« PreviousContinue »
up their abode. Some, again, are as distinctly the deified souls of men. The two first classes may be briefly instanced together in America, where the light-side and shadow-side (as Dr. J. G. Müller well calls them) of the conception of a future life are broadly contrasted in the definitions of the Lord of the Dead. Among the Northern Indians this may be Tarenyawagon the Heaven-God, identified with the Great Spirit, who receives good warriors in his happy huntinggrounds, or his grandmother, the Death-goddess Atahentsic.1 In Brazil, the Under-world-god, who places good warriors and sorcerers in Paradise, contrasts with Aygnan the evil deity who takes base and cowardly Tupi souls,” much as the Mexican Tlaloc, Water-god and lord of the earthly paradise, contrasts with Mictlanteuctli, ruler of the dismal dead-land in the shades below.3 In Peru there has been placed on record a belief that the departed spirits went to be with the Creator and Teacher of the World—Bring us too near to thee . . . that we may be fortunate, being near to thee, O Uira-cocha !' There are also statements as to an under-world of shades, the land of the demon Supay. 4 Accounts of this class must often be suspected of giving ideas mis-stated under European influence, or actually adopted from Europeans, but there is in some a look of untouched genuineness. Thus in Polynesia, the idea of a Devil borrowed from colonists or missionaries may be suspected in such a figure as the evil deity Wiro, chief of Reigna, the New Zealander's western world of departed souls. But few conceptions of deity are more quaintly original than that of the Samoan deity Saveasiuleo, at once
1 J. G. Müller, ‘Amer. Urrel.' pp. 137, &c., 272, 286, &c., 500, &c. See Sproat, p. 213 (Ahts), cited ante, p. 85. Chay-her signifies not only the world below, but Death personified as a boneless greybeard who wanders at night stealing men's souls away.
2 Lery, ‘Bresil,' p. 234.
4 Rites and Laws of Yncas,'tr. and ed. by C. R. Markham, pp. 32, 48 (prayer from MS. communication by C. R. M.); Garcilaso de la Vega, lib. ii. c. 2, 7; Brinton, 'Myths of New World,' p. 251.
ruler of destinies of war and other affairs of men and chief of the subterranean Bulotū, with the human upper half of his body reclining in his great house in company with the spirits of departed chiefs, while his tail or extremity stretches far away into the sea, in the shape of an eel or serpent. Under a name corresponding dialectically (Siuleo = Hikuleo), this composite being reappears in the kindred myths of the neighbouring group, the Tonga Islands. The Tongan Hikuleo has his home in the spirit-land of Bulotū, here conceived as out in the far western sea. Here we are told the use of his tail. His body goes away on journeys, but his tail remains watching in Bulotū, and thus he is aware of what goes on in more places than one. Hikuleo used to carry off the first-born sons of Tongan chiefs, to people his island of the blest, and he so thinned the ranks of the living that at last the other gods were moved to compassion. Tangaloa and Maui seized Hikuleo, passed a strong chain round him, and fastened one end to heaven and the other to earth. Another god of the dead, of wellmarked native type, is the Rarotongan Tiki, an ancestral deity as in New Zealand, to whose long house, a place of unceasing joys, the dead are to find their way. Among Turanian tribes, there are Samoyeds who believe in a deity called 'A,' dwelling in impenetrable darkness, sending disease and death to men and reindeer, and ruling over a crowd of spirits which are manes of the dead. Tatars tell of the nine Irle-Chans, who in their gloomy subterranean kingdom not only rule over souls of the dead, but have at their command a multitude of ministering spirits, visible and invisible. In the gloomy under-world of the Finns reigns Mana or Tuoni, a being whose nature is worked out by personification from the dismal dead-land or death itself.2 Much the
1 Turner, ‘Polynesia,' p. 237 ; Farmer, ‘Tonga,' p. 126. Yate, ‘New Zealand,' p. 140; J. Williams, ‘Missionary Enterprise,' p. 145. See Schirren, ‘Wandersagen der Neuseeländer,' p. 89; Williams, ‘Fiji,' vol. i.
2 Castrén, ‘Finn. Myth.' pp. 128, 147, 155; Waitz, vol. ii. P. 171 (Africa).
same may be said of the Greek Aidēs, Hades, and the Scandinavian Hel, whose names, perhaps not so much by confusion as with a sense of their latent significance, have become identified in language with the doleful abodes over which a personifying fancy set them to preside. As appropriately, though working out a different idea, the ancient Egyptians conceived their great solar deity to rule in the regions of his western under-world-Osiris is Lord of the Dead in Amenti.?
