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“ Till this hour, we never knew nor acknowledged anything greater or better than the Sun.”1 So when a later missionary argued with the chief of the Tobas, “My god is good and punishes wicked people,” the chief replied, “ My God (the Sun) is good likewise ; but he punishes nobody, satisfied to do good to all.” 2 In various manifestations, moreover, there reigns in native faiths a supreme being whose characteristics are those of the Heaven-god. It is thus with the Tamoi of the Guaranis, that beneficent deity worshipped in his blended character of ancestor of mankind and ancient of heaven, lord of the celestial paradise.” 3 It is so with the highest deity of the Araucanians, Pillan the Thunder or the Thunderer, called also Huenu-Pillan or Heaven-Thunder, and Vuta-gen or Great Being. “The universal government of Pillan,” says Molina, “is a prototype of the Araucanian polity. He is the great Toqui (Governor) of the invisible world, and as such has his Apo-Ulmenes, and his Ulmenes, to whom he entrusts the administration of affairs of less importance. These ideas are certainly very rude, but it must be acknowledged that the Araucanians are not the only people who have regulated the things of heaven by those of the earth." 4 A different but not less characteristic type of the Supreme Deity is placed on record among the Caribs, a beneficent power dwelling in the skies, reposing in his own happiness, careless of mankind, and by them not honoured nor adored.
The theological history of Peru, in ages before the Spanish conquest, has lately had new light thrown on it by the researches of Mr. Markham. Here the student comes into view of a rivalry full of interest in the history of barbaric religion, the rivalry between the Creator and the divine Sun. The Supreme Deity in the religion of the Incas was Uiracocha, whose titles were Pachayachachic, * Teacher of the World,' and Pachacamac, · Creator of the World.' The Sun (with whom was coupled his sister-wife the Moon) was the divine ancestor, the dawn or origin, the totom or lar, of the Inca family. The three great deities were the Creator, Sun, and Thunder; their images were brought out together at great festivals into the square of Cuzco, llamas were sacrificed to all three, and they could be addressed in prayer together, “O Creator, and Sun, and Thunder, be for ever young, multiply the people, and let them always be at peace.” Yet the Thunder and Lightning was held to come by the command of the Creator, and the following prayer shows clearly that even “our father the Sun" was but his creature :
Dobrizhoffer, ‘Abipones,' vol. ii. p. 89. · Hutchinson, 'Chaco Ind.' in "Tr. Eth. Soc. vol. iii. p. 327. 3 D'Orbigny, 'L'Homme Américain,' vol. ii. p. 319.
* Molina, “Hist. of Chili,' vol. ii. p. 84, etc. Compare Febres, ‘Diccionario Chileño.' 5 Rochefort, 'Iles Antilles,' p. 415. Musters, "Patagonians,' p. 179.
“ Uiracocha! Thou who gavest being to the Sun, and afterwards said let there be day and night. Raise it and cause it to shine, and preserve that which thou hast created, that it may give light to men. Grant this, Uiracocha!
“Sun! Thou who art in peace and safety, shine upon us, keep us from sickness, and keep us in health and safety."
Among the transitions of religion, however, it is not strange that a subordinate god, by virtue of his nearer intercourse and power, should usurp the place of the Supreme Deity. Among the various traces of this taking place under the Incas, are traditions of the great temple at Cuzco called “the Golden Place, the house of the Teacher of the World," where Manco Ccapac originally set up a flat oval golden plate to signify the Creator; Mayta Ccapac, it is said, renewed the Creator's symbol, but Huascar Inca took it down, and set up in its stead in the place of honour a round golden plate like the sun with rays. The famous temple itself, Ccuricancha the " Golden Place,'' was known to the Spaniards as the temple of the Sun; no wonder that the idea has come to be so generally accepted, that the Sun was the chief god of Peru. There is even on record a memorable protest made by one Inca, who dared to deny that the Sun could be the maker of all things, comparing him to a tethered beast that must make ever the same daily round, and to an arrow that must go whither it is sent, not whither it will. But what availed philosophic protest, even from the head of church and state himself, against a state church of which the world has seldom seen the equal for stiff and solid organization ? The Sun reigned in Peru till Pizarro overthrew him, and his splendid golden likeness came down from the temple wall to be the booty of a Castilian soldier, who lost it in one night at play.
