ANCIENT EGYPT THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
TOTEMISM, TATTOO AND FETISHISM AS FORMS OF SIGN-LANGUAGE
With due search we shall and that the unwritten and remotest past of primitive man is not immemorial after all that may have been lost by the way. Most obscure conditions have been more or less preserved and represented in the drama of primitive customs in the mirror of mythology and the sign-language of totemism. Ceremonial rites were established as the means of memorizing facts in sign-language when there were no written records of the human past. In these the knowledge was acted, the ritual was exhibited, and kept in ever-living memory by continual repetition. The mysteries, totemic or religious, were founded on this basis of action. Dancing, for example, was a mode of sign-language in all the mysteries. To know certain mysteries implied the ability to dance them, when they could not be otherwise expressed. The Bushmen say that the mantis-deity Kagn taught them the mysteries of dancing under the type of the praying mantis or the leaping grasshopper. Primitive men had observed the ways and works of Nature, and imitated all they might as a means of thinking their meaning when they could not talk. They danced it with the grasshopper, they writhed and swelled and puffed it with the serpent; they panted it with the lion, roared it with the hippopotamus, hummed it with the insects, pawed and clicked it with the ape. In short, they acted in accordance with the example of their forerunners on the earth. They not only wore the skins of animals and feathers of birds, they made their motions in totemic dances and imitated their cries as a primary means of making themselves understood. From the beginning in the far-off misty morning of the past, dancing in the likenesses of animals was a totemic mode of demonstration. Amongst the earliest deities of Egypt are Apt and Bes, who issue forth from inner Africa as dancers in the act of dancing the mystery of the phallic dance, and in the skins of animals. The Arunta tribes of Central Australia dance the Unthippa dance in the ceremony of young-man-making at the time of circumcision. This tells the story of the way they came in what is known as the 'range all along.' It is said to be the dance of the Unthippa women in the Alcheringa who were beings of both sexes and who danced all the way 'until their organs were modified and they became as other women are.'This denotes the status of the [p.47] pretotemic people who were as yet undivided by the totemic rites of puberty which are now illustrated in the mystery of the dance. In the initiation ceremonies of the males described by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, a special dance of the women follows the making of the youth into a man who is now welcomed by them into the ranks of the elders. 'A number of young women come near. Each one is decorated with a double horse-shoe-shaped band of white pipe-clay which extends across the front of each thigh and the base of the abdomen. A flexible stick is held behind the neck and one end grasped by each hand. Standing in a group, the women sway slightly from side to side, quivering in a most remarkable fashion, as they do so, the muscles of the thighs and the base of the abdomen.' The object of the decoration and movement is evident. It is to incite the youths and prepare them for connubium. At this period of the ceremonies a general interchange and a lending of women also takes place. 'This women's dance goes on night after night for perhaps two or three weeks.' The men sing the 'Corroboree Song' whilst the women dance the mystery of young-man-making, and show the object and mode of it. In this case white pipe-clay was substituted for the white Undattha-Down with which the female was usually embellished. Here the customs of the totemic mysteries naturally suggest that a primary object in putting on fur and feather or down, and dancing in the skin of the totemic animal at the festival of pubescence, was to dramatize the coming of age for sexual intercourse when this was determined by the appearance of the pubes whether of the female or the male.
There had been a pretotemic period of promiscuity in which there was no regulated intercourse of sexes, no marriage by the group, or of one half of the group with the other half. At that time, or in the preeval state, the earth as yet was undivided into south and north; the mythical cow was not yet cut in twain, or the mother separated into the two women. Much is told us by tradition if we can but interpret truly. It says the race of beings was not then divided, and had but one leg to go or stand on, meaning there was but one stock. All the earth, in later phrase, being of one blood and of one language. The sexes were not yet divided by the lizard, as female pubescence was quaintly figured. There was no cutting of the male or opening of the female with the fire-stick or the stone knife by which the sexes were divided, or made, or in the latter phrase 'created' into men and women. These were the 'Inapertwa' beings in the Alcheringa who preceded women and men and were pretotemic. These were the unopened or the uncircumcised, who had to be transformed into women and men by cutting and opening; that is by introcision and circumcision, or subincision, by which they were made into women and men in becoming totemic. Dancing then was a dramatic mode of rendering the mysteries of primitive knowledge in visible sign-language. With the Tshi-speaking peoples 'Sofia,' the name of the priest, signifies 'the dancing man.' The African Acholi in their dances, says Sir H. Johnston, imitate animals 'most elaborately.' An African potentate has been known to dance for some ten or fifteen minutes together in receiving a distinguished European visitor, like Richard Burton, before he had represented all his own titles of honour [p.48] and claims to admiration in the language of dance and gesture-signs. With the Bechuanas each totem has its own special dance, and when they want to know the clan to which a stranger may belong they will ask 'What dance do you dance?' as an equivalent for the question 'To what clan do you belong?' These dances are continued in the initiatory ceremonies of totemism. They tend to show that the shapes and sounds and movements of the totemic animals were imitated in the primeval pantomime by way of proclaiming the clan to which the particular group belonged. The totemic type was thus figured to sight in gesture-language before it could be known by name. Admission into the Dakota clan was effected by means of the great Medicine Dance. The medicine men of the Iroquois have four dances which are sacred to themselves, no other person being allowed to dance these mysteries. The first is the 'Eagle-dance,' the second the 'Dark Dance' (performed in the dark) the other two are the 'Pantomime Dance' and the 'Witches' Dance.' The eagle being the Bird of Light, the sun-bird, we may infer that the first two dances told the story of the beginning with light and darkness, which was thus rendered in gesture-language and continued to be memorized in that fashion by those who danced such primitive mysteries. We also learn from the sacred dances of the aborigines in the character of the bear, the wolf, the seal, the crab, or other animal that the gesture-language included an imitation of the totemic zootype. The Mandan Indians dance the buffalo-dance, the heads of the dancers being covered with a mask made of the buffalo's head and horns. In other dances of the dog and bear totems, the dancers acted in the characters of the animals. The lamas of Tibet dance the old year out and the new year in whilst wearing their animal masks. The snake-dance is still performed by the Moqui Indians of Arizona, and also amongst the Australian aborigines when they 'make the snake' in their sacred procession of the mysteries. It was a common totemic custom for the brothers and sisters to perform their commemorative ceremonies or mysteries in the likeness of the totemic animal. In the Australian rites of initiation the teachings and moral lessons are conveyed in object-lessons pantomimically displayed. The various totems are indicated by the language of gestures. The 'Rock-Wallabies' are initiated by jumping with the knees slightly bent and the legs kept wide apart. The kangaroos hop about in the likeness of the totemic animal. The howlings of a pack of dingoes or wild dogs are heard afar off as if in the depth of the forest. The sounds grow less and less distant. At length the leader of the band rushes in on all fours followed by the others. They run after each other on all fours round the fire, imitating the actions of wild dogs in the dingo dance. With the Inuit at their religious fetes and anniversaries of the dead, the biographies of the departed are told to the spectators in dumb show and dancing. With the Kakhyens of northern Burma it is the custom to dance the ghost out of the house at the time of the funeral. The Egyptian mourners also accompanied the manes on the way to Amenta with [p.49] song and dance, as may be seen in the vignettes to the Book of the Dead, where the text deals with the mysteries of the resurrection. The same mystery is expressed in the black fellow's jumping up a white fellow when he rises from the dead. It used to be the custom in Scotland for dancing to be kept up all night long after a funeral. Not as a desire of getting rid of the spirit, but as an act of rejoicing in dancing the resurrection of the spirit. The on-lookers often wonder why the performers in Gaelic and Celtic dances should, when furiously dancing, give forth such inhuman shouts and shrill blood-curdling cries. But there is nothing likelier than that these are remains of the 'language of animals,' and a survival of the primitive totemic practices. Leaping in the air with a shout while dancing had a special dramatic significance. What this was may be inferred from the Egyptian funeral scenes. That which had survived as the Dance of Death in the Middle Ages was the earlier dance of the resurrection, or the rising again from the dead. The dancing occurs in the presence of the mummy when this has been raised to its feet and set on end, which is then a figure of the risen dead. The rising again was likewise imitated in the dance. Hence the women who are seen to be jumping with curious contortions on some of the bas-reliefs are acting the resurrection. It is their duty and delight to 'dance that dance' for the departed. Thus, sign-language, totemism and mythology were not merely modes of representation. They were also the primitive means of preserving the human experience in the remoter past of which there could be no written record. They constitute the record of prehistoric times. The most primitive customs, ceremonial rites and revels, together with the religious mysteries, originated as the means of keeping the unwritten past of the race in ever-living memory by perennial repetition of the facts, which had to be acted from generation to generation in order that the knowledge might become hereditary. This is a thesis which can be fully proved and permanently established. Before ever a folktale was told or a legend related in verbal speech, the acting of the subject-matter had begun, dancing being one of the earliest modes of primitive sign-language. Not 'trailing Clouds of Glory' have we come from any state of perfection as fallen angels in disguise with the triumphs of attainment all behind us, but as animals emerging from the animal, wearing the skins of animals, uttering the cries of animals, whilst developing our own; and thus the nascent race has travelled along the course of human evolution with the germ of immortal possibilities in it darkly struggling for the light, and a growing sense of the road being uphill, therefore difficult and not to be made easy like the downward way to nothingness and everlasting death.
It is now quite certain that speech was preceded by a language of animal cries, accompanied by human gestures because, like the language of the clickers, it is yet extant with the aborigines, amongst whom the language-makers may yet be heard and seen at work in the prehuman way. The earliest human language, we repeat, consisted of gesture-signs which were accompanied with a few appropriate sounds, some of which were traceably continued from the predecessors of man. A sketch from life in the camp of the Mashona [p.50] chief Lo Benguela, made by Bertram Mitford, may be quoted, much to the present purpose:—
'He comes—the Lion!' and they roared.
'Behold him—the Bull, the black calf of Matyobane!'—and at this they bellowed.
'He is the eagle which preys upon the world!'—here they screamed; and as each imitative shout was taken up by the armed regiments, going through every conceivable form of animal voice—the growling of leopards, the hissing of serpents, even to the sonorous croak of the bull-frog—the result was indescribably terrific and deafening.'
In this sign-language, which was earlier than words, the Red Men acted their wants and wishes in expressive pantomime whilst wearing the skins of the animal that was pursued for food. They 'laid their case,' as it were, before the powers previous to the hunt. Each hunt had its especial dance which consisted in the imitation of the motions, habits, and cries of the animals to be hunted. They climbed like bears, built like beavers, galloped about like buffaloes, leaped like roes, and yelped like foxes. Travellers have detected a likeness between the scream of the prairie-dog and the speech of the Apache Indians, who will imitate the animal so perfectly as to make it respond to them from the distance. On the night of the lunar festival, when waiting for the moon to rise, they will invoke her light with a concert of cries from their brethren of the animal world, which include the neighing of the horse, the whinnying of the mule, the braying of the ass, the screech of the coyote, the call of the hyena, the growl of the grizzly bear, when this totemic orchestra performs its nocturnal overture in the language of animals. The Zuni Indians in their religious service imitate the cries of the beasts which are imaged as their fetishes in ceremonial rites at the council of fetishes. They sing a very long hymn or prayer-chant, and at the close of each stanza the chorus consists of the cries which represent their deities, called the Prey-Gods, in the guise of their totemic animals. Hall, in his Life with the Esquimaux, tells us how the Inuit look up to the bear as superior to themselves in hunting the seal because, as they say, the bear 'talks sealish,' and can lull the animal to slumber with his incantation. The Inuit have learned the secret of Bruin, and repeat his language all they can to fascinate, decoy, and magically overcome the seal and capture it, but they are still beaten by the bear. Dr. Franz Boas has recently discovered the remains of a very primitive tribe of aborigines near the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia. They are called the Tsutsowt, and are hunted to death by the Indians like wild beasts. They formerly consisted of two clans that rigidly observed the ancient law of totemic connubium, no woman being allowed to marry within her own clan. At present there is but one clan in existence, and the men of this clan have been forced to seek for wives among the Indians of Nass River. These Tsutsowt apparently talk in bird-language. They cheep and chirrup or whistle in their speech with a great variety of notes.
The Supreme Spirit, Tharamulun, who taught the Murrung tribes [p.51] whatever arts they knew, and instituted the ceremonies of initiation for young-man-making, is said to have ordered the names of animals to be assumed by men. Before the names could be assumed, however, the animals were adopted for totems, and the earliest names were more or less the cries and calls of the living totems. The mothers would be known by their making the cry of their totemic animal, to which the children responded in the same prehuman language. The sow (say) is the mother, the children are her pigs. The mother would call her children as a sow, and the children would try to repeat the same sounds in response. The totemic lioness would call her kittens by purring, and the cubs would respond by purring. The hippopotami, lions, and other loud roarers would grow terrible with the sounds they made in striking dread into the children. When as yet they had no names nor any art of tattooing the totemic figures on the flesh of their own bodies, the brothers and sisters had to demonstrate who they were, and to which group they belonged by acting the character of the zootype in the best way they could by crying or calling, lowing, grunting, or puffing and posturing like the animals in this primitive pantomime or bat masque. Thus the sign to the eye and the sound to the ear were continued pari passu in the dual development of sign-language that was both visual and vocal at the same time when the brothers and sisters were identifying themselves, not with nor as the animals, but by means of them, and by making use of them as zootypes for their totems. The clicks of the pygmies, the San (Bushmen), the Khoi-Khoi (Hottentots), and the Kaffirs constitute a living link between the human beginner and his predecessor the ape. The Bushmen possess about the same number of clicks as the cynocephalus or dog-headed ape. The monkey-mother also menstruates; another link between the ape and the human female. The clickers born of her as blood-mother would be known by their sounds as monkey-men. Taht-Aani is a totemic monkey-man raised to the status of a divinity in Egypt. Hanuman is the same in India, where the Jaitwas of Rajputana claim to be the descendants of the monkey-god. And the ape-men, imitating the cynocephalus, would be on the way to becoming the human clickers. Very naturally, naming by words would follow the specializing by means of the totemic types, as we have tree the type, and tree the name; bull the type, and bull the name; dove the type, and dove the name; lynx the type, and Lynch the name. An instance is supplied by Frederick Bonney in his notes on the customs of the River Darling aborigines, New South Wales, which is also to the point. He observed that the children are named after animals, birds, and reptiles, and the name is a word in their language meaning the movement or habit of one of them. The sound may be added. The totem (say) is an animal. First it was a figure. And from this a name was afterwards drawn, which at times, and probably at first, was the voice of the animal.
The earliest formation of human society which can be distinguished from the gregarious horde with its general promiscuity of intercourse between the sexes is now beginning to be known by the name of totemism, a word only heard the other day. Yet nothing later [p.52] than the totemic stage of sociology is fundamental enough as ground to go upon in discussing sign-language, mythology, and fetishism, or in tracing the rootlets of religion; and the study of the subject has but just commenced. It had been omitted, with all its correlates and implications, from previous consideration and teachings concerning the prehistoric past and present status of the scattered human family. On this line of research the inquiries and explorations which go back to this tangible beginning are now the only profitable studies. The results of these alone can be permanent. All the rest were tentative and transitory. But 'no satisfactory explanation of the origin of totemism has yet been given.' So says the writer of a book on the subject.
The author of Primitive Marriage, who first mooted the subject in England, could make nothing of it in the end. According to his brother, in a preface to The Patriarchal Theory, McLennan gave up his hypothesis and ceased to have any definite view at all on the origin of totemism. Nevertheless, McLennan was right in his guess that the so-called 'animal-worship of the Egyptians was descended from a system of totems or fetishes,' though 'worship,' we protest again and again, is not the word to employ; in this connection it is but a modern counterfeit. The totem, in its religious phase, was as much the sign of the goddess or the god as it had been of the motherhood or brotherhood. It was an image of the superhuman power. Thus the Mother-earth as giver of water was imaged as a water-cow. Seb the father of food was imaged by the goose that laid the egg. Horus the bringer of food in water was imaged by the fish or papyrus shoot. These, so to say, were totems of the Nature powers. But when it came to 'worship' it was the powers that were the objects of supreme regard, not the totems by means of which the powers were represented; not the water-cow, the goose, the fish, the shoot, but the goddess Apt, and the gods Seb, Sebek and Child-Horus. It is in the most primitive customs that we must seek for the fundamental forms of rites and ceremonies. It is in totemism only that we can trace the natural genesis of various doctrines and dogmas that have survived to be looked upon as a divine revelation especially vouchsafed to later times, in consequence of their having been continued as religious mysteries without the guidance of the primitive gnosis.
The human past in its remoter range might be divided into two portions for the purpose, and described as pretotemic and totemic. The first was naturally a state of promiscuity more or less like that of the animals, when there were neither totems, nor law of taboo, nor covenant of blood, nor verbal means of distinguishing one person from another. The only known representatives of this condition now living are the pygmies of the Central African forests. By totemism we mean the earliest formation of society in which the human group was first discreted from the gregarious horde that grovelled together previously in animal promiscuity. The subject, however, has various aspects. The term has many meanings which have to be determined by their types. Many years ago the present writer sought to show that totemism, mythology, fetishism, and the hieroglyphic system did not originate in separate systems of thought and expression, as [p.53] any modern 'ism' sets up for itself, but that these had a common rootage in sign-language, of which they are various modes or forms. Totemism originated in sign-language rather than in sociology, the signs being afterwards applied for use in sociology as they were in mythology and fetishism. The name 'totem' is supposed to have originated in the language of the North American Indians. The word totem exists in the Ojibway language for a sign, a symbol, mark, or device of the group, gens, or tribe. The Rev. Peter Jones, an Ojibway, spells the word toodaim. Francis Assikinack, an Ottawa Indian, renders it by ododam. The Abbé Thavenet, quoting from the Algonquin language, gives nind otem for 'my tribe,' and kit otem for 'thy tribe.' The root of the word as here rendered is tem or dem. The name and things thus denoted are found to be universal for a group, a gathering, a collection, a total of persons, animals, huts or houses. The Magar thum is the phratry or clan, of which there were twelve altogether. The Attic township was called a dem. The Sanskrit dama is the home; Greek domos, Latin domus, Slavonic domu, English dome. Itembe (= the dome) is the roof in Niamwezi. In Zulu the tumu is an assemblage. In Maori, the tamene is a collection of people. Also the toma is a cemetery like the Scottish tom, and the tumuli where the dead were gathered together. Tomo, in archaic Japanese, denotes 'a gathering of persons who are companions.' In Assyrian, likewise, the timi are the companions. As is usual in the present work, we turn to Egypt to see what the great mother of civilisation has to say concerning the tem and the totem.
twm (tom) in Coptic signified 'joining together' as in the tem. The word 'tem' has various applications in Egyptian. It signifies man, mankind, mortals, also to unite, be entire or perfect. Moreover, it is a name for those who are created persons, as in making young men and young women in the totemic ceremonies, of which more hereafter. If ever the word 'created' could be properly applied to the making of men and to those who were grouped together, it is in totemism. In Egyptian, tem, or tem-t, is not only a total and to be totalled. The sign of tem-t in the hieroglyphics is the figure of a total composed of two halves (ì); thus the tem is one with the total, and the total comprised two halves at the very point of bifurcation and dividing of the whole into two; also of totalling a number into a whole which commences with a twofold unity. And when the youths of the aborigines on the River Darling are made men of in the ceremonies of puberty—that is, when they are created men—they are called tumba. It would seem as if the word 'tem' for the total in two halves had been carried by name as well as by nature to the other side of the world, for two classes in St. George's Sound are universally called Erinung and Tem. The whole body of natives are divided into these two moieties. The distinctions, says Nind, are general, not tribal. They agree, however, with the Arunta division into two classes of the Churinga at the head of the totems which represent the subdivisional distinctions. The Egyptian tem is also a place-name as well as a personal name for the social unit, or division of persons. The temai was a district, a village, a fortress, [p.54] a town or a city, on the way to becoming the dom, as we have it in the heirdom and the kingdom, for the whole or total that is governed by a king. But the group-name for people preceded the group-name for a collection of dwellings, whether for the living or the dead. Here the 'tem' is a total, as we have it in English for a 'team' of horses, a brood of ducks, a litter of pigs. Egypt itself had passed out of the totemic stage of sociology in monumental times, but the evidences for its prehistoric existence are visibly extant in the place-names and in the mirror of mythology which reflects aloft a pre-monumental past of illimitable length. In Egypt the zootypes of the motherhoods and companionships had become the totems of the nomes. Thus we find the nome of the cow; the nome of the tree; the nome of the hare; the nome of the gazelle; the nome of the serpent; the nome of the ibis; nome of the crocodile; nome of the jackal; nome of the siluris; nome of the calf; and others. These show the continuity of totemic signs. Also the status of totemic sociology survived in Egypt when the artisans and labourers worked together as the companions in companies; the workmen in the temple and the necropolis were the companions; the rowers of a ship were a company like the seven Ari or 'companions' onboard the bark in the mythical representation. These companions are the Ari by name, and the totemic Ari can be traced by name to Upper Egypt, where Ariu, the land of the Ari, is a name of the seventeenth nome. At a remote period Egypt was divided into communities the members of which claimed to be of one family, and of the same seed—which, under the matriarchate, signifies the same mother-blood, and denotes the same mode of derivation on a more extended scale.
So ancient was totemism in Egypt that the totems of the human mothers had become the signs of goddesses, in whom the head of the beast was blended with the figure of the human female. The totems of the human mothers had attained the highest status as totems of a motherhood that was held to be divine, the motherhood in nature which was elemental in its origin. So ancient was totemism in Egypt that the tems were no longer mere groups, clans, or brotherhoods of people, or a collection of huts like the tembs of the Ugogo. The human groups had grown and expanded until the primitive dwelling-places had become great cities, and the burial-mounds of still earlier cities; the zootype of the motherhood and the brotherhood had become the blazon of the kingdom. If we take the city to be the Egyptian temai, the lion was the totem of the temai in Leontopolis; the hare was the totem of the temai in Unnut; the crocodile was a totem of the temai in Crocodilopolis; the cat in the temai of Pi-Bast (Bubastes); the wolf was the totem of Lycopolis; the water-cow of Teb; the oxyrhynchus of Pi-Maza; the apis of Ni-ent-Hapi; the ibis of Hermopolis; the bull of Mendes; the eel of Latopolis; the dog-headed ape of Cynopolis.
When Egypt comes into sight, the tems have grown into the temais and the totems into the signs of nomes, and she has left us the means of explaining all that preceded in the course of her long development from the state of primitive totemism in Africa: the state which more or less survives amongst the least cultured or most [p.55] decadent races that have scattered themselves and sown the Kamite wisdom which they carried as they crawled about the world; and, as the evidence shows, when this identifiable wisdom of the ancient motherhood was first carried forth from Egypt, she was in the most ancient totemic stage of sociology. The 'tem,' then, in the last analysis, as Egyptian, is a totality in two halves, also a total of 'created persons,' that is, of those who were constituted persons or companions in the tem or group by means of the totemic rite. In other languages the tem, deme, or timi are the group, or brotherhood. And in the languages of the Red Men, the dodam, otem, or ododem is the symbol of the group of brotherhood or motherhood, who were known by their totem. Totemism really originated in the sign-language of inner Africa. Some thirty different totems have been enumerated as still extant amongst the natives of Uganda and Unyoro, and each totem is connected with a birthplace or place of origin for the family in relation to the elemental ancestry, which is the same as with the Arunta in Australia. But a great mistake has hitherto been made in supposing that a sign called the totem had its origin in sociology. The primitive type now generalized under the name of 'the totem' was employed for various purposes as a factor in sign-language. It might be personal, sexual, sociological or religious. It might be the sign of legal sanction, or a type of taboo. It might identify the human mother or the superhuman power that was invoked for water, for food and shelter as the Mother-earth.
