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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.?
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. In another district of North-West
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,” etc. 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,' 1. c.; Turner, *Polynesia,' p. 424.
? Römer, "Guinea,' p. 85 ; Brun-Rollet, ‘Nil Blanc,' etc. 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, p.
America, we find Indians 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. 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 ;8 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 Buenos
Schoolcraft, ‘Indian Tribes,' part iii. p. 113. 2 Hayes, “ Arctic Boat Journey,' p. 198. 3 Brinton, ‘Myths of New World,' p. 102. 4 Brebeuf in ‘Rel. des Jés.' 1636, p. 104. • Morgan, 'Iroquois,' p. 174. * Clavigero, Messico,' vol. ii. p. 5.
7 Martius, 'Ethnog. Amer.' vol. i. p. 602 ; Markham in ‘Tr. Eth. Soc.' yol. iii. p. 195.
8 Dobrizhoffer, ‘Abipones,' vol. ii. pp. 74, 270.
9 Coreal in Brinton, 1. c. See also J. G. Müller, p. 139 (Natchez), 223 (Caribs), 402 (Peru).
Ayres say of a fox, “May not that be the spirit of my dead daughter ?”1
In Africa, again, mention is made of the Maravi thinking that the souls of bad men became jackals, and good men snakes. The Zulus, while admitting that a man may turn into a wasp or lizard, work out in the fullest
the idea of the dead becoming snakes, a creature whose change of skin has so often been associated with the thought of resurrection and immortality. It is especially certain green or brown harmless snakes, which come gently and fearlessly into houses, which are considered to be “amatongo” or ancestors, and therefore are treated respectfully, and have offerings of food given them. In two ways, the dead man who has become a snake can still be recognized ; if the creature is one-eyed, or has a scar or some other mark, it is recognized as the “itongo” of a man who was thus marked in life; but if he had no mark, the “itongo" appears in human shape in dreams, thus revealing the personality of the snake. In Guinea, monkeys found near a graveyard are supposed to be animated by the spirits of the dead, and in certain localities monkeys, crocodiles, and snakes, being thought men in metempsychosis, are held sacred. It is to be borne in mind that notions of this kind may form in barbaric psychology but a portion of the wide doctrine of the soul's future existence. For a conspicuous instance of this, let us take the system of the Gold-Coast negroes. They believe that the “kla” or “kra," the vital soul, becomes at death a “sisa” or ghost, which can remain in the house with the body, plague the living, and cause sickness, till it departs or is driven by the sorcerer to the bank of the River Wolta, where the ghosts build themselves houses and dwell. But they can and do come back from
Brinton, p. 254 ; see also Martius, vol. i. p. 446. 9 Waitz, vol. ii. p. 419 (Maravi).
3 Callaway, “Re Amazulu,' p. 196, etc. ; bousset and Daumas, p. 237.
4 J. L. Wilson, W. Afr.' pp. 210, 218. See also Brun-Rollet, pp. 200, 234 ; Meiners, vol. i. p. 211.
this Land of Souls. They can be born again as souls in new human bodies, and a soul who was poor before will now be rich. Many will not come back as men, but will become animals. To an African mother who has lost her child, it is a consolation to say, “He will come again.”
In higher levels of culture, the theory of re-embodiment of the soul appears in strong and varied development. Though seemingly not received by the early Aryans, the doctrine of migration was adopted and adapted by Hindu philosophy, and forms an integral part of that great system common to Brahmanism and Buddhism, wherein successive births or existences are believed to carry on the consequences of past and prepare the antecedents of future life. To the Hindu the body is but the temporary receptacle of the soul, which,“ bound in the chains of deeds” and “eating the fruits of past actions,” promotes or degrades itself along a series of embodiments in plant, beast, man, deity. Thus all creatures differ rather in degree than kind, all are akin to man, an elephant or ape or worm may once have been human, and may become human again, a pariah or barbarian is at once low-caste among men and high-caste among brutes. Through such bodies migrate the sinful souls which desire has drawn down from primal purity into gross material being; the world where they do penance for the guilt incurred in past existences is a huge reformatory, and life is the long grievous process of developing evil into good. The rules are set forth in the book of Manu how souls endowed with the quality of goodness acquire divine nature, while souls governed by passion take up the human state, and souls sunk in darkness are degraded to brutes. Thus the range of migration stretches downward from gods and saints, through holy ascetics, Brahmans, nymphs, kings, counsellors, to actors, drunkards, birds, dancers, cheats, elephants, horses, Sudras, barbarians, wild beasts, snakes, worms, insects, and inert things. Obscure as the relation mostly is between the crime and its punishment in a new
Steinhauser in 'Mag. der Evang. Miss.' Basel, 1856, No. 2, p. 135.
life, there may be discerned through the code of penal transmigration an attempt at appropriateness of penalty, and an intention to punish the sinner wherein he sinned. For faults committed in a previous existence men are afflicted with deformities, the stealer of food shall be dyspeptic, the scandal-monger shall have foul breath, the horse-stealer shall go lame, and in consequence of their deeds men shall be born idiots, blind, deaf and dumb, misshaped, and thus despised of good men. After expiation of their wickedness in the hells of torment, the murderer of a Brahman may pass into a wild beast or pariah; he who adulterously dishonours his guru or spiritual father shall be a hundred times re-born as grass, a bush, a creeper, a carrion bird, a beast of prey; the cruel shall become bloodthirsty beasts; stealers of grain and meat shall turn into rats and vultures; the thief who took dyed garments, kitchen-herbs, or perfumes, shall become accordingly a red partridge, a peacock, or a musk-rat. In short, "in whatever disposition of mind a man accomplishes such and such an act, he shall reap the fruit in a body endowed with such and such a quality.”] The recognition of plants as possible receptacles of the transmigrating spirit well illustrates the conception of souls of plants. The idea is one known to lower races in the district of the world which has been more or less under Hindu influence. Thus we hear among the Dayaks of Borneo of the human soul entering the trunks of trees, where it may be seen damp and blood-like, but no longer personal and sentient; and the Santals of Bengal are said to fancy that uncharitable men and childless women are eaten eternally by worms and snakes, while the good enter into fruit-bearing trees. But it is an open question whether these and the Hindu ideas are originally independent of each other, and if not, did the Hindus adopt the
Manu, xi. xii. Ward, “Hindoos, vol. i. p. 164, vol. ii. pp. 215, 347 --52.
St. John, “Far East,' vol. i. p. 181. 3 Hunter, ‘Rural Bengal,' p. 210. See also Shaw in 'As. Res.' rol. iv. p. 46 (Rajmahal tribes).