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believe, as do the Virginians, in many divine powers, yet of one above all the rest; the Massachusetts call their great god Kiehtan, who made all the other gods; he dwells far westerly above the heavens, whither all good men go when they die ; “ They never saw Kiehtan, but they hold it a great charge and dutie, that one age teach another; and to him they make feasts, and cry and sing for plentie and victorie, .or anything is good.” Brinton's etymology is plausible, that this Kiehtan is simply the Great Spirit (Kittanitowit, Great Living Spirit, an Algonquin word compounded of “Kitta"-great; “manito"-spirit; “wit"termination indicating life). Another famous native American name for the supreme deity is Oki. Captain John Smith, the hero of the colonization of Virginia in 1607, he who was befriended by Pocahontas, “ La Belle Sauvage," thus describes the religion of the country, and especially of her tribe, the Powhatans : “ There is yet in Virginia no place discovered to be so Savage in which they haue not a Religion, Deer, and Bow and Arrowes. All things that are able to doe them hurt beyond their prevention, they adore with their kinde of divine worship; as the fire, water, lightning, thunder, our Ordnance peeces, horses, &c. But their chiefe god they worship is the Devill. Him they call Okee, and serue him more of feare than loue. They say they haue conference with him, and fashion themselves as neare to his shape as they can imagine. In their Temples they haue his image evill favouredly carved, and then painted and adorned with chaines of copper, and beads, and covered with a skin in such manner as the deformities may, well suit with such a God."! This quaint account deserves to be quoted at length as an example of the judgment which a half-educated and whole-prejudiced European is apt to pass on savage deities, which from his point of view seem of simply diabolic nature. It is known from other sources
* Smith, ‘Hist. of Virginia,' London, 1632; in Pinkerton, vol. xiii. pp. 13, 39; New England, ibid. p. 244. Brinton, p. 58 ; Waitz, vol. iii. p 177, etc.; J. G. Müller, pp. 99, etc. ; Loskiel, part i. pp. 33, 43.
that Oki, a word apparently meaning that which is “ above,” was in fact a general name for spirit or deity. We may judge the real belief of these Indians better from Father Brebeuf's description of the Heaven-god, cited here in a former chapter: they imagine in the heavens an Oki, that is, a Demon or power ruling the seasons of the year, and controlling the winds and waves, a being whose anger they fear, and whom they call on in making solemn treaties. The longer rude tribes of America have been in contact with European belief, the less confidently can we ascribe to purely native sources the theologic schemes their religions have settled into. Yet the Creeks towards the end of the last century preserved some elements of native faith. They believed in the Great Spirit, the Master of Breath (a being whom Bartram represents as a soul and governor of the universe): to him they would address their frequent prayers and ejaculations, at the same time paying a kind of homage to the sun, moon, and stars, as the mediators or ministers of the Great Spirit, in dispensing his attributes for their comfort and well-being in this life. In our own day, among the wild Comanches of the prairies, the Great Spirit, their creator and supreme deity, is above Sun and Moon and Earth; towards him is sent the first puff of tobacco-smoke before the Sun receives the second, and to him is offered the first morsel of the feast.3
Turning from the simple faiths of savage tribes of North America, to the complex religion of the half-civilized Mexican nation, we find what we might naturally expect, a cumbrous polytheism complicated by mixture of several national pantheons, and beside and beyond this, certain appearances of a doctrine of divine supremacy. But these doctrines seem to have been spoken of more definitely than the evidence warrants. A remarkable native development of Mexican theism must be admitted, in so far as we may receive the native historian Ixtlilxochitl's account of the worship paid by Nezahualcoyotl, the poet-king of Tezcuco, to the invisible supreme Tloque Nahuaque, he who has all in him, the cause of causes, in whose star-roofed pyramid stood no idol, and who there received no bloody sacrifice, but only flowers and incense. Yet it would have been more satisfactory were the stories told by this Aztec panegyrist of his royal ancestor confirmed by other records. Traces of divine supremacy in Mexican religion are especially associated with Tezcatlipoca, “Shining Mirror," a deity who seems in his original nature the Sun-god, and thence by expansion to have become the soul of the world, creator of heaven and earth, lord of all things, Supreme Deity. Such conceptions may in more or less measure have arisen in native thought, but it should be pointed out that the remarkable Aztec religious formulas collected by Sahagun, in which the deity Tezcatlipoca is so prominent a figure, show traces of Christian admixture in their material, as well as of Christian influence in their style. For instance, all students of Mexican antiquities know the belief in Mictlan, the Hades of the dead. But when one of these Aztec prayer-formulas (concerning auricular confession, the washing away of sins, and a new birth) makes mention of sinners being plunged into a lake of intolerable misery and torment, the introduction of an idea so obviously European condemns the composition as not purely native. The question of the actual developments of ideas verging on pantheism or theism, among the priests and philosophers of native Mexico, is one to be left for further criticism.'
i Brebeuf in ‘Rel. des Jés.' 1636, p. 107; see above, p. 255. Brinton, p. 47 ; Sagard, p. 494 ; J. G. Müller, p. 103. For other mention of a Supreme Deity among North American tribes see Joutel, 'Jounal du Voyage, etc. Paris, 1713, p. 224 (Louisiana); Sproat in Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. v. p. 253 (Vancouver's I.).