Since the brief jottings on 'totemism' were made in The Natural Genesis (Book 2) much water has passed beneath the bridge. A flood of light has been poured out on the subject by Messrs Spencer and Gillen in their invaluable work on the native tribes of Central Australia. The wisdom of the Egyptians is supplemented most helpfully by the traditions of the Arunta. The gods and goddesses may have been relegated to the 'Alcheringa,' but much of the primitive matter has been preserved at a standstill which had been transfigured by continued growth in Egypt. It is shown by the Arunta and other Australian tribes that certain totemic districts were identified by or with the food they produce, as the district of the kangaroos, the district of the emus, or the district of the witchetty-grubs. The Arunta tribes are distributed in a large number of small local groups, each of which is supposed to possess a given area of country, and therefore of the food grown in it. Generally the group describe themselves by the name of some animal, bird, or plant. One area belongs to the group who call themselves Kangaroo-Men; another belongs to the Emu-Men; another to the Hakea-flower-Men; another to the people of the Plum-Tree. The tribal area of the Australian Euahlayi is likewise divided into hunting-grounds in relation to food. According to Sir George Grey, the natives say that the Ballaroke family derived their name from the Ballaroke, a small opossum, on account of their having subsisted on this little animal; and of the Nag-Karm totem he tells us the Nagarnook family obtained their name from living principally in former times upon this fish. These, then, were food-totems. So likewise are the witchetty-grub, the kangaroo, and the [p.56] emu of the Arunta groups. Scott Nind also tells us that the tribes of the Tomdirrup and Moncalon classes are in a measure named from the kind of game or food found most abundant in the district, which is the same as saying that the members of the emu-totem were named from the emu-bird, or the kangaroos from the kangaroo-animal, naming from food being subdivisional and later than the descent from the tree and rock or the Churinga of the two primary classes. The most important ceremonies of the Arunta are performed for the sake of food, that is, for increasing the supply of the plant, animal, bird, or insect which is the totem of the particular group that enacts the rite and makes the magical appeal. The emus perform, propitiate, and plead for abundance of emus. The witchetty-grub people ask for plenty of beetles. These not only eat their totem, they are also its protectors. The totem was eaten ceremonially as a type of the food that was asked for, with its likeness drawn upon the ground in the blood of the brotherhood.
It is obvious that both in Australia and inner Africa the primitive totemic mapping-out includes that of food-districts, and that the special food of certain districts was represented by the totem of the family or tribe. At the time of the 6th Egyptian dynasty one family branch of the Hermopolitan princes owned or possessed the nome of the Hare whilst another governed the nome of the Gazelle. These in the primitive stage would be the food-districts of the totemic Hares and Gazelles, and this status has been preserved in Australian totemism with the ownership retained by the group. The totemic origin of the zootypes assigned to the Egyptian nomes is shown when the animals were not to be eaten as common food. As Plutarch says, the inhabitants of the Oxyrhynchus nome did not eat a kind of sturgeon known as the Oxyrhynchus. Also, the people of Crocodilopolis would not eat the flesh of the crocodile.
The notions of totemism previously entertained have been upset by the new evidence from Australia, which tends to prove that the totem was first of all eaten by the members of the group as their own especial food. Hence they were appointed its preservers and cultivators, and were named after it. According to the present interpretation, the totem primarily represented the maternal ancestor, the mother who gave herself for food and was eaten, and who as the mythical Great Mother in Egypt was the goddess Hathor in the tree; the suckler as Rerit the sow, the nurse as Rannut the serpent, the enceinte mother as Apt, who was fleshified for eating as the totemic cow. The object of certain sacred ceremonies associated with the totems is to secure the increase of the animal or plant which gives its name to the totem. Each totemic group has its own ceremony and no two of them are alike, but however they may differ in detail the most important point is that one and all have for their main object the purpose of increasing the supply of food; not food in general, but the particular food that is figured by their totem. For example, the men of the emu-totem perform their special ceremony and pour out the oblation of blood in soliciting plenty of emu. There can be no mistake in the kind of food that is piously besought, as a likeness of the emu-bird is portrayed on the ground in the blood [p.57] of the tribe to indicate the power that is appealed to. Thus, in the very dawn of ownership by the group, when property was common and not several, the totem would be a sign of that which came to be called property as the special food of the totemic family or clan. A group of totemic kangaroos would be the owners and eaters of the kangaroo in their locality. A group of totemic emus would be the owners and eaters of the emu. Those whose totem was the tree would eat the fruit of the tree, a totem being the veritable image of the food. The women of the grass-seed totem fed upon the grass-seed in the Alcheringa. The women of the hakea-totem always fed upon the hakea-flower in the Alcheringa. After the men of the witchetty-grub have performed the Intichiuma ceremony for increase of food, the grub becomes taboo to the members of the totem, and must on no account be eaten by them until the animal is abundant and the young are fully grown. If this rule should be broken it would nullify the effect of the ceremony. If the witchetty-grub men were to eat too much of their totem the power of performing the ceremony for plenty would depart. At the same time, if they were not to eat a little of the totemic animal it would have the same effect as eating too much. Hence the sacred duty of tasting it at certain times. The people of the emu-totem very rarely eat the eggs. If an emu-man who was very hungry found a nest of eggs he would eat but one. The flesh of the bird may be eaten sparingly, and only a very little of the fat, eggs and fat being more taboo than the meat. 'The same principle holds good through all the totems. A carpet-snake man will eat sparingly of a poor snake, but he will scarcely touch the reptile if it be fat.' That was left, like the finest grain, for seed. So the members of the Irriakura-totem do not eat their totem for some time after the ceremony of Intichiuma. The man of the Idnimita-totem, a large long-horned beetle, may not eat the grub after Intichiuma until it becomes abundant. It is the same with the men of the bandicoot totem. But when the animal becomes plentiful, those who do not belong to the totem go out in search of one, which when caught is killed and some of the fat put into the mouth of the bandicoot-men, who may then eat a little of the animal. Again, the Arunta have a custom or ceremony in which the members of any local group bring in stores of the totemic plant or animal to their men's camp and place them before the members of the totem. Thus, as Messrs Spencer and Gillen remark, 'clearly recognizing that it is these men who have the first right of eating it,' because it was their totem. In this social aspect, then, totemism was a means of regulating the distribution of food, and in all likelihood it must have included a system of exchange and barter that came to be practised by the family groups. In this phase the totem was a figure of the especial kind of food that was cultivated and sought to be increased by the magical ceremonies of the group. If we were to generalize, we should say that in the beginning the 'food' represented by the totem, whether animal or vegetable, was both cultivated or cared for, and eaten by the members of that totem. In scarcity, it was eaten less and less, and was more and more prohibited to the brotherhood, for social, religious or ceremonial reasons, and that this was certainly one of the origins in totemism. The totem as food may [p.58] partly explain the totemic life-tie when the human brother is taught to take care of the animal and told to protect it because his life is bound up with the animal's so closely that if it dies he too must die.
Totemism, however, does not imply any worship of animals on the part of primitive men. It is the sheerest fallacy to suppose that the most undeveloped aborigines began to worship, say, fifty beasts, reptiles, insects, birds, or shrubs, because each in some way or measure fulfilled one of fifty different conceptions of a divinity that was recognized beneath its half-hundred masks. Moreover, if primitive men had begun by worshipping beasts and holding their deadliest foes religiously sacred as their dearest friends; if they had not fought with them for very existence inch by inch, every foot of the way, to conquer them at last, they never could have attained supremacy over their natural enemies of the animal world. It would be going against all known natural tendency for us to imagine that human nature in the early stage of totemic sociology was confused with that of the lower animals. The very earliest operation of the consciousness which discreted the creature with a thumb from those who were falling behind him on four feet was by distinguishing himself from his predecessors: and the degree of difference once drawn, the mental landmark once laid down, must have broadened with every step of his advance. His recognition of himself depended on his perceiving his unlikeness to them, and it can be shown how the beasts, birds, reptiles, and fishes were first adopted as zootypes on account of their superhuman and superior power in relation to the various elements, and therefore because of their unlikeness to the nature of the human being. The ancestral animal then is neither an ideal nor imaginary being as a primitive parent supposed to have been a beast, or a bird, a plant, or a star, any more than the first female as head of the Gaelic clan Chattan was a great cat, or was believed to be a great cat, by the brothers in the Clan Sutherland.
How ever ancient the mythical mode of representing external nature, some sort of sociology must have preceded mythology and been expressed in sign-language. Actuality was earlier than typology. Thus amongst the American Indians we find that earth, water, wind, sun, and rain are totems, without being, as it were, put into type by mythology. This, which can be paralleled in Africa and Australia, points to a beginning with the elements of life themselves as the objects of recognition which preceded the zootypes; the elements of water, earth, air, and vegetation. It need scarcely be reasserted that totemism was a primitive means of distinguishing the offspring of one mother from the offspring of the other; the children of the tree from the children of the rock, the hippopotami from the crocodiles, the serpents from the swine. The earliest sociology touches on promiscuity at the point of departure from the human horde when the mother was the only parent known. The mother comes first, and from that point of departure the Egyptian representation reflects the sociology in the mirror of the mythos. In the pretotemic stage, there was one mother as head of the family. This is repeated in Egyptian mythology. In totemism the motherhood is divided between two sisters, or a mother and an elder sister. This [p.59] is repeated in Egyptian mythology. In totemism the dual motherhood is followed by the brotherhoods. This is repeated in Egyptian mythology, beginning with the twin-brothers Sut and Horus, or the black vulture and the golden hawk, which are equated by, or continued as, the crow and eagle-hawk of Karween and Pundjel in Australia. In totemism the two brothers are followed by four or six in a group, and these are consorts of the sisters in group-marriage. So is it in the Egyptian mythos. In this way mythology will lend its search-light to show the backward path of prehistoric totemism.
At a very early stage the boys became the consorts of the mother. When of age they would enter into connubium with her, the eldest being first. Incest at the time was naturally unknown, it being the same with them as with the animals. This status is reflected in the mirror of mythology. For example, there is evidence that the eldest son was the earliest representative or outline of a father and that he cohabited with his own mother on purpose to keep pure the mother-blood. This is an African institution. The queens of Cape Gonzalves and Gaboon are accustomed to marry their eldest sons as a means of preserving pure the royal blood. It was a very stringent law and custom with the Incas of Peru that the heir to the kingdom should marry his eldest sister. This custom also is reflected in Egyptian mythology. Indeed, so perfectly have the prehistoric sociological conditions been preserved by the Egyptians in their mythical rendering of the natural fact that the very beginning in heaven is with the first departure from utter promiscuity as it was on earth. The genetrix as typical woman is both mother and consort to her own children. Hence Apt, the old first mother of gods and men, was called the 'Great Mother of him who is married to his Mother.' That is, of Horus as the crocodile-headed Sebek. Sut, the male hippopotamus, was also both son and consort of the same first mother. As Horapollo says, 'when the male hippopotamus arrives at its prime of life it consorts with its own mother.' This was the status of Sebek-Horus, who was termed the husband of his mother. The earliest powers born of the Earth-mother were thought of as fecundating her in utero; Sut as the hippopotamus, Sebek as the crocodile, Shu as the lion, Elder Horus as the child. The tradition of the sons who consorted with the mother is to be detected in the story told of Mars by Herodotus. He describes an Egyptian festival which the priests informed him was instituted to celebrate or commemorate the ravishing of his mother by the god Mars. Now Mars, in Egypt, is the warrior Shu, who was one of the sons that cohabited with the mother. Thus Sut, Horus, and Shu are all three described in this pretotemic character. There were seven altogether of these sons who were consorts of the mother in mythology, and who reappear with the Old Harlot and partake of her cup of fornication in the Book of Revelation. At a later time both Sut and Horus were denounced as 'violators of their mother.' When Isis uttered the cry of 'No crocodile,' Horus had violated his mother, and it was the mother who effected the 'Act of Salvation' by refusing the incestuous intercourse of son and mother, whether of the uterine son or only of [p.60] the same totem, which in this case was the crocodile. With Sut as violator, it was the hippopotamus; with Horus the crocodile, with Shu the lion. Thus, in the mirror of Egyptian mythology human promiscuity is reflected when the Great Mother's own sons are her consorts. Polyandry is represented when brothers and sisters couple together, as did Shu and Tefnut. The African marriage of one male with two sisters is reflected in the mythos when Osiris is the consort of Isis and Nephthys.
If we take the word 'totem' to indicate a sign, the earliest sign or symbol to be identified in totemism was related to the fact of feminine pubescence. This was the word that issued out of silence in the beginning. The earliest law of covenant or taboo was based upon the transformation that occurred at the time when the girl became a woman ready for connubium. This was the mystery of a transformation that was a primal source of all the transformations in the folktales of the world. The girl became a woman as a natural fact. This had to be expressed in the visible language already drawn from external nature. We are told by Theal, the Cape historian, that the only festival celebrated by the Zulu-Kaffirs today is one that is kept when the girl becomes pubescent. This, was indeed the mother of mystery, the mystery of all mysteries ever solemnized or celebrated by the people of the past. It was a time of rejoicing because the girl had come of age and was now ready to be welcomed into communal connubium by the whole group of grown-up males. When the female had attained pubescence and become of age the opening period, as it is commonly designated, was proclaimed, and confirmation given in various modes of sign-language. The fact was tattooed on the person. A cicatrice was raised in the flesh. Down was exhibited as a sign of the pubes. The Zulu women published their news with the um-lomo or mystical mouthpiece. The act may be read on behalf of the women by assuming the operation to have been female from the first, and then passed on to the boys. The girl in her initiation joins the ranks of the motherhood. She has attained her opening period. The tooth is knocked out to visualize the opening. One of the signs of readiness shown by the Arunta women was the erection of the sacred pole immediately after the ceremony of introcision had been performed. A Purulu woman of the Achilpa totem (in the mythical past) is said to have had a large Nurtunja. This when erected stood so high as to be seen by the men a long way off. The woman showed her Undattha or down (typical of the pubes and pubescence) and the men performed the rite upon her, and then they all had intercourse with her. The special fact then signified by the raising of her Nurtunja, or sacred pole, was that her womanhood was now accomplished. This may explain why no Nurtunja is used but once, a fresh one being made for every ceremony. Also why Churinga were hung upon the pole to intimate her totem.
The name for a totem (in Luganda) is muziro, which signifies something tabooed: 'something I avoid for medical or other reasons.' This tends to identify the totem in one of its aspects as a teacher of taboo in relation to the primitive mystery of female nature.
The fact is that the sign-language of totemism was in existence long before two groups of people were distinguished from each other [p.61] by two different signs or zootypes. Sign-language is far older than any form of totemic sociology. The signs now known as totemic were previously extant; they had served other uses, and were continued for other purposes. The very first thing to regulate in primitive marriage was the time at which the pubescent girl was marriageable. This was determined primarily by nature and secondly by the preparatory rite. As shown by the Australian customs, no girl was marriageable until the rite of introcision had been performed upon her person. Her totem followed the totemic rite as her heraldic badge. Thus a first division was made to indicate the fit and protect the unfit from savage assault, when the totem was individual and feminine. So in the mysteries of Artemis no young woman was considered marriageable until she had danced in the bear-skin at the mysteries; the bearskin that symbolized the pubes or pubescence, as did the down of birds or the skin of the serpent. The natural raison d'être, the primary need for the totem, was in its being a sign of feminine pubescence. In a state of sexual promiscuity the first thing to be determined was the mother-blood. This was manifested at the period of puberty, and the totem was adopted as the symbol of motherhood. The manifestor was now a frog, a serpent, a she-bear, or as we say, a woman, to be distinguished by her totem. The totem then was the sign of 'Earth's first blood' on this most primitive natural ground. When the Australian black described the Churinga-like sacred stones of New South Wales as 'All same as bloody brand,' he meant the blood-brand, or totemic mark, and thus identified the mother-totem with the mother-blood. The different mother-hoods were recognized as different mother-bloods which were visibly discriminated by the different mother-totems. The recognition of the mother-blood, even in the undivided horde, would naturally lead to the blood-motherhood which we postulate as fundamental in totemism. At first no barrier of blood was recognized. The brothers and sisters of the same mother intermarried, although they were, or because they were originally, of the same one blood. When the nations of the earth were all of one blood it was the blood of the mother, who in her mystical aspect is the virgin-mother of the mythos and the eschatology. On entering the ranks of the motherhood the girl assumed her sign which signified that she was now a woman. In being made totemic she was recognized by her zootype—that is, by the reptile, beast, or bird of the totem into which she had first made her transformation at the time of puberty. In various legends it was said that in making this transformation the young women were changed into beasts. Once on a time a young girl in Arcadia transformed into an animal. It is common in the folktales for the female to change into a hyena, a tigress, a serpent, a lioness, or some other beast or reptile. It was the same with the Zulu-Kaffir girl who became a frog. When her change occurred she was no longer a tadpole of a girl, but a full-blown frog, and in the human sense a woman. The beginnings were very lowly in sign-language. It had been awesomely remarked that the serpent had the faculty of sloughing its skin and renewing itself. Hence it is said by the Kaffirs that when the girl makes her change [p.62] she is visited by the great serpent, or, in other legends, she is said to change into a serpent. In the Arunta tradition the two females who are the founders of totemism and finishers of the human race made their transformation into the lizard. The native women of Mashonaland also tattoo themselves with the lizard-pattern that is found on their divining tablets when they come of age. Thus the lizard in one instance, the serpent in another, the frog in a third, is the type of beast or reptile into which the young woman is said to transform at the particular period. Hence the lizard, frog, and serpent remain as fetishes with the aborigines. Both lizard and frog were continued in Egypt, but the serpent there attained supremacy. At the coming of age the girl changed into a lizard, a frog, or a serpent as a mode of indicating her status as a woman, whether in nature or in totemism. Thus three different types, the lizard, frog, and serpent, are identified as figures of the fact in nature, with the 'beast' or reptile into which the young girl made her transformation in the mysteries of motherhood which formed the mould of other later mysteries in totemism and mythology; the types of which were worn by the goddesses as well as by the Egyptian women. The amulet of Isis which she tied round her neck when she had conceived Child-Horus corresponded to the totemic sign of the pubescent virgin. It was of blood-red stone and it imaged the blood of Isis. The girl was changed into the woman at the time of puberty, therefore the totem was a type of motherhood. In a sense it was the crown of maternity which in Egypt was represented by the serpent of renewal. In attaining this type the girl became a lizard or the Zulu maiden was said to be visited by the great serpent. The serpent that visited the Kaffir maiden was also a totem of the virgin-goddess Rannut, in the Kamite mythos, and. this was doubled to be worn by the Egyptian queens as the symbol of maternity or a totem of the dual motherhood, in the characters of girl and woman, maid and mother, virgin and gestator. We may now affirm that totemism was founded on the nature of the female as a mode of showing when the maiden might be admitted into the ranks of motherhood, and the young girl made her transformation into the animal and became a frog, a lizard, serpent, crocodile, bear, lioness, cat or other zootype as the bringer-forth of human offspring in the mask. Which animal was represented would depend upon the totem of the motherhood or the group of males. And here it may be asserted that for the first time we touch another of the several tap-roots of totemism.
The totem has sometimes been called the 'original ancestor,' as if it were a representative of the human father. But the sole original ancestor in sociology, in totemism, in mythology, is the mother; and the female totems of the motherhood on earth were repeated as the totems of the mother in heaven, or in the astronomical mythology. One object of the totem being worn in the form of the skin, the badge of tattoo, or the crest, was to signify the 'blood' which could only be determined by the motherhood, so that the children of the same totem could or should not intermarry because they were or were not of one blood. It follows, therefore, that the earliest totems must have signified the mother as a means of identifying the one [p.63] blood of her children. Descent from the mother, identified by her totem, is indicated from one end of Africa to the other, when the Egyptian pharaoh wears the tail of the cow, the Kaffir chief or bushman the tail of the lioness, and the Hottentot is the son of the yellow lion-tail. So is it in the Egyptian mythology where, the priority of the mother-totem is well exemplified. Shu is also a son of the lion-tail, the she-lion, and he carries the ur-hekau or Great Magical Power on his head. This is the hinder-part of the lioness and the tail of a lioness on his head denotes the lioness as a mother-totem from which the child traces his descent as a lion. The earliest human being individualized was necessarily the mother. She and her children formed the primal family, whose tie was that of blood-motherhood, a tie that must have been already common with the horde in pretotemic times, the one blood of motherhood being the original source of all blood-brotherhood. The primary form of human personality (persona) was that attained by woman under the matriarchate as the mother. Fortunately providence placed the mother first and secured her on the side of procreant nature, for the perpetuation of the race. It has been cast up against woman that she is mother first and consort afterwards, and that the maternal instinct reigns supreme. But woman was the mother ages earlier than she could be the wife. The mother had the start by many thousand years. The child was known as hers from the beginning. The husband was not. Her function was that of breeder for the group and bearer for the tribe, and not for love of the individual. She fulfilled the ideal of primitive man as the woman of infinite capacity, like the lioness, hippopotamus, or other huge titanic-type of superhuman power and size. She may have had her individual likes and dislikes, but was grimly governed in the grasp of stern totemic law. It was perforce her duty to provide pasturage for 'forty feeding as one,' or the whole tribe, not to cultivate her own personal preferences. The mother necessarily grew predominant in the duality of her nature. And still the noblest nature yet evolved is hers whose desire for maternity is dual, and who blends most perfectly the love of the mother and wife in one.
The solution of the problem now propounded is that the secret of the totemic sphinx, in its ultimate secrecy, originated with the totem being first of all a sign of feminine pubescence, and a personal means of making known the natural fact; that it thus became a blazon of the mother-blood and primal family group; which tends to corroborate the suggestion now sought to be established that the totem was a figure of the female from the beginning, and that this was followed by a long and manifold development in the application of the sign to the motherhoods and brotherhoods, and to the intermarriage of the groups now called totemic.
There are two classes of tradition derived from totemism concerning the descent of the human race. According to one, human beings were derived from the totemic animals, or birds, as the Haidahs in Queen Charlotte Sound claim descent from the crow. According to the other, the totemic zootypes are said to have been brought forth by human mothers. The Bakalai tribes of equatorial Africa told Du Chaillu that their women gave birth to the totemic animals, we have [p.64] seen how, and that one woman brought forth a calf, others a crocodile, a hippopotamus, a monkey, a boa, or a boar. The same statement as this of the Bakalai is made by the Moqui Indians, who affirm that the people of their snake-clan are descended from a woman who gave birth to snakes. In various savage myths we have seen how the animals are descended from human mothers. This is a complete reversal of the supposed belief that the human race is descended from beasts, birds, reptiles, and all the other totemic types, and tends to show that the primary totems were representative of the mothers, whence the alleged descent of the totemic animals from human originals which of necessity were female; when the women as the authors of totemism brought forth the types. Because the mother was the primal personality it followed that the earliest human group was a motherhood. The clan at first was matriarchal. This is still extant in the Oraon Maharis, which are the motherhoods by name. When there was no individual fatherhood yet determinable, descent was in the female line, from the mother to the eldest daughter. These became the typical 'two women' in totemism and the 'two mothers' in mythology because they had been the two mothers in the primitive sociology, as the mother and the eldest daughter of the human family. The primary human group was naturally uterine. The family first formed were the children of one mother, and the human pact or tie was founded on the one blood of the mother; the blood-motherhood which determined the blood-brotherhood. According to Schoolcraft, the totems of the Algonquin denote the mothers. The emu, which is also 'The Woman,' Ngalalbal, is a mother-totem of the Kurnai in Australia. When the Euahlayi tribe of Australia take their totem-names from their mothers, and are divided into two groups as the light-blooded and the dark-blooded, this indicates a twofold derivation from the one mother-blood, whether pretotemic or totemic if we take the bear as a mother-totem, we can understand the Ainu of Japan when they say their earliest ancestor was suckled by a bear. In that case the totemic mother was a she-bear, and the fact was memorized when the Ainu women suckled the young bear that was to be killed and solemnly eaten at the annual festival. Besides which, when the she-bear was eaten in place of the human mother the sex of the totem was determined by her being invested with a necklace and adorned with eardrops like a woman.
