Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World
Book 2 of 12
TOTEMISM, TATTOO AND FETISHISM AS FORMS OF SIGN-LANGUAGE
[Page 46] With due search we shall find that the unwritten and remotest past of primitive man is not immemorial after all that may have been lost by the way. Most obscure conditions have been more or less preserved and represented in the drama of primitive customs; in the mirror of mythology and the Sign-Ianguage of Totemism. Ceremonial rites were established as the means of memorizing facts in Sign- language when there were no written records of the human past. In these the knowledge was acted, the Ritual was exhibited, and kept in ever-Iiving memory by continual repetition. The Mysteries, totemic or religious, were founded on this basis of action. Dancing, for example, was a mode of Signlanguage in all the mysteries. To know certain mysteries implied the ability to dance them, when they could not be otherwise expressed. The Bushmen say that the Mantis-Deity Kagn taught them the Mysteries of dancing under the type of the "Praying Mantis" or the leaping grasshopper. Primitive men had observed the ways and works of Nature, and imitated all they might as a means of thinking their meaning when they could not talk. They danced it with the Grasshopper, they writhed and swelled and puffed it with the Serpent; they panted it with the Lion, roared it with the Hippopotamus, hummed it with the insects, pawed and clicked it with the Ape. In short, they acted in accordance with the example of their forerunners on the earth. They not only wore the skins of animals and feathers of birds, they made
their motions in Totemic dances and imitated their cries as a primary means of making themselves understood. From the beginning in the far-off misty morning of the past, dancing in the likenesses of animals was a Totemic mode of demonstration. Amongst the earliest deities of Egypt are Apt and Bes, who issue forth from Inner Africa as dancers in the act of dancing the mystery of the phallic dance, and in the skins of animals. The Arunta Tribes of Central Australia dance the Unthippa Dance in the ceremony of young-man-making at the time of circumcision. This tells the story of the way they came in what is known as the “Range all along". (Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Australia, page 442.)
It is said to be the dance of the Unthippa Women in the Alcheringa who were beings of both sexes and who danced all the way "until their organs were modified and they became as other women are". This denotes the status of the [Page 47] pre-Totemic people who were as yet undivided by the Totemic Rites of Puberty which are now illustrated in the mystery of the dance. In the Initiation ceremonies of the males described by Messrs Spencer and Gillen (page 381), a special dance of the women follows the making of the youth into a man who is now welcomed by them into the ranks of the elders. A number of young women come near. Each one is decorated with a double horse-shoe-shaped band of white pipe-clay which extends across the front of each thigh and the base of the abdomen. A flexible stick is held behind the neck and one end grasped by each hand. Standing in a group, the women sway slightly from side to side, quivering in a most remarkable fashion, as they do so, the muscles of the thighs and the base of the abdomen."The object of the decoration and movement is evident. It is to incite the youths and prepare them for connubium. At this period of the ceremonies a general interchange and a lending of women also takes place . “This women's dance goes on night after night for perhaps two or three-weeks”. The men sing the “Corroboree Song" whilst the women dance the mystery of young-man-making, and show the object and mode of it. In this case white pipe-clay was substituted for the white Undattha-Down with which the female was usually embellished. Here the customs of the Totemic Mysteries naturally suggest that a primary object in putting on fur and feather or down, and dancing in the skin of the Totemic Animal at the festival of pubescence, was to dramatize the coming of age for sexual intercourse when this was determined by the appearance of the pubes whether of the female or the male.
