-crypt which belongs to a man. 6 Other typical 

1 Riedel, De Sluik-en KroesJmrige 4 Spencer and Gillen, op. tit., 139, 
Rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua, 637. 

109-110. 5 Mathews in Amer. Anthropolo- 

2 Journals of Expeditions of Dis- gist, new series, ii (1900), 144. 
covery into Central Australia, ii, 337. 6 Ethnological Studies, 171. 

3 Boas in Report U. S. National 
Museum for 2895, 538. 



THE SECRET RITES 41 

Australian examples of the new name are furnished by the 
Wiradthuri of New South Wales, 1 and the Dieri of South 
Australia. 2 A candidate for initiation into the 

Dukduk of New Pomerania received a new name at the con- 
clusion of an ordeal well calculated to shake the stoutest 
nerves. The lad was conducted to a hut in the distant 
bush and was there left in solitude for several days. For 
the first day of his seclusion he was allowed to eat whatever 
articles of food he wished only what he then ate was to 
be tabooed to him for the remainder of his life. During 
the following days he must go without food and water. 
Even sleep was denied him. When the strain became al- 
most unbearable, the Dukduk messenger suddenly appeared 
before the hut. If the lad was found to have bravely borne 
his torments, he was made a probationer and was given a 
new name. He must now return to his home, tell no one 
of what he had gone through, must avoid his childhood 
friends, and await patiently the coming of the Dukduk to 
the village, when at length he would be admitted to the or- 
ganization. 3 In the secret societies of the New 
Hebrides, candidates receive a new name, 4 and the same 
is true of most African societies. 5 "It is a terrible way of 
teasing a Wayao to point to a little boy, and ask if he re- 
members what was his name when he was about the size 
of that boy. Some would not mention their old name on 
any consideration." 6 The Konkau, a branch of 
the Maidu Indians of Northern California, have a tribal 
society called Kumeh, or "Order of Manhood/' At his 
puberty initiation the lad receives a new name, generally 
that of his father or some other near relative. 7 

A new language is closely associated with a new name. 

1 Mathews in Jour. Anthrop. bottom, op. cit., i, 135; Alldridge, 
Inst., xxv (1896), 310. op. cit., 125), and the Ndembo rites 

2 Gason in Native Tribes of South of the Congo natives (Bentley, Die- 
Australia, 269. tionary and Grammar of the Kongo 

3 Churchill in Popular Science Language, 506). 

Monthly, xxxviii (1890), 239-241. 8 Macdonald, Africana, i, 128. 

4 Codrington, op. cit., 87. 7 Powers in Contributions to North 

5 Cf. the Purr ah ceremonies of American Ethnology, iii (Washing- 
the Sierra Leone tribes (Winter- ton, 1877), 305-306. 



42 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

The possession of an esoteric speech known only to initiated 
members is highly useful as lending an additional mystery 
to the proceedings. Australian novices learn a secret 
speech which is never used in the presence of women or 
uninitiated youths. Short sentences of general utility, 
names for the common objects of everyday life, for the various 
animals and plants, and for the parts of the human body, 
make up a dialect, knowledge of which may sometimes be 
of real service in determining whether a stranger is an in- 
itiated tribesman. 1 The songs chanted at the Dukduk lodge 
are in "an unknown tongue." 2 The secret language taught 
the Nkimba novices is fairly well formed, many of the words 
being obvious modifications of the Congo dialects ; 3 and 
others possibly archaic Bantu. 4 The Ndembo secret vo- 
cabulary is, however, small and feeble. 5 Initiates of Mu- 
kuku, a Kamerun society, learn another speech, 6 and the 
same is true of the well-known Mumbo Jumbo order. 7 
The Carib Islanders appear to have developed a some- 
what intricate system of distinct and independent vocabu- 
laries. Of these one was used by men, and by women 
when speaking to their husbands, but never among them- 
selves; a second vocabulary with certain grammatical forms 
was proper to the women, and this in turn was never employed 
by the men save when occasion arose of repeating verbatim 
some statement of their wives. A third and secret speech 
was known only to the warriors and elders. Into this lan- 
guage, used principally at the tribal assemblies, the women 
and young men were not initiated. 8 Among the Guaycurus 
of Brazil and other South American tribes the speech of 

1 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. 5 Bentley, op. cit., i, 286. 
Soc. New South Wales, xxxii (1898), 6 Buchner, Kamerun, 28. 

250; id., Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc., * 7 Moore, Travels into the Inland 

xlii (1903), 259; xxxix (1900), 629 sq.; Parts of Africa, 40. 

Enright in Jour, and Proc. Roy. Soc. 8 R. P. Labat, Nouveau Voyage 

New South Wales, xxxiii (1899), 120. aux lies de I'Amerique (Paris, 1742), 

2 Churchill in Popular Science vi, 127-128; Lucien Adam, Du 
Monthly, xxxviii (1890), 242. Parler des Hommes et du Parler des 

3 Bentley, Pioneering on the Congo, Femmes dans la Langue Cardihe 
i, 282. (Paris, 1879); Sapper in Intern. 

4 Ward, Five Years with the Congo Archiv f. Ethnogr., x (1897), 56 
Cannibals, 57. sq. 



THE SECRET RITES 43 

the women was wholly or in part unlike that of the men. 1 
In the magical societies of the North American Indians, 
the ritualistic use of an archaic dialect is common. 
Though of course unintelligible, both to initiated and un- 
initiated, the shamans delight to employ it during cere- 
monials "not only to impress their hearers, but to elevate 
themselves as well." In the prayer-songs of the Santa- 
kiakwe, or Hunting Order of the Zuni, the names of the 
sacred prey-gods whose fetishes are kept by the society, are 
given, for the sake of unintelligibility, in the language of the 
Rio Grande Indians. 3 Where, as with the Eskimos and 
Dakotas, careful linguistic examination has been made of 
these esoteric dialects, it has been found that they are usually 
the ordinary speech modified by an unusual accentuation, 
the introduction of figurative and symbolic expressions, and 
the addition of archaic words and phrases. 4 

After their long initiatory seclusion, the boys are led back 
to the tribe and invested with the proper belongings of men. 
Elaborate festivities then take place and the newly made 
tribesmen in all their finery become the objects of much 
attention from the women their mothers and the mar- 
riageable girls. At such a time much license, especially in 
sexual matters, is accorded the novices and a period of almost 
indiscriminate cohabitation, followed usually by marriage, 
sets in. 5 The initiatory seclusion and ordeals are accord- 
ingly highly significant as constituting the indispensable 
preliminary to all participation in sexual relations. When 
marriage is the usual accompaniment of the attainment of 
puberty, initiation thus becomes the visible token of arrival 
at sexual maturity, and adds immensely to the importance 
of the initiates who are now about to look for wives. Some- 



1 C. F. P. v. Martius, Beitrdge zur 4 Brinton, The Myths of the New 
Ethnographic und Sprachenkunde World (New York, 1868), 285; Boas 
Amerika's zumal Brasiliens (Leipzig, in Sixth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 594. 
1867), i, 106-107. 6 For some illustrations : Helms in 

2 Hoffman in Fourteenth Ann. Proc. Linnean Soc. New South Wales, 
Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 61; cf. Seventh second series, x (1895), 391; Taplin 
Ann. Rep., 164, 187, 227. in The Native Tribes of South Aus- 

3 Gushing in Second Ann. Rep. tralia, 18; Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen 
Bur. Ethnol., 20. Sud-Afrika's, 109. 



44 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

times special efforts are made to heighten the sexual attrac- 
tiveness of the young men. At Tud, one of the Torres 
Straits Group, after the month of probation follow ; ng in- 
itiation, the. lad having been thoroughly washed anc oiled, 
was decorated with the head-dress of cassowary feathers 
and with other articles of native luxury. A skewer-like 
ornament was passed through his septum and two large 
seeds were placed inside his cheeks to make them bulge out. 
Lastly his body was carefully anointed with "girl medicine" 
which was credited with the property of exciting the girls. 
Thus, according to the native account they "made him 
flash flash like hell that boy." l The dances 

which African novices learn during their seclusion and 
afterwards exhibit in the neighboring villages are usually 
designed to promote their attractiveness in marriage. Ama- 
xosa boys while in seclusion are called collectively Abak- 
weta. After their wounds have healed and the white clay 2 
has been washed from their bodies, the Abakweta are taken 
to the village where they perform their dances with the aid 
of the unmarried girls. 3 Susu boys of the Soudan, after 

1 Haddon in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., among South African tribes, cf. 
xix (1890), 412. Fritsch, op. cit., 109; Macdonald 

2 The use of some substance, in Revue Scientifrque, third series, 
usually white clay, with which the xlv (1890), 643; among the Wagogo 
novices are daubed over face and body, of German East Africa, Cole in 
is common throughout Australia and Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxxii (1902), 
Africa. Doubtless some obscure con- 308; and among the Kamerun 
nection exists here with the death tribes, Buchner, Kamerun, 27. At 
and resurrection ideas. Pipe-clay Tud, boys undergoing initiation were 
is often employed by the Australians painted every day with charcoal, the 
as a sign of mourning for the dead avowed object being to render the 
(Etheridge in Proc. Linnean Soc. skin paler (Haddon in Jour. Anthrop. 
New South Wales, new series, xiv Inst., xix, 1890, 410). The Pow- 
(1899), 333 sq.; Spencer and Gillen, hatan Indians, according to Captain 
op. cit., 136). Moreover, there is the John Smith's account, painted the 
widespread belief that after death the boys undergoing "huskanawing" 
bodies of the natives become white. white (Beverley, History of Virginia, 
The Australian name for a white 175). Omaha lads about to begin 
man is wunda, an expression orig- their initiatory fasts smear them- 
inally applied to the black man in selves with white clay, and then retire 
his spirit state after death (Eraser from the camp for their solitary vigils 
in Jour, of Trans. Victoria Inst., xxii, (Dorsey in Third Ann. Rep. Bur. 
1889, 169). For examples of the Ethnol., 266). 

use of white clay or white pigment 3 Fritsch, op. cit., 109. 



THE SECRET RITES 45 

initiation, go about from town to town begging and dancing, 
and as their importance is now greatly increased, they soon 
get wives. 1 Similar customs prevail among the Mandin- 
goes, 2 and the Bondei of German East Africa. 3 

The various ceremonies which take place on the arrival 
of girls at puberty are distinctly less impressive than those of 
the boys. As a rule there is no attempt at a formal initiation, 
possessing tribal aspects and secret rites. The girl at puberty 
remains in seclusion usually alone or attended by her female 
relations, until her first ordeal has been successfully passed. 4 
In some cases, however, ceremonies of a more important 
nature develop. With the Central Australian Arunta the 
initiatory rites which must be undergone by every girl are 
clearly the equivalent of the first two operations performed 
on the boys and betray the same purpose. 5 Among the 
Queensland tribes the initiatory rites, here divided into four 
clearly defined stages, may be taken by both men and 
women. 6 A number of the African tribes initiate the girls 
with ceremonies quite as elaborate and important as are 
those of the boys, on which they are obviously modelled. 
Thus the Boyale of the Bechuana maidens is the counterpart 
of the boys' Boguera 1 and the Kiwanga of the Bondei girls 
corresponds closely to the Galo of the boys. 8 Other illus- 
trations are to be found in the Gold Coast Colony, 9 among 
the Mpongwe, 10 and among the Vey peoples of Liberia. 11 Vey 
girls go into the "gree-gree bush" when ten years old and 
even earlier, and remain there under charge of instructors 

1 Winter bottom, op. cit., i, 138. sq., 269; see also, Northern Tribes 

3 Park, Travels in the Interior of Central Australia, 133 sq. 
Districts of Africa, i, 396 ; Gray and 8 Roth, Ethnological Studies, 169. 
Dochard, Travels in Western Africa, 1 Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Sud- 
383. Afrika's, 207; Livingstone, Mis- 

8 Dale in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., sionary Travels, 167; Casalis, Les 

xxv (1896), 192. Bassoutos, 283 sq. 

4 Dr. Frazer has given many 8 Dale in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
illustrations of the practice of isolat- xxv (1896), 193-194. 

ing girls at puberty (The Golden 9 Kemp, Nine Years at the Gold 

Bough, London, 1900, iii, 204-233); Coast, 165 sq. 
cf. also, Bastian, Inselgruppen in 10 Reade, Savage Africa, 208. 

Oceanien, xiii-xxi. " Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, ix (1896), 

5 Spencer and Gillen, op. cit., 92 220-221. 



46 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

who are the oldest women in the village, until of marriage- 
able age. Various womanly duties the care of children, 
cooking, making of nets besides dances, games, and songs 
are taught them. Nor does this training in seclusion omit 
those darker rites which seem to be its almost invariable 
accompaniment, especially among African peoples. 

In the effort to discover the significance of primitive 
puberty rites, several theories of their origin have been 
proposed. Dr. Frazer, who has discussed with a wealth 
of illustrations the new-birth ideas so characteristic of these 
mysteries, l argues that they are primarily intended to effect 
the assimilation of the youth to his totem. The latter "is 
simply the receptacle in which a man keeps his life." 2 In- 
itiation rites, with their mimic representation of the death 
and revival of the novice, " become intelligible if we suppose 
.that their substance consists in extracting the youth's soul 
in order to transfer it to his totem. For the extraction of 
his soul would naturally be supposed to kill the youth or at 
least to throw him into a death-like trance, which the savage 
hardly distinguishes from death. His recovery would then 
be attributed either to the gradual recovery of his system 
from the violent shock which it had received, or, more 
probably, to the infusion into him of fresh life drawn from 
the totem." 3 This theory of the connection of the totem 
with the individuals of a totemic clan, has been criticised 
adversely by Professor Tylor, 4 and Messrs. Spencer and 
Gillen conclude that there is not sufficient evidence to war- 
rant its application to Australian totemism. 5 According 
to the more general theory of Frobenius, seclusion, abstinence 
from food and sexual intercourse, the simulation of death 
and resurrection, the use of a secret language, and the as- 
sumption of a new name, are all intimately connected with 
a primitive effort to assimilate the novices to the condition 
of spirits. When, as especially in the African conceptions, 
the dead are considered as exercising much power over the 

1 The Golden Bough (London, 3 Ibid., 422. 

1900), iii, 422-445 ; Totemism (Edin- 4 Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxviii 

burgh, 1887), 38-51. (1898), 145 sq. 

2 The Golden Bough, iii, 418. 5 Jbid., xxviii (1899), 280. 



THE SECRET RITES 47 

living, there will exist a natural desire to assimilate one's self 
as much as possible to the condition of spirits and to become 
" totengleich " or " geistergleich " in order that the spiritual 
power appertaining to the dead may be obtained. Puberty 
rites originate in a period when manes worship, totemism, 
and ancestor cults prevail, and their significance is thus pri- 
marily religious rather than social. 1 Mr. Crawley, unfolding 
his theory of sexual taboo, considers all puberty ceremonies 
of both sexes as originally the outcome of certain very prim- 
itive ideas of contagion, regarded by the savage mind as 
especially threatening at such a great functional crisis as 
puberty constitutes. As all persons of one sex are poten- 
tially dangerous to those of the other sexual taboo - 
the primitive mind sees in the apparent abnormality of 
certain sexual functions, confirmation of this sense of danger, 
and naturally takes measures to avoid impending evil by 
secluding those who are in a condition to be harmful. 2 
No doubt various beliefs arising from many different 
sources have united to establish the necessity of secluding 
boys and girls at puberty. Isolation from the things of 
flesh and sense has been a device not infrequently employed 
by people of advanced culture for the furtherance of spirit- 
ual life, and we need not be surprised to find uncivilized 
man resorting to similar devices for more practical purposes. 
The long fasts, the deprivation of sleep, the constant excite- 
ment of the new and unexpected, the nervous reaction under 
long-continued torments, result in a condition of extreme 
sensitiveness hyperastbesia which is certainly favor- 
able to the reception of impressions that will be indelible. 
The lessons learned in such a tribal school as the puberty 



1 AusdenFlegeljahrenderMensch- of sexual taboo and of its connection 
heit (Hannover, 1901), 150, 164; with initiation ceremonies are devel- 
"Die Masken und Geheimbiinde oped in the posthumous work by J. J. 
Afrikas," in Abhandl. Kaiserlichen Atkinson, Primal Law (London, 
Leopoldinisch-Carolinischen Deuts. 1903), and in a suggestive paper 
Akad. der Naturforscher, Ixxiv (Halle, curiously anticipating some of Mr. 
1899), 214 sq. Atkinson's conclusions, by Ludwig 

2 The Mystic Rose (London, 1902), Krzyurcki, "Some Notes on the Primi- 
29 sq. See also 215-223, 270-314. tive Horde," in International Folk-Lore 
Other interesting theories of the origin Congress (Chicago, 1898), 199-205. 



4 8 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



institution constitutes, abide through life. Another obvious 
motive dictating a period of seclusion is found in the wisdom 
of entirely separating the youth at puberty from the women 
until lessons of sexual restraint have been learned. New 
Guinea natives, for instance, say that "when boys reach the 
age of puberty, they ought not to be exposed to the rays of 
the sun, lest they suffer thereby; they must not do heavy 
manual work, or their physical development will be stopped, 
all possibility of mixing with females must be avoided, lest 
they become immoral, or illegitimacy become common in 
the tribe." l Where the men's house is found in a tribal 
community, this institution frequently serves to prolong the 
seclusion of the younger initiated men for many years after 
puberty is reached. 2 



1 Holmes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
xxxii (1902), 421. 

2 Puberty ordeals for both sexes, 
both connected and unconnected with 
secret initiatory rites, have been 
discussed by a number of writers. 
Among the more important references 
are Ploss, Das Kind, ii, 411-451; 
Schurtz, Altersklassen und M tinner - 
bunde, 95-110; Bastian, Rechtsver- 
haltnisse, 331 sq.; Hall, Adolescence, 
ii, 232-249; Marro, La Puberta, 
xi-xxxii ; Kulischer in Zeits.f. Ethnol., 
xv (1883), 195-203 ; Daniels in Amer. 
Jour. Psychology, vi (1893), 61-103. 

There is some evidence for the 
existence among races just rising into 
civilization of puberty ceremonies 
which betray close kinship to those 
of existing primitive peoples. The 



Spartan military training with its 
numerous ordeals, its organization of 
the youth in companies under charge 
of an instructor, and its trvtnrma, 
or public messes, for the men over 
twenty, affords striking resemblance 
to the arrangements of less famous 
peoples. A convenient summary with 
accompanying references to recent 
studies in the details of the education 
of pubescent and adolescent boys 
in ancient Greece and Rome is 

?'ven in Hall, Adolescence (New 
ork, 1904), ii, 249-260. See also 
Schurtz, Altersklassen und M tinner - 
bunde, 110-124. The older dis- 
cussion by Lafitau, Mceurs des 
Sauvages Ameriquains (Paris, 1724), 
i, 265 sq., is not without value. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE TRAINING OF THE NOVICE 

AMID the many puerilities accompanying the course of 
instruction in these tribal seminaries, we certainly find much 
that is of practical value to the novices, much that is truly 
moral, much that evinces a conscientious purpose to fit 
them for the serious duties of life. This instruction is im- 
parted during the seclusion of the candidates, a period which 
may last for months and even in some instances for years. 
1 Obedience to the elders or the tribal chiefs, bravery in 
battle, liberality towards the community, independence of 
maternal control, steadfast attachment to the traditional 
customs and the established moral code, are social virtues 
of the highest importance in rude communities. Savage 
ingenuity exhausts itself in devising ways and means for 
exhibiting these virtues in an effective manner to the young 
men so soon to take their place as members of the tribe. 
Some of the initiatory performances are even of a panto- 
mimic nature intended to teach the novices in a most vivid 
fashion what things they must in future avoid. In this 
respect the rites are often equivalent to an impressive mo- 
rality play. At the Kuringal of the Coast Murring, an 
Australian tribe, such performances have at first sight a very 
immoral appearance, being presented apparently on the 
principle of similia similibus curantur. The kabos, or guar- 
dians, talk to each other in inverted language so that the real 
meaning of their words is just the opposite of what they say. 
The lads are told that this is to teach them to speak the 
straightforward truth. Various offences against morality 
are exhibited and the guardians warn the novices of their 
death or of violence, should they attempt to repeat the actions 

E 49 



50 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

they have just witnessed. 1 At the Kamilaroi Bora there 
would be " many obscene gestures for the purpose of shock- 
ing the young fellows; and if the latter had shown the least 
sign of mirth or frivolity, they would have been hit over the 
head with a nullah nullah by an old man appointed to watch 
them." Some of these Australian performances, it is true, 
are made at the expense of the novices and are designed 
merely to provide amusement to the spectators features 
which seem to be retained and developed in the initiatory 
rites of much more highly civilized peoples. 

The instruction received by the candidates during their 
initiatory seclusion covers a wide range of topics. Among 
the Australians it is at this period that the very complicated 
tews relating to class and totemic divisions on which the 
marriage system rests, are brought to the attention of the 
novices. During their stay in the bush, Port Stephens boys 
" are taught the sacred songs of the tribes and the laws re- 
lating to the class system." At a recent Bora of some New 
South Wales tribes, the old men showed the novices "how 
to play the native games, to sing the songs of the tribe, and 
to dance certain corroborees which neither the gins nor the 

1 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., marriage, we shall not be surprised to 
xiii (1884), 444-449; id., Native find much instruction in sexual mat- 
Tribes of South-East Australia, 532 ters, conveyed sometimes in a most 
sq. For similar devices of the Queens- direct and startling fashion. See the 
land tribes, see Mathews in Amer. An- illustrations of the drawings and 
thropologist, new series, ii (1900), 140. images at a Queensland Bora, as given 

2 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. by Mathews in Jour, and Trans. Vic- 
Soc. New South Wales, xxviii (1894), toria Inst., xxxiii (1901), 297 sq.; 
121 ; cf. id., Proc. Amer. Philos. id., Amer. Anthropologist, iii (1901), 
Soc., xxxix (1900), 632 (Narrinyeri 340. Among Angola natives the path 
and Booandik tribes). For the antics to the enclosure where the boys are 
of the old men at the Fijian Nanga, confined is marked by a number of 
cf. Joske in Intern. Archivf. Ethnogr., large figures of clay, straw, or carved 
ii (1889), 265. wood, which are always of a phallic 

Some of the phallic observances character (Monteiro, Angola and the 
common to other rites need to be River Congo, i, 278). Phallic em- 
interpreted from this primitive point blems are frequently carved on the 
of view. There is, for instance, doors of the Ogboni lodges (Ellis, 
slight evidence of phallic worship in Y or uba-S peaking Peoples, 95). 
the stricter sense among the Austra- 3 Enright in Jour, and Proc. Roy. 
lian natives. But remembering that Soc. New South Wales, xxxiii (1899), 
the ceremonies of initiation are in- 120. Cf. Mathews, ibid.,xxxii (1898), 
tended primarily as a preparation for 249. 



THE TRAINING OF THE NOVICE 51 

uninitiated are permitted to learn. They were also in- 
structed in the sacred traditions and lore of the tribe; to 
show respect to the old men; and not to interfere with un- 
protected women." l In the Buckli rites common to all 
the tribes of Northwestern Australia, the elders teach the 
boys the laws and traditions of the tribe, the boundaries 
of the tribal territory, and the reasons for the feuds with other 
tribes. 2 In the ceremonies of the Omeo blacks, a Victoria 
tribe now extinct, there were certain proceedings which 
indicated to the neophyte the districts with which he would 
be, as a man, on friendly or hostile terms. 3 Kurnai boys, 
after initiation, spend months in the bush as probationers, 
under the charge of their guardians, "gaining their own 
living, learning lessons of self-control, and being instructed in 
the manly duties of the Kurnai, until the old men are satis- 
fied that they are sufficiently broken in to obedience, and 
may be trusted to return to the community." 4 The boys 
are told to obey the old men, to live peaceably with their 
friends, and share all they have with them, to avoid inter- 
fering with the girls and married women, and to observe 
the food restrictions. 5 Among the Koombanggary (a tribe 
in the northern part of New South Wales) this moral train- 
ing is especially prominent. " Each lad is attended by 
one of the elders, who instructs him every evening in his 
duties, and gives him advice to regulate his conduct through 
life advice given in so kindly, fatherly, and impressive 
a manner as often to soften the heart and draw tears from 
the youth. He is told to conduct himself discreetly towards 
women, to restrict himself to the class which his name con- 
fines him to, and not to look after another's gin ; that if he 
does take another gin when young who belongs to another, 
he is to give her up without any fighting; not to take ad- 
vantage of a gin if he finds her alone ; that he is to be silent, 
and not given to quarrelling." 6 In Kaiser Wil- 

1 Mathews,#>f.,xxviii(i894),i20. 4 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. t 

2 Clement in Intern. Archiv f. xiv (1885), 319. 
Ethnogr., xvi (1903), 10. 6 Ibid., 316. 

3 Helms in Proc. Linnean Soc. New ' Palmer in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. t 
South Wales, second series, x (1895), *"* ( l88 4)> 2 9 6 - 



52 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

helm Land boys undergoing the Asa rites are taught certain 
moral precepts: they are to be generous; they are not to 
steal; and they are to behave properly towards the women. 1 
At Mer, an island in Torres Straits, the lads "were 
instructed in all that related to their daily life, in the most 
approved methods of fishing, fighting, or house-building, 
and in all the duties which are classed as man's work, in 
addition to rules of conduct, the customs of the tribe and 
the traditions of the elders." 2 At Tud, the initiation cere- 
monies "formed a very good discipline. The self-restraint 
acquired during the period of complete isolation was of 
great value, and being cut off from all the interests of the 
outer world, the lads had an opportunity for quiet medita- 
tion, which must have tended to mature their minds, es- 
pecially as they were at the same time instructed in a good 
code of morals. It is not easy to conceive of a more effectual 
means for a rapid training/' 3 "'You no steal/ " the boys 
were told, "'you no take anything without leave; if you 
see a fish-spear and take it without leave, suppose you break 
it and have not one of your own - how you pay man ? . . . 
You no play with boy and girl now; you a man now and 
no boy. You no play with small play-canoe or spear; that 
all finish now . . . You no marry your cousin, she all 
same as sister. If two boys are mates, they may not marry 
each other's sisters, or by-and-bye they ashamed ; they like 
brothers, they may marry two sisters along another man. 
If man asks for food or water or anything else, you give, 
if you have a little, you give little, suppose you got plenty, 
you give half. Look after mother and father, never mind if 
you and your wife have to go without. Give half of all your 
fish to your parents; don't be mean. Don't speak bad word 
to mother. Father and mother all along same as food in 
belly ; when they die you feel hungry and empty. Mind your 
uncles too and cousins. If your brother go to fight, you help 
him, go together; don't let him go first.' " 4 Among 

1 Hagen, Unter den Papua's, 237. 4 Ibid., 411-412. Cf. also Rep. 

2 Haddon in Intern. Archiv f. Cambridge Anthrop. Expedition to 
Ethnogr., vi (1893), 146. Torres Straits, v, 140, 210-211, 214, 

8 Id., in Jour. Anthrop Inst., xix 273. 
(1890), 359-360. 



THE TRAINING OF THE NOVICE 53 

the Gulf Papuans the course of instruction in the Kwod, 
or men's house, forms one long training in tribal cus- 
tom. The old man who resides with the novices as in- 
structor teaches them the complicated system of taboo; 
the seasons when certain kinds of fish may not be eaten or 
when certain foods are reserved for future feasts. Much 
attention is devoted to the art of sorcery; not to make them 
sorcerers, but to impress on their minds how great is the 
power of sorcerers. Their guardian gives them all kinds of 
advice respecting their duty to their tribe; the tribal enemies 
must be the enemies of each individual initiate. In select- 
ing a wife, the tribal interests must be predominant; she 
must be a mother of healthy children ; should she prove to be 
barren, all obligation of husband to wife ceases. Whatever 
serves the highest interests of the tribe is justifiable. 
So the novices are taught that if a woman bears twins, 
one should be buried, for no mother can nourish two children 
as successfully as one. So also the novices are warned 
against illicit intercourse; it is detrimental to the tribe, be- 
cause no one can be held responsible for the conduct of one 
illegitimately born ; and the murder of such a child is allow- 
able. "The Gulf Papuan believes implicitly in the survival 
of the fittest. Personal desires, likes, and dislikes, every- 
thing that is, or can be, must be subordinated to the pursuit 
of obtaining the fittest. This idea is innate in him, it is 
fostered by his guardians when he is a child, it is inculcated 
in his initiation, it is dominant in him until he dies." * 
In New Pomerania where the Dukduk is the all-power- 
ful tribal society, if the chief decides to admit a can- 
didate, he is placed in charge of two men, "brothers of 
the wood and sea," for his education. They take him to the 
forest, where he is made to build a house and get a supply 
of food. "At first he is examined in his bodily exercises 
and in his proficiency in the few arts of his savage life. 
From these material considerations his tutors pass to more 
recondite matters. They instruct him in the secrets of the 
sea and the forest, each according to his title. When the 
candidate can pass a satisfactory examination in this branch 

1 Holmes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxxii (1902), 423. 



54 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

of his education, his tutors acquaint him with the history 
of his race and the list of its hereditary friends and imme- 
morial foes." At one stage of the Nanga rites, 
formerly practised by the Fijians, the boys gayly painted and 
dressed go to the Nanga enclosure and there make their 
ceremonial offerings of kava. And the elders, receiving 
the offerings, pray "that in future the tree of the Nanga 
will be acceptable to the gods" and that the boys may grow 
up into brave and strong men. 2 The inhabitants 
of Halamahera, one of the Moluccas, still preserve initiation 
rites of a secret character. After a general festival at which 
women are present, the boys are led into the forest and remain 
concealed under the largest trees. Men accompany them 
armed with swords and shields. The leader strikes three 
times on each tree in order that the novices hidden under- 
neath may not be cowards when they grow up. The boys 
remain in the forest all day, and to harden their bodies ex- 
pose themselves to the heat of the sun as much as possible. 
Then they bathe and return to the scene of festivities. 
The red paint with which they are covered symbolizes the 
blood from the breaking of the hymen. Before this feast 
the boys must see no blood, wear no red clothes, nor eat 
certain foods which are no longer tabooed after the initiation 
is over and they have become men. 3 At initiation 
into the Kakian of the Patasiva of Ceram, novices are told 
to treat their relatives well, not to fight with them, and not 
to seduce other people's wives. They also learn the old 
traditions of the tribe as well as the special secrets of the 
Kakian society. 4 Basutos boys, during the in- 
itiatory seclusion, are beaten frequently and without pity. 
"Amendez-vous !" they are told, c< Soyez hommes ! 
Craignez le vol ! craignez 1'adultere ! Honorez vos peres 
et meres. Obeissez a vos chefs.'" 5 Bechuana lads are 
asked, "Will you guard the chief well ? Will you herd the 

1 Churchill in Popular Science 3 Riedel in Zeits. f. Ethnol., xvii 
Monthly, xxxviii (1890), 240. (1885), 82. 

2 Joske in Intern. Archiv /. 4 Riedel, De Sluik-en Kroesharige 
Ethnogr., ii (1889), 263. Rassen, no. 

6 Casalis, Les Bassoutos, 278. 



THE TRAINING OF THE NOVICE 55 

cattle well?" and similar questions. After these interroga- 
tions the old men rush forward and whip them over the back 
"and every stroke inflicted thus makes the blood squirt 
out of a wound a foot or eighteen inches long." l At the 
close of initiation they listen to a long address by the elders 
and medicine-men. As they have bathed the white clay 
from their bodies and have burned all the objects connected 
with their seclusion, so all that belongs to their life as children 
must be put away. They must never visit the place of 
seclusion "where they are considered to have left their evil 
dispositions and the follies of childhood." Novices belong- 
ing to the Lake Nyassa tribes "have arms put into their 
hands and are harangued by the elders, bards, and 
magicians. They are now men, and men's work is to 
be theirs. Herding, hoeing, reaping, and all domestic 
duties in which they assisted their mothers, they have no 
longer any concern with. War, hunting, and hearing causes 
must now occupy their thoughts, for they are to take the 
place of the fathers, and on them will depend the defence 
of the tribe and the maintaining of its honour. They must 
defend their chief, avenge his wrongs, wage war at his word, 
and obey his commands if that should imply death; *a 
man can die but once,' with which philosophy they are 
launched into the new life of full manhood." 3 Vey 

boys during their year's seclusion receive instruction in the 
various manly arts in war, hunting, and fishing. They 
are taught to withstand hunger and thirst, and to exhibit 
bravery in fighting, and in all cases to redress wrongs and 
protect the weak. "Dieser Pflege des Rechtsgefiihls scheint 
viel Sorgfalt gewidmet zu werden." Especially are they 
taught how to form proper judgments on matters of tribal 
importance in order later to be able as men to take part in 
the deliberations of the palaaver-house. 4 Much 

the same account was given of the Belli-paaro mysteries, 
among the Quojas, two centuries ago. "Les initiez ra- 

1 Livingstone, Missionary Travels, 8 Macdonald in Jour. Anthrop. 
164. Inst., xxii (1892), 100-101. 

2 Casalis, op. cit. t 281. 4 Biittikofer, Reisebilder aus Libe- 

ria, ii, 305. 



56 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

content d'admirables choses de cette ceremonie, ils disent 
qu'on les rotit, qu'on les fait changer entierement de mceurs 
et de vie, qu'ils recoivent un esprit tout different de celui 
des autres et des lumieres toutes nouvelles." l The 

Madagascar ceremonies which illustrate the preservation 
under monarchical conditions of what was originally a com- 
munity rite, still exhibit the ethical aspects of initiation. 
Circumcision, here a practice of great antiquity, must be 
undergone before a youth is considered fitted for military 
service. No fixed time is appointed for the ceremonies, 
which may last for months. "All depends on the will 
of the sovereign, as the ceremony is, in some respects, an 
initiation into the rank, privileges, and obligations of the 
members of the body politic, and, in a sense, transfers the 
subjects from the jurisdiction of the parent to that of the 
king." At the actual moment of the rite the father says to 
his child: 'Thou art become a man; mayst thou be loved, 
... be of good report among the people, be facile of in- 
struction, and of docile disposition.'" 2 While 
the Fuegian youth were confined in the Kina, "les freres 
aines de ces jeunes garcons, leurs oncles, leurs cousins, plus 
ages, les engageaient a etre industrieux, genereux et sinceres 
en les avertissant qu'ils seraient malheureux s'ils se condui- 
saient mal." 3 Children of the Bororo tribe of Brazil 
go to the Bahito, or men's house, as soon as they are weaned 
- an event which does not take place before their fifth or 
even their seventh year. The Babito is "a public school 
where the children are taught spinning, weaving, the manu- 
facture of weapons, and above all singing, upon perfection 
in which is centred the ambition of all those who wish to 
become chieftains." 4 Of the Powhatan Indians 
of Virginia we are told that only the choicest young men of 
the tribe were selected for the puberty ordeal, as well as 



1 Dapper, Description de VAfrique, de Flacourt, Histoire de la Grande 
268. lie Madagascar (Paris, 1761), 63-66. 

2 Ellis, History of Madagascar, i, 3 Mission Scientifique du Cap 
176-187; cf. Sibree, The Great African Horn (Paris, 1891), vii, 376. 
Island, 217-222. There is an older 4 Frie and Radin in Jour. Anthrop. 
account of these ceremonies by Etienne Inst., xxxvi (1906), 388. 



THE TRAINING OF THE NOVICE 57 

those who had accumulated any property by travel and 
hunting. "It is an Institution, "says Beverley,"or Discipline 
which all young Men must pass, before they can be ad- 
mitted to be of the Number of the great Men, Officers or 
Cockarouses of the Nation." The candidates were shut up 
in an enclosure, where they were compelled to drink wysoccan, 
a preparation which the Indians said took away their wits 
altogether. When a return was made to the settlement, the 
boys were "fearful of discovering any thing of their former 
Rememberance . . ."; otherwise they must go through the 
ordeal again to the great risk of their lives. Those who died 
were considered a sacrifice to Okee, the chief deity of the 
tribes. Beverley at first considered all this to be "an Inven- 
tion of the Seniors" to get possession of the property of the 
young men, as the latter can never pretend to call to mind 
any of their property which is shared among the old men or 
given to some public use. " But the Indians detest this 
opinion, and pretend that this violent Method of taking 
away the Memory, is to release the Youth from all their 
childish Impressions, ... so that, when the young Men 
come to themselves again, their Reason may act freely, 
without being byass'd by the Cheats of Custom and Edu- 
cation." 1 At the initiation rites of the Dieguenos 
Indians of Southern California the youths "were instructed 
in their future duties as members of the tribe and partici- 
pants in the ceremonies, and were threatened with dire 
punishment if they should prove recalcitrant. Hatatkurr 
[the spirit of the Milky Way] would break their backs or 
deprive them of sight, if they failed in the appointed way of 
life." 2 In the legends preserved by the Mitawit 
society of the Menomini Indians it is told how the "Great 
Mystery" caused Manabush, his vicar, to appear on earth 
and erect a mitawikomik, or lodge, where all tribesmen 
should receive instruction. "Long ago/" said a venerable 
priest at a recent initiation, "'the grand medicine was ob- 
served with more care and reverence than it is now. The 
sun was bright when the whiteheads assembled, but now it 

1 History of Virginia, 177-180. 2 Miss Dubois in Amer. Anthro- 

pologist, new series, vii (1905), 623. 



58 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

is dark, and I cannot see the reason. Children were better 
taught to respect the truth and to be honest. . . . There- 
fore, teach your children that they may not stray beyond 
your control. . . . Teach them also to be honest; do not 
permit them to learn to lie and to steal.'" 1 Novices 

presented for entrance into the Medicine Lodge of the 
Dakota Indians, to which a very large proportion of the 
adult members of the tribe belonged, were told that "they 
should honor and revere the medicine sack, honor all who 
should belong to the dance, make frequent medicine feasts, 
refrain from theft, not listen to birds (slander), and female 
members should not have a plurality of husbands." 2 

1 Hoffman in Fourteenth Ann. 2 Pond in Collections of the Minne- 

Rep.Bur.EthnoL, 79-80. sota Historical Society, ii (St. Paul, 

1867), 38. 



CHAPTER V 

THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 

THERE can be no question as to the general excellence of 
this initiatory training, nor as to its permanent effects upon 
the character of those initiated. Impressions conveyed in so 
striking a fashion, result in something more than a tem- 
porary "conversion": the boys become indeed "men," and 
are now ready to accept the lifelong responsibilities and 
duties of tribal life. When Mr. Howitt, as headman of the 
Kurnai, revived for scientific purposes the Jeraeil, which 
had been discontinued for a number of years, one of the 
"worthy old blackfellows" said to him: "'I am glad it will 
be held, for our boys are all going wild since they have gone 
to the white people; we have no longer any control over 
them/ ' At this Jeraeil, the old men considered it necessary 
to have a special ceremony for the moral improvement of 
the lads. The latter were thought "to have departed too 
much from the good old ancestral virtues, and it was there- 
fore necessary that the white man's influence should, if 
possible, be counteracted. It was thought that the lads 
had become selfish, and no longer willing to share that which 
they obtained by their own exertions, or had given to them, 
with their friends." 2 The effect of the Arunta initiation 
ceremonies on the young men is " naturally to heighten their 
respect for the old men and to bring them under the control 
of the latter. With the advent of the white man on the scene 
and the consequent breaking down of old customs, such a 
beneficial control exercised by the elder over the younger 
men rapidly becomes lost, and the native as rapidly de- 

1 Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci., iii * Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

(Sidney, 1891), 349. xiv (1885), 310. 

59 



60 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

generates," * Writing of the Torres Straits Islanders, Mr. 
Haddon declares: "It is difficult for us to realise the awe 
and reverence that was felt by these people for their sacred 
ceremonies, and it must be admitted that this intense feeling, 
combined as it was with reticence and discipline, had a strong 
educative effect on the people." 2 

From another point of view these mysteries may be re- 
garded as the most conservative of primitive institutions 
and as the chief means for preserving that uniformity and 
unchangeableness of custom which is a leading trait of 
primitive society. The ceremonies, coming at puberty, 
soon succeed in repressing every favorable intellectual 
variation and in bringing all the members of the tribe to 
one monotonous level of slavish adherence to the tribal 
traditions. Thus they reenforce that obstacle to progress 
which has been insisted upon by Spencer as characteristic 
of savage peoples ; namely, the completion of physical growth 
and structure at an early age. But regarding them purely 
from the native standpoint, it is difficult to overestimate 
the importance of the initiation rites in providing among 
peoples destitute of all governmental authority save that of 
the tribal elders, a system of primitive social control which 
demands and receives the unquestioning obedience of every 
member of the community. 

There is, however, still another aspect of the initiation 
ceremonies which is of the utmost significance. The lot of 
the old is not an easy one under the conditions of primitive 
life, but with the machinery of the puberty institution lying 
ready to their hand, it is not surprising that the elders 
should find in its operation a powerful means of amelio- 
rating what would be otherwise a difficult existence. As the 
boy grows into manhood he learns that all the great mys- 
teries of which he has heard so much will be revealed to him 
when he gives up his association with women and children ; 
and that he will become acquainted with those objects so 
powerful for magical purposes which the elders and the 

1 Spencer and Gillen, Native 2 Head-Hunters, 51. 

Tribes of Central Australia, 280-281. 
Cf. 223. 



THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 61 

medicine-men preserve with such jealous caution from the 
gaze of the uninitiated. The arrival of puberty finds him 
only too ready for initiation. However vexatious and bur- 
densome may be the trials and restrictions imposed upon 
him, he is willing to fulfil them with the most scrupulous 
care. Anxiety to become a man and to enjoy the privileges 
of a man unite with reverence and fear to make him an easy 
subject for that partial hypnotization which the initiatory 
performances seem everywhere to produce. Even the 
savage mind has not failed to grasp the significance of the 
emotional and religious conditions which arise at puberty. 
By working upon the very human characteristics of cu- 
riosity and awe most acutely experienced at the arrival of 
adolescence, the directors of these early mysteries seem to 
have been everywhere successful in the creation of an or- 
ganized system of deceit and chicanery. Inextricably 
mingled even with the Australian rites, there exists a vast 
amount of fraud and intimidation, which, practised first 
on the novices and then on the women and children, and 
gathering force in more favorable conditions, becomes, in 
the secret societies of the Melanesian and African peoples, 
the source of wholesale oppression and almost unmitigated 
evil. In the simplest form of these ceremonies we may 
detect the conscious efforts of the elders to use them for their 
own advantage; an element of selfishness is introduced 
which results finally when the secret society stage is reached, 
in prostituting the good of the community to the private 
ends of a small number of initiates. 

Everywhere the belief is general among the women and 
uninitiated children that the elders, the directors of the 
puberty institution, are in possession of certain mysterious 
and magical objects, the revelation of which to the novices 
forms the central and most impressive feature of initiation. 
At the Engwura of the Arunta tribe the young men are per- 
mitted as a great privilege to examine the sacred Churinga, 
and in some instances these are handed over by the old men 
to the younger for safe keeping. The deference paid to the 
old men during these ceremonies is most noticeable; "no 
young man thinks of speaking unless he be first addressed 



62 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

by one of the elder men and then he listens solemnly to all 
that the latter tells him. During the whole time the presence 
of the Cburinga seems to produce a reverent silence as if 
the natives really believed that the spirits of the dead men 
to whom they have belonged in times past were present, 
and no one, while they are being examined, ever speaks 
in tones louder than a whisper/' l Before being allowed 
to see the Ernatulunga, or storehouse, of the Churinga, 
an Arunta man must have been both circumcised and sub- 
incised, "and have shown himself capable of self-restraint 
and of being worthy by his general demeanour to be ad- 
mitted to the secrets of the tribe. If he be what the natives 
call irkun oknirra, that is, light and frivolous and too much 
given to chattering like a woman, it may be many years 
before he is admitted to the secrets." 2 Among most of the 
Australian tribes, the exhibition of the bull-roarer and the 
explanation of the manner in which its sounds are produced, 
is the chief mystery disclosed. 3 Practices similar to those 
of the Australians obtain among the Elema tribes of British 
New Guinea, 4 and at Muralug, Torres Straits. 5 Toaripi 
lads confined in the Dubu, or men's house, at in- 
itiation, are finally allowed to see the great mask of Semese 
as it hangs in the dark recesses of the house. "During 
our stay in one of the Dubus" writes Chalmers, "a peculiar 
feast took place. A lad who had never been initiated, never 
seen the inner precincts of the Dubu, and never looked 
upon the wonderful fetish of Semese, was to receive his 
introduction. His father's pigs were dying fast of some 
unknown and incurable disease, and though his son was 

1 Spencer and Gillen, Native time immemorial myths and super- 
Tribes of Central Australia, 303. stitions have grown up around them, 

2 Ibid., 139-140. until now it is difficult to say how far 

3 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., each individual believes in what, if 
xiv (1885), 314. The mystery at- the expression may be allowed, he 
taching to the bull-roarer among the must know to be more or less of a 
Arunta, write Messrs. Spencer and fraud, but in which he implicitly 
Gillen, "has probably had a large thinks that the other natives believe " 
part of its origin in the desire of the (op. cit., 130). 

men to impress the women of the tribe 4 Holmes, ibid., xxxii (1902), 425. 

with an idea of the supremacy and 6 Haddon, ibid., xix (1890), 432. 

superior power of the male sex. From 



THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 63 

over-young, he determined to stretch a point, so gave a 
feast at which the initial processes of the entering-in would 
take place, though years would elapse ere the final mysteries 
were disclosed." After the feast the lad was gayly dressed 
and taken from his father by an elderly man who led him 
to the inner precinct of the Dubu, where he saw the image of 
Semese. "He looked frightened, and seemed glad when he 
again stood by his father. Friends then gave him presents 
of bows and arrows. ... He slept that night in the inner 
Dubu. Overhead, near the centre, carefully wrapped, 
hangs the most sacred of all the representations of Semese. 
Only old men have seen it; and various are the initiatory 
steps before it can be seen." l The old men of 

Guadalcancar, one of the Solomon Islands, have secret 
emblems (tindalos), which are regarded with the greatest 
veneration by the people. By means of the tindalos the 
elders become great diviners and workers in magic. A 
youth learns about them only after initiation. The elders 
guard the tindalos jealously as "in a community where no 
respect whatever is shown by youth to age they are a power- 
ful means for keeping the impetuous youth in its proper 
place. Initiates to the mysteries are doubtless only made 
after due observation as to the fitness of a man for guarding 
the secrets to be entrusted to him." In the 

Banks Islands, where the bull-roarer is too well known 
to be used in mysteries, its place is taken by a flat, smooth 
stone on which is rubbed the butt-end of the stalk of a fan. 
The vibration produces a curious and impressive sound 
which can be modulated in strength and tone at the will 

1 Pioneering in New Guinea, 85- thus move them about. The unini- 
86. dated believe them to be the handi- 

2 Woodford, A Naturalist among work of the ghosts, or even the ghosts 
the Head-Hunters, 25; see also themselves (The Melanesia, 96-97). 
Penny, Ten Years in Melanesia, 71-72. Some of the tindalos possess marked 
Codrington describes the tindalos of similarities to the structures made by 
Florida, another of the Solomon the Arunta for the Engwura rites. 
Islands, as large bamboo structures, Cf. for instance, the waninga of the 
brightly painted and ornamented and Arunta with the voi of the Florida 
sometimes large enough to accommo- Islanders as described by Spencer and 
date as many as eighty or a hundred Gillen, op. cit., 306-309; and Cod- 
men who are secreted within them and rington, op. cit., 96. 



64 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

of the performer. 1 Fijian elders, lacking bull- 

roarers, or Cburinga, devised a dramatic representation to 
impress the lads at initiation. On the last day of the cere- 
monies the candidates were led up to the sacred Nanga 
enclosure. " But where are the men who used to be chaunt- 
ing there the Voice of the Surf? The Great Nanga is 
deserted and empty. The procession stops. A dead silence 
prevails. Suddenly, from the forest a harsh scream of many 
parrots breaks forth, and then a mysterious booming sound 
which fills the young men's souls with awe. The old Vere 
now moves slowly forward, and leads them for the first time 
into the Nanga tambutambu. Here a dreadful spectacle 
meets their startled gaze. Near the outer entrance, with 
his back to the Temple, sits the chief priest regarding them 
with a fixed stare; and between him and them lie a row of 
dead men, covered with blood, their bodies apparently cut 
open, and their entrails protruding. The Vere steps over 
them one by one, and the awestruck youths follow him until 
they stand in a row before the high priest, their * souls drying 
up' under his strong glare. Suddenly he blurts out a great 
yell, whereupon the dead men start to their feet, and run 
down to the river to cleanse themselves from the blood and 
filth with which they are besmeared." 2 The 

Muanza of the Wanika is a great drum so sacred in character 
that when it is brought out for the ceremonies all the un- 
initiated must hide, for should they see it, they would surely 
die. 3 According to Burton, only the members of the third 
degree of the society may see this drum. 4 Among the 
Uaupes of the Rio Negro, at the close of initiation boys 
may see the mysterious juripari instruments. When 
the music of the juripari is heard, the women must retire to 
the woods; death would be the penalty for even an acci- 
dental sight of these objects, " and it is said that fathers have 
been the executioners of their own daughters, and husbands 
of their wives, when such has been the case." 5 

1 Codrington, op. cit., So. 4 Zanzibar, ii, 91. Cf. also Von 

2 Fison in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., der Decken, Reisen in Ost-Afrika, i, 
xiv (1884), 21-22. 217. 

3 New, Life, Wanderings, and 5 Wallace, Narrative of Travels 
Labours in Eastern Africa, 113. on the Amazon and Rio Negro, 349. 



THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 65 

The restrictions imposed upon the novices from the period 
of their initiation, are chiefly concerned with material wants. 
Numerous food taboos and various restraints on marriage 
contribute in a most substantial fashion to the prosperity of 
the older men. Ostensibly such taboos are vital and neces- 
sary parts of initiation. It is interesting, however, to notice 
how prohibitions which once may have had a legitimate 
origin have been enlarged for the benefit of the elders and by 
them bolstered up with "magical" reasons. 1 The inviola- 



1 The theory that food taboos 
arose out of the belief that the flesh 
of the tribal totem should not be 
eaten, becomes, in the light of Messrs. 
Spencer and Gillen's discoveries that 
the Amnta actually eat their totem 
animals, of somewhat limited ap- 
plication. Mr. Crawley, with greater 
plausibility, suggests that these pro- 
hibitions may have originated in the 
common practice of "forbidding 
certain kinds of food during a dan- 
gerous state" the novices, at pu- 
berty, being ex hypothesi in a state 
in which they are liable to "catch" 
all sorts of ills (The Mystic Rose, 
154). Thus they are frequently 
cautioned against eating female ani- 
mals, lest they become as women. 
Among the Coast Murring, there is 
an obvious effort to connect the 
taboos with the initiatory rites. 
The boys are cautioned against 
eating any bird that swims, for that 
recalls their final washing and puri- 
fication. They must not eat such 
animals as have prominent teeth, 
for these recall the teeth lost at the 
rites, etc. (Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xiii, 1884, 455 $</.). It should 
be remembered that the food re- 
strictions imposed on the novices are 
usually only a part of a wider scheme 
of taboos imposed on men and 
women at other times. For the 
long list of Arunta food restrictions, 
see Spencer and Gillen, op. cit., 
470-473. It is difficult to ascertain 



what faith the imposers of these 
taboos now have in their own regu- 
lations. The novices certainly be- 
lieve in them implicitly. "Mr. 
McAlpine . . . tells me that about 
1856-57 he had a black boy in his 
employment. The lad was strong 
and healthy, until one day, when 
Mr. McAlpine found that he was ill. 
He explained that he had been doing 
what he ought not to have done, that 
he had 'stolen some female opossum' 
before he was permitted to eat it; 
that the old men had found it out, 
and that he should never grow up 
to be a man. In fact, he lay down 
under the belief, so to say, and never 
got up again, and died within three 
weeks" (Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xvi, 1886, 42 n. 1 ). Mr. Howitt 
is of the opinion that of the two 
reasons for which such taboos are 
imposed the inculcation of dis- 
cipline and the provision of a plenti- 
ful and superior supply of food for 
the old men the latter is probably 
the older, "for it seems to be most 
likely that where the old men have 
the power to do so, they will impose 
rules which favour themselves, leav- 
ing the disciplinary rule to be the 
secondary object" (Native Tribes 
of South-East Australia, 640). 