It is the same when the Snake-Clan of Arizona claim descent from a woman who gave birth to snakes. She was the mother of that totem and the snakes were her children. But there was a mother in mythology who did give birth to the totem-animals, and who is confused at times with the human motherhood. This was the mother-earth, who was represented by the snake as renewer of vegetation in the goddess Rannut. Egyptian mythology is a mirror of totemism from the beginning with the human mother who was the primal parent. And as it was in totemism so is it in the mythology and eschatology of Egypt. In the beginning was the Great Mother, because the first person recognised in totemism was [p.65] the mother. The totemism of Egypt was the basis of all its mythology and eschatology, but that stage of sociology was almost silted under and hidden out of sight as one of the several strata of Egypt's buried past. The Indians who trace their descent from the Spirit-Mother and a grizzly bear acknowledge that the bear, like that of the Ainos, was a she-bear, and consequently a mother-totem. The Tugas claimed descent from a she-wolf, and the Tufans from a she-dog. Descent from the mother or in the female line was universally recognized by the aborigines. From this it follows that the zootypes first represented the motherhoods; and when the males came to the fore the same animal would serve two purposes. As female it would represent the motherhood; as male the brotherhood. A tribe of Indians still living in North-West America claim to have descended from a frog. If this was a totem of the motherhood, the descent would be the same as if it were from the goddess Hekat, only their sign is simple frog, whereas the frog had been elevated in status by becoming an image of the mother as Mistress Hekat, the froggess who typified the divine mother in the transforming moon. The divine cow of the Todas is an extant type of the Great Mother as the giver of food, equivalent to Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, the cow that protected her son with her body, primarily when the mother was a water-cow. The Toda palal or high priest obviously personates the divine son, and is the dispenser of blessings to the world for the divine motherhood that was represented by the cow.
No race on earth so ignorant but that it has claimed descent from the mother. And this human descent being the recognized fact in totemism from the remotest times, the descendants from the mother who could be, and was, identified as their own flesh and blood and breath, the mother who gave visible birth to the human offspring, and no other, from the womb, never could have claimed an actual descent from animals, reptiles, birds, trees, stones and other objects, animate and inanimate. An Australian tribe considered themselves to have been ducks who at one time were changed into men. In that case the duck would be a totem of the mother as the means of tracing their descent in the female line. When they became men the descent would be reckoned from the male progenitor. The Bygahs have a tradition that the foster-mother of the first man was a milch-tigress, and therefore, as we show, a mother-totem. In this statement the foster-mother is distinguished from the human mother and is identified by means of her totem as the tigress and lioness, or sow or water-cow, or any other female zootype. The hyena was a mother-totem of inner Africa. The Wanika in East Africa reverence this animal as ancestral. When a hyena dies it is bewailed by the whole people. The mourning for a chief is said to be nothing compared with the death of a hyena, because, as we hold, of its being a maternal zootype. It is certain that the hippopotamus was a mother-totem with the natives of the Zambesi, who have now the greatest horror of touching its flesh. Livingstone's pilot would go without food rather than cook it in the same pot which had contained any of the meat. As Herodotus tells us, the first mother of [p.66] the Scyths was a serpent-woman. With the kings of Abyssinia the line of descent was traced from the serpent, which was therefore a mother-totem. The process of divinizing the power by means of the type had begun in Africa beyond Egypt. The vulture in Ashanti is the same sign of royalty as with the Egyptians. In Coomassie, says Ellis, 'vultures are considered birds sacred to the royal family. This is not in the same way as the leopard is to the leopard family; but rather that these birds have been despotically declared to be sacred,' which means that they are exceptionally sacred by being the totem of the royal family, or, as in Egypt, of royal and divine maternity. Any molestation of this bird was punishable with death. It is a mother-totem like the vulture of Neith, which was both royal and divine, as the Bird of Blood, the mother-blood, the royal blood.
The mother was the primal parent, and the totem was a means of distinguishing one mother and one group of children from another before these were divided in the two classes of the two mothers. Single motherhood was naturally known to the gregarious horde. Which means that the earliest totems were types of the female. This is shown in the Egyptian mythology, that mirror of the matriarchate. 'Your mother' knew her children and they knew their mother. 'My mother' knew her children, and they knew their mother. But without some permanent sign the children would go forth like the beasts from the lair and the birds from the nest, and even this one natural link of relationship must have been lost in the undistinguishable horde. That sign was the totem as the earliest mode and means of identifying the mother and of memorizing the descent of the children upon any line of the original matriarchate. The mother's sign then was the totem of her own children, male and female, differentiated by sex. 'Your mother' was known by her totem; 'My mother' by her totem—to each other's children. The mother's totem was naturally recognized by her own children. If 'your mother' was a lioness, the male offspring knew themselves as her young lions. If 'my mother' was a hippopotamus, her children knew themselves as hippopotami, or bulls of the cow if male. The mother was always human beneath the totemic mask which was needed, adopted, and worn to distinguish one human mother from the rest, so that she could be identified by others who were not her children. Thus the first 'two women,' the 'my mother' and 'your mother' of the Kamilaroi, were recognized as the Emu and Iguana, and these became the totems of their children.
The Arunta in their isolation have preserved some relics of a primitive tradition of the pretotemic and prehuman state in what they term the 'Alcheringa.' In this the mythical ancestors, the Nooralie, or Mura-Mura of other tribes, are supposed to have lived. At that time, or in that condition, nothing human had been evolved, distinct from other forms of life. As it is said, in those days there were neither men nor women, only rudimentary creatures waiting to be humanized. The Alcheringa represents a mythical past which did not commence with those who have no clue to the origins. It is a past that was inherited and never had any contemporary existence for them. These rudimentary beings the Arunta call 'the Inapertwa, [p.67] or imperfect creatures.' We know what was meant by the term because it is still applied to the girls who have not been opened and the boys who have not undergone the rite of circumcision or sub-incision. Such beings still remained the same as the Inapertwa creatures because they had not yet been made into men and women. The sexes were not then divided at puberty or, in other words, had not yet become totemic. The Arunta tradition tells us further that the change from prehuman to human beings, and from the pretotemic to the totemic status, was effected by two beings who were called the Ungambikula, a word which signifies 'out of nothing' or 'self-existing.' Though these two are not designated women, they are two females. There being no men or women in those days, only the rudimentary Inapertwa, it was the work of the Ungambikula to shape the Inapertwa creatures into women and men, with their lalira, or great stone knives, made of quartzite. These two beings were the primitive creators of men and women from the undistinguishable horde of the imperfect Inapertwa as founders of totemism, by means of the totemic rites. They are said to have changed the Inapertwa into human beings belonging to six different totems—(1) The Akakia, or plumtree. (2) The Inguitchika, or grass-seed. (3) The Echunpa, or large lizard. (4) The Erliwatchera. or small lizard. (5) The Atninpirichina, or parakeet. (6) The Untaina, or small rat. The two beings having done their work of cutting and carving which was to establish totemism, then transformed themselves into lizards. Hence it was the lizard of Australian legend that was reputed to have been the author of marriage, because the lizard was an emblem of the feminine period.
It will be shown by degrees what the nature of these rudimentary creatures was, and what is their relation to the human race and to totemism. The same primeval tradition is to be found in the Mangaian myths of creation. In this the beings born of Vari-ma-tetakere, the originator of all things, the very-beginning, dwelt in the Mute-land at the bottom of Avaiki. There was no verbal language in this land of the Great Mother. You could not provoke an angry answer there. The only language known in the Mute-land is said to be that of signs—'such as nods, elevated eyebrows, grimaces, and smiles.'
'Avaiki is a land of strange utterance,
Like the sighs of a passing breeze
Where the dance is performed in silence,
And the gift of speech is unknown.'
The mother and daughter of the Mangaian version take the place of the two female ancestresses in the Arunta legend. Also, one name of the daughter in another of the islands was papa or foundation. In this also the six totems are equated by six parts of Avaiki, the body of the Great Mother (Mother-earth), who is said to pluck off six portions of her flesh, from the right and left sides of her body, with which to form her children. The tradition is one and universal with many variants. It is fundamentally the same in the mythology of the Californian Indians, who tell us that at first their ancestors walked on all fours. Then they began to put forth some members of the human body, such as a finger or a toe, until they were perfected [p.68] like the Inapertwa when these were made into men and women. They missed their tails, which they lost as the result of having to sit up. It was a result of this derivation of the children from the mothers illustrated by means of totemic zootypes that the aborigines in various Asiatic and European countries were despised and derided by later races as 'The Men with Tails.' When the Burmese call the Karens 'Dog-men,' and the Airyas of India call the aborigines 'Monkey-men' they are naming them derisively in accordance with the primitive totemic status. Nothing is more common than for the later lighter races to accredit the old dark races with the possession of tails, as a continuation of the totemic likeness. They were the beast men, or their descendants from the earlier totemic times and status. The Kickapoos tell a humorous story of their ancestors who once were in possession of tails which they afterwards lost. Then the impudent frog would send every morning and ask them how they felt without their tails, much to the amusement of the bear, who used to listen and shake her fat sides with laughter at the joke. As the frog had likewise lost its tail in the process of becoming a frog from a tadpole we may see in this the particular totemic type of the Kickapoos that lost their tails. The tail or hinder-part is naturally a mother-totem. The tail of the lioness carried on his head is the mother-totem of Shu. The Egyptian kings were men with tails. They wore the tails of the lioness and the cow, which were two forms or zootypes of the mythical mother, Neith the milch-cow (earlier Apt, the water-cow) and Tefnut, the lioness. Here the tails of the lioness and cow were worn by the human lion or bull who at one time sported his mother-totem in the shape of the typical animal's tail. Various tribes on the Upper Nile are the wearers of artificial tails made of hair straw, or fibre of hemp, in place of the earlier skin. On grand occasions the Egyptian judges and other dignitaries wore the tails of jackals made of horsehair. In Egyptian symbolism the jackal represents the judge; and the tail of horsehair still survives with us as the queue of the judge's wig. The fox in Europe took the place of the jackal as the zootype of the lawyer, and this preserves the character of Anup, the jackal, as the sign of council and of cunning or wiseness on the part of those who 'wear fur,' or the later silk.
One supreme and primary object of totemism was the preservation of the mother-blood in aboriginal purity. This gave priority and unparalleled importance to maternal totems like those of the serpent and vulture of the mother which were symbols of royal and divine maternity in Egypt. The most profoundly primitive of all the ancient mysteries was that of the mother-blood. At the same time it was the most profoundly natural. By this mystery it was demonstrated that blood was the basis of womanhood, of motherhood, of childhood, and in short, of human existence. Hence the preciousness of the mother-blood. Hence the customs instituted for its preservation and the purity of racial descent. Only the mother could originate and preserve the nobility of lineage or royalty of race. And the old dark race in general has not yet outlived the sanctity of the mother-blood which was primordial, or the taboo-laws which were first made statutable by means of the mother's totem.
In the Egyptian system of representation there are seven souls [p.69] or life-forces recognized in nature. Six of these were prehuman, elemental powers, born of the primary Great Mother when there was as yet no human soul distinguished from the six that were the souls, such as light, or air, earth, or water, and animal or vegetable life. The seventh soul alone was human. This was the soul of blood brought forth by a goddess in the human likeness. The earliest soul considered to be human, the soul that was made flesh in the Child-Horus, was born of the mother-blood, the blood of Isis, and, as such, was distinguished from the earlier elemental powers, otherwise the six totemic and prehuman souls. The blood-mother was imaged as the virgin Neith who was represented in one phase by the vulture that was fabled, like the pelican, to pierce its thigh and give its offspring her own blood for nourishment. This was as the conceiver of a soul that was incarnated by the blood-mother. The blood that was considered to be the soul of life, in a series of seven souls, is the blood of the female—not the typical blood of the male; the blood of Isis, not the blood of Adam, Atum, or Belus; and it can be shown that the human race, distinguished from the preliminary people, originated in the mother-blood. This was a demonstration made by nature herself on grounds as permanent as they were primitive. The reproduction of human life and the means of descent were dependent on the mother-blood. By this same means the mother also attained her supremacy, the matriarchate being based upon the mother-blood that was to be so preciously preserved and memorized. According to the Egyptian wisdom, the salvation of the human race was effected by the blood of Isis. Salvation was perpetuation. Isis was the Virgin-Mother, and hers also was the mother-blood. The blood of the mother, who was primarily the virgin, being the earliest recognized source of human life, thence came the doctrine of a virgin-mother and the saving blood in the eschatology. This mother-blood originated with the virgin at the time of puberty. It passed into the racial mother-blood in the phase of fulfilment with marriage. The virgin, represented in the Egyptian mystery, was the maiden who conceived; in her second character she was the bringer-forth. These two mothers were imaged by the double Uraeus-crown of maternity. The mythical virgin-mother had a very natural origin. She represents the pubescent female who was the fount and source in nature for the one original blood. The blood of Isis was the virgin-blood. She was the mother of life in the mythical representation, and in the first of two characters she is the virgin-mother, when her sister Nephthys is the bringer-forth or nurse of the child. The sacredness of the virgin-blood, the earliest mother-blood, will help to account for the sanctity of the prepubescent virgins who were so carefully secluded from the outer world at the time of its primary manifestation. Among the Ot Danoms of Borneo the prepubescent girl is sometimes shut up during seven years awaiting her sign of the virgin-motherhood. This is born in blood, and she is consequently looked upon as one newly born into life. She is led forth to breathe the air, and is shown the sun, the water, and the trees. Then the event is celebrated by the sacrifice of a slave, and her body is painted with his blood. This was the blood-mother as a virgin, in the first of the two characters assigned [p.70] to the female. Thus, the two women in totemic sociology were the virgin and the mother. It is the same in the mythology, and lastly in the eschatology. The first of the two was the pubescent virgin who conceives: the second is she who brings forth. Hence the doctrine of a double motherhood. Ra is said to be united to his 'double mother.' One of the Ptolemies claims to be the beloved of the 'double divine mother.' The double mother was also the double sister in another relationship with Horus. 'I am thy double sister,' says Isis to Osiris. In this duality Isis is the blood-mother and Nephthys the milch-mother; hence she is called the nurse. Isis is at once the Great Mother and also the Virgin-Mother who keeps the primary place in the mythos because the virgin preceded the bringer forth of the child as source itself. This double motherhood is also assigned to Jesus in the gospels with the two mothers as two sisters the first being the Virgin Mary, the second, Mary the wife of Cleopas.
In modern times the blood in certain families is considered to be royal, and royal blood is the blood to be sacredly or very carefully preserved from any base admixture, although the origin of royal blood is hitherto unknown. Under the matriarchate there could be no blood-royal by derivation from the male. There was but one blood, that of the mother. It was impossible at first for the males to transmit. There was but one means of descent for the race. This was the mother-blood. Hence the primitive customs for preserving it in purity and sanctity. The mother-blood was not only known as the 'one blood' of the race, it also denoted the 'one flesh' or one stock. Descent from the mother connoted the one blood or one flesh. It would be a way of preserving the mother-blood in totemism for the brother and sister of the same totem to intermarry; the same totem being a determinative of the motherhood, as the means of identifying the original mother-blood. Messrs Spencer and Gillen tell us that the Arunta traditions point to a time 'in the Alcheringa' when it was the normal condition for the male to cohabit with a woman of the same totem as his own. The evidence points back to a time when the brother and sister of the same totem always married each other. It was long sought to keep the mother-blood intact by the intermarriage of the uterine brothers and sisters. These used to cohabit, and such intercourse was at one time considered to be not only natural and proper, but was esteemed as preferable. The Kalangs of Java are what is now termed endogamous, and when a girl is asked in marriage the man 'must prove his descent from their peculiar stock.' That is originally the one stock of the mother-blood. People of this stock were known both in Africa and Australia as the one-legged people, those who were the undivided primitive endogamists. Prolonged efforts were made by the 'endogamists' to preserve the mother-blood or the 'one flesh,' as it was called by the aborigines of Victoria, who say of a man that takes a woman of his own group to wife, he has 'fallen into the same flesh.' It was a custom long continued by the Egyptians to preserve the mother-blood by the marriage of the brother and sister, a custom that was sacred to the royal family, thus showing that the mother- [p.71] blood transmitted by the elder sister was the royal blood. The Goajiros of Colombia in South America have divided and subdivided into a score of totemic groups, but they all preserve the descent in the female line, and therefore from the mother-blood. For, if a member wounds himself with his own knife he is not allowed to spill any of his own blood without paying for it. His family on the mother's side demand blood-money in compensation for their loss. There was no individual property in the mother-blood. This belonged to the family or tribe. It happens with the Gonds of Central India that they have lost much of their pure blood by intermixture with the Hindu race. Hence, at the installation of a rajah his forehead must be touched with a drop of blood drawn from the body of a pure aborigine of the tribe to which the rajah belongs. Intermarriage has now come to be called endogamy in opposition to exogamy, or marriage outside the group. But the family traced from the mother-blood was earlier than the totemic tribe. When the children of one and the same mother intermarried, a kind of endogamy, however limited, would be founded. And when the children of one mother were compelled to marry the children of another mother a sort of exogamy was established.
The mother was the foundress of the family, consisting of herself and children. The foundation of the human structure was in blood, the blood of the mother. The fact was commemorated in blood-sacrifice when the victim was immured, or the blood was poured out at the base of the building; the custom, like others, is a mode of memorial that was continued in sign-language when the origin and meaning of the act were inexplicable. The mother-blood, we repeat, was primary, and various customs, rites, or ceremonies show the purpose that was intended to keep the one first blood, that of the mother, intact. Each family would be proud of and prefer their own fount of source, and endeavour to keep it pure. Hence the marriage of the uterine brother and sister was a mode of preserving the mother-blood. Hence also the eating of the mother living was a way of preserving her blood to the consanguineous group. The mother eaten sacramentally was the earliest victim of blood-sacrifice. In this great cruel rite the body was eaten living to preserve the mother-blood. Eating the mother was the primitive eucharist in which the mother was the host whose flesh was torn in pieces like the later bread, and whose blood was drunk religiously as is the later wine. Blood was the life, and this was given by the mother in her life and death. The human mother was then in the position of the totemic zootype that was substituted for the parent and eaten by the brothers in a later sacrificial rite. It is not uncommon for the communicants who partake of the sacrament to hold that they have eaten the body and drunk the blood of God himself, and this belief survives in Christianity, as witnessed by the hymn which is sung after taking the sacrament, beginning with:—
'Jesus, Mighty Saviour,
Thou art in us now.'
To emphasize the fact still more, it is sometimes requested that those [p.72] who have not eaten the God should sing the word 'with' instead of 'in.' The eucharistic rite of the Mexicans was called Teoqualo, or 'God is eaten;' and to eat the god as represented was to share the nature of the divinity. In like manner the Namaquas eat the flesh and drink the blood of the lion and tiger to partake of their superhuman strength. The Tierra del Fuegians explained that they ate the white man on purpose to share in his superior power. The Kamilaroi will eat the heart and liver of a brave man in order that they may partake of his spirit. The mother was eaten on the same principle, but, as the mother, she was eaten sacramentally in the primitive family meal. The custom of 'killing the god,' the priest, the royal personage, the virgin or divine animal, and eating the victim at a sacrificial meal was rooted in this very primitive practice of the children eating the body of the mother and drinking her blood in what may be termed the primordial eucharist. The mother was the earliest of the sacrificial victims that for special reasons were only allowed to live a certain number of years, at the end of which time the giver of life was eaten in honour by her children as the most primitive sacramental food. The mother was eaten at the family sacrament because, in the first place, she was the mother. But there were other motives at work. She was sacrificed comparatively young to preserve her from the effects of age, from grey hairs and wrinkles, from disease, decrepitude, and bodily decay. The children were preserving her from the worms of earth and from the prowling beasts of prey, and probably from the change of life at the departure of the lizard. In eating the body of her who had been the food-giver, they were returning her as food to the family, and in partaking of her blood, the precious mother-blood, they were giving back the soul (of blood) to the life of the family or brotherhood. Some races, like the Indian, will not eat the blood of an animal, for fear the soul of the animal should enter the human body. But this was a reason, in religious cannibalism, for the eating of the mother-blood in order that her soul of life which was her blood might re-enter the family or brotherhood, or be 'contained' by them. The mother was not turned into a sacrifice, or the blood preserved on her own personal account, so much as on account of the family or tribe to which the blood belonged. Dawson tells us that only those who had died a violent death were eaten by the aborigines of the Port Fairy district, Western Australia. And then they were eaten 'as a mark of affectionate respect, in a solemn service of mourning for the dead.' The dead were eaten as a sign and token of mourning for those who were taken away before their time; and thus religious cannibalism is resolved into a solemn mourning for the dead; and the significance would be the same when the funeral feast was furnished by the body and blood of the mother. The Fijians, among other races, used to put their mothers to death before they had attained old age. There is an account in Wilkes's exploring expedition of the putting to death of a mother. She was walking about as gay and lively as anyone, when one of her boys invited Mr Hunt to the funeral. Her two sons considered she had lived long enough. They [p.73] had prepared her funeral feast, and were now going to kill and bury her. They were doing this from love of their mother, and said that none but themselves, her own sons, could perform so sacred an office. Among the wandering Birhors of India, who are cannibals, the parents in articulo mortis will beg their children to kill and eat them; and this is done as an act of filial piety. At the British Association meeting for 1895, it was testified by Capt. Hinde that one of the finest races of the Congo negroes are still in the habit of eating the old and decrepit members of their families. Now, as the mother was the earliest parent known and honoured, it was she who would be eaten by the children in the earliest form of a funeral meal. According to Herodotus, it was a custom observed by the Issedones to eat the dead bodies of their parents. But, we repeat, the mother was the only parent known at first, therefore the only one that could be knowingly eaten as the parent. The Mongols and other races considered it impious for any part of the sacrifice to remain uneaten or unconsumed. Terrible penalties were inflicted for such sacrilege. Now, there is nothing like the eating of the mother with honour that can so plausibly explain the origin of such a custom. The mother as sacrifice would be 'very sacred indeed,' and to eat the body wholly and entirely, including the bones and viscera, would be giving the proof of the highest honour and the profoundest affection which at the time was humanly possible. Nothing was considered unclean, because it was the mother. At first the body of the human mother was religiously eaten as the most primitive eucharistic meal. Her flesh thus eaten was the sacred food, and her blood was the drink when these were devoured warm with life. Her representative, the totemic zootype, was adopted later, and torn piecemeal, to be eaten in a similar manner. This tearing of the 'host' in pieces tooth and nail was continued in the Egyptian, Greek, and other mysteries; and so it comes about that the body of Osiris or the Christ was torn in pieces as flesh in the form of bread, and every one of the communicants must drink of the wine as blood. Hence the commandment: 'Drink ye all of it.' And here it may be remarked that the sacrificial victim in the gospel is eaten alive, or, at least, the Last Supper is solemnized before the victim was crucified. We next see the group of communicants extending beyond the inner circle when, as related by Angas, the different parts of the body were apportioned according to the human relationship, the choicest portions being given to those who had been nearest and dearest to the departed in this life. It was from affection the children ate their parent, but the ceremony of devouring her alive was awesome and cruel. it had to be performed, from motives that sufficed to establish the custom, but she was not eaten because the act was cruel. Still, the cruel ending of her life made her become a sacrificial victim, and as she was eaten piously, the meal was sacramental and the prototype of all the sacraments in which the totemic zootypes or the divine son succeeded as the victim sacrificed at the eucharistic meal. The mother gave her life back to the family or tribe whilst living. She was literally eaten alive. In accordance with the laws of taboo, it was the custom for everyone to share and share alike all round in killing and eating the sacrifice. [p.74] This was so when the victim was a fawn or a kid. But no victim was so naturally calculated to raise the initial difficulty of striking the first blow in a form so acutely cruel as the mother. This must have verily necessitated the practice of all the participants falling on the victim together to avoid the sense of individual blood-guiltiness. Everyone must partake of the body, everyone must tear the flesh and lap the blood; everyone must share the responsibility of the awful act. The mother was not only eaten physically. There was a primitive kind of spiritual communion celebrated in the rite which raised it to a religious status. The body and blood were supposed to be converted into spirit. The theory is explicitly expressed in the Greek statement that 'the dead was raised again in the same sacrifice.' 'All tasted the sacrificial flesh, so that the life of the victim was renewed in the lives of those who ate it.' And this, of course, applied to the mother as well as to any other victim whose flesh was eaten as a sacrifice. In eating the flesh and blood of the mother, the brothers were absorbing her soul of life and she was being converted into a spirit. The idea survives in the Alcestis. As pointed out by Percy Gardner, the heroine of the drama 'is scarcely dead before she is invoked by the chorus as a superhuman power able to give and to withhold favours, now that she has been transubstantiated.'
