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existence of the soul after death, and may be more conveniently treated of elsewhere, in connexion with such subjects as dæmoniacal possession and fetish-worship. We are here concerned with the more permanent tenancy of souls for successive lives in successive bodies.
Permanent transition, new birth, or re-incarnation of human souls in other human bodies, is especially considered to take place by the soul of a deceased person animating the body of an infant. It is recorded by Brebeuf that the Hurons, when little children died, would bury them by the wayside, that their souls might enter into mothers passing by, and so be born again. In North-West America, among the Tacullis, we hear of direct transfusion of soul by the medicine-man, who, putting his hands on the breast of the dying or dead, then holds them over the head of a relative and blows through them; the next child born to this recipient of the departed soul is animated by it, and takes the rank and name of the deceased.2 The Nutka Indians not without ingenuity accounted for the existence of a distant tribe speaking the same language as themselves, by declaring them to be the spirits of their dead.3 In Greenland, where the wretched custom of abandoning and even plundering widows and orphans was tending to bring the whole race to extinction, a helpless widow would seek to persuade some father that the soul of a dead child of his had passed into a living child of hers, or vice versá, thus gaining for herself a new relative and protector. It is mostly ancestral or kindred souls that are thought to enter into children, and this kind of transmigration is therefore from the savage point of view a highly philosophical theory, accounting as it does so well for the general resemblance between parents and children, and even for the more special
1 Brebeuf in 'Rel. des Jés. dans la Nouvelle France,' 1636, p. 130; Charlevoix, 'Nouvelle France,' vol. vi. p. 75. See Brinton, p. 253. 2 Waitz, vol. iii. p. 195, see p. 213. Morse, “Report on Indian Affairs,'p. 345. Mayne, ‘British Columbia,' p. 181.
Cranz, ‘Grönland,' pp. 248, 258, see p. 212. See also Turner, ‘Polynesia,' p. 353 ; Meiners, vol. ii. p. 793.
phenomena of atavism. In North-West America, among the Koloshes, the mother sees in a dream the deceased relative whose transmitted soul will give his likeness to the child ;? and in Vancouver's Island in 1860 a lad was much regarded by the Indians because he had a mark like the scar of a gun-shot wound on his hip, it being believed that a chief dead some four generations before, who had such a mark, had returned.2 In Old Calabar, if a mother loses a child, and another is born soon after, she thinks the departed one to have come back. The Wanika consider that the soul of a dead ancestor animates a child, and this is why it resembles its father or mother; 4 in Guinea a child bearing a strong resemblance, physical or mental, to a dead relative, is supposed to have inherited his soul;' and the Yorubas, greeting a new-born infant with the salutation, 'Thou art come!' look for signs to show what ancestral soul has returned among them. Among the Khonds of Orissa, births are celebrated by a feast on the seventh day, and the priest, divining by dropping rice-grains in a cup
of water, and judging from observations made on the person of the infant, determines which of his progenitors has reappeared, and the child generally at least among the northern tribes receives the name of that ancestor. In Europe the Lapps repeat an instructive animistic idea just noticed in America; the future mother was told in a dream what name to give her child, this message being usually given by the very spirit of the deceased ancestor, who was about to be incarnate in her.8 Among the lower races generally the
1 Bastian, “Psychologie,' p. 28.
2 Bastian, «Zur vergl. Psychologie,' in Lazarus and Steinthal's 'Zeitschrift,' vol. v. p. 160, &c., also Papuas and other races.
3 Burton, ‘W. & W. fr. W. Afr. p. 376. 4 Krapf, `E. Afr. p. 201.' 5 J. L. Wilson, ‘W. Afr.' p. 210; see also R. Clarke, “Sierra Leone,'
6 Bastian, 1.c.
? Macpherson, p. 72; also Tickell in ‘Journ. As. Soc. Bengal,' vol. ix. pp. 793, &c. ; Dalton in ‘Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. vi. p. 22 (similar rite of Mundas and Oraons).
8 Klemm, ‘C. G.' vol. iii. p. 77 ; K. Leems, ‘Lapper,' c. xiv.
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renewal of old family names by giving them to new-born children may always be suspected of involving some such thought. The following is a curious pair of instances from the two halves of the globe. The New Zealand priest would repeat to the infant a long list of names of its ancestors, fixing upon that name which the child by sneezing or crying when it was uttered, was considered to select for itself; while the Cheremiss in Russia would shake the baby till it cried, and then repeat names to it, till it chose itself one by leaving off crying.