The ibets, or taboos, usually im- 
posed upon members of the African 
secret societies, and gradually re- 
laxed as the higher* grades are ob- 
tained, are very probably the survival 



66 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



bility of these prohibitions, secured in the first place by the 
solemn warnings against their infraction, is further secured 
by the general belief instilled into the minds of the boys that 
all their actions as probationers are known to the medicine- 
men, who will punish them severely by their magical powers 
for any lapses from the path of rectitude. 1 

Of these food taboos and their operation, there are many 
illustrations. Boys of the Omeo tribe of Victoria were told 
that if they ate of forbidden food, they would be struck by 
lightning. So strong was this belief that they would endure 
severe starvation rather than infringe upon the regulation. 2 
Coast Murring youth believed that a breach of the food rules 
would be punished by Daramulun, the tribal god, who had 
instituted them. "These prohibitions were only relaxed as 



of these earlier puberty restrictions. 
For the taboos obligatory on members 
of Ngi, a Fang society, see Bennett 
in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxix (1899), 
92 ; cf. Marriott, ibid., 98. Members 
of Ingiet, a society of New Pome- 
rania, are subject to certain taboos 
of various articles of food. Each 
degree has its different regulations 
(Hahl in Nachrichten uber Kaiser 
Wilhelms-Land und den Bismarck- 
Archipel, xiii, 1897, 76). 

Among some South African tribes, 
during the initiatory seclusion, novices 
are allowed to obtain food only by 
theft, and are beaten if not successful 
(Macdonald in Revue Scientifique, 
third series, xlv (1890), 643; id. 
in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xix, 1890, 
268). This procedure, recalling the 
training of the Spartan youth, seems 
chiefly intended as an ordeal, but may 
have grown out of the earlier practice 
of imposing food taboos at puberty. 
In Kamerun, candidates undergo- 
ing initiation must plunder yards 
and houses of goats and fowls. 
Such robbery is always carried on at 
night, because the novices, to preserve 
the fable of their invisibility, are con- 



fined in the forest during the day 
(Hutchinson, Ten Years' Wander- 
ings among the Ethiopians, 4 sq.). 
Purrah boys, at the close of initiation, 
are given extended privileges of 
license, and during one day "may 
catch and kill cattle, goats, sheep, 
fowls, root up cassada, and perform 
other little pleasantries" (Alldridge, 
The Sherbro and its Hinterland, 

131)- 

1 At the Australian rites additional 
impressiveness is secured by the 
presence of the medicine-men who 
go through their performances first 
before the women and children and 
then, at the secret rites, before the 
novices. Among a few of the tribes, 
as the Wonghi and the Coast Mur- 
ring, these officials, combining the 
functions of headman and shaman, 
take immediate charge of the in- 
itiatory rites (Cameron in Jour. 
Anthrop. Inst., xiv (1885), 357; 
Howitt, ibid., xvi (1886), 43; Bever- 
idge in Jour, and Proc. Roy. Soc. 
New South Wales, xvii, 1883, 26). 

2 Helms in Proc. Linnean Soc. 
New South Wales, new series, x 
(1895), 393. 



THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 67 

the youths proved themselves worthy, and in some cases 
appear to have been perpetual." l Of the New South Wales 
aborigines, we are told that married people alone may eat 
ducks, while the old men have reserved to them the privilege 
of eating emu. 2 Young men who ate the flesh or eggs of the 
emu would be afflicted with sores all over the body. 3 Among 
some of the Lower Murray tribes, prior to initiation youths 
may not eat emu, wild turkey, swans, geese, or black duck, 
or eggs of any of these birds. "Did they infringe this law 
in the very remotest degree, their hair would become pre- 
maturely grey, and the muscles of their limbs would waste 
away and shrink up." 4 After undergoing the Keeparra, 
lads of the Port Stephens tribe who had been previously for- 
bidden to eat the male of all land animals, are now allowed to 
eat the male kangaroo-rat. After their attendance at a second 
Keeparra they may eat the male opossum, and at each suc- 
cessive Keeparra their privileges are further increased. 5 Un- 
til the Arunta novice has quite recovered from subincision, 
he may not eat the flesh of opossum, snake, echidna, and 
lizard. Should he do so, his recovery would be retarded 
and his wounds would be much inflamed. 6 When he is 
passing through the Engwura, the last of the long series of 
rites, he must spend much of his time catching game for the 
benefit of the old men who are in camp performing the 
ceremonies. He is not supposed to eat any of the game 
himself. 7 In the Warramunga tribe, after subincision the 
boys "are told that they must not eat large lizards, snakes, 
turkeys, bandicoot, emu, emu eggs, or echidna, and these 
restrictions apply until they are fully middle-aged." 11 Among 
the natives of the Pilbarra district of Northwestern Australia, 



1 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., ' Enright, ibid., xxxiii (1899), 

xiii (1883), 192. 122; cf. for similar regulations at the 

7 Charles Sturt, Two Expeditions Bunan, Mathews mAmer. Anthropol- 
into the Interior of Southern Australia ogist, ix (1896), 343; Howitt in 
(London, 1833), ii, 54 sq. Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiv (1885), 316. 

8 Mitchell, Three Expeditions into e Spencer and Gillen, op. cit., 256. 
the Interior of Eastern Australia, ii, 341. 7 Ibid., 347-348. 

4 Beveridge in Jour, and Proc. Roy. Spencer and Gillen, Northern 

Soc. New South Wales, xvii (1883), Tribes of Central Australia, 613. 
27. 



68 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

after a youth has been circumcised he is not allowed to eat 
emu or turkey until he has been speared or until the elders, 
considering him a man, invite him to eat with them. 1 In 
the Kimberley district, after initiation a boy "must not touch 
the flesh of emu or kangaroo, and in some tribes bustard- 
flesh until he has received a wound in a family quarrel or in 
battle with another tribe, or one of the elders rubs a piece of 
such meat over his mouth." 2 The old men who 

conduct the Barium rites of the Jabim, a tribe of Kaiser 
Wilhelm Land, get much profit out of the initiation cere- 
monies through the gifts of food they receive. 3 After initia- 
tion, the boys must not eat or drink in the presence of an 
older man. Should they do so, they must be careful to hide 
their faces behind a tree or some other object. 4 Novices 
undergoing the Asa rites, during their four months' seclusion, 
must drink no water and must avoid all cooked foods. 5 
Even after their initiation the best parts of the food are 
always reserved for the men. 6 Toaripi youth at puberty 
are confined in the Dubu until their heads, which have been 
closely shaven, are again covered with long hair. They must 
not smoke or chew betel-nut, as that would prevent a good 
growth of hair. Taro and other favorite foods are also 
forbidden to them. 7 Among the Elema tribes "initiates 
are told that if they eat any food that is tabooed, they 
will speedily become bald and prematurely shrivelled in 
body; disease and death will come upon them, and their 
names will be held in disgrace among their relatives." 
Similar food prohibitions are found at Torres Straits and 
among the New Hebrides and other Melanesian islands. 9 
The last act of the Fijian Nanga rites is the Sisili, or 
Bath. All the men go to the river and carefully wash 
off all the paint with which they have been bedaubed. 

1 Withnell, quoted in Amer. An- schichte, xxvi (1894), 200; Hagen, 
thropologist, new series, v (1903), 382. Unter den Papua's, 236. 

2 Clement in Intern. Archiv f. c Hagen, op. cit., 234. 
Ethnogr., xvi (1903), n. 7 Chalmers, Pioneering in New 

3 Schellong, ibid., ii (1889), 155. Guinea, 181. 

* Ibid., 161-162. 8 Holmes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

6 Bartels in Verhandl. Berlin. xxxii (1902), 422. 
Gesells. f. Anthrop. Ethnol. u. Urge- 9 Haddon, ibid. } xix (1890), 411. 



THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 69 

The youths, now initiated, are then led before the elders and 
the chief priest. "He delivers to them an impressive dis- 
course on the new position they have assumed, points out 
to them the duties which now devolve upon them, enjoins 
strict observance of the tribal customs, threatens them with 
the sure vengeance of the gods if they reveal the Nanga 
mysteries to the uninitiated, and especially warns them 
against eating the best kinds of yams and other vegetables. 
These, together with fresh-water fish and eels caught in the 
river, are forbidden to them. They must present them to the 
elders, and content themselves with wild yams, and such 
articles of food as are not so highly esteemed. As the black 
paint with which they were adorned mingled with the water 
of the stream, and flowed away from them when they washed 
themselves, so also, if they disobey these injunctions, will 
the comely dark colour of their skins disappear, and leave 
them of a hideous pallor, a spectacle abhorrent to both gods 
and men." l Among the Andaman Islanders, the 

fasting period begins before puberty and may last as long as 
five years. Turtle, honey, pork, fish, and other favorite 
articles of food are tabooed, but as no restrictions are placed 
on other articles of diet, the novices do not suffer much 
hardship. The tribal chief decides when the fast is to be 
given up. It is regarded "as a test of the endurance, or, 
more properly speaking, of the self-denial of young persons, 
and as affording evidence of their fitness and ability to support 
a family." Soon after puberty the fast is broken and 
instead of the affix dala, the prefix guma ( neophyte or novice) 
is attached to the boy's birth-name; this term is retained 
until the boy is married and becomes a father, when the word 
maia,or if a chief, maiola, is added, by which he is known for 
the rest of his life. 3 No one who has not attained the dignity 
of guma by passing through initiation may eat either dugong 
or porpoise. It is necessary "that the novice should be fed, 
on the first occasion of tasting either of these meats, by some 

1 Fison in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 2 Man in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xii 

xiv (1884), 26. For a similar Coast (1882), 130. 
Murring ceremony, cf. Howitt, Native 8 Man, loc. cit. 

Tribes of South-East Australia, 557. 



70 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

friend or relative, who, having previously passed through the 
prescribed ordeal, is qualified thereby to admit others to the 
like privilege." It is only after initiation that 

the Yaunde youth may eat the flesh of sheep and goats. 2 
Boys of the Konkau tribe of California Indians, after 
initiation into the tribal society, must eat nothing but 
acorn porridge for ten days. 3 In the Ona tribe of 

Tierra del Fuego, the boys at puberty "are separated from 
their companions, and only after certain cruel trials and a 
period of probation are they admitted to the confidence of the 
older men. Now this probation, known as 'Clo'ct'n,' lasts 
two years or more. During this time the young brave aban- 
dons the protection of his family, hunting in strange coverts 
and making long journeys alone. The utmost that is allowed 
him is the companionship of a single dog. He must eat lean, 
hard meat, with no fat a real privation even for whites in 
that bitter climate. A diet of this kind begets, as is well 
known, a strong craving for breadstuffs. The greatest treat 
that can be given to a Fuegian native is a hard ship's biscuit; 
but not even the luxury of 'hard tack/ offered him privily 
and backed by a ravenous appetite, will induce a boy to 
break his self-imposed abstinence when he is 'clo'ct'n. '" 4 
Where the number of women is limited or the conditions 
of existence are unusually difficult, full marriage privi- 
leges do not always immediately follow the attainment 
of puberty. Among the Tasmanians, the old men "who 
got the best food, and held the franchise of the tribe 
in their hands, managed to secure an extra supply 
of the prettiest girls." 5 The Australian elders 

seem to be very successful in monopolizing the women 
of the class with which they may marry. Betrothals 
are exceedingly common, " a female child being usually 
betrothed by her guardians to some elderly friend who 

1 Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xii, 354. 3 Powers in Contributions to North 
Mr. Man notes the resemblance of American Ethnology, iii, 306. 

these Andamanese rites to those 4 Barclay in The Nineteenth Cen- 

of the Australian Bora, ibid., 130 n. 6 . tury and After, January, 1904, 

Cf. Kloss, In the Andamans and 99-100. 
Nicobars, 188. 5 Bonwick, Daily Life and Origin 

2 Morgen, Durch Kamerun von of the Tasmanians, 64-65. 
Sud nach Nord, 51. 



THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 71 

attaches her to his household when she is perhaps not 
more than twelve years of age. Elderly men have been seen 
actually nursing children, their own prospective wives." ! 
Of the Queensland natives, Lumholtz remarks that, as a rule, 
it is difficult for the young men to marry before they are 
thirty. "The old men have the youngest and best-looking 
wives, while a young man must consider himself fortunate 
if he can get an old woman." 2 Among the West Kimberley 
natives, it is "only the old men who have more than one gin." 
After subincision, the second of the initiation ceremonies, 
the novice "may get some old man's cast-off hag, discarded 
for a younger wife." 3 In some of the New South Wales 
tribes, after the boys have gone through the Bora they are not 
allowed to approach a woman for a number of months. 
By one regulation they are prohibited from coming within 
three hundred yards of a woman, 4 by another, they must not 
permit "any woman's shadow to fall upon them until the old 
men who are the repositories of the tribal laws and traditions 
allow it." 5 In the Gringai tribe on the Hunter River the 
young man is not allowed to marry until three years after 
initiation. 8 Novices of the Lower Murray tribes for three 
months after initiation may not look at a woman, "as the 
sight of one during this probation would be the means of 
entailing numberless misfortunes, such as withering up of 
limbs, loss of eyesight, and, in fact, general decrepitude." 7 
Restrictions of these various kinds, enforced during the 
puberty seclusion, may sometimes be continued for a lengthy 
period after the ordeals are over, and be relaxed only by 
slow degrees. Many Australian tribes require the youth who 
has been through a Bora to live for a long time afterwards 
as a probationer. He must attend several Boras before he 
becomes a fully accredited tribesman. In some cases 

1 Mathew, Eaglehawk and Crow, * Mackenzie in Jour. Anthrop. 
113. Inst., vii (1878), 252. 

2 Among Cannibals, 163. Mathews in Amer. Anthropol- 

3 Froggatt in Proc. Linnean Soc. ogisl, ix (1896), 344. 

New South Wales, second series, iii Howitt, Native Tribes of South- 

(1888), 653; cf. also Clement in East Australia, 571. 

Intern. Archivf. Ethnogr., xvi (1903), 7 Beveridge in Jour, and Proc. Roy. 

13. Soc. New South Wales, \vii(iS&3), 27. 



72 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

he must suffer a second or even a third time the rigors of 
initiation. Among the Booandik of South Australia, boys 
must pass through the depilation ordeal at two or three 
inaugural meetings before as full members of the tribe they 
are allowed to marry. 1 Narrinyeri youth, as they approach 
the period of initiation, may not cut or comb their hair. 
When their beards have grown to sufficient length, they are 
made narumbe, or young men, and their beards are plucked out. 
They continue narumbe until their beards have been plucked 
out three times. 2 In the Euahlayi tribe of northwestern 
New South Wales, attendance at one Bora rite entitled a man 
to the privileges of a warrior. But a native must have been 
present at no less than five Bora meetings before he could be- 
come one of the Dorrunmai, " sort of chiefs who hold councils 
of war, but have few privileges beyond being accepted au- 
thorities as to war and hunting/' 3 Graduates of one Ku- 
randa must pass through the rites at two or three subsequent 
meetings before they can take a wife. 4 Attendance at five 
Keeparrasis necessary for Port Stephens aborigines. 5 Among 
the Murumbidgee natives, on the return of the boys to their 
separate tribes at the close of initiation, they are put under 
the control of their guardians or relatives. They may not 
laugh or talk loudly until they reach the age at which their 
voice is developed. They must not speak to women. After 
a time they may approach the men's camp and lodge with the 
single men, but they do not become full tribesmen until they 
have attended at least three Burbongs? Coast Murring 
novices during their probation gain their living as best they 
can by "catching such food animals as are not forbidden to 
them." They must not look at a woman, nor speak to one. 7 
The probationers, while under the charge of their guardians, 
are from time to time instructed by the old men. When the 
latter decide that a lad is competent to be a man, he may 

1 Mathews in Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. New South Wales, xxxii (1898), 
Soc., xxxix (1900), 633. 245. 

2 Taplin in Native Tribes of South 5 Enright, ibid., xxxiii (1899), 
Australia, 15 sq. 122. 

3 Mrs. Parker, Euahlayi Tribe, 8 Mathews, ibid., xxxi (1897), 150. 
81. 7 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

4 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. xiii (1884), 455-456. 



THE POWER OF THE ELDERS 



73 



be present at the tribal councils as a silent member. Still 
later is he permitted to take the wife who has been assigned 
him. 1 Fijian youth were compelled to attend two 

Nangas before they could become fully initiated men. This 
meant a period of probation for at least two years. 2 
Among the Basutos the initiatory rites occupied three 
"terms" with a "vacation" period of about three years 
between each term. 3 Among some of the Yoruba tribes the 
boy must remain under the control of the presiding elders 
of the tribal society until he has killed a man. He is held 
to have attained his majority "by having demonstrated his 
courage and also by having secured for himself the soul of the 
man he has killed as a spirit slave. " 4 



1 Howitt, loc. cit. For additional 
examples from Australia, see Mathews 
in Amer. Anthropologist, new series, 
ii (1900), 144; id., Jour, and Proc. 
Roy. Soc. New South Wales, xxxi 
(1897), I 5; * Jw. Anthrop. 
Inst., xxv (1896), 339- 



3 Fison in Jour. Anthrop. Inst,, 
xiv (1884), 15. 

Wheelwright in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xxxv (1905), 255. 

4 Miss Kingsley, Travels in West 
Africa, 532. 



CHAPTER VI 

DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 

THE initiation ceremonies which have been up to this point 
the subject of study, present certain clearly marked character- 
istics. Above all they are tribal: every male member of the 
community must at some time or another have passed through 
them. They are secret and jealously guarded from the eyes 
of the uninitiated. They are communal rites, and the 
occasion of great festive celebrations which call out every 
member of the tribe and absorb his energies over a protracted 
period. They are organized and conducted by the elders 
who are the responsible guardians of the state. They have 
a definite and reasonable purpose : the young men growing 
into manhood must learn their duties as members of the 
community; they must be schooled in the traditions and 
moral regulations developed through long periods of tribal 
experience. On the transmission and perpetuation of this 
experience, the life of the community depends. In a state 
of society destitute of centralized political control such 
puberty rites constitute the most effective means of providing 
that subordination of the interests of the individual to 
the welfare of the whole without which social progress 
cannot be long maintained. The initiatory institutions 
found among the most primitive peoples in every quarter 
of the globe answer to the most definite and impera- 
tive of social requirements. Whatever else they may in time 
become, tribal initiation ceremonies at the outset are not an 
organized cheat. 

But when, under the influence of various conditions, there 
develops in every progressive society a definite centralization 
of authority, the shifting of social control from the elders 
to the tribal chiefs renders unnecessary the entire machinery 

74 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 75 

of tribal initiation. For obedience to the tribe is substituted 
obedience to the chief. Initiation ceremonies, such as have 
been studied, retain their democratic and tribal aspects only 
in societies which have not yet emerged from that primitive 
stage in which all social control is in the hands of the tribal 
elders. The presence of ceremonies of this character 
throughout Australia and New Guinea is to be associated 
with the absence of definite and permanent chieftainships 
in these islands. Such ascendancy as may be gained by the 
possession of great wealth, or by a reputation for wisdom 
and prowess, is but temporary and local, extending no farther 
than the petty confines of the village or local group. In 
Melanesia and Africa, political centralization has resulted 
to a large degree in the establishment of chieftainships 
powerful over a considerable area and often hereditary in 
nature. But this process has not continued so far as to 
make possible the entire surrender to the tribal chiefs of 
those functions of social control which in the earlier stages of 
society rest with the elders alone. The secret societies 
which have everywhere arisen on the basis of the puberty 
institutions, appear in Africa and Melanesia as organizations 
charged with the performance of important political and 
judicial functions. In communities where the political 
powers of the chiefs are as yet in a formative stage, the secret 
societies provide effective social restraints and supplement 
the governmental activities of the earliest rulers. With 
developing political centralization such functions tend to 
become obsolete and the religious and dramatic aspects of 
the societies assume the most important place. This last 
stage is reached both in Polynesia and North Amewca, 
where we find aristocratic conditions in proces"s of formation 
and powerful chieftainships (in Polynesia hereditary rulers) 
already established. Under these conditions tribal secret 
societies have developed into fraternities of priests or shamans 
who are intrusted with the performance of the religious rites 
of the community. 1 

As contrasted with primitive puberty institutions such as 
those of the Australian natives, the secret societies found 

" * Infra, chap. x. 



7 6 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



among Melanesian and African peoples are organizations 
more or less narrowly limited in membership, divided into 
degrees, through which candidates able to pay the cost of 
initiation may progress, and localized usually in some defi- 
nite lodge, where the members resort for their mysterious 
ceremonies. The use of the masks, bull-roarers, and other 
devices serves at once to emphasize the pretended association 
of the members of these societies with the spirits of the dead, 
and to terrify and overawe those who are not admitted into 
the mysteries. 1 Possessing in addition to their judicial and 



1 Definite localization of the in- 
itiation ceremonies is a natural con- 
sequence of permanent tribal settle- 
ments. When a tribe has no settled 
existence, a " lodge" in the modern 
sense is impossible. The Bora 
ground serves well the purposes of 
the Australian natives, who use it 
frequently for a number of cere- 
monies and guard its sanctity by 
various taboos. The tribe which 
issues the call for initiation has always 
the important duty of preparing the 
grounds before the arrival of the 
various contingents. Women and 
uninitiated boys are strictly forbidden 
to approach the Bora ground. This 
prohibition even extends to the in- 
itiated of a lower degree; among the 
South Australian natives, a circum- 
cised youth could not enter the place 
where subincision had been practised 
(Mathews in Proc. Amer. P kilos. 
Soc., xxxix, 1900, 630). The sanc- 
tity of the Bora ground is further 
secured by the general belief that the 
medicine-men have scattered over 
it magical articles which would be 
dangerous to a trespasser (Howitt 
in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiii, 1884, 
452 w. 1 ). So the Dukduk is supposed 
to leave behind in the bush after his 
visitation of a village, carved figures 
intended to be harmful to the dis- 
trict. Any sudden catastrophe or a 
sudden death would be attributed to 
the presence of these objects (Romilly, 



The Western Pacific and New 
Guinea, 34-35). The Nanga en- 
closures of the Fijians are especially 
interesting, because we may see in 
them the Bora grounds hardened, 
as it were, into a permanent place 
for the celebration of the tribal rites. 
The men's house of New Guinea, 
as has been pointed out, is now used 
for initiation purposes. The lodges 
of the Melanesian and African 
societies are frequently adaptations 
of this primitive institution (supra, 
chap. i). 

The widespread custom of wearing 
masks at the ceremonies, though 
now largely employed in the service 
of terror and superstition, may have 
had its origin in the belief which 
expresses itself in the masked dances 
of many primitive peoples that 
the wearer of the mask, simulating 
a deity or departed spirit, is thereby 
assimilated to the real nature of the 
being represented; that he is for 
the time possessed by the spirit and 
has lost his own personality. Like 
the bull-roarers, the masks have a 
sacred significance which often sur- 
vives long after the downfall of the 
rites in which they were used. 
Professor Haddon, at Murray Is- 
land, had some of the natives make 
models of the masks formerly worn 
at initiation. Having incautiously 
shown them to a woman, he was 
visited by the makers who, in great 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 77 



political functions many rights and privileges debarred to the 
uninitiated, the initiates of the great tribal societies constitute 



agitation, besought him not to let a 
woman see them. "The ceremonies 
had not been held for a quarter of a 
century, the people are all Christian, 
and yet even now a woman may not 
see cardboard models of the tabooed 
masks" (Head-Hunters, 47). The 
Australian natives do not appear to 
have developed the mask proper, but 
in the ceremonies various disguises 
are sometimes used. At the rites 
of the Coast Murring some of the 
performers wore hideous disguises 
made by beating out stringy bark 
fibres into what resembled tow. 
Their bodies were completely cov- 
ered and huge wigs were made, leav- 
ing visible only the face which was 
distorted by strings tied across the 
nose and reverting the lips (Howitt 
in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiii (1884), 
446 . 2 ; id., Native Tribes of South- 
East Australia, 538-539; cf. Mathews 
in Proc. Roy. Soc. Victoria, new 
series, ix, 1897, 156). The make-up 
of the performers at the Engwura 
rites of the Arunta is fully described by 
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen (Native 
Tribes of Central Australia, 294 sq., 
3 18, 330 sq. See also Northern Tribes 
of Central Australia, 177 sq.). On 
the use of masks by different peoples 
little can be added to the careful 
accounts by Bastian, "Masken und 
Maskereien," Zeits.f. Volkerpsycholo- 
gieundSprachwissenschaft,xiv (1883), 
335-358; Andree, "Die Masken 
in der Volkerkunde," in Archiv f. 
Anthrop., xvi (1886), 477-506; re- 
printed in his Ethnographische Paral- 
lelen und Vergleiche, second series, 
107-165; and W.H. Ball, "On Masks, 
Labrets, and Certain Aboriginal Cus- 
toms," Third Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. 
(Washington, 1884), 73-151. The 
work by Frobenius, "Die Masken 
und Geheimbunde Afrikas," Ab- 
handl. Kaiserlichen Leopoldinisch- 



Carolinischen Deuts. A had. der Na- 
turforsclier, Ixxiv (Halle, 1899), 1-266, 
is chiefly valuable for its careful 
study of African masks. On the 
African phases of this subject, see 
also Jour. Amer. Folk-I^ore, xii 
(1809), 208-211; Serrurier in Intern. 
Archiv f. Mhnogr., i (1888), 154-159; 
and Karutz, ibid., xvi (1903), 123- 
127. The Dresden Museum has 
published some elaborate descrip- 
tions and figurings of Melanesian 
masks. A full bibliography is given 
in the monograph by W. Foy, 
"Tanzobjekte von Bismarck Archi- 
pel, Nissan, und Buka," Publica- 
tionen aus dent Koniglichen Ethno- 
graphischen Museum zu Dresden, 
xiii (1900), 22-23. Further ref- 
erences are given by Bartels, "Ueber 
Schadelmasken aus Neu-Britannien," 
Festschrift fur Adolf Bastian (Ber- 
lin, 1896), 233-245. 

The bull-roarer which survived 
in the Greek mysteries as the finpot 
is one of the most widespread 
of primitive instruments. Its use 
in initiation ceremonies is universal 
in Australia and New Guinea, and 
it is of frequent occurrence in 
Melanesia and Africa. Mr. J. W. 
Fewkes found the Zufti and Hopi 
priests carrying bull-roarers in their 
rain ceremonies (Jour. Amer. Eth- 
nol. and Archaol., i (1891), 15, 
23 w. 1 )- Captain Bourke noticed 
their use for similar purposes by the 
Apache (Ninth Ann. Rep. Bur. 
Ethnol., 476-477), and more recently 
Professor Haddon discovered like 
practices at Murray Island, Torres 
Straits (Head- Hunters, 33). Mr. 
Howitt was told by the Coast Mur- 
ring natives that the noise of the 
mudji represents the muttering of 
the thunder the voice of the tribal 
god "'calling to the rain to fall and 
make the grass grow up green'" 



78 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

a rude but powerful aristocracy in communities made up 
in addition, of women, children, and uninitiated men. 

No doubt in many cases the decline of the earlier puberty 
institutions has not been associated with the rise of secret 
societies. A process of gradual decay, its outcome the com- 
plete obsolescence of the ceremonies, would then take place. 
An examination of the initiatory practices of some of the 
Australian tribes, for example, seems to indicate that decay 
had set in even before the arrival of European colonists. 
Among some of the western tribes of Victoria, according to 
one account, a boy at puberty is taken by his brothers-in- 
law, or, if he has none, by strangers from a distant tribe, to a 
far-off part of the tribal territory "where he is received with 
welcome by his new friends. After two moons he is allowed 
to visit his own tribe, but not without several men to take 
care of him and bring him back." He is well treated through- 
out this period and his wants liberally supplied. After 
twelve months his relatives call and bring him to the first 
great meeting of the tribes. " Before leaving, they pull out 
all the hairs of his beard, and make him drink water mixed 
with mud; which completes his initiation into manhood." 



(Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiii (1884), 
446). At Kiwai Island, in the 
Papuan Gulf, whirling of the 
maduba, or bull-roarer, insures "a 
good crop of yams, sweet po- 
tatoes, and bananas" (Haddon in 
Rep. Cambr. Anthrop., Expedition 
to Torres Straits, v, 218). Noticing 
the ideas of fertility connected with 
the bull-roarer, Mr. Frazer suggests 
that since the great change which 
takes place at puberty consists in 
the development of the power of 
reproduction, and since "the in- 
itiatory rites of savages are apparently 
intended to celebrate, if not to bring 
about, that change, and to confirm 
and establish that power," the bull- 
roarer may be the implement by 
which sexual power is imparted to 
the males (Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. 
Sci., viii, Melbourne, 1901, 318). 



On the bull-roarer in general, see 
Fison and Howitt, Kdmilaroi and 
Kurnai, 267-269; Haddon, The 
Study of Man, 277-327; Lang, 
Custom and Myth, 29-44; Mathews, 
"Bull-roarers used by the Australian 
Aborigines," Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
xxvii (1897), 52-60; Schmeltz in 
Verhandl. des Vereins fur Natur- 
wissenschaftliche Unterhaltung zu 
Hamburg, ix (1896), 92-127. On 
its employment in the Greek mys- 
teries, see Adolf Bastian, Allerlei aus 
Volks- und Menschenkunde (Berlin, 
), i, 291. For a collection of 



some of the numerous examples of 
its use among primitive peoples, see 
the note in The Golden Bough 
(London, 1900), iii, 424 n. 1 . 

1 Dawson, Australian Aborigines, 
30- 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 79 

Another emasculated ceremony once practised by coast tribes 
of Victoria was the Tidbut. The youth was led to an isolated 
place where his head was shaved and covered with clay. 
His body was then daubed with mud and filth and in this 
condition he was required to go through the camp for several 
days and nights, throwing filth at whomever he met. Finally 
he was given over to the women, who washed him, painted 
his face, and danced before him. 1 The Nanga cere- 

monies of the Fijians seem to have lost whatever rigor and 
harshness may have been theirs originally. Novices under- 
went no ordeals during their seclusion. Circumcision, which 
must have been an initiatory rite at an earlier time, was appar- 
ently unconnected with the introduction of the young men to 
the tribe. It was only practised, presumably as a propitiatory 
measure, when a chief or other important personage was ill. 
The sick man's son, or one of his brother's sons, was then 
led to the Nanga and there circumcised by the priest, who 
afterwards performed the rite upon several other boys at the 
same time. Following the operation was a great feast and a 
period of general sexual license. The decadence of the 
Fijian rites is further indicated by the fact that initiation 
into the tribe was not necessary for marriage. A boy might 
take possession of a girl who had been betrothed to him as 
soon as he considered her old enough. 2 Among 

the Andaman Islanders the absence of secrecy and harshness 
in the conduct of the rites affords a parallel to the Fijian 
development. 3 Other illustrations are not wanting. At 
Daudai, British New Guinea, the principal puberty rite is 
now merely a feast at which the health of the lads is drunk in 
an intoxicating liquor. Even a period of seclusion is not 
compulsory. The lads, however, usually remain in the men's 

1 Smyth, Aborigines of Victoria, i, cision nor subincision is practised 

60-61. Cf. also Howitt in Jour. by this tribe. Cf. Spencer and Gillen, 

Anthrop. Inst., xiv (1885), 322 sq.; Northern Tribes of Central Aus- 

Mathews in Amer. Anthropologist, tralia, 33i~332. 
xi (1898), 330. The ceremonies of 2 Fison in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

the Larakia tribe in the Port Darwin xiv (1884), 23 sq. 
district of Central Australia, present * Cf. Man in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

another type of emasculated rites. xii (1882), 130 sq. 
Curiously enough neither circum- 



80 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

house for several days while they deck themselves so as to 
attract the favorable notice of the women. 1 At 

Uripiv, one of the New Hebrides, the rules of the duli, or 
period of confinement, are not very strict, and the young men 
undergoing it "have no superstitious dread of breaking it 
through in some particulars, but do not let the old men of 
the village see them do so, for it is they who institute and keep 
the custom alive." 2 Among the Bogos of Western 

Abyssinia, the arrival of a lad at puberty is celebrated with 
a festival called Schinralet, which lasts seven days. The boy 
collects several comrades and visits his relatives and acquaint- 
ances to receive gifts. From this time he is endowed with 
all the privileges of a citizen. 3 Among some of the 

Brazilian aborigines the tribal secrets appear to be in process 
of degeneration. Among the Nahuqua and Mehinaku, a 
recent investigator had no difficulty in obtaining both dance- 
masks and bull-roarers from the house where they were kept. 
Their use was publicly exhibited to him, and the women 
were not compelled to retire when these articles, formerly 
so sacred, were brought out. But with the Bororo, the bull- 
roarers are still guarded with the usual secrecy; should a 
woman see them, she would surely die. 4 Similarly, 

the bull-roarer, found throughout North Queensland, 
in the north-west-central districts is used indiscrim- 
inately by either sex and at any age. On the Bloomfield, 
Lower Tully, and at Cape Grafton it is used by men and boys 
only. In these latter districts the method of using the bull- 
roarer is taught the boys at their first initiation so that they 
can play it in public and before the women. 5 

In some cases, initiatory rites of a primitive character may 
continue in existence even after the development of per- 
manent chieftainships. Under such circumstances the chiefs 
often utilize them for the furtherance of their own power. 



1 Beardmore in Jour. Anthrop. 4 Von den Steinen, Unter den 
Inst., xix (1890), 460. Naturuolkern Zentral-Brasiliens, 327, 

2 Somerville in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 497. 

xxiii (1893), 5. 6 Roth in North Queensland Eth- 

3 Munzinger, Uber die Sitten und nography, Bulletin no. 4 (Brisbane, 
das Recht der Bogos, 38-39. i9 2 )> i4~ I 5- 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 81 

Among most of the South African tribes, the puberty institu- 
tion has a civil rather than a religious character. Some- 
thing akin to the Teutonic comitatus has come into existence. 
All the children born about the same epoch as the son of a 
chief are circumcised at puberty with him. The brother- 
hood so formed takes the name of the young chieftain who 
presides at the rite, and its members become his companions 
for life. Among the Bechuanas and Kaffirs, the boys during 
seclusion are taught the essentials of African politics. "It 
is an ingenious plan for attaching the members of the tribe 
to the chief's family, and for imparting a discipline which 
renders the tribe easy of command." The members of these 
brotherhoods are supposed "never to give evidence against 
one another, and it is a great offence for any of them to eat 
food alone if their comrades are near. In fact, the friend- 
ship is greater than is that between men in England who go 
up to the University together." In the Ancho- 

rites Islands a precisely similar arrangement has come into 
existence. The necessary period of initiatory seclusion lasts 
here several years. Its beginning is fixed upon by the chief, 
who, when his own children or those of his relations have 
reached the age of puberty, orders their initiation along with 
the children of his dependents, who have attained a corre- 
sponding age. All the young men thus initiated remain the 
friends of the chief in later life and are called his people. A 
chief has no power over a man who did not in this manner owe 
his initiation to him. 3 

With the emergence of a social organization in which 
political control is centralized within the ranks of a narrowly 
limited aristocracy of chiefs and leading men, primitive 

1 Livingstone, Missionary Travels, aus den Deuischen Schutzgebieten, 
166. xiv (1901), 89; Theal, History 

2 Kidd, The Essential Kafir, 206. of South Africa, ii, 205-206; Alberti, 
For further examples among the Die Ka/ern auf der Sudkuste von 
Amaxosa, Ovaherero, Basutos, Sotho, Afrika (Gotha, 1815), 138; Gottsch- 
and other tribes, see Endemann in ling in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxxv 
Zeits. f. Ethnol., vi (1874), 37-38; (1905), 37*- 

Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Slid- 3 Kubary in Die Ethnographisch- 

Afrika' s, 206, 235; Casalis, Les Anthropologische Abtheilung des 

Bassoutos, 277; Lubbert in Mitth. Museum Gode/roy (Hamburg, 1881), 

v. Forschungsreisenden und Gelehrten 452-455. 



82 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

initiation ceremonies maybe retained, but with the loss of their 
democratic features. In such instances they are often re- 
served to the governing class. The beginnings of such a devel- 
opment may perhaps be seen in those Melanesian societies 
where the initiated are the sons of chiefs alone; or where 
the higher degrees may be taken only by those who from 
political power or the possession of great wealth, form, in 
fact, an aristocratic ruling class. In Malanta, one of the 
Solomon Islands, puberty initiation rites for the common 
people have been discarded. But at Saa, in Malanta, the 
chief's son goes early to the Oka, or canoe-house and public 
hall, while common children still eat and sleep at home. 
Formerly, boys used to go into the Oha and remain in se- 
clusion for years. At the close of their confinement a 
great feast was held and the boys came out as young men. 1 
Among the Maori of New Zealand, so far as our infor- 
mation goes, there were no secret societies and no special 
ceremonies at puberty for the initiation of common people. 
But the eldest son of the head chief of a tribe had to undergo 
rites at puberty which recall the earlier tribal ceremonies. 
He must be initiated " into the secrets of all priestcraft and 
witchcraft as Arikioi the people." There was no pretence 
of killing the novice, and other usual accompaniments of 
initiation ceremonies were lacking; but it is of some signifi- 
cance that women could not go near a young chief during 
this initiation period. 3 The ancient Mexican cus- 

tom whereby a man might obtain the rank of Tecubtli^ 
or chieftain, by demonstrating his powers to undergo for a 
protracted period the most rigorous ordeals of the usual 
initiatory character, seems another survival of the same 
nature. 4 The Ponkas and other Siouan tribes had 

various sacred and mysterious rites at the initiation or 
inauguration of their chiefs. 5 

1 Codrington, The Melanesians, seum (Cambridge, 1880), 642-643. 
233-234. Similar ceremonies existed among 

2 Tregear in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., the Orinoco Indians and the Peru- 
xix (1889), 99. vians (ibid., 643 n.). 

3 Ibid., 100. 5 Dorsey in Third Ann. Rep. Bur. 

4 For a description, see Bandelier Ethnol., 359 sq. 
in Twelfth Ann. Rep. Peabody Mu- 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 83 

In spite of these divergencies in development, it is still 
possible to make out the main lines along which the evolution 
of the primitive puberty institution has proceeded. How- 
ever striking may be the differences between such an institu- 
tion as the Bora of the Australian natives and a tribal secret 
society like the Dukduk of the Bismarck Archipelago or the 
Egbo of West Africa, they appear, in the last analysis, to be 
due fundamentally to the changes brought about when once 
the principle of limitation of membership is introduced. 
The process which converts the puberty institution into the 
secret societies of peoples more advanced in culture, seems in 
general to be that of the gradual shrinkage of the earlier 
inclusive and democratic organization consisting of all the 
members of the tribe. The outcome of this process, on the 
one hand, is a limitation of the membership of the organization 
to those only who are able to satisfy the necessary entrance 
requirements; and, on the other hand, the establishment in 
the fraternity so formed of various degrees through which 
candidates may pass in succession. With the fuller develop- 
ment of secret society characteristics, these degrees become 
more numerous, and passage through them more costly. 
The members of the higher degrees, forming an inner circle 
of picked initiates, then control the organization in their own 
interests. 

The grades or degrees which constitute so noteworthy a 
feature of the secret societies in their developed form, appear 
to have originated in the system of age-classifications in use 
among many primitive peoples. 1 The best examples of this 
practice are to be sought in Australia and Africa. 2 

The Australian evidence presents the initiatory rites as 
divided into several stages or degrees corresponding in gen- 
eral to age distinctions, through which the candidate passes 

as he develops into the complete maturity of manhood. In 

some cases the advanced grades, no longer open to every 
tribesman, have become the special possession of a limited 
class. Among the Tasmanians, most primitive of peoples, 
"there existed three distinct classes, or social gradations, 

1 Supra, 20. * For examples from North Amer- 

ica, infra, 130-134. 



84 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

which were attained through age and fidelity to the tribe; 
but it was only the third class which was initiated into the 
hidden mysteries, and possessed the power of regulating its 
[the tribe's] affairs. Secrecy was usually observed in the 
ceremonies of admitting the youth to the first class, and in 
raising those of the first to the second, but the secrecy was 
most rigidly observed whenever an initiation into the third 
class took place." 1 The Adelaide tribes of South 

Australia arranged initiation in five stages, all of which were 
to be passed through before the rank of Bourka, or full-grown 
man, could be reached. These stages corresponded roughly 
to the different age periods: the fourth, attained when the 
youth was about twenty, marked full maturity; the fifth 
was "only attained when the individual is getting grey- 
headed." The three degrees necessary for Port Lincoln 
natives "constitute three distinct epochs in their lives." 
At the age of fourteen they take the first degree and are 
styled Warraras ; a few years later, having undergone cir- 
cumcision, they become Wityalkinyes^ and are allowed 
to marry. "As a proof of the significance they attach to 
these strange rites and customs, it may be instanced that it 
is considered insulting if one of a higher degree taunts his 
adversary with the lower degree he still occupies." 3 Among 
the Dieri there are six stages, the completion of which is 
requisite for the fully initiated tribesman. Between the 
ages of five and ten, the septum of the lad is piercecT ; this 
rite is followed at about twelve years of age by the extraction 
of two front teeth, and later by circumcision. The fourth 
degree is taken when the lad receives a formal smearing with 
blood and the marks of scarification. Mindari, or attend- 
ance at certain totemic ceremonies, and Kulpi, or subincis- 
ion, constitute the final degrees. 4 The Arunta and 

Ilpirra arrangements may be profitably compared with those 
of the Dieri. Among these tribes there are four clearly 

1 Barnard in Rep. Austr. Assoc. 3 Wilhelmi in Trans. Roy. Soc. 
Adv. Sci., ii (Sidney, 1890), 602-603. Victoria, v (1860), 188. 

2 Eyre, Journals of Expeditions of * Gason in The Native Tribes of 
Discovery into Central Australia, ii, South Australia, 266 sq. 

336. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 85 

marked stages: Alkirakiwuma y the painting and throwing 
the boy in the air, a rite which takes place when he is be- 
tween ten and twelve years of age; Lartna, or circumcision, 
performed soon after the arrival of puberty; Ariltha, or 
subincision, which follows as soon as the boy has recovered 
from the former operation ; and Engwura, the fire ceremony, 
last and most impressive of the series. Natives are some- 
times twenty-five or even thirty years old before they undergo 
the Engwura. 1 On the basis of these degrees arise the 
"status" names which indicate at once the position in the 
tribal ceremonies attained by the holders. Before initiation, 
an Arunta boy is Ambaquerka, or child. After the first 
ceremony he is called Ulpmerka? at the close of this interval 
and immediately preceding circumsision he is Wurt'^a; 
after circumcision, Arakurta; after subincision, Ertwa- 
kurka, or initiated man. 3 During the latter part of the 
Engwura rites, the young men are known collectively as 
Ilpongwurra; and only after they have gone through the 
long series of fire ordeals which close the ceremonies, do they 
graduate as Urliara, or fully initiated men. 4 The 

rites of the Kimberley natives of Western Australia exhibit 
a similar arrangement by degrees. Until five years of age 
the boy is called Tadup. He then becomes a Chookadoo, 
and is usually given as a boy-wife to one of the young men. 
When about ten years old, the severe initiation rites begin in 
earnest. After circumcision and the knocking out of his 
two upper front teeth, he is known as Balillie. A year later 
come subincision and cicatrization, which make him a 
Wongalong. Finally, on reaching a marriageable age, he is 
smeared with red ochre and as a Wilgieing may look about 
for a wife. 5 The Eastern tribes, among whom 

rites of the Bora type prevail, have no such elaborate system 
of degrees. As we have seen, however, a youth does not 
attain the status of a full tribesman until he has attended 
several Bora ceremonies. 6 Moreover a number of the New 

1 Spencer and Gillen, The Native 4 Ibid., 322, 347, 656. 

Tribes of Central Australia, 212-213. * Hardman in Proc. Roy. Irish 

2 Ibid., 218, 655. Acad., third series, i (1888), 73-74. 

3 Ibid., 221, 249, 256, 260, 638, 657. ' Supra, 71-72. 



86 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

South Wales tribes possess abbreviated inauguration cere- 
monies, modifications of the great Bora rites and preliminary 
to them. The Kudsha, or Narramang, of the Coast Murring, 
for instance, is an abridged form of the Bunan at which the 
assistance of outside tribes is not necessary. A novice 
initiated at the Kudsba must take a higher degree when the 
next Bunan is held. 1 

The initiation ceremonies of some of the New Guinea 
tribes show a similar arrangement by progressive stages. 
Elema boys when they enter the Eravo are known collectively 
as Malai-asu; while among themselves they are called 
individually, Heava. This seclusion occurs when the boys 
are about ten years of age. 2 Following Heava comes the 
Heapu stage, marked by a great feast. The boys now 
terminate their period of absolute seclusion and may appear 
in public wearing the regulation ornaments of the Heapu, 
which they have made during their seclusion. Initiation, 
however, is not yet completed; there are still certain ordeals 
which must be successfully undergone before the youth is 
acknowledged as a Semese, or warrior. As a Semese he is 
initiated into the mysteries of the bull-roarer, and is then 
allowed to marry. 3 In the Nanga, or initiation 

ceremonies of the western Fijians, the place and importance 
of the participants depended upon age. The elders (Fere), 
and the very old men (Fere matua), were members of the 
sacred Nanga and the priests of the order. Below them 
were the Funilolo, the men who had attended at least two 
initiation ceremonies. They were the strong and mature 
members of the tribes. Last of all came the young men 
(yilavou) 9 W\\O had just been initiated and were on probation. 4 

The African development of the age classification has 

1 MathewsandMissEverittin/0r. and the Kadjawalung of the Coast 

and Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Murring (Howitt, ibid., xiii, 1884, 

Wales, xxxiv (1900), 276 sq. Other 432 sq.). 

ceremonies of the same character 2 Holmes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

are the Nguttan (Mathews in Proc. xxxii (1902), 419. 

Amer. Philos. Soc., xxxvii, 1898, 3 Ibid., 424-425. 

69-73); the Murwin of the Bellinger 4 Filson, ibid., xiv (1884), 15 sq.; 

River tribes (Palmer in Jour. Joske in Intern. Archiv f. Ethnogr., 

Anthrop. Inst., xiii, 1884, 297); ii (1889), 259. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 87 

especial interest. Among the Masai tribes of German East 
Africa, a boy at fourteen is admitted by the rite of circum- 
cision into the ranks of the warriors and becomes El-moran. 
He now leaves the kraal of the married people and proceeds 
to a distant kraal where there are only young unmarried 
men and women. Here he lives a military life for many 
years. Meat and milk form his daily food; such luxuries 
as tobacco, beer, and vegetables are rigorously forbidden. 
As a warrior he can hold no property; indeed his sole busi- 
ness as El-moran is to train himself for proficiency in war- 
like enterprises, to guard the kraal, and to take part in raids 
into neighboring districts. During this period marriage 
is not allowed, but promiscuous intercourse naturally pre- 
vails. The youth continues a member of the warrior class 
sometimes for twenty years, at least until the death of his 
father gives him the latter's property and permits his mar- 
riage. The strict rules of diet are then abandoned; the 
companions in the kraal are forgotten; and the once fierce 
and venturesome warrior becomes a staid and respectable 
member of society. 1 According to a more recent account, 
a class of probationary warriors is also recognized. Boys 
on reaching puberty and entering this class are called Selo- 
gunia (shaved head) in contradistinction to the warriors 
who have long hair. 2 The promiscuous intercourse in the 
kraal seems now to be given up. In the old days, however, 
the ditos, or prostitutes, were all immature girls whose career 
in the kraal did not seem to have injured their marriageable 
prospects. 3 If a warrior had a child by his dito, he married 
her and at once entered the class of married people called 
El-morno. 4 The Wakwafi system of age classification 

as outlined by Krapf includes the children, Engera, who 
remain with their mothers and the old people, tending cattle 
and doing household work ; the Leiok, youths from fourteen 
to twenty who devote themselves to national games and to 

1 Thomson, Through Masai Land, ' Ibid., 72-73. 

244-261. * Baumann, Durch Masailand zur 

1 S. L. Hinde and Hildegarde NilquelU, 161. See also A. Le Roy, 

Hinde, The Last of the Masai (Lon- Au Kilima-Ndjaro (Paris, 1893), 

don, 1901), 56. 422-428. 



88 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

the chase; the El-moran, or warriors, who after reaching 
the age of twenty-five are designated as Kkieko if they 
marry; and the aged men, Eekiilsharo, who remain at home 
and serve as tribal councillors. 1 The Wanika 

have the three orders of young men (Nyere), middle-aged 
men (Kbambi), and old men (Mfaya). "Each degree has 
its different initiation and ceremonies, with an elaborate 
system of social and legal observances, the junior order 
always buying promotion from the senior. Once about 
every twenty years comes the great festival 'Unyaro,' at 
which the middle-aged degree is conferred." 2 The pre- 
liminary seclusion of the candidates for two weeks in the 
woods, the ritualistic use of white clay, and the celebration 
of various mystic rites, show with the utmost clearness the 
development of the age-stages as existing in the puberty 
institution into the well-defined degrees of the tribal society. 
Though among the Wanika a definite chieftainship has 
been established, the chief has little power apart from the 
Mfaya and Khambi. Every adult male expects to join 
the Kbambi if he can pay the fees required at initiation. 
Members of this degree form the real governing body of the 
nation. They busy themselves, however, mostly with feast- 
ing. As all crimes are punished by fines assessed chiefly 
on flocks and herds, the deliberations of the Khambi do not 
lack for good cheer. 3 Among the Zulus in the 

Angoni district north of the Zambesi the age classification 
has been obviously affected by the influence of the chiefs. 
Here it is almost purely a military institution. Circum- 
cision, formerly in general use as an initiatory rite, has now 
been abandoned. The male population is arranged in 
five legions which are rigidly separated and which in war 
always go divided. The Mafera are the cadets who occupy 

1 Travels, Researches, and Mis- Decken, Reisen in Ost-Afrika (Leip- 

sionary Labours, during an Eighteen zig, 1871), ii, 25. 
Years' Residence in Eastern Africa 2 Burton, Zanzibar, ii, 90. 

(London, 1860), 295. Other ac- 3 New, Life, Wanderings, and 

counts varying in details are given Labours in Eastern Africa, 107-114. 

by Burton, Zanzibar, ii, 89 sq.; See also Hildebrandt in Zeits. f. 

Hildebrandt in Zeits. f. Ethnol., x Ethnol., x (1878), 400; and Von der 

(1878), 399-400; and C. C. von der Decken, op. cit., i, 217. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 89 

themselves with warlike exercises, but who seldom partici- 
pate in actual fighting; the Kabenda are young people 
over fourteen years of age who perform minor services of 
a military character; the Maora, Mabema, and Madjaha 
include all the fighting men from eighteen to thirty years 
of age. A fourth class is that styled Madoda, made up of 
warriors over thirty who have the right of attending the tribal 
assemblies and of participating in the deliberations. The 
Madjinga are the old men no longer warriors who pass their 
time in attendance on the chief and form his council. 1 
The southern Gallas were divided into Toils (officers), 
Ghaba (adults and warriors), and Art (cadets or aspir- 
ants). 2 Traces of the age classification survive among the 
Makalakas, a Zambesi tribe. "The principal men, and also 
groups of old men, eat together; young men just entered into 
manhood do the same; these will pass their dish with the 
leavings to younger brothers, who are also found grouped 
together." 3 A boy of the Kikuyu tribe of British 

East Africa is called Kahe until circumcision. He then 
assumes the title of Mwanake which he bears until he is 
recognized by the older men as of sufficient age to become 
an elder. He is then known as Mundu Mzun. 4 The 
Mukamba stages are somewhat more elaborate. A male 
child, called Kivitzi at birth, becomes Muvitzi, or youth, 
when he has reached ten years of age. After marriage he 
is known as a Mwanake. When he finds himself in a posi- 
tion to give a feast and to present the leading elders with 
a goat, "he is received among the elect and is known as 
a Mutumia until the day of his death." In 

Wadai, central Soudan, five age-distinctions are observed. 
Of these, two, known as Sedasi and Nurti, are made up of 
the younger and older boys ; the Ferafir includes the youths 
from eighteen to twenty-five years of age; the men from 

1 Wiese in Zeits. f. Ethnol., xxxii ' James Chapman, Travels in 
(1900), 195-196. the Interior of South Africa (Lon- 

2 Burton, Zanzibar, ii, 89; Paul- don, 1868), ii, 284. 

itschke, Ethnographic Nordost-Af- 4 Tate in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. t 

rikas, 194 sq. xxxiv (1004), 133. 

Ibid., 138. 