There had been a pre-Totemic period of promiscuity in which there-was no regulated intercourse of sexes, no marriage by the group, or of one half the group with the other half: At that time, or in the primeval state, the earth as yet was undivided into South and North; the Mythical Cow was not yet cut in twain, or the mother separated into the Two Women. Much is told us by tradition if we can but interpret truly. It says the race of beings was not then divided, and had but one leg to go or stand on, meaning there was but one stock. All the earth, in later phrase, being of one blood and of one language. The sexes were not yet divided by the lizard, as female pubescence was quaintly figured. There was no cutting of the male or opening of the female with the firestick or the stone knife by which the sexes were divided, or made, or in the latter phrase "created" into men and women. These were the "Inapertwa" beings in the Alcheringa who preceded women and men and were pre-Totemic. These were the Unopened or the Uncircumcised, who had to be transformed into women and men by cutting and opening; that is by introcision and circumcision, or subincision, by which they were made into women and men in becoming Totemic. Dancing then was a dramatic mode of rendering the mysteries of primitive knowledge in visible Sign-language. With the Tshi-speaking peoples "Soffa", the name of the priest, signifies “the dancing man". The African Acholi in their- dances, says Sir H. Johnston, imitate animals "most elaborately". An African potentate has been known to dance for some ten or fifteen minutes together in receiving a distinguished European visitor, like Richard Burton, before he had represented all his own titles of honour [Page 48] and claims to admiration in the language of dance and gesture-signs.
With the Bechuanas each Totem has its own special dance, and when they want to know the clan to which a stranger may belong they will ask "What dance do you dance?" as an equivalent for the question "To what clan do you belong?" These dances are continued in the Initiatory ceremonies of Totemism.
They tend to show that the shapes and sounds and movements of the Totemic animals were imitated in the primeval pantomime by way of proclaiming the clan to which the particular group belonged. The Totemic type was thus figured to sight in gesture-language before it could be known by name. Admission into the Dacota Clan was effected by means of the great Medicine Dance. The Medicine Men of the Iroquois have four dances which are sacred to themselves, no other person being allowed to dance these Mysteries. The first is the " Eagle-Dance", the second the "Dark Dance" (performed in the dark); the other two are the "Pantomime Dance" and the "Witches' Dance". (Myths of the Iroquois. Bureau of Ethnology. Second Annual Report, 1880-81, page 116.) The Eagle being the Bird of Light, the Sun-Bird, we may infer that the first two dances told the story of the Beginning with Light and Darkness, which was thus rendered in gesture-language and continued to be memorized in that fashion by those who danced such primitive Mysteries. We also learn from the sacred dances of the aborigines in the character of the Bear, the Wolf, the Seal, the Crab, or other animal that the gesture-Ianguage included an imitation of the Totemic zootype. The Mandan Indians dance the Buffalo-dance, the heads of the dancers being covered with a mask made of the Buffalo's head and horns. In other dances of the Dog and Bear totems, the dancers acted in the characters of the animals. The Llamas of Thibet dance the Old Year out and the New Year in whilst wearing their animal masks. The Snake-dance is still performed by the Moqui Indians
of Arizona (Bourke, Snake-Dance of the Moquis, page116), arid also amongst the Australian aborigines when they "make the Snake" in their sacred procession of the Mysteries (Howitt). It was a common Totemic custom for the brothers and sisters to perform their commemorative ceremonies or mysteries in the likeness of the Totemic animal. In the Australian Rites of Initiation the teachings and moral lessons are conveyed in object-lessons pantomimically displayed. The various Totems are indicated by the language of gestures. The " Rock-Wallabies" are initiated by jumping with the knees slightly bent and the legs kept wide apart. The Kangaroos hop about in the likeness of the Totemic animal. The howlings of a pack of dingoes or wild dogs are heard afar off as if in the depth of the forest. The sounds grow less and less distant. At length the leader of the band rushes in on all fours followed by the others. They run after each other on all fours round the fire, imitating the actions of wild dogs in the Dingo dance. (A. W. Howitt on some Australian Ceremonies of Initiation.) With the Inoits at their religious fetes and anniversaries of the dead, the biographies of the departed are told to the spectators in dumb show and dancing. With the Kakhyens of Northern Burmah it is the custom to dance the ghost out of the house at the time of the funeral. The Egyptian mourners also accompanied the Manes on the way to Amenta with [Page 49] song and dance, as may be seen in the Vignettes to the Book of the Dead, where the text deals with the mysteries of the Resurrection. The same Mystery is expressed in the Black Fellow's jumping up a White Fellow when he rises from the dead. It used to be the custom in Scotland for dancing to be kept up all night long after a funeral (Napier, Folk-lore of West Scotland, page 66). Not as a desire of getting rid of the Spirit, but as an act of rejoicing in dancing the Resurrection of the Spirit. The on-lookers often wonder why the performers in Gaelic and Keltic dances should, when furiously dancing, give forth such inhuman shouts and shrill blood-curdling cries. But there is nothing likelier than that these are remains of the "Language of Animals", and a survival of the primitive Totemic practices. Leaping in the air with a shout while dancing had a special dramatic significance. What this was may be inferred from the Egyptian Funeral Scenes. That which had survived as the Dance of Death in the Middle Ages was the earlier Dance of the Resurrection, or the rising again from the dead. The dancing occurs in the presence of the mummy when this has been raised to its feet and set on end, which is then a figure of the risen dead.