In the world's assembly of great gods, an important place must be filled up by the manes-worshipper in logical development of his special system. The theory of family manes, carried back to tribal gods, leads to the recognition of superior deities of the nature of Divine Ancestor or First Man, and it is of course reasonable that such a being, if recognized, should sometimes fill the place of lord of the dead, whose ancestral chief he is. There is an anecdote among the Mandans told by Prince Maximilian von Wied, which brings into view conceptions lying in the deepest recesses of savage religion, the idea of the divine first ancestor, the mythic connexion of the sun's death and descent into the under-world, with the like fate of man and the nature of the spiritual intercourse between man's own soul and his deity. The First Man, it is said, promised the Mandans to be their helper in time of need, and then departed into the West. It came to pass that the Mandans were attacked by foes. One Mandan would send a bird to the great ancestor to ask for help, but no bird could fly so far. Another thought a look would reach him, but the hills walled him in. Then said a third, thought must be the safest way to reach the First Man. He wrapped himself in his buffalo-robe, fell down, and spoke, 'I think-I have thought-I come back.' Throwing off the fur, he was bathed in sweat. The divine helper he had called on in his
1 Welcker, 'Griech. Götterl.' vol. i. p. 395 ; Roscher, s.v. 'Hades.' Grimm, ‘Deutsch. Myth.' p. 288.
Brugsch, “Religion der alten Acgypter’; ‘Book of Dead.'
distress appeared. There is instructive variety in the ways in which the lower American races work out the conception of the divine forefather. The Mingo tribes revere and make offerings to the First Man, he who was saved at the great deluge, as a powerful deity under the Master of Life, or even as identified with him ; some Mississippi Indians said that the First Man ascended into heaven, and thunders there; among the Dog-ribs, he was creator of sun and moon;? Tamoi, the grandfather and ancient of heaven of the Guaranis, was their first ancestor, who dwelt among them and taught them to till the soil, and rose to heaven in the east, promising to succour them on earth, and at death to carry them from the sacred tree into a new life where they should all meet again, and have much hunting 3
Polynesia, again, has thoroughly worked the theory of divine ancestors into the native system of multiform and blending nature-deities. Men are sprung from the divine Maui, whom Europeans have therefore called the 'Adam of New Zealand,' or from the Rarotongan Tiki, who seems his equivalent (Mauitiki), and who again is the Tii of the Society Islands; it is, however, the son of Tii who precisely represents a Polynesian Adam, for his name is Taata, i.e., Man, and he is the ancestor of the human race. There is perhaps also reason to identify Maui and the First Man with Akea, first King of Hawaii, who at his earthly death descended to rule over his dark subterranean kingdom, where his subjects are the dead who recline under the spreading kou-trees, and drink of the infernal rivers, and feed on lizards and butterflies. In the mythology of Kamchatka, the relation between the Creator and the First Man is one not of identity but of parentage. Among the sons of
1 Pr. Max v. Wied, ‘N. Amerika,' vol. ii. p. 157.
2 J. G. Müller, “ Amer. Urrel.' pp. 133, &c., 228, 255. Catlin, ‘N. A. Ind.' vol. i. pp. 159, 177; Pr. Max v. Wied, vol. ii. pp. 149, &c. Compare Sproat, 'Savage Life,' p. 179 (Quawteaht the Great Spirit is also First Man).
3 D’Orbigny, 'L'Homme Américain,' vol. ii. p. 319.
4 Schirren, ‘Wandersagen der Neuseeländer,' p. 64, &c., 88, &c. Ellis, ' Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 111, vol. iv. pp. 145, 366.
Kutka the Creator is Haetsh the First Man, who dwelt on earth, and died, and descended into Hades to be chief of the under-world; there he receives the dead and new-risen Kamchadals, to continue a life like that of earth in his pleasant subterranean land where mildness and plenty prevail, as they did in the regions above in the old days when the Creator was still on earth. Among all the lower races who have reasoned out this divine ancestor, none excel those consistent manes - worshippers, the Zulus. Their worship of the manes of the dead has not only made the clan-ancestors of a few generations back into tribal deities (Unkulunkulu), but beyond these, too far off and too little known for actual worship, yet recognized as the original race-deity and identified with the Creator, stands the First Man, he who 'broke off in the beginning,' the Old-OldOne, the great Unkulunkulu. While the Zulu's most intense religious emotions are turned to the ghosts of the departed, while he sacrifices his beloved oxen and prays with agonising entreaty to his grandfather, and carries his tribal worship back to those ancestral deities whose praisegiving names are still remembered, the First Man is beyond the reach of such rites. “At first we saw that we were made by Unkulunkulu. But when we were ill we did not worship him, nor ask anything of him. We worshipped those whom we had seen with our eyes, their death and their life among us.
... Unkulunkulu had no longer a son who could worship him; there was no going back to the beginning, for people increased, and were scattered abroad, and each house had its own connections; there was no one who said, “For my part I am of the house of Unkulunkulu."' Nay more, the Zulus who would not dare to affront an “idhlozi,' a common ghost, that might be angry and kill them, have come to make open mock of the name of the great first ancestor.
When the grown-up people wish to talk privately or eat something by themselves, it is the regular thing to send the children out to
1 Steller, ‘Kamtschatka,' p. 271.