Eating the human mother as the eucharist at the family meal led naturally to eating the mother of life who gave herself in food that men might live; the mother who was represented by the Ainu she-bear, the Acagchemen panes-bird, the crucified Great Mother of the Cypriotes, or by the blood of Isis in Egypt, and who, under various mythical or totemic types, was the renewer of life by offering up her own; the earliest type of voluntary sacrifice which preceded that of Horus the saviour-son or of Osiris in a later eucharist. The human mother was eaten actually, not as a totemic type. The 'Great Mother' was eaten by proxy as totemic: Rerit or Shaat was annually eaten as the sow; Hathor was eaten as the heifer; the female being the totem of the mother, whether human or divine. The goddess Tari Pennu is a form of the Earth-Mother who was worshipped by the Kolarians of Bengal, and made fecund periodically by oblations of blood at her festival of reproduction when the human doctrine was repeated and reapplied to external nature and she was fertilized with blood. The offering was at times the flesh and blood of a virgin. A young girl, called the Meriah, was stripped stark naked and bound with cords to a maypole crowned with flowers, and ultimately put to death with horrible tortures, torn in, pieces, and partly eaten. In the Khond sacrifice of the Meriah we have another form of the Great Mother. She was fastened to the stake by her hair and forced to become a figure of the crucified, for her arms were extended crosswise by four priests, who pulled her legs apart to complete the figure. She was the cross, the crucified and the Christ or Charis in one.
The theory now substantiated is that the earliest totems were zootypes of the mothers, that the mother was the earliest victim [p.75] eaten at the family meal, and that the human sacrifice was commuted by the substitution of the totemic animal at a later stage of development. Thus, we hear that the sacrificial offering made to the river Nile was first of all a human virgin, and afterwards a sacred animal. Also, when the panes-bird of the Acagchemens is said to have been a woman previously, or elsewhere, we see the bird has been substituted for the human victim in the eucharistic rite as representative of the Great Mother. The emu was the bird of earth in Australia, like the goose in Egypt. As layer of the egg it represented Earth, the mother of food. Now the emu, in the Kurnai mythology, is also called 'the woman,' or mother, who, like Neith, was imaged as the giver of food. And when the Arunta members of the emu totem propitiate the power solicited by them for the increase of food, the blood which they shed from their own veins is not simply poured forth on the ground. A small prepared plot of soil is saturated with blood and allowed to dry, and on this the bird is outlined to represent the food of the totem for which they are asking. The emu is a type of the Earth-Mother to whom the oblation of blood is offered, and who is thus identified by the bird as their provider or providence, who had been 'the Woman' previously. The human mothers had been eaten sacramentally to preserve the family blood in all its primal, that was virginal, purity. At a later stage, when the totemic animal was religiously eaten periodically as the sacrificial victim, this had come to represent the Great Mother, the Earth-Mother, the mother who was propitiated and pleaded with for provender; the mother of food who was eaten vicariously with the totem as her type of food. Blood was the ancient life and motherhood the fount of source. Blood was the earliest human tie. Then the blood-brotherhood succeeded and gradually superseded the blood-motherhood. A group of progenitors, or brothers of the blood, began to usurp the place of the ancestresses as parental powers on the way to finally establishing the patriarchate.
Civilization first began with the conditions of the pretotemic people, who were prehuman. According to the traditions of the Arunta, they had no stone knife, no fire-stick, no rites or ceremonies of pubescence. Indeed, there were no men or women then extant. The nascent race was not yet humanized; it had to be created by becoming totemic. This tradition of the human origin, which can be universally corroborated, is, in its way, a primitive version of the so-called 'Creation of Man' that comes to us belated in the Book of Genesis. It tends to show that human beings, 'Created Men' of the Egyptian tem, were a birth of totemism. The traditions of the Arunta affirm that totemism originated with 'two women' who, as here suggested, were the mother and the eldest daughter in the human family, the first two persons who were recognized as ancestral types of the virgin who conceived and the mother who brought forth. There is ample evidence to show that totemism was founded by 'two women,' the 'two women' who were the mythical ancestresses of the race. These are represented by the two females who prepared young girls for sexual intercourse at the period of pubescence, by performing the opening rite of introcision, and who were consequently the typical founders of totemism.
The Arunta say it had been found that many of the younger women died in consequence of unlimited promiscuous intercourse with men who were unrestrained and women unprepared by the opening rite when there was as yet no law of taboo. The opening rite was preparatory and considered necessary to befit the young women for sexual intercourse, and also to protect them previously from savage treatment. Therefore we argue that it was devised by the mothers for the protection of the daughters. The women of the Hawk totem are said to have made certain men 'ashamed of their excesses.' The men were monstrous in their size and savagery, and necessitated the totemic rites. It is related of the 'two women,' here called the elder and the younger sisters, that they were 'considerably alarmed at the Ulpmerka men.' But when the pubescent rites had been performed, the women were no longer afraid, and all the men had free access to them. In order that the fears of the 'two women' might be allayed the Ulpmerka made a large nurtunja, or totem-pole, upon which the sacred emblems called the churinga were suspended. 'After this had been shown to the women they were no longer timid.' One of the two was then decorated with the down of birds and a small nurtunja, of a blunt, conical shape, was set upon her head for ornament, and the men danced round her, shouting 'Wah! Wah!' Then she was taken and laid beside the large nurtunja, which was fixed upright in the ground. The operation of opening the vulva, Atna ariltha-Kuma, was then performed by means of a large stone knife. After this the intercourse was lawful and all the men had access to her. The same ceremony was repeated in the initiation of the second or younger woman. Sexual intercourse till then had been promiscuous, and there was no standing on ceremony or waiting till the females came of age for rape to be enforced. The first two females were made into women by means of the opening rite in which they were prepared for totemic connubium. One of these, the elder one, operated on the younger, and then the two women became the first ancestresses of the race who were constituted such by the opening rite that was performed at puberty. These were the two women of the lizard totem. There were only 'two women' originally among the plum-tree Ulpmerka men, that is the uncircumcised. At first they were unopened. Then they were operated on, and all the men had access to them, first with one, and then with the other. These were the two women with whom semi-promiscuity was regulated by the division into the two classes with which dichotomous-totemism began. These two women are variously described as coming to introduce the rite of pubescence by means of which the girls were made into women and the uncircumcised males into men. This is performed by them at different halting places.
Under the matriarchate, racial descent was reckoned by the mother-blood, therefore the mother was the earliest woman known. The eldest daughter was the primary channel of descent. Therefore the eldest daughter was the second woman of the primal two. A score of mothers or daughters would not change the type of the two women first known as the mother and eldest daughter or the two [p.77] sisters. Thus amongst the primitive or archaic traditions of the human race there is a legend of descent from 'two women' called the 'Ancestresses.' This is extant in Africa and in Australia in totemism and mythology. The Arunta have several traditions or fragments of tradition concerning these two typical women in the sociology of totemism. There were 'two women' in the Alcheringa or mythical past. Two women of the opossum totem. Two women of the magpie totem. Two women of the hakea-totem. Two women of the kangaroo totem. Two women who accompanied the men of the plum-tree in the Alcheringa, as Two Sisters, Elder and Younger.
The starting point of the hakea-flower totem is from two female ancestors. These two women are called the elder and the younger. All the men has access to both of them as soon as they had undergone the opening rite.
Thus the Arunta trace the origin of totemism in its sociological aspect to the rites of puberty that were adopted for utility when the prehuman creatures were first changed into women and men by means of the rites. These were first performed upon two women of the lizard totem, one being described as the Elder, the other as the Younger Sister. The lizard is the sign of feminine pubescence and especially the mother's totem in Africa and Australia. Hence it was honoured as the author of primitive marriage. The two women are the ancestresses of the human race because they were the first two females to undergo the preparatory rite that changed them into totemic women fitted for social intercourse in communal connubium. This feminine duality evolved in the sociology had been divinized as the Great Mother in mythology both in Australia and in Africa. In the Osirian cult Isis and Nephthys are at once the two mothers, two sisters, and two wives of Osiris. Isis is the Virgin-Mother, the blood-mother, the one of two who conceives but does not bring forth the child. Nephthys represents the goddess who does bring forth and who is the nurse by name. These are also called the mother and sister as well as the two sisters and the two wives. In short, they are the two human ancestresses of the race who were divinized in mythology. Thus the two women who were the authors of totemism are the two ancestresses who may be described either as two mothers, two sisters (elder and younger), mother and daughter, or the virgin and gestator, in the various legends, because they are the typical two that were from the beginning when the mother and eldest daughter were the means of descent during the matriarchate. With the Nairs of Malabar, whose manners are very primitive, the brothers obey their eldest sister. Next to the mother she is the ruler of the family. And in former times, on great ceremonial occasions, the reigning prince himself yielded precedence to his eldest daughter. She was one of the only 'two women.' The mother being the first person in the human family, the eldest sister was the second as next available for sexual intercourse; and these became the mythical 'two women' from whom the Australian natives claim descent. These represent the female duality that brought on the mother-blood. In some of the legends the mother passes into the two ancestresses as the mother [p.78] and sister, instead of mother and daughter. At others they are the two sisters. Isis is designated the Mother, and Nephthys the Sister. Demeter is the Mother; and Persephone or Kore is the Daughter. The two were often called the Mother and Daughter. It may seem a long way from the Greek mother and daughter to the Polynesian mythology, but as a form of the feminine ancestors they are originally the same in the human sphere. In the Australian ceremonies of initiation there is what Howitt terms the feminine 'duality' of Ngalalbal, in the 'Wives of Daramulun.' This female duality is the analogue of the two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, who were the two consorts of Horus or Osiris in the Egyptian mythos. These two sisters are the same two mothers of the typical child in Australia as in Africa. Daramulun, like Horus, is the child of the two mothers, 'The Ngalalbal-dance,' says Howitt, 'is rendered very effective through being preceded by the "duality" of Ngalalbal, the wives of Daramulun.' These are seen to glide from the forest past the fire and to disappear in the gloom beyond to a slow and rather melancholy air sung by the audience, which may be rendered, 'Ngalalbal, you two coming from afar, where are you going to?' Ngalalbal, the wife of Daramulun, was originally represented by the emu, and is at the same time 'the woman' who divides into the two women. Thus the human source of descent follows the prehuman here, as in the Egyptian mythos. And in the duality of Ngalalbal we have the two wives who are the two sisters of Horus in the Osirian myth. This feminine duality was one of the secret mysteries in Australia as in Africa. communal marriage, as practised in totemism, had been reduced in Egypt to the system of two wives; the one being known as the hemet or wife, the other as the neb.t-paru or mistress of the house. This was also an inner African marriage institution. The first corresponded to Isis the wife; the second to Nephthys the mistress of the house. The wives of Osiris were also his sisters. Isis says to Osiris, 'I am thy double sister.' This she was in the two characters of Isis and Nephthys, because the Great Mother qua Mother duplicated in the two females as ancestresses. Hence the 'Double Divine Mother' who is mentioned in the texts. Not that Osiris was supposed to have married two blood-sisters, but that sister was the earlier name for the wife, because there was a totemic sisterhood corresponding to the totemic brotherhood. This dual symbolism, extant amongst the Australian aborigines, had been divinized and preserved in the mythology of Egypt, because it was once extant in the sociology. In these two sisters who were two wives one sees the totemic consorts reduced to that number as the sisters of one brother, on the way to complete monogamy. At an earlier social stage, which we find among the Namaqua Hottentots, two chiefs had four wives in common among them. This was a departure from the equality of the more primitive communal connubium in which four brothers were husbands to four sisters, as in Africa, or ten brothers to ten sisters, as in Britain.
There would have been two ancestresses to the human race in the Hebrew Genesis if the legend had been properly reported. In the extra-biblical tradition Adam had two wives, Lilith and Chavah, but [p.79] Lilith, the more mystical female of the two, has been damned by orthodoxy as the demoniacal destroyer of children = she who did not bring forth. In a more mystical phase the female duality of nature was prepubescent and pubescent. It is mentioned here because the dogma of a virgin-mother originated in this natural reality, and because the two divine women Isis and Nephthys also represent the virgin and the mother in this mystical character. Isis was the virgin and Nephthys was Matrona; the virgin who conceived, and Matrona who brought forth the child. Female nature of itself divides into the two phases of girlhood and womanhood; the virgin and the mother, the one being the mother of blood, the other the milch-mother of the child. Such was the origin of a double motherhood which is personified in the Egyptian mythos. In one cult the goddess Neith is the mother who conceives the child, and Sekhet is the bringer-forth. Now, Neith was the mystical virgin, whilst Sekhet was the goddess of sexual passion. But in the Osirian cult this female duality was represented by Isis the virgin and Nephthys the nurse. These are the two human ancestresses (tiriti) divinized, but not merely as two sisters in sociology.
The marital or sexual relations were at first promiscuous. Then there was a division of the gregarians into two communities or classes in which the primal promiscuity was regulated for group-marriage with the totality divided in two halves, and subdivided afterward by the totems, which were extended more and more until they reached the radius of the 'Upper Ten' or the Chinese 'hundred families.' As will bear repeating, to the confusion of various writers, the Arunta have traditions of a time when a man always married a sister of his own totem. This, as tribal, followed the marriage of the brother and sister of the blood in natural endogamy: the same intermarriage that is found in African totemism. There was a time, the Arunta also say, when 'under the old system' all the Purula women were eligible as wives to a Panungo man, whereas under the new system only one half of the women were marriageable to him, those of the other half being strictly forbidden to him. This shows that utterly promiscuous intercourse was followed and superseded by the division of the whole into two halves; which we take to have been the intercourse that was sacred to the brother and sister of the blood within the matriarchal family, and which was afterwards divided into the first two exogamic inter-marriageable groups. As testified to by the latest witnesses, the 'fundamental feature' in the organism of the Australian tribes is 'the division of the tribe into two exogamous intermarrying groups.' In the Urabunna tribe, which may be taken as typical, 'the whole tribe is divided up into two exogamous intermarrying classes, respectively called Matthurie and Kirarawa.' These two classes are subdivided into two sixes as totemic groups. 'All descent is counted from the mother both as regards class and totem.' And 'the men of one half of the tribe must marry the women of the other half,' in marriage by the group, no such thing as individual marriage being known. One of the Australian aborigines who had travelled far and wide has stated that 'he was furnished with temporary wives by the various tribes amongst whom he sojourned in his travels; that his right to these women was recog- [p.80] nized as a matter of course; and that he could always ascertain whether they belonged to the division into which he could legally marry, though the places were 1,000 miles apart and the languages were quite different.' Starting from the beginning with the two classes, one man at that stage was entitled to half the women. As we find, the two divisions spread out over great parts of the land. Totems were added and further divisions made when the two were divided into four and the four into eight, but if the man belonged to one of the primary two classes, his right to half of the women corresponding to his totem would still hold good if they were scattered over all the country. His range in the communal marriage would be more circumscribed if his were one of the well-known four totems, and become still more limited if it were only one of the eight into which the two were so frequently subdivided in Australia and America. On certain festival occasions the women of all the totems are held as common property or there is partial promiscuity of the sexes by a return from the subdivisional arrangement to that of the first two classes; as when a man will lend his wife to a stranger, always provided that he belongs to the same class as himself, the class that was anterior to the totem. This common right of all the tribal brothers of one class to all the women of the other even from the beginning, when there were but two, will explain certain perplexing marriage customs of later times, when the marriage of individuals was slowly taking the place of marriage between groups or classes; which may be termed customs of exemption from the primitive communal connubium, such as the right of the tribal elders to act the part of Baal-Peor, and the droit du seigneur still extant, although commutable, in the island of Jersey.
As a natural fact, the human race originated from the mother-earth in two classes. They were the forest-folk and the troglodytes born of the tree and the rock; and such a fact was sure to have been preserved in the Kamite record. In the very first stage they were the children of earth, or the Earth-Mother. The mother is then divided or followed by the two women who are distinguished from each other by their emblems of the birthplace: the tree and the rock, or stone with a hole in it, which is an image of the mother-earth. We can now compare the wood and stone churinga of the Arunta with other emblems of the tree and rock of earth.
The Australian totemic system begins with being dichotomous. There is a division of the whole in two halves. The Arunta erect two totem-posts or sacred poles, one for the south and one for the north, by which the division is most carefully distinguished. There are two ancestresses or self-existent female founders; two kinds of churinga made of wood and stone; two women of the lizard totem. There are several instances in which the first departure from promiscuity remains final because it has never been outgrown. This is so in the case of the two classes still extant and still recognizable, which held good for marital rights all over the continent. The whole universe was divided into two primary classes of things, corresponding to the two primary totemic classes of the Australian aborigines.
The Port Makay tribe in Queensland divided all nature between their two primary motherhoods; the dichotomous system founded on the twofold character of the mother as virgin and gestator whom the Egyptians had divinized as 'She who conceived' and 'She who brought to birth'. The totems commonly follow the two divisions as the signs of subdivisions. Indeed, it appears that we get a glimpse here and there of the two divisions without any totems following them, as if the most rudimentary organization had extended no further. The Banks Islanders, for example, appear to have been divided into two primary classes, and to have had no subdivisional totems. Reading totemism by aid of the Egyptian wisdom, it is evident that the two classes, the two kinds of churinga (wood and stone), the two poles (north and south), the two women, represent the motherhood that was duplicated in the two female ancestors and that the totems of the sub-divisions represent the blood-brotherhoods, thus affiliated to the mother-blood, which were followed finally by the blood-fatherhood. The Arunta beginning is immeasurably later than the Egyptian tradition preserved in the astronomical mythology. Their beginning is in fact with totemism. This was preceded by a period or condition of existence called 'the Alcheringa' or the far-off past of the mythical ancestors of whose origin and nature they have no knowledge but have preserved the tradition.
The twofold division was fundamental and universal in Egypt. Beginning with the two Egypts and the two tiruti, they had the two halves, north and south, divided by the equinoctial line: the two earths upper and lower, the two houses of earth and heaven, the two houses of government, the two houses of the treasury, the two granaries, the two fields of sacrifice. The War Department was twofold. The property of the state and of the temple was divided into two parts. An endeavour to recover the Kamite mythology from the traditions of the Arunta may look like fishing the infinite, but deep-sea dredgers sometimes find strange things. The Ritual preserves a record of the fact that in the primary division of the total or the whole earth in two halves, the boundaries of South and North were determined by two trees. Hence, when the sun, or solar god, rises in the East, he is said to issue forth from between the two sycamores of the North and South. This division of the oneness in space into North and South in locality has been curiously preserved by the Arunta tribes, who make use of the two poles in their religious or totemic ceremonies, one the nurtunja, is erected in the North; the other, called the waninga, is made use of in the South. These are equivalent to the Kamite two sycamore-trees of the North and South, as types of the original division of the earth, and of the later earth and heaven; also called the two trees in the garden of the beginning. This primordial division of the whole into two classes still persists in the Christian scheme of the future life, where the dichotomous arrangement of the promiscuous multitude is continued as from the first. There are to be only two classes of people in the world to come, and only two totems, the sheep and the goat, to distinguish those who are still described in gesture-language as being the one on the right hand, the other on the left; [p.82] which is a re-beginning hereafter in exact accordance with the first totemic bifurcation of the human race on earth.
In the course of time, as human consciousness increased, the mother would be made exempt from the primitive promiscuous intercourse. Here it may be observed that much of the early wisdom was secreted in the totemic taboos that were recited to the initiates in the mysteries of young-man- and young-woman-making. The Buffalo-clan of the Omaha Indians are prohibited from eating a calf whilst it is red, but when it turns black the animal may be eaten. This, as we understand it, was a mode of memorial by means of taboo. There was a similar prohibition in the Red Maize clan. The youngsters of the sub-clan are told that if they were to eat of the red maize they would break out in running sores all round the mouth. Nothing is more common in the initiation of Australian youths than for these to be solemnly warned against eating forbidden food. They are not to eat the emu, that is a totem which represents the mother—as did other forms of prohibited food, including the tree. Thus eating the fruit of the forbidden tree is violating the mother or female, in one of the phases known to be prohibited. If, as herein advanced, the totem first represented the mother, we may find a root-reason why it came to be prohibited from being eaten, excepting as a sacrament at the religious festival of promiscuity once a year. We know that in the totemic mysteries it was the mothers or female elders who inducted the boys into a knowledge of connubium. This probably registers the fact that, when the boys became pubescent, the mothers showed their own the way, in the early state of promiscuity. And the likelihood is that the mother was made taboo to her own children as the earliest law of prohibition from what came to be considered unnatural sexual intercourse which had been at one time natural. They were prohibited from 'eating of her' in this sense, and the mode of memorizing the law would be by not eating of the zootype which represented the mother. The Hindu does not eat the cow, the Jew does not eat the swine, and this is because these represented the mother as a totemic sign, and the typical Great Mother in the mythology. Descent from the mother was represented by descent from the totem. Thus, if the totem were a cow, and it was said in a mystery, thou shalt not eat of the cow, when it was intended to repudiate the primitive practice, the command would, signify in sign-language, 'Thou shalt not eat the mother.' She was now forbidden food, whether as the cow, the sow, the emu, or the tree, the same as with the red calf, which represented the child. According to Bailey, the custom of the Veddahs 'sanctions the marriage of a man with his younger sister.' But to 'marry an elder sister or aunt would, in their estimation, be incestuous,' whereas 'marriage with the younger sister is considered to be natural.' It was in fact the proper marriage. To understand this, we may assume that the elder sister of two stands for the mother, and that the taboo was originally directed against connubium between the son and the mother, whereas the marriage of a brother and sister, blood or tribal, was allowed as the only proper connection now for preserving the mother-blood without committing incest.