The rising again was likewise imitated in the dance. Hence the women who are seen to be jumping with curious contortions on some of the bas-reliefs are acting the resurrection. It is their duty and delight to "dance that dance" for the departed (Papyrus of Ani). Thus, Sign-language, Totemism and Mythology were not merely modes of representation. They were also the primitive means of preserving the human experience in the remoter past of which there could be no written record. They constitute the record of pre-historic times. The most primitive customs, ceremonial rites and revels, together with the religious mysteries, originated as the means of keeping the unwritten past of the race in ever-living memory by perennial repetition of the facts, which had to be acted from generation to generation in order that the knowledge might become hereditary. This is a thesis which can be fully proved and permanently established. Before ever a Folk-tale was told or a legend related in verbal speech, the acting of the
subject-matter had begun, dancing being one of the earliest modes of primitive Sign-Ianguage. Not "trailing Clouds of Glory" have we come from any state of perfection as fallen angels in disguise with the triumphs of attainment all behind us, but as animals emerging from the animal, wearing the skins of animals, uttering the cries of animals, whilst developing our own; and thus the nascent race has traveled along the course of human evolution with the germ of immortal possibilities in it darkly struggling for the light, and a growing sense of the road being up-hill, therefore difficult and not to be made easy like the downward way to nothingness and everlasting death.
It is now quite certain that speech was preceded by a language of animal cries, accompanied by human gestures because, like the language of the clickers, it is yet extant with the Aborigines, amongst whom the language-makers may yet be heard and seen at work in the pre-human way. The earliest human language, we repeat, consisted of gesture-signs which were accompanied with a few appropriate sounds, some of which were traceably continued from the predecessors of Man. A sketch from life in the camp of the Mashona [Page 50] chief Lo Benguela, made by Bertram Mitford, may be quoted, much to the present purpose:
“ He comes - the Lion! “ and they roared.
"Behold him - the Bull, the black calf of Matyobane!” and at this they bellowed.
"He is the Eagle which preys upon the world!”
here they screamed; and as each imitative shout was
taken up by the armed regiments, going through every conceivable form of animal voice - the growling of leopards, the hissing of serpents, even to the sonorous croak of the bull-frog - the result was indescribably terrific and deafening". (The Triumph of Hilary Blachland, by Bertram Mitford, page 28) In this Sign-Ianguage, which was earlier than words, the Red Men acted their wants and wishes in expressive pantomime whilst wearing the skins of the animal that was pursued for food. They "laid their case" as it were before the Powers previous to the hunt. Each hunt had its especial dance which consisted in the imitation of the motions, habits, and cries of the animals to be hunted. They climbed like
bears, built like beavers, galloped about like buffaloes, leaped like roes, and yelped like foxes.
