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believe in these revelations. They in the end give their approval, and declare that he is gifted as a prophet—is inspired with wisdom, and is fit to lead the opinions of the nation. Such, he concluded, was the ancient custom, and the celebrated old war-captains rose to their power in this manner.' It remains to say that among these American tribes, the ‘jossakeed' or soothsayer prepares himself by fasting and the use of the sweating-bath for the state of convulsive ecstasy in which he utters the dictates of his familiar spirits.
The practice of fasting is described in other districts of the uncultured world as carried on to produce similar ecstasy and supernatural converse. The account by Roman Pane in the Life of Colon describes the practice in Hayti of fasting to obtain knowledge of future events from the spirits (cemi); and a century or two later, rigorous fasting formed part of the apprentice's preparation for the craft of 'boyé' or sorcerer, evoker, consulter, propitiator, and exorciser of spirits. The 'keebèt' or conjurers of the Abipones were believed by the natives to be able to inflict disease and death, cure all disorders, make known distant and future events, cause rain, hail, and tempests, call up the shades of the dead, put on the form of tigers, handle serpents unharmed, &c. These powers were imparted by diabolical assistance, and Father Dobrizhoffer thus describes the manner of obtaining them :-Those who aspire to the office of juggler are said to sit upon an aged willow, overhanging some lake, and to abstain from food for several days, till they begin to see into futurity. It always appeared probable to me that these rogues, from long fasting, contract a weakness of brain, a giddiness, and kind of delirium, which makes them imagine that they are gifted with superior wisdom, and give themselves out for magicians. They impose upon themselves first, and afterwards upon others.' The Malay, to make himself invulnerable, retires for three days to solitude and scanty food in the jungle, and if on the third day he dreams of a beautiful spirit descending to speak to him, the charm is worked.2 The Zulu doctor qualifies himself for intercourse with the 'amadhlozi,' or ghosts, from whom he is to obtain direction in his craft, by spare abstemious diet, want, suffering, castigation, and solitary wandering, till fainting fits or coma bring him into direct intercourse with the spirits. These native diviners fast often, and are worn out by fastings, sometimes of several days' duration, when they become partially or wholly ecstatic, and see visions. So thoroughly is the connexion between fasting and spiritual intercourse acknowledged by the Zulus, that it has become a saying among them, “The continually stuffed body cannot see secret things.' They have no faith in a fat prophet.3
Tanner’s ‘Narrative,' p. 288. Loskiel, ‘N. A. Ind.' part i. p. 76, Schoolcraft, ‘Ind. Tribes,' part i. pp. 34, 113, 360, 391 ; part iii. p. 227. Catlin, ‘N. A. Ind.' vol. i. p. 36. Charlevoix, ‘Nouv. Fr.' vol. ii. p. 170; vol. vi. p. 67. Klemm, ‘Cultur-Gesch.' vol. ii. p. 170. Waitz, ‘Anthropologie,' vol. iii. pp. 206, 217.
2 Colombo, · Vita,'ch. xxv. Rochefort, ‘Iles Antilles,' p. 501. See also Meiners, vol. ii. p. 143 (Guyana).
The effects thus looked for and attained by fasting among uncultured tribes continue into the midst of advanced civilization. No wonder that, in the Hindu tale, king Vasavadatta and his queen after a solemn penance and a three days' fast should see Siva in a dream and receive his gracious tidings; no wonder that, in the actual experience of to-day, the Hindu yogi should bring on by fasting a state in which he can with bodily eyes behold the gods. The Greek oracle-priests recognized fasting as a means of bringing on prophetic dreams and visions; the Pythia of Delphi herself fasted for inspiration; Galen remarks that fasting dreams are the clearer. Through after ages, both cause and consequence have held their places in Christendom. Thus Michael the Archangel, with sword in right hand and scales in left, appears to a certain priest of Siponte, who during a twelvemonth's course of prayer and fasting had been asking if he would have a temple built in his honour :
1 Dobrizhoffer, 'Abipones,' vol. ii. p. 68. 2 St. John, “Far East,' vol. i. p. 144.
3 Döhne, ‘Zulu Dic.' s.v. 'nyanga ;' Grout, 'Zulu-land,' p. 158 ; Callaway, 'Religion of Amazulu,' p. 387.
* Somadeva Bhatta, tr. Brockhaus, vol. ii. p. 81. Meiners, vol. ii. p. 147.