If the totem is a means of taboo, as we know it to have been, and the mother or the sister is represented by the totem, then the human female is aimed at under various totemic types. Thou shalt not eat the calf whilst it is red would convey protection for the prepubescent girl. There are twenty different kinds of game forbidden to the Narrinyeri youths in their initiation; also any food belonging to women is prohibited. This would include the animal which constituted the totem that was first of all the sign of the mother; hers was the cow, the sow, the mouse, or other female zootype. Thus, when, as Plutarch tells us, the Egyptians thought that if a man should drink the milk of a sow his body would break out in sores, it should be remembered that the sow was a totem of the mother, and the human mother was masked by the sow. Various taboos are expressed in sign-language, which has to be interpreted. A prohibition against eating the mother would be expressed by not eating the food or animal that was her totem. Say the totem was a type of the mother, who was at one time eaten, and was represented by the cow, and afterwards the custom was prohibited, the law of taboo in that case would be conveyed to the initiate in the primitive mysteries by the injunction 'Thou shalt not eat the cow,' or cohabit with the mother. Various taboos were certainly conveyed in that way. Thou shalt not eat the cow (Hindu and Toda taboo); Thou shalt not eat the sow (Jewish taboo); Thou shalt not drink the milk of the sow (Egyptian taboo); Thou shalt not eat the hare (Damara taboo); Thou shalt not go near or look on the crocodile (Bechuana taboo); Thou shalt not eat the calf while it is red (Omaha taboo); Thou shalt not touch the mother-blood (common taboo); Thou shalt not eat the female of any animal (Kurnai taboo); Thou shalt not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge (biblical taboo); Thou shalt not eat the totem (common taboo). We might add 'Thou shalt not marry a deceased wife's sister,' as a Christian taboo. Thus not eating the cow or other female-totem—like the sow or the panes-bird—would originally mean not conjoining with the mother, whereas not eating the calf whilst it was red would be a mode of protecting or of safeguarding the impubescent girl.
The totemic festival of fructification naturally had a phallic character, as it was sexual from the first. It was not only performed at seed-sowing and harvest, on behalf of food. Long before corn was cultivated in the name of Isis or Demeter, there was a general rejoicing at the time when the youth was made into a man and the girl into a woman. The general rejoicing at the girl's coming of age was in celebration of her entering into connubium, which was communal, as she was then open and accessible to all the males, at least on this occasion when she entered the ranks of womanhood as common property, which was afterwards made several by development of the marriage-law. Marriage began as a recognized, if regulated, right of all the brothers to ravish every maiden as she came of age, and thus to make a woman of her for tribal connubium. And the primitive rite, though commuted, was continued in the later ceremonies. Various customs tend to show that capture in marriage originated as a mode of rescuing or ransoming the woman from the clutch of the general community in which the female was common [p.84] to all the males of the group. In the special marriage of individual pairs the woman had to be captured and carried off from the group—only instead of being captured we might say 'rescued' by the individual (and his friends) from being the promiscuous property of the community. Hence the custom of compensation to the group (or, later, parents) for permitting the female to become private property in personal marriage. The primitive rite of connubium was first consummated by all the males of the totemic group, not by an individual husband. The customs show that communal connubium involved connection with the whole brotherhood as a rite of marriage after the general promiscuity had been modified. For instance, with the Australian Kunandaburi tribe when a girl became marriageable, on natural grounds, her affianced husband, accompanied by his male contemporaries, fetched her from her parents, and the marriage was consummated there and then, not by the husband, but by the whole of his confreres; the jus primae noctis, including all his totemic brethren. Mr O'Donnell, who furnished the information, says it included all the males present in camp without exception of class, totem or kin, and was fulfilled for several days. This was communal connubium once for all, but only once, in place of the older custom of continual promiscuity. In the Sonthal marriage, which also takes place by the group once a year, all the candidates for matrimony live together for six days in promiscuous intercourse. After which, only separate couples are held to have established their right to marry. Thus there was a rite of promiscuity observed as a propitiatory preparation for individual marriage. This was to be seen at the temple of Belit in Babylon, where the women offered themselves to all men promiscuously before they were free to marry. It was a mode of releasing the woman from a bondage imposed upon her in the past. It is said of this custom in the Epistle of Jeremy—'The women also with cords about them, sat in the ways burning bran for incense: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow that she was not thought as worthy as herself nor her cord broken.' When the Attic maidens danced as bears at the Brauronia in the άρκτεια of Artemis, it was a mode of making them individually marriageable, and the mode was evidently in accordance with the totemic ritual as in the mysteries of Belit. This will also explain the crave for human blood, which was attributed to the goddess, on the ground that the blood was that of the virgins thus consecrated by the most ancient practice of promiscuity, or all-for-all.
In various ways the totemic or tribal organization fought hard and long against the woman becoming private property. The males considered, with Proudhon, that property was robbery, and individual ownership in marriage had many modifications in the course of being eventually established.
In the south of Malayalam a married woman is permitted to have twelve other husbands as lovers besides the man to whom she is legally bound, but she must play the game fairly and not exceed the number allowed. With the Eskimo or Inuit the primitive [p.85] communal marriage still obtains in spite of their being monogamists in appearance. As M. Réclus remarks, adultery is a daily escapade with the women as well as the men. The 'members of the Marital Association keep running accounts and open large credits' with each other. When the wind blows from the south every woman is out on the rampage after other men, but each wife must lawfully couple with the man to whom the husband would willingly have lent her, and who will lend his own wife in return. They hold that all were made for all. The sin against nature is for the lawful wife to seek connubium with a bachelor, who can make no return in kind to the husband137]. The custom is African. Sir Harry Johnston mentions a curious mode of weighing out even-handed justice in cases of adultery. Amongst the Anyanja if a man is caught in the act he is compelled to get another man as substitute to cohabit with his wife before he can return to her; he must also pay his substitute for this service four yards of cloth, or make an equivalent present, otherwise the substitute can claim and carry off the wife as his own property.
It was not the men alone who resisted the change. According to Petherick, the mother of the bride, among the Hassanyeh Arabs, protests against 'binding her daughter' to a due observance of that chastity which matrimony is expected to command for more than two days in the week at a time. Various ways of limiting the primitive promiscuity, and at the same time of securing elasticity in the marriage tie, might be cited. For example, the Spaniards found a curious custom current in Lancerota. A woman there had several husbands, but 'a husband was considered as such only during a lunar revolution.' Thus one woman was limited to one man for a month, and the marital relations were changeable with the moon. That which was once the woman's right is still sought for as a privilege when the Esthonian women claim to repeat the rites of the ancient saturnalia, such as dancing in a state of nudity at the festival of spring. With us the matriarchate still survives on Friday, the woman's day, and in February, the month in which the women claim the right to choose their husbands every leap year. On certain festive occasions there is a total or partial return to the pre-eval status of the sexes. This return occurs at the phallic festival or primitive agape. In a corroboree of the Arunta, which lasts for ten days or a fortnight at a time, there is a partial return to promiscuity, or the sexual licence which the natives say was a practice of the Alcheringa, or old, old times. This does not stand alone. According to the report of Mr Kuhn in Kamilaroi and Kurnai, the men of the Turra tribe were not debarred from sexual intercourse with women of their own totem in the orgies of the grand corroboree. This shows the same return to utter promiscuity for the time being as in all other celebrations of the phallic festival when the only law was that of all for all. It was a return pro tem to the most ancient usage, which is represented in mythology by the old first mother in connubium with her own sons. The primitive customs were established as a means [p.86] of memorizing that which could not otherwise be registered. Thus the Arunta danced the history of their descent from the time when the race was not divided by the lizard. And thus the state of promiscuous intercourse was repeated in the religious mysteries, including those of the Christian Church. According to a Latin myth, the saturnalia of ancient Rome was held in commemoration of the sexual promiscuity that once obtained. Such customs constituted the record of prehistoric if not primitive man. That is why their performance is so permanent and so universal.
A change in the human descent from the motherhood to the fatherhood is apparent in the Egyptian mythology as early as the time of Ptah, the father of Atum-Ra. The mother, human or divine, was primordial. Next came the sisters. Then the brothers, the same in mythology as in totemism. Previous to the dynasty of Ptah there were seven brothers born of the sevenfold motherhood, when there was as yet no father individualized. Six of these were prehuman, for instance, Sut the male-hippopotamus, Sebek the crocodile, Shu the lion, Hapi the ape, Apuat the jackal, Kabhsenuf the hawk; and one, the Elder Horus, was human, as the child of Isis, the blood-mother. The seven souls are commonly reckoned as 6 + 1. The six are preanthropomorphic. They were powers of the elements represented by the zootypes, such as the soul of earth that was imaged by the beast of earth; the soul of water by the crocodile; the soul of breathing-force by the lion; the soul of fire by the ape; the soul of vegetation by the serpent. The seventh soul was human. This was imaged in Child-Horus, who became the chief of the seven and leader of the company.
The Dog-rib Indians preserve a tradition, which is also repeated along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Oregon, that the ancient mother of the human race was a woman who was mated with a dog. The woman gave birth to six pups, which used to throw off their skins at will when they were alone, and play in human shape. This, in its quaint way, is another form of the mystery of the six as prehuman souls which culminated in the seventh soul that attained the human status together with the anthropomorphic type. In the Mangaian 'Mute-land,' at the root of all beginning, there are 'two women,' called the mother and her daughter. This beginning was at the bottom of the hollow coconut shell called Avaiki. Van is the name of the mythical Great Mother. Tu-Metua is the daughter. Her name, which signifies 'stick-by-the-parent,' is knowingly natural.
Another point. She is the last product of the Great Mother, the only female child, and is called her support, her beloved child. These two are the ground and basis of a world in six divisions.
Now, there came a time in Egypt when the brothers, who had previously been the children of the mother, were called the sons of Ptah, and all their powers were comprehended in the unity of the god who was portrayed as both father and mother in one person. In the texts, Ptah is called 'the husband of his mother,' which shows the polygamous patriarch who afterwards entered the monogamic state with Sekhet Mer-Ptah for his single consort. It has been previously [p.87] shown that the custom of couvade was a dramatic mode of affiliating the offspring to the father which had previously derived its descent from the mother. It is certain that in this the male impersonates the mother because he acts as if in gestation with the child and sometimes undergoes a fictitious parturition. But the supreme peculiarity of this primitive mystery is that the male parent not only acts the part of the mother, but also of the father; both parents in one person. It is in this sense only that Sut, who was the firstborn of the seven, is called in later language a 'father of the gods.' In Akkad or Babylonia, the group of seven males is divided into Ea as a father with his six sons. It is the same among the Zuni Indians, whose fetish deities are seven in number, that is six, with a form of God the Father as the supreme one. These were the rulers of the six regions or mountains, with Po-shai-an-kia in the centre as the head over all.
A soul of life in man, animal, and vegetable was at one time held to be derived by the transformation and embodiment of some external force in animal guise. Hence came the anima or soul of wind that was humanized in breathing, whether as the soul of man or animal. At length it was observed that a human soul of flesh was formed or embodied in the mother-blood, as it was written in the secret book of Nature. This was the earliest soul of man that was discreted from the external elements of life, which formed the rudimentary and prehuman beings who are to be met with in the legends of the aborigines the whole world over. These were also known to the Semites as pre-Adamic people; the Admu, the Kings of Edom, which brings us back to the Egyptian root of the matter in the word tum or tem. Tem, we repeat, signifies mankind, mortals, created persons, which were created mystically from the soul of Adam in Hebrew, or Atum in Egyptian, the earlier form of which name in the Ritual is 'Tum.' The race of Tum, Atum, or Admu identify their origin in nature, with the soul of blood by the Adamic name. And, sociologically, the 'Creation of Man' qua man was a birth of totemism. The creation of man in the Egyptian genesis is late when measured by the mythology. Atum represents the primal being who was the earliest evolved as perfect man. As sun-god he is designated Ra in his first sovereignty, the solar mythos being last of all. This, with Atum as Supreme God in the human likeness, was preceded by the lunar and the stellar mythos; by the Mother-earth and all her elemental powers. We shall frequently find the time-gauge of the past in Egypt when it is nowhere else recoverable on earth.
The subject of the Hebrew beginnings is fundamentally the same, as will be seen when we can reach the root. It is the evolution of the human race from the prehuman conditions that were actual in nature and not, as alleged, the abortions of a false belief. This was the subject dramatized, danced and taught in all the mysteries of gesture-language and totemic ceremonies by means of which the unwritten past was commemorated and indurated by ceaseless repetition of the acted drama.
The so-called 'legends of creation' would be more correctly termed [p.88] the 'legend of human evolution,' although in a different sense from that of Darwinian development. As Semite, they came to us in the latest and least genuine form, with no clue to any true interpretation. In a Maori myth, man was created by the god Tiki from red clay. This he kneaded with his own blood, or with red water from the swamps. Man is Atum in Egyptian, Admu in Assyrian, Adam in Hebrew; and this was the creation of the human being discriminated from the preliminary and prehuman beings of the mythos and the märchen in legendary lore. It was the soul of blood distinguished from the earlier souls or forces of the external elements, which were the six preceding the human soul as supreme one. The origins in mythology are very natural underneath the mask. Indeed, they are a hundredfold more natural than the pretended explanations of their modern misinterpreters. Primitive naturalists had only the light of nature for guidance, and by this they went.
The creation of man, or, as the earlier versions have it, of men and women, was mystical in one sense, in another it is totemic. As before said, the history of the race might be roughly divided into pretotemic and totemic, prehuman and human. This, when reflected in the mirror of Egyptian mythology, is pre-Atumic, or, in the Semitic version, pre-Adamic and Adamic. The same legend of a later origin for mankind is also Mexican. When there were no human beings on the earth certain of the lower powers solicited help from the supreme gods in the work of creation, or of a re-beginning. They are instructed to collect the remains of the former race, and these will be vivified by the blood of the gods. In this version the god who plays the part of Atum, Adam, or Belus procures a bone from the burial-place, and on this the gods drop the blood drawn from their own bodies. Whereupon there is a new creation, namely, that of mankind. Here, as elsewhere, the human soul of blood is derived from source as male instead of from the earlier motherhood. So in the Book of Genesis the second creation of Adam is based upon the bone called a rib which is extracted from the male.
It is in Atum, the son of Ptah, that man was perfected. In him the matriarchate is completely superseded by the father-right or derivation from the fatherhood. Now the change in the human descent from the mother-blood to the father-blood is obviously commemorated in the mysteries or ceremonial rites of the Arunta. In the operation of young-man-making two modes of cutting are performed upon the boy by which he becomes a man and a tribal father. The first of these is commonly known as circumcision, or lartna, by the Arunta; the other ceremony of initiation, which comes later, is the rite of sub-incision called ariltha. The second cutting is necessary for the completion of the perfect man. Indeed, some of the more stalwart young men undergo the cruel rite a second or even a third time to prove their manhood. With this trial-test the youth becomes a man; a fathership is founded, and, as certain customs show, the motherhood is in a measure cast off at the time or typically superseded by the fatherhood. Nature led the way for the opening-rite performed upon the female, therefore we conclude that this preceded the operation performed upon the men, and we [p.89] suggest that this was a custom established, like that of couvade, in the course of commemorating the change from the matriarchate to the father-right.
The rite is inner African. It is universally practised by the Fan (or Fang) tribes. An uncircumcised native is not considered as a man either for fighting, working, or inheriting, but is regarded as a nonentity and not allowed to marry. The rite proves the reality of manhood.
We have previously traced the custom of couvade to Ptah, and now propose to trace the rite of ariltha or sub-incision to the full-formed father Atum, who was his son. When the Arunta perform the rite of sub-incision, which follows that of the primary operation, a slit is cut in the penis right down to the root. The natives have no idea as to the origin of the practice. But as the practice proves, it is performed as an assertion of manhood, and is a mode of making the boy into a man, or creating man. Now, at this time it was customary to cast the motherhood aside by some significant action, that is at the time when the fathership is established in the initiation ceremony. And in the Arunta rite of sub-incision the operating mura first of all cuts out an oval-shaped piece of skin (from the male member) which he flings away. The oval shape is an emblem of the female all the world over, and this we take to be another mode of rejecting the mother and of attributing begettal to the father, as it was attributed in the creation by Atum-Ra, who was both male and female (as the one All-Parent). The human soul was preceded by the elemental forces of external nature which were typified in a tradition that is universal. The soul that followed these as human was then horn of blood, at first of mother-blood, the blood of Isis, which was followed by a creation from the father-blood. In the Babylonian legend concerning the generation of mankind attributed to Oannes by Berosus, the beginning is with hideous beings in the abyss, which are described as human figures mixed with the shapes of beasts. 'The person who was supposed to have presided over them was a woman named Omoroca.' This is the Great Mother who at first was Mother-earth. 'Belus came and cut the woman asunder,' which in totemism is the dividing of the one woman, or the type in two. At the same time he destroyed the animals in the abyss. Thus the prehuman period was succeeded by the matriarchate and the two female Ungambikula, who in the Arunta tradition cut and carved the rudimentary creatures into totemic men and women. Then Belus the deity 'cut off his own head: upon which the other gods mixed the blood with the earth; and from thence men were formed.' Thus the source of life, or a soul of blood was changed from the female to the male deity who in the Egyptian theology is Atum-Ra, or Tum, the image of created man, or of man who was created from the soul of blood that is at first female and afterwards was fathered on the male. This creation of man or Tum is represented in the Book of the Dead. The god, as father, takes the mother's place; the matriarchate terminates in the mythology of Egypt. Tum is described as giving birth to Hu and Sa, as the children of Him who now unites the Father with the Mother as divinity in one person.
Hu denotes matter, Sa (or Ka) signifies spirit. This creation, then, is from blood and spirit; 'the double primitive essence' first assigned to Ptah. The change from the mother-blood to the father-source is the same in the Kamite legend as in the Semitic version, but the modus operandi was different. Belus produces the blood by cutting off his own head, whereas in the Ritual father Atum draws the blood from the genitalia of a divine being who is both male and female blended in the formation of the Father-Mother, from whom the soul of blood was now derivable. The drops of blood are described as issuing from the person of Atum when he performed the rite of 'sub-incision' or of mutilation on himself in the generation now attributed to the solar deity, considered to be male as well as female, or, finally, male instead of female. Thus the Arunta are still performing a blood-covenant in the rite of ariltha on the male which is attributed to Atum-Ra in the Egyptian mythos and by which he demonstrates the parentage of the children Hu and Sa, in the course of changing the descent from the matriarchate to the patriarchate. The primitive essence of human life was blood derived from the female source, with Nature herself for the witness. In the later biology it was derived from the 'double primitive essence' of Ptah that was continued in Atum and his two children Hu and Sa. Thus the basis of being was shifted from the mother-blood to that of blood and spirit assigned to the fatherhood.
From the 'cutting' of the male member now attributed to Atum-Ra we infer that the rite of circumcision and of sub-incision was a mode of showing the derivation from the human father in supersession of the motherhood, and that in the Arunta double-cutting the figure of the female was added to the member of the male. Nor is this suggestion without corroboration. In his ethnological studies Dr Roth explains that 'in the Pitta-Pitta and cognate Boulia dialects the term Me-Ko ma-ro denotes "the man with a vulva,"' which shows that the oval slit was cut upon the penis as a figure of the female and a mode of assuming the motherhood. In the Hebrew Book of Genesis this carving of the female figure on the person of the male—in the second creation—has been given the legendary form of cutting out the woman from the body of the male. Adam is thus imaged in the likeness of the biune parent. The foundation of Jewish monotheism was laid in the blood of the new covenant which followed the cult of the female. It is noticeable that when the Jewish child is circumcised it is said of him that he is made to 'enter into the covenant of Abraham,' that is of the Great Father in Israel. Moreover, the man who stands sponsor as the godfather is called the Master of the Covenant. This may possibly explain the re-circumcising of the children of Israel. If, as the history asserts, they dedicated to the female in the earlier time and were afterwards circumcised in a covenant made with the deity as God the Father, re-circumcising would be a means of denoting a change in the rite, when the people were circumcised on the Hill of Foreskins. 'And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise.' The two covenants would thus tally with the two forms of the ceremony performed in first circumcision by the Arunta and in sub-incision, which is re-circumcising in [p.91] the rites of the same people. Thus, there were two covenants, one sealed in the blood of the female, one in the blood of the male, and both were applied to the deity according to the sex.
This mode of affiliation to the male deity is likewise obvious in the legend of the Guatemalans, who besought the Quiche god Tohil to favour them with the element of fire. This he gave them on condition that they united themselves to him by drawing blood 'beneath the girdle.' That is by drawing it from the membrum virile in a covenant of blood. When they did this they received the fire from Heaven which was derived direct from God the father as begetter who was Atum-Ra in Egypt, and God the father in spirit as well as in flesh and blood.
The cause of a mystical relationship that was recognized between man and the animals may now be traced on grounds less lofty than that of the supposed divine incarnations, and more natural than that of an animistic interfusion which led to a confusion of identity and personality. The animals were first recognized as powers in themselves, but they were also adopted as the living visible symbols of elemental powers that were superior to the human as a means of representing natural phenomena. They were further adopted into the human family as totemic types with religious rites that gave them all the sanctity of the blood-covenant and made them typically of one flesh with the human brothers. Thus they were doubly adopted; and this led to their becoming later living fetishes as the naturalized representatives of superhuman powers, though not as the direct object of human worship. The life-tie assumed between totemic man and the totemic animal or zootype was consciously assumed, and we can perceive by what process and on what ground the assumption was made. The zootype being adopted as a badge of distinction, the primeval coat of arms, it was a custom for the human beings to enter into a brotherhood of blood. That is, the men who were not born of the same mother, or of two sisters, could extend the natural tie of blood by a typical rite to others who were born of different mothers. In this way, the larger kin, clan, or tribe was formed on the basis of brotherhood under some totemic sign. Now if the animal becomes of kin to the human brother by virtue of a covenant intentionally made in the blood of both, that proves the kinship did not exist before. The relationship did not spring from any root in nature, or any false belief, but was ordained for the purpose, and is consequently limited to the particular beast and brotherhood. The bull is only kinsman to those whom he serves as a totem, an image of the ancestor and a type of the fraternity. So is it with all the other zootypes which had been employed from before the time when the individual fatherhood was known. There is no necessary confusion of identity. If men had abstained from eating the animals on the ground of kinship and intercommunion of nature, because of a confusion or identification of themselves with the beasts, they ought to have abstained from eating any, whereas they ate them all in turn, exceptions being made solely on the artificial ground of the totemic motherhood or brotherhood. The beast only became of the 'same flesh' with the particular family because it had been adopted as their totem, ancestral animal, or foster-brother of the blood-covenant, and [p.92] not on account of any belief that they descended from this or the other nonhuman parent with a different progenitor for every separate group. Even in the human relationship the being 'of one flesh' shows that the system represents a later extension of the same family that first derived from one mother, the mode of extension being by the blending of blood, the rebirth, the drinking of the covenant, and eating of the fetish. But there was nothing promiscuous in this arrangement, which had been made on purpose to avoid promiscuity. They did eat, and did not tolerate being eaten by, each other's totems. The relationship of men with beasts was most deliberately adopted, and the partnership was held with the strictest regard to the law of limited liability. Thus the blood-brotherhood with the beasts was not based on any belief that they were on a level with the human being, nor on any mental confusion respecting their oneness of nature. At least it was not that which first rendered the animals taboo, or made them sacred to men.