The belief in the new human birth of the departed soul, which has even led West African negroes to commit suicide when in distant slavery, that they may revive in their own land, in fact amounts among several of the lower races to a distinct doctrine of an earthly resurrection. One of the most remarkable forms which this belief assumes is when dark-skinned races, wanting some reasonable theory to account for the appearance among them of human creatures of a new strange sort, the white men, and struck with their pallid deathly hue combined with powers that seem those of superhuman spiritual beings, have determined that the manes of their dead must have come back in this wondrous shape. The aborigines of Australia have expressed this theory in the simple formula, ‘Blackfellow tumble down, jump up Whitefellow. Thus a native who was hanged years ago at Melbourne expressed in his last moments the hopeful belief that he would jump up Whitefellow, and have lots of sixpences. The doctrine has been current among them since early days of European intercourse, and in accordance with it they habitually regarded the Englishmen as their own deceased kindred, come back to their country from an attachment to it in a former life. Real or imagined likeness completed the delusion, as when
1 R. Taylor, 'New Zealand,' p. 284 ; see Shortland, "Traditions,' p. 145; Turner, "Polynesia,' p. 353 ; Bastian, “Mensch, vol. ii
. p. 279; see also p. 276 (Samoyeds). Compare Charlevoix, "Nouvelle France, vol. v. p. 426 ; Steller, 'Kamtschatka,' p. 353 ; Kracheninnikow, ii. 117. See Plath, ‘Rel. der alten Chinesen,' ii. p. 98.
Sir George Grey was hugged and wept over by an old woman who found in him a son she had lost, or when a convict, recognized as a deceased relative, was endowed anew with the land he had possessed during his former life. A similar theory may be traced northward by the Torres Islands to New Caledonia, where the natives thought the white men to be the spirits of the dead who bring sickness, and assigned this as their reason for wishing to kill white men. In Africa, again, the belief is found among the Western negroes that they will rise again white, and the Bari of the White Nile, believing in the resurrection of the dead on earth, considered the first white people they saw as departed spirits thus come back.2
Next, the lower psychology, drawing no definite line of demarcation between souls of men and of beasts, can at least admit without difficulty the transmission of human souls into the bodies of the lower animals. A series of examples from among the native tribes of America will serve well to show the various ways in which such ideas are worked out. The Ahts of Vancouver's Island consider the living man's soul able to enter into other bodies of men and animals, going in and out like the inhabitant of a house. In old times, they say, men existed in the forms of birds, beasts, and fishes, or these had the spirits of the Indians in their bodies; some think that after death they will pass again into the bodies of the animals they occupied in this former state.3 In an Indian district of North-West
1 Grey, 'Australia,' vol. i. p. 301, vol. ii. p. 363 [native's accusation against some foreign sailors who had assaulted him, 'djanga Taal-wurt kyle-gut bomb-gur,'—'one of the dead struck Taal-wurt under the ear,' &c. The word djanga=the dead, the spirits of deceased persons (see Grey, ‘Vocab. of S. W. Australia’), had come to be the usual term for a European). Lang, 'Queensland,' pp. 34, 336 ; Bonwick, ' Tasmanians,' p. 183 ; Scherzer, “Voy. of Novara,' vol. iii. p. 34 ; Bastian, “Psychologie,' p. 222, 'Mensch,' vol. iii. pp. 362-3, and in Lazarus and Steinthal’s ‘Zeitschrift,' l.c. ; Turner, ‘Polynesia,' p. 424.
2 Römer, ‘Guinea,' p. 85; Brun-Rollet, 'Nil Blanc,' &c. p. 234.
3 Sproat, 'Savage Life,' ch. xviii., xix., xxi. Souls of the dead appear in dreams, either in human or animal forms, p. 174. See also Brinton,
California, we find natives believing the spirits of their dead to enter into bears, and travellers have heard of a tribe begging the life of a wrinkle-faced old she grizzly bear as the recipient of the soul of some particular grandam, whom they fancied the creature to resemble. So, among the Esquimaux, a traveller noticed a widow who was living for conscience' sake upon birds, and would not touch walrusmeat, which the angekok had forbidden her for a time, because her late husband had entered into a walrus.2 Among other North American tribes, we hear of the Powhatans refraining from doing harm to certain small woodbirds which received the souls of their chiefs ;3 of Huron souls turning into turtle-doves after the burial of their bones at the Feast of the Dead ;4 of that pathetic funeral rite of the Iroquois, the setting free a bird on the evening of burial, to carry away the soul. In Mexico, the Tlascalans thought that after death the souls of nobles would animate beautiful singing birds, while plebeians passed into weasels and beetles and such like vile creatures. So, in Brazil, the Içannas say that the souls of the brave will become beautiful birds, feeding on pleasant fruits, but cowards will be turned into reptiles. Among the Abipones we hear of certain little ducks which fly in flocks at night, uttering a mournful hiss, and which fancy associates with the souls of the dead ;8 while in Popayan it is said that doves were not killed, as inspired by departed souls. Lastly, transmigration into brutes is also a received doctrine in South America, as when a missionary heard a Chiriquane woman of western
1 Schoolcraft, ‘Indian Tribes,' part iii. p. 113.
Hayes, 'Arctic Boat Journey,' p. 198.
Brinton, 'Myths of New World,' p. 102. 4 Brebeuf in ‘Rel. des. Jés.' 1636, p. 104. 5 Morgan, 'Iroquois,' p. 174. 6 Clavigero, Messico,' vol. ii. p. 5.
? Martius, 'Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 602; Markham in ‘Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 195.
8 Dobrizhoffer, ‘Abipones,' vol. ii. pp. 74, 270.
9 Coreal in Brinton, 1.c. See also J. G. Müller, pp. 139 (Natchez), 223 (Caribs), 402 (Peru).