90 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

twenty-five to fifty are known as Sibjan; those over fifty 
as Dschemma. 1 In the Kru republic near Dahomey 

and Ashanti, the " body politic is composed of three classes 
of persons which together comprise almost the entire adult 
male population." 2 The Gnekbadi are the elders; the 
Sedibo, or soldiery, are middle-aged men only admitted to 
the ranks by payment of a fee ; the Kedibo, or youths, have 
little influence or power and seldom speak in the deliberative 
assemblies where the three classes gather to discuss affairs 
of state. Matters both judicial and legislative are settled 
in these popular assemblies. The government is practically 
a pure democracy. 3 

Membership in the upper grades or degrees of this classi- 
ficatory system carries with it, as we have just seen, the 
possession of special privileges. For this reason it is not 
unnatural to find the initiates of the advanced degrees 
jealously restricting the number of candidates for admission. 
This process of limitation, best observed in Melanesian and 
African secret societies, may be discovered in the more 
primitive puberty organization of the Australians. Among 
the Dieri the leading members of the tribe the warriors, 
orators, and heads of totems - form an inner or privy council, 
an organization distinct from the general tribal council to 
which every initiated man belongs. "All the younger 
men look forward for years to pass through the Mindari 
ceremony so that they may have the honor of appearing at 
and eventually the right of speaking in the 'great council/ 
as they call it." 4 Other privileges such as the right of 
sharing in the Piraru custom ("group marriage") belong 
only to men who have passed through the Mindari rites. 
Kulpi, or subincision, which constitutes among the Dieri 
the last degree, is not open to every tribesman. At the 
sessions of the inner or privy council which determines the 
meetings for circumcision, the headmen and heads of totems 

1 Nachtigal, Sahara und Sudan, 3 Wilson, op. cit., 129-131. Cf. 
iii, 245. also Burton, Zanzibar, ii, 89. 

2 J. L. Wilson, Western Africa * Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
(New York, 1856), 129. xx (1800), 68; cf. id., Native Tribes 

of South-East Australia, 321. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 91 

fix upon certain youths who alone will be permitted to 
undergo the rite. 1 All the men who are sent on special 
missions to other tribes belong to this degree; the Kulpis 
take precedence at the grand corroborees of the tribe; they 
are the leading dancers; they hold, in fact, "the most im- 
portant positions, and powerfully influence the govern- 
ment of the tribe." Non-Kulpis often express regret at 
their exclusion from this primitive aristocracy, and regard 
the members of the order with considerable jealousy. 1 
In the Engwura of the Arunta, the last and most 
important of the initiatory ceremonies among this tribe, 
a similar process of limitation is exhibited. During the 
progress of the rites, "everything was under the im- 
mediate control of one special old man, who was a perfect 
repository of tribal Jore. . . . Whilst the final decision 
on all points lay in his hands, there was what we used to 
call the * cabinet/ consisting of this old man and three of 
the elders, who often met together to discuss matters. Fre- 
quently the leader would get up from the men amongst 
whom he was sitting, and apparently without a word being 
spoken or any sign made, the other three would rise and 
follow him one after the other, walking away to a secluded 
spot in the bed of the creek. Here they would gravely 
discuss matters concerned with the ceremonies to be per- 
formed, and then the leader would give his orders and 
everything would work with perfect regularity and smooth- 
ness." 3 Among some of the Queensland tribes 
where the initiatory rites have reached a remarkable degree 
of elaboration, the classes or castes formed by members 
of the different degrees are exceedingly well defined. Here 
there are four stages of social rank through which each 

1 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Kulpi rite, is so highly regarded that 

xx (1890), 85. Cf., however, Na- the younger men often voluntarily 

live Tribes of South-East Australia, undergo a second or even a third 

664. operation (Spencer and Gillen, Na- 

* Id., Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xx live Tribes of Central Australia, 257). 

(1890), 87; cf. also Gason in The Cf. also Northern Tribes of Central 

Native Tribes of South Australia, Australia, 359~36i. 
266 sq. ; and Schurmann, ibid., 226 sq. ' Spencer and Gillen, Native 

Lartna, the Arunta equivalent of the Tribes of Central Australia, 280. 



92 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

individual may pass in the course of years. The third 
and fourth degrees are naturally the most difficult to reach. 
Before a man can take an advanced degree he must pass 
through all the duties of assistance at the initiation of others 
into the same rank as himself "until, by reason of his age, 
he comes to be the leader, chief director, or master of the 
ceremonies appertaining to his own degree." 1 No one 
not of the same or of a higher degree may be present at an 
initiation. The different degrees have no passwords or 
signs, but the rank of members is indicated by certain objects 
of decoration and attire. Only the first degree is com- 
pulsory for males. In the Boulia district circumcision 
takes place at this stage. The blood-father gives the 
newly made Tuppieri his autonym or individual personal 
name, which is to be his through Ijfe. He gets certain 
other privileges, and after being subincised may marry. 2 
The second degree may be taken only by those of the Tup- 
fieri who have been selected by the elders for the honor. 
In the Pitta-Pitta tribe no "young man has the remotest 
idea that he may be among the individuals secretly agreed 
upon for its consummation, and indeed may, through 
absence from the camping grounds, etc., occasionally have 
reached second and even sometimes higher grades in the 
social ladder before circumstances arise and opportunities 
occur suitable for his selection." 3 While undergoing 
initiation the candidates are subjected to certain restrictions. 
They must not wear the ornaments which were granted 
them at their initiation into the first degree, and they must 
stay away from the camp. Married men may come to the 
camp only at night. The third and fourth degrees (Koo- 
koorimaro and Murukkundi among the Boulia tribes) are sel- 
dom reached. Successful candidates are freed from all their 
previous restrictions and are decorated with various pat- 
terns which indicate the rank they have attained. 4 In 
North Bougainville, one of the Solomon Islands, where 
the Rukruk is the powerful secret organization, a lim- 
ited number of young men are selected for membership 

1 Roth, Ethnological Studies, 169. 3 Ibid., 178. 

2 Ibid., 171. 4 Ibid., 177. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 93 

by the tribal elders and the chiefs. It is considered a 
special honor to be chosen by the chiefs. 1 An 

example from one of the few tribal societies found in North 
America throws additional light upon the operation of 
this selective process. One of the chief ceremonies of the 
Maidu of Northern California is the initiation of young 
men at manhood. The novices are instructed in the myths 
and lore of the tribe by the tribal elders, and at the end of 
their period of seclusion a great feast is held at which they 
perform the various dances they have learned. But not 
all boys are initiated. The old men every year fix upon 
certain candidates, who after initiation are known as Yeponi, 
and are much looked up to. "They formed a sort of 
secret society, and included all the men of note in the 
tribe." 2 

The secret societies which thus arise by limiting the mem- 
bership of the earlier tribal organization, in many instances 
retain something of their former tribal character, in that 
initiation into the lower grades, by the payment of moderate 
fees, is the usual thing for nearly every male member of 
the community. Initiation into the Dukduk, for instance, 
is, in practice, a matter of compulsion. Parents would 
naturally wish to present their sons for entrance, because 
of the prestige and privileges connected with membership. 
Moreover, it is usually made more expensive to remain 
outside than to join. A boy or his parents "would cer- 
tainly be fined sooner or later for some real or imaginary 
breach of the Dukduk's laws, and as they would have to 
pay the fine, it was cheaper to pay the fees." A lad at 
puberty would be told "that he cannot take his rank as 
a warrior and a man of property, but must always remain 
a communal slave, unless he is hardy enough to sue for 
entrance to the light of the great mystery. The distinction 
is one that is plain to him, and he probably does not hesitate 

1 Parkinson in Abh. u. Berichte Hist., xvii (1902), 35 sq.; cf. Powers 
d. Kgl. Zoolog. u. Anlhrop.-Ethnogr. in Contributions to North American 
Museums zu Dresden, vii (1899), no. Ethnology, iii, 305-306. 

6, p. ii. * Brown in Rep. Austr. Assoc. 

2 Dixon in Butt. Amer. Mus. Nat. Adv. Sci., vii (Sidney, 1898), 780. 



94 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

in making his choice, but applies to his chief to be prepared 
for that which is to come." 1 This democratic feature, 
however, goes no further; the higher grades are reserved 
for the aristocracy of the tribe. With the growing ex- 
clusiveness of the societies, entrance and passage through 
the different degrees becomes constantly more difficult 
and expensive, and the separation of the initiates from the 
barbarians without, more pronounced. Thus artificial 
social distinctions arise in a condition of society as yet out- 
wardly democratic. The Dukduk is controlled by an inner 
circle composed of the chief and a few important members 
of the tribe. 2 Entrance to the society costs from fifty to 
an hundred fathoms of dewarra about thirty dollars. 3 
The entire cost of passage through the various grades 
of Egbo, a West African society, has been estimated to 
amount to over a thousand pounds. 4 The fees are divided 
among those of highest degrees who form the inner circle 
of the society. 5 Admission to the third degree of the power- 
ful Purr ah society of Sierra Leone, rests entirely with the 
chiefs who control the organization. So separate is the 
kaimahun from the two lower degrees that the most im- 
portant affairs of the tribe might be decided by third degree 
members without the other Purrah men having the least 
cognizance of the fact. 6 

When the tribal life no longer centres in organizations 
made up of all the men of the tribe, initiation ceremonies 
as a preparation for marriage are not required. The break- 

1 Churchill in Popular Science acteristics. Entrance into most of 
Monthly, xxxviii (1890), 240. the African societies does not appear 

2 Ibid., 242. unusually difficult. Initiation into 

3 Graf v. Pfeil in Jour. Anthrop. Nkimba costs two dollars' worth 
Inst., xxvii (1897), 189; Powell, of cloth and two fowls (Bentley, 
Wanderings in a Wild Country, 62. Pioneering on the Congo, i, 282). 

4 Walker in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., A candidate for Ekongolo must pre- 
vi (1876), 121 ; Miss Kingsley, Travels sent the chief of the society with gifts 
in West Africa, 532. to the value of thirteen marks and 

6 Holman (Travels, 392) gives the make donations of food to the older 

cost of initiation into each of the members (Buchner, Kamerun, 26). 
degrees. Egbo is an interesting 6 Alldridge, The Sherbro and its 

illustration of the extreme develop- Hinterland, 127-128. 
ment of all the tribal society char- 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 95 

down of the old tribal rites is complete when any one 
may enter the secret societies on payment of the requisite 
fees. Melanesia, where the secret societies are exceptionally 
well developed, affords many illustrations. Boys may 
enter the Dukduk when they are but four and five years old. 1 
They become fully accredited members when fourteen 
years of age an interesting survival of former puberty 
initiation. 2 In Florida and the New Hebrides generally, 
admission is granted to male persons of all ages. 8 

In this process of gradual development which converts 
the puberty institution into the tribal secret society, the 
chief factor, everywhere present, has been the growing 
realization by the directors of initiation ceremonies of the 
power possessed by mystery and secrecy over the unen- 
lightened. The members of the inner circles the elder 
and more influential men in whose hands is the direction of 
affairs come to realize what a means for personal advance- 
ment is to be found in the manipulation of the tribal cere- 
monies. The tendency will then be constantly to widen 
the gap between the initiated and the uninitiated, and to 
surround the organization so formed with every appliance 
for working on the fear and awe of the outsiders. In the 
proceedings of the Melanesian and African secret societies, 
we may see the fruition of those characteristics of fraud 
and intimidation already referred to as inseparably con- 
nected with the puberty institution even in its original and 
pristine purity. 

In their primitive state, savage mysteries possess a sacred 
character and enshrine the real religious beliefs of the 
people. Only the initiated men share in this secret wor- 
ship; the outer world of women and children is debarred 
from its privileges and is ignorant of its rites. Ordained 
in the beginning of things by the tribal gods, and! under 
their constant supervision, the ceremonies of initiation con- 
stitute at once a sacred bond of brotherhood between those 
who have undergone them and a covenant with the gods 

1 Banks in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., ' Parkinson, Im Bismarck Archi- 

xviii (1889), 283. pel, 130. 

3 Codrington, Mdancsians, 70-71. 



96 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

who have instituted them. Australia, again, furnishes the 
most significant examples. 

According to an early account of the Australian natives, 
" Koin, Tippakal, or Porrang, are their names, of an imag- 
inary being, who, they say, always was as he now is, in 
figure like a Black; and who, they believe, resides in brushes 
and thick jungles, and appears occasionally by day, but 
mostly by night, and generally before the coming of the 
Natives from distant parts, when they assemble to celebrate 
certain mystic rites, such as some dances, or the knocking 
out of a tooth, which is performed in a mystic ring. They 
describe him as being painted with pipe-clay and carrying 
a fire-stick, but generally, as being perceived only by the 
doctors, who are a kind of magicians, to whom he says, 
' Fear not, come and talk/ " * According to another early 
writer the natives referred their institution of the Bora back 
to Baiamai, whose two children were the progenitors of 
the blacks of New South Wales. Baiamai initiated one 
of his children into the Bora mysteries and gave directions 
to extract the front tooth and to conceal the rites from women 
and children. 2 Associated with Baiamai is Daramulun, 
"a fabulous being, half man and half spirit, who in olden 
times took the boys into the forest, apart from the tribe, 
and put them through all the secret rites of initiation." 3 
The Bora ground where the Kamilaroi ceremonies take 
place, represents Baiamai s first camp. 4 One of the 
images shown to the novices at initiation is a repre- 
sentation of Baiamai. These images, though rude affairs 
constructed for each inaugural meeting, are regarded, espe- 
cially by the novices, with much reverence. If the assembly 
is large, there are several images, always carefully hidden 
from the uninitiated. At the conclusion of the rites they 
are destroyed by fire. Thus, at a Burbong of the Western 

1 James Backhouse, A Narrative 3 Mathews in Amer. Antiquarian, 
of a Visit to the Australian Colonies xxix (1907), 149. 

(London, 1843), 555. * Id., Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxiv 

2 John Henderson, Observations (1895), 418; cf. also Jour, and Proc. 
on the Colonies of New South Wales Roy. Soc. New South Wales, xxviii 
and Van Diemerfs Land (Calcutta, (1894), 114. 

1832), 148. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 97 

Wiradthuri, there were two images of Daramulun, the one- 
legged god. 1 At the Burbong of the Murrumbidgee tribes, 
besides a large figure of Baiamai, there was a representation 
of Daramulun made of mud and between four and five feet 
high. 2 The Kurnai Jeraeil was instituted and 

ordained by Daramulun. 3 He it was who made the first 
mudjiy or bull-roarer. 4 At the present ceremonies of initia- 
tion the novices listen to a most impressive account of 
Daramulun. All the tribal legends respecting him are 
then repeated to them. 5 Among the Coast Mur- 

ring, as soon as the initiated men and novices have left 
camp and are out of sight of the women, it becomes lawful 
to speak openly of things elsewhere never mentioned except 
in whispers. The name Daramulun may now be freely 
uttered ; at other times the god is always addressed as Biam- 
ban (master) or Papang (father). The principle underlying 
this usage is that " all things belonging to these ceremonies 
are so intimately connected with Daramulun that they may 
not be elsewhere spoken of without risk of displeasing him, 
and the words which imply these ceremonies, or anything 
connected with them, are therefore forbidden."* At the 
Kuringal of these tribes, the old men made a number of 
passes over the boys to insure the favor of Daramulun and 
to fill them with the influence of the All Father "who insti- 
tuted these ceremonies, and who is supposed to watch 
them whenever performed." 7 The teachings of the Bora, 
writes Mr. Howitt, " indicate a rude form of religion, which 



1 Mathews in Amer. Anthropolo- Howitt, Native Tribes of South-East 
gist, new series, iii (1901), 340. Australia, 630. 

2 Id., Jour, and Proc. Roy. Soc. On Murray Island, one of the 
New South Wales, xxxi (1897), 117. Torres Straits Group, the culture 
For a detailed description of the hero in the myth which relates the 
images constructed at the Bunan origin of the initiation ceremonies 
of the Coast Murring, see Howitt, is Malu, and by this name he is 
Native Tribes of South-East Austra- known to women and children. 
lia, 523-524. But his real name, revealed only to 

Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., the initiated and which they may 

xiii (1884), 442; cf. xiii (1883), never utter, is Bomai (Haddon, 

192. Head-Hunters, 46). 

4 Ibid., xiii (1884), 446. 7 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Insl. t 

Ibid., xiv (1885), 313 sq.; xiii (1884), 451- 

H 



98 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

is taught to the youthful Australian savage in a manner and 
under circumstances which leave an indelible impression 
on his after-life." 1 

From the mysteries as the embodiments of the inner 
religious life of the tribe to their utilization as a means of 
social control, the transition has everywhere been easy. 
Whatever may have been the origin of the numerous restric- 
tions imposed upon the novices after their formal initiation, 
at present they are chiefly interesting as a simple but effec- 



1 Howitt in Rep. Austr. Assoc. 
Adv. Sci., iii (Sidney, 1891), 349. 

On the basis of the new evidence 
afforded by the Australian ceremonies, 
Mr. Andrew Lang has recently argued 
for the existence at least, in Australia, 
of native conceptions of "high gods" 
unaffected by missionary influences, 
and indeed anterior to them (The 
Making of Religion, London, 1898). 
There is little doubt but that a "by 
no means despicable ethics" is taught 
in these Australian mysteries, but it 
is still an open question whether, as 
Mr. Lang avers, among the native 
conceptions that of a superhuman 
and eternal creator exists. There 
is much divergence among the beliefs 
of the different tribes; the so-called 
"creator-god" of one tribe may 
appear as a "bugbear god" in an- 
other. What evidence we have as 
to the Australian conceptions would 
seem to indicate that among many 
of the tribes degeneration of ihe 
earlier and presumably purer be- 
liefs has set in, proceeding pari passu 
with the growing materialization of 
the initiatory rites a process which 
finds its completion in the veil of 
superstitious mystery with which 
the Melanesian and African secret 
societies disguise themselves. As to 
the existence of "high gods" in 
Australia, Mr. Hewitt's statement is 
emphatic: "The Australian aborig- 
ines do not recognise any divinity, 
good or evil, nor do they offer any 



kind of sacrifice, as far as my knowl- 
edge goes" (Native Tribes of South- 
East Australia, 756. See also 488- 
508). On this whole subject it is 
now possible to refer to the careful 
discussion by Messrs. Spencer and 
Gillen. According to these authors 
( 'Twanyirika of the Arunta and 
Unmatjera, and Katajalina of the 
Binbinga, are merely bogeys to 
frighten the women and children 
and keep them in a proper state of 
subjection. ..." The natives have 
"not the faintest conception of any 
individual who might in any way 
be described as a 'High God of the 
Mysteries.' ... So far as anything 
like moral precepts are concerned in 
these tribes ... it appears to us to 
be most probable that they have 
originated in the first instance in 
association with the purely selfish 
idea of the older men to keep all the 
best things for themselves, and in 
no case whatever are they supposed 
to have the sanction of a superior 
being" (Northern Tribes of Central 
Australia, 502-504). According tc 
Mr. R. H. Mathews, a careful ob- 
server, worship is never offered or 
supplication made to Baiamai and 
Daramulun, the Kamilaroi spirits. 
Both of them are earthly divinities 
whose home is in the bush. Neither 
is to be regarded as an "All Father 
who had his home in the sky" 
(Amer. Antiquarian, xxiv (1907), 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 99 

tive means of providing for the material wants of the elder 
men, the directors of the ceremonies. 1 But this manipu- 
lation of the mysteries for private purposes does not end 
here. Even where the rites are of the simplest char- 
acter it is possible to find the germs of that terrorism exer- 
cised over the women and the uninitiated men which forms 
perhaps the most striking characteristic of the secret societies 
in their complete development. 

Among the Australians great pains are taken to make the 
women and children believe that the initiation of the lads 
is really the work of the tribal gods. At the Burbong of 
some of the Murrumbidgee tribes, just before the novices 
are taken into the bush, the women who have been spec- 
tators of the preliminary ceremonies are led to the encamp- 
ment where the boys are confined. Here they are required 
to lie down and are carefully covered so that they can see 
nothing of the proceedings. Bull-roarers are then swung 
and a terrific thumping sound is made by the men who 
beat the ground with pieces of bark. The women believe 
that the noise is caused by the trampling of an evil spirit 
who has come to remove the boys. The sound of the bull- 
roarer is his voice. Amid all this din the boys are led 
quickly away. 2 Women of the Coast Murring 

tribe are told that it is Daramulun who knocks out the teeth 
of the novices; those of the Murray River tribe, that the 
novices meet Thrumalun who kills them and afterwards 
restores them to life. Among some Queensland tribes the 
women believe that the sound of the bull-roarer is the noise 
made by the wizards in swallowing the boys and bringing 
them up again as young men. 3 Among the Arunta, 

Twanyirika is a great spirit who lives in wild and inacces- 
sible regions and only appears when a youth is initiated. 
" He enters the body of the boy after the operation [cir- 
cumcision] and takes him away into the bush until he is 
better, when the spirit goes away and the boy returns, but 

1 Supra, 65-71. * For these and additional ex- 

a Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. amples, see Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. 

Soc. New South Wales, xxxi (1897), Inst., xvi (1886), 4 7 sq.; Cameron, 

132-133. ibid., xiv (1884), 358. 



ioo PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

now as an initiated man. Both uninitiated youths and 
women are taught to believe in the existence of Twan- 
yirika." Kurnai boys who have just passed through 

their initiatory ordeals are sometimes allowed a little relaxa- 
tion by frightening the women with the bull-roarers, the noise 
of which is supposed to be the voice of Turndun himself. 
The bullawangs, or guardians of the boys, quietly surround 
the encampment of the women at night, and at a given 
signal the bull-roarers are rapidly swung. The novices 
" thoroughly entered into the fun of frightening the women ; 
and having got over their awe of the bull-roarers, they made 
an outrageous noise with them. The moment the roaring 
and screeching sounds were heard, there was a terrible 
clamour of cries and screams from the women and children, 
to the delight of the novices, who now in their turn aided 
in mystifying the uninitiated." 2 

The preliminary ceremonies preceding the seclusion of 
the lads at Mer Island (Torres Straits) afford another 
glimpse into that process of development of which the out- 
come is the conversion of the puberty institution into a 
tribal society possessing police functions and ruling by the 
terror it inspires. When it comes time "'to make AgudJ ' 
the lads, painted with red earth and variously adorned, are 
led to an open space in front of the pelak, or sacred house 
of Agud. The ceremony begins by a number of old men 
coming out of the pelak; these are the attendants upon 
the three zogole, or sacred men. Finally Agud himself 
appears. Agud is an individual painted all over and clothed 
with a petticoat of croton leaves. On his head is a large 
turtle-shell mask. With measured steps and to the monoto- 
nous beating of drums, Agud and his sacred attendants, 
the %ogole, approach the frightened novices who then pre- 
sent their food offerings. The ceremony is brought to an 
end by the actors in the drama retiring with the old men to 
the sacred house, where the food is consumed. Meanwhile 
the lads have listened to the legend which recites the origin 



1 Spencer and Gillen, Native 2 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. y 

Tribes of Central Australia, 246 n. xiv (1885), 315. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 101 

of the rite, and have heard for the first time the dreadful 
names of the masks they have just seen. This ceremony, 
which is strictly secret, is afterwards followed by a public 
affair at which women and children are present. 1 Another 
initiatory rite at Mer consists in thoroughly frightening 
the novices with the magur, or devils. These are masked 
figures who rush noisily about and beat the boys on slight 
provocation. Some of the old men have carried about for 
life the scars received from these blows. The lads are told 
that should they divulge the secrets, Magur would kill 
them. Later on the identity of the masked figures is dis- 
closed to the lads, but the women and children believe them 
to be spirits. 2 Magur was "the disciplinary executive of 
the Malu cult. All breaches of discipline, acts of sacrilege, 
and the like were punished by Magur. Magur was also 
the means of terrorizing the women and thereby keeping 
up the fear and mystery of the Malu ceremonies. There 
is no doubt that this great power was pften abused to pay 
off personal grudges or for the aggrandizement or indulgence 
of the Malu officials." 3 

New Guinea furnishes some interesting examples. An 
Elema lad, at ten years of age, is secluded in the Eravo, or 
men's house. He knows now that he is soon to take a very 
important step in his life's history ; namely, his introduction 
to the mountain god, Kovave. Shortly after he begins his 
course the forerunners of Kovave, who are young men hidden 
by masks and long draperies of grass, appear in the village. 
Their arrival is followed by a period of considerable anxiety 
for the women and the uninitiated males, the latter being 
mostly men or boys of illegitimate birth, who are not eligible 
for initiation. The masked men are sacred. Formerly 
death was the penalty for an attempt on the part of the 
uninitiated to identify them. It is even claimed that they 
are gods and, " as proof of their deity, the native sage re- 
marks that they do not need to walk on the soles of their 
feet as mortals have to do, but that they hop about as is 



1 Haddon in Intern. Archiv f. 2 Haddon, Head-Hunters, 50. 

Ethnogr., vi (1893), 140 sq. 3 Ibid., 51. 



io2 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

characteristic of gods." For ten days or more the turmoil 
continues; the masked men prance about in the streets, 
at night the bull-roarers are whirled, drums are beaten in 
the Eravo, and the terrified women and children keep to 
their houses. Vast quantities of food are collected by the 
women, and on the announcement of the approach of Kovave, 
it is carried away into the bush. At nightfall, the novices, 
each accompanied by his father or male guardian, are led 
into the depths of the forest and brought before Kovave. 
The mountain god delivers an impressive address to the 
terrified lads, promises to be their friend if they obey the 
elders, but threatens the most direful penalties in the shape 
of disease and death, should they disclose any of the secrets. 
The boys are then taken back to the Eravo, where their 
seclusion continues many weeks. 1 The kaevakuku 

of the Toaripi tribe of New Guinea are individuals con- 
nected with a sacred mystery bearing the same name. All 
men engaged in preparation for the Kaevakuku rites are 
sacred for at least three months before the feast. During 
this period they avoid their homes and usual haunts. In 
their public appearances they wear large masks. Entering 
one of the Dubus, or men's houses, Chalmers found eighty 
of these masks ranged on the walls, forty to a side, and by 
each, a stick. A week later he was present at the Kaevakuku 
feast when the eighty men wearing the masks appeared. 
"A large crowd has assembled from the villages round. . . . 
Everywhere there is food, cooked and uncooked, in heaps 
and hanging on poles, chiefly sago prepared in every imag- 
inable way. Betel-nuts and pepper also abound. On 
the platform of my friend Meka's Dubu is a large quantity 
of cut-up pork, and all around the platform streamers are 
flying, made from the young sago frond. ... I have not 
long to wait until there comes a man dressed in a tall hat, 
or mask, resembling some strange animal with peculiar 
mouth and sharp teeth; his cloak and kilt are of yellow 
hibiscus fibre, and a small stick is in his hand. He has 
come from some distance back in the bush, where, I am 



1 Holmes in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxxii (1902), 419 sq. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 103 

told, many are assembled, and that all the masks and dresses 
I saw the other day in the Dubu with their owners, are there. 
He danced about for a short time, when an old man came 
before him with a large piece of pork, gave it to him, and 
he went away, followed by two young men carrying a long 
pole of food, sago, cocoanuts, betel-nuts, and pepper. An- 
other kaevakuku followed and did the same as the first, 
this time in the Dubu; the conch-shell is being blown as for 
a pig, and soon a live one appears on a pole between two 
men. It is placed on the ground, the kaevakuku dancing 
round and over it, when a bow and arrow is presented 
to him, and he backs a little, says something, lets fly, and 
the pig soon breathes his last. The two men pick the 
pig up and all leave, followed by two youths carrying 
food. More kaevakukus come, this time five; and all 
dance until they receive presentation of pig, when they 
too clear out. . . . Some get dogs, whereupon they catch 
them by the hind legs and strike the head furiously on 
the ground. Not a few are displeased with the small 
quantity given, and persistently remain until they get 
more." 1 The natives of Rook, a small island 

between New Guinea and New Pomerania, employ 
their Marsaba mysteries in the same effective manner. 
Marsaba lives in a house in the bush, secluded from the 
women. On certain days one or two masked men set out 
for the village and demand the uncircumcised boys who 
have not yet been eaten up by Marsaba. These are led 
away to the bush. In the village it is presently noised about 
that Marsaba has swallowed the boys and will not return 
them until the people have made liberal contributions of 
pigs and taro. These gifts are afterwards consumed by 
the initiates in the name of Marsaba. 2 Among 

the Tamo of Bogadjim in Kaiser Wilhelm Land, the heaviest 
labor at" initiation falls upon the women who must busy 
themselves for months in the preparation of food for the 
great feasts. Should there be any evidence of unwilling- 

1 Chalmers, Pioneering in New 2 Reina in Zeits. f. Allgemeine 

Guinea, 72 sq. Erdkunde, new series, iv (1858), 



io 4 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

ness on their part, or should their industry flag a little, "so 
wird sie durch den Asa an ihre Pflicht erinnert." Asa 
at the head of a numerous company visits the village in 
state and speedily brings the women to a more reasonable 
view of the situation. 1 Among the Sulka, a tribe 

of New Pomerania, there are many proceedings at which 
masked men play an important part. One set of maskers, 
called a kaipa, has as its chief function the terrifying of the 
women. They drive the latter out of the plantations, 
steal the fruit, and carry it off to the secret resort in the 
forest. The women and children believe the maskers are the 
spirits of the dead. Boys, however, are admitted very early 
into the secrets of the masks at a festival which precedes 
that of circumcision. The mother of all the maskers is 
a certain Parol whose existence consists only in the imagina- 
tion of the uninitiated. Her failure ever to put in an ap- 
pearance is explained by the fact that she constantly suffers 
from wounds, and therefore cannot leave her house in the 
bush. The men of the village collect large quantities of 
food previously prepared by the women for the Parol and 
her children and take it into the bush where it is consumed 
by the maskers. 2 

Originally, as we have seen, at the initiation ceremonies, 
youths were solemnly inducted into the religious mysteries 
of the tribe; mysteries, which though not unattended by 
many devices of a fraudulent nature, did nevertheless main- 
tain themselves by a real appeal to the religious aspirations 
of the candidates. But with the advance to the secret 
society stage, the religious aspects become more and more 
a pretence and a delusion, and serve as a cloak to hide mere 
material and selfish ends. The power of the secret societies 
in Melanesia and Africa rests entirely upon the belief, as- 
siduously cultivated among outsiders, that the initiated 
members are in constant association with the spirits, with 
evil spirits especially, and with the ghosts of the dead. 
The connection of the societies with the worship of the dead 
is everywhere manifest. In all the Melanesian societies, 

1 Hagen, Unter den Papua's, 237. 2 Rascher in Archiv f. Anthrop., 

xxix (1904), 227-228. 



DEVELOPMENT OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 105 



the ghosts of the dead are supposed to be present; 1 and the 
same is true in Africa, where the native mind is thoroughly 
imbued with manistic conceptions. 2 The various dances, 
the use of masks, bull-roarers, and similar devices, serve 
to facilitate this assimilation of the living and the dead 
and to endow the members of the societies with the various 
powers attributed to departed spirits. Such conceptions as 
these existing in a crude and undeveloped form in the most 
primitive mysteries, have expanded rapidly in those of the 
Melanesian and African peoples and serve to explain many 
of the phenomena connected with them. 3 



1 This fact leads Mr. Codrington 
to suggest a connection of the southern 
Melanesian societies with the Dukduk 
of the Bismarck Archipelago. In 
the Banks Islands the name of the 
secret societies is "The Ghosts"; 
in Santa Cruz a ghost is duka; in 
Florida, one of the New Hebrides, 
one method of consulting the ghosts 
is paluduka (Melanesians, 70). 

2 The chief masquerader of the 
African societies is usually a per- 
sonification of the spirits or manes of 
the dead. Ukuku, the name of a soci- 
ety in the Benito regions, signifies a de- 
parted spirit (Miss Kingsley, Travels 
in West Africa, 540). Egungun, 
among the Yorubas, is supposed to be 
a man risen from the dead. Every 
June a great feast is held in his honor, 
at which there is a general lamentation 
for all those who have died within the 
year (Ellis, The Yoruba-S 'peaking 
Peoples, 107-108). The dead are 
regarded as still being members of 
Ekongolo, a society among the 
Quollas (Buchner, Kamerun, 26). 

8 To such beliefs, for instance, is 
probably due the common custom 
of the attendance at the funeral of a 
deceased member of the living mem- 
bers of a secret society headed by the 
masked figure who personates the 
presiding spirit. Among the Tamo 
of Bogadjim, Asa appears at a funeral 
to visit and mourn over the dead. 



When the dismal Asa music is heard 
in the distance, women flee in all 
directions; and the musicians, ap- 
proaching the corpse, paint it with 
various pigments and cover it with 
flowers. Then the horns are sounded 
once more and Asa departs (Hagen, 
Unter den Papua's, 259). The great 
Iniat society of New Pomerania 
assists at the burial of its members 
(Brown in Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. 
Sci., viii, Melbourne, 1901, p. 312). 
Egungun and his companions always 
pay their respects to the relatives of a 
man recently deceased and receive 
messages for him (Baudin, Fetichism 
and Fetich Worshipers, 61; Ellis, 
The Yoruba-S peaking Peoples, 108- 
109). At the dances and festivals in 
honor of a dead man belonging to 
the order of Ekongolo, maskers of the 
order appear and dance about for 
nine days. Then Ekongolo returns 
to his house in the wood, but the 
family of the deceased must pay him 
at his departure (Buchner, Kamerun, 
26). 

Whether or not the Melanesian 
societies conceal in their remoter 
depths a real religious worship, is 
a question at present impossible 
to answer, in view of our great ig- 
norance of the inner secrets of these 
organizations. All attempts to ar- 
rive at the religious significance of the 
mysteries have so far been baffled by 



CHAPTER VII 

FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 

THE operation of the various motives which explains the 
formation of tribal societies explains also the assumption 
by them of various functions of an important nature. 
They arouse the universal sentiments of curiosity, fear, and 
awe; they surround themselves with that veil of mystery so 
attractive to primitive minds the world over, and they 
appeal with ever growing power to the social and convivial 
aspects of human nature, to feelings of prestige and ex- 
clusiveness, and to the consciousness of the very material 
privileges connected with membership. Under these cir- 
cumstances it is natural to find secret societies of the tribal 
type widespread among savage and barbarous peoples. By 
the side of the family and the tribe they provide another 
organization which possesses still greater power and cohe- 
sion. In their developed form they constitute the most inter- 
esting and characteristic of primitive social institutions. 

In communities destitute of wider social connections, such 
societies help to bring about a certain consciousness of fellow- 
ship and may often, by their ramifications throughout dif- 
ferent tribes, become of much political importance. African 
societies supply pertinent examples. Among the Korannas 
of South Africa, a fraternity exists whose initiates are marked 

the impenetrable reserve with which (Im Bismarck- Archipel, 129). As 

the natives have surrounded them. for the West African societies, one 

To Churchill, an initiated member writer has associated with them "a 

of the Dukduk, the religious teachings mystic religion and belief in one God, 

appeared to be "merely a rational- a Creator from whom springs all life, 

istic rehearsal of a creed of unbelief" and to whom death was but in some 

(Popular Science Monthly, xxxviii, sort a return ..." (Marriott in 

1890, 242). Parkinson, after years Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxix, 1899, 27), 

of observation of the society, could but the evidence for this statement 

find no traces of a religious cult is not forthcoming. 

106 



FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 107 

by three cuts on the chest. Said one of their members to 
an inquirer: "*I can go through all the valleys inhabited 
by Korannas and by Griquas, and wherever I go, when 
I open my coat and show these three cuts, I am sure to be 
well received/ " 1 After a Nkimba novice has acquired the 
secret language and has become a full member, he is called 
Mbwamvu anjata, and the members in the other districts 
"hail him as a brother, help him in his business, give him 
hospitality, and converse freely with him in the mystic 
language." 2 Those who belong to the Idiong of Old Calabar 
are thereby enabled to travel through the country without 
danger. 3 Representatives of the Ukuku, a society found 
among the tribes in the Spanish territory north of Corisco 
Bay, sometimes "meet together and discuss intertribal 
difficulties, thereby avoiding war." 4 Mwetyt, who presides 
over the secret society of the Shekani and Bakele of French 
Congo, is always invoked as a witness to covenants between 
neighboring tribes. Such treaties are usually kept; other- 
wise Mwetyi would visit the violators and punish them. 5 
The Purr ah of Sierra Leone was formerly a most effective 
instrument for preventing conflicts between the tribes; its 
deputations sent out to make peace were always respected. 6 
The society was organized with a headman in every district 
who presided over the local and subordinate councils. A 
grand council, managed by the Head Purrab man had 
jurisdiction over all the branches of the society. 7 While 
the Purrab law was in force, no blood must be shed by con- 
tending tribes. Transgressors were punished by death. 8 

In the absence of the stronger political ties afforded by 
the existence of a definite chieftainship, or where the chief 



1 Holub in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Africa, 542; cf. Nassau, Fetichism 
x (1880), 7. Members of the Purrah in West Africa, 145. 

association among the Timanees of 6 Wilson, Western Africa, 392. 

Sierra Leone are similarly indicated c Harris in Mem. Anthrop. Soc., ii 

(Laing, Travels in Western Africa, 97). ( 1 866) ,32. 

2 Bentley, Dictionary and Gram- 1 Winterbottom, Native Africans 
mar of the Kongo Language, 507. in the Neighborhood of Sierra 

3 Marriott in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Leone, i, 135-136. 

xxix (1899), 23. 8 Matthews, A Voyage to the 

4 Miss Kingsley, Travels in West River Sierra-Leone, 84-85. 



io8 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

is as yet endowed with little power, the secret societies 
assume or reenforce his functions of social control. Where 
the societies are still essentially tribal in character, and 
in their membership include nearly all the men of the tribe, 
such authority naturally centres itself in those who hold the 
higher degrees. Probably the earliest ruler is often only the 
individual highest in the secret society; his power derived 
from his association with it and his orders executed by it. 
Thus the control exercised by the New Pomerania chief- 
tains is immensely strengthened by the circumstance that 
such individuals are always high in the secrets of the Duk- 
duk. In some places the society seems to be largely under 
the power of the chiefs. 1 The importance among Melane- 
sian peoples of the Suqe and Tamate of Banks Islands has 
always obscured the appearance of such power as the chiefs 
would be expected to exercise. Any man who was con- 
spicuous in his community would certainly be high in the 
degrees of these societies; and no one who held an insig- 
nificant place in them could have much power outside. 2 

With growing political centralization, the judicial and 
executive functions of the secret society may be retained; 
and its members, as the personal agents of the ruling chief, 
may constitute the effective police of the state. Africa 
affords us instances of such societies in affiliation with the 
government. Members of the Sindungo order of Kabinda 
were originally secret agents of the king, and as such were 
employed to gather information and accuse powerful masters 
who were unjust to their inferiors. 3 The king of the Bashi- 
lange-Baluba nation (Congo Free State) is ex-officio head of 
Lubuku* Belli-paaro among the Quojas of Liberia had the 
chief or king of the tribe at its head. Members were in 
close affiliation with the government. 5 Such centralization 
of political power is not accomplished, however, without a 



1 Powell, Wanderings in a Wild pacasseiros, or soldiers of the king 
Country, 60; Weisser in Ausland, (Bastian, Die Deutsche Expedition 
Ivi (1883), 857-858. an der Loango-Kuste, i, 223). 

2 Codrington, Melanesians, 54. 4 Bateman, The First Ascent of 

3 Philips in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., the Kasai, 183. 

xvii (1888), 229. In Mekono, the 5 Allgemeine Historic der Reisen 

Sindungo were known as the Em- (Leipzig, 1749), iii, 630. 



FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 109 

struggle. These societies often put many restrictions upon 
the influence of the chiefs. Ogboni, among the Egbas of 
Yoruba, is more powerful than the king. 1 The Nkimba 
fraternity likewise once formed a useful check to the greed 
and violence of the chiefs. 2 

Where these societies are powerful their members enjoy 
many privileges which are not granted their less fortunate 
tribesmen. In the Dukduk mysteries "everything which by 
the uninitiated is held as of particular obligation is here 
chanted as something that the initiated must rigidly impress 
upon the profane, yet which for themselves they may dis- 
regard. The tabu is to have no force for them except the 
great tabu, with a flock of hair on it, and that they must not 
break through. All others they may transgress, if only they 
do it slily, and so as not to raise public scandal among the 
women and the others who are bound by its provisions. 
They must teach the uninitiated that there are malign 
spirits abroad by night, but they themselves need not believe 
anything so stupid. . . . One only belief do they profess, 
and that is in the spirit of the volcano-fires, and even that 
is discarded by the inner degree of the Dukduk, those half- 
dozen men who sit within the mystic house and dupe the 
initiates of the minor degree as all unite to trick those out- 
side. And the reason is this : the half-dozen members of 
the most secret rank profess to one another that no better 
system of governing a savage community could be devised 
than this ceremonial mystery of the Dukduk." 3 All 

the Tamate associations of the Banks Islands have as their 
particular badge a leaf of the croton or a hibiscus flower. 
To wear the badge without being a member of a Tamate 
society would subject the offender to a fine and a beating. 4 
A member of this society, by marking with his badge the 
fruit trees or garden which he wishes reserved for any par- 
ticular use, may be sure that his taboo will be respected; 

1 Baudin, Fetichism and Fetich 2 Bentley, Pioneering on the 

Worshipers, 63; Smith in Jour. Congo, i, 283. 

Anthrop. Inst., xxix (1899), 25; Ellis, 3 Churchill in Popular Science 

Yoruba-S 'peaking Peoples, 93. Monthly, xxxviii (1890), 242-243. 

4 Codrington, Melanesians, 75-76. 



no PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

the great Tamate is behind him. Other prerogatives of 
the members in Melanesian societies include "the right 
to land in certain portions of the beach, which the uniniti- 
ated were prevented from doing save by the payment of 
a fine the right of way along certain parts and, above 
all, a share in the fines in food and money from their less- 
privileged fellow-countrymen or visitors." l Pur- 
rah of Sierra Leone places its interdict "upon trees, streams, 
fishing-pots, fruit trees, oil palms, bamboo palms, growing 
crops, and in fact upon all and everything that is required 
to be reserved for any particular use." 2 

Privileges such as these readily pass over into a much 
more extended system of social control. Ruling chiefly 
by the mysterious terror they inspire, and providing for 
infractions of their laws the penalties of death or heavy 
fines, the tribal societies of Melanesia and Africa represent 
the most primitive efforts towards the establishment of law 
and order. They recall the Vehmgerichte which flourished 
in Westphalia in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, or 
the Vigilantes and White Caps of a more modern age. 

One of the most powerful of these organizations the 
Dukduk of the Bismarck Archipelago exhibits at once 
the good and bad features of the tribal society. In its 
judicial capacity it fully merits its description as an "inter- 
nationale Rechtsgesellschaft," providing in the midst of 
conditions, otherwise anarchical, some semblance of law and 
order. Where the Dukduk prevails, the natives are afraid 
to commit any serious felony. One observer describes 
the Dukduk as the administrator of law, judge, policeman, 
and hangman all in one. 3 But the Dukduk conception of 
justice is not modelled on Ulpian's famous definition, for 
the Dukduk law bears down most unequally upon the 
weaker members of the community, upon those who for 
one reason or another have been unable to join the society 
or have incurred the enmity of its powerful associates. Its 

1 Penny, Ten Years in Melan- 3 Powell, Wanderings in a Wild 
esia, 71. Country, 62 sq. 

2 Alldridge, The Sherbro and its 
Hinterland, 133. 



FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES in 

forced contributions impoverish those who are already 
poor, while those who are rich enough to join share in the 
profits of the mystery. The fraternity exhibits in the clearest 
light the culmination of that process of fraud and intimida- 
tion which, having its roots in the puberty institution, be- 
comes more and more prominent when the tribal society 
stage is reached. 

"There is," writes Mr. Romilly, who witnessed some 
Dukduk initiations, "a most curious and interesting insti- 
tution, by which the old men of the tribe band themselves 
together, and, by working on the superstitions of the rest, 
secure for themselves a comfortable old age and unbounded 
influence. . . . The Dukduk is a spirit, which assumes 
a visible and presumably tangible form, and makes its 
appearance at certain fixed times. Its arrival is invariably 
fixed for the day the new moon becomes visible. It is 
announced a month beforehand by the old men, and is 
always said to belong to one of them. During that month 
great preparations of food are made, and should any young 
man have failed to provide an adequate supply on the 
occasion of its last appearance, he receives a pretty strong 
hint to the effect that the Dukduk is displeased with him, 
and there is no fear of his offending twice. When it is 
remembered that the old men, who alone have the power 
of summoning the Dukduk from his home at the bottom 
of the sea, are too weak to work, and to provide themselves 
with food or dewarra the reason for this hint seems to me 
pretty obvious. The day before the Dukduk's expected 
arrival the women usually disappear, or at all events remain 
in their houses. It is immediate death for a woman to 
look upon this unquiet spirit. Before daybreak every one 
is assembled on the beach, most of the young men looking 
a good deal frightened. They have many unpleasant 
experiences to go through during the next fortnight, and 
the Dukduk is known to possess an extraordinary famil- 
iarity with all their shortcomings of the preceding month. 
At the first streak of dawn, singing and drum-beating is 
heard out at sea, and, as soon as there is enough light to 
see them, five or six canoes, lashed together with a platform 



ii2 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

built over them, are seen to be slowly advancing towards 
the beach. 1 Two most extraordinary figures appear dancing 
on the platform, uttering shrill cries, like a small dog yelp- 
ing. They seem to be about ten feet high, but so rapid 
are their movements that it is difficult to observe them 
carefully. However, the outward and visible form assumed 
by them is intended to represent a gigantic cassowary, 
with the most hideous and grotesque of human faces. The 
dress, which is made of the leaves of the dracon&na, cer- 
tainly looks much like the body of this bird, but the head 
is like nothing but the head of a Dukduk. It is a conical- 
shaped erection, about five feet high, made of very fine 
basket work, and gummed all over to give a surface on which 
the diabolical countenance is depicted. No arms or hands 
are visible, and the dress extends down to the knees. The 
old men, doubtless, are in the secret, but by the alarmed 
look on the faces of the others it is easy to see that they 
imagine that there is nothing human about these alarming 
visitors. As soon as the canoes touch the beach, the two 
Dukduks jump out, and at once the natives fall back, so 
as to avoid touching them. If a Dukduk is touched, 
even by accident, he very frequently tomahawks the unfor- 
tunate native on the spot. After landing, the Dukduks 
dance round each other, imitating the ungainly motion of 
the cassowary, and uttering their shrill cries. During the 
whole of their stay they make no sound but this. It would 
never do for them to speak, for in that case they might be 
recognized by their voices. Nothing more is to be done 
now till evening, and they occupy their time running up 
and down the beach, through the village, and into the bush, 
and seem to be very fond of turning up in the most unex- 
pected manner, and frightening the natives half out of their 
wits. During the day a little house has been built in the 
bush, for the Dukduks' benefit. No one but the old men 
knows exactly where this house is, as it is carefully concealed. 
Here we may suppose the restless spirit unbends to a certain 

1 The coming of Ikun, the spirit the society go out to meet him in their 
representative of a Kamerun society, canoes (Miss Kingsley, Travels in 
is also from the sea. The heads of West Africa, 529). 



FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 113 

extent, and has his meals. Certainly no one would venture 
to 'disturb him. In the evening a vast pile of food is col- 
lected, and is borne off by the old men into the bush, every 
man making his contribution to the meal. The Dukduk, 
if satisfied, maintains a complete silence; but if he does 
not think the amount collected sufficient, he shows his dis- 
approbation by yelping and leaping. When the food has 
been carried off, the young men have to go through a very 
unpleasant ordeal, which is supposed to prepare their minds 
for having the mysteries of the Dukduk explained to them 
at some very distant period. They stand in rows of six 
or seven, holding their arms high above their heads. When 
the Dukduks appear from their house in the bush, one of 
them has a bundle of stout canes, about six feet long, and 
the other a big club. The Dukduk with the canes selects 
one of them, and dances up to one of the young men, and 
deals him a most tremendous blow, which draws blood 
all round his body. There is, however, on the young man's 
part no flinching or sign of pain. After the blow with the 
cane he has to stoop down, and the other Dukduk gives 
him a blow with the club, on the 'tail, 5 which must be most 
unpleasant. Each of these young men has to go through 
this performance some twenty times in the course of the 
evening, and go limping home to bed. He will nevertheless 
be ready to place himself in the same position every night 
for the next fortnight. The time of a man's initiation may 
and often does last for about twenty years, and as the Duk- 
duk usually appears at every town six times in every year, 
the novice has to submit to a considerable amount of flog- 
ging to purchase his freedom of the guild. 1 Though I have 
never witnessed it, the Dukduk has the right, which he 
frequently exercises, of killing any man on the spot. He 

1 The ceremonial, though hearty explanation is that the people thus 

beating sometimes administered by beaten are supposed to be killed 

old chiefs at a Dukduk dance to as (Brown in Jour. Roy. Geogr. Soc., 

many as twenty or thirty members xlvii (1877), 149; id., Proc. Roy. 

of the society at once, seems to be Geogr. Soc., new series, ix (1887), 

an interesting survival of the earlier 17; id., Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. 

ordeals, and of the simulation of the Sci., viii, Melbourne, 1901, 310). 
death of the novices. The native 



n 4 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

merely dances up to him, and brains him with a tomahawk 
or club. Not a man would dare dispute this right, nor 
would any one venture to touch the body afterwards. The 
Dukduks in such a case pick up the body, and carry it into 
the bush, where it is disposed of: how, one can only con- 
jecture. Women, if caught suddenly in the bush, are 
carried off, and never appear again, nor are any inquiries 
made after them. It is no doubt this power the Dukduks 
possess, of killing either man or woman with impunity, 
which makes them so feared. It is, above all things, neces- 
sary to preserve the mystery, and the way in which this is 
done is very clever. The man personating the Dukduk 
will retire to his house, take off his dress, and mingle with 
the rest of his tribe, so as not to be missed, and will put 
his share of food into the general contribution, thus making 
a present to himself. The last day on which the moon is 
visible the Dukduks disappear, though no one sees them 
depart; their house in the bush is burned, and the dresses 
they have worn are destroyed. Great care is taken to destroy 
everything they have touched, the canes and clubs being 
burned every day by the old men." 

The Dukduk society also finds a fertile source of revenue 
in its exactions upon the women. In the Bismarck Archi- 
pelago, women have the full custody of their earnings and as 
they work harder than the men, they soon acquire consider- 
able property. The Dukduk "offers a very good means of 
preventing unfair accumulation of wealth in the hands of 
the women." 2 If a woman sees the Dukduk masks, she is 
fined a certain quantity of dewarra. The Taraiu, or lodge, 
is always tabooed to women, and a fine of thirty to fifty 
dewarra is imposed upon the curious intruder. 3 

1 Romilly, The Western Pacific rush for a safe retreat. Then the 
and New Guinea, 27-33. men who have been following in 

2 Graf v. Pfeil in Jour. Anthrop. their wake, pick up the articles 
Inst., xxvii (1897), 185. and take them to Talohu, or lodge 

3 Parkinson, Im Bismarck-Archi- (Parkinson in Abhandl. u. Berichte 
pel, 131. At Buka, one of the Sol- d. Kgl. Zoolog. u. Anthrop.-Ethnogr. 
omon Islands, when the women see Museums zu Dresden, vii, 1899, 
the spirit Kokorra, they throw away no. 6, 10). 

everything they may be carrying and 



FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 115 

Many of the West African societies Miss Kingsley de- 
scribes as admirable engines of government ; "the machine 
as a machine for the people is splendid; it can tackle a 
tyrannous chief, keep women in order, and even regulate 
pigs and chickens, as nothing else has been able to do in 
West Africa." * As the African initiate passes from grade 
to grade, the secrets of the society are gradually revealed 
to him. " Each grade gives him a certain function in carry- 
ing out the law, and finally when he has passed through all 
the grades, which few men do, when he has finally sworn 
the greatest oath of all, when he knows all the society's 
heart's secret, that secret is 'I am what I am' -the one 
word. The teaching of that word is law, order, justice, 
morality. Why the one word teaches it the man who has 
reached the innermost heart of the secret society does not 
know, but he knows two things one, that there is a law 
god, and the other that, so says the wisdom of our ancestors, 
his will must be worked or evil will come; so in his genera- 
tion he works to keep the young people straight to keep 
the people from over-fishing the lagoons, to keep the people 
from cutting palm nuts, and from digging yams at wrong 
seasons. He does these things by putting Purroh, or Oru, 
or Egbo on them; Purrob, Oru, and Egbo and Idiong are 
things the people fear." 2 

Egbo of Old Calabar, perhaps the best-developed of 
these societies, is divided into numerous grades. The 
highest of these grades is the Grand Egbo, whose head is 
the king of the country. Over the other grades preside 
chiefs who are called the kings of their particular Egbo. 
Each of the different grades has its Egbo day when the 
Idem, or spiritual representatives of Egbo, are in full control. 
When the yellow flag floats from the king's house, it is Brass 
Egbo day. Only those who belong to the very highest 
degrees may then be seen in the streets. During an Egbo 
visitation it would be death for any one not a member of 
the order to venture forth; even members themselves, if 
their grade is lower than that which controls the proceedings 

1 West African Studies, 448. 2 Ibid., 449-450. 



ii6 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

for the day, would be severely whipped. 1 When a man 
"meets the paraphernalia of a higher grade of Egbo than 
that to which he belongs, he has to act as if he were lame, 
and limp along past it humbly, as if the sight of it had 
taken all the strength out of him." 2 Though the society 
is in many cases an agent of much oppression, it seemingly 
does not lack its good side. It has jurisdiction over all 
crimes except witchcraft. 3 Its procedure is especially 
interesting. A person "with a grievance in a district under 
Egbo has only to rush into the street, look out for a gentle- 
man connected with the Egbo Society, slap him on the waist- 
coat place, and that gentleman has then and there at once 
to drop any private matter of his own he may be engaged 
in, call together the Grade of Egbo he belongs to there 
are eleven grades of varying power and go into the case. 
Or, if an Egbo gentleman is not immediately get-at-able, 
the complainant has only to rush to the Egbo House there 
is one in every town and beat the Egbo drum, and out 
comes the Egbo Grade, who have charge for that day." 4 
The offender will then be promptly punished, or the com- 
plainant himself, if the offence be trivial. 5 Calabar people 
who find it necessary to be absent on a journey, place their 
property under the protection of Egbo by fastening the badge 
of the society to their houses. 6 A trader, whether a Euro- 
pean or an influential Effik, usually joins the society and 
endeavors to reach the higher degrees. Lower grades 
cannot call out Egbo to proceed against higher grades; 
debtors belonging to such classes "flip their fingers at lower 
grade creditors." But a trader can call out his own class 

1 Hutchinson, Impressions of notice of the excommunication of an 
Western Africa, 141 sq.; Bastian, individual who has fallen under the 
Rechtsverhaltnisse, 402 sq. displeasure of the society. A stick, 

2 Miss Kingsley, Travels in West at the top of which are fastened some 
Africa, 533. leaves of grass, placed in the of- 

3 Ibid., 532. fender's yard, is a warning that he 

4 Miss Kingsley, West African is not to leave his farm or have any- 
Stttdies, 384. thing to do with his neighbors until 

6 Hutchinson, op. cit., 142. the ban is removed (C. F. Schlenker, 

6 Bastian, op. cit., 404. The A Collection of Temne Traditions, 

Temnes who have the Purrah in- Fables, and Proverbs (London, 1861), 

stitution use the same method to give xiii-xiv). 



FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 117 

of Egbo "and send it against those of his debtors who may 
be of lower grades, and as the Egbo methods of delivering 
its orders to pay up consist in placing Egbo at a man's door- 
way, and until it removes itself from that doorway the man 
dare not venture outside his house, it is most successful." l 
Other African societies exhibit functions similar to those 
of Egbo. Sindungo of the Loango tribes is employed for 
debt-collecting purposes. Any man who has a debt out- 
standing against another may complain to the head of the 
society. The masked Sindungo are then sent out to demand 
payment. Their simple procedure consists in wholesale 
robbery of the debtor's property if the proper sums are not 
immediately forthcoming. 2 The Zangbeto of Porto 

Novo constitutes the night police. The young men of the 
upper class who compose the society have the right to arrest 
any one in town and out of doors after nine o'clock in the 
evening. The organization is a valuable safeguard against 
robberies and incendiary fires. 3 In Lagos, crimi- 

nals condemned to death are given over to Oro, who is said 
to devour the bodies; their clothes are afterwards found 
entangled in the branches of lofty trees. Sometimes the 
headless corpse of one of these unfortunates is left in the 
forest on the outskirts of the town ; no one would dare to 
bury it. 4 Ogboni, a powerful s'ociety in most parts 

of the Yoruba country, in Ibadan, is little more than the 
public executioner. 5 Egungun and Belli-paaro have similar 
duties. 6 Nkimba members employ themselves in 

1 Miss Kingsley, Travels in West New Mexico, the Zuiii fraternity, 
Africa, 532-533. called the Priesthood of the Bow, 

2 Bastian, Die Deutsche Expedi- exercises judicial functions not unlike 
tionander Loango-Kuste,\, 222-223. those of the African societies. All 

3 Ellis, Ewe-Speaking Peoples, persons charged with murder or 
178; Baudin, Fetichism and Fetich witchcraft are tried by this society. 
Worshipers, 62-63. So also the The accused conducts his own case. 
Ayaka society (Marriott in Jour. The prosecuting attorney is a member 
Anthrop. Inst., xxix, 1899, 97). of the order appointed for this duty. 

4 Ellis, Yoruba-S 'peaking Peoples, The decision is reached in secret 
no; Baudin, op. cit., 62. council. The prisoner, if found 

5 Ellis, Yoruba-S peaking Peoples, guilty, is executed privately (Gore in 
94- Trans. Anthrop. Soc. of Washington, 

8 Baudin, op. cit., 61; Dapper, i (1882), 87; Mrs. Stevenson in 
Description de VAfrique, 269. In Memoirs of the International Con- 



ii8 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

catching witches. At night they fill the village with their 
cries as they run through the deserted streets. Common 
natives must not be caught outside the house, but despite 
this regulation, the simple folk "rejoice that there is such an 
active police against witches, maladies, and all misfortunes." l 

The problem of maintaining masculine authority over the 
women is readily solved in Africa, where the secret societies 
are powerful. An account, by an old writer, of the famous 
Mumbo Jumbo order found among the Mandingoes of the 
Soudan, furnishes a good description of the procedure 
followed by numerous other societies : 

"On the 6th of May, at Night, I was visited by a Mumbo 
Jumbo, an Idol, which is among the Mundingoes a kind of 
cunning Mystery. It is dressed in a long Coat made of the 
Bark of Trees, with a Tuft of fine Straw on the Top of it, 
and when the Person wears it, it is about eight or nine Foot 
high. This is a Thing invented by the Men to keep their 
Wives in awe, who are so ignorant (or at least are obliged 
to pretend to be so) as to take it for a Wild Man ; and indeed 
no one but what knows it, would take it to be a Man, by 
reason of the dismal Noise it makes, and which but few of 
the Natives can manage. It never comes abroad but in 
the Night-time, which makes it have the better Effect. 
Whenever the Men have any Dispute with the Women, 
this Mumbo Jumbo is sent for to determine it; which is, 
I may say, always in Favour of the Men. Whoever is in 

gress of Anthropology (Chicago, 1894), of Kamerun there is no such domi- 

314). nant authority as Egbo of Calabar. 

1 Bentley, Pioneering on the Congo, In the Congo region the individual 

i, 283. priests or Nganga Nkissi possess 

The most powerful of the West the judicial duties elsewhere assumed 
African societies are Purr ah of by the societies (Id., "African 
Sierra Leone, Oru or Oro of Lagos, Religion and Law," National Re- 
Yasi of the Igalwa of Southern view, xxx, 1897, 137). Miss Kings- 
Nigeria, Egbo of Old Calabar, ley notes that scattered over all the 
Ukuku of the Mpongwe, Ikun of districts in which the law-god so- 
the Bakele, and Lubuku of the cieties are influential are sanctuaries 
Bachilangi (Miss Kingsley, Travels in which limit their power and provide 
West Africa, 526). The territory veritable cities of refuge for a much- 
between Cape Blanco and Kam- enduring people (West African 
erun includes the most important Stiidies, 412). 
of these law-god societies; south 



FUNCTIONS OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 119 

the Coat, can order the others to do what he pleases, either 
fight, kill, or make Prisoner; but it must be observed, that 
no one is allowed to come armed into its Presence. When 
the women hear it coming, they run away and hide them- 
selves; but if you are acquainted with the Person that has 
the Coat on, he will send for them all to come and sit down, 
and sing or dance, as he pleases to order them; and if any 
refuse to come, he will send the People for them, and then 
whip them. Whenever any one enters into this Society, 
they swear in the most solemn manner never to divulge it 
to any Woman, or any Person that is not entered into it, 
which they never allow to Boys under sixteen Years of Age. 
This thing the People swear by, and the Oath is so much 
observed by them, that they reckon as irrevocable, as the 
Grecians thought Jove did of old, when he swore by the 
River Styx. . . . There are very few Towns of any Note 
but what have got one of these Coats, which in the Day- 
time is fixt upon a large Stick near the Town, where it 
continues till Night, the proper Time of using it." 1 Mungo 
Park, who witnessed the procedure of the society, adds 
that when a woman is to be punished for a real or suspected 
departure from the path of virtue, she "is stripped naked, 
tied to a post, and severely scourged with Mumbo's rod, 
amidst the shouts and derision of the whole assembly; 
and it is remarkable, that the rest of the women are the 
loudest in their exclamations on this occasion against their 
unhappy sister." 2 

In the Yoruba villages Oro is the great bugbear god. 
The Ogboni society, whose members are the personal repre- 
sentatives of the god, use the bull-roarer, the voice of Oro, 
to keep the women in subjection. No woman may see the 
bull-roarer and live. Governor Moloney says, "I have 
seen even persons professing to be Christians awe-struck 
in its presence." 3 The presence of Oro in Yoruba towns 
brings about an enforced seclusion of women from seven 

1 Moore, Travels into the Inland 3 Jour. Manchester Geogr. Soc., v 
Parts of Africa, ii6-n8. (1889), 293. 

2 Travels in the Interior Districts 
of Africa, i, 59. 



I2O 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



o'clock in the evening until five o'clock in the morning. 1 
On the great Oro days women must remain indoors from 
daybreak till noon. 2 Egungun (literally " Bones"), another 
Yoruba bugbear, is supposed to be a dead man risen from 
the grave. He is "the whip and the cucking-stool apotheo- 
sized." Adult males know that Egungun is a mortal, "but 
if a woman swears falsely by him, or even says that he is 
not a tenant of the grave, she would lose her life." 3 Mwetyi 
and Nda of Southern Guinea tribes are similar creations 
of the secret societies to keep the women in subjection. 4 



1 Mrs. Batty in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xix (1889), 1 60. 

2 Ellis, Yoruba-S peaking Peoples, 
iii; cf. also Burton, Abeokuta and the 
Camaroons Mountains, i, 198. 

3 Burton, op. cit., 196. 

4 Wilson, Western Africa, 391-392. 
Some of the- California Indians 
resort to the same devices and with 
most efficacious results. Among the 
Porno of Northern California, "it 
seems to be almost the sole object 
of government to preserve them 
[the women] in proper subjection 
and obedience." By means of a 
great secret society with branch 
chapters in every part of the tribe, 
the dreadful Yukukula, or masked 
devil, who presides over its delibera- 
tions, is enabled to impose the req- 
uisite scourgings and warnings upon 
the terrified women. The procedure 
is a faithful parallel of the more 
familiar African customs (Powers in 
Contributions to North American 
Ethnology, iii, 157 sq.). Similar 
societies are found among the Tatu, 
Gualala, and Patwin, other Northern 
California tribes (ibid., 141, 193 sq., 
225). 

In some instances the African 
women are powerful enough to form 



secret societies of their own, ob- 
viously modelled on those of the men. 
Njembe of the Mpongwe women of 
Southern Guinea counterparts the 
Nda of the men, and really succeeds 
in making itself feared by them 
(Wilson, op. cit., 396-397; Burton, 
Two Trips to Gorilla Land, i, 81-82; 
Nassau, Fetichism in West Africa, 
250-263). The associated women 
who constitute the "Devil Bush" 
of the Vey people of Liberia are also 
able to prevent undue tyranny on 
the part of their husbands. If a man 
were unusually cruel to his wives, the 
matter would be brought to the at- 
tention of the "Devil Bush" and the 
offender, if adjudged guilty, would be 
poisoned. If the tribe decides to go 
to war, the declaration is first referred 
to the women (Penick, quoted in 
Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, ix (1896), 
221). The Bundu of the Sherbro 
Hinterland is an important organ- 
ization. It corresponds to the Pur- 
rah society, which belongs to the men. 
Yassi is another society of the women 
among both the Sherbro and Wendi 
tribes (for full descriptions, see 
Alldridge, The Sherbro and its Hinter- 
land, 136-152; Biittikofer, Reise- 
bilder aus Liberia, ii, 308-312). 



CHAPTER VIII 

DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 

THE development of social life is necessarily associated 
with the decline of secret organizations of the type that has 
been described. With the growth of population, the rise 
of large communities, and the extension of social inter- 
course, there must come an increasing difficulty in keeping 
up the mystery on which depends the very life of such 
organizations. In place of such rude methods of social 
control as Dukduk or Egbo employs, other methods, 
adapted to wider ends, must come into existence. The 
establishment of the power of chiefs on a permanent and 
hereditary basis, the organization of existence on an agri- 
cultural foundation, making more numerous the necessaries 
of life and reducing the advantages to be derived from 
membership in the societies, are factors which in their 
different ways contribute to the undermining of such crude 
institutions. The process of decline does not, however, 
follow everywhere along identical lines. When once the 
secrecy is dissipated, a simple collapse of the organizations 
may occur. In many cases the societies become merely 
social clubs, sometimes preserving a thin veil of secrecy 
over their proceedings as an additional attraction. Most 
frequently, however, a development has taken place, into 
what may be called for convenience of distinction, magical 
fraternities. The rise of such organizations will later be 
discussed in detail. 1 

1 The admission of women is characteristic of the disin- 
tegration of the secret societies and of their conversion into 
purely social clubs or magical fraternities. So far as known, 

1 Infra, chap. ix. 

121 



122 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

the women are still rigorously excluded from the Melanesian 
associations, but in Africa, Polynesia, and North America 
we find some examples either of their partial or complete 
admission. In the Elung, a secret society of Kamerun, 
the wife of the head of the society is a member. 1 In con- 
nection with Egbo there is an affiliated society of free women 
and a slave society, both being in distinct subordination. 2 
Women, though not allowed to attend Egbo meetings, are 
now permitted to buy the Egbo privileges. 3 Idiong or 
Idiom, an Old Calabar society, is open only to Egbo members 
and to women. 4 The head of the woman's secret society 
is present at the meetings of the Purrab of Sierra Leone. 
She may not speak and is supposed to be invisible to all 
but the chief of the Purrab. When she dies, he buries her. 5 
In some cases, a woman may be made a member of the 
order; she is then allowed certain broad privileges, and is 
not regarded henceforth, as of the female sex. 6 

From this partial and restricted admission of women it 
is only an additional step to their general admission under 
the same conditions as those required of the men. The 
result is such a society as the Lubuku of certain African 
tribes on the Lulua river, now primarily a social organiza- 
tion and only indirectly of political importance. Women 
are admitted as freely as men. The initiatory rites, it is 
said, violate all decency. 7 Ndembo of the upper Congo 
tribes closely resembles Lubuku. Not only both sexes, but 
candidates of all ages, are admitted. 8 The great 

Areoi society, in its ramifications widespread throughout 
Polynesia, admitted women, but their numbers were much 
less than those of the male initiates. 9 In the 

American fraternities women are frequently members. 
Sometimes they imitate the men and have secret organiza- 

1 Buchner, Kamerun, 26. e Alldridge, The Sherbro and its 

2 Miss Kingsley, West African Hinterland, 132-133. 

Studies, 384. 7 Bateman, The First Ascent of 

3 Hutchinson, Impressions of West- the Kasai, 183-184. 

ern Africa, 143. 8 Bentley, Pioneering on the 

4 Marriott in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Congo, i, 284. 
xxix (1899), 23. 9 Infra, p. 164. 

6 Miss Kingsley, West African 
Studies, 452. 



DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 123 

tions of their own. The admission of women is here also 
doubtless a late development. In the Omaha fraternities 
they are admitted only through the vision of their male 
relatives. Women may pass through the various degrees 
of the Midewiwin of the Ojibwa and the Mitawit of the 
Menomini, but their duties in the ceremonials are strictly 
subordinate. 1 The Wacicka fraternity, the principal or- 
ganization among the Omahas, Winnebagos, and Dakotas, 
closely resembles the Midewiwin. Only chiefs and their 
immediate relatives of both sexes could be members. Ac- 
cording to one account, the society "tended to concupis- 
cence." The female members of the Hopi 
Snake fraternity do not take part in the public Snake 
Dance, "but join the society and offer their children for 
initiation as a protection against rattle-snake bites and for 
the additional benefit of the invocations in the Kiva per- 
formances." 3 Among the Sia Indians, women are admitted 
to all the fraternities except the organizations called Snake 
and Cougar, or Hunters and Warriors. 4 All Zufii boys 
must be initiated into the Kokko; but entrance is optional 
for girls. A girl "must never marry if she joins the Kokko, 
and she is not requested to enter this order until she has 
arrived at such age as to fully understand its grave respon- 
sibilities and requirements." 5 

At the present time the most effective cause of the decline 
of the secret societies is the steady encroachment of the n 
civilizing agencies introduced by traders and missionaries. 
In the islands of Torres Straits and of Melanesia, the in- 
fluence of the missionaries is always aimed at the destruc- 
tion of ceremonies which constitute the heart of the native 
beliefs. As the German traders in the Bismarck Archi- 
pelago press inland, and the dark places of the islands are 
opened up to commerce and civilization, the great Dukduk 



1 Hoffman in Seventh Ann. Rep. 3 Fewkes in Nineteenth Ann. Rep. 
Bur. Ethnol., 223 ; id., Fourteenth Bur. Amer. Ethnol., 979. 

Ann. Rep., 102-103. 4 Mrs. Stevenson in Eleventh Ann. 

2 Dorsey in Third Ann. Rep. Bur. Rep. Bur. EthnoL, 75. 

Ethnol., 343. 5 Id., Fifth Ann. Rep. Bur. 

EthnoL, 540. 



124 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

society retires steadily before them, and its ceremonies 
and privileges are sold by the chiefs to the tribes of the 
interior. 1 Similarly the bitterest opponents of missionary 
enterprise in Africa are the secret societies, where these are 
powerful. The famous Areoi society of Tahiti and other 
Polynesian islands long waged a severe, but in the end, 
ineffectual struggle against the missionaries who arrived in 
the islands near the end of the eighteenth century. In 
North America the decline of the magical fraternities is 
everywhere associated with the advent of the whites. De- 
generation seems to be complete, when, for instance, propo- 
sitions are entertained for the production as a spectacular 
show of the Snake Dance of the Hopi Indians. 2 

Where the tribal societies succeed in surviving any very 
decided advance in the general civilization of the com- 
munity, their tendency is to become the strongholds of con- 
servatism and resistance to outward change. As such they 
often develop into powerful organizations and assume im- 
portant political functions. The Kakian association among 
the Melanesian aborigines of Western Ceram is an illustra- 
tion. The Kakian, once a tribal society of the familiar 
type, now stands for the old customs of the people and for 
opposition to all foreign influences. By the freemasonry 
existing between the numerous and widely scattered lodges, 
it long remained an important obstacle to the progress of 
the Dutch in Ceram. 3 In his study of Nagua- 

lism, Dr. Brinton has laid bare the existence of a secret 
association, extending over the greater part of Southern 
Mexico and Guatemala. At the opening of the eighteenth 
century it was a most potent force in resisting the Spanish 
advance. The society was of an ancient character, dating, 
indeed, back to the period of barbarism; but after the 
Spanish conquest of Mexico it became political in its aims, 
and its members were inspired by two ruling sentiments 

1 Graf v. Pfeil in Jour. Anthrop. 3 Bastian, Idonesien, part i, 145- 
Inst. t xxvii (1897), 190-191. 147; Joest in Verhandl. Berlin. 

2 Fewkes in Nineteenth Ann. Rep. Gesells. f. Anthrop. Ethnol. u. Urge- 
Bur. Amer. Ethnol., 978. schichte (1882), 64-65; Schulze, ibid. 

(1877), 117. 



DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 



125 



detestation of the Spaniards and hatred of the Christian 
religion. This "Eleusinian mystery of America" was 
organized in a number of degrees, through which candi- 
dates rose by solemn and often painful ceremonies. One 
of the practices consisted in the use of a sacred intoxicant, 
peyotl, prized as casting the soul into the condition of hypo- 
static union with divinity. A fundamental doctrine was 
the belief in a personal guardian spirit (nagual) into which 
by various rites of a phallic character the members of the 
society were supposed to be metamorphosed. 1 Like the 
Kakian, the society was very probably an outgrowth of 
earlier puberty institutions. 2 

The decline of the old tribal societies is associated both 
in Melanesia and Africa, with the rise of numerous local and 



1 D. G. Brinton, "Nagualism. 
A Study in Native American Folk- 
lore and History," Proc. Amer. 
PhUos. Soc., xxxiii (1894), 11-69. 

2 Were we in possession of suffi- 
cient information, it might be possible 
to substantiate the hypothesis that 
many of the Chinese secret societies 
exhibit the same origin and course of 
development as those of more primi- 
tive peoples. We know that as secret 
societies they may be referred to a 
period long prior to the amalgama- 
tion of the country under a single 
crown. Beginning in the old tribal 
organization, and possessing civil 
functions of various sorts, they have 
long proved a serious barrier to the 
constant encroachments of the central 
government, and to the introduction 
of all foreign customs. The recent 
uprising in China, fomented by the 
so-called " Boxers," has directed 
attention to this particular society 
with the result of some increase in 
our knowledge concerning it. Though 
there is much in the rites that requires 
clarification, it appears that the in- 
itiates are children of twelve to 
fifteen years of age, who by the 
Chinese custom are sufficiently old 
to marry. Moreover, the cere- 



monies attending entrance are de- 
signed to bring about those condi- 
tions of hysteria and hyperaesthesia 
met with so frequently in puberty 
rites. By the repetition of words 
supposed to act as charms and by 
violent contortions of the body the 
candidates are thrown into a trance 
state, during which they deliver to the 
bystanders occult messages. "It is 
certain that in addition to much 
other mythology the movement in- 
volves the idea of a revelation, and 
there is ground for supposing that the 
revelation is somehow or other con- 
nected with the institution of mar- 



rage. 



(Candlin, "The As- 



sociated Fists," Open Court, xiv, 
1900, 551-561.) For further data 
which tend to confirm the theory 
here advanced, see Matignon, "Hys- 
terie et Boxeurs en Chine," Revue 
Scientifique, fourth series, xv (1901), 
302-304. On the political powers 
exercised by the Chinese societies, see 
Courant, "Les Associations en 
Chine," Annales des Sciences Poli- 
tiques, xiv (1899), 68-94; Saturday 
Review, Ixxii (1891), 331 sq.; Cordier, 
"Les Societ^s Secretes Chinoises," 
Rev. d y Ethnographic, vii (1888), 52- 
72, with a bibliographical note. 



126 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

temporary societies, generally secret, but specialized, so to 
speak, for the performance of various functions. Some- 
thing like a division of labor then takes place. Of the 
societies in the New Britain group (Bismarck Archipelago), 
Mr. Brown writes that in one a candidate "was taught how 
to curse his enemies in the most telling manner; in another, 
how to prepare love philters for his own use, or for the use 
of those who paid him for them ; in another, he was shown 
the secrets of Agagara^ or witchcraft, and taught how easy 
it was to make a man sicken and die just as he pleased. 
He was taught how to make new dances and how profitably 
he could sell them to other towns." 1 In Melanesia, these 
societies are now very easily formed; in the Banks and 
Torres Islands, for example, besides the three or four im- 
portant societies common to all the group, there are many 
local associations. These are generally named after birds 
and may be considered modern. "Any one might start 
a new society, and gather round him his co-founders, taking 
any object that might strike their fancy as the ground and 
symbol of their association." 2 The same is true 

of the African societies. The negro, according to Miss 
Kingsley, "gets up one for any little job he has on hand; 
it's his way, like the Chinaman's. Some of the African 
secret societies are good, some bad, some merely so-so; 
some are equivalent to your Freemasonry, some to your 
Hooligan gangs, some to your Antediluvian Buffaloes and 
Ancient Shepherds, some to your Burial clubs." Many 
of these African secret societies seem at present to have 
their reason for existence purely in the native love of mystery. 
Some have undoubtedly been founded for common pro- 
tection and mutual aid. The order of Manganga affords 
an instance of this sort. In Kamerun, where Egbo and 
other secret societies had become engines of wholesale 
plunder and robbery, the slaves, in reprisal, established 
this new order for their own benefit. Its members acknowl- 

1 Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci. t 3 West African Studies, 448. Cf. 
vii (Sidney, 1898), 781. also A. G. Leonard, The Lower Niger 

2 Codrington, Melanesians, 76. and its Tribes (London, 1906), 323- 

325- 



DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 127 

edge no allegiance to any other society. One of the chief 
provisions of the society is that initiates shall be opposed 
to the chiefs in everything. 1 The terrible Leopard and 
Alligator societies common to the coast from Sierra Leone 
to the Niger, Miss Kingsley regards as always distinct from 
the tribal secret societies, such as Egbo and Yasi* but 
Dr. Nassau, a most competent observer, identifies the tribal 
societies of the Corisco coast (French Congo) with the 
Leopard societies. 3 It seems probable that the cannibalism 
and murder associated with these organizations are of 
recent accretion. In all cases, men go in for both the 
Leopard and the tribal societies. 4 

In some cases the tribal societies degenerate into pure 
impostures, destitute of all social utility, maintained solely 
by fraud, and liable to speedy dissolution once the secrets 
are revealed. The Matambala of Florida was undermined 
by the free admission into the Banks Island lodges of 
Florida boys, who thus learned what impostures the secrets 
really were. The introduction of Christianity completed 
the process of degeneration; "the man who knew how to 
sacrifice to Siko became a Christian, the sacred precincts 
were explored, bull-roarers became the playthings of the 
boys, and the old men sat and wept over the profanation 
and their loss of power and privilege." 5 

But institutions which form so conspicuous an element 
of tribal life do not as a rule pass away rapidly, or fail to 
leave behind them some evidence of their former power. 
Melanesia, again, affords some instructive illustrations of 
clubs which are obvious outgrowths of the earlier tribal 
societies. Indeed, it is difficult to distinguish the two except 



1 Hutchinson, Ten Years' Wan- British government, see Alldridge in 
derings among the Ethiopians (Lon- Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxix (1899), 
don, 1861), 4 sq.; id., Impressions 26-27; and more fully in The 
of Western Africa, 144 sq. Sherbro and its Hinterland, 153- 

2 Travels in West Africa, 536. 159. 

3 Ibid., 540, 542. 5 Codrington, op. cit., 99; cf. the 

4 Ibid., 536. See also Leonard, account by the Rev. Alfred Penny, to 
The Lower Niger and its Tribes, whose missionary labors the downfall 
324. On the Human Leopards of of many of the societies is due (Ten 
Sierra Leone, now stamped out by the Years in Melanesia, 70-72). 



128 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

by the fact that the members of the clubs have discarded 
all the paraphernalia necessary to keep up the supposed 
association with the ghosts. The Tamate of Banks Islands, 
formerly a powerful society, has survived the introduction 
of Christianity and exists to-day as such a club. "The 
secrecy of the lodges is still maintained, the salagoro is 
unapproachable by women and the uninitiated, the neophyte 
has still to go through his time of probation and seclusion, 
and the authority of the society is maintained by too much 
of the high-handed tyranny of old times." 1 The salagoro, 
or lodge, is usually established in some secluded place near 
the village. Here the members lounge about during the 
day and often take their meals. 2 Newly admitted members 
must prepare the food for cooking and keep the salagoro 
swept. The lodge itself "affords a convenient and some- 
what distinguished resort in the heat of the day." 3 

Some Melanesian clubs are exclusive, require heavy 
entrance fees, and are used only by older men of good social 
position; others are cheap and easy of entrance. The 
social status of a native, writes Mr. Codrington, "depends 
very much upon his membership of the most important 
of these clubs ; an outsider could never be a person of con- 
sequence; a man of good social position would think it 
his duty to secure the same position for his son by entering 
him early in the clubs to which he himself belonged." 
At Meli, one of the New Hebrides, there are six ranks or 
grades of social position attained by fulfilling various re- 
quirements and especially by the slaughter of pigs. The lat- 
ter, though sacrificed to the gods, are eaten by the members 
of the different grades. As long as a man eats with the 
women, the word Nabor is affixed to his name. When 
he sacrifices a pig, he assumes the grade of Merib. With 
the sacrifice of another pig he steps into higher rank and 
becomes a Dangur. If a youth has a rich father who can 
afford to sacrifice pigs in quick succession, his passage from 
the lowest to the highest grades is much accelerated. How- 

1 Codrington, Melanesians, 74. 3 Ibid., 82. 

2 Ibid., 77. 4 Ibid., 92. 



DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 129 

ever, the members of the advanced degrees, and above all 
the chiefs, understand how to hinder the rise of candidates 
not personally acceptable to them. If a man is too poor 
to sacrifice a pig, he must remain a Nahor and eat with 
the women. The different classes are practically clubs 
whose members eat separately and have little intercourse 
with those of higher or lower rank. 1 At Malekula, 

another of the New Hebrides, the usual initiation rites are 
still retained, but the four degrees in which the secret society 
is divided, Bara, Gulgul, Mai, and Mara, are rigidly 
separated from one another. No member of one of these 
degrees may eat food with a member of any other or even 
cook it at the same fire. To become a Bara or to attain 
any higher degree, a man prepares a festival at which he 
sets up a femes, a carved and painted fern tree, to repre- 
sent one of his ancestors, kills two to ten pigs, and assumes 
the new name appropriate to the degree he has reached. 2 

In the Suqe found throughout the Banks Islands 
and the Northern New Hebrides, we have a remarkable 
example of an association existing as a club in the midst 
of numerous secret societies, and apparently unconnected 
with them. Its only secrecy appears to be at the initiation 
of new members, though women are strictly excluded. 
The society is divided into degrees, and the passage through 
them is a long and very expensive process. Nearly all the 
natives are entered as boys into the society, but only a few 
get to the middle rank and beyond. "In the Banks Island 
stories the poor lad or orphan who becomes the Fortunate 
Youth rises to greatness by the Suqe; he takes the highest 
grade in this instead of marrying the king's daughter." * 
A place in the society not only carried with it social honor 
in this life ; a member of the Suqe was highly honored after 
death and was sure of a happy lot in the next world. As 
one native said, "'The reason for Suqe is this, that hereafter 
when a man comes to die, his soul may remain in that place 
Panoi; but if any one should die who has not killed a pig, 



1 Baessler, Sudsee-Bilder, 203-205. Adv. Sci., iv (Sidney, 1893), 704- 

2 Leggatt in Rep. Austr. Assoc. 705. 3 Codrington, op. tit., 103. 

K 



130 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

his soul will just stay on a tree, hanging for ever on it like 
a flying fox. ' " l The society was widely extended, for we 
are told that the rank and titles obtained by membership 
"not only hold good in the man's own village, but are 
recognized in all the surrounding settlements and islands 
which happened not to be at war with his native place." 2 
The voluntary associations of the North American Indians 
afford another illustration of the tendency towards the 
formation of limited and local organizations somewhat 
similar to the Melanesian clubs. But, unlike the latter, 
they are usually non-secret in character, and moreover 
their membership frequently includes women. Such as- 
sociations are not of necessity either ancient or permanent. 
They are social rather than religious associations, formed 
by the inclusion of individuals from the different clans of 
the tribe without respect to the totemic groupings. Their 
members are usually designated by marks and paintings 
distinct from those which indicate the clan totems. Their 
organization indicates an origin in conditions similar to 
those which give rise to the degrees of the secret societies 
generally in the natural grouping together of men of the 
same age who have similar duties and interests in life. In 
Australia and Africa, the various age groupings are little 
more than the degrees into which the tribe, as a secret as- 

1 Codrington, op. cit., 112. The candidate must have his in- 

2 H. Meade, A Ride through the troducer or sponsor, his mother's 
Disturbed Districts of New Zealand, brother ordinarily, who reminds us 
together with Some Account of the of the guardian uncles at the initia- 
South Sea Islands (London, 1870), tory rites of the Torres Straits 
266. Though we have no positive islanders. The candidate is confined 
evidence on the subject, it is quite in the Gamal, or men's house, and is 
possible to regard the Suqe as for- required to fast sometimes for five 
merly a great tribal society which days before being admitted. The 
arose, like the Dukduk and Tamate striking resemblance of the Suqe, in 
of these islands, on the basis of the both organization and character, to 
primitive puberty institution. Throw- the Areoi society of Tahiti and other 
ing off the mask of pretended as- Polynesian islands, on the connection 
sociation with the ghosts, it became of which with earlier puberty in- 
fo time what is now practically a stitutions we have more decisive 
great club embracing all the men evidence (infra, 164 sq.) serves to con- 
in its membership. The manner of firm this hypothesis. For an in- 
entering the Suqe presents some teresting description of the Suqe, see 
analogies to tribal initiation rites. Codrington, op. cit., 101-115. 



DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 131 

sociation composed of initiated men, is divided. In North 
America, these degrees are more clearly defined and have 
assumed a separateness and distinctiveness which entitles 
them to rank as quasi-independent societies. The decline 
among the American Indians, of the primitive tribal organiza- 
tion consisting of all initiated men, leads to the belief that 
these voluntary societies represent a stage of development 
similar to that manifested by club formations elsewhere. 
The dropping of all secrecy, the admission of women, and 
the easy formation of new societies on the old models would 
then be explained as in Melanesia, where the formation of 
clubs from the secret societies is most clearly exhibited. 
Such associations, numerous among many of the tribes 
of the Central West often exert great influence upon both 
the internal and external affairs of an Indian community. 
Age societies are to be found among nearly all of the 
Siouan tribes. The Mandans had six orders for the men 
as well as four for the women. Entrance into the first 
order was usually purchased for a candidate by his father, 
a custom which presents an interesting parallel to the 
Melanesian practice. The dances of the different classes 
were fundamentally the same, though to each one was 
attached a different song and sometimes particular steps. 1 
The Crow Indians had eight of these societies. 2 The 
Hidatsa Indians had at least three societies for the men, 
each with its own songs, dances, and ceremonies, besides 
corresponding societies for the women. 3 The 

A kite it a among the Assiniboin tribes was an organiza- 
tion of men between twenty-five and forty-five years of age. 
Its members served as soldiers and policemen and were 
intrusted with the execution of the decisions of the tribal 
council. Young men, women, and children might not 
enter the lodge of the society when tribal matters were under 

1 Maximilien de Wied-Neuwied, 3 Matthews in United States Geo- 
Voyage dans I'lnterieur de VAmeri- logical and Geographical Survey, 
que du Nord (Paris, 1841), ii, 408- Miscellaneous Publications, no. vii 
415. For the legend of the origin (Washington, 1877), 47, 153, 155- 
of the societies, see ibid., ii, 433-434. 156, 189, 192, 197. 

2 Maximilien de Wied-Neuweid, 
op. cit., ii, 36. 



132 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

consideration. 1 The Omaha society of Poogthun 

was one of the oldest in the tribe. Chiefs only were eligible. 
The leader was he who could count the greatest number of 
valiant deeds. A man must keep up his war record to 
maintain a place in the order. The songs of the society 
served as tribal archives, for they preserved the names 
and deeds of the Omaha heroes. 2 The Haethuska society 
was more democratic ; only a valiant war record was neces- 
sary for admission and promotion. Other societies were 
numerous, each of which had its special dance. Thus 
there was the "Dance of those expecting to die." Members 
of the society with this dance "always go prepared to meet 
the enemy and to fall in battle." Those who had the 
"Make-no-flight dance," vow not to flee from a foe. Only 
very brave men could participate in the "Dance in which 
buffalo head-dresses were put on. Those who were only 
a little brave could not dance." The Mandan dance came 
to the Omahas from the Ponkas, who in turn had learned 
it from the Dakotas. This was celebrated as a bravery 
dance over the bodies of warriors who had fallen in battle. 
"None but aged men and those in the prime of life belong 
to this society. All are expected to behave themselves, 
to be sober, and refrain from quarrelling and fighting among 
themselves." The Tokolo was a bravery society for the 
younger men. Quarrelling was prohibited among the 
members. :< Two men who do not fear death are the leaders 
in the dance." 3 Among the Kiowas each of the 

six orders making up the organization called Yapabe, or 
Warriors, has its own dance, songs, insignia, and duties. 
"The members were first enrolled as boys among the 
'Rabbits/ and were afterward promoted, according to 
merit or the necessities of war, in regular progression to 
higher ranks. Only a few, however, ever attained the highest 

1 Dorsey in Fifteenth Ann. Rep. 3 Dorsey in Third Ann. Rep. Bur. 
Bur. Ethnol., 224-225. EthnoL, 352-355 ; S. H. Long, Ac- 

2 Miss Fletcher in Archaeological count of an Expedition from Pitts- 
and Ethnological Papers of the Pea- burgh to the Rocky Mountains (Phil- 
body Museum, i (Cambridge, 1893), adelphia, 1823), i, 207-208. 

23; id., Indian Song and Story 
from North America, 4, 8, 13. 



DECLINE OF TRIBAL SOCIETIES 133 

order, that of the Kaitsenko. Almost every able-bodied 
man was enrolled." l The Blackfoot Ikunuk- 

kabtsi, or "all comrades," consisted of a dozen or more 
secret classes graded according to age, "the whole con- 
stituting an association which was in part benevolent 
and helpful, and in part military, but whose main function 
was to punish offences against society at large. All 
these societies were really law and order associations." 
Among the tribes of Algonquian stock, noticeably the 
Cheyennes 3 and the Arapaho, 4 age societies were numerous 
and distinct. Among the Arapaho whose ceremonies 
were typical of those practised by other Plains tribes, the 
most sacred and important dances were grouped under 
the general title Bayaawu. This consisted, first, of the Sun 
Dance, and, second, of a series of dances and ceremonials 
performed by members of the various age societies. In 
the Sun Dance men of any age or ceremonial affiliations 
might participate. The dancers had no characteristic 
regalia and were all of the same degree or rank. 5 The 
ceremonies of the age societies differed materially from 
those of the Sun Dance. They covered the entire period 
of manhood, from youth to old age ; each society, moreover, 
had its own name and organization and there was no fasting 
or torture as in the Sun Dance. A further difference was 
found in the fixed and elaborate regalia required for each of 
the ceremonies. 6 The members of each society who took 
part in the dances pertaining to it were instructed by the 

1 Mooney in Seventeenth Ann. The Plains of the Great West, 266- 
Rep. Bur. Amer. EthnoL, 229-230. 267. 

2 Grinnell, Blackfoot Lodge Tales, 4 Hayden, op. tit., 325-326; 
220-221. On the Blackfoot age Mooney in Fourteenth Ann. Rep. 
societies, see also Maximilien de Bur. EthnoL, 986-990; Kroeber 
Wied-Neuwied, op. cit., ii, 213-216; in Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 
and Maclean in Trans. Canadian xviii, part ii, 151 sq. 

Inst., iv (1895), 255 (age distinctions 5 Kroeber, op. cit., 152. 

of the Blood Indians, a branch of ' For the legend of the formation 

the Alberta Blackfoot tribes). of the Bayaawu, see Dorsey and 

3 Hayden in Trans. Amer. Philos. Kroeber, "Traditions of the Arap- 
Soc., new series, xii (1863), 281; aho," Publications of the Field 
Dyer, quoted in Ann. Rep. Smith- Columbian Museum, Anthropological 
sonian Inst. for 1885, part ii Series, v (1903), 13 sq. 
(Washington, 1886), 93; Dodge, 



134 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

older men who had been through the ceremonies and who 
were called the dancers' grandfathers. These men again, 
and the entire set of ceremonial dances belonging to the 
different societies, were under the direction of the seven old 
men who constituted the sixth society. 1 "These seven old 
men embodied everything that was most sacred in Arapaho 
life. They directed all the lodges. The actual part they 
played in these consisted chiefly of directing the grand- 
fathers, often only by gestures. The grandfathers, in 
turn, instructed the dancers. This oldest society is there- 
fore said to contain all the others. Every dance, every 
song, and every action of the lodges was performed at the 
direction of these old men." 2 

1 Kroeber in Bull. Amer. Mus. 2 Ibid., 207-208. 

Nat. Hist., xviii, part ii, 155. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE CLAN CEREMONIES 

TRIBAL secret societies, such as those of Melanesia and 
Africa, arise, as we have seen, through what has been de- 
scribed as a process of gradual shrinkage of the original 
puberty institution in which, after initiation, all men of the 
tribe are members. At the beginning the tribe is itself 
the secret association. But with the gradual limitation of 
membership, and especially with the reservation of the upper 
ranks in these associations to the more powerful members 
of the tribe, such as the heads of totems, the shamans, and 
the richer and more prominent men generally, secret socie- 
ties of the familiar type emerge. In many instances such 
societies retain something of their originally democratic 
organization in that entrance to the lower degrees is still 
customary for every man at puberty. These societies, 
moreover, come to perform functions of an important nature. 
Their judicial and political duties appear to be at this stage 
of development the most striking and impressive feature 
of the organizations, and have naturally attracted most 
attention. With the centralization of political power, func- 
tions of this nature are gradually superseded by more effec- 
tive methods of social control. The formal initiation of 
lads into manhood, once an important duty of these orders, 
is abandoned or its tribal purpose is much altered. The 
secret societies then pass out of existence or decline into 
purely social clubs. 

In some instances, however, it is possible to discover 
the secret societies surviving as organizations of priests and 
shamans, in whose charge are the various dramatic and 
magical rites of the tribe. Of this phase of their existence 

135 



136 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

illustrations from Melanesia, Africa, and other regions are 
not wanting. When we turn to the secret associations so 
numerous among the Indian tribes of North America, we 
find little evidence of the political and judicial duties assumed 
by similar associations elsewhere. Nor is the connection 
with the primitive puberty institution so manifest as in 
Africa or Melanesia. Traces there are of earlier initiatory 
rites at puberty, but the development of the secret societies 
has been in general along lines which, so far as our observa- 
tion reaches, do not closely parallel the stages passed through 
in other parts of the world. The outcome, however, of 
this development has been the creation in every tribe of 
numerous fraternities whose dramatic and magical rites 
reproduce with remarkable fidelity those practised by the 
secret societies of Melanesia, Polynesia, and Africa. 

This close resemblance, as dramatic and magical corpora- 
tions, between the secret organizations of such widely 
separated peoples, renders an investigation of its origin 
imperative. That origin is to be found, it is believed, in 
the fact that primitive secret associations, whether in the 
form of the puberty institution as among the Australians, 
the tribal society as among Melanesian and African peo- 
ples, or the fraternity as developed by the North Ameri- 
can Indians, everywhere exhibit the characteristics of the 
original clan organization which underlies them. 

Initiation ceremonies of the refinement and complexity 
that has been described could hardly have developed in 
that earlier stage of human aggregation when there were 
no real tribes, no large associations occupying well- 
defined localities, all of whose members considered them- 
selves as units in one organization. That tribal solidarity 
of which initiatory ceremonies are the recognition is not 
a primitive development. Tribal initiation ceremonies pre- 
suppose the tribe. Yet their beginnings must be sought 
in a stage of development of human society more remote 
than that of the tribe; in a word, in the primitive totemic 
clan itself. Initiation into the tribe must have been pre- 
ceded by some form of initiation into the clan. When in 
process of time various clans unite to form tribal aggregates, 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 137 

ceremonies of initiation as well as the dramatic and magical 
rites of the separate clans are transferred to the newly 
formed tribe. Where the puberty institutions still retain 
their primitive vigor, as among the Australians and New 
Guinea tribes, the original clan ceremonies are clearly seen 
underlying the existing tribal rites. Where, from the puberty 
institutions, secret societies of more or less limited member- 
ship have arisen, as in Melanesia and Africa, we shall find 
in these organizations fewer traces of the antecedent clan 
structure. Disintegration of the clans has there been 
largely accomplished. In the fraternities of the North 
American Indians, on the other hand, the clan structure 
underlying the organizations is still, in a number of instances, 
plainly perceptible. The rise of secret societies in their 
developed form appears, in fact, to be invariably associated 
with the decline of the totemic clans. In many instances 
the formation of these societies, enrolling their members 
from all parts of the tribe, irrespective of clan ties, must 
contribute powerfully to the disintegration of the clan 
structure. Such societies, furnishing a mode of organiza- 
tion which unites the members of the tribe more firmly 
than the earlier totemic arrangements, are thus at once a 
contributing cause of the decline of the clans and the neces- 
sary outcome of that decline. A study of the clan organiza- 
tion underlying the tribal initiation ceremonies of some 
primitive peoples will exhibit two important truths for our 
future study; namely, the means by which clan rites are 
passed over into those of the tribe, and second, the nature 
of those rites which are associated with the primitive totemic 
clan. 

Among the tribes of Eastern Australia, it is the general 
rule that at the Boras, or meetings for initiation purposes, 
all divisions of the tribe shall be present. The same rule 
prevails where several tribes by intermarriage come to 
form a community. Invitations to attend the Bora meeting 
are sent out to all the divisions of the tribe, or to all the tribes 
comprising a community. Among the Kamilaroi, for ex- 
ample, when it has been decided to institute a Bora the head- 
man of a tribe, to which at a previous inaugural gathering 



138 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

this honor of holding the next Bora has been assigned, 1 
sends out a messenger, always an individual of some impor- 
tance, 2 to give the requisite notice to the tribes which are 
to be present at the ceremonies. He proceeds from tribe 
to tribe, carrying the sacred bull-roarer or some other 
equally significant token of his office, 3 and makes a complete 
circuit of the community. 4 Should the Bora ceremonies 
be confined to one tribe, the same care is manifested to 
invite all the local groups, scattered as they may be over 
a wide territory. By such proceedings, the tribal or inter- 
tribal character of the Bora meetings is clearly indicated. 

Another important characteristic comes out in these pro- 
ceedings. Australian tribes are divided into two inter- 
marrying moieties, sections, or "classes." Among most 
of the Eastern tribes these "classes" are the exogamous 
totemic clans. One totemic "class" summons the other 
to initiation. The messengers must be of the same totem 
as the headman who sends them out. 5 Moreover, the head- 
man to whom the message is sent must be of the same 
totem as the original sender. The message travels through 
the community, being carried by the headman of one totem 
and being then communicated by him to the principal men 
of the different totems which form the local groups. The 
community which then assembles for initiation purposes 



1 Among the Coast Murring, the all the tribes are invited (id., Jour. 
call is sent out either on the initiative and Proc. Roy. Soc. New South 
of one of the principal men of the Wales, xxxi, 1897, 120). In a some- 
tribe or in response to the decision what similar way and for the same 
of the inner council of the heads of purpose, when the ceremonies of the 
totems (Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Grand Medicine Lodge of the Me- 
Inst., xiii, 1884, 438). nomini Indians are to be held, the 

2 Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. chief priest of the society sends out a 
Soc. New South Wales, xxviii (1894), courier with a message stick to deliver 
107. to each member an invitation to at- 

3 Mathews in Jour. Anthrop. tend (Hoffman in Fourteenth Ann. 
Inst., xxvi (1897), 324. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 70-71). 

4 Sometimes it happens that the 5 This rule is occasionally broken 
headman of the first tribe visited, for reasons of special weight 
upon receiving the notice sends his (Mathews in Amer. Anthropologist, 
own messenger to the headman of ix (1896), 330; id., Jour. An- 
a second tribe, who in like manner throp. Inst., xxv, 1896, 322). 
transmits it to a third, and so on until 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 139 

is made up of the two exogamous totemic divisions of the 
tribe or tribes. Thus one totemic moiety summons the 
other to the Bora ceremonies. 1 

The actual ceremonies of initiation further recognize this 
underlying clan organization. Formerly, we may suppose, 
before the segmentation of a clan or the consolidation of 
different clans proceeded so far as to form tribal aggregates 
connected by the practice of exogamy, a boy entering upon 
manhood was initiated by his own clansmen. But it is 
characteristic of these Australian ceremonies in their present 
aspect that the actual initiation of the youth is in charge 
of the totemic moiety of the tribe from which, as an initi- 
ated man, he will be allowed to choose his wife. In other 
words, at the Boras those in charge of the lads are their 
real or potential brothers-in-law. 2 The care of the novice 
during the ceremonies rests always with men of the (totemic) 
moiety opposite to his own. 3 The reason for this arrange- 
ment becomes evident when it is remembered that the 
principal purpose of the initiatory rites among the Aus- 
tralian natives is to prepare the lads for marriage. The 
strict regulations under which marriage is permitted, and 

1 This same principle prevails first of the initiatory ceremonies is 
where the earlier totemic organiza- performed by men who stand to the 
tion has broken down and paternal novice "in the relationship of Um- 
descent has arisen, as among the birna; that is, a man who is the 
Kurnai of Victoria. Here the tribe brother of a woman of the class from 
is organized by local classes and the which his, i.e. the boy's, wife must 
call for initiation is sent from local come" (Spencer and Gillen, Native 
class to local class in the different Tribes of Central Australia, 215; cf. 
tribes (Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., also 230). Among the Yaraikanna 
xiii (1884), 433 sq.; id., Rep. Austr. tribe of Cape York (Queensland) 
Assoc. Adv. Sci., iii (Sidney, 1891), the lads to be initiated are con- 
344 sq.,' id., Native Tribes of ducted into the bush by their sev- 
South-East Australia, 512; Mathews eral mawara, the men of the clan 
in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxiv, 1895, into which each will have to marry 
411 n. 1 ). (Rep. Cambr. Anthrop. Expedition 

2 Mathews in Proc. Amer. Philos. to Torres Straits, v, 220). 

Soc., xxxix (1900), 633; id., Jour. 3 Only one exception to this rule 

and Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales, has been discovered in the case 

xxxi (1897), 128; xxxii (1898), 245; of the Umba ceremonies of the Wakel- 

Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiii bura tribe of Queensland (Howitt, 

(1884), 435 sq.;id.,Rep. Austr. Assoc. Native Tribes of South-East Aus- 

Adv. Sci., iii (Sidney, 1891), 344 sq. tralia, 608). 
Similarly among the Arunta, the 



i 4 o PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

especially the careful assignment of the limits within which 
the novices may choose their future wives, are impressed 
upon the novices at the great inaugural meetings, in this 
clear and unequivocal fashion. 