The typical character of the totemic animal was continued in various ways; putting on the skin was a mode of assimilating the wearers to the powers beyond the beast, the superhuman forces which the animals represented in visible symbolry. Hence on going to battle they wore the skins and acted the role of the animals, birds, and reptiles, as their link of alliance with the superhuman nature-powers that were over all. In like manner the god Shu, the warrior of the gods, the Egyptian Mars, does battle whilst wearing the superhuman power of the lioness on his head—and the moon-god, Taht-Aan, is clothed with the power of the great ape, the ideograph of superhuman rage, when he fights against the demons of darkness by night on behalf of the suffering solar god. The mage or medicine-man was wrapped up in the skin of the totemic beast for the purpose of communing with the spirits of the dead. Thus the trance, the transformer, and the transformation, the beast, the nature-power, and the human ghost, got mixed up together. Such being the fact, it is easy to identify the foundation of the faith or ignorant belief that the medicine-men had everywhere the power of transforming into wolves, hyenas, or tigers themselves; and that belief would cause the fear lest they should apply this power of metamorphosis to others, and ultimately create a belief in their power to transform human beings into animal shapes. The only veritable power of metamorphosis possessed by the ancient medicine men or mages, the witches or wizards, was that of inducing the condition of trance either in others or in themselves. This was and is a fact in nature with which the primitive races were profoundly well acquainted. But those who are ignorant of such phenomena will be apt to mistake a surface appearance for the underlying reality, and must find it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between the true cause and a false belief. In the mysteries they changed place and shape and nature with the beasts of prey. They masked themselves in the skins of animals, reptiles, and birds, and sat at feast in those forms to devour the sacrifice when the totemic animal was slain for the eucharistic rite. In that way they transformed and were said to change themselves into wolves or tigers, bears or crocodiles, to partake of this most primitive rite of transubstantiation. For it did [p.93] become a religious ceremony and a mode of entering into alliance and communion with the powers first apprehended as superhuman. When the ghastly, grim reality had passed into the legendary phase we are told, as Plato tells us in The Republic, that those who ate of the human sacrifices offered to the wolf were transformed into wolves. Herodotus likewise relates that the Neurian wizards changed themselves into wolves for a few days once a year. First, the men who ate the flesh of the beast had changed themselves into wolves to eat it, according to the mode of masking. Next it was said that by eating human flesh men would become werewolves, and lastly we have the werewolf as a man who is supposed to turn into the wolf on purpose to devour human flesh. Such are the tricks of typology, based on the primitive simplicity and the agnostic misinterpretation of later times when the mythos passes into the fable which deposits these types of the werewolf, the mermaid, the cockatrice, the serpent-woman, the vampire, or the ghoul. In the latest phase of this transformation and transubstantiation it is the flesh of a supposed historical personage that is eaten and his blood that is drunk with the view of effecting a transformation into Horus or the Christ. It was a masquerade; but the men beneath the masks originally knew that they were acting in characters which they themselves had created. They wore skins in a typical transformation; they clothed or tattooed themselves with the signs of superhuman powers for a definite purpose, and not because they were returning to the condition of beasts from which they came, or expected to be saved by doing so. The masking and metamorphosis were but modes of the mysteries which included the mystery of trance. This primitive drama is not yet played out. The rites and doctrines are also to be identified at times as survivals in religious ritual. A startling illustration may be seen in a collection of English hymns (1754), where these lines occur:
'What greater glory could there be
Than to be clothed with God?
He drew His skin upon my skin,
His blood upon my blood.'
The skin is likewise assumed by the manes as their totem in the other life, different ideas being expressed by different kinds of skin. In the Ritual the speaker who has just been baptized and anointed in process of regeneration when he transforms into the likeness of Horus the adult says he has the skin of a cat for his badge. The cat being a seer in the dark, the skin shows that he is no longer as the sightless Horus, but is the Horus with the second sight or beatific vision. With the Red Indians the skin of the totemic animal is placed at the side of a man who is dead or dying. It has also been stuffed at times and hung above the grave. The sign is the same for the dead man as for the dead animal. In each instance the skin means renewal, repetition, resurrection for another life. It has been a common custom for the dead to be buried in the skin of an animal, or in shoes or boots made from the skin of an animal. When Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral his boots were taken with him to the tomb, and in a sense he was buried in the skin. The significance of the skin is everywhere the [p.94] same. The slipper thrown after the newly-wedded has the same meaning. Leather is made from the skin that denotes a renewal of life, and the act expresses the desire for the couple to be blest with children. We have seen that the skin was equivalent to the animal as a type of renewal. This may afford us a clue to the custom of swearing oaths in making covenants on the skin, which would be like swearing by the future life, the hope of immortality, or 'by the eternal God.' The earliest masks were formed of the head and skin of the totemic zootype. They also represented the invisible powers. and finally became the heads of goddesses and gods. Masks were assumed when deities or spirits were represented in the mysteries. Thus, when a mask is put on by the Inuit girl at the time of her first menstrualia it denotes the presence of the nature-power that reveals itself in this particular way as one of the mysteries of Nature. The masks that were worn in certain mysteries were derived from the totemic zootypes, not from the human face. Hence their superhuman ugliness at times. These masks were used as portraits of the powers beyond the totem, and in the Inuit mysteries, when the controlling spirit of a shaman was consulted, it was customary for the mask which represented the particular power invoked to be laid upon the shaman's face, and this mask was the skin of a victim that moment killed. A tribe of the hill-men near Darjeeling, in India, still retain the huge and hideous masks that represent the powers of nature. These are worn on the heads of priests when performing their elaborate religious rites. One of these images the god who looks after their spears and helps to drive them home. Which shows the character of the masks as effigies of the nature-powers is not forgotten. We have seen that the change made by the young girl into an animal at puberty was an origin of wearing the mask. This we assume to have been primary. Next, the practice was continued in matriarchal totemism. Then the customs of cutting in sub-incision, of wearing the skin, and of becoming the totemic beast, are applied to the male in the later mysteries of young-man-making. The totemic mysteries survived as eschatological in the Osirian religion. For example, when Horus the child, who was born of the mother only, under the divine matriarchate, makes his transformation into Horus the adult, who rises from the dead in Amenta, it is in the character of the anointed son of the father. Anointing had then become the mode of showing the glory of the father in the person of the son. This was imaged with the holy oil upon the face of Horus. He who had been Horus the mortal in the flesh, is now Horus in spirit personalized and established as the anointed son. The typical anointed originated as the youth who was made a man of at the period of puberty, at which time the mother's child assumed the likeness of the father at the time of his totemic rebirth. The boy who was initiated into the mysteries of the Australian blacks was equally made the anointed in however primitive a fashion. When his probation terminated, and the stringent rules of his novitiate were relaxed, he was rubbed by an old man with fat that was taken from the totemic animal which was previously forbidden food. He [p.95] was not permitted to eat the female of any animal, nor the emu, that primordial mother-totem, and he becomes a free man by having the fat of the animal smeared over his face. In fact he is made a figure of the anointed. The Kurnai youth was made a free man of when anointed with fat. With the Andamanese the bodies of the initiates are smeared over with the melted fat of pork and turtle in the ceremony of free-man-making. The boy was anointed when he made his change into the adult. Horus was anointed when he transformed from the mortal Horus to the Horus in spirit who rose again from the dead. And this anointing is still practised in the extreme unction of the Roman Catholic rite that is administered when the dying are about to pass into the future life. This again correlates with, and is a survival of, the aboriginal custom of placing a lump of fat in the mouth of the dead, by which act they were made into a form of the anointed preparatory to their resurrection. The mummies exhumed at Deir el-Bahari show that the faces had been painted and anointed for burial. 'The thick coats of colour which they still bear are composed of ochre, carmine (or pounded brick) and animal fat.' These are also forms of the Anointed One, who was made so by extreme unction more primitively applied to Osiris the karast-mummy.
The art of tattooing was likewise a totemic mode of sign-language. This also corroborates the feminine origin of the signs, as when some of the aborigines such as the Ainu of Japan, and the Siberian Chukchi, only tattooed their women. 'Tattoo the women and not the men,' is the command that was given in the Wisdom of Manihiki. The totem is sometimes tattooed on the person of the clansman, as it was by the Iroquois, the Ojibwas, and other tribes of the Red Men. The Indians of San Juan Capistrano practised a peculiar mode of tattoo. A figure of the personal totem was made of crushed herbs on the right arm of the novice. The paste was then set on fire and the figure of the totem burned into the flesh. At an earlier stage before the art of tattoo had been mastered it was the custom to cut the flesh and raise cicatrices to pattern. This was especially practised by the Australian aborigines, and the tribal badges thus figured in the flesh were sometimes representations of the totem. Herbert Ward, who suffered the ceremony of establishing the covenant of blood-brotherhood with Mata Mwiki, a Bangala chief, in 1886, found that the skin of the Bangalas was tattooed or slashed and cicatrised in conformity with the totemic or tribal pattern and that the patterns varied with the different tribes. The Eskimo indicate the particular Inuit tribe by different ways of trimming the hair; the women by the figures tattooed on their faces. The Aleuts at one time tattooed the figures of birds and fishes upon their skins. The women told Hall that they tattooed their faces as a mark of high distinction. It was so, as a sign of womanhood. The custom of tattooing the totemic token upon the body may be traced in survival through all [p.96] the later mysteries as a mode of identifying the initiates with their particular community. It is more than probable that the habit of the ancient Britons mentioned by Roman writers in staining their bodies with woad really refers to the system of totemic tattoo, as is indicated by the description of the Picts found in Claudian's De Bello Getico, 'ferroque notatas porlegit examines Picto moriente fguras.' This is shown by an initial letter in the Book of Kells—a facsimile of which has been published by the Palaeographical Society, containing the figure of a man quite naked, the body being covered all over with significant marks just as the hieroglyphics are described by Boece, who affirms that in 'all their secret business the ancient Britons wrote with ciphers and figures of beasts made in manner of letters,' which he identifies with the hieroglyphics of Egypt. Thus the woad-bedaubed men stigmatized as savages become the more intelligent illustrators of totemic times and customs who wore the stigmata of tattoo, and the Picts or painted men are the men who carried the totemic marks either painted or branded on the living book of their own bodies. They were not merely dyeing their flesh for decoration, but making figures for use that could be read by others at sight. Even the raising of cicatrices in the flesh which preceded tattooing was an Egyptian custom. On the bas-reliefs of the temples at Phile and Ombos the bosoms of goddesses and queens are scored with long incisions which, starting from the circumference, united in the centre round the nipple of the breast.
In totemism the mother and motherhoods, the sisters and sisterhoods, the brothers and brotherhoods, the girl who transformed at puberty, the mother who was eaten as a sacrifice, the two women who were ancestresses, were all of them human, all of them actual, in the domain of natural fact. But when the same characters have been continued in mythology, they are superhuman. The mother and motherhoods, the sisters and sisterhoods, the brothers and brotherhoods, have been divinized. The realities of totemism have supplied the types to mythology as goddesses and gods that wear the heads or skins of beasts to denote their character. The mother, as human in totemism, was known as the water-cow, and this became a type of the Great Mother in mythology and polytheism. But it is the type that was continued, not the human mother. The mother as first person in the human family was first person in the totemic sociology. Thence came the Great Mother in mythology who was fashioned in the matriarchal mould. But with this difference: it is the human mother underneath the mask in totemism. It is not the human mother who was divinized as the great provider in mythology. Totemism is not derived from mythology, but it has been mixed up with it because the same sign-language was employed in both. Thus, the mother was human in the mask of totemism and is superhuman in the mask of mythography. This was the Great Mother who was the first person, as the 'only one,' according to the Egyptian wisdom.
They were not seven human mothers or sisters who were constellated in the fields of heaven as seven Hathors or seven cows. These were the mothers of food, who were givers of life in the form [p.97] of the cow, when the seven stars in Ursa Major supplied the numerical figure of plenty. Thus there are two kinds of motherhoods that have to be most carefully discriminated one from the other; the first is human, the last is superhuman. The human mother might be represented by or as the totemic cow, serpent, frog, or vulture. Nevertheless they were not human mothers who were divinized in those same likenesses as the Egyptian goddesses Isis, Rannut, Hekat, and Neith. But the human mother who was eaten at the sacramental meal did supply a type of the superhuman mother in external nature, who also gave herself as a voluntary sacrifice for human food and sustenance; the mother of life in death who furnished the eucharist that was eaten in the religious mysteries. The human mother had been an actual victim, eaten as a sacrifice. The superhuman mother or goddess was eaten typically, or by proxy. Hence she who was the giver of food and life to the world came to be eaten sacramentally and vicariously, that is, in some totemic victim, by whose death her sacrifice was symbolically represented.
There were different types of the sacrificial victim at different stages of the eucharist. At one stage it was the red calf as the type of Horus, the child. At another it was Osiris as the bull or ox. The victim, speaking in the Book of the Dead, exclaims, 'I am the Bull of the sacrificial herd' who identifies his body with the 'mortuary meal.' But in Egypt the Great Mother was eaten as the cow that represented the goddess Hathor or Isis; also as the sow which represented the goddess Shaat or Rerit; two of the types that were figures of the Great Mother who thus gave her body and blood for human food that was eaten as a voluntary sacrifice of her own maternal self. Herodotus notwithstanding, the cow had been a type of sacrifice in Egypt[182a]. Moreover, it was the red cow or red heifer, the same as in the Hebrew ritual. As already shown, the mother-types and totems were primary and the red cow was a type of the blood-mother from the time when she was the red water-cow of the first mother Apt, who was succeeded by Hathor, as the milch-cow.
It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the human mother in totemism and the Great Mother in mythology, because the same types were employed for both. Besides which, as earth was the bringer-forth of all living things, she was also a mother to the human race in common with the other forms and elements of life. For instance, as the bringer-forth of life she was the mother of animal food; the giver of grass-seed of tubers and plants in the soil, and of food in the fruitful tree. As the crocodile, the serpent, the goose, the emu, or the witchetty-grub, she was the layer of the egg, and thus a mother to be ultimately divinized as the Great Mother who was superhuman, in the Kamite mythology; Apt, the hippopotamus; Rerit, the sow; Neith, the crocodile; Rannut, the serpent; Uati, the papyrus; Hathor, the fruit-tree; Isis, the field. The human mother was the suckler of her children. This image of maternity was likewise given to the Earth as the nursing-mother, who was the giver of liquid life in water. But the Earth as wet-nurse or layer of the egg for food could not be so directly rendered. Hence the need of sign-language in the mythical repre- [p.98] sentation of superhuman phenomena. The human mother had brought forth her children in the forest and from the cave in the rock; in consequence of which, as natural fact, the tree and the hole in the stone, or the ground, have each continued ever since to represent the human birthplace in the image of the female figured as the superhuman mother, the Great Mother-earth. It was not the human mother that was the object of worship or of propitiation with the offering of blood. This was the typical mother; the great or pregnant mother; the mother of food and sustenance; the mother who for ages on ages was not imaged in the human shape because she was superhuman. In modern phraseology the primitive 'seekers after God' were seekers after food and drink and physical sustenance. The giver of these elements was the Earth itself, or herself, when depicted in the image of the mother as the nurse of life.
Nothing simpler has been recovered from the past than the religious system of the Arunta tribes of Central Australia, who, in their sacred rites, are self-portrayed as seekers after food. An important ceremony, that was designed to bring success in kangaroo-hunts, consisted in the letting of blood. Thus the blood was an offering to secure plenty of food. In certain of the Intichiuma ceremonies blood is poured out freely as an offering on behalf of food. These ceremonies are performed for the purpose of insuring the increase of the animal or plant which gives its name to the totem, the emu, the beetle, the kangaroo, or others. The blood was poured out on the earth as an oblation to the Earth-mother, even though she was only represented by the emu-bird. The earliest religion, so to call it, was a cultus of the mother who was propitiated as the 'Only One' who was in the beginning. This was the primal providence or provider as the Great Mother, the Mother-earth, who was invoked with offerings of blood for food and drink. In Egypt she was given several characters. She was Abt; Khebt, or Ta-Urt, the hippopotamus-headed; Rerit, or Shaat, the many-teated sow; Hathor, the cow; Rannut, the serpent-woman, and others related to the phenomena of external nature as the source of life, of food and water.
The root of the whole matter was fecundity, and the goddess, who in later times was called the mother of love in Egypt, originated in the giver of plenty as the goddess of fecundity. But the fecundity at first was that of Earth, the provider of food and drink. Hence, she was imaged by the suckler who gave the image of life as Shaat the sow, or Hathor the cow. At this stage that which has been so often generalized by the phrase 'phallic worship' was propitiation of what we call Mother Nature = Mother-earth divinized, or idealized as superhuman in the likeness of the large-uddered cow or the multi-mammalian sow, which were figures in a cult of fecundity; the first and foremost object of the 'worship' being the food and drink that were supplied by the Mother-earth who gave her life in sacrifice that men might live.
The Mother-earth, Dhurteemah, is still the primordial deity with the Bygah tribes of Seonee, India. They offer food to her as provider at every meal before they call on any other god or [p.99] goddess. With the Babylonians Nin-Ki-Gal, the Great Lady, is another form of the Earth-Mother. As Miss Kingsley shows, this primitive Earth-Mother of African origin still survives in Africa as the Earth-goddess Nzambi, the Great Mother. There is 'aye a something' that shows the stage of the beginning is still extant as inner African, from which the thought and symbolism of Egypt were developed. In her account of 'fetish' according to different schools Miss Kingsley tells us the Earth-goddess Nzambi is the paramount feature in the 'fetishtic' religion. 'She is the Great Mother.' 'Round her circle almost all the legends, in her lies the ultimate human hope of help and protection, or, in modern phrase, salvation.' Previously the same writer had said 'the school of Nkissi is mainly concerned with the worship of the mystery of the power of earth; Nkissi-nsi.'
Now 'the mystery of the power of earth,' or Nkissi-nsi, as Egyptian, is expressed by the word kep, which is a name of the old Earth-Mother, Ta-urt. The word kep signifies mystery, to be mysterious; the mystery of fermentation, the mystery of fertilization, and of water as the source of life. This is as it was in Africa from the first; and as it was in the beginning so it remained in Egypt, allowing for development, to the last, for Apt, the old first Mother-earth, survives in the eschatology of the Ritual, still keeping her hippopotamus form, as 'the Mistress of divine protections' and rekindler of the light of life from the spark when it had gone out in the dark of death. Thus, she who had brought to birth as the Mother-earth lived on as the bringer to rebirth for another life in the phase of eschatology.
The old first Great Mother, then, one of whose names is Khebt, was the Mother-earth in her primary character, and if we go back far enough we find the type is universal. The Mother-earth gave birthplace and food to all the children born of her. Isis, represented as the Sekhet or field, was still the Mother-earth. With the Algonquin, Mother-earth was the great grandmother of all. Mamapacha, worshipped by the Peruvian tribes, was the Mother-earth.
Following the pathetically primitive custom of ceremonially eating the mother in honour, as the first giver of food, a cult emerges from the darkness of the past upon the way to worship; the worship of the mother with young, who was the pregnant, therefore the great, mother. This was a cult of supplication, propitiation, and thankfulness for food and liquid life, which made its offerings to the Mother-earth as the provider of plenty. Mother-earth is the Great Mother of the Moqui Indians, 'Our Grandmother' with the Shawnees, and the grandmother of the Karens in Burma. Tari-Pennu is the Mother-earth to the Khonds of Orissa. The Finnish goddess, consort of Ukko, is the Mother-earth. The Eskimo old mother Gigone was the Mother-earth; Gaia was the Greek Mother-earth, Opt was the Roman Earth-Mother, whom we look on as a form of the Egyptian goddess Apt, or Ap. The ancient Germans worshipped mother Hertha, who is identical by name with the [p.100] earth, and also with Ta-urt, the Egyptian Mother-earth. There was a primitive kind or class of people known as earth-born aborigines, like the San of the Khoi-Khoi and the Chinese Miautze. These children of earth who came forth from the forest and the cave would naturally be divided first for recognition in two categories as the children of the tree and the rock, which are spoken of by Hesiod as the two origins of mortals, both tree and rock being representatives of the earth as birthplace. This cult of the Earth-worshippers may account for the Earth-eaters, who still survive in Africa and also with the Indians of California. The tradition is common with the people of several countries that they issued originally from the ground. But to restore the lapsed meaning we have to read earth for ground, and then identify the earth with one of her types as the mother of all, who is the Great Mother in mythology. According to S. Powers, the Californian Indians think that their prairie-dog ancestors were moulded directly from the soil. If so, they have lost the clue which survives in mythology. The coyote as a burrower in the ground is a type of the Mother-earth that was made the totem of the coyote Indians. The birth of the human race from the Mother-earth is indicated both directly and indirectly in the legends of the Kaffirs. In these men issued from the ground, from the cleft in the rock, or a bed of reeds. Others say that Unkulunkulu split them out of a stone. It is still said of a great chief by the Zulus that he was not born; he was belched up by a cow. The cow, like the cloven stone, or the tree, was a female type of the Mother-earth. Thus represented, the earth becomes a rock, from which issued the race of men, or in the words of Isaiah, it is the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole of the pit from whence they were dug. Also, as the rock was a type of the earth, the Great Mother, we can see how and wherefore in a following stage the stone pillar or the hole-stone should become a figure of the mythical genetrix as it was of Hathor and the Paphian Venus; and why the stone seat should be an emblem of the Earth-Mother Isis as a figure of foundation. With the Bushmen the Earth-Mother has become the typical 'Old Woman' of later language. Earth as the superhuman mother is denoted in the Quiche legend in which it is said the human race descended from a cave-dwelling woman or female. Cave, pit, and cavern were the uterus, so to say, of Mother-earth as the place of coming forth, the Unnu, or opening of Neith; the Ununait of Hathor as the solar birthplace. Very naturally the mount was typical of Mother-earth in which the cave was a place of birth for man and beast. 'The citizens of Mexico and those of Tlatelolco were wont to visit a hill called Cacatepec, because, as they said, it was their Mother.' Molina states that the principal sacred place or Huaca of the Mexican Incas was that of the hill Huanacauri, from whence their ancestors were held to have commenced their journey. The mount with the cave in it was a natural figure of the Mother-earth to the troglodytes who were born and there came to consciousness. When the Navajos [p.101] issued from the womb (euphemistically from the bowels) of a great mountain near the San Juan River, that mountain is an image of the Mother-earth. The Oneida, Ojibwa, and Dakota Indians, who claim derivation from a sacred stone, at the same time trace their descent from the mountain of the race.