Among rude tribes of the North American continent, evidence of the primacy of the divine Sun is not unknown. We may perhaps distrust Father Sagard's early identification of Atahocan the Creator with Iouskeha the Sun. Yet Father Hennepin's account of the Sioux worshipping the Sun as the Creator is explicit enough, and agrees with the argument of the modern Shawnees, that the Sun animates everything, and therefore must be the Master of Life or Great Spirit.It is the widespread belief in this Great Spirit, whatever his precise nature and origin, that has long and deservedly drawn the attention of European thinkers to the native religions of the North American tribes. True, this is a district in which the native doctrine has been at times described by Europeans in exaggerated and mistaken terms, converting it into a rude analogue of theism, while also the ideas of the Indians themselves came to be remodelled under Christian influence. It has even
1 Narratives of the Rites and Laws of the Yncas,' trans, from the original Spanish MSS., and ed. by C. R. Markham, Hakluyt Soc. 1873, p. ix. 5, 16, 30, 76, 84, 154, etc. The above remarks are based on the early evidence here printed for the first time, and on private suggestions for which I am also indebted to Mr. Markham. The title Pachacamac has been also considered to mean Animator or Soul of the World, camani=I create, camac=creator, cama=soul (note to 2nd ed.). Garcilaso de la Vega, lib. i., ii. c. 2, iii. c. 20; Herrera, dec. v. 4; Brinton, ‘Myths of New World,' p. 177, see 142; Rivero and Tschudi, ‘Peruvian Antiquities,' ch. vii. ; Waitz, vol. iv. p. 447 ; J. G. Müller, p. 317, etc.
? Sagard, “ Hist. du Canada,' p. 480. Hennepin, “Voy. dans l'Amérique,” p. 302. Gregg, ‘Commerce of Prairies,' vol. ii. p. 237.
been thought that the whole doctrine of the Great Spirit was borrowed by the savages from missionaries and colonists. But this view will not bear examination. After due allowance made for mis-rendering of savage answers and importation of white men's thoughts, it can hardly be judged that a divine being whose characteristics are often so unlike what European intercourse would have suggested, and who is heard of by such early explorers among such distant tribes, could be a deity of foreign origin. The Greenlanders' Torngarsuk or Great Spirit (his name is an augmentative of “ torngak”_"spirit”) seems no figure derived from the religion of Scandinavian colonists, ancient or modern. He is the oracular deity whom the angekoks go in spirit to consult about sickness and weather and sport, and to whose summer-land beneath the sea Greenland souls hope to descend at death. Imperfectly defined by native theologians, thought to be beneficent and therefore scarcely worshipped, he so clearly held his place as supreme deity in the native mind, that, as Cranz the missionary relates, many Greenlanders hearing of God and his almighty power were apt to fall on the idea that it was their Torngarsuk who was meant. In like manner, Algonquin Indians, early in the 17th century, hearing of the white man's Deity, identified him with one known to their own native belief, Atahocan the Creator. When Le Jeune the missionary talked to them of an almighty creator of heaven and earth, they began to say to one another, "Atahocan, Atahocan, it is Atahocan!” The traditional idea of such a being seems indeed to have lain in utter mythic vagueness in their thoughts, for they had made his name into a verb, “Nitatahocan,” meaning, “I tell a fable, an old fanciful story."2
The Great Spirit of the North American Indians is especially known to us in name and nature as the Kitchi
Manitu of the Ojibwas and other Algonquin tribes. In late times, Schoolcraft represents this deity as a pantheistic Soul of the Universe, inhabiting and animating all things, recognized in rocks and trees, in cataracts and clouds, in thunder and lightning, in tempest and zephyr, becoming incarnate in birds and beasts as titular deities, existing in the world under every possible form, animate and inanimate. Whether the Red Indian mind even in modern times really entertained this extreme pantheistic scheme, we may well doubt. In early times of American discovery, the records show a quite different and more usual conception of a supreme deity. Among the more noteworthy of these older documents are the following. Jacques Cartier, in his second Canadian voyage (1535) speaks of the people having no valid belief in God, for they believe in one whom they call Cudouagni, and say that he often speaks with them, and tells them what the weather will be ; they say that when he is angry with them he casts earth in their eyes. Thevet's statement somewhat later is as follows : “ As to their religion, they have no worship or prayer to God, except that they contemplate the new moon, called in their language Osannaha, saying that Andouagni calls it thus, sending it little by little to advance or retard the waters. For the rest, they fully believe that there is a Creator, greater than the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, and who holds all in his power. He it is whom they call Andouagni, without however having any form or method of prayer to him. In Virginia about 1586, we learn from Heriot that the natives believed in many gods, which they call “mantoac," but of different sorts and degrees, also that there is one chief god who first made other principal gods, and afterwards the sun, moon, and stars as petty gods. In New England, in 1622, Winslow says that they * Schoolcraft, ‘Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 15.
2 Cartier, 'Relation ;' Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 212 ; Lescarbot, Nouvelle France,' p. 613. Thevet, 'Singularitez de la France Antarctique,' Paris, 1558, ch. 77. See also J. G. Müller, p. 102. Andouayni is perhaps a miscopied form of Cudouagni. Other forms, Cudruagni, etc., occur.