At these initiatory meetings again, the underlying clan 
basis is seen in the fact that the performances, songs, and 
dances which constitute the greatest part of the proceedings, 
are exhibited in alternation by each of the two tribal moie- 
ties, 1 or, as among some Central Australian tribes, by the 
various totem groups. Among the Arunta, where the social 
organization of the tribe by totem clans is in decay, each 
local group is in charge of the preliminary initiation of its 
own members. But for the important Engwura, or Fire 
Ceremony, the last stage in the long series of initiation rites, 
messengers carrying the sacred Churinga are sent out to 
the various local groups comprising the tribe, and the cere- 
monies have a distinctively tribal character. 2 Not until 
the novices have passed through the Engwura do they 
graduate as Urliara, or fully initiated tribesmen. During 
its celebration the young men often twenty-five or thirty 
years of age are completely under the control of the elders 
whose orders they must obey implicitly. The principal 
object of the Engwura seems to be that of carefully instruct- 
ing the younger men, now arrived at manhood, in all the 
traditions and customs of the tribe. This knowledge is 
conveyed in a most effective manner by means of various 
elaborate ceremonies of a dramatic nature, performed by 
members of the different totems and intended to picture events 
in the life of the mythic ancestral individuals who lived in 
the Alcheringa time half-animal creations whose descen- 
dants are the present members of the Arunta tribe. 3 Thus 

1 Howitt in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 3 In the Alcheringa period, so 
xiii (1884), 446 sq. The totem far away that the native mind does 
dances performed at the Coast Mur- not attempt to conceive of anything 
ring rites are described at length in before it, the ancestors of the Arunta 
The Native Tribes of South-East were animal-men or plant-men, en- 
Australia, 546 sq. dowed with powers not possessed by 

2 Spencer and Gillen, Native their present descendants. All over 
Tribes of Central Australia, 213, the district occupied by the Arunta 
275 sq. are a large number of Oknanikilla, 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 141 

performances which seem on the outside merely imitations 
of the actions of different animals are really part of the 
instruction of the novice in the sacred lore connected with 
the totems and the ancestors of the various clans. 1 These 
various ceremonies presented at the Engwura belong to 
the different totemic groups into which the tribe is divided. 
Among the Arunta, as already mentioned, the organiza- 
tion of the tribe by totem clans does not prevail ; paternal 
descent is established, and the exogamous laws do not rest 
upon a totemic foundation. That this organization of the 
tribe is the development of an earlier state of things in 
which the social aspects of totemism were prominent, is 
most probable, though the question is still an open one. 
At any rate the Arunta totem groups are now concerned 
with ceremonies of a dramatic and magical character. The 
entire area occupied by the tribe is divided into a number 
of localities owned and inhabited by the local groups, and 
with each locality is identified a particular totem which 
gives its name to the members of the local group. 2 The 
men who assemble at the Engwura represent these various 
local totem groups, and they bring with them for presenta- 
tion the ceremonies connected with their totems. Each 
ceremony is the Quabara of a certain totem. More than 
this, each Quabara is associated with a particular part of 
the area occupied by the local group. Further complexity 
is added when we learn that each ceremony is usually con- 

or local totem centres, where in the associated at the time of his conception 

Alcheringa period, the ancestors (Spencer and Gillen, op. cit., 119 sq.). 
lived, or camped during their wander- l Native Tribes of Central Aus- 

ings, and where some of them died tralia, 277 sq. These performances, 

and went down into the ground, called Quabara, numbered sixty or 

leaving their Churinga. With the seventy at the Engwura witnessed by 

Churinga they left in these Oknani- Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. The 

killa, are associated spirit individ- Engwura continued over four months, 

uals, and when an Arunta child is and during this time, to the middle 

born, his mother is believed to have of the following January "there was 

been entered by one of these spirits. a constant succession of ceremonies, 

Thus every member of the tribe is a not a day passing without one, while 

reincarnation of an Alcheringa an- there were sometimes as many as five 

cestor; and his totem is that of the or six within the twenty-four hours" 

totem centre, or Oknanikilla, with (ibid., 272; cf. 118). 
which his mother was by any accident 2 Ibid., 277. 



i 4 2 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

sidered as the property of some special individual of the 
totem and local group concerned, who alone has the right 
of performing it. Such a ceremony has either been received 
by the performer by inheritance from his father or elder 
brother, or it may have come as a gift, directly from the 
Iruntarinidy or spirits, who performed it for his benefit, so 
he says, and then presented it to him. 1 At the Engwura 
every one who was an initiated member of the special totem 
with which any given ceremony was concerned, could be 
present at the preparation for the ceremony, "but no one 
else would come near except by special invitation of the 
individual to whom it belonged, and he could invite any 
one belonging to any class or totem to be present or to take 
part in the performance." The mixture of men of all groups 
is to be associated with the fact that the Engwura "is an 
occasion on which members of all divisions of the tribe and 
of all totems are gathered together, and one of the main 
objects of which is the handing on to the younger men of 
the knowledge carefully treasured up by the older men of 
the past history of the tribe, so far as it is concerned with 
the totems and the Churinga." 2 This evidence afforded 
by the Arunta tribe exhibits with some clearness the form 
in which at least among Australian tribes the decline of 
clan totemism takes place. The clans whose union formed 
the tribe appear at the Engwura as local totemic groups 
whose sole function is the presentation of various dramatic 
and, as will be shown, of magical ceremonies. Even this 
restriction is in process of decay; the ceremonies originally 
confined to a particular totem group are being parcelled 
out among the different totem groups making up the tribe. 
That this process has not gone further seems due to the fact 
that the general meetings of the tribe are only on such great 
occasions as the Engwura. 3 

1 Native Tribes of Central Aus- dramatic performances which, how- 
tralia, 278; cf. 119. ever, closely parallel those presented 

2 Ibid., 280; cf. 211. at the Engwura are in this tribe 

3 Among the Warramunga, a tribe regarded as the property, not of an 
recently studied by Messrs. Spencer individual, but of the whole totem 
and Gillen, there is nothing corre- group (Northern Tribes of Central 
spending to the Engwura rite. The Australia, 193). Decay of clan to- 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 143 

Further evidence of the breakdown of the totemic clan 
among the Arunta is to be found in the use of the various 
totem groups, not only for presenting dramatic performances, 
but also for magical purposes. An Arunta totem is a cor- 
poration working magic for the benefit of the plant or animal 
which gives its name to the totem. With the Arunta each 
totem has its own magical ceremony and the ceremonies 
associated with it vary considerably from totem to totem. 
Any man who is a member of the totem group may attend 
and participate in the ceremonies of his totem, but this privi- 
lege is not extended to men outside of the totem. 1 Women, 
children, and uninitiated men are of course debarred. These 
Inticbiuma ceremonies, as they are called, while secret and 
confined to the particular totem groups, are not performed, 
like those of the Engwura, at a great meeting of all the 
tribes for initiation purposes. They are held usually at 
the approach of a good season. "The Inticbiuma are 
closely associated with the breeding of the animals and the 
flowering of the plants with which each totem is respectively 
identified, and as the object of the ceremony is to increase 
the number of the totemic animal or plant, it is most naturally 
held at a certain season. . . . While this is so, it some- 
times happens that the members of a totem, such as, for 
example, the rain or water totem, will hold their Inticbiuma 
when there has been a long draught and water is badly 
wanted. . . ." 2 Though there is considerable variation 
in the actual performances of the totems, "one and all have 
for their sole object the purpose of increasing the number of 
the animal or plant after which the totem is called; and 
thus, taking the tribe as a whole, the object of these cere- 
monies is that of increasing the total food supply." 3 

temism has apparently not yet set tution, designed to secure through 

in. magical practices an abundance of 

1 Spencer and Gillen, op. cit., 169. food, water, and other necessities 

2 Ibid., 169-170. of the tribe. The Australian evi- 
8 Australian totemism, in fact, as dence leads Mr. Frazer to suggest 

Mr. Frazer has recently pointed out, that the primary purpose of totemism 

seems to be, in view of the late dis- is "the thoroughly practical one of 

coveries of Messrs. Spencer and satisfying the material wants of the 

Gillen, largely an economic insti- savage, this purpose being carried 



144 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



Some of the initiatory rites as practised at Torres Straits 
betray the underlying clan organization, even more clearly 
than the Australian Bora or Engwura. At Tud (Tutu), 
the Taiokwod, or place of initiation, which corresponds 
closely to the Bora ground of the Australian natives, was 
covered by four large mats, and four fireplaces were arranged 
at the sides of the area. Mats and fireplaces belonged to 
the four separate clans which took part in the initiation. 
The crocodile and shark clans were "like brothers" and 
so had their fireplaces near together. "The elder men sat 
on the mats belonging to their respective clans. If a man 
sat by the fire or upon the mat of a clan other than his own, 



out by distributing the various 
functions to be discharged among 
different groups, who thereby become 
totem clans. On this hypothesis 
totemism is of high interest to the 
economist, since it furnishes, perhaps, 
the oldest example of a systematic 
division of labour among the members 
of a community" (Rep. Austr. Adv. 
Sci.j viii, Melbourne, 1901, 313). 
In its origin totemism was "simply 
an organised and co-operative system 
of magic devised to secure for the 
members of the community, on the 
one hand, a plentiful supply of all 
the natural commodities of which 
they stood in need, and, on the other 
hand, immunity from all the perils 
and dangers to which man is exposed 
in his struggle with nature. Each 
totem group was charged with the 
superintendence and control of the 
particular department of nature from 
which it took its name." (Frazer 
in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxviii, 1899, 
282). 

On this theory the relation between 
totemism and exogamy is entirely 
secondary and derivative; and the 
magical or religious aspect of totem- 
ism is more ancient than its social 
aspect. Though such a theory can- 
not be regarded as fully established 
at the present time, it certainly points 
to a much greater importance to 



totemism on the religious side than 
had ever before been assigned to it. 
Mr. Baldwin Spencer points out that 
the Arunta, Ilpirra, Narramang, 
and other Central Australian tribes 
under the influence perhaps of a more 
exacting economic environment have 
developed the religious aspect almost 
to the exclusion of the social aspect; 
for the marriage system is not regu- 
lated by totemic rules. The tribes 
of the southeastern coast have the 
social side well developed; the reli- 
gious-magical side being of com- 
paratively little importance (Fort- 
nightly Review, Ixxi, 1899, 665). 

Evidence for the existence of 
Intichiuma or similar ceremonies 
in other parts of Australia is steadily 
increasing. The Minkani rites of 
the Dieri are to be associated with the 
Arunta ceremonies (Howitt, Native 
Tribes of South-East Australia, 151 
sq., 798). Messrs. Spencer and Gillen 
are now able to report the existence 
of Intichiuma rites among the Ura- 
bunna, Kaitish, Warramunga, and 
other central tribes. The coastal 
tribes along the Gulf of Carpentaria, 
as the result of a more favorable 
economic environment, have but a 
feeble development of the Intichi- 
uma ceremonies (Northern Tribes of 
Central Australia, 23, 193 sq., 283- 
319)- 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 145 

he was painted black, and thenceforth belonged to that 
clan." * At Muralug, also, the clansmen assembled in the 
Kwod, sat on mats the property of their respective clans. 2 
At Mer, the duties of conducting the initiation rites were 
parcelled out among the three clans composing the tribe. 
The "Drum-men" provided the music, the "Friends" 
prepared the food, and the "Shark-men" were masters 
of the ceremonies. 3 It is, moreover, highly significant of 
this fundamental clan structure that in all the western 
islands of Torres Straits, the guardian of the novice at initia- 
tion is his uncle on the maternal side. 4 

In several of the islands of Torres Straits the amalgama- 
tion of the totemic clans has led to the decided preeminence 
of one clan over the others. Under such circumstances, 
probably frequent enough in the early stages of social organ- 
ization, the rites of the assimilated clan or clans will natu- 
rally be taken over and be absorbed in those of the pre- 
dominant clan. This process, true of clan ceremonies in 
general, is doubtless true of the clan initiatory ceremonies. 
A glimpse at this process is afforded by the gradual emer- 
gence at Torres Straits of tribal gods, themselves the out- 
growth of totemic conceptions. The particular totem of 
a clan has developed into a tribal deity. Here the chief 
totem of each group of kins is practically the only one recog- 
nized; the various lesser totems are in process of absorp- 
tion by two important totems. Each totem has its distinct 
shrine, and the totem, instead of being an entire species, 
is visualized in the form of a representative of an individual 
animal, and this image is spoken of as the totem. Myths 
have arisen to explain this transformation. In various 
tales it is told how a family of brothers, some of them sharks, 
as well as men, wandered from west to east across Torres 
Straits. Two of the brothers, Sigai and Maiau, went to 

1 Haddon in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 2 Haddon in Rep. Cambr. Anthrop. 

xix (1890), 410. The four clans Expedition to Torres Straits, v, 216. 
were Sam (cassowary), Umai (dog), 3 Id., Intern. Archiv f. Ethnogr., 

Kodal (crocodile), and Baidam vi (1893), 141. 

(shark) (Haddon in Rep. Cambr. * Rivers in Rep. Cambr. Anthrop. 

Anthrop. Expedition to Torres Expedition to Torres Straits, v, 147; 

Straits, v, 209). Haddon, ibid., 208-210, 215. 



146 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Yam, and here each became associated in his animal forms 
with one of the two phratries, or groups of kins, on the island. 
The shrines in the Kwod where the totem images are kept, 
are so sacred that no women may visit them, nor do the 
women know what the totems are like. They are aware 
of Sigai and Maiau, but they do not know that the former 
is the hammer-headed shark and the latter the crocodile. 
This mystery also is too sacred to be imparted to the uniniti- 
ated men. When the totems are addressed, it is always 
by their hero names and not by their animal or totem names. 
Thus in Yam, totemism is seen in its development into a 
hero cult. 1 In Murray Island this process of development 
is completed. One totem-divinity has replaced all the 
others. At the great tribal ceremonies of initiation, much 
instruction is given to the boys as to the nature of Malu, 
who though identical with the hammer-headed shark is 
now the tribal deity. 2 In much the same way, we may 
suppose, the initiatory rites of a predominant clan may 
become also the rites of a group of clans which benevolently, 
or otherwise, have been assimilated with it. 

In the Melanesian Islands where the secret societies are 
both numerous and powerful, totemism as a form of social 
grouping is clearly in a degenerate stage, and in the Solo- 
mon Islands appears to be entirely absent. 3 The growth 
of the secret societies has everywhere contributed to the 
decline of totemism, both as a social and as a religious 
institution. 4 

African totemism has never been carefully studied. Al- 
though there is good evidence for its existence over a con- 
siderable area, yet its connection with the secret societies 
has been entirely ignored. In Africa, as in Melanesia, 
the number and importance of these societies appear to 



1 Haddon in Rep. Brit. Assoc. Adv. xviii (1889), 281 sq.; Codrington, 
Sci., Ixxii (London, 1902), 749-751. Melanesians, 31 sq. Woodford, how- 
For the myth in full, see Haddon in ever, asserts its existence in Guadal- 
Rep. Cambr. Anthrop. Expedition to canar (A Naturalist among the Head- 
Torres Straits, v, 64 sq. Hunters, 40 sq.). 

2 Haddon, loc. cit. 4 Haddon, in Rep. Brit. Assoc. 

3 Banks in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Adv. Sci., Ixxii (London, 1902), 750. 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 147 

have contributed to the thorough disintegration of the earlier 



totemism. 1 



A study of the fraternities found among North American 
Indians will exhibit in the clearest fashion their aspects as 
magical and dramatic corporations and their connection 
with an underlying clan organization. The gradual develop- 
ment of clan rites into fraternity rites may be observed 
in different parts of North America, in at least three dis- 
tinct stages. Among the Indian tribes of the Northwest, 
the clan organization, while still retained, is in process of 
decay, and the peculiar secret societies found among the 
Kwakiutl and other tribes of British Columbia are coming 
into existence. 2 Among the Indians of the Central Plains, 
the totemic organization has in some measure kept its place 
alongside the secret societies, 3 but included in the latter 
are members from all the different clans. Such organiza- 
tions represent what appears to be a transitional stage 
between the societies found in the northern and southern 
portions of the continent. Among the tribes of the South- 
west, on the other hand, the totemic clans have entirely 
broken down, and in their place have arisen the numerous 
fraternities found, for example, among the Zufii and Hopi 
Indians. 

The social organization of the North Pacific tribes is 
by no means uniform. The northern tribes continue to 
reckon descent on the maternal side; the southern tribes 

1 On survivals of totemism in to the shores of Bering Straits and 
Africa, see J. G. Frazer, Totemism Kotzebue Sound, a totemic system, 
(Edinburgh, 1887), 92-93. For some previously unknown, has been re- 
recent discoveries of a well-organized cently discovered. But here, as 
totemic system among the Baganda, among the Indians to the south, it 
west of Lake Victoria Nyanza, cf. is in a decadent stage (Nelson in 
Roscoe in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxxii Eighteenth Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. 
(1902), 27 sq. Among the Bantu Ethnol., 322). 

tribes of South Africa, totemism " re- 3 The clan system is not found 

solves itself into a particular species among the Kiowa, Cheyenne, Plains 

of the worship of the dead ; the totem Sioux, the Athapascan tribes of 

animals are revered as incarnations British America, and the tribes 

of the souls of dead ancestors" of the Columbia River region, 

(Frazer in Man, i, 1901, 136). Oregon, and California (Mooney in 

2 Among the Eskimo of Alaska, Seventeenth Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. 
from Kuskokwim River northwards Ethnol., 227). 



148 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

have now established paternal descent. The Kwakiutl 
tribes of the centre appear to be in a peculiar transitional 
stage. Five of the northern tribes have animal totems; 
the latter are not found among the Kwakiutl, though this 
tribe belongs to the same linguistic stock as the Heiltsuq, 
which is totemistic. These northern tribes, moreover, are 
divided into clans which bear the names of their respective 
totems and are exogamous. 1 The Kwakiutl, divided into 
many tribes, are also subdivided into clans, each of which 
derives its origin from a mythical ancestor. The clans 
appear to have been, originally, scattered village communities 
which by combination, chiefly for purposes of defence, 
became divisions of the newly formed tribe. But each 
community retained its clan traditions and privileges founded 
upon the acquisition of a manitou, or personal guardian 
spirit, by the mythical ancestor of the clan. With each 
clan is associated a certain rank and station in the tribe, 
and the members of each clan are accorded certain privi- 
leges based on their descent from the clan ancestor. 2 These 
privileges acquired by descent, or transmitted by marriage, 
refer mainly to the use of certain crests and to the per- 
formance of certain semi-religious songs and dances. The 
ancestor of each separate clan is supposed, at a time which 
corresponds very well with the Arunta Alcheringa, to have 
acquired a manitou, or guardian spirit. The manitou so 
acquired, handed down from generation to generation of 
the clansmen, in process of time has been attenuated into 
nothing more than a totem symbol; in other words, the 
tutelary genius of the clan has degenerated into a mere 
crest. 3 So far has the crest degenerated, that it is now 
impossible to draw a sharp line between the pure crest and 
figures of masks illustrating certain incidents in the legen- 
dary history of the clan. Such crests, moreover, are now 
largely confined to particular families of the clan. The 
more general the use of the crest in the whole clan, the 

1 Boas, "The Social Organization 2 Boas, op. cit., 328 sq. 

and the Secret Societies of the Kwa- 3 Ibid., 336. 

kiutl Indians," Rep. U. S. National 
Museum for 1893, 322-323. 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 149 

remoter is the time to which the clan legends recounting the 
acquisition of the crest must be ascribed. Among the Kwa- 
kiutl the totem of the clan has become in fact the hereditary 
manitou, or guardian spirit, of a family. But in addition to 
the legends which refer to the early history of the clan, and 
embody the various beliefs in supernatural beings who 
appeared to the clan ancestors, and gave the latter the 
manitous which have now become the crests, there is another 
set of legends which relate "entirely to spirits that are still 
in constant contact with the Indians, whom they endow 
with supernatural powers. In order to gain their help the 
youth must prepare himself by fasting and washing, because 
only the pure find favor with them, while they kill the 
impure. Every young man endeavors to find a protector 
of this kind." l These spirits likewise first appeared to 
the ancestors of the clans, and the same spirits, it is believed, 
still continue to appear to the descendants of these mythical 
ancestors. The proteges of the spirits personate them in 
their dances, and wear masks which represent them. Many 
of the clan ancestors, when they acquired their manitous 
from the spirits, received other privileges, such as that of 
performing certain dances, of singing certain songs, or of 
eating human flesh. These privileges, inheritable and 
transmissible by marriage, like the possession of a crest, 
have become the basis of numerous secret societies, and the 
latter alone are in possession of them. Each individual 
who by descent or marriage is entitled to membership in 
one of the secret societies, must first be initiated by its pre- 
siding spirit before he is allowed to join and to present the 
dances and songs associated with membership in the so- 
ciety. 2 The secret societies belong, however, only to the 
nobility. There are among the Kwakiutl a certain limited 
number of noble families, descendants of the leading mem- 
bers of the earlier clans. The ancestor of each family had 
a tradition of his own aside from the general clan tradition, 
but, like the latter, the tradition was concerned usually with 
the acquisition of a manitou from the spirits. The crests 

1 Boas, op. cit., 393; cf. 371 sq. 2 Ibid., 337. 



150 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

and privileges thus secured by the ancestor of each noble 
family are transmitted to his direct descendants in the 
male line, or through the marriage of the daughter of such 
a male descendant, to his son-in-law and through the latter 
to his male grandchildren. Only one man at a time may 
personate the ancestor and enjoy his rank and privileges. 
Such men form the nobility of the tribe. 1 Each member 
of the nobility has, moreover, his special name given him 
by his hereditary spirit. During the winter ceremonials of 
the Kwakiutl, when the spirits are supposed to dwell among 
the Indians, these names come into general use; the ordi- 
nary clan structure breaks down and the Indians belonging 
to the nobility are grouped according to the spirits who 
initiated them. 2 Subdivisions of these groups, according 
to the different ceremonies or dances bestowed upon the 
individual for the initiating spirit endowed his proteges 
with varying powers constitute the secret societies. Such 
societies are naturally limited in numbers, for the members 
are the descendants of ancestors to whom particular powers 
were revealed by the spirits, and of the latter there is only 
a limited number. But such a membership will not be 
limited to one clan, for the same spirit appeared to the ances- 
tors of the various clans. 3 The gifts of the spirits are always 
related in the legends which describe the clan ancestor. 
Such gifts are usually a dance, song, and certain peculiar 
cries. The dancer is thus a protege of the spirit who has 
endowed him with the dance. This spirit is personated 
in the dance performances. 4 A man may become a mem- 
ber of any society by inheritance or by marriage, most 
frequently by the latter means. This right of membership, 
gained by inheritance or by marriage, may, however, be 
exercised only after the public adoption of a crest by the 
intending candidate. The guardian spirit with which the 
lad is supposed to have communion during his initiatory 
seclusion is always the presiding spirit of the society to which 
he seeks entrance. The object of the great winter cere- 

1 Boas, op. cit., 338. 3 Ibid., 418 sq. 

2 Ibid.. 418. 4 Ibid. t 396. 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 151 

monials is, therefore, the initiation of the young men who are 
eligible for membership in the societies. The novices go 
out in the woods and are supposed to remain with the super- 
natural being who is the guardian genius of the society. 
After a period of seclusion they come back in a state of 
ecstasy and madness. The initiated members by songs 
and dances endeavor to exorcise the spirit which is believed 
to have entered the novices and to consume them. 1 These 
Kwakiutl ceremonials, corresponding closely in their simu- 
lation of the death and resurrection of the novices to initia- 
tory rites already described, constitute, in fact, an interesting 
North American variant of the widespread puberty ordeal. 
It is of much consequence also that while the right of belong- 
ing to a secret society could be gained in this way, there 
was one restriction: "The person who is to acquire it must 
be declared worthy by the tribe assembled in council." 2 

The significance of the evidence afforded by the Kwakiutl 
societies appears then to consist, partly in its exhibition of 
the original clan structure of the tribe in process of develop- 
ment into the secret society form of organization, and, 
partly in showing how, on the basis of the revelations given 
to the novices at puberty by the spirits, secret societies 
including men of various clans may arise. Of this latter 
process, the Kwakiutl evidence is significant only for what 
may be regarded as the formative stage. For the manitou 
of the Kwakiutl lad is hereditary. "When the youth pre- 
pares to meet a guardian spirit, he does not expect to find 
any but those of his clan." 3 The secret societies, moreover, 
are small bodies consisting of all those individuals upon 
whom the same or almost the same power or secret has been 
bestowed by one of the spirits. 4 Since the members each 
derive their membership from the initiation of one of the 
ancestors of the nobility, and since these ancestors have 
only one representative at a time, it follows that a new mem- 
ber of the society can be admitted only when another one 
is dropped. 5 We have, in other words, small secret associa- 

1 Boas, op. cit., 431. 3 Boas in Rep. U. S. National 

2 Boas in Rep. Brit. Assoc. Adv. Museum for 1895, 393. 

Sci., lix (London, 1889), 830. 4 Ibid., 418. 6 Ibid., 419. 



152 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

tions very similar to those which seem in process of forma- 
tion out of the local totemic groups of the Central Australians. 
The Quabara, or dramatic performances, belonging to the 
latter, are connected, it will be remembered, usually with 
one particular member of the totemic group. He alone 
has the privilege of performing it, and only men of the par- 
ticular totem concerned may be present at the performance. 1 
This rule, already breaking down among the Arunta, has 
broken down among the Kwakiutl so far as to open mem- 
bership in the societies to others than the members of the 
original clan concerned. The process of clan consolida- 
tion has not proceeded far enough to bring about the amal- 
gamation of the numerous small societies into larger organi- 
zations. But amalgamation has begun. All the societies 
are arranged in two great groups, the "Seals" and the 
Quequtsa. Most of the subdivisions of the Quequtsa bear 
animal names, as those of the "Seals" bear the names of 
spirits. The legends relate that the Quequtsa ceremonies 
were instituted when men had still the form of animals. 
The ceremonies constitute, in fact, a dramatization of the 
clan myths, similar in essentials to the Quabara presented 
at the Engwura rites of the Arunta. As these Quequtsa 
dancers represent what were once the totemic animals of 
the clans, it follows that the dancers of the "Seals," who 
personate spirits and are thought of as superior to the Que- 
qutsa performers, 2 represent a peculiar development of 
the widespread belief among North American tribes in 
the manitou, or guardian spirit. In the fraternities of the 
Central West, we shall find another interesting phase of 
this conception. 

Among the Indian tribes of the Central West, the clan 
system is in a state of pronounced decay, and in its place 
have arisen numerous secret societies. Where the political 
structure of the clan is weakest, the secret societies are 
most powerful. Admission to these societies rests upon the 
acquisition by every boy at puberty of a personal guardian 
spirit (manitou, or "individual totem") the same as that of 
the secret society to which he claims entrance. The manitou 

1 Supra, 142. 2 Boas in Rep. U. S. National 

Museum for 1895, 419. 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 153 

is no longer inheritable and is not, as among the Kwakiutl, 
confined to the clan. In the Omaha societies, for example, 
membership "depends upon supernatural indications over 
which the individual has no control. The animal which 
appears to a man in a vision during his religious fasting 
determines to which society he must belong." l Entrance 
to the society so designated does not, however, follow im- 
mediately upon the vision; the youth must first accumulate 
enough property for the feast and for the necessary gifts to 
those already members. 2 Such societies are in this way 
made up of members from every kinship group in the tribe. 
Blood relationship is ignored, "the bond of union being 
a common right in a common vision. These brotherhoods 
gradually developed a classified membership with initiatory 
rites, rituals, and officials set apart to conduct the cere- 
monials." The vision, arising through a long ordeal of 
fasting and seclusion, has thus become, among the American 
Indians, the regular puberty ordeal. Remote from human 
habitation and under conditions of utter loneliness, of 
prolonged fasting, of intense concentration upon one idea, 
the Indian lad is thrown into that condition of spiritual 
exaltation and receptiveness which has been already 
noted as one common characteristic of puberty rites. 4 

1 Miss Fletcher in Sixteenth Ann. In Australia the conception of the 
Rep. Peabody Museum (Cambridge, "individual totem" seems to be con- 
1884), 277. fined to the medicine-man (Thomas 

2 Ibid., 282. in Man, ii, 1902, 117). Among 

3 Miss Fletcher in Ann. Re p. Smith- some Queensland tribes, however, 
sonian Institution for 1897 (Washing- there is an interesting custom which, 
ton, 1898), 582; cf. Peet in Amer. as Mr. Haddon suggests, resembles 
Antiquarian, xix (1897), 195 sq. the manitou practices of the North 

4 For further descriptions of the American Indians. In the initiation 
process whereby an Indian lad ob- ceremonies of the Yaraikanna tribe, 
tains his guardian spirit, see George after suffering the loss of a tooth, the 
Catlin, Letters and Notes on the lad is given some water in which he 
Manners, Customs, and Condition rinses his mouth, afterwards letting 
of the North American Indians the gory spittle fall gently into a leaf 
(London, 1841), i, 36-38; J. G. water-basket. "The old men care- 
Kohl, Kitchi-Gami (London, 1860), fully inspect the form assumed by 
228-242 ; Miss Fletcher in Proc. the clot, and trace some likeness to a 
Amer. Assoc. Adv. Sci., xlv (1896), natural object, plant, or stone; this 
197; Teit in Mem. Amer. Mus. Nat. will be the ari of the newly made 
Hist., ii (1900), 320 s^. man" (Head-Hunters, 193; cf. id., 



'54 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



Fraternities formed in this manner by the inclusion of 
members from all the different clans composing the tribe, 
are to be found among many of the Plains Indians. The 
Ojibwa had one great "medicine-society," the Midewiwin. 
While membership might be gained in other ways, it was 
customary for a lad who in his puberty vision had beheld 



Rep. Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Ixix, 
1899, 585). Mr. Haddon could 
find no trace of the manitou con- 
ception in either New Guinea or 
Torres Straits (F oik-Lore, xii, 1901, 
231). The " medicine" which boys 
of the Yaunde of West Africa receive 
at initiation to guard them henceforth 
against sickness and all misfortunes, 
has much the same purpose as the 
manitou or ari (Zenker in Mitth. v. 
Forschungsreisenden und Gelehrten aus 
den Deutschen Schutzgebieten, viii, 
Berlin, 1895, 53). The purpose of 
the African fetish, in fact, closely 
resembles that of the guardian spirit 
of the Indian lads. Mr. Frazer has 
given many illustrations of the 
widespread belief in "bush-souls," 
naguals, manitous, and similar con- 
ceptions (The Golden Bough, iii, 
London, 1900, 406 sq.). 

Several careful students have 
recently argued that the clan totem 
is a development of the personal 
totem or manitou; in the acquisition 
of a manitou afterwards trans- 
mitted by inheritance would be 
the origin both of the secret societies 
and of the clans. "The close sim- 
ilarity," writes Dr. Boas, of the 
Kwakiutl, "between the clan legends 
and those of the acquisition of spirits 
presiding over secret societies, as well 
as the intimate relation between these 
and the social organizations of the 
tribes, allow us to apply the same 
argument to the consideration of the 
growth of the secret societies, and 
lead us to the conclusion that 
the same psychological factor that 
moulded the clans into their present 



shape moulded the secret societies" 
(Rep. U. S. Nat. Museum for 1895, 
662). Mr. Hill-Tout has also re- 
cently adduced similar considera- 
tions based on studies of the British 
Columbia tribes (Proc. and Trans. 
Roy. Soc. Canada, second series, vii 
(1901), section ii, 3-15; ibid., ix 
(1903); section ii, 61-99). Miss 
Fletcher, from a study of the Omaha 
conditions, concludes that the in- 
fluence of the training in methods of 
social organization received in the 
secret societies "is traceable in the 
structure of the gens, where the sign 
of a vision, the totem, became the 
symbol of a bond between the people, 
augmenting the natural tie of blood 
relationship in an exogamous group" 
(Ann. Rep. Smithsonian Institution 
for 1897, Washington, 1898, 584). 
The theory here set forth agrees, 
however, with the conclusions ad- 
vanced by Mr. Hartland (Folk-Lore, 
xi, 1900, 68) and Mr. Haddon (Rep. 
Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Ixxii, 1902, 
742), who both regard the man- 
itou conception as of more modern 
date than that of the clan totem and 
as "part of the individualism which 
is tending to obscure the older com- 
munistic traditions." Just why the 
manitou conception should have so 
developed is still to be explained. 
The advantages to the individual 
of the belief in a personal guiding 
spirit are so great that perhaps this 
reason may suffice as an explanation 
of its substitution for totemism, the 
benefits of which are tribal and not 
individual (cf. Haddon in Rep. Brit. 
Assoc. Adv. Sci., Ixxii, 1902, 743). 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 155 

some powerful manido, or other object held in reverence by 
the society, to regard this as a sign that he should apply 
for membership. 1 The mythic origin of the Mita- 

wit, or Grand Medicine Lodge of Menomini Indians, throws 
light on the relationship of the society to the totemic clans. 
According to the legends, after the totem clans had united 
into an organized body for mutual benefit, they were still 
without the means of providing themselves with food, 
medicinal plants, and the power to ward off disease and 
death. When Masha Manido, the "Good Mystery" who 
had created the numerous manidos, or spirits, giving them 
the forms of animals and birds and afterwards changing 
these forms into those of men, looked down upon his people 
on the earth, and saw them afflicted with numerous diseases, 
he decided to provide them with the means of bettering 
their evil state. So Manabush y one of his companion 
"mysteries," was sent to men to teach them the various 
healing arts, and to secure this purpose, he instituted the 
great society of the Mitawit. Candidates admitted to the 
Medicine Lodge were duly instructed in this tradition of 
its origin. 2 The Omahas had the order of Thunder 

Shamans, composed of "those who have had dreams or 
visions, in which they have seen the Thunder-being, the 
Sun, the Moon, or some other superterrestrial objects or 
phenomena." 3 Other Omaha societies were those whose 
members claimed to have supernatural communications with 
buffaloes, horses, and grizzly bears. In their dances the 
actions of these animals were imitated. 4 

The fraternities of the Arizona and New Mexico Indians 
are especially interesting, not only because they exhibit in 
the clearest fashion their close relationship to the primitive 
clan structure, but also because among these Indians the 
secret orders have assumed an even more important place 
in the religious life of the tribe than among the natives of 

1 Hoffman in Seventh Ann. Rep. 3 Dorsey in Eleventh Ann. Rep. 
Bur. EthnoL, 163. Bur. Ethnol., 395. 

2 Ibid., 42-43. The Ojibwa leg- * Ibid., 497-498. For various 
end of the origin of the Midewiwin other examples, see 392 sq.; 428 sq. 
is very similar. 



156 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

the plains. The Omaha societies, according to Miss 
Fletcher, are "small private circles within the great religious 
circle of the tribe. When the annual religious festivals are 
held, all persons must take part, and as far as I have been 
able to learn, none of these religious societies at that time 
take any precedence, or as societies perform especial religious 
services." But among the Hopi, Zuni, and some other 
tribes, 2 certain fraternities have grown to a position of 
commanding importance and are intrusted with the great 
religious rites of the tribe. The settled community life of 
these Hopi and Zuni villagers has led to a most complicated 
religious ritual now embodied in the rites of the secret 
societies. 

The Hopi Indians of Arizona, forming what is known as 
the Tusayan confederacy, are descendants of once widely 
scattered clans, some of which probably came from the 
Gila Valley. As successive clans settled in the pueblos, they 
intermarried with the previous clans, this process con- 
tinuing until members of all the various clans were to be 
found in the seven pueblos. From the amalgamation of 
the various clans, fraternities have arisen, in the rites and 
ritual of which the clan origin of these organizations is 
clearly evident. The clan worship was formerly that of 
the ancestors of the clan, and this worship has survived in 
the fraternities. 3 Some preliminary evidence for this course 
of development is furnished by the kinship ideas which still 
survive in the societies. The chief of a Hopi society is 



1 Sixteenth Ann. Rep. Peabody originated in the lower world by 
Museum, 294 n. Utset, a mediatorial god who recalls 

2 In Sia, formerly an important the Minabozho of the Ojibwa. When 
Indian settlement in western New afterwards instituted on earth, the 
Mexico, there are eight secret societies societies were named for the animals, 
now rapidly falling into decay. Each cougar, bear, snake, etc., who first 
society is controlled by a particular composed them (Mrs. Stevenson in 
theurgist. Their relation to the Eleventh Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol, 
earlier clans is very obscure, but Mrs. 16 sq., 69 sq.). In the Snake Society 
Stevenson notes that most of the of the Sia, membership depends upon 
societies are named after animals. a common dream, the seeing of 
In Sia there are now eight clans; snakes (ibid., 86). 

fifteen more have become extinct. 3 Fewkes in Nineteenth Ann. Rep. 

By the tribal legend the societies were Bur. Amer. Ethnol., 1006. 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 157 

called the father, "and the members of the brotherhood 
call one another brothers and sisters." The survival in 
the fraternity rites of objects formerly associated with the 
clans provides additional confirmation. Each Hopi clan 
possesses one or more ancient objects or Wimi. These are 
held in high reverence, and like the Australian Churinga 
have valuable magical powers in the hands of the priests. 
When the clans lived apart, the worship of the Wimi was 
limited to the clans which owned them. On the union of 
the clans they came into the custody of the priests of the 
society, who were in every case the leading members of their 
respective clans. 2 In the same way, the Tiponi, or badge, 
of each religious society was originally the palladium of the 
clan. As the fraternity is made up of several clans, there 
are usually several of these objects on each altar. The 
Owakulti society of Sitcomovi pueblo has two Tiponis, 
one belonging to the chief of the Butterfly clan, and the other 
to the Pakab or Reed clan. 3 In this Owakulti festival 
butterfly symbols are prominent. Some of the chiefs who 
perform the rites are members of the Butterfly clan. The 
rites constitute an attempt by magical processes to increase 
the number of butterflies. With the latter comes summer, 
and with summer, rain for the crops. 4 Evidence of the 
most conclusive nature is afforded by the survivals of the 
original clan composition in the rites and legends of the 
societies. The complicated and elaborate Hopi ritual in 
charge of the fraternities at the present day has grown 
pari passu with the successive additions of new clans to 
the pueblos. All of the great religious festivals celebrated 
by the Hopi Indians constitute a worship of the clan ances- 



1 Powell in Seventeenth Ann. Rep. regarded as a technically trained and 

Bur. Amer. Ethnol., xxxiii; Fewkes, exclusive class seems also evident 

op. tit., 1007. Moreover, the so- from the custom of introducing boys 

called "priests" of the Snake society, in their place on the occasion of the 

for instance, seem to be simply its death of these officials (Fewkes, op. 

older members the clan elders cit., 978). 

who on the consolidation of the clans 2 Fewkes in Amer. Anthropologist, 

would naturally have the leading new series, iii (1901), 211-212. 
positions in the societies which thus 3 Ibid., 214. 

arise. That the "priests" are not * Ibid., 221-222. 



158 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

tors. One important group of these festivals is that of the 
Katcinas, who are masked men personating the ancestors. 
The present Katcina dances are modified survivals of clan 
festivals from which the secret rites have disappeared. 1 
No one Katcina society is at present limited to a particular 
clan. Some of the performances in this respect pre- 
senting close resemblance to the Australian Quabara and to 
the performances of the Kwakiutl are now worn down 
into a single public masked dance. 2 The Katcina per- 
sonations are really for the purpose of effecting a species of 
ancestor worship, the ancestors being the totemic ancients 
of the clans. Such personations are always limited to 
representations of clan relations on the mother's side. 3 
According to the Hopi conception, in the lower world where 
the ancients of the clan live, the occupations and duties of 
the inhabitants are much the same as on earth. The de- 
parted clansmen are still intimately connected with their 
survivors in the Hopi pueblos. The dead retain their 
membership in their earthly clans, 4 and still have their 
duties to perform among men. They are personated so 
that they may know the needs of their clans and may exert 
their powers to produce rain and good crops. 'You have 
become a Katcina; bring us rain/ say the relatives of the 
deceased to the dead, before they inter them." 5 Besides 



1 Fewkes in Nineteenth Ann. Rep. certain of the latter (Jour. Anthrop. 
Bur. Amer. Ethnol., 623. Inst., xxviii, 1899, 2 79)- 

2 Ibid., 630. 4 Fewkes in Jour. Amer. Folk- 

3 As Mr. Fewkes points out, Lore, xiv (1901), 83. 

Katcina worship is not that of an 5 Ibid., 82. The effect of the 

animal, plant, or other object which economic environment upon the Hopi 

has given a totem name or symbol religious beliefs and practices is 

to a clan. The totemic animal which clearly seen in these Katcina rites, 

the Hopi believes ancestral is not At present the Hopi Indians are an 

identified with any living species. agricultural people living in an arid 

The Arunta conception of the totemic country where rain is the great 

ancestors is very similar (cf. Spencer necessity. A majority of all their 

and Gillen, op. cit., 119 sq.). Among ceremonies are for rain and abundant 

the Arunta the myths invented to crops. Even the clan ancestors who 

account for the existing relationship were worshipped before the Hopi 

between a totem clan and the totem became an agricultural people, have 

animal or plant is that the ancestors been endowed with the new powers, 

of the former were transformations of The Bear, Buffalo, and Antelope 



THE CLAN CEREMONIES 159 

the Hopi conceptions of clan ancestors as Katcinas, there 
are other conceptions of masked clan gods, the worship of 
whom is the subject of some important ceremonies. These 
are not festivals in which masked men personating the 
clan ancestors are present. The worship, however, is still 
that of the ancestors. The methods of personating the 
ancestors and the symbols employed have changed, for the 
clans of which they are the festivals are different. 1 These 
great Hopi festivals known as Lalakonta, Owakuiti, Mam- 
zrauti, and the Snake Dance, like the Katcinas, are modes 
of totemic ancestor worship, "highly modified into a rain 
prayer." The Snake Dance as given at Walpi pueblo 
offers, in particular, remarkable parallels to the Katcina 
festivals. Originally the Snake Dance was a festival of 
two or more consolidated clans, the Snake and Horn. These 
clans are now represented in the personnel of celebrants 
by two fraternities of priests the Snakes and the Ante- 
lopes. In the public dance, the ancestors are personated 
by men carrying reptiles in their mouths the rattle- 
snakes being regarded as the elder brothers and as members 
of the Snake clan. 3 Walpi was originally founded by the 
Bear and Snake clans, the latter largely predominant. 
Probably, at that time all the men of the Bear-Snake clans 
participated in the great ceremony of the Snake Dance. 
Since then the coming to the pueblo of other clans, especially 
the Ala (Horn) and Lenya (Flute) clans, has caused the 
society to outgrow its clan limitations. The expanded 
society now called that of the Snakes and Antelopes, in- 
cludes members from all the clans. The head of the fra- 
ternity and a majority of the members still come, however, 
from the Snake clan. 4 



Katcinas, for instance, have become origin of the Snake Dance throws 

potent in bringing rain or in causing much light on its connection with the 

crops to grow (ibid., 92). clans. When rain and corn were 

1 Ibid., 92-93. failing, Tiyo, one of the clansmen, 

2 Ibid., 93. left his home to find a people who 

3 Ibid., 93. knew the prayers, rites, and songs by 

4 Id., Nineteenth Ann. Rep. Bur. which these much-needed blessings 
Amer. Ethnol., 590, 624, 1007. The could be obtained. His search was 
legend which is told to explain the successful. After a time he returned 



CHAPTER X 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 



IN presenting the evidence for an original clan structure 
underlying the secret associations of most primitive peoples, 
we are supplied, also, with the key to the interpretation of 
those practices, half-magical, half-religious and dramatic, 
which are almost invariably connected with them. The 
primitive clan rites, as these are most clearly exhibited among 
the Australian natives, reveal, as we have seen, two char- 
acteristic features. The Arunta totem groups are employed 



to Walpi, bringing with him a wife 
he had married among his new-found 
friends. The children of his bride 
were snakes, like those of her family 
(the Snake clan). From their parents 
they inherited the prayers and songs 
that bring rain and corn. These 
children were the ancestors of the 
present Snake people. So every 
year, the Snake people who have been 
initiated into the Snake fraternity, 
assemble together, and gathering the 
snakes from the fields, dance with 
them, and personate their mother, 
the corn maiden. Thus the Snake 
Dance "is simply the revival of the 
worship of the Snake people as 
legends declare it to have been prac- 
tised when Tiyo was initiated into 
its mysteries in the world which he 
visited " (Fewkes in Sixteenth Ann. 
Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethnol, 304). "We 
need only look to the clan relation of 
the majority of priests in the cele- 
bration to show its intimate connec- 
tion with the Snake clan, for the 
Snake chief, the Antelope chief, and 



all the adult men of the Snake family 
participate in it. The reverence 
with which the ancestor, and par- 
ticularly the ancestress, of the Snake 
clan, viz. Tcuamana, is regarded, 
and the personation of these beings 
in Kiva rites certainly gives strong 
support to a theory of totemistic 
ancestor worship" {Nineteenth Ann. 
Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethnol., 965; 
cf. Sixteenth Ann. Rep., 304-305). 
But like the Katcina worship, the 
Snake Dance is a highly modified 
form of ancestor worship; the rattle- 
snakes introduced in the rites are 
clan totems whose worship is a wor- 
ship of the clan ancestors. As such 
they are intercessors between man 
and the rain gods. If the "proper 
ceremonies with them are performed 
in prescribed sequence and in tra- 
ditional ways, the rains must come, 
because they came in the ancient 
times in the house of the Snake maid. 
The idea of magic permeates the 
whole ceremony" (Nineteenth Ann. 
Rep., 1008). 



160 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 161 

at the Engwura, for the presentation of certain dramatic 
performances called Quabara. The Quabara, though 
closely associated with particular totems, are already in 
process of partition among other totems, a process which, 
if continued, would result in the presentation of these 
performances by the secret societies composed of individ- 
uals from several or many totem groups. Moreover, 
the totem groups, among the Arunta, are magical corpora- 
tions, whose members work magic for the increase of the 
totem with which they are connected. Similar magical, 
religious, and dramatic rites are associated with the secret 
societies of many other primitive peoples. Obscured as 
they have been, among the Melanesians and Africans by 
the temporary emergence of political and judicial functions, 
and hidden, as they must always have remained, from the 
gaze of the uninitiated, they nevertheless form the central 
feature of these organizations. Among the North American 
tribes where the fraternities exercise few functions of social 
control, such associations appear in the clear light as cor- 
porations of magic-working priests. 

Dramatic and magical ceremonies connected with the 
secret societies have been observed in New Guinea and 
Torres Straits. Among the Toaripi tribes of British New 
Guinea, the maskers appear to be in the service of Kaeva- 
kuku. The first-fruits of the harvest belong to Kaevakuku, 1 
and in honor of the goddess, there are great festivals cele- 
brated in secret by the men who compose the organization. 2 
In some of the islands of Torres Straits elaborate 
dramatic ceremonies formerly existed. At Pulu the Kwod, 
or men's house, was the scene of an important funeral 
ceremony or death dance called the tat. This was an 
annual rite in honor of tribesmen recently deceased. No 
woman or uninitiated man was allowed to witness it. 3 
The chief of the tai was a culture-hero called Waiat, who 
according to the folk-tales came from Daudai (British New 

1 Chalmers and Gill, Work and 3 Haddon in Rep. Cambr. An- 
Adventure in New Guinea, 152. throp. Expedition to Torres Straits, 

2 Chalmers, Pioneering in New v, 252. 
Guinea, 49 sq., 72 sq. 



1 62 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Guinea). 1 He was represented by a wooden figure of a man 
without eyes or ears. The kernge, or novices, were not 
allowed to see this representation as it stood in the square 
house in the Kwod, for " Waiat belonged solely to the elder 
men." The chief performers, their heads covered with 
leafy masks, represented the ghosts of the recently deceased 
tribesmen. 3 The tai presents the elements of an organized 
dramatic entertainment in which the performers appeared 
in regular order and imitated the characteristic gait and 
actions of the deceased. The underlying idea of the cere- 
mony was to convey to the mourners assurance that the 
ghost personated by the dancer visited his friends. The 
women who did not know the identity of the dancers be- 
lieved them to be really ghosts. 4 Various magical cere- 
monies were also practised by the Torres Islanders. At 
Mabuiag the Dangal clan had a magical ceremony per- 
formed in the Kwod for the purpose of compelling the 
dugong to come towards the island and be caught. 5 At 
Mabuiag, also, it was customary to hand over the first turtle 
caught during the turtle-breeding season to the Surlal clan, 
who performed a ceremony over it in their own Kwod. 
The rite was intended "'to make him (that is, all the turtle) 
proper fast/" i.e. copulate and thus insure a good turtle 
season. While there was no attempt at secrecy during the 
performance, it is noteworthy that no women or children or 
members of other clans were present. The clansmen wore 
a cassowary-feather head-dress and danced round the turtle 
whirling bull-roarers. 6 

The Melanesian evidence, though scanty, is sufficient 
to bring the secret societies in this region in line with those 
of other parts of the world. Here, as elsewhere, the decline 
of the important social functions connected with the socie- 
ties results in the recrudescence of their magical and dramatic 
characteristics. The performances of the Dukduk of the 

1 Rep. Cambr. Anthrop. Expedition 5 Ibid.,v, 182 ; Haddon in Rep. Brit, 
to Torres Straits, v, 54. Assoc. Adv. Sci., kxii (1902), 749. 

2 Ibid., v, 253 n. 6 Haddon and Rivers in Rep. 

3 Ibid., v, 253. Cambr. Anthrop. Expedition to Torres 

4 Ibid., v, 255-256. Straits, v, 183-184. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 163 

Bismarck Archipelago are supposed to possess some medical 
efficacy. When a chief or some other person of importance 
is ill, Dukduk ceremonies lasting about a week are per- 
formed. The Einetbj a great Dukduk feast which takes 
place at stated periods in the lodge of the society, appears 
to be connected with the propitiation of evil spirits. 1 In 
some parts of the Bismarck Archipelago the Dukduk is 
much less powerful than elsewhere, a fact which accounts 
for the variation in the different descriptions which have 
been given of it. In New Pomerania it is far less of a " law- 
god" society than in New Hanover. In the former island 
it now figures chiefly as a dramatic organization. Though 
its secrecy is still observed, the women do not scruple in 
private to make fun of the performances. The members 
give dramatic representations in which two masked figures, 
the Dukduk and Tubuvan, his wife, are the leading actors. 2 
The preparation of the costumes occupies many days. 
When all is finished, the Dukduk and Tubuvan travel from 
village to village and perform before their appreciative 
native audiences. 3 Some of the festivals occupy an entire 
month. As in the case of the Areoi society of Tahiti 4 
there seems a growing tendency for the members of 
the upper orders of the Dukduk to reserve themselves 
from the more common and public entertainments asso- 
ciated with the inferior degrees. 5 Florida soci- 
eties have charge of periodical sacrifices and feasts con- 
nected with vegetation cults. Ceremonies devoted to the 
propitiation of the various Tindalos, who preside over 
vegetation, are given "to inaugurate the time of eating the 
first-fruits of certain trees. " 6 Some of the Banks 



1 Graf v. Pfeil in Jour. Anthrop. tahol the female spirit (Parkinson in 
Inst., xxvii (1897), 186 sq.; Hubner Abhandl. u. Berichte d. Kgl. Zoolog. 
in Die Ethnographisch-Anthropolo- u. Anthrop. -Ethnogr. Museums zu 
gische Abtheilung des Museum Godef- Dresden, vii, 1899, no. 6, n). 
froy in Hamburg (Hamburg, 1881), 3 Parkinson, Im Bismarck-Archi- 

17-18. pel, 134. 

2 An obvious parallel is afforded in * Infra, 166. 
North Bougainville where the tribal 6 Parkinson, loc. cit. 

society is associated with two spirits, 8 Penny, Ten Years in Mel- 

Ruk a tzon being the male and Ruk a anesia, 69. 



164 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Islands societies are now mere dramatic organizations. 
Their members appear in the villages at frequent intervals, 
to dance and exhibit their masks and costumes. The Qat 
is the great dancing society common throughout these 
islands. Neophytes are instructed in a very difficult dance 
requiring months of practice for acquisition. 1 The Qetu 
and Welu of the New Hebrides still survive as dramatic 
societies. The "mysteries" concern only the construction 
of the Qetu figures and the manner of the Qetu dance. 2 
The Nanga enclosure, where the Fijian initiatory rites 
were held, served also as a temple for sacred rites. 
There dwelt the ancestors of the tribe, and in their honor 
every year solemn feasts were held, and the first-fruits of 
the yam harvest were presented to them. No man might 
taste of the new yams until this presentation had been 
made. 3 

In the Areoi, a society which though best known at Tahiti, 
seems to have extended throughout the Polynesian area 
as far as Hawaii, it is possible to disclose the existence of 
a magical fraternity possessing great interest and impor- 
tance. Much that is perplexing and apparently contra- 
dictory in the various accounts of this organization becomes 
capable of explanation on the theory of its development 
from a secret society of the Melanesian model. To the 
early missionaries and mariners the Areoi appeared only as 
a diabolical mystery in the rites of which the worst abomi- 
nations were practised. The men and women who were 
members lived in a condition of the most complete promis- 
cuity, the horror of which was increased by the infanticide 
practised. Those who were admitted to the society must 
first kill all their children. The unfortunate issue of sub- 
sequent alliances must never be suffered to live. The 
performances themselves were of the most indecent and 
corrupting character. But there seems no doubt but that 
this dark picture fails to represent the real nature of the 
society. The evil customs were much exaggerated, and, 



1 Codrington, Melanesians, 83 sq. 3 Fison in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. 

2 Ibid., 91. xiv (1884), 27. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 165 

confined as they were to the lowest ranks of the society, 
appear to have been not more reprehensible than those of 
Polynesian peoples in general. Infanticide itself was a 
common practice throughout these islands. The propor- 
tion of women members to men, moreover, was much less 
considerable than has been supposed. At any rate there 
is no doubt of the high estimation in which members of 
the Areoi were regarded by the inhabitants of these islands. 1 
Its great antiquity seems evident, not only in the mysteri- 
ous regard accorded to its members as being themselves 
the very representatives of the gods on earth, but also in 
the legend of its foundation by Oro, one of the principal 
Polynesian divinities. 2 The natives regarded the society 
as coeval with the creation of man. To be an Areoi was 
an honor greatly prized. Those who held the higher grades 
enjoyed all the privileges of both priests and warriors, while 
on earth. After death they were accorded the most exalted 
seats in the sensual Tahitian heaven. As in the Melane- 
sian societies, the membership included both the living and 
the dead, for once an Areoi always an Areoi. 3 Before a 
candidate could be received for membership, he must first 
have given evidence of being inspired by the gods. Pre- 
vious to initiation he remained for months and even years 
on probation. His stay in the lowest grades was prolonged 
until he had mastered the songs and dances, and the dra- 
matic representations. His reception into the sacred ranks 
was always made the occasion of a great festival at which 
he received a new name. 4 There were twelve superior 
lodges, presided over by the chiefs or grandmasters of the 
society. Six of these lodges were at Tahiti and the remain- 
ing six in adjoining islands. 5 In each lodge there were 
a number of grades to which initiates could attain. To 

1 Cf. Forster, A Voyage round the 3 Cf. the privileges in the next 
World, ii, 130. world reserved for a member of the 

2 The legend is given with some Melanesian Suqe, Codrington, op. 
variant details by our two chief cit., 112. 

authorities, Ellis, Polynesian Re- * Moerenhout, op. cit., i, 493-494; 

searches, i, 183-185 ; A and Moeren- Ellis, op. cit., i. 190. 

hout, Voyages aux Iks du Grand 6 Moerenhout, op. cit., i, 489-490. 
Ocean, i, 485-489. 