Naturally, the cave as birthplace of the Earth-Mother was identified with the uterine abode. We might say identified by it, that is by the emblem scrawled upon the rock from time immemorial. This figure or similitude of the female, called the symbol of wickedness 'in all the land' by Zechariah, portrayed through all the world, has ever been most prominent in the primitive art of the aborigines from Africa to Australia. Not as an object of worship, nor of degradation, but as a likeness of the human abode depicted in the birthplace of the cavemen. The superhuman type of the motherhood appears in symbolism as the cleft, the gap, the cave, as well as the tree, the sow, the water-cow, crocodile, lioness, and other zootypes. The human mother comes into view by means of her emblem, the hieroglyphic ru (¨) or door of life in the divinized motherhood as the vesica piscis of later iconography. There is no getting outside of nature, either in the beginning or in the end. With the Arunta tribes of Central Australia a gorge among the hills at some local totem-centre is identified as the place of emanation from the Earth-Mother. This is exactly in keeping with the gorge of Neith, whence issued the 'younglings of Shu' as spirits of breathing-force. Local tradition tells that at the Emily Gap, near to Alice Springs, 'certain witchetty-grubs became transformed into witchetty-men.' Otherwise stated, the elemental souls passed into the mothers of that ilk to be specialised in the human form instead of becoming animal, bird, or reptile. If we take Hathor as the abode of birth, that is, the Mother-earth as the birthplace and the bringer-forth of life, the stone or conical pillar of Hathor was a type of this birthplace. Now, let us turn for a moment to the Erathipa-stone of the Arunta for the proof that the stone with an opening in it was a totem of the Mother-earth, the stone out of which the Zulus say the human race was split in the beginning. There is no mistaking the nature of the Arunta stone. It is a representative image of the mother in the very simplest form. According to the tradition, spirit-children issue from a hole in the Erathipa-stone. Over this aperture a black band is painted with charcoal. This completes that figure of the female which has been portrayed in all the earth as a symbol of the human mother applied to her who was externalized as the superhuman mother, the primeval birthplace. The Fijian pillar-stones were girdled round the waist with the primitive cestus or liku of hair, to typify pubescence and identify the motherhood. It is common for the tree to be draped in female attire and hung with feminine ornaments, as when the Israelite women wove hangings for the Ashera. Two female figures of stone and wood are to be found not only in the Arunta churinga, but at the head of all human descent and all the 'stock-and-stone' worship of the world. They are recognized by Homer when Penelope says to Ulysses, 'Tell me thy lineage, and whence [p.102] thou art, for thou dost not spring from the ancient tree nor from the rock,' meaning that he must be an immortal, whereas these are two types of an origin that is of the earth. Hesiod also speaks of the tree and rock as being amongst the mysteries of the beginning pertaining to the ever-living, ever-blest immortals. The earlier name of the chief sanctuary in Israel, called Bethel, was Luz, or the almond tree. Bethel was the place of the stone-pillar, as the abode of the god, and Luz, the locality of the tree. These, we repeat, are two primary and universal types of the feminine abode, represented by the two women in Australia and the two divine sisters in Egypt. They are classed together also as objects of abhorrence in the later casting out of the primitive types. 'Woe unto them that saith to the wood, Awake! to the dumb stone, Arise!" in the making of idols. 'The stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.' The wood and stone of the Australian churinga, which are totemic types, are excommunicated in Israel as idols when they were no longer understood as symbols. They came to be looked upon as deities in themselves, set up for worship. Both Caesar and Lucan state that the gods of the Gauls were pillar-stones and tree-trunks. Nevertheless, these were not the gods. In Egypt both the pillar and tree were pedestals for the gods, and both were blended in the tree-pillar, or tat of Ptah. As images of the mother both were the beth or abode, as bringer-forth of the divinity or spirit which was the object of worship, as was the god of Jacob in the conical pillar and of Horus in the tree. These two primordial and universal types of origin are coupled together in Logion V of the ΛΟΓΙΑ ΙΗСΟΥ. 'Raise the stone, and there thou shalt find me; cleave the wood, and there am I.' To raise the stone is to erect an altar. The wood is one with the tree. The stone was raised and the tree prepared for worship, because they were types of the divine abode, which represented the two women or sisters who were the two mothers or bringers-forth of the race in the beginning. The perception that life was born of the earth must have been as primordial as it was natural, and that which brings to birth is the mother. Thus the race of human beings, in common with the animals, was born of Mother-earth. In Central Africa the natives claim that they came from a hole in the rock. It is indeed a common African tradition. The stone or rock crops up continually as an emblem of the Earth or solid ground. The Earth itself was brought to a point and focussed in the ceremonial stone on which the offering was made. For instance, when the members of the hakea-flower totem perform their mystery to solicit food, one of the young men opens a vein in his arm and lets the liquid flow over the ceremonial stone until it is entirely covered with blood. A rock near Gouam, in the Marcian Islands, is locally regarded as the ancestor of the human race. The African birthplace denoted by the rock of earth and the forest-tree is indicated by the tradition of the Ovaherero which relates that men were born from the Omumborombonga tree, and that sheep and goats issued from a flat rock. Now, the Great Goddess who was 'worshipped' with the gory [p.103] rites of many lands originated as the Mother-earth who was fertilized with blood, and with the definite object of procuring food. This was the superhuman mother who gave her own life in food, and to whom blood was offered as a propitiatory sacrifice for sustenance. Also in this rite the blood was poured out freely on the earth itself; as life for life. The Intichiuma ceremonies of the Arunta amply show that human blood was poured out on the earth as a sacrificial offering for food. Plenty of blood was shed for plenty of food. It was a mode of magical invocation that is still practised in the mysteries of black magic for the evocation of spirits. Food was the supreme object sought by primitive folk, and the giver of food and drink was propitiated and besought for more. This was naturally the mother—the Mother-earth; the mother in the water, in the tree, in the animals that were eaten. Hence the Intichiuma ceremonies of the Arunta are still performed for the increase of the animal or plant which gives its type (or name) to the totem. 'The sole object of these ceremonies is that of increasing the total food supply.' The Arunta of the emu-totem pour out their blood lavishly upon the earth in asking for plenty of emu, an image of which is painted on the ground to be deluged with blood. On the other hand, the men of the witchetty-grub totem, in praying for food, will paint their totem on the body of each man in red ochre, which is a local substitute for blood. Then they represent the mystery of transformation, from matter to spirit, from death to life, and await the emergence of the fully-developed insect from the cocoon of the chrysalis. In the one case blood was offered actually, in the other symbolically, but in both it was offered for continuance and increase of food. Thus the Intichiuma ceremony is a festival celebrated for the increase of food, especially of the totem that was eaten solemnly at the thanksgiving meal. Also the Corroboree of promiscuous intercourse takes place at this festival of invocation for plenty of food. And the drama of reproduction is humanly enacted, as it were, in aid of production in external nature.
The 'blood of the martyrs' was not only the 'seed of the Church' in later ages; the flesh and blood of the victim offered in sacrifice were also buried in the earth as seed for the future harvest. In West Africa it was a custom for a man and woman to be killed with spades and hoes in the month of March, and for their bodies to be buried in the middle of a newly-tilled field to secure a better crop. The Marimos, a Bechuana tribe, offer up a human victim for the welfare of their crops. The man chosen for a sacrifice is taken to the field and slain amongst the wheat according to their phrase, to serve as seed. The custom was not only African. The Pawnee Indians offered the flesh and blood of a sacrificial victim at the time of seed-sowing. As late as the year 1837 a captive Sioux girl was sacrificed by them at the time of planting the maize. The flesh was torn in morsels to be buried in the earth, and the corn was sprinkled with drops of her propitiating blood. The appeal for food and drink was natural and universal. According to the ancient wisdom, this appeal was made to the Mother-earth as the source of life, who was imaged as the giver of sustenance in various forms, but first and foremost as the superhuman suckler, the sow, the water-cow, or milch- [p.104] cow. Egypt has registered the permanent proof that a superhuman power was first besought for food and drink in the person of the Great Mother. The human mother who was eaten sacramentally had supplied the type for the Great Mother in mythology. The sacrifice was offered to the goddess on the hill-top, on the altar-stone, in the field or granary, or under the green tree, as these were different types of the Earth-Mother. The palm-tree that is being fecundated on the Mesopotamian monuments represents the Mother-earth as source of food, one form of which is the produce of the tree. The tree is female. The cone held in the hand of the genie is an emblem of the male, or solar power by which the earth is fertilized. Earth is the mother of food, the universal matrix; the tree is but a type, like other representatives of the bringer-forth. The sacrifice portrayed beneath the tree upon the Hindu monumentsi is frankly phallic,
Under whatsoever type or name, the so-called 'tree-worship' or 'phallic worship' is a festival of fertilization, celebrated in propitiation of the earth-goddess, who is the genetrix besought for food and sustenance, and blood was the primitive oblation made to the Mother-earth. This, however, was not the only one, as is shown by the invocatory rites.
The ancient mother still survives amongst the Western Inuit in the same primeval character of Mother-earth; she who is the bringer of food, and who when in a merry mood will play at raining down melted fat in her capacity of the Great Mother who is pregnant with plenty, and who is designated 'mother plenty.' We are not likely to get much nearer to primitive nature than amongst these Eskimo, who till perform the mystery of generation and celebrate their Arctic agape at the annual festival of fecundity. In one of the scenes the shamans enact the resurrection of life as the reproduction of food. The prey is hunted to death with savage cries. Whilst fleeing from the pursuers the man in a mask, who acts the part of the animal, seizes hold of a brand from the fire and hurls it aloft to the roof, so that when it falls back to the ground it throws out a shower of live sparks. What does this portend? asks Réclus, The answer is that, 'surrounded as it is by its persecutors, the quarry forgets its danger to reproduce its species, an exploit which all the spectators greet with acclamation.' It is not enough to kill the prey; it must also reproduce itself so that its race may not die out or food become scarce. This festival was universal once. It was celebrated all over the world as a drama of reproduction—first and foremost for the reproduction of food. The resurrection of food by reproduction in animal life is thus enacted at the Inuit festival, as it has been acted in a hundred other mysteries, Intichiuma, Eucharists, Corroborees, and religious revels. By the dim glimmer of this distant light we see the victim's death was followed with the act of a begettal to new life. It was a drama of reproduction in which the sacrificial victim from the first had represented food—the new food of another year, or of another life in the religious mysteries. It was, we repeat, a drama of reproduction, in which the victim that died and was eaten as the eucharist was symbolically reproduced in the corroboree that followed. From very early times the sacrifice of a victim was solem [p.105] nized, and followed by the phallic feast, whether in the corroboree of the Arunta or the Christian agape. First the sacrificial victim is slain and eaten, ante lucem, at the evening meal or Last Supper, and next the festival of reproduction was celebrated in the agape. This reproduction was performed by universal promiscuity from a time when paternity was impersonal and the relationship of the sexes was that of all for all, when boundless licence was the only law befitting the Great Mother. This promiscuity is also recognizable when Tertullian repeats the charges that were brought against the conduct of the Christians at their festivals 'Dicimur scleratissimi de sacramento infanticidii et pabulo inde, et post, incesto convivium quod eversores luminum.'
We now come to the secondary cause of what has been called 'phallic worship.' The first we found in Earth herself being imaged and propitiated as the Great Mother in the pre-anthropomorphic mould when she was represented by the water-cow, the sow, the goose, or other figure of food. Long before the god Seb was divinized as 'the Father of Food,' the earth was mother of food and gave drink as the wet-nurse, with the sow as suckler of her children, and the cave in the rock as her womb.
The goddess Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, was the fairest representative of Mother-earth. She was propitiated as the mother of plenty, like the Inuit Sidné, and was imaged in the likeness of the cow or sow, as the figure of food and fecundity. She was also the goddess of generation, maternity, and child-birth, as well as of music and the dance, of loveliness and love. Length of time and the course of development have to he allowed for. The Greek Venus in her nudity is immeasurably distant from the goddess Hathor offering her milk to the glorified. Nevertheless, the mother of food was primary as Mother-earth, and the Goddess of Love explains the phallic nature of the later cult of fertilization.
The most exact and comprehensive title for the religion designated phallic worship would be the cult of the Great Mother, taking Hathor for the type, who was the womb of life as Mother-earth, the suckler as the cow, the giver of food, shelter, and water as the tree, and who in the course of time became the Goddess of Love, of fecundity and childbirth. Moreover, in the later phallic cult the type had been changed from the cow to the human female. The primitive simplicity of 'Hathor worship' was just that of the infant pulling and mumbling at the mother's nipples, when the source of milky plenty was portrayed as superhuman in the likeness of the cow or sow; and when the representation became anthropomorphic this simplicity was lost.
The cow or sow was superseded by the woman in the temples as the more alluring type of the great goddess. It is most naïvely pitiful to see how the sex became the human organ of the superhuman power offering itself as Hathor in the asherah-tree or as the house of God; acting the goddess as the great harlot of the cult in its debasement and deterioration. This, we repeat, was mainly a result of the representation becoming anthropomorphic. The Great Mother was the ideal in the minds of the devotees, she whose size had been imaged by the hippopotamus, whose sexual force had been repre- [p.106] sented by Sekhet as the lioness in heat. Thus, when the type was humanized the female of the greatest capacity would present the nearest likeness to the divinity, and be held most worthy of her at the festival of fertilization. The Great Mother, when represented in the human form, becomes the harlot of promiscuous intercourse who brought much revenue to the religious house by her capacity for performing the rite on behalf of the Great Mother in her tree-tent or rock-cave, or later sanctuary. Carver in his Travels relates that when amongst the Naudowessies he saw they paid uncommon respect to one of their women, who was looked up to, if not worshipped, as a person of high distinction, because on one occasion she invited forty of the principal warriors to her tent, provided them, with a feast, and treated them all as her husbands. This, the Indians said, was an ancient custom by which a woman might win a husband of the first rank. She, like the water-cow, would be a type of the Great Mother, or goddess of fecundity, represented by the woman capable of entertaining all the males of the totem at one time as the Great Mother indeed. It was as representatives of the Great Mother that the temple prostitutes attained pre-eminence in various lands, and afterwards were highly honoured as the servants of the goddess.
The Great Mother in the mount was represented by such goddesses as Astarte, whose ephebae and courtesans received her devotees in grottoes and caves that were hollowed out for the purpose in the Syrian hillsides. The temple of Hathor at Serabit-el-Khadem, discovered by Professor Petrie in the peninsula of Sinai, was based originally on a cave in the rock, which was the great Earth-Mother's earliest shrine. In England there is or used to be a mild return to sexual promiscuity once a year. The confusion or 'mingling on the mound' was practised on the hill, though not in a very Belialistic way. In the present writer's youth it was an Easter pastime for the lads and lasses to meet upon the 'beacon,' the 'steps,' or some other sacred hill—equivalent to the mound, and kiss and romp and roll each other down the hillside in a scene of fine confusion, and with much soiling and tearing at times of pretty frocks that had to be put on quite new for the saturnalia. All young folk were sweethearts in a kind of sexual promiscuity on Easter Day. In its way this was a form of the phallic festival and the return to promiscuity that was celebrated at the time of year when a reproduction of the fruits of the earth was dramatized and all the inimical influences that made for sterility, drought, and famine were figuratively driven away. As Herodotus relates, some 700,000 people used to assemble at Bubastis to celebrate the annual festival of the Great Mother Bast, who was known as the goddess of strong drink and sexual passion. The women who exposed their persons on the boats to the watchers on the shore were exhibiting the natural lure to signify that they were free to all corners, for this occasion only, in the service of the goddess, who was a lioness in heat. They were going to celebrate the great festival of reproduction. He says that when the barges passed the riverside towns some of the women danced on board, others stood up and exposed their persons to those who were watching them from the banks of the Nile,
The phallic festival was periodically celebrated in honour of the mother, the first supreme power in nature personalized as the goddess of fertility, the giver of food and drink, the celebration being accordance with primitive usage and the promiscuous sexual intercourse of pretotemic times. The phallic festivals were chiefly sated at the equinoxes—that is, at seed-time and harvest. The equinox was a figure of equality and of all things being on a level. This fact is expressed in the names of our Fairs and Evens. Promiscuity was a mode of making things fair and even in the sexual saturnalia. High and low, rich and poor, young and old, 'commingled on the mound,' the hill, the high places. It was a world in which old maids and bachelors were not allowed, and there was at most a six months' lease for private ownership in womankind (from one equinox to the other). Hence we learn from the witches' confessions that women were the strongest supporters of the 'Sabbath.' Laws of taboo were violated with impunity for this occasion only. At this time and no other, men and women of the same totem cohabited promiscuously. The asherah is a sacred simulacrum of the goddess whose desire was to be for ever fecundated. And when the women of Israel set up the asherah and wore the hangings for curtains of concealment they became the representatives of the Great Mother who is denounced by the biblical writers as the Great Harlot, but who was a most popular mother in Israel, and Sekhet her own second self in Egypt.
There is every reason for concluding that the unlimited excess indulged in promiscuously at the phallic festival was designed to represent the desire for an illimitable supply of food, the boundlessness of the one being dramatically rendered by the latitude and licence of the other. It was a magical mode of the mysteries in which the meaning was expressed in act as a primitive form of sign-language addressed to the superhuman power as the Great Mother. The customs of the savage, or, as we prefer to say, the aborigines, are modes of memorizing. For ages on ages their only means of keeping an historic record of the past, the sole mode of memorial, have been the customs; and with what faithful persistence these have been fulfilled. Promiscuous connubium is recognized by the Arunta as the condition that obtained in the remotest times. They connect it with the custom of exchanging wives at the corroboree, saying this was the practice in the Alcheringa. That was in the time beyond which nothing is or can be known, because nothing was formulated in the lawless state of utter promiscuity. Howitt relates that on one occasion, when the Aurora Australis was more alarming and portentous in appearance than usual, the Kurnai tribe beheld it with great terror, and betook themselves to intersexual communism by the exchange of wives as a mode of warding off the calamity supposed to be impending.
The root origin, then, of what has been called the phallic religion is also to be traced in a periodic celebration of the festival of reproduction, which was first applied to the renewal of food in the flesh of animals and the fruits of the earth, this reproduction being rendered in the grossest human guise on the hugest scale, and in the most prodigious manner befitting the Great Mother in communal connubium [p.108] with all her sons together. The festival of fertilization is a survival from the far-off past when the Mother-earth was the all and the only one, to be propitiated as the giver of food. Being the mother, she was represented by the female, who was at first prehuman, and finally human. Thenceforth woman was the living type of the mythical Great Mother, instead of the cow or sow, the goat or the she-bear; and at this festival all womankind were one in imaging the mother who from the beginning had been the All-One. Nothing was recognized but the female, the typical organ of motherhood, which imaged the earth as mother of sustenance; the mother, who was propitiated and solicited in various ways, by oblations of blood and other offerings, was also invoked in the likeness of the human female to be fertilized in human fashion. She was the Great Mother, the All-One, and nothing less than the contributions of all could duly, hugely, adequately represent the oblation. In Drummond's Oedipus Judaicus, there is a drawing from the Mithraic monuments according to Hyde, which shows that the seed-sowing at the festival of fertilization was illustrated in the human fashion by the male, and that the Earth-goddess was fecundated as the female, who was represented by the women in the orgy of promiscuityi. The mystery of reproduction was acted in the festival, as the vicarious mode of fecundating the Great Mother and Good Lady, by the bountiful sowing of human seed. It was a primitive mode of representing her, on behalf of whom all womenkind contributed vicariously. Call it 'worship,' 'phallic worship,' or any other 'worship,' the supreme object of devotion at first was food and drink, which were represented by the earth in crop, the tree in fruit, the animal pregnant with young by the mammalia, the water-cow, the sow, the milch-cow, the goose, the emu, the kangaroo; and lastly by the goddesses and the women who represented Mother-Earth as Apt or Isis, Nin-Ki-Gal or Demeter, when the latter had been objectified in Hathor, the goddess of love, or Sekhet, the goddess of sexual communion, as divinity in female form. As it is said of Pepi in the texts, 'Thy sister Isis hath come to thee rejoicing in thy love. Thou hast had intercourse with her, and hast made her to conceive.' In these celebrations the woman took the place of the goddess. At the time when the begetters were not yet individualized a single pair of actors would have conveyed but little meaning. The soul of procreation was tribal, general, promiscuous, and the mode of reproduction in the most primitive mysteries was in keeping therewith. Reproduction by the soul of the tribe was rendered by all the members contributing to fecundate the Great Mother. Hence the phallic saturnalia, in which the reproduction of food, especially in the future life of the animals, and the continuation of the species were dramatized in a primitive phallic festival which survived eventually as the 'love-feast' of the Christian cult.
Many examples could be cited of this custom, which was universal as it was primitive, and which may be looked upon as the festival of reproduction that represented the begettal of future food in human fashion and in connubium as it were with the Great Mother, the mother-nature, or the Mother-earth, like Pepi with his [p.109] divine sister Isis. In India today young girls are married to the gods. The doctrine is the same in the Roman cult when the virgins are the dedicated Brides of Christ. In the earlier rite it was the males who, like the pharaoh Pepi, were married to the divine Mother who was personated by the women in the mysteries of the primitive religion. At such a time, whatsoever their status attained in civilization, the people lapsed, pro tem, into a state of general promiscuity. The women lost all feeling of modesty and became raging Bacchantes. Men and women were more furious than animals in the indulgence of their passion at this wild debauch. As described by M. Réclus, divinized Mother-earth had to he stirred from her winter sleep by naively lascivious spectacles for the purpose of exciting the spirit of fecundity. She was represented by young wantons of women, who danced and frolicked indescribably or lay down and scraped the ground with their heels, caressed it with their hands, and offered their embraces like so many naked dancers wooing the fertilizing sun. In this saturnalia there was a general reversion to the practice of an earlier time somewhat analogous to the throw back of atavism in race, with this difference the intentional lapse in moral status was but temporary, although periodically recurrent. It was a stripping off, or rather bursting out, of all the guises and disguises, trappings, ties, and stays of civilization, and running amok in all the nudity of nature.
There is a pathos of primitive simplicity in some of the appeals thus made in the lower ranges of the cult that is unparalleled in literature. The Thotigars of Southern India, at the festival of sowing seed, will insist that their wives shall make themselves common to all comers as an incitement for the Mother-earth to follow their example. The husbands improvise shelters by the roadside and stock them with provisions for their wives, and call upon the passers-by to 'procure the public good and ensure an abundance of bread.' Apropos of this same festival, Israel is charged by Hosea with having become a prostitute by letting herself out for hire upon the corn-floor! 'Thou hast gone a-whoring from thy God; thou hast loved hire upon every corn-floor.' In this case the harlot was a representative of the Mother-earth as goddess of corn who was being fertilized by proxy on the grand scale in the phallic festivities, which included connubium upon the corn-floor, as well as on the hill, under the green tree, or in the embrace of the earth itself.
Phallic religion, then, as here maintained, did not originate in a worship of the human sex. The Great Mother, pregnant with plenty was the object of propitiation and appeal, as the bringer to birth and the giver of food. This was the superhuman mother in mythology, and not the human parent, as in totemism. 'Phallic worship' originated in the cult of the motherhood. It was the mother who was honoured; her body and blood were sacredly eaten in the primitive eucharist, if not as an act of adoration, it was an act of primitive homage and affection. The type was then applied to Mother-earth as the giver of life, of food and drink, the Great Mother in mythology who was thus fertilized and fecundated as it were dramatically in the human fashion for increase of food.
The drama of reproduction also involved the mystery of resur- [p.110] rection and rebirth applied to the periodic renewal of food which was represented in character by the victim. Reproduction was represented in various modes of resurrection, including the dance. It was a common custom for the skin of the animal, bird, or reptile to be preserved entire and suspended on a pole as the sign of reproduction for another life. This might be the skin of the Ainu bear, who is invoked to 'come back soon into an Ainu' whilst being offered up as a sacrifice. They then rejoice and sing, and both sexes dance in ranks as bears. Judging from other forms of the primitive agape, we surmise that what is meant by the sexes dancing in ranks as bears is that the performers at this festival coupled together in the skins of the bear for the reproduction of their future food, which in this case was the bear, but elsewhere might be the buffalo, the bull, the boar, or other totemic animal that was slain and eaten sacramentally. The resurrection acted in the mysteries of Amenta still continues the totemic type when the reproducer is Osiris, the Bull of Eternity. It was the same festival of reproduction when the goat was the sacrificial type as when it was the bear, or calf, or lamb, or other zootype that was eaten, food being the primitive object in propitiating the superhuman power. It was the mystery of reproduction and renewal of the animal for future food, whether this were the bear, the bull, the goat, the turtle, or any other totemic type. The secret of the mystery is that food was the object of the festival of reproduction, and the Great Mother was propitiated for abundance of food. Sexual intercourse was known to be a mode of reproduction, and the performers not only danced in totemic guise as animals, they acted the characters. In this mad festival of fertilization for the production of food men also dressed and acted as women; women dressed and acted as men, the function of each being thus apparently doubled. We know that in the totemic mysteries the performers wore the skins of animals as a mode of acting in character, and when they acted thus in pairs it would inevitably give rise to statements that men and animals commingled in dark rites without distinction of nature. Now, the goat was a Jewish type, totemic or religious, and the Jews were reputed to be goat-worshippers after the animal had been made a symbol of the evil Sut in Egypt. But the goat was at one time good, as a giver of food in flesh and milk, when those of the totem would dance in the skin of the goat and be denounced by later ignorance as 'worshippers' of the Shedim or of Satan. Thus amongst the mysteries that were continued by the primitive Christians is this of reproduction, which was first applied to food and finally to the human soul. Hence they were charged with 'running after heifers,' just as the Jews were denounced for running after she-goats. The root of the whole matter is that in this festival of fructification the animals which are eaten for food are represented by the totemic actors in the skins as reproducing themselves for food hereafter. The fact is disclosed by the Inuit ceremony in which the prey must reproduce itself before the sacrificial victim dies, so that the species shall live on and future food may be secured. The mystery was the same the wide world round. The early Christians had to be admonished against 'running after heifers' in their mysteries performed at 'Christmas and on other days.' This was the survival [p.111] of a primitive custom that, like all others, had its genesis in the nature that was blindly groping in the gloom with dark religious rites. The fact was patent in all the mysteries that promiscuous sexual intercourse was an act which came to be called religious. The agape did not originate with what is termed Christianity, but was one of the most primitive institutions of the human race, which began, as the festival of fertility when the invocation of the superhuman power was for food and sustenance addressed to the Good Lady, the Earth-Goddess, the Great Mother, in her several elemental characters. It was a festival of fructification at which she was represented by the human female, the more the merrier, the primary object being future food far more than human offspring, and it was this desire that gave the touch of religious feeling to the orgy of the sexes in which the seed was sown broadcast, so to say, for future harvest.
