« PreviousContinue »
Apollo; before the goddess of the Carthaginians (oalporos Kapxndoriwr) and Herakles and Iolaos; before Ares, Triton, Poseidon ; before the gods who fought with the armies, and Sun and Moon and Earth; before the rivers and meadows and waters; before all the gods who rule Macedonia and the rest of Greece; before all the gods who were at the war, they who have presided over this oath.” 1 When Lucian visited the famous temple of Hierapolis in Syria, he saw the images of the other gods, "but only of the Sun and Moon they show no images.” And when he asked why, they told him that the forms of other gods were not seen by all, but Sun and Moon are altogether clear, and all men see them. In Egyptian theology, not to discuss other divine beings to whom a lunar nature has been ascribed, it is at least certain that Aah is the Moon in absolute personal divinity. In Aryan theology, the personal Moon stands as Selēnē beside the more anthropomorphic forms of Hekatē and Artemis, as Luna beside the less understood Lucina, and Diana with her borrowed attributes, while our Teutonic forefathers were content with his plain name of Moon. As for lunar survivals in the higher religions, they are much like the solar. Monotheist as he is, the Moslem still claps his hands at sight of the new moon, and says a prayer.? In Europe in the 15th century it was matter of complaint that some still adored the new moon with bended knee, or hood or hat removed, and to this day we may still see a hat raised to her, half in conservatism and half in jest. It is with reference to silver as the lunar metal, that money is turned when the act of adoration
1 Deuteron. xvii. 3 ; Polyb. vii. 9 ; sce Movers, ‘Phönizier,' pp. 159, 536, 605.
2 Lucian de Syria Dea, iv, 34.
3 Wilkinson, 'Ancient Egyptians,' vol. iv. p. 239, vol. v. p. 5. Bunsen, · Egypt,' vol. iv. See Plutarch. Is. et Osir.
4 Welcker, "Griech. Götterl.' vol. i. p. 550, etc. 5 Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii. 27.
Grimm, *D. M.'ch. xxii. i Akerblad, · Lettre à Italinsky.' Burton, Central Afr.' vol. ii. p. 346. Mungo Park, "Travels,' in . Pinkerton,' vol. xvi. p. 875.
is performed, while practical peasant wit dwells on the illluck of having no piece of silver when the new moon is first seen.
Thus, in tracing the development of Nature-Worship, it appears that though Fire, Air, Earth, and Water are not yet among the lower races systematized into a quaternion of elements, their adoration, with that of Sun and Moon, shows already arising in primitive culture the familiar types of those great divinities, who received their further development in the higher Polytheism.
1 Grimm, 'D. M.' pp. 29, 667; Brand, vol. iii. p. 146 ; Forbes Leslie, • Early Races of Scotland,' vol. i. p. 136.
Polytheism comprises a class of Great Deities, ruling the conrse of Nature and
the life of Man-Childbirth-god-Agriculture-god-War-god-God of the Dead – First Man as Divine Ancestor-Dualism ; its rudimentary and unethical nature among low races ; its development through the course of culture - Good and Evil Deity-Doctrine of Divine Supremacy, distinct from, while tending towards, the doctrine of Monotheism - Idea of Supreme Deity evolved in various forms among the lower races ; its place as completion of the Polytheistic system and outcome of the Animistic philosophy ; its continuance and development among higher nations-General survey of Aninism as a Philosophy of Religion - Recapitulation of the theory advanced as to its development through successive stages of culture ; its primary phases best represented among the lower races, while survivals of these among the higher rares mark the transition from savage through barbaric to civilized faiths— Transition of Animism in the History of Religion ; its earlier and later stages as a Philosophy of the Universe ; its later stages as the principle of a Moral Institution.