166 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

pass through these different degrees and thus to rise in 
dignity and honor, did not depend upon the social class 
of the aspirant; it was rather determined by the length of 
his membership in the lower degrees, and upon his personal 
qualities as poet, orator, or singer. The only exception 
to this democratic feature was the admission of the leading 
chiefs to the upper grades without the necessity of their 
passing through the lower. These different degrees, seven 
or nine in number, had their distinctive marks indicated 
by tattooing and painting. The two lowest degrees meant 
"youths training up." l The cost of entrance to the lowest 
degree was excessive. As the higher degrees were reached 
the expense became so great that as a rule only the chiefs 
and the wealthier men of the community could afford to 
pass through them. 2 The ridiculous and frivolous prac- 
tices associated with the organization, as well as the immoral 
exhibitions which were held, seem to have been confined 
to the lower grades. The higher grades alone were in pos- 
session of the innermost secrets and of the religious worship 
which was a part of them. 3 As a dramatic and magical 
organization, the Areoi celebrated the mysteries of Oro, its 
divine founder and protector. As bards and skalds the 
members chanted in their hymns the life and actions of the 
gods and the wonders of creation. Every December the 
first-fruits of the harvest were offered to Oro in a great festi- 
val held at Tahiti. This festival was paralleled by those 
held in the Marquesas Islands, every October, to celebrate 
the return of Mahoui, the Sun, to the world; "fetes toutes 
etablies pour celebrer le retour du dieu qui ramene la fer- 
tilite el Tabondance." These festivals and feasts lasting 
until April or May of each year were held in the Marais, 
or men's houses. At them "toutes les populations, meme 
les plus sauvages, suspendaient souvent leurs eternelles 
hostilites." 5 Some of the dramatic representations were 

1 Moerenhout, op. cit., i, 490-491; 4 Moerenhout, op. cit., i, 502. 
Ellis, op. cit., i, 188-189. 5 Ibid., i, 502-503. An error of a 

2 Moerenhout, op. cit., i, 491. single word or verse in the dramatic 

3 Lesson, Voyage autour du Monde, recitations of the Areoi would suspend 
i, 421. the fetes. Hence arose the necessity 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 167 

regularly constructed and could be repeated with but little 
variation, as the actors travelled from island to island. A 
company on landing would present at the Marai a pig as 
a thank-offering. But this gift also served as a hint that 
they expected food and accommodation. In most of the 
islands spacious houses were provided for this purpose. 
In this manner, members of the associations obtained an 
easy livelihood. The Areois, like initiates of Dukduk or 
Egbo, enjoyed many privileges and existed chiefly on the 
contributions exacted from a superstitious people, making 
a profit "de la terreur qu'ils inspiraient pour exercer les 
plus indignes exactions." 1 

This evidence yielded by a study of the Areoi organization 
and rites for its likeness to secret societies in other parts of 
the world, is strengthened by additional considerations of 
an external character. The early voyagers often described 
the imposing Marais, or Maraes, as the temples of the people. 
They served as places of sepulture for important members 
of the community. On their altars human sacrifices were 
offered. These altars were always placed in some retired 
spot in the heart of gloomy woods. The ceremonies con- 
nected with the Marais took place at the approach of twi- 
light ; and only the initiated had the right of practising the 
mysteries. The sanctity of the Marais on such occasions was 
preserved by the imposition of the death penalty for intrusion. 
During funeral ceremonies all the uninitiated inhabitants 
were obliged to keep to their houses, or at least to remain 

of a most rigorous apprenticeship ; that the unlucky performer was often 
a perfect knowledge of the songs and killed by the old men who directed 
traditions was essential before a the ceremonies (Codrington, Mel- 
novice could participate in the rep- anesians, 86 sq.}. In the dances of 
resentations. This knowledge was the Kwakiutl societies, no greater 
publicly tested by masters of the art misfortune could occur than an 
(Moerenhout, op. cit., i, 501) before error in the recitation, or an unlucky 
candidates were admitted to the slip in the dance. Such a mischance 
society. In the Qat, the great meant that the ill-will of the directing 
dancing society throughout the Banks spirits had been used against the 
Islands, neophytes learn a very dif- members concerned (Boas, op. cit., 
ficult dance, requiring several months 433-434). 

of practice before a performance can * Lutteroth, O-Taiti, 15 ; cf. 

be given. In former times an error Ellis, op. cit., i, 186-188. 
in the dance was considered so serious 



i68 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

at a considerable distance from the place where the priests 
were making their prayers. One of the principal celebrants 
was dressed in the parai, "vetement mortuaire," consisting 
in part of a huge mask hiding the head. The appearance 
of the priest dressed in the parai was the signal for all the 
uninitiated to take flight. So extreme was the dread and 
veneration of the people for these Marais, and for the mys- 
terious rites connected with them, that, long after the intro- 
duction of Christianity, the structures were carefully avoided. 
Lesson, with only the greatest difficulty, could induce his 
guides to show him one. 1 Now we know, that at least in 
some cases, the Marais were occupied by the Areois. Of 
one of these structures visited by Mr. Tyerman, an early 
missionary, we are told: "This building is famous for 
having been the rendezvous of the Areois. Here they 
celebrated their horrid excesses. . . ." Baron von Hugel, 
discussing the Nanga enclosures of the Fijians, which served 
as a lodge or temple of the tribal secret association, notes 
their likeness to the Polynesian Marais. 3 This parallel 
is strengthened by the fact that the Marais, like secret 
lodges elsewhere, were both religious and social institutions. 
They served as gathering places for the important men of 
the community. A man's social position depended on his 
having a stone to sit upon within the Marai enclosure. 
Membership in the Marai was evidence of rank and owner- 
ship of property. 4 Women were always excluded from them. 5 
Some remarkable parallels of the Areoi institution were 



1 Lesson, op. cit., 404 sq.; cf. came to visit the Ariki, they lodged 
Keeler in Out West, xix (1903), 635, in a seven-roomed house on the side 
643-644. of the road. This house was called 

2 Montgomery, Journal of Voy- Are-kariei, or house of amusement, 
ages and Travels by the Rev. Daniel kariei being the Rarotonga equiva- 
Tyerman and George Bennet, Esq., i, lent of the Tahitian Areoi and the 
113. At Rarotonga the principal Marquesan Kaioi (Smith in Jour. 
Marai was the place where the ruling Polynesian Soc., xii, 1903, 218-219). 
chiefs of the Makea clan often dwelt 3 Intern. Archiv f. Ethnogr., ii 
and where sacrifices to the gods and (1889), 256. 

the Takwura, or annual feast of the * Memoirs of Ariitaimai (Paris, 

first-fruits, were held. Here also the 1900), 15 sq. 
Ariki, or high priest, had his home. 6 Moerenhout, op. cit., i, 469. 

When warrior chiefs of the island 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 169 

formerly to be observed in the Caroline and Marianne 
islands. When the first Catholic missionaries arrived at 
the Mariannes, they found in the Uritoi society the greatest 
hindrance to the progress of Christianity. The Uritois, 
says Father Le Gobien, are the young men who live with 
their mistresses without desiring to engage themselves in 
the bonds of marriage. Of their public houses, in every 
neighborhood, he piously remarks: "Le Demon a etabli 
icy des Seminaires de debauche." 1 Freycinet, who met 
the Uritois in Guam, describes the purpose of the societies 
as "un epicurisme grossier." The members had a mysteri- 
ous language which was used principally for amorous songs. 2 
Before marriage the greatest license prevailed between 
the sexes; girls who entered the "maisons des celibataires" 
suffered no disgrace ; parents would even urge their children 
to enter them. 3 This Uritoi society of the old Chamorros 
of the Mariannes, seems, in fact, to have been the Areoi 
under another name and in a somewhat less developed 
stage. The most primitive form is still to be found in the 
Pelew Islands in the curious Kaldebekel institution. Kalde- 
bekels are really clubs formed by the young men. Their 
place of resort is the Bai, or sleeping-house of the men. 
In his parents' house a youth is only a guest; at night he 
must sleep in the Bai, not only because he is a member of 
a Kaldebekel club, but because it is the custom of the young 
men to be absent during the night from the home of their 
parents. 4 Each Kaldebekel has its own Bai. In these 
there are usually one or more Armengols, unmarried girls, 
who are often the temporary property of the young men. 5 
In the Carolines the same custom prevails. At Wap or Yap 

1 Histoire des lies Marianes, 61- Pelew group. Some of the clubs 
62. have no women in them at all, and 

2 Voyage autour du Monde, ii, many have only one. Kubary notes, 
369-370. in passing, the likeness of these Bais 

3 Ibid., 369. to the Polynesian Marais, op. cit., 

4 Kubary, Ethnographische Beit- 64; see also on the Bai, Bridge in 
rage zur Kenntniss der Karolinischen Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc., new series, 
Inselgruppe und Nachbarschaft, i, viii (1886), 559; George Keate, An 
34 sq., 62. Account of the Pelew Islands (Dublin, 

6 Ibid., 91. This custom seems 1788), 309. 
now to be falling into decay in the 



1 70 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Island, one of the Western Carolines, the girls are called 
mespil, and their business is "to minister to the pleasures 
of the men of the particular clan or brotherhood to which 
the building belongs." Such institutions have been also 
found at Kusaie or Ualua, one of the Eastern Carolines, 2 
and at Ponape, the most important of the Caroline group. 
Here all chiefs belong, ex officio; others are admitted 
after a long novitiate and the passing of various ordeals. 
The societies thus formed are divided into grades and hold 
secret meetings. 3 

In New Zealand, the ancient Maori institution of the 
Wbare Kura, was a priestly society, which, so far as our 
information extends, presents some striking likenesses to 
the Areoi and similar fraternities. The Maori religion 
"was essentially of an esoteric nature. The strange powers 
held by the old time tohunga, or priest ... as also the 
knowledge of the sacred genealogies ... all these and 
many other matters, profoundly sacred to the Maori, were 
known but to a select few of the tribe, were jealously guarded 
and taught but to a few carefully selected neophytes of 
each generation, in a special house set apart for such sacred 
matters, during which period the novitiates were under 
strict laws of tapu and were not allowed to return to their 
homes or visit friends." The knowledge imparted con- 
sisted mainly of the popular mythology and traditions. 
Novices were also taught to be skilful workers in magic 
and sleight-of-hand. Nor was ventriloquism so useful 
an adjunct to the shaman's art neglected. Following the 
instruction came a public exhibition at which the candi- 
dates for the priesthood displayed their powers. Such 
details as well as many others the admittance by a form 
of baptism, the long novitiate lasting through the autumns 
and winters of five years, the seclusion in a special house 



1 Christian, Caroline Islands, Deutsches Kolonialblatt, xi (1900) 

290. 417; Christian in Geogr. Jour., xiii 

' Meinicke, Die Inseln des StUlen (1899), 129; Finsch, Sudsee-Erin- 

Occans, ii, 371-372, 381-382. nerungen, 26. 

3 Ibid., 381. See also on this 4 Best in Jour. Polynesian Soc., 

institution in the Carolines, Senfft in ix (1900), 176. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 171 

which could not be entered by women indicate that in 
aristocratic New Zealand the primitive puberty rites had 
come under the direction of a priestly class. 1 

In Africa, various magical practices are associated with 
a number of the secret societies, though, as already explained, 
the assumption by the latter of important judicial and 
political duties, has tended to obscure the other aspects of 
the organization. Nkimba rites, among the natives of 
the Lower Congo, according to one account, are instituted 
when "the elders of a village consider that the women are 
not bearing the usual proportion of children. . . ." 
Members of Idiong of Old Calabar are rain-makers. 3 The 
Dou, a secret society of the Bobo, has similar functions. 
One of their masked processions, which takes place during 
the night and usually at the beginning of the rainy season, 
has the object "of putting to flight the evil spirits at the 
time of cultivation, or rather, of bringing on the rain." 

Some of the West African societies confine themselves 
exclusively to magical practices and represent a con- 
siderable degree of specialization. Kufong, a Mende 
organization, busies itself with the making of charms and 
the practice of sorcery. 5 Of such "mystical" societies, 
Miss Kingsley remarks that most of their mysticism "con- 
sists in the concoction of charms that will make a house- 
holder sleep through a smart burglary on his premises, and 
in making people whom members wish removed go and 
kill themselves." 6 Nkimba novices learn the botany of 
various plants so as to be able to make charms and spells. 7 
Gojambul prepares and sells native remedies for disease, 
some of them possessing real value. 8 

1 On the Whare Kura, see Dief- Guinee, i, 379. For other typical 
fenbach, Travels in New Zealand examples, cf. Crowther and Taylor, 
(London, 1843), ii, 1 19 ; John White, The Gospel on the Banks of the Niger, 
The Ancient History of the Maori 215. 

(Wellington, 1887), i, 15 ; Reeves, 6 Miss Kingsley, West African 

The Long White Cloud, 68 sq. Studies, 138. 

2 Ward in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., Ibid., 453. 

xxiv (1895), 288. 7 Bentley, Pioneering on the Congo, 

3 Marriott, ibid., xxix (1899), 23. i, 283. 

4 Binger, Du Niger au Golfe de * Miss Kingsley, he. cit. Per- 



172 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

In proportion as the secret societies are compelled to 
abandon their social functions, which too often degenerate 
into a means for wholesale intimidation and robbery, the 
dramatic ceremonies associated with such organizations 
often survive the downfall of their other privileges. This 
phase, found in the Melanesian dancing societies 1 and to 
some extent in the Polynesian Areoi, is repeated in West 
Africa. Here the secrecy of the orders in many cases is 
of the thinnest sort. Their main purpose appears to be 
by their crude dramatic representations to provide a little 
amusement for an unbelieving populace. The secret so- 
ciety has become a theatrical troupe. The Simo of French 
Guinea affords an illustration of the degeneration of a 
tribal society from an originally powerful organization 
devoted to the interests of the people, through an inter- 
mediate stage of brigandage and rapine, into a mere band 
of dancers and actors deprived of all importance and pres- 
tige. 2 The power of the organization was broken by its 
futile resistance to the French colonists, and now its mem- 
bers "ne puisent plus leur raison d'etre que dans les fetes 
que donnent les villages qui en possedent encore, fetes ou 
ils figurent comme danseurs, acrobates, prestidigitateurs." 
The Kuhkwi of French Congo is now neither secret nor 
sacred like the Nda and Njembe. A masked man on 
stilts, surrounded by young men singing and clapping their 
hands, parades through the village and causes great mer- 
riment by his demonstrations towards the women. 4 Tasi 
of the Igalwas and Mpongwe shows a similar degen- 
eration. 5 Egungun, a powerful "devil" among 
the Yoruba peoples, was brought to Sierra Leone with 
the slaves taken from slave-ships captured by British cruis- 
ers. He still performs his antics in Freetown among the 

haps the specialization of function 2 Leprince in Revue Scientifique, 

here exhibited has grown out of the fourth series, xiii (1900), 399-401. 
custom of imparting to the boys at 3 Ibid., 401. 

initiation some knowledge of the 4 Wilson, Western Africa, 397- 

medicinal use of herbs and leaves. 398. 

For the Purrah custom, cf. Alldridge, 5 Miss Kingsley, Travels in West 

The Sherbro and its Hinterland, 125. Africa, 535. 
1 Supra, 164. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 



'73 



Christian descendants of these negroes. "Spectators soon 
gather round him, and though, if asked, they will tell you 
that it is only ' play/ many of them are half-doubtful, and 
whenever the Egungun makes a rush forward the crowd 
flees before him to escape his touch." l 

In some parts of Africa, and particularly in the Congo 
region, the development of fetishism and of a class of fetish- 
doctors has resulted in transferring the initiation ceremonies 
to these officials. Under their supervision the boys are 
secluded in the forest, where they are circumcised and are 
given the usual course of instruction. Sometimes one 
fetish-doctor is in charge; more frequently there are a 
number of fetish-doctors who, with their assistants, form 
an organization of their own. 2 In the Nkimba, an institu- 



1 Ellis, Yoruba-S 'peaking Peoples, 
109. See also Lady Stirling-Max- 
well, editor, A Residence at Sierra 
Leone (London, 1849), 267. 

For further illustrations of African 
masked dances and dramatic per- 
formances, see Foa, La Tr aver see de 
I'Afrique, 42; Holub, Seven Years 
in South Africa, ii, 172; Rohlfs, 
Quer durch Afrika, i, 175-176; 
R. A. Freeman, Travels and Life 
in Ashanti and Jaman, 148 sq.; 
Clapperton, Journal of a Second 
Expedition into the Interior of Africa 
(London, 1829), 53 sq.; Autenrieth, 
Ins Inner-Hochland von Kamerun, 
32, 36-37; Degrandpre, Voyage a la 
cdte occidental d'Afrique (Paris, 
1801), i, 117-119. 

2 On the connection of the fetish 
system with initiation in Ambamda 
and Bamba, cf. Bastian, Ein Besuch 
in San Salvador, 82 sq. The medi- 
cine-man, fetish -doctor, or shaman 
of the African tribes has by no means 
the same functions in all parts of the 
continent. He often combines, ap- 
parently, the duties of healer, diviner, 
actor, magician, judge, and priest. 
Where the secret societies are in de- 
cay, the fetish-doctor assumes many 
of their functions. Among Masongo 



tribes of northern Angola, a 
M'Quichi is the combination of 
charm-doctor and beggar who pre- 
sides over the seclusion and cir- 
cumcision of the boys (Schiitt, 
Reisen im Sudwestlichen Becken des 
Congo, 106). To Capello and Ivens 
the M'Quichi is a fetish -man who, 
in addition to practising magic and 
performing masked dances, "ex- 
ercises utilitarian functions, such, for 
instance, as the castigating mis- 
demeanants, the punishing shameless 
women, and the accusing criminals " 
(From Benguella to tfte Territory of 
Yacca, i, 296). Yassi, among the 
Ogowe tribes of the French Congo, 
is a great witch-doctor and a most 
important functionary for ferreting 
out criminals. Without his mask, 
Yassi is no more than any other man. 
"His garb transforms him into a 
monster having the power of mbuiri, 
or mystery, but he is not in any sense 
divine or supreme, and the people 
feel no sentiment of reverence or 
devotion to him " (Garner, in sep- 
arate reprint from the Journal of 
the African Society for 1902, 378). 
Among the Rio Nunez tribes of 
southwestern Soudan, the fetish- 
man, besides initiating the boys, acts 



174 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

tion which has a wide range among the Lower Congo tribes, 
initiatory rites are in charge of the Nganga, or fetish-man, 
who lives with his assistants in an enclosure near each 
village. The candidate for this order, having previously 
imbibed a sleeping potion, swoons in some public assemblage 
and is at once surrounded by the Nganga and his assistants, 
who take him to the enclosure. It is given out that he is 
dead and has gone to the spirit-world, whence by the power 
of the great Nganga he will subsequently be restored to 
life. The novice remains with the Nganga for a prolonged 
period, sometimes for several years, learning a new language, 
probably an archaic Bantu, and receiving instruction in 
the mysteries of the order. "No woman is allowed to look 
on the face of one of the Nktmba, who daily parade through 
the woods or through the surrounding country singing a 
strange, weird song to warn the uninitiated of their ap- 
proach." When brought back to the village and intro- 
duced by his new name, he "affects to treat everything with 
surprise as one come to a new life from another world; to 
recognize no one, not even his father or mother, while his 
relatives receive him as raised from the dead ; and for several 
days the newcomer is permitted to take anything he fancies 
in the village, and is treated with every kindness until it 
is supposed that he has become accustomed to his sur- 
roundings. . . ." He then decides whether he will become 
a fetish-man or return to his ordinary life. Ndembo 

or Nktta, of the Upper Congo tribes, closely resembles 
Nkimba, but has long since passed out of the stage of a 
purely puberty organization. A tribal society, coming 
under the complete control of the fetish-man, has here been 
opened to candidates of both sexes and of all ages. The 

as a magistrate in cases of suspected Zeits. f. Ethnol., viii (1876), 207; 

witchcraft, prepares ordeals, and Serpa Pinto, How I Crossed Africa, i, 

serves in general as a minister of 238; Bastian, Ein Besuch in San 

justice (Caillie, Journal d'un Voy- Salvador, 82 sq.,' H. v. Wissmann, 

age a Temboctou et a Jenne, i, 231 Unter deutscher Flagge quer durch 

sq.} ; for further examples, see Binger, Afrika von West nach Ost, 380. 
Du 



Niger au Golfe de Guinee, i, 106; * Glave, Six Years of Adventure 

rd, Five Years with the Congo 
Cannibals, 38 sq.; Guessfeldt in 



Ward, Five Years with the Congo in Congo-Land, So. 

2 Ibid., Si. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 175 

fetish-man instructs the novices to feign death at a sign 
from him; the seizure takes place, usually in public, and 
the novices are then covered with a funeral cloth and taken 
away to the vela, or isolated enclosure. Sometimes this 
feigning of sudden death approaches a form of hysteria, and 
the witch-doctor finds himself with a large number of can- 
didates for initiation. After the initiates return to the 
village, they are for a long time strangers to their surround- 
ings and " act like lunatics, until the excitement and interest 
of the deception wears away." * They are now Nganga, or 
the " knowing ones," a general term in the Congo tongues for 
a doctor, diviner, learned man, or priest. All the uninitiated 
are Vanga, the " unenlightened." 2 

From such practices as the Nkimba and the Ndembo 
illustrate, it is an easy step to the conversion of the puberty 
institution into a seminary for the training of the fetish- 
doctors or shamans. Such a step seems to have been taken 
among the Kaffirs, where the Isintonga, or fetish-doctors, 
who are supposed to have intimate relations with the I mi- 
sholugUy or spirits of the dead, form a special caste, the secrets 
of which are revealed only to those who undergo a long 
initiation. The candidates must first exhibit by their 
possession of hallucinations the unmistakable influence 
of the Imisholugu, after which their initiation by the usual 
secret rites occurs. 3 In process of time such organizations 
may develop into a technically trained priesthood. En- 
trance to the fraternity is then gained only after a prolonged 
novitiate, and the performance of rites closely modelled 
upon those that prevailed in the earlier tribal initiations. 
The associated shamans rise to the dignity of priests. The 
priesthood stage will naturally not be reached until per- 
manent chieftainships or kingships have been established. 
The Polynesian Whare Kura affords a pertinent illustration 
of this development, 4 nor are examples wanting in the few 

1 Bentley, Dictionary and Gram- id., Dictionary and Grammar of the 
mar of the Kongo Language, 506. Kongo Language, 371, 506. 

3 Id., Pioneering on the Congo, * Fritsch, Die Eingeborenen Sud- 

i, 287; id., Life on the Congo, 78 sq.; Afrika's, 98 sq. 

4 Supra, 170-171. 



176 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

African instances where aristocratic-despotic conditions 
have been reached. In the Ogboni of the Yoruba tribes, 
the tribal society is seen in its furthest development as an 
organization whose members have the power of priests. 
Ogboni, Ellis tells us, is "inseparably connected" with the 
priesthood. In most Yoruba states the chief of Ogboni is 
head of the priesthood. 1 Among the various tribes on the 
Gold Coast and Slave Coast, applicants for membership in 
the priestly orders serve a novitiate for several years, and 
learn the various secrets of the craft. Dancing, sleight- 
of-hand, and ventriloquism are important subjects in the 
course. Some instruction in the healing art is also imparted. 
Novices are taught a new language and after their con- 
secration as priests are given a new name. Generally 
they must present satisfactory evidence of possession by 
the god to whom they would devote themselves before they 
are accepted as full members of the fraternity. In some 
cases entrance is obtained by simulation of possession before 
initiation, in a manner that recalls the Ndembo and Nkimba 
rites. 2 

Before passing to a discussion of the North American 
fraternities, attention may be directed to the former exist- 
ence among the Fuegians and other South American peoples 
of magical and dramatic practices most clearly connected 
with an earlier secret association. Fuegian puberty 
initiation ceremonies have now been abandoned. But 
in former days, before the arrival of the missionaries, the 

1 Ellis, Yoruba-S 'peaking Peoples, men of the Australians, Todas, Sea 
93 sq. Dyaks, Guiana tribes, and North 

2 Ellis, Tshi-Speaking Peoples of American Indians, see Spencer and 
the Gold Coast of West Africa (Lon- Gillen, Native Tribes of Central 
don, 1887), 119 sq.; id., Ewe-Speak- Australia, 522-530; id., -Northern 
ing Peoples, 139 sq.; id., Yoruba- Tribes of Central Australia, 479-489; 
Speaking Peoples, 97 sq. W. E. Marshall, A Phrenologist 

It is of considerable interest to among the Todas (London, 1873), 

point out the likeness between the 138; Perham, quoted in Roth, The 

preliminary initiation required of the Natives of Sarawak and British 

medicine-men and the puberty rites North Borneo, i, 280 sq.; E. F. im 

at manhood. Isolation and seclusion, Thurn, Among the Indians of Guiana, 

ordeal and purification, resurrection 334 sq.; Brinton, The Myths of the 

and a new life, are features common to New World (New York, 1868), 279 sq. 
both. For initiation of medicine- 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 177 

kina, or lodge, besides serving as the place of confinement 
for the lads at puberty, "etait aussi le theatre de scenes 
mysterieuses, bizarres, d'origine tres ancienne, dont les 
roles, autrefois tenus par les femmes, avaient ete ensuite 
exclusivement devolvus aux hommes. Ceux-ci, diversement 
grimes, barbouilles de sang tire de leurs propres veines, le 
visage cache par des bonnets en ecorce, sortaient de la kina 
en file indienne, sautant ou chantant, poussant des cris 
sauvages, et cherchant a se rendre aussi efFrayants que 
possible. Les femmes et les enfants n'etaient pas admis 
dans Tinterieur de la kina y mais se plasaient au dehors en 
spectateurs, manifestaient leur contentement par des cris 
de frayeur, alternant avec des eclats de gaiete, et chantaient 
en meme temps que les hommes, mais sans jamais se meler 
a eux. Trois des acteurs jouaient un role particulier: 
Tun etait suppose venir du fond de la mer, le second de 
I'interieur de la terre et le troisieme de Tepaisseur des 
forets. II n'y avait, dans tout cela, aucune idee propi- 
tiatoire envers un etre superieur, mais simplement Tinten- 
tion de s'amuser par le spectacle lui-meme." The 

Caishana, a Brazilian tribe on the Tunantins river, retain 
their masked dances in honor of the Jurupari demon. 2 
Among the Tucunas the masked dances are now semi-fes- 
tivals, 3 while among the more civilized Egas of northwestern 
Brazil the masked dances are now nothing but theatrical 
performances. 4 The Chilincbili festival held by 

the Aymara, a civilized tribe of Bolivia, affords an interesting 
illustration of the survival of primitive customs. In the Chi- 
linchili, the participants represent the souls of the dead and 
go through pantomimic scenes of the familiar type. While 
the festival is in progress the actors must not live with their 
wives. Before its celebration the men who are to take part 
go about the village in the night-time carrying paper lanterns, 
ringing bells, and visiting the houses of the inhabitants to 
collect the tolls of money and food necessary for the feast. 

1 Mission Scientifique du Cap * Ibid., ii, 403-405. 
Horn (Paris, 1891), vii, 377. 4 Ibid., ii, 204-205. 

2 Bates, The Naturalist on the 
River Amazons, ii, 376. 



178 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

The simple villagers regard them with the highest reverence 
and awe. Mothers sometimes frighten their children with 
tales of the I art, as the actors are called. 1 

The magical fraternities of the North American Indians 
hold a most important place in the social and religious life 
of the people. In the face of tribal disintegration they are 
still powerful factors in preserving the ancient customs 
and tribal history. 2 The rites, in part secret, in part public, 
constitute a rude, but often very effective dramatization of 
the myths and legends. Usually only the members of the 
particular society which performs the rites understand 
their significance. The actors, masked or costumed, rep- 
resent animals or divine beings whose history the myths re- 
count. Candidates for initiation give much attention to the 
preparation of the songs and chants sung by members at the 
lodge meetings or at the public performances of the societies. 
By means of elaborate rituals and songs, by pictographs 
and sand paintings, 3 the religious traditions concerning the 
ancestors of the tribe are carefully preserved. Among the 
Omahas each society has its special songs and music, trans- 
mitted by official keepers. 4 Siouan traditions are "mys- 
terious things, not to be spoken of lightly or told on ordinary 
occasions. These traditions were preserved in the secret 
societies of the tribes. They explain the origin of the 
gentes and subgentes, of fire, corn, the pipes, bows and 
arrows, etc." 5 The sacred formulas of the Cher- 

okees include medicine, love, hunting, fishing, war, self- 
protection, destruction of enemies, witchcraft, the crops, 
the council, the ball play, and many other subjects of interest 
to the Indian mind. 6 The Ojibwa traditions of 

" Indian genesis and cosmogony and the ritual of initiation 

1 Nusser in Globus, Hi (1887), (Spencer and Gillen, Northern Tribes 
123-126. of Central Australia, 239 sq.) 

2 Cf. Miss Fletcher in Jour, Amer. 4 Miss Fletcher in Proc. Amer. 
Folk-Lore, v (1892), 135. Assoc. Adv. Sci., xliv (1895), 281. 

3 An interesting and suggestive 5 Dorsey in Eleventh Ann. Rep. 
parallel to these sand paintings are Bur. EthnoL, 430. 

the ground drawings made on the 6 Mooney in Seventh Ann. Rep. 

occasion of various totemic cere- Bur. Ethnol., 307. 
monies of the Australian tribes 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 179 

into the Society of the Mide constitute what is to them 
a religion, even more powerful and impressive than the 
Christian religion is to the average civilized man." l 
The winter ceremonials of the Kwakiutl, Koskimo, and 
other tribes are in close connection with the tribal 
traditions and mythology. It seems probable that the 
myths explaining these winter ceremonials were of 
gradual accretion, and grew up "to explain and develop a 
ritual which originally consisted only of disconnected 
dances." 2 

These Indian fraternities look back to a divine founder, 
whose worship is maintained in the societies he organized. 
According to the Ojibwa legends, the Medewiwin was 
founded by Minabozho, the servant of Dzhe Manido, the 
Good Spirit. Minabozho first presented the secret rites to 
the otter, who thereupon gave them to his kinsmen, the 
ancestors of the Ojibwa. The ceremonials were intended 
by Dzhe Manido to protect his Indian children from sick- 
ness and death. 3 Sia societies were originated by the gods 
who gave to the organization " secrets for the healing of the 
sick." 4 Posbaiankia taught the ancestors of the 

Zuni, Taos, and other Pueblo Indians their agriculture and 
systems of worship; and, after organizing the secret societies, 
disappeared from the world. But he is still "the con- 
scious auditor of the prayers of his children, the invisible 
ruler of the spiritual Sbipapulima, and of the lesser gods 
of the medicine orders, the principal * Finisher of the Paths 
of our Lives/" 5 Each Hopi society also looks back to its 
ancestral divinity. 6 

One of the most important duties of members of these 
fraternities is the healing of the sick. The close relation- 
ship which the members are believed to have with the spirits 
gives them much consideration as workers in magic. Part 

1 Hoffman, ibid., 151. Menomini legend, id., Fourteenth 

2 Boas in Jour. Amer. Geogr. Soc., Ann. Rep., 87 sq. 

xxviii (1896), 242-243. * Mrs. Stevenson in Eleventh Ann. 

3 For the complete legend, cf. Rep., 69. 

Hoffman in Seventh Ann. Rep. Bur. 6 Gushing in Second Ann. Rep., 16. 

Ethnol., 166-167, X 75; f r tne * Fewkes in Nineteenth Ann. Rep. t 

998. 



i8o PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

of the initiatory training consists in the study of the tradi- 
tional pharmacopoeia of the society. The belief in the 
mysterious powers of the members is illustrated by the com- 
mon custom of the Midewiwin and Mitawit societies of 
initiating a child who has been under the charge of the 
healers. The patient is brought into the sacred structure, 
or lodge, where the evil manidos can be expelled from the 
body. If the child is restored to health, he is regarded as 
a regularly initiated member, though additional instruction 
is always given him when he reaches maturity. 1 At 
Sia an adult or a child may join a society after being 
restored to health by a theurgist. At the beginning of the 
new year, the cult societies hold synchronal ceremonies for 
four days and nights, when the fetish medicines are prepared. 
Those who possess real or imagined diseases gather in the 
chamber of the society of which they are members, and 
receive treatment from the theurgists. 2 Nearly all of the 
Sia societies are divided into two or more orders; as candi- 
dates pass through them they are instructed in various 
medicinal arts. In the Snake Society the candidate must 
pass through three degrees before the great privilege of 
handling the snakes in the annual festivities is granted. 3 
For admission to the third and last degrees, two years spent 
in memorizing the songs are required. 4 Akon- 

warab, or the False-Faces, a society of masked men formerly 
widespread throughout the Iroquois tribes of New York 
and Canada, derived its earlier power from the supposed 
association of its members with evil spirits. According 
to the Iroquois belief, certain spirits whose whole entity was 
comprehended in their ugly visages, were able to bring 
about various ailments and diseases. Mr. Boyle, who 
recently found the False-Faces on the Grand River Reser- 
vation, reports that the secrecy is not now maintained in 
anything like the old-fashioned way; the initiatory rites 
contain nothing cruel or revolting, and the purpose of the 

1 Hoffman in Seventh Ann. Rep. 2 Mrs. Stevenson in Eleventh Ann. 

Bur. Ethnol., 281 sq.; id., Fourteenth Rep., 74, 84, 97 sq., 113 sq. 
Ann. Rep., 68-69. 3 Ibid '> 74~75- 

4 Ibid., 75, 86. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 181 

society is simply that of visiting the sick and making charms 
for effecting cures. 1 The Tsiahk of the Cape 

Flattery Indians is apparently purely a medical society 
whose performances are given when a chief or member of 
his family is ill. The patient is first initiated. 2 

Most of the North American fraternities have special" medi- 
cines," prepared with great secrecy and the objects of much 
reverent regard. Those who belong to the Witcita, an Omaha 
society, "have a medicine which they use in three ways: 
they rub it on their bodies before going into battle; they 
rub it on bullets to make them kill the foe, and they ad- 
minister it to horses, making them smell it when they are 
about to surround a buffalo herd." At Zuni 

pueblo the Saniakiakwe, or Hunting Order, has charge of 
the religious ceremonies on the occasion of the great mid- 
winter tribal hunts. The sacred fetishes in possession of 
the order, are taken out by the members while on the hunt. 
"It is believed that without 'recourse to these fetishes or to 
prayers and other inducements toward the game animals, 
especially the deer tribe, it would be useless to attempt the 
chase." 4 

The magical powers wielded by fraternity members are 
often used for selfish ends. Persons admitted into the 
Midewiwin of the Ojibwa are believed to possess the power 
of communing with supernatural spirits, manidos, and 
in consequence they are much sought after and respected. 
The society has the usual division into degrees, each with 
its elaborate ritual. The higher degrees are reserved for 
those able to pay the costly initiation fees and to profit by 
the long preparatory training required of all successful 



1 Tenth Annual Archaological Re- itive Superstitions (Philadelphia, 

port of David Boyle to the Minister of 1881), frontispiece. Legends con- 

Education of Ontario (Toronto, 1898), nected with them are given by Mrs. 

157-160; cf. also L. H. Morgan, E. A. Smith in Second Ann. Rep. Bur. 

quoted by Ball in Third Ann. Rep. Ethnol., 59-62. 

Bur. Ethnol., 144-145; and Smith in 3 Swan in Smithsonian Contri- 

Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, i (1888), butions to Knowledge, xvi, 73-75. 

187-193. One of these Flying Heads, s Dorsey in Third Ann. Rep. Bur. 

or False-Face spirits is pictured in Ethnol., 349. 

R. M. Dorman, The Origin of Prim- * Gushing in Second Ann. Rep., 39. 



1 82 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

aspirants. For the first degree the candidate must make 
many presents to his preceptor. He must also pass a 
novitiate of several years employed in collecting the pres- 
ents for the priests, which, with the gifts of food for the 
feasts, constitute the entrance fees. The expensiveness of 
the degrees increases as the candidate proceeds higher, the 
second degree requiring presents double the value of those 
offered for entrance to the first, the third requiring three 
times the value of the first, and similarly for the fourth 
degree. The latter two degrees are rarely conferred, owing 
to their excessive cost. Sometimes poor but ambitious 
candidates burden themselves with lifelong debts in their 
efforts to procure admission to the society or to rise through 
the successive degrees. Some additional medical knowl- 
edge is received in the higher degrees and in general a 
repetition of the initiation ceremony is supposed to add to 
the magical powers of the initiate. 1 "The amount of 
influence wielded by Mide generally, and particularly such 
as have received four degrees, is beyond belief. The rite 
of the Midewiwin ... is believed to elevate such a Mide 
to the nearest possible approach to the reputed character 
of Minabozboy and to place within his reach the super- 
natural power of invoking and communing with Kitshi 
Manido himself." 2 

Many of the fraternities, besides their medical functions, 
are intrusted with various magical rites connected especially 
with the ripening of the crops, the production of rain, and 
the multiplication of animals used for food. The Buffalo 
society of the Omahas, composed of those who have super- 
natural communications with buffaloes, gives a great dance 
and goes through various ceremonies "when the corn is 
withering for want of rain." 3 The Snake society of the 

1 Hoffman in Seventh Ann. Rep. demonstration of the genuineness 

Bur. Ethnol., 164, 204, 221, 224-225, and divine origin of the Midewiwin" 

241, 251, 274-275. His preceptor (ibid., 204). For initiation into the 

gives the novice much information Mitawit of the Menomini Indians, 

as to the preparation of various see Hoffman in Fourteenth Ann. 

medicinal remedies. Later in his Rep., 68 sq. 
course he learns how to perform 2 Id., Seventh Ann. Rep., 274. 

sleight-of-hand tricks "with which 3 Dorsey in Third Ann. Rep., 347. 

to present to the incredulous ocular Other fraternities among the Omahas 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 183 

Sia has most elaborate rain ceremonials. 1 The Ahshi- 
wanni of the Zuni is a priesthood whose members fast and 
pray for rain. 2 The Hopi have two great groups of annual 
ceremonies: the Katcinas coming from December to July, 
and the Unmasked or Nine Days' ceremonials during the 
months of August, September, October, and November. 3 
The magical practices which form the principal features of 
these festivals have already received attention. 4 

Of considerable significance is the survival in many of 
these American fraternities of initiatory practices once 
invariably associated with the arrival of the clansmen at 
puberty. In one instance, found among the Mandans of 
the Plains, the initiation of the youths at manhood was 
a most important function of the Medicine Lodge, the great 
fraternity which existed in that tribe. The rites of initiation 
in this tribe were of a barbarous character not generally 
found among the Indians, and recall with great exactness 
the initiatory practices of more savage peoples. According 
to Catlin's famous account, the Okeepa was an annual 
religious ceremony which had several distinct objects. 
One was the dancing of the bull-dance, a magical practice, 
by the strict performance of which a supply of buffalo would 
be secured for the coming season. In the bull-dance, the 
performers were covered with the skins of different ani- 
mals, the heads of the latter serving as masks. The dancers 
personated what were doubtless the totemic animals of their 



are the Horse, Wolf, and Grizzly Some of these societies of the 

Bear. Members are supposed to Pueblo Indians are phallic organiza- 

have supernatural communication tions with rites of a character not 

with the animals which form the easily described. They are all de- 

tutelary deities of the society (ibid., voted to magical practices. Com- 

348 sq.). pare the rites of the Koshare order 

1 See the description by Mrs. among the Queres and other New 
Stevenson in Eleventh Ann. Rep. Bur. Mexican tribes (Bourke, Scatalogic 
Ethnol., 76 sq. Rites of All Nations, 9) ; of the Zuni 

2 Mrs. Stevenson in Memoirs of Nehue-Cue (ibid., 4 sq.; Bandelier, 
the International Congress of Anthro- The Delight Makers, 44 sq., 134 sq.) ; 
pology (Chicago, 1894), 315. and of the Hopi New Fire societies 

3 Fewkes in Fifteenth Ann. Rep. (Fewkes in Amer. Anthropologist, 
Bur. Ethnol., 256. new series, i, 1899, 527 n. 1 ; ii, 1900, 

* Supra, 156-159. 81). 



184 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

clans bears, swans, wolves and in their performances 
imitated the actions and habits of the animals and chanted 
peculiar and appropriate songs known to the performers 
alone. Such totemic representations, like the Arunta 
Quabara, were the strictly guarded property of those who 
by initiation were entitled to give them. 1 A second object 
was "for the purpose of conducting all the young men of 
the tribe, as they annually arrive to the age of manhood, 
through an ordeal of privation and torture, which, while 
it is supposed to harden their muscles, and prepare them 
for extreme endurance, enables the chiefs who are specta- 
tors to the scene, to decide upon their comparative bodily 
strength and ability to endure the extreme privations and 
sufferings that often fall to the lots of Indian warriors; 
and that they may decide who is the most hardy and best 
able to lead a war-party in case of extreme exigency." 
At the ceremony witnessed by Catlin, fifty young men, all 
of whom had arrived at puberty during the preceding year, 
were present for initiation. 3 Before the actual ordeal the 
young men for four days and nights were strictly guarded 
in the Medicine Lodge against the approach or gaze of women, 
"who, I was told, had never been allowed to catch the 
slightest glance of its interior." 4 During the entire period 
of their seclusion the candidates were not allowed to eat, 
drink, or sleep. Their bodies were covered with clay of 
different colors red, yellow, and white. When, at last, the 
greatest ordeal was at hand, they were taken to the centre 



1 George Catlin, O-Kee-Pa (Lon- bending forward and sinking his 

don, 1867), 18 sq. For another ac- body towards the ground. Another 

count of this Buffalo fraternity, see dancer then draws bow and hits him 

Catlin in Ann. Rep. Smithsonian with a blunt arrow. He falls like 

Institution for 1883 (Washington, a buffalo, is seized, dragged out of 

1886), part ii, 309-311. From this the ring by his heels, and symbolically 

account it would appear that the is skinned and cut up. 
Buffalo dance might be held when- 2 Id., Letters and Notes on the 

ever there was danger of the buffalo Manners, Customs, and Condition of 

deserting the neighborhood of the the North American Indians (Lon- 

camp. The dance once started is don, 1841), i, 157. 
kept going night and day until "but- 3 Id., O-Kee-Pa, 13. 

falo come." When a dancer becomes * Ibid., 41. 

fatigued, he signifies the fact by 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 185 

of the lodge and suspended by thongs passed through the 
muscles of the breasts and shoulders. Then they were 
rapidly turned until, fainting under the torture, their life- 
less bodies were lowered to the ground. While in this 
condition, no one was allowed to offer any aid to the youths. 
"They were here enjoying their inestimable privilege of 
voluntarily intrusting their lives to the keeping of the Great 
Spirit, and chose to remain there until the Great Spirit 
gave them strength to get up and walk away." l After 
a partial recovery, they presented themselves before a masked 
man who, with one blow of his axe, cut off the little finger 
of the left hand. Sometimes, we are told, the candidates 
would offer as an additional sacrifice the forefinger of the 
same hand. After these ceremonies, the novices were 
taken out of the lodge, and in the presence of the entire 
tribe they passed through further trials of their endurance. 
In this way the chiefs were able to decide who were best 
fitted to lead a war-party or to occupy the other responsible 
positions of a tribesman. 2 

The Navajo ceremonial of Hasjelti Dailjis is one of the 
most elaborate of the religious rites of that tribe. At its 
celebration sometimes as many as a thousand tribesmen 
are present. Hasjelti Dailjis is the dance of Hasjelti, 
one of the most conspicuous of the Navajo gods. The 
"dance," however, is rather histrionic than saltatory, 
constituting, in fact, like the Hopi Snake Dance, an impos- 
ing festival. Its magical purpose is that of a medicine 
dance, and it is held for the purpose of curing distinguished 
men able to afford the expense of supporting the performers 
and their retinue during the celebration. In the ceremonial 
witnessed by Mr. James Stevenson in 1885, the numerous 
participants in the dance personified the various gods, and 
with most scrupulous exactness went through an elaborate 



1 Catlin, ibid., 28. In the Chey- apart from the camp. The youth is 

enne ceremonies which otherwise left alone and without food or water, 

resemble those of the Mandans, the until he succeeds in breaking loose 

suspension of the youths by thongs (Dodge, The Plains of the Great West, 

passed through the pectoral muscles 257-260). 
is a private ordeal which takes place 2 Catlin, O-Kee-Pa, 29, 31. 



1 86 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

ritual. On the eighth day of the celebration, the children 
of the tribe who were present were initiated into some of 
the mysteries. All the boys and girls between five and ten 
years of age were taken into the secret lodge, where they 
received what must have been a painful chastisement, the 
boys being whipped with the needles of the Spanish bayonet. 
If this ordeal was bravely borne, the children were then 
suddenly confronted with the masked men of the order, 
into the mystery of which they had never before been al- 
lowed to penetrate. "Up to this time they were supposed 
never to have had a close view of the masks or to have in- 
spected anything pertaining to their religious ceremonies. 
... At the close of this ceremony the representatives of 
the gods removed their masks and called upon the children 
to raise their heads. The amazement depicted upon the 
faces of the children when they discovered their own people 
and not gods, afforded much amusement to the spectators/' 
After initiation, the children were permitted to enter the lodge 
and see the masks and the sand paintings. 1 The 

Night Chant is another of these Navajo rites, performed 
not only for the curing of disease, but also to secure 
abundant rains, good crops, and other blessings. "Nearly 
all the important characters of the Navajo pantheon are 
named in its myths, depicted in its paintings, or represented 
by its masqueraders." Not until after a formal initiation 
is a Navajo privileged to enter the medicine lodge during 
the performance of the rite. To obtain the highest privi- 
leges of the order, he must go through the ceremony of 
initiation four times; it is not until one "has submitted 
himself for the fourth time to the flagellation that he is 
permitted to wear the masks and personate the gods." 
Though some individuals neglect their initiation until 
after they reach maturity, the rite is usually undergone 
during childhood. Initiation consists chiefly in the pres- 
entation of the novices before the dreadful Tei, the buga- 
boos of the Navajo children. Up to the time of initiation 



1 Stevenson in Eighth Ann. Rep. * Matthews in Mem. Amer. Mus. 

Bur. Ethnol., 265 sq. Nat. Hist., vi (1902), 4. 

3 Ibid., 119. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 187 

they are taught to believe that the masked Tel are genuine 
abnormal creatures. Instead of corporal punishment, a 
Navajo mother substitutes a threat of the vengeance of these 
masked characters, should her children be disobedient. 
But when they are old enough to understand the value of 
initiation they are taken to the medicine lodge, and, after 
preliminary chastisements, they learn that the dreadful 
Tei are only their intimate friends or relations in disguise. 
After initiation, they are privileged to enter the lodge during 
the performance of the Night Chant. 1 

The Sia Indians of New Mexico have the Katsuna society, 
the members of which wear masks and personate the Kat- 
suna. The latter are mythological creations, having human 
bodies and monster heads. They accompanied the ances- 
tors of the Sia to this world, and ever since that time they 
are believed to have had much influence with the cloud 
people who bring rain and snow. Katsuna performances 
are, therefore, like the Hopi Katcinas, of a magical character. 
Both sexes are initiated. The uninitiated believe that these 
masked personators are the actual Katsuna divinities. When 
the boys and girls are ten to twelve years of age, and "have 
a good head," they are initiated. The Katsuna each carry 
a bunch of Spanish bayonet, with which to chastise the boys 
and girls. After this preliminary ordeal the Katsuna raise 
their masks and say to the children, "'Now you know the 
Katsuna you will henceforth have only good thoughts and 
a good heart; sometime, perhaps you will be one of us. 
You must not speak of these things to anyone not initiated." 

No Zuni child above the age of four years may, after 
death, enter the Kiva of the Kokko ancestral gods, unless 
during his lifetime he has been initiated into the society 
of the Kokko and has received the sacred breath of the gods. 
"Those who personate the Kokko are endowed for the time 
being with their actual breath." 3 The personators are 
young men who mask themselves in the Kivas of the socie- 

1 Matthews in Mem. Amer. Mus. 3 Mrs. Stevenson in Fifth Ann. 
Nat. Hist., vi (1902), 117 sq. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 548. 

2 Mrs. Stevenson in Eleventh Ann. 
Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 33, 116-118. 



i88 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

ties. The ceremonies of initiation are supposed to be "in 
direct obedience to the orders and instructions given at 
the time of the appearance of the Kokko upon the earth, 
and their masks are counterparts of the original or spiritual 
Kokko." The first or involuntary initiation occurs every 
four years; the vows are made by sponsors for the child, 
who then assumes his regular tribal name. Previous to 
initiation he is known only as a baby boy, younger boy, or 
older boy, as the case may be. The child is taken to the 
Kiva and there undergoes a severe whipping, but he does 
not flinch under the ordeal. A fast for four days completes 
the preliminary initiation. 2 The second or voluntary initia- 
tion occurs at an annual ceremonial. Though an optional 
rite, "the father and the godfather do not fail to impress 
upon the boy the importance of the second initiation." 3 At 
this ceremony the novices are again severely whipped and if 
they bravely bear the ordeal, the Kokko floggers lift their masks 
and reveal their identity. Then the lads are taken before 
the Zuni High Priest who gives them a lecture, "instructing 
them in some of the secrets of the order, when they are told 
if they betray the secrets confided to them, they will be pun- 
ished by death; their heads will be cut off with a stone 
knife; for so the Kokko has ordered." 4 This discourse 
concluded, each child "goes to the godfather's house, 
where his head and hands are bathed in yucca suds by the 
mother and sisters of the godfather, they repeating prayers 
that the youth may be true to his vows, etc. The boy then 
returning to his own home is tested by his father, who says, 
'You are no longer ignorant, you are no longer a little child, 
but a young man. Were you pleased with the words of 

1 Mrs. Stevenson in Fifth Ann. Rep. to conservatism in religious beliefs, 

Bur. Ethnol., 547. For the legend, one can well believe that these dances 

see 541 sq. "To the Indian mind are the least modified of all their 

familiar with the traditions of his manners and customs " (Fewkes in 

tribe, these personifications have a Jour. Amer. Ethnol. and Arcfaeol., i 

deep significance in the early history (1891), 21-22). 

of the race. The dress, style of 2 Mrs. Stevenson in Fifth Ann. 

ornamentation, and character of the Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 549 sq. 

dance are said to be very old, and 3 Ibid., 553. 

clinging as the aboriginal mind does 4 Ibid., 554. 



MAGICAL FRATERNITIES 189 

the Kokko? What did the priest tell you?' The boy 
does not forget himself and reveal anything that was said, 
for the terror overhanging him is too great." * 

In the Powamu festival, one of the great Katcina rites 
of the Hopi villagers, the children are subjected to ordeals 
which resemble those described as existing among the 
Navajo, Sia, and Zuni Indians. Tunwupkatcina, arrayed 
in all his paraphernalia and carrying a yucca whip in his 
hand, receives the frightened children as their godfathers 
bring them before him. The whipping once over, the nov- 
ices are compelled to abstain from flesh and salt for four 
days. After this they may look without danger upon the 
Katcina masks and other sacred objects in the Kivas. They 
may now learn the Katcina songs, and themselves act as 
Katcinas. Previous to initiation the children are never 
allowed to see an unmasked Katcina; they are taught to 
believe that the masked personages appearing in the dances 
are superhuman visitors. 2 At a later period the children 
are initiated into one of the four Hopi fraternities known 
as Agave (Kwan), Horn (Ahl), Singers (Tataokani), and 
Wowochimtu. 3 



After so long an occupation with the rites of savage and 
barbarous peoples, it would be tempting, did space allow, 
to turn to the mysteries of classical antiquity and to dis- 
close in the rites of the Eleusinia and Tbesmophoria, the 
dimly veiled survivals of an earlier and a ruder age. For 

1 Mrs. Stevenson, loc. cit. Horn, and Singers' societies also 
3 Fewkes in Fifteenth Ann. Rep. take place, the significance of all 
Bur. Ethnol., 284 sq. For a fuller being the same: initiation from boy- 
description of the Powamu initiation, hood into manhood, and while the 
see Voth in Publications of the Field Wowochimtu is a distinct fraternity, 
Columbian Museum, Anthropological of which the Horn, Agave, and Singer 
Series, iii, no. 2 (1901), 88 sq. men are not members, the latter 
3 The obscure word Wowochimtu sometimes call the initiations into 
means probably the fraternity of their respective orders in a general 
"grown men." Boys once initiated way initiations into the Wowochimtu." 
are no longer "boys," but "young (Dorsey and Voth in Publications of the 
men." During the great Wowochim Field Columbian Museum, Anthropo- 
ceremony, "initiations into the Agave, logical Series, iii, 1900, no. i, 10 n.). 



i go 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



the magical practices and dramatic ceremonies afterward 
elaborated into the ritual of a solemn religious cult, which 
were the chief characteristics of the Greek mysteries, may 
be traced by the curious student to primitive rites in no 
wise dissimilar to those which, as we have seen, embody 
the faith and worship of the modern savage. Omnia exeunt 
i n mysten u m ! 1 



1 The survival of death and resur- 
rection ideas and of other primitive 
conceptions and practices in the 
Thesmophoria, or mysteries of De- 
meter, has been discussed by Andrew 
Lang in Myth, Ritual, and Religion 
(London, 1899), ii, 286 sq. On the 
Eleusinian mysteries in the same con- 
nection, see Myth, Ritual, and Reli- 
gion, i, 270 sq., and Count Goblet 
d'Arviella's articles in Rev. Hist. 
Relig., xlvi (1902), nos. 2 and 3; 
xlvii (1903), nos. i and 2; id., 
Eleusinia: de quelques problemes 



relatifs aux Mysteres d'Eleusis (Paris, 
1903). Some of the likenesses be- 
tween the classical mysteries and 
those of primitive peoples are also 
discussed by Achelis, "Geheimbiinde 
und Pubertatsweihen im Lichte der 
Ethnologic," in Ausland, Ixv (1892), 
529-534; and by Howitt in Rep. 
Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci., iii (Sidney, 
1890), 347-348. On the Mithraic 
mysteries in this light, see C. S. Wake, 
The Evolution of Morality (London, 
1878), ii, chap. vi. 