Following totemism, we find that fetishism takes up the tale of development in sign-language. By fetishism the present writer means the reverent regard for amulets, talismans, mascots, charms, and luck-tokens that were worn or otherwise employed as magical signs of protecting power. Fetishism has been classified as the primal, universal religion of mankind. It has also been called 'the very last corruption of religion.' But it will not help us to comprehend the position of the primitive races by simply supposing them to have been in an attitude of worship when they were only groping mentally on all fours. On the contrary, we consider the so-called 'fetishes' to be a residual result of sign-language and totemism, and do not look on fetishism as an organized religious cult. The name of fetishism was given by de Brosses, in his work on the cult of the fetish gods, published in 1860. The word fetish is said to be derived from a root which yields our word faith. Feitico, in Portuguese, is the name for an amulet, a talisman, or magical charm. The word would seem to have been adopted by the West Coast natives and applied to their grugrus, ju-jus, enquizi, or mokisso, which are worn for mental medicine as the representative type of some protecting superhuman power. But fetishism did not originate with the Portuguese. Also the same root-word is found in the Irish as fede. An ancient Irish wedding-ring in the shape of two hands clasped together was called a fede. This too was a fetish, as a sign of fidelity or faith. The same thing was signified by the Egyptian 'sa' for the amulet or magical charm. The word 'sa,' variously illustrated, denotes protection, aid, backing, defence, virtue, soul, efficacy. An earlier form of the word is ka: there was a divinity named Sau, or Ka, who was the god of fetish-figures which are identifiable as amulets, charms, knots, skins, and other things that were worn as types of protective power. In Egypt, Sa or Ka was the author or creator of the types which became fetishtic. Nothing can be more pathetic than the appeal that was made to Sa, the god of amulets. The word sa also signifies touch. Thus the protecting power appealed to as the god of the fetish was the god of touch. The amulet brought the power nearer to be laid hold of, and made its presence veritable to this sense. Thus, fetishism was a mode of sign-language which supplied a tangible means of laying [p.112] hold of the nature powers that were to some extent apprehended as superhuman without being comprehended. Hence the talisman, the amulet, or magical charm is worn as something tangible, a thing to touch or clutch hold of, on purpose to keep in touch with the power represented by the fetish. This god of touch is still extant in the Church of Rome, as well as his amulets and charms, the cross, the rosary, and other fetish figures that are yet worn for protection, and are touched in time of need, to establish the physical link with the invisible power with which it may be thought desirable to keep in touch.
But, it was not, as de Brosses said in his early generalization, that anything would serve promiscuously for a fetish. On the contrary, there was no fetish without some special symbolic value known to those who read these natural hieroglyphics. We see by the Zunis that one great reason for making fetish images and honouring them was that the so-called worship was a mode of laying hold upon the powers which they represented. This is common. The images are a means of taking tangible possession of the powers themselves through their hostages. The devotees thus have them in their power, and hold them as it were in captivity, to control, command, and even coerce or punish them. Hence the gods were sometimes beaten in the shape of their fetish images. The appeal was not always prayerful. Certain magical formula in the Egyptian Ritual were repeated as words of command. In saluting the two lions, the double-uraei and the two divine sisters, the deceased claims to command and compel them by his magical art.
Magic is the power of influencing the elemental or ancestral spirits. Magical words are words with which to conjure and compel; magical processes were acted with the same intent. If the process consisted in simply tying a knot, it was a mode of covenanting and establishing a bond with the object of compelling fulfilment. The fetishism of inner Africa, with its elemental powers, its zoo-typology, its science of magic and mental medicine, its doctrine of transformation, its amulets and charms, came to its culmination in the typology, the mythology, the magic, the religious rites and customs of Egypt. Egypt will show us the final phase and perfect flower of that which had its rootage in the remotest past of humanity in the dark continent. Wearing the fetish as a charm, a medicine, a visible symbol of power, is common with the negro races. Many of them delight in wearing a beltful of these around the body. If the negro has to bear a heavier load than usual, he will clap on a fresh fetish for every pound of extra weight—thus adding to his burden by his mode of outsetting the weight, because the fetishes represent a helpful power. If he has to carry 100 pounds weight he will want, say, half-a-dozen fetish images in his girdle. But if the weight be doubled he will require a dozen fetishes to enable him to sustain it. His fetishes represent power in various forms, whether drawn from the animal world or human, whether the tokens be a tooth, a claw, a skin, a horn, hair, a root, a bone, or only a stone. They represent a stored up power, for the negro has faith in his fetishes, and that acts as a potent mental influence. If he has only a gris-gris of cord, he will tie it into knots, and every knot is the sign of increase in power [p.113] according to his reckoning. When it was known what the type or fetish signified as a representative figure, it could make no direct appeal to religious consciousness, nor evoke a feeling of reverence for itself, any more than the letters of the alphabet. Mere fetishism in the modern sense only comes in with ignorance of sign-language. The Arunta have an emblem in their churinga which is a very sacred fetish. This is associated with the Alcheringa spirits. When there is a battle the churinga is supposed to endow its owner with courage. 'So firm is their belief in this, that if two men were fighting, and one of them knew that the other carried a churinga whilst he did not, he would certainly lose heart and without doubt be beaten.' We know that the inner African custom of carrying a number of amulets and charms strung upon the body for protection was continued in ancient Egypt, because we see it employed in the equipment of the dead for their journey through the nether world. When the deceased enters the presence of the typhonian powers in Amenta he exults in being prepared with 'millions of charms,' or fetish images, which friendly hands have buried with his body, such as the terrible Eye of Horus, the Beetle of Transformation, the Tablet of Tahn, the Sceptre of Felspar, the Buckle of Stability, the Ankh-cross of Life, and other types of protecting power. With his fetishes outside and inside of his mummy, he exclaims, 'I clothe and equip myself with thy spells, O Ra!' and so he faces the darkness of death in defiance of all the evil powers. Each amulet or fetish signifies some particular way of protecting of preserving, transforming, reproducing, or renewing life, and re-establishing him forever, the sun being representative of the power that revivifies for life eternal. We learn from the chapter on bringing the charms of a person in Hades that the amulets, spells, and talismans are equivalent to the powers of the mind, heart, and tongue of the deceased. He says, 'I have made the gods strong, bringing all my charms to them.' In the chapter on stopping the crocodiles that come to make the deceased 'lose his mind' in Amenta, we see how the earlier zootypes that once represented the powers of destruction have still kept their place, and can be turned to good account by him, as when the deceased cries, 'Back, crocodile of the West! There is an asp in my belly! There is a snake in my belly!'—the one being the symbol of royal supremacy, the other of transformation into new life. The primitive mode of portraying the powers in nature that were superior to the human was continued in this typology of the tomb. Thus the manes cling to powers beyond the human, which were first represented by the natural types that have now become fetishtic; a means of claiming alliance with them and of clothing themselves in death with their shield of protection and panoply of power. In spirit-life the deceased clutches at the same types that were fetishes in this life, and holds on by the same assistance. He not only clothes himself with their images as talismans and spells, he transforms into their likeness to personate their superhuman forces. Thus he can pass underground as a tortoise, a beetle, or a shrewmouse; make way through the mud or the nets as an eel, through the water as a crocodile, through the dark as a jackal, or see in it as a cat; fly swiftly as a swallow, and soar through [p.114] the air or solar fire as the golden hawk; shed his past life like the tail of the tadpole that turns frog, or slough it like the skin of the serpent. In making his passage by means of manifold manifestations he exclaims, 'I have flown as a hawk,' 'I have cackled as a goose,' 'I am the swallow' (as the soul of swiftness). He runs through the zootypes which represented the powers of the soul in various stages of development, and says: 1. I am the jackal. 2. I am the hawk. 3. I am the great fish. 4. I am the phoenix. 5. I am the serpent. 6. I am the ram. 7. I am the sun. In this passage the deceased transforms into these zootypes of the nature powers in order that he may go where the merely human faculties would fail to carry him through. He assumes their power by wearing representative images or fetishes—by impersonation of their parts and by incorporation of these potencies which are beyond the human, and therefore superhuman. Hence the exclamation, 'I have incorporated Horus'—i.e., the youthful god who was for ever reborn in phenomenal manifestation as representative of the eternal in time, in whose likeness the mortal transformed into an immortal to realize the type. The Ritual contains many references to magic as a mode of transformation. The Osiris says: 'My mouth makes the invocation of magical charms. I pray in magical formula.' That is the precise explanation of the primitive modes of invocation and evocation, 'I pray in magical formula' And these magical formulae were acted, performed, and signified by a thousand things that were done in place of being said: 'My magical power gives vigour to my flesh.' 'Masters of Truth, who are free from evil, living for ever, lend me your forms. Give me possession of your magical charms,' 'for I know your names.' Chapter 64 is spoken of as a hymn that caused the reader to go into a state of ecstasy. 'He no longer sees, no longer hears, whilst reciting this pure and holy composition,' which obviously points to the condition of trance that was attributed to the magical power of the formula. Urt-hekau, great in magical words of power, is a title of Isis, who was considered the very great mistress of spells and magical incantations. It is said of her: 'The beneficent sister repeateth the formula and provideth thy soul with her conjurations. Thy person is strengthened by all her formula of incantation.'
It is the power beyond the type that goes far to account for the origin and persistence of fetishism. The African knows well enough that the power is not necessarily resident in the fetish, which fails him continually and in the times of greatest need. But his trust is in the power that is represented by the fetish, the power that never dies, and therefore is eternal.
The magical incantations which accompany the gesture signs also prove that the appeal, whether in dumb show or in words, was being made to some superior superhuman force—that is, one of the elemental powers in mythology which became the goddesses and gods in the later eschatology. The hawk will show us how a fetish image was educed from a type or sign of superhuman force. The bird in Egypt was a symbol of the Horus sun on account of its swiftness and its soaring power. It was used to signify height, excellence, spirit, victory. And just as letters are reduced ideographs, so the hawk's [p.115] foot and kite's feather will denote the power first represented by the bird itself, and as such they are worn upon the person. They are the visible signs of swiftness or upward flight, and therefore a true medicine or fetish to speed one on. Also, when superhuman powers in nature were represented by the superhuman types or zootypes, it was not that the deceased changed into an animal or bird or reptile, either in this life or the next, when he is self-assimilated to the type. When the deceased in the Ritual says, 'I am the lion,' he is clothing himself in the strength of the great power that had been represented by the lion, which might be that of Shu or of Atum-Ra. The wearers of the fetish images, whether on earth or in Amenta, are affiliated or assimilated to the power beyond by means of the type, whether this is represented by wearing the whole skin or a piece of it, the horn, the hoof, the tooth, or tail of the animal, the feathers of the bird or rattle of the snake. Thus, the horn of the bull, or a portion of it, might be worn to assimilate the wearer to Osiris, 'the Bull of Eternity.' An old Fan hunter gave Miss Kingsley a little ivory half-moon which was specially intended 'to make man see bush,' otherwise for her to see her way in the night of the forest. So the eye of Horus which images the moon is given to the deceased for his night-light in the darkness of death. Horus presents the (solar) eye by day and Taht the lunar eye by night. The eye was an emblem of great magical and protecting power. With many of the West Coast Africans the eyeballs of the dead, more particularly of Europeans, constitute a great medicine, fetish, or charm. Dr Nassau told Miss Kingsley that he had known graves to have been rifled in search of them.
The amulets, charms, and tokens of magical power that were buried with the Egyptian dead became fetish on account of what they imaged symbolically, and fetishtic symbolism is sign-language in one of its ideographic phases. The usekh-collar indicated being set free from the bandages and rising again from the dead in the glorified form of the sahu-mummy. The tam-sceptre signified union with the loved and lost. As Egyptian, one of the fetish figures buried with the dead is the sign of the corner or angle, named neka, Г. It is the mystical corner-stone of the Masonic builder, and a sign of building on the square, for which the symbol stands. Building on the square, or a fourfold foundation, is to build for ever. Paul speaks as a Mason or a Gnostic when he makes the mystical Christ the 'chief cornerstone' in the temple that is builded 'for an habitation of God in the spirit.' The ankh-cross signified the life to come, that is, the life everlasting. The shen-ring imaged continuity for ever, in the circle of eternity. The heart of green basalt showed that the deceased in this life was sound-hearted. The beetle Khepra typified the self-reproducing power in nature which operates by transformation according to the laws of evolution. The jackal-headed user-sceptre was buried as an image of sustaining power, the vertebral column of Sut or Osiris that supported the heavens. The tat, a pillar or tree-trunk, was an emblem of stability and type of the god Ptah as the fourfold support of the universe. We have heard much of the savage who was able to secrete his soul in a stone [p.116] or a tree, but without the gnosis by which alone such nursery-tales could be explained. Now, in one of the numerous changes made by the Osiris in Amenta he transforms into a stone, saying, 'I am the tablet of felspar.' This was the uat-amulet that was placed in the tomb as a type of that which was for ever green, fresh and flourishing, equivalent to the green jade found in Neolithic graves. In this an evergreen was, so to say, made permanent in stone, and buried with the dead as a type of eternal youth. The deceased exclaims, 'I am the column of green felspar,' and he rejoices in the stone being so hard that it cannot be crushed or even receive a scratch, saying, 'If it is safe, I am safe; if it is uninjured, I am uninjured.' The power of this amulet was in its impenetrable hardness, which represented eternal permanence for the soul which it imaged. One of the most sacred fetishes in Egypt was an amulet of red stone, which represented the blood of Isis. That is the mother-blood in theology—the blood by which salvation came, to give eternal life—a sublimated form of the mother-blood in totemism, which came to give the human life. Isis, moreover, is the virgin divinised. We speak of the blood tie between mother and child. This was first figured by means of the totem, and naturally the figure became a fetish. The Egyptians, being more advanced, were able to manufacture fetishtic types like the ankh-image of life, the tat-emblem of stability, the nefer-amulet of good luck, the scarabaeus of transformation, the serpent of eternity.
It must have been a work of proud accomplishment for primitive man when first he made a string of hair or of any fibrous material, and could tie a knot in it. We might say primitive woman, hers being the greater need. It is the goddess Ankh who wears the hemp-stalks on her head, the goddess Neith who is the knitter divinised. The knotted tie is one of the most primitive and important of all the African fetishes to be found in Egypt. It is the gris-gris of inner Africa. The ankh-tie itself is originally merely a piece of string called a strap. It is the sign of dress, of undress, to tie or fasten, and of linen hung up to dry. The tie in Egypt takes several forms in the ankh, the tet, the sa. The ankh denotes life. The sa has ten loops or ties, which in the language of signs might signify a period of ten lunar months. The tet-tie, now a buckle, represents the blood of Isis, the saving blood, the soul of blood derived from the virgin mother, which was imaged in the human Horus. The tie was the earliest form of the liku or loin-belt first worn by the female as the mother of life at the period that was indicated by nature for propagation and connubium. Necklaces were worn by the Egyptian women to which the tie-amulet of Isis formed a pendant, and indicated her protecting power. In others the amulet suspended was the ankh of life, or the heart (ab); the tat-sign of stability, or the nefer-symbol of good luck. These were all fetishes that were worn to establish the personal rapport and alliance with the respective powers, which are known by name when divinised.
Fetishes generally are objects held in honour as the representatives of some power that was worshipped when the feeling had attained that status. Thus a stone may be the sacred symbol of eternal duration; the frog a living symbol of the power of transformation [p.117] the serpent a symbol of the power of self-renewal; the crocodile a zootype of the power that could see when itself was unseen. The sword-fish is sacred to the negroes of Guinea. This they do not eat. But the sword when cut off and dried becomes a fetish. That is as a type of the superhuman power whose symbol is the sword. In the final phase amulets, charms, talismans, mascots, and tokens became fetishtic through being adopted and worn as visible or secret signs of some protecting power. They are as much ideographs as any others in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and as a mode of representation they belong to the ancient language of preverbal signs.
In Egypt the great first mother, Apt, was propitiated as the 'Mistress of Protection.' And the 'protection' was signified by types of permanence and power that were natural at first, then artificial when the horn and tooth were succeeded by the ivory that was carved into amulets and charms, which objectified the power of protection for the living or the dead. The power of Apt was portrayed in nature by the hippopotamus, and a tooth of the animal would symbolize its strength. Hence we find that figures of the animal were shaped in ivory, or stone, to be worn as types of the 'Mistress of Protection.' Figures of hippopotami carved out of red stone have been discovered lately in the prehistoric sites of Egypt, which were obviously intended to be worn as amulets.
Thus the fetish was at first a figure of the entire animal that represented the protecting power as the superhuman mother Apt. Afterwards the tooth, the horn, the hoof would serve to image the power when worn upon the person of the living or buried with the mummy of the dead. A tooth is one of the most primitive types of power. Lions' teeth are worn by the Congo blacks as talismans or amulets. Crocodiles' teeth are worn by the Malagasy; dogs' teeth by the Sandwich Islanders; tigers' teeth by the Land Dyaks; boars' teeth by the Kukis; hogs' teeth by the natives of New Guinea; sharks' teeth by the Maori. All these were fetish types as images of superhuman strength. When the Eskimo Angekok goes forth to battle with the evil spirits and influences inimical to man, he arms himself with the claws of bears, the beaks of birds, the teeth of foxes, and other types of the nature powers which were primarily represented by the zootypes that bequeathed these, their remains, to the repertory of fetishism. Thus the primitive inner African mode of representation was not only preserved in the wisdom of Egypt, it became eschatological in one phase just as it remained hieroglyphical in the other, and in both it was the outcome and consummation of African sign-language.
That which has been designated telepathy and the transference of thought by the Society for Psychical Research was well known amongst the aboriginal races, and that knowledge was utilized in their system of mental magic, or what the Red Men term their medicine. The earliest medicine was mental, not physical, not what we term physic. The effects that were sought for had to be educed by an influence exerted on the mind, rather than by chemical qualities found in the physics. Hence the fetishes of the black or red aborigine are his medicine by name as well as by nature. These things served, like vaccination, traction-buckles, or 'tar-water and [p.118] the Trinity,' as fetishes of belief so long as that belief might last. They constituted a mental medicine, and an access of strength or spiritual succour might be derived from the thought. Belief works wonders. Hence the image of power becomes protective and assisting it supplies a medicine, as it is termed, a medicine to the mind; and the fetishes, therefore, are properly called a medicine. Thus the earliest healing power was mental. It was the influence of mind on mind, that operated chiefly by suggestion. This was extant before the time of drugs, when mental influence was considered magical, and the man whose power was greatest was the mage or the magician. When the fetish-monger came to think that the healing or helping power resided in the fetish itself, one of two things had occurred. Either the devotee had lost sight of the original representative value of the fetish, and in his ignorance had gone blind with superstition, or it had been discovered that certain natural products did contain stimulating properties and healing virtues in themselves, and thus the medicine of physics began to supplement the more primitive mental medicine of the earlier fetishism. But the mass of fetishes do not possess their power intrinsically or inherently; they have only a representative value, which continues to make successful appeal to belief long after it has passed out of knowledge. Thus we have the fetishism of a primitive intelligence mixed up and confused with the fetishism of later ignorance. The first mental medicine was derived by laying hold of the nature powers in some typical or representative way. For example, the fire-stone from heaven was a sign of primary power. This was worn as a mental medicine at first, but it becomes physic at a later stage when, as with the Burmese, a cure for ophthalmia is found in the scrapings of thunderbolts or meteoric stones. A medicine of immense power for the muscles is still made by the Chinese from the bones of a tiger which have been dug up after lying some months in the earth and ground into a most potent powder, whilst the blood and liver of the same animal supplies a medicine of mighty power—i.e., to the mind that can derive it by typical transference from the tiger. It is one of the most curious and instructive studies to trace this transformation of the earliest mental medicine into actual physics. For example, the nose-horn of the rhinoceros is an African fetish of the greatest potency. This represents the power of the animal, and when carried as a fetish, charm, or amulet it is a type of the power looked upon as assisting and protecting no matter where this power may be localized mentally. The rhinoceros being a persistent representative of power in and over water, its horn would naturally typify protection against the drowning element for boatmen and sailors. In the next stage the medicine is turned into physic by the horn being ground down and swallowed as a powder. Our familiar harts horn derived its primal potency as a mental medicine from the horn of the deer, which was adopted as a type of renovation on account of the animal's having the power periodically to shed and renew its horns, and the horn itself as an emblem of renovation was a good mental medicine long before essences were extracted or drugs compounded from it in the chemistry of physics. One might point to many things that supplied the mental medicines of fetishism before they were [p.119] ground down or calcined for the physic prescribed by our learned leeches of later times, who played the same ignorant part in dealing with these leavings of the past in this department of physics that the priests have played with the sweepings of ancient superstitions with which they have so long beguiled and ignorantly doctored us. The mode of assuming power by wearing of the skin as a fetish is still extant. The skin was worn as the only genuine garment of the magician or sorcerer. As we read, in the Discovery of Witchraft, the wizard's outfit included a robe furred with fox-skin, a breastplate of virgin parchment, and a dry thong of lion's or hart's skin for a girdle. The skin also survives as a part of the insignia worn. in our law courts, colleges, and pulpits, where it still serves in sign-language to determine a particular status; it likewise survives as the cap and tails on the head of the clown in a less serious kind of pantomime. Some years since the present writer was making an inquiry at the Regent's Park Zoological Gardens respecting the sloughing of the serpent, when the attendant thought it was the 'slough' of the serpent that was wanted. The writer then learned that this cast-off skin of the reptile was still sold in London as a charm, or fetish, a medicine of great potency, and that the sum of £5 was sometimes paid for one.
The fetishes acquired their sacred character, not as objects of worship, but from what they had represented in sign-language; and the meaning still continued to be acted when the language was no longer read. The serpent was a symbol of renewal and self-renovation from the first, and thus the slough or skin remains a fetish to the end. We are so bound up together, the past with the present, and the doctrine of development is so vitally true, that we cannot understand the significance of a thousand things in survival which dominate or tyrannize over us today, until we can trace them back to their origin or learn something satisfactory about their primal meaning and the course of their evolution. Many queer customs and beliefs look unreasonable and irrational now which had a reason originally, although their significance may have been lost to us. Many simplicities of the early time have now become the mysteries of later ignorance, and we are made the victims of the savage customs bequeathed by primitive or prehistoric man, now clung to as sacred in our current superstition. It was a knowledge of these and kindred matters of the ancient mysteries that once made sacred the teachers of men, whereas it is the most complete ignorance of the natural beginnings that characterizes the priestly caste today concerning the primitive customs which still survive and dominate both men and women in the fetishism which has become hereditary now.
This page last updated: 13/01/2014