5 Maury, 'Magie,' &c., p. 237; Pausan. i. 34; Philostrat. Apollon. Tyan. i.; Galen. Comment. in Hippocrat. i.
precibus jejunia longis Addiderat, totoque orans se afflixerat anno'l
Reading the narratives of the wondrous sights seen by St. Theresa and her companions, how the saint went in spirit into hell and saw the darkness and fire and unutterable despair, how she had often by her side her good patrons Peter and Paul, how when she was raised in rapture above the grate at the nunnery where she was to take the sacrament, Sister Mary Baptist and others being present, they saw an angel by her with a golden fiery dart at the end whereof was a little fire, and he thrust it through her heart and bowels and pulled them out with it, leaving her wholly inflamed with a great love of God—the modern reader naturally looks for details of physical condition and habit of life among the sisterhood, and as naturally finds that St. Theresa was of morbid constitution and subject to trances from her childhood, in after life subduing her flesh by long watchings and religious discipline, and keeping severe fast during eight months of the year. It is needless to multiply such mediæval records of fasts which have produced their natural effects in beatific vision—are they not written page after page in the huge folios of the Bollandists? So long as fasting is continued as a religious rite, so long its consequences in morbid mental exaltation will continue the old and savage doctrine that morbid phantasy is supernatural experience. Bread and meat would have robbed the ascetic of many an angel's visit; the opening of the refectory door must many a time have closed the gates of heaven to his gaze.
1 Baptist. Mantuan. Fast. ix. 350. 2 'Acta Sanctorum Bolland.' S. Theresa.
It is indeed not the complete theory of fasting as a religious rite, but only an important and perhaps original part of it, that here comes into view. Abstinence from food has a principal place among acts of self-mortification or penance, a province of religious ordinance into which the present argument scarcely enters. Looking at the practice of fasting here from an animistic point of view, as a process of bringing on dreams and visions, it will be well to mention with it certain other means by which ecstatic phenomena are habitually induced.
One of these means is the use of drugs. In the West India Islands at the time of the discovery, Columbus describes the religious ceremony of placing a platter containing 'cohoba' powder on the head of the idol, the worshippers then snuffing up this powder through a cane with two branches put to the nose. Pane further describes how the native priest, when brought to a sick man, would put himself in communication with the spirits by thus snuffing cohoba, 'which makes him drunk, that he knows not what he does, and so says many extraordinary things, wherein they affirm that they are talking with the cemis, and that from them it is told them that the infirmity came. On the Amazons, the Omaguas have continued to modern times the use of narcotic plants, producing an intoxication lasting twentyfour hours, during which they are subject to extraordinary visions; from one of these plants they obtain the curupa' powder which they snuff into their nostrils with a Y-shaped reed. Here the similar names and uses of the drug plainly show historical connexion between the Omaguas and the Antilles islanders. The Californian Indians would give children narcotic potions, in order to gain from the ensuing visions information about their enemies; and thus the Mundrucus
Colombo, 'Vita,'ch. Ixii; Roman Pane, ibid. ch. xv.; and in Pinkerton, vol. xii. Condamine, ‘Travels,' in Pinkerton, vol. xiv. p. 226 ; Martius, 'Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. pp. 441, 631 (details of snuff-powders among Omaguas, Otomacs, &c. ; native names curupá, paricá, niopo, nupa ; made from seeds of Mimosa acacioides, Acacia niopo).
of North Brazil, desiring to discover murderers, would administer such drinks to seers, in whose dreams the criminals appeared. The Darien Indians used the seeds of the Datura sanguinea to bring on in children prophetic delirium, in which they revealed hidden treasure. In Peru the priests who talked with the 'huaca' or fetishes used to throw themselves into an ecstatic condition by a narcotic drink called 'tonca,' made from the same plant, whence its name of 'huacacacha' or fetish-herb.2 The Mexican priests also appear to have used an ointment or drink made with seeds of ololiuhqui,' which produced delirium and visions. In both Americas tobacco served for such purposes. It must be noticed that smoking is more or less practised among native races to produce full intoxication, the smoke being swallowed for the purpose. By smoking tobacco, the sorcerers of Brazilian tribes raised themselves to ecstasy in their convulsive orgies, and saw spirits; no wonder tobacco came to be called the holy herb.'4 So North American Indians held intoxication by tobacco to be supernatural ecstasy, and the dreams of men in this state to be inspired. This idea may explain a remarkable proceeding of the Delaware Indians. At their festival in honour of the Fire-god with his twelve attendant manitus, inside the house of sacrifice a small oven-hut was set up, consisting of twelve poles tied together at the top and covered with blankets, high enough for a man to stand nearly upright within it. After the feast this oven was heated with twelve red-hot stones, and twelve men crept inside. An old man threw twelve pipefulls of tobacco on these stones, and when the patients had borne to the utmost
Maury, ‘Magie,' &c., p. 425.
Seemann, ‘Voy. of Herald,' vol. i. p. 256. Rivero and Tschudi, ‘Peruvian Antiquities,' p. 184. J. G. Müller, p. 397.
Brasseur, ‘Mexique,' vol. iii. p. 558; Clavigero, vol. ii. p. 40; J. G. Müller, p. 656.
4 J. G. Müller, ‘Amer. Urrelig.' p. 277 ; Hernandez, 'Historia Mexicana,' lib. v. c. 51; Purchas, vol. iv. p. 1292. 5 D. Wilson, · Prehistoric Man,' vol. i. p. 487.