(Chateaubriand, "Voyage en Amérique", page 142.) Travellers have detected a likeness betwixt the scream of the Prairie-dog and the speech of the Apache Indians, who will imitate the animal so perfectly as to make it respond to them from the distance. On the night of the Lunar festival, when waiting for the Moon to rise, they will invoke her light with a concert of cries from their brethren of the animal world, which include the neighing of the Horse, the whinnying of the Mule, the braying of the Ass, the screech of the Coyote, the call of the Hyena, the growl of the Grizzly Bear, when this Totemic orchestra performs its nocturnal overture in the Language of' Animals. The Zuni Indians in their religious service imitate the cries of the beasts which are imaged as their fetishes in ceremonial rites at the council of Fetishes. They sing a very long hymn or prayer-chant, and at the close of each stanza the chorus consists of the cries which represent their Deities, called the Prey-Gods, in the guise of their Totemic Animals. Hall, in his “Life with the Esquimaux", tells us how the Inoit look up to the Bear as superior to themselves in hunting the seal. Because, as they say, the Bear "talks sealish", and can lull the animal to slumber with his incantation. The Inoit have learned the secret of Bruin, and repeat his language all they can to fascinate, decoy, and magically overcome the seal and capture it, but they are still beaten by the Bear. Dr. Franz Boaz has recently discovered the remains of a very primitive tribe of Aborigines near the boundary betwixt Alaska and British Columbia. They are called the Tsutsowt, and are hunted to death by the Indians like wild beasts. They formerly consisted of two Clans that rigidly observed the ancient law of
Totemic connubium, no woman being allowed to marry within her own Clan. At present there is but one Clan in existence, and the men of this Clan have been forced to seek for wives among the Indians of Nass river. These Tsutsowt apparently talk in bird-Ianguage. They cheep and chirrup or whistle in their speech with a great variety of notes.
The Supreme Spirit, Tharamulun, who taught the Murrung tribes [Page 51] whatever arts they knew, and instituted the ceremonies of Initiation for Young-man-making, is said to have ordered the names of animals to be assumed by Men. (Howitt, "On Some Australian Beliefs" ). Before the names could be assumed, however, the animals were "adopted for Totems, and the earliest names were more or less the cries and calls of the living Totems. The mothers would be known by their making the cry of their Totemic animal, to which the children responded in the same pre-human language. The Sow (say) is the mother, the children are her pigs. The mother would call her children as a sow, and the children would try to repeat the same sounds in response. The Totemic Lioness would call her kittens by purring, and the cubs would respond by purring. The Hippopotami, Lions, and other loud roarers would grow terrible with the sounds they made in striking dread into the children. When as yet they had no names nor any art of tattooing the Totemic figures on the flesh of their own bodies, the brothers and sisters had to demonstrate who they were, and to which group they belonged by acting the character of the zootype in the best way they could by crying or calling, lowing, grunting, or puffing and posturing like the animals in this primitive pantomime or bal masqué. Thus the sign to the eye and the sound to the ear were continued pari passu in the dual development of Sign-Ianguage that was both visual and vocal at the same time when the brothers and sisters were identifying themselves, not with nor as the animals, but by means of them, and by making use of them as zootypes for their Totems. The clicks of the Pygmies, the San (Bushmen), the Khoi-Khoi (Hottentots), and the Kaffirs constitute a living link betwixt the human beginner and his predecessor the Ape. The Bushmen possess about the same number of clicks as the Cynocephalus or Dog-headed Ape. The Monkey-Mother also menstruates; another link betwixt the Ape and the human female. The Clickers born of her as blood-mother would be known by their sounds as Monkey-Men. Taht-Aani is a Totemic monkey-man raised to the status of a divinity in Egypt. Hanuman is the same in India, where the Jaitwas of Rajputana claim to be the descendants of the Monkey-God. And the Ape-Men, imitating the Cynocephalus, would be on the way to becoming the human Clickers. Very naturally,
naming by words would follow the specializing by means of the Totemic types, as we have Tree the type, and Tree the name; Bull the type, and Bull the name; Dove the type, and Dove the name; Lynx the type, and Lynch the name. An instance is supplied by Frederick Bonney in his notes on the customs of the River Darling Aborigines, New South Wales, which is also to the point. He observed that the children are named after animals, birds, and reptiles, and the name is a word in their language meaning the movement or habit of one of them. (Journal Anthrop Institute, May, 1883). The sound may be added. The Totem (say) is an animal. First it was a figure. And from this a name was afterwards drawn, which at times, and probably at first, was the voice of the animal.