CHAPTER XI 

DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 

I. AUSTRALIA 

OVER the wide expanse of the Australian continent two 
great types of initiation rites prevail. These are the J9or# l 
ceremonies of the tribes occupying the eastern coast and 
the interior westward throughout the greater portion of 
Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland; and what 
we may for convenience call the Apulia 2 ceremonies of 
the central and western tribes whicfi range over more than 
half the continent. Among the latter tribes initiation cere- 
monies exist of much greater ^complication than those of 
the eastern tribes. Broadly speaking, the best line of de- 
marcation seems to be the presence or absence of subincision 
as the leading feature in the rites. On the basis of the 
careful studies and maps of Mr. R. H. Mathews, 3 it becomes 
possible to fix with substantial accuracy the boundaries of 
the tribes having ceremonies of either the Bora or Apulia 
type. A line drawn from Cape Jervis at St. Vincent's 
Gulf, South Australia, and continued in a northeasterly 

1 The name Bora is usually which among other eastern tribes are 

derived from "bor" or "boor," the known as Bunan, Burbong, Keeparra, 

belt of manhood conferred upon the Toara, etc. 

novice at the Kamilaroi celebration 2 Among the Arunta, Apulia is 

(Ridley, Kdmttardi and other Aus- the term applied to the ground where 

tralian Languages, 156). Mackenzie the ceremony of circumcision takes 

says, "It is called the 'boorah' or place (Spencer and Gillen, Native 

place of the 'boorr' because the Tribes of Central Australia, 646). 
boorr, or belt, is used in the incanta- 3 Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc., xxxvii 

tions" (Jour. Anthrop. Inst., vii, (1898), 327 sq.; xxxix (1900), 93, 

1878, 244). Bora is the Kamilaroi 577; Jour, and Proc. Roy. Soc. New 

name for the initiation ceremonies South Wales, xxxii (1898), 241 sq. 

191 



IQ2 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

direction through New South Wales and then northerly 
through Queensland to the Gulf of Carpentaria, separates 
the tribes which practise circumcision from those that do 
not. East of this line Bora ceremonies, in which the prin- 
cipal rite is either evulsion of teeth or depilation, prevail. 
Between this and a second line which begins at Port Augusta, 
at the head of Spencer Gulf, South Australia, and then con- 
tinues in a northerly direction until it joins the first line at 
Longreach, Queensland, is the area occupied by the tribes 
which practise circumcision alone.. The ceremonies of 
these tribes may be described as a mixture of Bora and 
Apulia rites. Extending in a westward direction from this 
second line is the large area occupied by the tribes which 
possess the Apulia rites and practise both circumcision and 
subincision. Beyond a line drawn from Cape Arid on the 
Great Australian Bight to North West Cape on Plymouth 
Gulf, neither of these rites has been observed. 

Considering the general homogeneity of the Australian 
race in physical characteristics and in mental and social 
development, it is remarkable that such wide divergences 
in initiation practices should be observed among them. As 
compared with the ceremonies of the eastern tribes, initia- 
tions of the Apulia type are certainly far more elaborate. 
Bora ceremonies are held at infrequent intervals and at 
them it is customary to initiate a number of candidates 
together. Though their presence at succeeding Boras is 
commonly required, the novices usually become full mem- 
bers of the tribe by the one initiatory ceremony. Among 
the Arunta and other central tribes, it is not usual to operate 
on more than one, or at most two, novices at the same time; 1 
as a consequence initiations must be held with considerable 
frequency. Candidates do not become fully initiated tribes- 
men until a number of ordeals, coming at different intervals 
and lasting until the initiates are men of mature years, 
have been successfully undergone. Rites like nose-boring 
and evulsion of teeth, which form the leading features of 
Bora ceremonies, among the Arunta and other central and 
northern tribes, are neither sacred nor secret and are prac- 

1 Spencer and Gillen,0/>. cit., 218. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 193 

tised by men and women alike. Their place as secret rites 
is taken by circumcision, subincision, and the Engwura 
ceremonies, though they still persist as vestigial customs. 1 
Among the Queensland tribes studied by Mr. W. E. Roth, 
both evulsion of teeth and cicatrization are independent of 
the initiation ceremonial. 2 Thus customs once common 
to central and eastern tribes have been retained only by 
the latter. These Arunta ceremonies, in particular, show 
the results of long elaboration under peaceful conditions. 
The isolation of the tribe, the circumstance that it is not 
engaged in constant warfare at its borders, and the further 
circumstance that it has given up cannibalism (still prac- 
tised in Queensland), lead one to believe that this tribe has 
advanced further in civilization than its neighbors. Cer- 
tainly the Arunta elders appear to have employed their 
leisure in the elaboration of tribal customs to a greater com- 
plexity than is elsewhere exhibited on the continent. 

On the theory that the Tasmanians now extinct were the 
remnants of a Nigritic race which once peopled Australia, 
it is possible, as Mr. H. L. Roth suggests, that an invading 
race may have adopted some of the customs of the earlier 
inhabitants. 3 Initiation ceremonies among other customs 
may have been so borrowed or at least modified by contact 
with the aboriginal inhabitants. On this hypothesis the 
southeastern Australian tribes representing the first invaders 
ought to possess the most archaic customs, and these ought, 
of all the Australian initiation ceremonies, to show most 
likeness to those of the Tasmanians. Unfortunately, we 
know so little of the Tasmanian rites that all comparison 
must at best be fragmentary. What evidence we have 
indicates that Tasmanian initiations, if not actually in decay, 
were of a much simpler character than those now generally 
practised on the mainland. Reference has already been 
made to the apparent decline of initiatory rites among the 
Victorian tribes. Circumcision, practised by the peoples 

1 Spencer and Gillen, Native 2 Ethnological Studies among the 

Tribes of Central Australia, 118 n.\ North-West-Central Queensland Abo- 

213, 217-218, 450-459; Northern rigines, 170. 
Tribes of Central Australia, 589 sq. * Aborigines of Tasmania, 227. 



194 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



of the south and east coast of New Guinea, may have been 
introduced by an invading race which came from that 
direction. Subincision is undoubtedly a native Australian 
development, for its like is not to be found outside the con- 
tinent. Arunta traditions indicate its introduction as sub- 
sequent to circumcision. 1 In the light of these considera- 
tions it seems at least possible that the ceremonies of those 
central and northern tribes which practise both circumcision 
and subincision, are the least primitive of all the Australian 
rites. On this hypothesis they may represent the elaboration 
and development of earlier rites once possessed in common 
by the various divisions of the Australian race. 2 



1 Spencer and Gillen, Native 
Tribes of Central Australia, 402. 
The operation itself is known by many 
different terms: Stint's "terrible 
rite," whistling, artificial hypospa- 
dias, kulpi (its Dieri name), intro- 
cision, and subincision. For the 
operation and its results, see the paper 
by T. P. A. Stuart, professor of 
physiology in the University of 
Sidney, Jour, and Proc. Roy. Soc. 
New South Wales, xxx (1896), 115- 
123; and the description by Mik- 
lucho-Maclay in Zeits. f. Ethnol., xiv 
(1882), 27-29. Eyre, who seems to 
have been the first to suggest a neo- 
Malthusian purpose for the custom 
(Journals of Expeditions of Discovery 
into Central Australia, i, 212-213, ii, 
332), was followed by a number of 
other writers who succeeded in 
popularizing this entirely erroneous 
impression. There is no evidence 
that the operation limits or prevents 
piocreation. See the opinions ex- 
pressed by such competent observers 
as Roth, Ethnological Studies, 179 sq.; 
Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of 
Central Australia, 264; Northern 
Tribes of Central Australia, 329-330; 
and Mathews in Jour, and Proc. Roy. 
Soc. New South Wales, xxxi (1897), 
pp. xxvii-xxviii. 

2 For some early accounts of in- 
itiation rites chiefly in New South 



Wales, see David Collins, An Account 
of the English Colony in New South 
Wales (London, 1804), 365-374; 
John Turnbull, A Voyage round the 
World (London, 1805), i, 85; James 
Montgomery, Journal of Voyages 
and Travels by the Rev. Daniel Tyer- 
man and George Bennet, Esq. (Lon- 
don, 1831), ii, 155-156; John Hen- 
derson, Observations on the Colonies 
of New South Wales and Van Die- 
men's Land (Calcutta, 1832), 145 sq.; 
W. H. Breton, Excursions in New 
South Wales, Western Australia, and 
Van Dieman's Land (London, 1833), 
232-234; T. L. Mitchell, Three 
Expeditions into the Interior of East- 
ern Australia (London, 1838), ii, 339- 
340; (Sir) George Grey, Journals of 
Two Expeditions of Discovery in 
North-West and Western Australia 
(London, 1841), ii, 343 sq.; E. J. 
Eyre, Journals of Expeditions of Dis- 
covery into Central Australia (Lon- 
don, 1845), ", 332-340; G. F. Angas, 
Savage Life and Scenes in Australia 
and New Zealand (London, 1847), 
i, 113-116; ii, 222-224; J. D. Lang, 
Queensland (London, 1861), 342 sq.; 
Oldfield in Trans. Ethnol. Soc., new 
series, iii (1865), 252-253. 

Various numbers of the Science 
of Man and Australian Anthrop- 
ological Journal contain brief accounts 
of initiation ceremonies witnessed 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 195 

II. TASMANIA 

There is some evidence for the existence of manhood 
rites among the Tasmanians. Bonwick, who made diligent 



by early settlers: vol. i, 83-84, 97-98, 
115-117; and vol. i, new series, 7-11, 
85; ii, 145, 148; Hi, 115; and iv, 62- 
63. The personal narrative of Mr. 
Honery is reproduced by William 
Ridley, KdmUardi and other Aus- 
tralian Languages (Sidney, 1875), 
154. Cf. also Mackenzie in Jour. 
Anthrop. Inst., vii (1878), 251-252. 

Some information of varying ac- 
curacy is summarized in the com- 
pilations by R. B. Smyth, The 
Aborigines of Victoria (Melbourne, 
1878), i, 58-75 ; George Taplin, The 
Folklore, Manners, Customs, and 
Languages of the South Australian 
Aborigines (Adelaide, 1879), 41 sq., 
79 sq., 99 sq.; J. D. Woods, The 
Native Tribes of South Australia 
(Adelaide, 1879), xxvni sq., 15 sq., 
162 sq., 226 sq., 267 sq.; James Daw- 
son, Australian Aborigines (Mel- 
bourne, 1881), 30; E. M. Curr, The 
Australian Race (Melbourne, 1886- 
1887), i, 71-76; see also vol. iii, 
index, under "Circumcision." 

Recent years have witnessed great 
accretions to our knowledge of these 
Australian ceremonies, and they are 
to-day the best known of those of any 
primitive people. For the Bora cere- 
monies, chief reliance must be placed 
on the admirable studies by Mr. A. 
W. Howitt and Mr. R. H. Mathews. 
Mr. Howitt as an initiated tribesman 
has written "On Some Australian 
Ceremonies of Initiation," Jour. An- 
throp. Inst., xiii (1884), 432-459; 
"The Jeraeil, or Initiation Cere- 
monies of the Kurnai Tribes," ibid., 
xiv (1885), 3 OI ~3 2 5> an d has sum- 
marized his discoveries in an address 
published in Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. 
Sci., iii (Sidney, 1891), 343~35i- An 
earlier account of the Kurnai in- 



itiation is given by the same writer 
in Kdmilardi and Kurnai (Mel- 
bourne, 1880), 192-199. In The 
Native Tribes of South-East Australia 
(London, 1904), 509-677, Mr. Howitt 
has elaborated his preliminary ar- 
ticles and has added much new 
matter of great value. Mr. Mathews 
in a long series of careful studies has 
described and classified the principal 
ceremonies of the different tribes of 
Victoria, New South Wales, Queens- 
land, and South Australia. A list 
of these articles with the particular 
parts of Australia to which they apply 
is given in Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc., 
xxxvii (1898), 66-69. Later articles 
by the same author are to be found in 
Amer. Anthropologist, xi (1898), 325- 
343; ibid., new series, ii (1900), 139- 
144; ibid., iii (1901), 337-341; Proc. 
Amer. Philos. Soc., xxxix (1000), 
570-573; ibid., 622-638; Jour, 
and Proc. Roy. Soc. New South 
Wales, xxxiv (1900), 262-281; and 
L y Anthropologie, xiii (1902), 233-240. 
The writings of Mr. John Fraser may 
also be referred to: Jour, and Proc. 
Roy. Soc. New South Wales, xvi 
(1882), 204-220; id., Jour, of Trans. 
Viet. Inst., xxii (1889), 155-181; id., 
The Aborigines of New South Wales 
(Sidney, 1892), 6-21. Mr. John 
Mathew in Eaglehawk and Crow 
(London, 1899), 116 sq., describes 
some Bora rites. See also Mrs. 
K. L. Parker's account, The Euah- 
layi Tribe (London, 1905), 61-82. 
For the Queensland tribes our chief au- 
thority is Mr. W. E. Roth, Ethno- 
logical Studies among the North-West- 
Central Queensland Aborigines (Bris- 
bane, 1897), 169-180. The elaborate 
studies of Messrs. Baldwin Spencer 
and F. J. Gillen, The Native Tribes 



196 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



inquiries among the old settlers of the island, believes that 
the custom existed "more or less" among the different 
tribes. 1 Circumcision was unknown; scarification and 
the extraction of teeth were the usual manhood rites. 2 



III. MELANESIA 

Initiation ceremonies have been observed among all the 
widely scattered branches of the Melanesian race; in the 
islands of East Malaysia; in New Guinea; and throughout 
that great island group which extends from New Guinea 
to the Fiji Archipelago. The Kakian Society of Ceram 
has been elsewhere described. 3 The Dutch anthropologist, 
Riedel, found traces of primitive puberty rites among the 
aborigines of the island of Halamahera. 4 Such rites have 
also been recently noted in Java, 5 and there is some evidence 
for their previous existence in Borneo. 6 



of Central Australia (London, 1899), 
212-386, and The Northern Tribes of 
Central Australia (London, 1004), 
328-374, are a mine of information 
for the customs of important tribes 
previously almost unknown. The 
ceremonies of the western Austra- 
lian tribes have so far received little 
attention from investigators. Except 
in the more thickly populated dis- 
tricts, they exist in a less developed 
state than elsewhere on the continent. 
See, however, Bassett-Smith in Jour. 
Anthrop. Inst., xxiii (1894), 327; 
Froggatt in Proc. Linnean Soc. New 
South Wales, second series, iii (1888), 
652; D. W. Carnegie, Spinifex and 
Sand (London, 1898), 39 sq.; Clem- 
ent in Intern. Archiv f. Ethnogr., 
xvi (1903), 10 sq. ; Hardman in Proc. 
Roy. Irish Acad., third series, i (1888), 

73-74- 

1 James Bonwick, Daily Life and 
Origin of the Tasmanians (London, 
1870), 60; 186 sq., 202 sq. 

2 H. L. Roth, The Aborigines of 
Tasmania (Halifax, England, 1899), 
115 sq. Cf. also R. B. Smyth, The 



Aborigines of Victoria (Melbourne, 
1878), ii, 386; Barnard in Rep. 
Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci., ii (Sidney, 
1890), 601 ; Mathews in Proc. Amer. 
Philos. Assoc., xxxix (1900), 573- 

574- 

3 The best account is by J. G. F. 
Riedel, De Sluik-en kroesharige Ras- 
sen tusschen Selebes en Papua 
('s-Gravenhage, 1886), 108-111. See 
also Van Rees, Die Pioniers der Be- 
schaving in Neerlands Indie, 92 sq. ; 
Adolf Bastian, Indonesian (Berlin, 
1884), part i, 145-147; Joest in 
Verliandl. Berlin. Gesell. f. Anthrop. 
Ethnol. u. Urgeschichte (1882), 64- 
65; Schulze, ibid. (1877), 117; 
Prochnik in Mitth. k. k. Geogr. 
Gesells. in Wien, xxxv (1892), 595- 

598. 

4 Zeits. f. Ethnol, xvii (1885), 
81-82. 

5 H. Breitenstein, Einundzwanzig 
Jahre in Indien (Leipzig, 1899), i, 
219 sq. 

6 A. R. Hein, Die Bildenden 
Kiinste bei den Dayaks auf Borneo 
(Wien, 1890), 35-37- 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 197 

In New Guinea, beginning with Kaiser Wilhelm Land, 
we may note the important Barium ceremonieswhich include 
an area along the Maclay coast from Huon Gulf to Astro- 
labe Bay, where they are replaced by the Asa ceremonies. 
The linguistic differences which these coast tribes present 
do not seem to be perpetuated in their initiation ceremo- 
nies. 1 For British New Guinea the best and most 
recent account has reference only to the important Toaripi 
tribes living in the Elema district along the coast between 
Cape Possession on the east and the Alele river on the west. 2 
Other accounts dealing with the Motumotuans of Williams 
river have been given chiefly by the late missionary, the 
Rev. James Chalmers. 3 West of the Elema district initia- 
tion rites have been discovered in Kiwai Island at the mouth 
of the Fly river, 4 and among the four tribes inhabiting the 
mouth of the Wanigela or Kemp Welch river in the Cen- 
tral district of British New Guinea. 5 At Mowat, Daudai, 
the initiation rites survive in a degenerate form. 6 In the 
Mekeo district, the Fulaari organization has police functions 
closely resembling those of African secret societies. 7 Pro- 
fessor A. C. Haddon has summarized much of our knowl- 
edge of the ceremonies of these Gulf tribes in his elaborate 
monograph on The Decorative Art of British New 

1 On the ceremonials of the Jabim Guinea by J. W. Lindt (London, 
tribes, see O. Schellong, "Das Bar- 1887), 132 sq.; Chalmers in Rep. 
lum-Fest der Gegend Finschafens Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci., ii (Sidney, 
(Kaiserwilhelmsland)," Intern. Ar- 1890), 312-313, and more fully, 
chiv f. Ethnogr., ii (1889), 145- Pioneering in New Guinea (London, 
162; id.,Zeits. f. Ethnol., xxi (1889), 1887), 72-74, 85-86, 180-181. See 
16-17; Joachim Graf v. Pfeil, also H. H. Romilly, The Western 
Studien und Beobachtungen aus der Pacific and New Guinea (London, 
Sudsee (Braunschweig, 1899), 315- 1886), 34; id., From My Verandah 
316; Vetter in Nachrichten uber in New Guinea (London, 1899), 88. 
Kaiser Wilhelms-Land und den Bis- 4 Chalmers in Jour. Anthrop. 
marck-Archipel, xiii (1897), 92-93. Inst., xxxiii (1903), 119; Haddon in 
On the Asa ceremonies of the Tamo Rep. Cambr. Anthrop. Expedition to 
of Bogadjim, we have the valuable Torres Straits, v, 218 sq. 

study by Bernhard Hagen, Unter den B Guise in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 

Papua's (Wiesbaden, 1899), 234 sq. xxviii (1899), 207. 

2 Holmes, "Initiation Ceremonies 8 Beardmore in Jour. Anthrop. 
of Natives of the Papuan Gulf," Jour. Inst., xix (1890), 460. 

Anthrop. Inst., xxxii (1902), 418-425. 7 Haddon in Geogr. Jour., xvi 

3 Edelfeld in Picturesque New (1900), 420. 



198 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Guinea. 1 So far as we know there are no initi- 

ation ceremonies among the strictly Melanesian races 
of New Guinea which inhabit the southern coast-line 
almost uninterruptedly from Cape Possession to the 
farthest island of the Louisiades. 2 Secret rites 

are no doubt to be found among the tribes of Dutch New 
Guinea. 3 

The ceremonies of the Torres Straits islanders resemble 
those found on the New Guinea mainland. Professor 
A. C. Haddon, who has made the inhabitants of these islands 
a special study since 1888, as an initiated member of the 
Western Tribe has been able to acquire very detailed infor- 
mation regarding the ceremonies. 4 

In the long chain of islands stretching from New Guinea 
to the southeast, Melanesian institutions have reached their 
most elaborate development. Such important factors as 
the fusion of different oceanic races, the rise of definite 
chieftainships, of fixed property relations, and of a money 
economy have contributed to the growth in these islands of 
numerous secret societies on the basis of the earlier puberty 
institutions. The various stages in this evolution may be 
traced from the great tribal society of the Dukduk to the 
small local associations so numerous in the southern islands. 
The Dukduk is the best known of these societies. It has 
a wide distribution over New Pomerania (New Britain), 
New Mecklenburg (New Ireland), New Hanover (Duke 



1 Roy. Irish Acad. Cunningham Secular and Ceremonial Dances of 
Memoirs, no. x (Dublin, 1894), 104- Torres Straits," Intern. Archiv f. 
in. Ethnogr., vi (1893), 140-146; and 

2 Haddon in Science Progress, ii again in Head-Hunters, Black, White, 
(1894), 86. and Brown (London, 1901), 42-52. 

3 F. S. A. de Clercq and J. D. E. For other ceremonies at Tud, Nagir, 
Schmeltz, Ethnographische Beschrijv- Pulu, and Muralug, see Jour. An- 
ing van de West-en Noordkust van throp. Inst., xix (1890), 315, 359 sq., 
Nederlandsch Nieuw-Guinea (Leiden, 408 sq., 432 sq.; and Head-Hunters, 
1893), 240-241. 140, 176 sq. The latest information on 

4 The ceremonies performed by the rites of the western group of the 
the inhabitants of Mer, one of the Torres Islanders is contained in the 
Murray Island group belonging to the Report of the Cambridge Anthropo- 
Eastern Tribe, Haddon has de- logical Expedition to Torres Straits, 
scribed at length in his article, "The v (Cambridge, 1904), 208-218. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 199 

of York Island), and New Lauenburg. 1 The latter island 
appears to be the centre of the society. Little is known of 
the Ingiet society also found in the Bismarck Archipelago. 2 
Important initiation rites exist among the Sulka, a tribe 
of New Pomerania. 3 On Rook Island between New Guinea 
and New Pomerania an institution similar to the Dukduk 
seems to have formerly existed. 4 The Rukruk, or Burri, 
of North Bougainville is obviously connected with the 
Dukduk? Kokorra, found at Buka, is now in process of 
decay. 6 The Matambala of Florida, one of the 

Solomon Islands, is a form of the Qatu, a society widely 
extended in the islands to the south. The islands of Malanta 
and Ulawa probably contain similar mysteries. 7 Secret 
societies have also been noted at Guadalcanar, another of 



1 Mr. H. H. Romilly, Deputy 
Commissioner for the Western Pacific, 
who has lived for many years among 
Melanesian peoples, was allowed to 
witness some of the ceremonies of 
initiation, The Western Pacific and 
New Guinea (London, 1886), 27-35. 
Cf. also his statements in Proc. Roy. 
Geogr. Soc., new series, ix (1887), 
ii-i2. William Churchill, as a 
member by adoption of one of the 
New Britain families, was initiated 
into the mysteries of the society, 
"The Duk-Duk Ceremonies," Popu- 
lar Science Monthly, xxxviii (1890), 
236-243. See also Brown in Rep. 
Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci., vii (1898), 
780-781; ibid., viii (1901), 309-310; 
Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc., new series, ix 
(1887), 17; Banks in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xviii (1889), 283; Weisser in 
Ausland, Ivi (1883), 857-858, and in 
Verhandl. d. Gesellschaft f. ^Erdkunde, 
x (1883), 291-292; R. Parkinson, 
Im Bismarck-Archipel (Leipzig, 
1887), 128-134; Joachim Graf von 
Pfeil, Studien und Beobachtungen 
aus der Sudsee (Braunschweig, 
1899), 159-168; id., "Duk-Duk 
and other Customs as Forms of Ex- 
pression of the Melanesians' Intel- 
lectual Life," Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 



xxvii (1897), 181-191; Wilfred 
Powell, Wanderings in a Wild 
Country (London, 1883), 61-66, 
182 sq.; Schmeltz, "Uber einige 
religiose Gebrauche der Melanesier," 
Globus, xli (1882), 7-10, 24-28, 39- 
41; Ernst Tappenbeck, Deujsch- 
Neuguinea (Berlin, 1901), 85-87; 
Hiibner in Die Ethnographisch-An- 
thropologische Abtheilung des Museum 
Godeffroy in Hamburg (Hamburg, 
1881), 17-18; Finsch in Annalen des 
k. k. Naturhistorischen H of muse- 
ums, iii (Wien, 1888), 115; Hahl in 
Nachrichten uber Kaiser Wilhelms- 
Land und den Bismarck-Archipel, 
xiii (1897), 76. 

2 Tappenbeck, op. cit., 85 ; Hahl 
in Nachrichten uber Kaiser Wil- 
helms-Land und den Bismarck-Archi- 
pel, xiii (1897), 76. 

3 Rascher in Archiv f. Anthrop., 
xxix (1904), 212-214, 227-228. 

4 Reina in Zeits. f. Allgemeine 
Erdkunde, new series, iv (1858), 356- 

357- 

6 Parkinson in Abh. u. Berichte d. 
Kgl. Zoolog. Anthrop.-Ethnogr. Mu- 
seums zu Dresden, vii (Berlin, 1899), 
no. 6, ii. 

8 Parkinson, loc. cit. 

7 Codrington, Melanesians, 100. 



200 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



the Solomon group, 1 and at Ysabel. 2 The Banks 

Islands with the neighboring Torres Islands have numerous 
societies. "In the Torres Islands alone there are a hun- 
dred of them, and every man belongs to four or five." 3 
Many of these are of little importance and are confined to 
particular islands. The Tamate is the great society found 
throughout this area and is no doubt the original institution. 
The Qat, common to all the Banks group, is not found in 
the Torres Islands. The Qatu and Qetu, variants of the 
Qat, are the great societies in the Northern New Heb- 
rides. 4 Up to the present time we have only scanty 
indications of the presence of secret societies in New Cale- 
donia. Hamy mentions the Apouema of that island as 
analogous to the Dukduk of New Britain. 5 According to 
De Rochas, circumcision is general and is the occasion of 
a festival at which the boy is invested with his first "culotte." 6 
Indicative to a further extent of the passage of puberty 
institutions into secret societies is the decline of circumcision 
in the Melanesian Islands. As no longer a puberty rite 



1 C. M. Woodford, A Naturalist 
among the Head-Hunters (London, 
1890), 25. 

2 John Gaggin, Among the Man- 
Eaters (London, 1900), 205. 

3 Codrington, op. cit., 75. 

4 Mr. R. H. Codrington's valuable 
studies refer chiefly to the New 
Hebrides, The Melanesians (Oxford, 
1891), 69-100. Other references on 
the secret societies of the New 
Hebrides are E. N. Imhaus, Les 
Nouvelles -Hebrides (Paris, 1890), 
47 sq.; Somerville in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xxiii (1893), 4 sq.; and Alfred 
Penny, Ten Years in Melanesia 
(London, 1887), 70-73. On puberty 
rites as a preparation for marriage 
among the different islands of the 
Melanesian group, see scattered ac- 
counts in Jour. Roy. Geogr. Soc., 
xlvii (1877), 148-149; Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xviii (1889), 287 sq.; Rep. 
Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci., iv (1893), 



659-660, 704-705; vii (1889), 780- 
781; viii (1901), 312. 

5 Rev. d? Ethnographie,v (1886), 551. 

6 La Nouvelle Caledonie et ses 
Habitants (Paris, 1862), 265, 285 sq. 
And for a similar statement, compare 
Jules Patouillet, Trois Ans en Nou- 
velle Caledonie (Paris, 1873), 94-95. 
More recent investigators have failed 
to find evidences of any secret so- 
cieties, though these undoubtedly 
exist: Moncelon, in Bull. Soc. d' An- 
throp. de Paris, third series, ix (1886), 
345-380; Atkinson in Folk-Lore, 
xiv (1903), 243-259. Glaumont de- 
scribes some New Caledonian masks 
and gives a figure of one of them, 
Rev. d'Ethnographie, vii (1888), 106- 
107 and Plate I. The mask and 
dress of a Caledonian native are 
figured in James Edge-Partington, 
An Album of the Weapons, Tools, 
Ornaments, Articles of Dress, etc., 
of the Natives of the Pacific Islands 
(Manchester, 1890), i, 126. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 201 

admitting to manhood, it is either performed at an early 
age or is superseded altogether by some more obvious 
mutilation. At Malekula, one of the New Hebrides, 
circumcision generally occurs when the boy is from three 
to five years of age. Even after the rite is performed, 
the lad is subject to few restrictions; he still lives and eats 
with his mother until the time has arrived to become a Bara. 
The Bara is the lowest of four secret society degrees, through 
which a man may pass by the performance of appropriate 
ceremonies, which include the assumption of a new name 
and the inevitable slaughter of pigs. Once a Bara the boy, 
now a man, sits in the Amily or men's house, where he was 
previously confined at circumcision; takes a wife, and shares 
in the other privileges of men. 1 At Efate, connected with 
circumcision were "no mystic rites, no badge, new name, 
marks, or hair-cutting, or freemasonry, or privileges/' 
At Tanna, however, circumcision is still retained as a com- 
pulsory puberty rite. 3 Among some of the Solomon Islands 
tattooing seems to have replaced circumcision as an initiatory 
rite, though the usual period of seclusion is still enforced. 4 
The inhabitants of Bougainville Straits replace tattoo- 
ing with cicatrization. 5 Circumcision is not practised by 
the Loyalty Islanders. 6 

With the spread of Christianity over the islands of the 
South Seas, native customs and traditions either have rapidly 
passed out of existence, or, shorn of much of their former 
importance, have survived only in isolated localities. Such 
a remark seems especially applicable to the Nanga cere- 
monies of certain Fijian natives, once the most conspicuous 
of tribal festivals, but now no longer performed. These 
interesting rites were confined to those western tribes of 
Viti Levu which both in traditions and language are recog- 
nized as distinctly Melanesian. These tribes seem to have 



1 Leggatt in Rep. Austr. Assoc. * Guppy, The Solomon Islands 
Adv. Sci., iv (Sidney, 1893), 704- and their Natives, 136. 

705. 5 Gaggin, Among the Man-Eaters, 

2 Macdonald, ibid., iv, 722. 212 sq. 

3 Gray in Intern. Archiv f. c Gray, loc. cit. 
Ethnogr., vii (1894), 229. 



202 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

first settled on the western coast of the island and as they 
advanced inland brought their customs, including those of 
the Nanga, with them. 1 

IV. POLYNESIA 

We have no conclusive evidence for the existence through- 
out the vast Pacific area of tribal initiation ceremonies or 
secret societies akin to those which have been described. 
The establishment of permanent chieftainships, and in 
some cases of more powerful rulers, the aristocratic develop- 
ment of society in these islands, and the general advance 
in civilization and the arts of life, have rendered the per- 
petuation of these institutions unnecessary. Their previous 
existence, however, seems probable, perhaps at a time when 
all the islands of the Pacific were still the possession of the 
Melanesian race. The great society of the Areoi has been 
described elsewhere as a probable outgrowth of early puberty 
institutions. There is sufficient evidence for the existence 
of the Areoi or of societies essentially the same throughout 
the islands composing the Society, Tuamotu, Marquesas, 
and Hawaiian groups. It was probably even more widely 
extended. \ /Curiously enough there is no evidence for its 
existence in the Tonga Islands. Vason explicitly denies 
its existence there, 2 nor is it mentioned in Mariner's nar- 
rative. 3 The Uritoi society of the Mariannes seems to have 

1 After years of fruitless inquiry mer in Petermanns Mitteilungen, 

the Rev. Lorimer Fison at last sue- xxxiv (1888), 342-343. See also 

ceeded in obtaining an account of Webb in Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. Sci. 

the ceremonies which is reproduced in ii (Sidney, 1890), 623, who applies the 

his article, "The Nanga, or Sa- other native term, Mbaki, to the rites, 

cred Stone Enclosure, of Wainimala, The early missionaries, Thomas 

Fiji," Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xiv (1884), Williams and James Calvert, de- 

14-30. A few years later Mr. A. B. scribe what were probably secret cere- 

Joske received full accounts of the monies of an initiatory character, 

mysteries from some of the initiated Fiji and the Fijians, 186-187. 
men. See "The Nanga of Viti- 2 An Authentic Narrative of Four 

Levu," Intern. Archiv f. Ethnogr., Years' Residence at Tongataboo (Lon- 

ii (1889), 254-271, with brief com- don, 1810), 132. 
ments and additions by Baron A. von 3 An Account of the Natives of 

Hiigel. There is a brief and inac- the Tonga Islands (Edinburgh, 

curate notice of the Nanga by Voll- 1827). 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 203 

been essentially the same as the Areoi. 1 The society of 
the Areoi was an object of great interest to the early 
navigators in the southwestern Pacific. George Forster 
gives the earliest account. 2 Captain Cook, who met it at 
Tahiti in 1769 on his first voyage and again on his second 
voyage in 1774, describes those features of unbridled sexual 
license and infanticide commented on by every traveller 
after him. 3 The English missionaries, who arrived at 
Tahiti in 1797, naturally came into much contact with the 
society. The subsequent history of missionary enterprise 
in Tahiti and the neighboring islands is largely occupied 
with a desperate, though finally successful, struggle with the 
Areois 9 - " Legion-fiends of the voluptuous haunts of 
Belial." This history may be read in the two works of 
William Wilson, 4 and James Montgomery, 5 and in the 
summarized account by Th. Arbousset. 6 One of the first 
deacons of the Congregational church at Huahine was an 
Areoi priest. But stubborn and unconverted Areois were 
still living until very recently. "Yes, sir," said one of 
them to an interested inquirer, "I am the last man of the 
Areoi on Huahine. There are one or two of us on Tai- 
arapu, in Tahiti." The best accounts of the society are 
those by the missionary William Ellis, based on statements 
by native chiefs, 7 and J. A. Moerenhout, formerly United 
States Consul at Tahiti. 8 

1 On the Uritoi society, ^see 8 Journal of Voyages and Travels 
Charles Le Gobien, Histoire des lies by the Rev. Daniel Tyerman and 
Marianes (Paris, 1700), 61 sq., 103; George Bennet, Esq. (London, 1831), 
Louis de Freycinet, Voyage autour du i, 94, 113, 254 sq. 

Monde (Paris, 1837), n > I ^4, 369 sq. 8 Tahiti et les lies Adjacentes 

2 A Voyage round the World (Paris, 1867), 22 sq., 99 sq. 
(London, 1777), ii, 128-135. 7 Polynesian Researches (New 

3 The Three Voyages of Captain York, 1833), i, 182-195. 

James Cook round the World (Lon- 8 Voyages aux lies du Grand 

don, 1821), i, 206-207, iii, 348. Cf. Ocean (Paris, 1837), i, 484-503; 

also History of the Otaheitan Islands Ellis's account is followed by Michael 

(Edinburgh, 1800), 81 sq.; John Russell, Polynesia (New York, 1848), 

Turnbull, A Voyage round the 73~775 H. S. Cooper, Coral Lands 

World (London, 1805), iii, 68-71. (London, 1880), ii, 288 sq.; F. J. 

4 A Missionary Voyage to the Moss, Through Atolls and Islands 
Southern Pacific Ocean (London, in the Great South Sea (London, 

65-66, 152-153, 326, 347. 1889), 150 sq.; and Louis Becke, 



304 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

The existence of Maori secret societies anterior to the 
development of aristocratic conditions may possibly be 
discovered in the traditions associated with the Wbare 
Runanga, or council-chamber, of the tribe. According to 
the native legends the ancestors of the Maori had once 
lived in a great island, Hawaiki, remote from New Zealand. 
There a secret society had been formed called the Runanga; 
its purpose was the reformation of morals, but the reformers 
who were the chiefs of the Runanga, being unsuccessful in 
their efforts, were compelled to leave the island with their 
followers, and to emigrate to New Zealand. "The dis- 
persion of the immigrants broke up and scattered the original 
and secret Runanga, but from its ashes arose a Runanga 
in every tribe, each of which zealously enforced the laws 
their parent society had framed." These tribal councils, 
or Runangas, were aristocratic in character and consisted of 
the ruling chief, some of his nearest relatives, and the most 
distinguished men of the tribe. 2 We might reasonably 
expect to find traces of secret societies in New Zealand, 
and such suspicions are confirmed by the legend that has 
been related. The Runanga has its counterpart in the 
organization of the more powerful African societies, as 
Egbo of Old Calabar, whose members comprising the lead- 
ing men and chiefs of the tribe formerly exercised almost 
despotic control. Tradition places " Hawaiki " in a northerly 
or northeasterly direction from New Zealand, and efforts 
have been made to identify it with Tahiti, with Sawaii, the 
largest of the Samoan group, and even with the Hawaiian 
Islands. But the opinion of William Colenso that the 
Maori tradition is probably a "figurative or allegorical 
myth/' 3 lends support to the hypothesis here suggested. 

Wild Life in Southern Seas (London, Polynesians (Paris, 1880-1884), i> 

1897), 44-58. Adolf Bastian, Zur 359-360; iv, 35; and Th. Achelis, 

Kenntniss Hawaii's (Berlin, 1883), Uber Mythologie und Cultus von 

66-69, follows Ellis and Moerenhout. Hawaii (Braunschweig, 1895), 65 sq. 

See also P. Lesson, Voyage autour du l J. C. Johnstone, Maoria (Lon- 

Monde (Paris, 1839), i> 4 2I 5 Henri don, 1874), 47. 

Lutteroth, O-Taiti (Paris, 1845), 2 Ibid., 47-48; cf. Richard Taylor, 

9-18; Jules Gamier, Oceanie (Paris, Te Ika A Maui (London, 1870), 344. 

1871), 370 sq.; A. Lesson, Les 3 Trans, and Proc. New Zealand 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 205 

The myth of the origin of the Runanga would then arise 
to explain the existence of the institution throughout the 
island. The bull-roarer, that sure indication of former 
secret rites, survives in New Zealand as a child's play- 
thing. 1 

The decline of puberty rites throughout the Polynesian 
areaTsf to be associated, as in Melanesia, with the decay or 
total absence of circumcision as an initiatory practice. It 
has been generally replaced, in Polynesia, by tattooing and, 
where retained, appears to have lost all religious significance 
as well as tribal character. As a purely conventional or 
hygienic practice circumcision is usually performed at an 
early age. Numerous examples are to be found among the 
New Zealanders, 2 the Fijians, 3 the Samoans, 4 and at Tahiti 5 
and Hawaii. 6 At Niue, or Savage Island, east of the Tonga 
group, there is a curious survival of circumcision in the 
rite of mata pulega, which must be undergone by infants. 
"A child not so initiated is never regarded as a full-born 
member of the tribe." 7 Tattooing, though a tribal rite, 
does not appear to be accompanied with initiatory cere- 
monies of a secret character. At Samoa, until tattooed 
a boy was in his minority. " He could not think of marriage, 
and he was constantly exposed to taunts and ridicule, as 
being poor and of low birth, and as having no right to speak 
in the society of men." In the Marquesas Islands, where 
tattooing is the principal initiatory rite, the boy at puberty 

Inst., i (1868), 52-53; cf. Edward Samoa, 88 sq.; Kubary in Globus, 

Shortland, Traditions and Super- xlvii (1885), 71. 
stitions of the New Zealanders (Lon- 6 William Wilson, A Missionary 

don, 1856), 2. Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean 

1 A. Hamilton, Maori Art (Wei- (London, 1799), 342; Supplement 
lington, 1896), 373. au Voyage de M. de Bougainville 

2 Edward Shortland, The Southern (Paris, 1772), 70. 

Districts of New Zealand (London, 6 Jules Remy, Recits d'un Vieux 

1851), 16. Sauvage (Chalons-sur-Marne, 1859), 

3 Thomas Williams and James 22. 

Calvert, Fiji and the Fijians (New 7 Thompson in Jour. Anthrop. 

York, 1859), 131. Inst., xxxi (1901), 140; id., Savage 

4 Ella in Rep. Austr. Assoc. Adv. Island (London, 1902), 92. 

Sci., iv (Sidney, 1893), 624; W. T. 8 George Turner, Samoa (London, 

Pritchard, Polynesian Reminiscences 1884), 88. 
(London, 1866), 142 sq.; Turner, 



206 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

is given over to a professional tattooer and is secluded from 
the women until the operation is over. He then returns 
to the village and receives a new name which replaces the 
provisional name assigned him at birth. 1 Tattooing 
reached its culminating point in the Society and Marquesas 
islands, where both men and women were operated upon. 
In the Samoan and Tonga groups it was restricted to men; 
in Fiji to the women. 2 

V. AFRICA 

Among the numerous South African peoples occupying 
the continent from the Cape northwards to the Zambesi, 
puberty rites of the general character that has been described, 
seem to have commonly prevailed. Such rites have been 
studied among the Hottentots of the Cape, 3 the Korannas 
and Griquas, Hottentotic races on the Vaal River, 4 the 
Bushmen, 5 and among the Basutos, 6 the Bechuanas, 7 the 
Namaqua, and some other tribes. 8 Among the Amazulu, 
the absence of circumcision seems connected with the lack 
of any formal rites of tribal initiation. Such rites were 
formerly in existence, however. 9 An old tradition of the 
people recites that "they circumcised because Unkulun- 
kulu said, 'Let men circumcise, that they may not be 

1 Clavel in Rev. tf Ethnographic, 1 Robert Moffat, Missionary La- 
iii (1884), 136 sq.; id., Les Mar- lours and Scenes in Southern Africa 
quisiens (Paris, 1885), 58. (London, 1842), 250-251; David 

2 Berthold Seemann, Viti (Lon- Livingstone, Missionary Travels and 
don, 1862), 113. Researches in South Africa (New 

3 Peter Kolben, The Present State York, 1858), 164 sq. 

of the Cape of Good Hope (London, 8 The most valuable account of 

1738), i, 120-125; cf. also Francis these South African ceremonies is 

Leguat, A New Voyage to the East that by Gustav Fritsch, Die Einge- 

Indies (London, 1708), 230. borenen Siid-Afrika's (Breslau, 1872), 

4 Holub in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., x 109-111, 206-207. See also for Kaf- 
(1880), 7-8. fir rites, Nauhaus in Verhandl. Berlin. 

6 G. W. Stow, The Native Races Gesells. f. Anthrop. Ethnol. und 

of South Africa (London, 1905), IT jn. 1 . Urgeschichte (1882), 205; and for 

6 Eugene Casalis, Les Bassoutos those of the Sotho tribes, Endemann 

(Paris, 1859), 275-283; Macdonald in Zeits. f. Ethnol., vi (1874), 37~39. 
in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxii (1892), 9 Fritsch, op. cit., 140; Wheel- 

100 sq.; id., Revue Scientifique, wright in Jour. Anthrop. Inst. t xxxv 

third series, xlv (1890), 642-643. (1905), 251. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 207 

boys.' ' The Ba-Ronga of Delagoa Bay have also discon- 
tinued circumcision. Other initiatory practices still prevail. 2 

Initiation rites are probably to be found throughout the 
wide area between the Zambesi and the Congo. At present 
our information is most fragmentary. We have some 
evidence for their existence among the Upper Zambesi 
peoples of British Central Africa, 3 the tribes of Nyassaland 
west of Lake Nyassa, 4 the Bondei, Wanika, Wagogo, and 
other tribes of German East Africa, 5 and among the Baluba 
along the Lulua River, a tributary of the Kasa'i, Congo 
Free State. 6 In Angola puberty initiation is a universal 
custom 7 as also among the Songo negroes. 8 There is also 
some evidence for initiation ceremonies among the Uganda 
tribes west of Lake Victoria Nyanza. 9 The powerful 
religious fraternities throughout Somaliland, to-day under 
Mohammedan influence, may possibly be developments 
of earlier tribal societies. 10 Initiation rites are also found 
among the Beni Amer of Northern Abyssinia. 11 

In the Congo region there are two important fraternities 
which extend over a large area. The Nkimba rites are 

1 Henry Callaway, The Religious 132-133; J. L. Krapf, Travels, Re- 
System of the Amazulu (London, searches, and Missionary Labours 
1870), 58. during an Eighteen Years' Residence 

2 Henri Junod, Les Ba-Ronga in Eastern Africa (London, 1860), 
(Neuchatel, 1898), 28 sq. 164-166. 

3 Man, iii (1903), 75. C. S. L. Bateman, The First 

4 Moggridge in Jour. Anthrop. Ascent of the Kasai (London, 1889), 
Inst., xxxii (1902), 470; Maples in 183-184; Miss Kingsley, Travels in 
Jour. Manchester Geogr. Soc., v West Africa (London, 1897), 547. 
(1899), 67; id., Scottish Geogr. Mag., 7 J. J. Monteiro, Angola and the 
iv (1888), 429-430; Duff Mac- River Congo (London, 1875), i, 
donald, Africana (London, 1882), i, 278-279; O. H. Schiitt, Reisen im 
127-132. Sudwestlichen Becken des Congo (Ber- 

6 Dale in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxv lin, 1881), 106. 

(1896), 188-193; Cole in Jour. * Paul Pogge, Im Reiche des 

Anthrop. Inst., xxxii (1902) 308; Muata Jamwo (Berlin, 1880), 39-40. 

R. F. Burton, Zanzibar (London, 8 (Sir) Harry Johnston, The 

1872), ii, 89-92; Charles New, Life, Uganda Protectorate (New York, 

Wanderings, and Labours in Eastern 1902), ii, 554, 640, 804, 827. 

Africa (London, 1873), 107-114; 10 See the description by L. Robec- 

C. C. von der Decken, Reisen in Ost- chi Bricchetti, Somalia e Benadir 

Afrika (Leipzig, 1869), i, 217; (Milano, 1899), 422-431. 

Oscar Baumann, Usambara und u Werner Munzinger, Ostafrikan- 

seine Nachbargebiete (Berlin, 1891), ische Studien (Basel, 1883), 323-324. 



208 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



found among the Bakongo tribes from the mouth of the 
Congo upwards for over two hundred miles. Beyond the 
cataract region of the river they are replaced by the wide- 
spread Ndembo rites, which have apparently lost all con- 
nection with puberty initiations. 1 Among the Upper Congo 
tribes, who are pure Bantu, there are no initiations. Boys 
are circumcised twelve days after birth. 2 

In. the coastal area between the Congo and the Niger, 
puberty institutions and secret societies are numerous. 
Stndungo is found in Angoy and Kabinda. 3 In French 
Congo in the Gabun region of the Equator, the leading 
societies are Mwetyi among the Shekani, 4 Bweti and Ukukwe 
among the Bakele ; Nda or Mda of the Mpongwe. 5 Tasi y 
now little more than a dramatic association, is found in the 
Ogowe region. 6 Ukuku is the prominent organization in 
the Benito regions of the Spanish territory north of Corisco 
Bay. 7 Malanda dwells in the Batanga country. 8 Ngi is 
found among both the Bula and the Fang, 9 and still other 



1 Initiation by the fetish priests 
into the mysteries of Maramba of 
Loango tribes is described by an old 
writer in Allgemeine Historic der 
Reisen (Leipzig, 1749), iv, 654 sq. 
On the Nkimba rites which closely 
resemble those of Maramba, see W. H. 
Bentley, Dictionary and Grammar of 
the Kongo Language (London, 1887), 
507; id., Life on the Congo (London, 
1887), 80 sq.; id., Pioneering on the 
Congo (New York, 1900), i, 282-284; 
Biittner in Mitth. Afrikan. Gesell. in 
Deutschland, v (1887), 188; Dennett 
in Jour. Manchester Geogr. Soc., iii 
(1887), 119; E. J. Glave, Six Years 
of Adventure in Congo-Land (London, 
1893), 80-83; Johnston, in Proc. 
Roy. Geogr. Soc., new series, v (1883), 
572-573; id., Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
xiii (1884), 472; id., The River 
Congo (London, 1884), 423 sq.; 
Morgan in Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc., 
new series, vi (1884), 93; Herbert 
Ward, Five Years with the Congo 
Cannibals (London, 1890), 54-57; 



id., Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxiv (1895), 
288-289. 

On the Ndembo rites, see Adolf 
Bastian, Die Deutsche Expedition 
an der Loango-Kiiste (Jena, 1874), ii, 
31; Meinhof in Globus, Ixvi (1894), 
117 sq.; and the numerous writings 
by the Rev. W. H. Bentley previously 
cited. 

2 Johnston, The River Congo, 
423 sq. 

3 Bastian, op. cit., i, 221-223. 

4 W. W. Reade, Savage Africa 
(New York, 1864), 208. 

6 J. L. Wilson,. Western Africa 
(New York, 1856), 391 sq.; R. F. 
Burton, Two Trips to Gorilla Land 
(London, 1876), i, 100-101. 

8 Miss Kingsley, Travels in West 
Africa, 535. 

7 Id., Travels in West Africa, 540; 
Nassau, Fetichism in West Africa, 
140 sq. 

8 Nassau, op. cit., 248, 320-326. 

9 Bennett in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
xxix (1899), 92. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 209 



secret societies exist among the Abongo. 1 Among theQuollas 
of Kamerun, Max Biichner found five societies Elung, 
Ekongoloy Mungi (a s powerful law-god society, apparently 
the same as Egbo of Calabar), Mukuku, and Muemba. 2 
The Losango society is allied to Mungi. 3 Ikun of the Bakele 
south of Gross Batanga is an important society in this part 
of Kamerun. 4 The Duala tribe has a secret society called 
Tugu. 5 The Banes have elaborate initiatory rites. 6 The 
puberty rites of the Yaunde tribes of southeastern Kamerun 
have recently been the subject of careful study. 7 Egbo of 
the Effik tribes of Old Calabar in what is now the British 
Oil Rivers Protectorate was once the most powerful secret 
society in Africa. 8 Idiong (Idion or Idieri) is a society open 
only to Egbo members. 9 The Ayaka society belongs to 
this region. 10 

Between the Niger and the Senegal, secret societies are 
to be found in nearly every tribe. Among the different 
Yoruba peoples of Lagos, Egba, and Jebu, Ogboni 11 is the 



1 Oskar Lenz, Skizzen aus West 
Afrika (Berlin, 1878), no. 

2 Kamerun (Leipzig, 1887), 25- 
29. On Mungi, see also Lauffer in 
Deutsches Kolonialblatt, x (1899), 
852-854. 

3 Kobel in Deutsches Kolonialblatt, 
xi (1900), 800. 

4 Miss Kingsley, Travels in West 
Africa, 527-530. 

6 Keller in Deutsches Kolonial- 
blatt, xi (1900), 144. 

9 Hans Dominik, Kamerun (Ber- 
lin, 1901), 164-166. 

7 Zenker in Mitth. v. Forschungs- 
reisenden und Gelehrten aus den 
Deutschen Schutzgebieten, viii (Berlin, 
1895), 52-58; C. Morgen, Durch 
Kamerun von Stid nach Nord (Leip- 
zig, 1893), 51 sq. See also on Kam- 
erun societies, Pauli in Petermanns 
MitteUungen, xxxi (1885), 21; Reiche- 
now in Verhandl. Berlin. Gesells. f. 
Anthrop. Ethnol. u. Urgeschichte 
(1873), 181. 