2 Bartram in "Tr. Amer. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. pp. 20, 26. 8 Schoolcraft, 'Ind. Tribes,' part ii. p. 127.
In the islands of the Pacific, the idea of Supreme Deity is especially manifested in that great mythologic divinity of
the Polynesian race, whom the New Zealanders call Tangaroa, the Hawaiians Kanaroa, the Tongans and Samoans Tangaloa, the Georgian and Society islanders Taaroa. Students of the science of religion who hold polytheism to be but the mis-development of a primal idea of divine unity, which in spite of corruption continues to pervade it, might well choose this South Sea Island divinity as their aptest illustration from the savage world. Taaroa, says Moerenhout, is their supreme or rather only god; for all the others, as in other known polytheisms, seem scarcely more than sensible figures and images of the infinite attributes united in his divine person. The following is given as a native poetic definition of the Creator. “He was; Taaroa was his name; he abode in the void. No earth, no sky, no men. Taaroa calls, but nought answers; and alone existing, he became the universe. The props are Taaroa; the rocks are Taaroa; the sands are Taaroa; it is thus he himself is named.” According to Ellis, Taaroa is described in the Leeward Islands as the eternal parentless uncreate Creator, dwelling alone in the highest heaven, whose bodily form mortals cannot see, who after intervals of innumerable seasons casts off his body or shell and becomes renewed. It was he who created Hina his daughter, and with her aid formed the sky and earth and sea. He founded the world on a solid rock, which with all the creation he sustains by his invisible power. Then he created the ranks of lesser deities such as reign over sea and land and air, and govern peace and war, and preside over physic and husbandry, and canoe-building, and roofing, and theft. The version from the Windward Islands is that Taaroa's wife was the rock, the foundation of all things, and she gave birth to earth and sea. Now, fortunately for our understanding of this myth, the name of Taaroa's wife, with whom he begat the lesser deities, was taken down in Tahiti in Captain Cook's time. She was a rock called Papa, and her name plainly suggests her identity with Papa the Earth, the wife of Rangi the Heaven in the New Zealand myth of Heaven and Earth, the great first parents. If this inference be just, then it seems that Taaroa the Creator is no personification of a primæval theistic idea, but simply the divine personal Heaven transformed into the supreme Heaven-god. Thus, when Turner gives the Samoan myths of Tangaloa in heaven presiding over the production of the earth from beneath the waters, or throwing down from the sky rocks which are now islands, the classic name by which he calls him is that which rightly describes his nature and mythic originTangaloa, the Polynesian Jupiter. Yet in island district after district, we find the name of the mighty heavenly creator given to other and lesser mythic beings. In Tahiti, the manes-worshipper's idea is applied not only to lesser deities, but to Taaroa the Creator himself, whom some maintained to be but a man deified after death. In the New Zealand mythology, Tangaroa figures on the one hand as Sea-god and father of fish and reptiles, on the other as the mischievous eaves-dropping god who reveals secrets. In Tonga, Tangaloa was god of artificers and arts, and bis priests were carpenters; it was he who went forth to fish, and dragged up the Tonga islands from the bottom of the sea. Here, then, he corresponds with Maui, and indeed Tangaroa and Maui are found blending in Polynesia even to full identification. It is neither easy nor safe to fix to definite origin the Protean shapes of South Sea mythology, but on the whole the native myths are apt to embody cosmic ideas, and as the idea of the Sun preponderates in Maui, so the idea of the Heaven in Taaroa.l. In the Fiji Islands, whose native mythology is on the whole distinct from that of Polynesia proper, a strange weird figure takes the supreme place among the gods. His name is Ndengei, the serpent is his shrine, some traditions represent him with a
1 Moerenhout, “Voy, aux lles du Grand Océan,' vol. i. pp. 419, 437. Ellis, Polyn. Res.' vol. i. p. 321, etc. J. R. Forster, Voyage round the World, pp. 540, 567. Grey, “Polyn. Myth.'p. 6. Taylor, New Zealand,'p. 118; see above, vol. i. p. 290. Turner, Polynesia,' p. 244. Mariner, Tonga Is.' vol. ii. pp. 116, 121. Schirren, Wandersagen der Neuseeländer,' PP. 68, 89.