POLYTHEISM acknowledges, beside great fetish-deities like Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon, another class of great gods whose importance lies not in visible presence, but in the performance of certain great offices in the course of Nature and the life of Man. The lower races can furnish themselves with such deities, either by giving the recognised gods special duties to perform, or by attributing these functions to beings invented in divine personality for the purpose. The creation of such divinities is however carried to a much greater extent in the complex systems of the higher polytheism. For a compact group of examples showing to what different ideas men will resort for a deity to answer a special end, let us take the deity presiding over Childbirth. In the West Indies, a special divinity occupied with this function took rank as one of the great indigenous fetish-gods; 1 in the Samoan group, the household god of the father's or mother's family was appealed to;? in Peru the Moon takes to this office, and the same natural idea recurs in Mexico ;* in Esthonian religion the productive Earthmother appropriately becomes patroness of human birth ; 5 classic theology carries on both these ideas, in so far as the Greek Hēra represents the Earth 6 and the Roman Lucina the Moon ;7 and to conclude the list, the Chinese work out the problem from the manes-worshipper's point of view, for the goddess whom they call “Mother” and propitiate with many a ceremony and sacrifice to save and prosper their children, is held to have been in human life a skilful midwife.8
The deity of Agriculture may be a cosmic being affecting the weather and the soil, or a mythic giver of plants and teacher of their cultivation and use. Thus among the Iroquois, Heno the Thunder, who rides through the heavens on the clouds, who splits the forest-trees with the thunderbolt-stones he hurls at his enemies, who gathers the clouds and pour's out the warm rains, was fitly chosen as patron of husbandry, invoked at seed-time and harvest, and called Grandfather by his children the Indians. It is interesting to notice again on the southern continent the working out of this idea in the Tupan of Brazilian tribes; Thunder and Lightning, it is recorded, they call Tupan, considering themselves to owe to him their hoes and the profitable
· Herrera, 'Indias Occidentales,' Dec. i. 3, 3; J. G. Müller, ‘Amer. Urrel. pp. 175, 221.
· Turner, ‘Polynesia,' p. 174.
art of tillage, and therefore acknowledging him as a deity.! Among the Guarani race, Tamoi the Ancient of Heaven had no less rightful claim, in his character of heaven-god, to be venerated as the divine teacher of agriculture to his people. In Mexico, Centeotl the Grain-goddess received homage and offerings at her two great festivals, and took care of the growth and keeping of the corn. In Polynesia, we hear in the Society Islands of Ofanu the god of husbandry, in the Tonga Islands of Alo Alo the fanner, god of wind and weather, bearing office as god of harvest, and receiving his offering of yams when he had ripened them. A picturesque figure from barbaric Asia is Pheebee Yau, the Ceres of the Karens, who sits on a stump and watches the growing and ripening corn, to fill the granaries of the frugal and industrious. The Khonds worship at the same shrine, a stone or tree near the village, both Būrbi Pennu the goddess of new vegetation, and Pidzu Pennu the rain.god. Among Finns and Esths it is the Earth-mother who appropriately undertakes the task of bringing forth the fruits." And so among the Greeks it is the same being, Dēmēter the Earth-mother, who performs this function, while the Roman Ceres who is confused with her is rather, as in Mexico, a goddess of grain and fruit.S
The War-god is another being wanted among the lower races, and formed or adapted accordingly. Areskove the Iroquois War-god seems to be himself the, great celestial deity; for his pleasant food they slaughtered human victims, that he might give them victory over their enemies; as a pleasant sight for him they tortured the war-captives; on
De Laet, ‘Novus Orbis, xv. 2; Waitz, vol. iii. p. 417 ; Brinton, pp. 152, 185 ; J. G. Muller, p. 271, etc.
2 D'Orbigny, 'L'Homme Américain,' vol. ii. p. 319. 3 Clavigero, Messico,' vol. ii. pr. 16, 68, 75. 4 Ellis, ‘Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 333. Mariner, ‘Tonga Is.' pl. ii. p. 115. 5 ('ross, in ‘Journ. Amer. Oriental Soc.' vol. iv. p. 316 ; Mason, p. 215. 6 Macpherson, ‘India,' pp. 91, 355. 7 Castrén, ‘Finn. Myth.' p. 89.
8 Welcker, 'Griech. Götterl.' vol. ii. p. 467. Cox, Mythology of Aryan Nations ' vol. ii. p. 308.