8 Adolf Bastian, Die Rechts- 
verhdltnisse bei verschiedenen Volkern 



der Erde (Berlin, 1872), 402-404: 
Count de Cardi in Miss Kingsley's 
West African Studies, ist ed. (London, 
1899), 562; Daniell in Jour. Ethnol. 
Soc., first series, i, 223-224; T. J. 
Hutchinson in Trans. Ethnol. Soc., 
new series, i (1861), 334-3355 * 
Impressions of Western Africa (Lon- 
don, 1858), 141-145; Miss Kingsley, 
Travels in West Africa, 532-535; 
Walker in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., vi 
(1876), 119-122; James Holman, 
Travels in Madeira, Sierra Leone, 
Teneri/e, etc. (London, 1840), 392- 
395; Richard Lander and John 
Lander, Journal of an Expedition 
to explore the Course and Termination 
of the Niger (London, 1838), ii, 
377-378. 

9 Marriott in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
xxix (1899), 23. 

10 Ibid., 22, 97. 

11 P. Baudin, Fetichism and Fetich 
Worshipers (New York, 1885), 63- 
64; A. B. Ellis, The Yoruba-S peak- 
ing Peoples of the Slave Coast of West 
Africa (London, 1894), 93-95; Nar- 



210 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



powerful society. In Jebu it is called Osbogbo. Oro l and 
Egungun 2 among these tribes present much interest. Gu- 
nuko 3 of the Nupe north of Lagos belongs to this region. 
The Zangbeto society constitutes the night police of Porto 
Novo, Dahomey. 4 Afa is found in Togoland ; 5 and the 
Katahwiri society on the Gold Coast. 6 Sembe, among the 
Gallianas, Vey, Golah, and other tribes of Liberia, closely 
resembles the Purrab of Sierra Leone. 7 Kufong, a Mende 
society, is given over to the preparation of charms. 8 Purrab, 
or Poro, covers a wide area from Sherbro Island through 
Sierra Leone to the Temnes and Timanees northeast of that 
country. Before the establishment of British law in the 
Sherbro Hinterland, it provided the chief governmental 
agency. 9 North and east of Sierra Leone we may note the 



rative of Captain James Fawcknefs 
Travels on the Coast of Benin, West 
Africa (London, 1837), 102-103; 
Smith in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., xxix 
(1899), 25. 

1 R. F. Burton, Abeokuta and the 
Camaroons Mountains (London, 
1863), i, 196-200; Baudin, op. cit., 
62: Mrs. Batty in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xix (1889), 160-161; Moloney 
in Jour. Manchester Geogr. Soc., v 
(1889), 293; Ellis, Yoruba-S peaking 
Peoples, 109-111; H. L. Roth, Great 
Benin (Halifax, Eng., 1903), 65; 
John Adams, Remarks on the Country 
extending from Cape P almas to the 
River Congo (London, 1823), 104- 
105. 

2 Burton, op. cit., 195-196; Ellis, 
Yoruba-S peaking Peoples, 107-109; 
Baudin, op. cit., 61-62, D'Albeca in 
Tour du Monde, new series, i (1895), 
101. 

3 Samuel Crowther and J. C. 
Taylor, The Gospel on the Banks of 
the Niger (London, 1859), 215; 
D'Albeca, loc. cit. 

4 A. B. Ellis, The Ewe-Speaking 
Peoples of the Slave Coast of West 
Africa (London, 1890), 178. 

5 Marriott in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
xxix (1899), 24. 



6 Ibid., 21. 

7 For the Liberian societies our 
chief authority is J. Buttikofer, 
Reisebilder aus Liberia (Leiden, 1890), 
ii, 302-308. Cf. also Penick, quoted 
in Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, ix (1896), 
220-222. An early account of the 
Belli-paaro mysteries of the Quojas, 
is given by O. Dapper, Description 
de VAfrique (Amsterdam, 1686), 268- 
270. Dapper's account is reproduced 
by Picart and Bernard, The Ceremonies 
and Religious Customs of the Various 
Nations of the Known World (Lon- 
don, 1733), iv, 450 sq.; it is found 
also in Allgemcine Historic der Reisen 
(Leipzig, 1749), iii, 630. 

8 Miss Kingsley, West African 
Studies, 138 sq. 

9 John Matthews, A Voyage to 
the River Sierra-Leone (London, 
1 788), 70 sq. ; Thomas Winterbottom, 
An Account of the Native Africans in 
the Neighborhood of Sierra Leone 
(London, 1803), i, 135-137; J. G. 
Laing, Travels in Western Africa 
(London, 1825), 92 sq.; Harris in 
Mem. Anthrop. Soc., ii (1866), 
31-32; Griffith in Jour. Anthrop. 
Inst., xvi (1887), 309; J. de Crozals, 
Les Peulhs (Paris, 1883), 243-245; 
T. J. Alldridge in Geogr. Jour., iv 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 211 



Simo (Semo or Simon) and Penda-Penda of the Bagas of 
French Guinea. 1 Among the Temnes, between Sierra 
Leone and the Niger, the Purrab institution is known as 
Amporo. 2 The Dou or Lou is found among the Bambara 
and Bobo tribes, south of Timbuctu. 3 The Naferi is another 
institution of the Bambaras. 4 Mahammah Jamboh, better 
known as Mumbo Jumbo, exists among the Mande or Man- 
dingoes of western Soudan 5 and the Bagnouns along the 
Casamance River in Senegal. 6 Kongcorong among the 
Mandingoes and Susus has inquisitorial functions similar 
to those of Mumbo Jumbo. 7 Among the Bayandas (basin 
of the Tchad), initiates known as labis undergo a novitiate 
lasting three or four years. 8 



(1894), 133-134; id., The Sherbro 
and its Hinterland (London, 1901), 
124-135. 

1 Rend Caillid, Journal d'un 
Voyage d Temboctou et d, Jenne 
(Paris, 1830), i, 227-231; Winter- 
bottom, op. cit., i, 137-139; Leprince 
in Revue Scientifique, fourth series, 
xiii (1900), 399-401; Nordeck in 
Tour du Monde, li (1886), 283-284. 

2 C. F. Schlenker, A Collection of 
Temne Traditions, Fables, and Prov- 
erbs (London, 1861), xiii-xiv. 

3 Caillie*, op. cit., ii, 117 sq.; 
L. G. Binger, Du Niger au Golfe de 
Guinee (Paris, 1892), i, 378-380. 

4 Caillid, op. cit., ii, 85-87. 

6 Francis Moore, Travels into the 
Inland Parts of Africa (London, 
1738), 40, 116-118. Moore's ac- 
count is reproduced in Allgemeine 
Historic der Reisen (Leipzig, 1749), 
iii, 243 sq. See also Mungo Park, 
Travels in the Interior Districts of 
Africa (London, 1816), i, 58-59; 
Gray and Dochard, Travels in West- 
ern Africa (London, 1825), 82 sq. 

J. L. B. Be'renger-Fe'raud, Les 
Peuplades de la Senegambie (Paris, 
1879), 299. 

7 Gray and Dochard, op. cit., 55. 

8 Clozel in Tour du Monde, new 
series, ii (1896), 32-33. 



The work by Frobenius, previously 
referred to, summarizes many descrip- 
tions given of the African societies, 
especially by the earlier writers, "Die 
Masken und Geheimbiinde Afrikas," 
Abhandl. Kaiserlichen Leopoldinisch- 
Carolinischen Deuts. Akad. der Na- 
turforscher (Halle, 1899), Ixxiv, 1-266. 
A previous study by Frobenius, "Die 
Geheimbiinde Afrika's," is given in 
Sammlung gemeinverstandlicher ivis- 
senschaftlicher Vortrdge, new series 
(Hamburg, 1895), 631-658. A pop- 
ular account of the African societies 
is found in the same writer's Aus den 
Flegeljahren der Menschheit (Hann- 
over, 1901), 148-171. On the secret 
societies of the tribes along the Gulf 
of Guinea, the best general account is 
to be found in Miss Mary H. Kings- 
ley's works: Travels in West Africa 
(London, 1897), 526-547; and West 
African Studies. 2d ed. (London, 
1901), 117, 135, 138-141, 144, 364, 
372, 375, 383-384, 398, 4H-4I3, 448- 
456. See also Marriott, "The Secret 
Societies of West Africa," Jour. 
Anthrop. Inst., xxix (1899), 21-24. 
In the work by R. H. Nassau, Fetich- 
ism in West Africa (New York, 1004), 
138-155, 247-263, and 320-326 are 
graphic accounts of the societies 
known as Ukuku, Yasi, Njembe, and 



212 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



VI. SOUTH AMERICA AND CENTRAL AMERICA 

Puberty rites were common among the aborigines in this 
part of the world, but we know little of them except as 
ordeals which may or may not have formed part of secret 
initiation ceremonies. 1 Among the Fuegians, the Paraguay 
Indians, and certain Brazilian tribes notably the Juri, 
Maupes, Tekuna, Karaya, and Kangthi however, tribal 
initiations of a secret character still prevail. 2 The cult 
of Nagualism in Mexico has already been discussed as 
a probable survival of primitive puberty institutions. 3 The 
secret ceremonies of the Voodoo cult in Hayti have been 
usually considered to have been brought from West Africa 
by the Aradas, a tribe of negroes of the Slave Coast. Mr. 
W. W. Newell, however, has recently argued that the name 
Vaudoux or Voodoo is derived from a European source, 
as well as the beliefs which the word denotes - "the alleged 



Malanda. His account of the in- 
itiatory rites of the last-named society 
is almost the only detailed descrip- 
tion we have for the West African 
organizations. 

1 Examples of such ordeals are 
found among the Guanas of Paraguay 
(T. J. Hutchinson, The Parand, 
London, 1868, 65); among the 
Brazilians (Lomonaco in Archivio 
per V Antr apologia e la Etnologia, 
xix, 1889, 47) ; among the Mosquito 
Indians (Collinson in Mem. An- 
throp. Soc., iii, 1870, 153); and 
among the Coras of northwestern 
Mexico (Carl Lumholtz, Unknown 
Mexico, New York, 1902, i, 510). 

2 Mission Scientifique du Cap 
Horn, tome vii, Anthropologie, Eth- 
nographic, par P. Hyades et J. 
Deniker (Paris, 1891), 376-377; 
W. B. Grubb, Among the Indians of 
the Paraguayan Chaco (London, 
1904), 58-59; A. R. Wallace, A Nar- 
rative of Travels on the Amazon and 
Rio Negro (London, 1853), 348 sq., 
497, 501 sq.; Karl von den Steinen, 
Unter den Naturvolkern Zentral- 



Brasiliens (Berlin, 1894), 296 sq., 
496 sq.; H. W. Bates, The Natu- 
ralist on the River Amazons (Lon- 
don, 1863), ii, 204-206, 376, 403- 
405. See also Ehrenreich in Veroff- 
entlichungen aus dem Koniglichen 
Museum fiir Volkerkunde, ii (Berlin, 
1891), 34-38, 70-71. Comparing the 
Brazilian and Melanesian secret rites, 
Ehrenreich significantly remarks : 
"Diese Uebereinstimmung geht so 
ins Einzelne, dass Kleinschmidts 
Beschreibung der neubritannischen 
Duck-Duckfeste mutatis mutandis 
auch auf die Thiertanze der Karaya 
passen wtirde." The Aymara In- 
dians of Central Bolivia have three 
esoteric fraternities of shamans whose 
rites and ceremonies strikingly re- 
semble those of the New Mexico 
and Arizona orders. (Bandelier, ' ' La 
Danse des 'Sicuri' des Indiens 
Aymara de la Bolivie," Anthropo- 
logical Papers written in Honor of 
Franz Boas, New York, 1906, 272- 
282). 

3 Brinton in Proc. Amer. Philos. 
Soc., xxxiii (1894), 11-69. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 213 

sect and its supposed rites have, in all probability, no real 
existence, but are a product of popular imagination." l 
Their resemblance to the West African rites is, however, 
most striking. 2 

VII. NORTH AMERICA 

Among the North American Indians the evidence, though 
scanty, is sufficient to indicate the former presence of tribal 
initiation ceremonies and tribal secret societies, throughout 
possibly the entire continent. The Tuscaroras of North 
Carolina, 3 the Creeks of Georgia, 4 and the Powhatans of 
Virginia, 5 had puberty ceremonies very similar to those 
practised in Africa and Australia; the secret societies of 
the Maidu 6 and Pomos 7 of Northern California present close 
resemblances to those of other primitive peoples. Through- 
out the California area something corresponding to a secret 
society is found, "although in many very different forms, 
to some of which the strict organization of a society can 
scarcely be said to belong. It seems, however, that there is 
everywhere either some ceremony conducted by a special 
group of men or an initiation of children or young men." 8 
At the Toloache fiesta of the Dieguenos of Southern Cali- 
fornia, boys were initiated according to the long-established 
traditions of the tribe. 9 In the magical fraternities of the 

1 Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, i (1888), Country in the Years 1798 and 1799," 

18. See also ii (1889), 232-233; iii Collections of the Georgia, Historical 

(1890), 9-10, 241, 281-287 ; iv (1891), Society (Savannah, 1848), iii, part i, 

181-182. For a good description of 78-79. 

these so-called Voodoo rites, see 5 On the " Huskanawing " of the 

Hesketh Prichard, Where Black rides Powhatan Indians, see Robert Bev- 

White (Westminster, 1900), 74-101. erley, The History of Virginia (Lon- 

3 Cf. Ellis, Ewe-Speaking Peoples, don, 1722), 177-180. 
29-30. c Dixon, in Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. 

3 John Lawson, The History of Hist., xvii (1902), 35 sq. 

Carolina (Raleigh, 1860), reprint of 7 Powers, "Tribes of California," 

the London edition of 1714, 380-382. Contributions to North Amer. Ethnol., 

Lawson's account is reproduced by iii (Washington, 1877), 305 sq. 
John Brickell, The Natural History 8 Kroeber in Publications of the 

of North Carolina (Dublin, 1737), University of California. Series in 

405 sq. Amer. Archaol. andEthnol., ii (1904), 

4 For the Boosketau ceremonies of 84-85. 

the Creeks, see Colonel Benjamin B Miss Dubois, "Religious Cere- 

Hawkins, "A Sketch of the Creek monies and Myths of the Mission 



2i4 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

Navajo, Sia, Zuni, and Hopi of New Mexico and Arizona, 
primitive puberty rites have survived in the midst of cere- 
monies having at the present time quite other purposes. 1 
Secret societies of the general type described as magical 
fraternities, are to be found among many of the existing 
Indian tribes. They have been most carefully studied 
among the Plains Indians, the Zuni and Hopi of the South- 
west, and the Kwakiutl of British Columbia. Such societies 
probably once existed in every community. One writer 
makes bold to find them among the Mound-builders. 2 It 
is likely that the tribes of the Gulf of Mexico and some of 
the eastern tribes, such as the Delawares and Iroquois, 
also possessed them, but unfortunately they were never 
studied by the early travellers. Among the Seminoles, 
the Green Corn Dance was an annual celebration in charge 
of the medicine-men, who apparently formed a fraternity 
and had a secret lodge. 3 The Muskoki of Florida organized 
fraternities for the cure of various diseases, for each disease 
a separate fraternity. Candidates for membership under- 
went four years of training. 4 Among the Iroquois there 
were organizations of the medicine-men who possessed 
special dances. 5 The Cherokees who belong to the Iro- 
quoian stock possess a large collection of sacred formulas 
covering every subject pertaining to their daily life and 
embodying, in fact, the entire religious beliefs of the people. 
Formerly, this sacred knowledge, handed down orally from 
remote antiquity, was committed to the keeping of secret 
societies, but the long contact of the tribe with the whites 

Indians "in ^4 wer. Anthropologist, new Man, ii (1902), 101-106, "An Ameri- 

series, vii (1905), 620-629. can View of Totemism," with the 

1 Supra, 183-189. comments by Mr. Hartland and 

2 Peet in Amer. Antiquarian, xiii Mr. Thomas, 115-118. 

(1891), 315. Some aspects of these 3 MacCauley in Fifth Ann. Rep. 

American fraternities are discussed Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, 1887), 522. 
by the same writer in an address on 4 Powell in Trans. Anthrop. Soc. 

"Secret Societies and Sacred Mys- of Washington, iii (1885), 4-5. 
te'ries," Memoirs of the International 6 Mrs. E. A. Smith in Second 

Congress of Anthropology (Chicago, Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, 

1894), 176-198; and in an article 1883), 116; Powell in Nineteenth 

in Amer. Antiquarian, xxvii (1905), Ann. Rep. (Washington, 1900), 

88-96. See also Major Powell in p. xlvii. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 215 

has broken down these organizations, and at present each 
priest or shaman is isolated and independent. 1 Similarly 
there have been found among the Ojibwa and the Menom- 
ini, in the keeping of the secret societies, copies of hitherto 
unknown mnemonic charts and songs giving the legends 
of tribal genesis and cosmography, carefully preserved on 
birch bark records. 2 

TheAffViWftt/fff, or Grand Medicine Society of the Ojibwa, 
at present a Minnesota tribe, exhibits most fully the Algon- 
quian ritual. Throughout the immense area occupied by 
tribes of the Algonquian stock, similar ceremonies probably 
were universal. 3 The Mitawit of the Menomini, a branch 
of the Algonquins now living in Wisconsin, closely resembles 
the Midewiwin, on which it was probably modelled. 4 The 
Metawin of the Bungees presents striking likenesses to the 
two societies just mentioned. Numerous lodges of this 
society are found throughout the Lake Superior region. 5 

The numerous fraternities maintained by tribes of the 
Siouan stock have been carefully studied by a number of 
writers. The ceremonies show many likenesses to those 
of the Algonquian societies and no doubt have been much 
influenced by them. This spread of the Algonquian ritual 
throughout tribes belonging to a different linguistic stock 
is, no doubt, indicative of that diffusion of rites which has 
taken place to some extent all over North America. 6 The 

1 Mooney in Seventh Ann. Rep. into it and witnessed its ceremonies 
Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, 1891), in 1889, Seventh Ann. Rep. Bur. 
307 sq.; id., Nineteenth Ann. Rep. Ethnol. (Washington, 1891), 149-300. 
(Washington, 1900), 229. There is also an interesting narrative 

2 Hoffman in Seventh Ann. Rep. by a former chief of the tribe, G. 
Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, 1891), Copway, The Traditional History and 
286; Fourteenth Ann. Rep. (Wash- Characteristic Sketches of the Ojib- 
ington, 1896), 107. way Nation (Boston, 1851), 160-169. 

3 An early account of the initia- 4 For a full account, see Hoffman 
tion into the Midewiwin is in H. R. in Fourteenth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. 
Schoolcraft, Information respecting (Washington, 1896), 68-138. 

the History, Condition, and Prospects * Simms, "The Metawin Society 

of the Indian Tribes of the United of the Bungees, or Swampy Indians 

States (Philadelphia, 1855), part v, of Lake Winnipeg," in Jour. Amer. 

426 sq. The society has received Folk-Lore, xix (1906), 330-333. 

a most elaborate description by 8 One of the earliest descriptions 

W. J. Hoffman, who was initiated relates to the Wakon-Kitchewah, or 



216 



PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 



society known as Wacicka among the Omahas, and under 
different names among the Winnebago, Dakotas, and 
other Siouan tribes, clearly exhibits the influence of the 
Algonquian ritual. 1 In the so-called Sun Dance held by 
nearly all tribes of Siouan stock, except the Winnebago and 
Osage, we have what appears to be a genuinely indepen- 
dent creation little influenced by the Algonquian practice. 
Among the tribes of Algonquian stock the ceremony seems 
to have been confined to the Blackfeet, Cheyennes, and 
Arapahoes. The Sun Dance is also found among the 
Kiowas and Pawnees, the Shoshoni of Wyoming, and the 
Utes of Utah. 2 The Okeepa of Mandans is a variant of 
the Sun Dance. 3 Among many of the Siouan tribes the 



Friendly Society of the Spirit, of the 
Naudowessies, a Siouan tribe on the 
Upper Missouri: J. Carver, Travels 
through the Interior Parts of North 
America (London, 1778), 271 sq. 
On the other societies among the 
Omaha, Osage, Kansa, Ponka, Win- 
nebago, and Dakota tribes, see Mary 
Eastman, Dahcotah (New York, 
1849), x * x ; Miss Fletcher in Jour. 
Amer. Folk-Lore, v (1892), 135-144; 
Dorsey in Sixth Ann. Rep. Bur. 
Ethnol. (Washington, 1888), 377, 
381; Prescott in Schoolcraft, op. cit., 
part ii (Philadelphia, 1852), 171, 
175; Pond in Collections of the Min- 
nesota Historical Society, ii (St. Paul, 
1867), 37-41 ; Thwaites in Collections 
of the State Historical Society of Wis- 
consin, xii (Madison, 1892), 423-425. 

1 For a description, Dorsey in 
Third Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 342- 
346; Fletcher in Schoolcraft, In- 
formation respecting the History, Con- 
ditions, and Prospects of the Indian 
Tribes of the United States (Phila- 
delphia, 1853), part iii, 286-288; 
Riggs in Contributions to North Amer. 
Ethnol., ix (Washington, 1893), 227- 
229; Beckwith in Ann. Rep. Smith- 
sonian Institution for 1886 (Washing- 
ton, 1889), part i, 246-249. 

2 Grinnell in Jour. Amer. Folk- 



Lore, iv (1891), 307-313; id., The 
Indians of To-Day (Chicago, 1900), 
2 7 s 9-i J- O- Dorsey in Eleventh 
Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, 
1894), 450-467; Riggs in Contri- 
butions to North Amer. Ethnol., ix 
(Washington, 1893), 229-232; George 
A. Dorsey, "The Arapaho Sun Dance ; 
the Ceremony of the Offerings 
Lodge," Publications of the Field 
Columbian Museum, Anthropological 
Series, iv (1903); R. I. Dodge, Our 
Wild Indians (Hartford, Conn., 1882), 
126-135, 257-260; id., The Plains 
of the Great West (New York, 1877), 
257-260 (Cheyenne Sun Dance); 
Miss Fletcher, "The Sun Dance of the 
Ogalalla Sioux," in Proc. Amer. 
Assoc. Adv. Sci., xxxi (1882), 580- 
584; Lynd in Collections of the Min- 
nesota Historical Society, ii (St. Paul, 
1865), 77-78; Kroeber in Butt. Amer. 
Mus. Nat. Hist., xviii, part ii, 152; 
S. H. Long, Account of an Expedition 
from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Moun- 
tains (Philadelphia, 1823), i, 276-278 
(Hidatsa Sun Dance); Beckwith in 
Ann. Rep. Smithsonian Institution 
for 1886 (Washington, 1889), part i, 
250 ; Matthews in U. S. Geological 
and Geographical Survey, Miscellane- 
ous Publications, no. 7, 45-46. 

3 George Catlin, Letters and Notes 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 217 

names of the gentes, subgentes, and phratries are subjects 
of mysterious reverence, especially among such tribes as the 
Osage, Ponka, and Kansa, where the secret society con- 
tinues in all its power. These names are never used in 
ordinary conversation. 1 "Further investigation may tend 
to confirm the supposition that in any tribe which has 
mythic names for its members and its social divisions (as 
among the Osage, Kansa, Quapaw, Omaha, Ponka, Iowa, 
Oto, Missouri, Tutelo, and Winnebago), or in one which 
has mythic names only for its members and local or other 
names for its social divisions (as among the Dakota, Assini- 
boin, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Crow), there are now, or there 
have been, secret societies or 'The Mysteries/" 2 

Among the tribes of Caddoan stock, various elaborate 
ceremonial rituals have been analyzed and described. Those 
of the Skidi Pawnee represent perhaps the highest develop- 
ment to be found in any Indian tribe. 3 

Many of the Indian tribes of the Southwest, though of 
different linguistic stocks, have developed fraternities, the 
rites of which give evidence of a long process of fusion. 
The Apache are possibly an exception: no clearly defined 
medicine lodges or secret societies have so far been found 
among them. Captain Bourke, who made a careful study 
of the tribe, never witnessed "any rite of religious signifi- 
cance in which more than four or five, or at the most six, 
of the medicine-men took part." The Navajo, belonging 
with the Apache to the Athapascan stock, have societies 

on the Manners, Customs, and Con- ington, 1904), part ii, 13-368; 

dition of the North American In- Dorsey "Traditions of the Skidi 

dians (London, 1841), i, 155-184; Pawnee," Mem. Amer. Folk-Lore Soc., 

and more fully in O-Kee-Pa (London, viii (Boston, 1904), p. xx sq. ; id., 

1867), 9 sq.; see also Maximilien de "Traditions of the Arikara," Car- 

Wied-Neuwied, Voyage dans VInte- negie Institution Publications, no. 17 

rieur de VAmerique du Nord, ii, 444- (Washington, 1904), 172 sq.; id., 

453- "The Mythology of the Wichita," 

1 Dorsey in Sixth Ann. Rep. Bur. Carnegie Institution Publications, 
Ethnol. (Washington, 1888), 396. no. 21 (Washington, 1904), 16 sq. 

2 Ibid., 397. * Ninth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. 

3 Miss Fletcher, "The Hako: A (Washington, 1892), 452. 
Pawnee Ceremony " in Twenty -second 

Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. (Wash- 



218 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

embracing in their membership nearly every adult male of 
the community. 1 Eight magical fraternities have been 
found among the Sia, formerly an important tribe of western 
New Mexico, whose members belong to the Keresan lin- 
guistic stock. 2 The Zuni of northwestern New Mexico 
have thirteen secret orders, some of them open to men and 
women alike, besides the Absbiwanni, or Priesthood of the 
Bow, and the Kokko. 3 The medicine-men among the Pimas 
of Arizona are apparently organized in fraternities. 4 

The Hopi Indians of northeastern Arizona, who form 
what is known as the Tusayan Confederacy, have many 
fraternities. The Hopi at the present day dwell in seven 
pueblos on three mesas. On the first are the pueblos of 
Walpi, Sichumovi (Sitcomovi), and Hano; on the second, 
Mashonghnavi (Miconinovi), Shipaulovi (Cipaulovi), and 
Shumopavi (Cunopavi) ; on the third, Oraibi. The Indians 
of all the pueblos, except Hano, are of Shoshonean stock. 
The Hano people belong to the Tewan group of Tanoan 
stock, but affiliate with the Hopi in their institutions. The 
elaborate ceremonies which comprise the Hopi ritual are 
divided into two great groups of the Katcinas and the Un- 
masked or Nine Days' Ceremonials. The Katcinas come 
in December, January, February, March, April-June, and 
July; the several celebrations during these months being 



1 James Stevenson, "Ceremonial id., Memoirs of the International 
of Hasjelti Dailjis and Mythical Sand Congress of Anthropology (Chicago, 
Painting of the Navajo Indians," 1894), 315 sq.; id., Amer. Anthro- 
Eighth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., pologist, xi (1898), 33-40; id., "The 
(Washington, 1891), 235-285; Wash- Zuni Indians: Their Mythology, 
ington Matthews in Jour. Amer. Esoteric Societies and Ceremonies " 
Folk-Lore, x (1897), 260; id., "The in Twenty-third Ann. Rep. Bur. 
Mountain Chant, a Navajo Cere- Amer. Ethnol. (Washington, 1904), 
mony," Fifth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. esp. 407-608; Gushing in Second 
(Washington, 1887), 385-467; id., Ann. Rep. (Washington, 1883), 9-45; 
"The Night Chant, a Navaho Cere- Fewkes, "A Few Summer Cere- 
mony," Mem. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., monials at Zuni Pueblo," Jour. Amer. 
vol. vi (New York, 1902). Ethnol. and Archaol., i (1891), 1-61; 

2 Mrs. Stevenson in Eleventh Ann. Gore in Trans. Anthrop. Soc. of 
Rep. Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, Washington, i (1882), 88. 

1894), 9-157. 4 Grossmann in Ann. Rep. Smith- 

3 Mrs. Stevenson in Fifth Ann. sonian Inst. for 1871 (Washington, 
Rep. (Washington, 1887), 539~555; l8 73)> W- 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 219 



known respectively as Soyaluna, 1 Pa, 2 Powamu, 3 Palulu- 
kontiS the abbreviated Katcinas, 5 and Niman* The Un- 
masked or Nine Days' Ceremonials come in August, 
September, October, and November and are known re- 
spectively as the Snake and Flute 7 ceremonies, Lala- 



1 The Soyaluna, a winter solstice 
ceremony observed in six of the Hopi 
pueblos by the Soyal fraternity, is 
described by Messrs. Dorsey and 
Voth,"The Oraibi Soyal Ceremony," 
Publications of the Field Columbian 
Museum, Anthropological Series, iii 
(1901), no. i; see also Fewkes in 
Fifteenth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol 
(Washington, 1897), 268-273; id., 
"The Winter Solstice Ceremony at 
Walpi," Amer. Anthropologist, xi 
(1898), 65-87, 101-109; id., "The 
Winter Solstice Altars at Hano 
Pueblo," Amer. Anthropologist, new 
series, i (1899), 251-276. 

2 This festival, varying greatly 
in the different pueblos, has not been 
described. 

3 H. R. Voth, "The Oraibi 
Powamu Ceremony," Publications 
of the Field Columbian Museum, 
Anthropological Series, iii (1901), 
no. 2; Fewkes in Fifteenth Ann. 
Rep. Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, 
1897), 274-290. 

4 J. W. Fewkes, "ThePalulukonti: 
A Tusayan Ceremony," Jour. Amer. 
Folk-Lore, vi (1893), 260-282; id., 
Fifteenth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. 
(Washington, 1897), 291. 

6 Fewkes, "A Few Summer Cere- 
monials at the Tusayan Pueblos," 
Jour. Amer. Ethnol. and Arch&ol., 
ii (1892), 53 sq.; see also id., 
Fifteenth Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. 
(Washington, 1897), 292-304. On 
the general significance of the Kat- 
cina rites, see Fewkes in Jour. Amer. 
Folk-Lore, xiv (1901), 81-94; id., 
Fifteenth Ann. Rep., 251-313; 
id., Twenty-first Ann. Rep., 13- 
126. 

6 Fewkes, Fifteenth Ann. Rep., 



292; id., Jour. Amer. Ethnol. and 
Archaol., ii (1892), 69 sq. 

7 The remarkable ceremonies com- 
monly known as the Snake Dance are 
celebrated by the Snake and Ante- 
lope fraternities, simultaneously every 
year in five of the Hopi pueblos. 
See Fewkes, "The Snake Ceremonies 
at Walpi," Jour. Amer. Ethnol. 
and Archaol., iv (1894), 7-124, 
with a full bibliography of the cere- 
monies as performed in 1891 and 
1893. In "Tusayan Snake Cere- 
monies," Sixteenth Ann. Rep. Bur. 
Amer. Ethnol., 273-311, Mr. Fewkes 
has treated the dance as prac- 
tised at Cipaulovi, Cunopavi, and 
Oraibi. In "Notes on Tusayan 
Flute and Snake Ceremonies," Nine- 
teenth Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. 
(Washington, 1900), 963-1011, Mr. 
Fewkes has completed his elaborate 
studies by describing the dance as 
practised at Miconinovi. Messrs. 
Dorsey and Voth have recently 
published another illuminating ac- 
count of the Miconinovi rites, "The 
Mishongnovi Ceremonies of the Snake 
and Antelope Fraternities," Pub- 
lications of the Field Columbian 
Museum, Anthropological Series, iii 
(1902), no. 3. Mr. Voth has given 
us a very full account of "The 
Oraibi Summer Snake Ceremony," 
Publications of the Field Columbian 
Museum, Anthropological Series, iii 
(1902), no. 4. Captain Bourke in 
The Snake-Dance of the Moquis 
of Arizona (London, 1884), was 
the first to call attention to the 
significance of the Hopi rites. There 
are reasons for believing that the 
Snake Dance was formerly practised 
over a wide area. It presents strong 



220 PRIMITIVE SECRET SOCIETIES 

konta^ Mamzrauti, 2 and Wowochimtu, known in its more 
elaborate form as Naacnaiya. 3 There are many resem- 
blances between the Zuni and Hopi religious systems as 
also many differences, making it impossible at present to 
v/ determine conclusively how much borrowing has gone on 
between the two peoples. 4 The Sia and Hopi rites have 
also many elements in common. 5 

Among the Indian tribes of the Northwest we find numer- 
ous secret societies in close connection with the class system. 
The societies existing among the Kwakiutl of British Colum- 
bia are reproduced in those of the Nootka and Coast 
Salish of Vancouver Island, and the Tsimshian, Nisqua, 
Haida, and Tlingit inhabiting the coast of British Columbia 
to Alaska. "The performances themselves are essentially 
the same from Alaska to Juan de Fuca Strait." Professor 
Boas argues that the present character of the societies among 
these various tribes was attained among the Kwakiutl, and 
was spread from this tribe over the vast territory in which 
these secret societies are now found. The Aleuts are knownv 
to have had secret societies before their conquest and con- 
version to Christianity by the Russians. 6 The Sciatl, of 

affinities to the Nahuatl and Maya Ceremony," Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, 

rites (Fewkes, "A Central American v (1892), 189-217. There are no 

Ceremony which suggests the Snake New-Fire Ceremonies at Sitcomovi or 

Dance of the Tusayan Villagers," Hano, but they are found, probably, 

Amer. Anthropologist, vi, 1893, 285- in all the other Hopi pueblos. Some 

305). On the Flute ceremonies, idea of the multitude and complexity 

see Fewkes in Jour. Amer. Ethnol. and of these Hopi rites, which follow 

ArchaoL, ii (1892), 108-150; id., a ceremonial calendar in a definite 

"The Walpi Flute Observance: A and prescribed sequence, is afforded 

Study of Primitive Dramatization," by Mr. Fewkes's "Provisional List 

Jour. Amer. Folk-Lore, vii (1894), of Annual Ceremonials at Walpi," 

265-287. Intern. Archivf. Ethnogr., viii (1895), 

1 Fewkes, "The Lalakonta: A 215-236. A partial bibliography of 
Tusayan Dance," Amer. Anthro- the investigations made by Mr. 
pologist, v (1892), 105-129. Fewkes will be found in Amer. An- 

2 Fewkes, "The Mamzrauti: A thropologist, xi (1898), 110-115. 
Tusayan Ceremony," Amer. Anthro- 4 Cf. Fewkes in Fifteenth Ann. 
pologist, v (1892), 217-242. Rep. Bur. Ethnol. (Washington, 

3 Id., " The New-Fire Ceremony 1897), 304 sq. 

at Walpi," Amer. Anthropologist, 5 Id., "A Comparison of Sia and 

new series, ii (1900), 80-138. Cf. Tusayan Snake Ceremonials," Amer. 

for an earlier description, "The Anthropologist, viii (1895), 118-141. 

Naacnaiya: A Tusayan Initiation 8 Dall in Third Ann. Rep. Bur. 



DIFFUSION OF INITIATION CEREMONIES 221 



British Columbia, a coast division of Salish stock, have no 
institutions resembling the Kwakiutl societies. A period 
of seclusion at puberty is, however, obligatory for both 
sexes. 1 The use of masks at the religious festivals of the 
Central Eskimo is a probable indication of the existence 
of secret rites among these tribes. 2 



Ethnol. (Washington, 1884), 139; 
Nelson in Eighteenth Ann. Rep., 358, 

395 *? 

On the Kwakiutl societies, see the 
elaborate investigation of Dr. Franz 
Boas, "The Social Organization and 
the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl 
Indians," Report of U. 5. National 
Museum for 1895 (Washington, 1897), 
315-664; id. in Festschrift filr Adolf 
Bastian (Berlin, 1896), 437-443; 
Jacobsen in Ausland, Ixiii (1890), 
267-269, 290-293; Swanton, "The 
Development of the Clan System and 
of Secret Societies among the North- 
western Tribes," Amer. Anthropol- 
ogist, new series, vi (1904), 477-485. 
On those of the Kluquolla of Van- 
couver Island, see Matthew Macfie, 
Vancouver Island and British Colum- 
bia (London, 1865), 433 sq.; R. C. 
Mayne, Four Years in British Amer- 
ica and Vancouver Island (London, 



1862), 268. On the Dukwally and 
other mysteries of the Indians of 
Cape Flattery, see Swan in Smith- 
sonian Contributions to Knowledge, 
xvi, no. 220, 63 sq.; G. M. Sproat, 
Scenes and Studies of Savage Life 
(London, 1868), 271; Eells in Ann. 
Rep. Smithsonian Institution for 
1887 (Washington, 1889), part i, 
666. On those among the Tcilqeuk, 
Niska, and the Western Denes, see 
Hill-Tout in Rep. Brit. Assoc. Adv. 
Sci., Ixxii (1902), 358; Boas, ibid., 
Ixv (1895), 575 sq.; Morice in 
Trans. Canadian Inst., iv (1895), 
204 sq. 

1 Hill-Tout in Jour. Anthrop. Inst., 
xxxiv (1904), 25, 32. 

2 Boas, in Sixth Ann. Rep. Bur. 
Ethnol., 605-608 ; id., Bull. Amer. Mus. 
Nat. Hist., xv, part i (1901), 138 sq. 



INDEX TO NATIVE TERMS 



148. 



Abakweta, 44. 

A fa, 210. 

Agagara, 126. 

Agud, 100. 

AM, 189. 

Ahshiwanni, 183, 218. 

Akaipa, 104. 

Akitcila, 131. 

Akonwarah, 180. 

.4/a, 159. 

Alcheringa, 140, 140 n s , 141 n, 

Alkirakiwuma, 85. 

4/0/, 3. 

Ambaquerka, 85. 

Amil, 201. 

Amporo, 211. 

.4 Ngattla, 5. 

Aponema, 200. 

Apulia, 191, 191 n 2 , 192. 

Arakurta, 85. 

Are-kariei, 168 n 2 . 

Areoi, 122, 124 130 n 2 , 163, 164-168 

169, 170, 172, 202, 203. 
-4ri, 153 n 4 , 154 n. 
4rft, 82, 168 n 2 . 
Ariltha, 85. 
Armengol, 169. 
, 14. 

, 29, 31, 53, 68, 104, 105 n s , 
, 9. 

, 7- 

209. 



197. 



Bahito (Baito), 56. 
5a, 169, 169 n 5 . 
Baiamai, 96, 98 n 1 . 
Baidam, 145 n 1 . 
a/, 8. 
Baleuw, 8, 9. 
5a/tf/;, 85. 
Bantje, 4. 
Bara, 129, 201. 



Barium, 4, 26, 31, 68, 197, 197 n 1 . 

Bayaawu, 133, 133 n 8 . 

Beit-ef-fohfa, 14. 

Belli-paaro, 55, 108, 117, 210 n 7 . 

Biamban, 97. 

Boguera, 45. 

Bomai, 97 n'. 

Boosketau, 213 n 4 . 

50ra, 21, 22, 29, 29 n 2 , 30, 36, 36 n 10 , 50, 
50 n 2 , 70 n 1 , 71, 72, 76 n 1 , 83, 85, 86, 96, 
97, 137-140, 144, I9 1 . !9i n 1 , 192, 
195 n. 

Bourka, 84. 

Boy ale, 45. 

Buambramba, 4. 

Buckli, 51. 

Bullaivang, 100. 

Bunan, 29, 67 n 5 , 86, 97 n 2 , 191 n 1 . 

Bundu, 1 20 n 4 . 

Burbong, 72, 97, 99, 191 n 1 . 

Bure-ni-sa, 12. 

Bweni, 13. 

Bwetf, 208. 

Calpule, 15. 

ChilinchUi, 177. 

Chookadoo, 85. 

Churinga, 40, 61, 62, 64, 141 n, 142, 157. 



,69. 

Dan gal, 162. 

Dangur, 128. 

Daramulun, 66, 96, 97, 98 n 1 , 99. 

Dewarra, 94, in. 

Dhumkuria, 9. 

', 87. 
Djamboer, 8. 
Djemaa, 14. 
Dorrunmai, 72. 

S, 171, 211. 

Dschemma, 14, 90. 

>ubu, 4, 62, 63, 68, 102, 103. 
223 



224 



INDEX TO NATIVE TERMS 



Duka, 105 n 1 . 

Dukduk, 31, 41, 42, 53, 76 n 1 , 83, 93, 94, 
95, 105 n 1 , io6n, 108, 109, 110-114, 
121, 123, 130 n 2 , 162, 163, 167, 198, 
199, 200, 212 n 2 . 

Dukwally, 221 n. 

Dull, 80. 

Dzhe Manido, 179. 

Eekliisharo, 88. 

Egbo, 83, 94, 94 n 5 , 115-117, nSn 1 , 120, 

121, 122, 126, 127, 167, 204, 209. 
Egungun, 105 n 2 , 105 n 3 , 117, 120, 172, 

173, 210. 
Eineth, 163. 

Ekongolo, 94 n 5 , 105 n 2 , 105 n 3 , 209. 
El-moran, 87, 88. 
El-morno, 87. 
Elung, 122, 209. 
Empacasseiros, io8n 3 . 
Engera, 87. 
Engwura, 30, 61, 63 n 2 , 67, 77 n, 85, 91, 

140-142, 143, 144, 152, 161, 193. 
Eramo (Elamo, Erabo, Eravo), 4, 5, 86, 

102. 

Ernattdunga, 62. 
Ertwakurka, 85. 
Estufa, 17, 18. 

Falatele, n. 
Faioi, 9. 
Ferafir, 89. 
Fulaari, 197. 

Galo, 28, 45- 
Gamal, 6, 130 n 2 . 
Ghaba, 89. 
Gnekbadi, 90. 
Gojambul, 171. 
Grepon, 15. 
Gulgvl, 129. 
Guma, 69. 
Gunuko, 210. 

Haethuska, 132. 

Hako, 217 n 3 . 

Hamatsa, 40. 

Hasjelti Dailjis, 185, 186, 218 n 1 . 

Hatatkurr, 57. 

Heapu, 86. 

Heava, 86. 

Heiau, n. 

Houbo, 13. 



107, 115, 122, 
171, 209. 

, H2R 1 , uSn 1 , 209. 
Ikunuhkahtsi, 133. 
Ilpongwurra, 85. 
Imeium, 6. 
Imisholugu, 175. 
Ingiet, 66 n, 199. 
Iniat, 105 n 3 . 
Intichiuma, 143, 144 n. 
Irkun oknirra, 62. 
Iruntarinia, 142. 
Isintonga, 175. 
Iwanza, 13. 

Jeraeil, 27, 59, 97, 195 n. 
Jurupari, 64, 177. 

Kabenda, 89. 

Kabo, 22, 49. 

Kadjawalung, 25, 86 n 1 . 

Kaevakuku, 102, 103, 161. 

TTa/te, 89. 

Kaimahun, 94. 

Kaioi, 1 68. 

Kaitsenko, 133. 

Kakian, 39, 54, 124, 125, 196. 

Kaldebekel, 169. 

Kashim (Kozge), 18. 

Katahwiri, 210. 

Katajalina, 98 n 1 . 

Katcina, 158, 158 n 3 , 158 n 4 , 159, 183, 

187, 189, 218, 219, 219 n 5 . 
Katsuna, 187. 
Kava, 54. 
Kedibo, 90. 

Keeparra, 67, 72, 191 n 1 . 
Kernge, 162. 
Khambi, 88. 
Khieko, 88. 
Khotla, 12. 
.Kma, 56, 177. 
Kitshi Manido, 182. 
Jfwa, 16, 17, 187, 188, 189. 
Kivitzi, 89. 
Kiwanga, 45. 
Kodal, 145 n 1 . 
Koin, 96. 

X0&&0, 123, 187, 188, 218. 
Kokorra, H4n 3 , 199. 
Kongcorong, 211. 



INDEX TO NATIVE TERMS 



225 



Kookoorimaro, 92. 

Koshare, 183 n 4 . 

Kovave, 101, 102. 

Kraal, 13, 87. 

Kudsha, 86. 

Kufong, 171, 210. 

Kuhkwi, 172. 

#//>*', 84, 9> 9 1 , 9 1 n2 J 94 n 1 . 

Kumeh, 41. 

Kuranda, 36, 72. 

Kuringal, 22, 49. 

Kwan, 189. 

tfu'oa', 6, 7, 53, 145, 146, 161, 162. 

Labis, 211. 

Lalakonta, 159, 219, 220, 220 n 1 . 

Larz, 178. 

Lartna, 85, 91 n 2 . 

Z,o, 87. 

Lenya, 159. 

L060, 8. 

Losango, 209. 

Lubuku, 108, nSn 1 , 122. 

Mabema, 89. 

MaoVw, 6. 

Madjaha, 89. 

Madjinga, 89. 

Madoda, 89. 

Maduba, 78 n. 

Mafera, 88. 

Magur, 101. 

Mahoui, 166. 

Ma*a, 69. 

Maiau, 145, 146. 

Maiola, 69. 

Ma/, 129. 

Malai, n. 

Malai-asu, 86. 

Malanda, 208, 2120. 

Malu, 97 n 8 , 101, 146. 

Mamzrauti, 159, 220, 220 n*. 

Manabush, 57, 155. 

Manganga, 126. 

Maniapa, n. 

Manido, 155, 180, 181. 

Manitou, 148, 149, 151, 152, 153 n 4 , 154 n. 

Moor a, 89. 

Mara (Moroi), n. 

Marae(Marai), n, 166, 167-168, i69n 5 . 

Maramba, 208 n 1 . 



M era-wot, 31. 

Marea, 4. 

Marrow, 23. 

Marsaba, 103. 

Masha Manido, 155. 

Matambala, 127, 199. 

Mato pulega, 205. 

Mbuiri, 173 n 2 . 

Mbwamvu anjata, 107. 

Merib, 128. 

Mespil, 170. 

Meta-win, 215, 215 n 5 . 

Mfaya, 88. 

Mwfe, 178, 182. 

Midewvwin, 18 n 1 , 123, 154, 155 n 2 , 179, 

180, 181, 182, 182 n 1 , 215, 215 n 8 . 
Minabozho, 156 n 2 , 179, 182. 
Mindari, 84, 90. 
Minkani, 144 n. 
Mitawikomik, 57. 

Mitawit, 57, 123, 155, 180, 182^, 215. 
Morang, 10. 
M'Quichi, 173 n 2 . 
Mwawza, 64. 
MwrfjV, 77 n, 97. 
Muemba, 209. 
Mukuku, 209. 
Mumbo Jumbo (Mahammah Jamboh), 

42, 118-119, 211. 
Mundu Mzuri, 89. 
Mungi, 209, 209 n 8 . 
Murukkundi, 92. 
Murvuin, 86 n 1 . 
Mutumia, 89. 
Muvitzi, 89. 
Mwanake, 89. 
Mwetyi, 107, 120. 

Naacnaiya, 220, 220 n 8 . 

Naferi, '211. 

Nagual, 125, 154 n. 

Nahor, 128, 129. 

Waa (Mbaki), 26, 27, 31, 54, 64, 68, 

6 9> 73> 7 6 n S 79> 86 > l6 4> l6 8, 201, 202, 

202 n 1 . 

Nanga tambutambu, 64. 
Narramang, 86. 
Narumbe, 72. 

A/'a'a (Mda), 120, 120 n 4 , 172, 208. 
Ndembo (Nkita), 39, 41 n 6 , 42, 122, 174, 

175, 176, 208, 208 n 1 . 



226 



INDEX TO NATIVE TERMS 



Nehue-Cue, 183 n 4 . 

Nganga, 174, 175. 

Nganga Nkissi, 118 n 1 . 

Ngi, 66 n, 208. 

Nguttan, 86 n 1 . 

Niman, 219. 

Nitu, 39. 

Nitu Elak, 39. 

Njembe, 120 n 4 , 172, 211 n 8 . 

Nkimba, 42, 94 n 5 , 107, 109, 117, 171, 

173, 174, 175, 176, 207, 208, 208 n 1 . 
Nullah nullah, 50. 
Nurti, 89. 
Nyere, 88. 

Ogboni, 50 n 2 , 109, 117, 119, 176, 209. 

Oka, 82. 

Okee, 57. 

Okeepa, 183-185, 216. 

Oknanikilla, 140 n 3 , 141 n. 

Oro (Oru~), 115, 117, 118 n 1 , 119, 120, 210. 

Osale, 8. 

Oshogbo, 210. 

Owakidti, 157, 159. 

Pa, 219. 
Pabufunan, 9. 
Palangkan, 9. 
Palnatarei, 5. 
Paluduka, 105 n 1 . 
Palulukonti, 219, 2i9n 4 . 
Pangah, 7. 
Papang, 97. 
Para*', 168. 
Parak, 3. 
Parol, 104. 



, 100. 
Penda-Penda, 211. 
Peyotl, 125. 
Piraru, go. 
Poogthun, 132. 
Porrang, 96. 
Poshaiankia, 179. 
Powamu, 189, 189 n 1 , 219, 219 n 3 . 
Purr ah (Purr oh, Poro), 38, 39, 41 n 5 , 94, 

107, no, 115, ii6n c , nSn 1 , 120 n 4 , 

122, 172 n, 210. 

@a/, 164, 167 n, 200. 
Qa*tt, 38, 199, 200. 
Quequtsa, 152. 
Qeto, 38 n 2 . 



, 164, 200. 
Quabara, 141, 141 n 1 , 152, 158, 161, 184. 

Roemah kompani, 8. 

Romaluli, 8. 

^a, 7, 8. 

7?w& a to/jo/, 163 n 2 . 

Ruk a tzon, 163 n 2 . 

Rukruk (Burri), 92, 199, 199 n 1 . 

Rumslam, 3. 

Runanga, 204, 205. 

Salagoro, 128. 
5aw, 145 n 1 . 
Saniakiakwe, 181. 
Schingalet, 80. 
5cdaj*, 89. 
Sedibo, 90. 
Selogunia, 87. 
Sembe, 210. 
Semese, 62, 63. 
Shipapulima, 179. 
Sibjan, 90. 
Sicuri, 212 n 2 . 
Sifsan, 18 n 1 . 
^ai, 145, 146. 

127. 
Simanlo, 6. 

(Semo, Simon), 172, 211. 
Sindungo, 108, 108 n 3 , 117, 208. 
i/i, 68. 

, 8. 
Soyaluna, 219, 219 n 1 . 

, 108, 129-130, 130 n 2 , 165 n 3 . 
Swr/a/, 162. 



(Tapu), 109, 170. 
Taf, 7, 161. 
Taikyuiv, 18. 
Taiokwod, 144. 
Takwura, 168. 
Talohu, 114 n 3 . 

Tamate, 108, 109, no, 128, 130 n 2 , 200. 
Taraiu, 114. 
7\wo, 68, 103. 
Tataokani, 189. 
Tecuhtli, 82. 
Telpuchali, 15. 
T ernes, 129. 
Thrumalun, 99. 
ri^M^, 79. 
Tiponi, 157. 



INDEX TO NATIVE TERMS 



227 



Tippakal, 96. 
Tiyo, 159 n 4 , 160 n. 
Toara, 191 n 1 . 
Tohe, 5, 6. 
Tohunga, 170. 
Toibs, 89. 
Tokipa, 15. 
ro0/0, 132. 
Toloache, 213. 
r<w<fo, 12. 
Tsiahk, 181. 
Tubuvan, 163. 
Tuggabilla, 30. 
Tunwupkatcina, 189. 
Turndun y 100. 



Twanyirika, 98 n 1 , 99, 100. 

Ukuku, 105 n 3 , 107, nSn 1 , 208, 21 in 8 . 
Ukukwe, 208. 
Ulpmerka, 85. 
Umai, 145 n 1 . 
Umalulik, 8. 
Umba, 139 n 8 . 
Umbirna, 139 n 2 . 
Ungunja, 3, 22. 
Unkttlunktilu, 206. 
Uritoi, 169, 202, 203 n 1 . 
Urliara, 85, 140. 
*, 156 n 2 . 



, 175. 

175. 
Fcrc, 64, 86. 
Vere matua, 86. 
Vilavou, 86. 



', 63 n. 
, 86. 



, 123, 216. 
Waiat, 161, 162. 
Wakon-Kitchewah, 215 n*. 
Waninga, 63 n 2 . 
Warrara, 84. 
Weedegah Gahreemai, 3. 
, 164. 

, 170, 171 n 1 , 175. 
Runanga, 204. 
Wilgieing, 85. 

157. 

*a, 181. 
Wityalkinyes, 84. 
Wongalong, 85. 



Wowochimtu, 189, 189 n 2 , 220. 
44 n 2 . 



Wurtja, 85. 

, 33 n 1 . 



, 85. 
Yapahe, 132. 

Fas*, n8n x , 127, 172, 208, 211 n 8 . 
Yassi, i2on 4 . 
F, 186, 187. 
Yeponi, 93. 
FwM, 209. 
Yukukttla, i2on 4 . 
Yuppieri, 40, 92. 

Zangbeto, 117, 210. 
Zogole, 100. 



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