The earliest formation of human society which can be distinguished from the gregarious horde with its general promiscuity of intercourse between the sexes is now beginning to be known by the name of Totemism, a word only heard the other day. Yet nothing later [Page 52] than the Totemic stage of Sociology is fundamental enough as ground to go upon in discussing Sign-language, Mythology, and Fetishism, or in tracing the rootlets of religion; and the study of the subject has but just commenced. It had been omitted, with all its correlates and implications, from previous consideration and teachings concerning the prehistoric past and present status of the scattered human family. On this line of research the inquiries and explorations which go back to this tangible beginning are now the only profitable studies. The results of these alone can be permanent. All the rest were tentative and transitory. But "No satisfactory explanation of the origin of Totemism has yet been given". So says the writer of a book on the subject. (Frazer, J. G., "Totemism.")
The author of "Primitive Marriage” who first mooted the subject in England, could make nothing of it in the end. According to his brother, in a preface to "The Patriarchate" McLennan gave up his hypothesis and ceased to have any definite view at all on the origin of Totemism. Nevertheless, McLennan was right in his guess that the so-called "animal-worship of the Egyptians was descended from a system of Totems or Fetishes" (Budge, " The Gods of the Egyptians", Vol. I., page 29), though " Worship", we protest again and again, is not the word to employ; in this connection it is but a modern counterfeit. The Totem, in its religious phase, was as much the sign of the Goddess or the God as it had been of the Motherhood or Brotherhood. It was an image of the superhuman power. Thus the Mother-earth as giver of water was imaged as a water-cow. Seb the Father of Food was imaged by the goose that laid the egg. Horus the bringer of food in water was imaged by the fish or papyrus shoot. These, so to say, were Totems of the Nature powers. But when it came to " worship" it was the powers that were the objects of supreme regard, not the Totems by means of which the powers were represented; not the water-cow ,the goose, the fish, the shoot, but the Goddess Apt, and the Gods Seb, Sebek- and Child-Horus. It is in the most primitive customs that we must seek for the fundamental forms of rites and ceremonies. It is in Totemism only that we can trace the natural genesis of various doctrines and dogmas that have survived to be looked upon as a divine revelation especially vouchsafed to later times, in consequence of their having been continued as religious Mysteries without the guidance of the primitive Gnosis.
The human past in its remoter range might be divided into two portions for the purpose, and described as pre- Totemic and Totemic. The first was naturally a state of promiscuity more or less like that of the animals, when there were neither Totems, nor Law of Tabu, nor covenant of blood, nor verbal means of distinguishing one person from another. The only known representatives of this condition now living are the Pygmies of the Central African Forests. By Totemism we mean the earliest formation of society in which the human group was first discreted from the gregarious horde that grovelled together previously in animal promiscuity. The subject, however, has various aspects. The term has many meanings which have to be determined by their types. Many years ago the present writer sought to show that Totemism, Mythology, Fetishism, and the hieroglyphic system did not originate in separate systems of thought and
expression, as [Page 53] any modern "ism" sets up for itself, but that these had a common rootage in Sign-language, of which they are various modes or forms. Totemism originated in Sign-language rather than in Sociology, the Signs being afterwards applied for use in Sociology as they were in Mythology and Fetishism. The name "Totem" is supposed to have originated in the language of the North American Indians. The word Totem exists in the Ojibway language for a sign, a symbol, mark, or device of the group, Gens, or Tribe. The Rev. Peter Jones, an Ojibway, spells the word "Toodaim". Francis Assikinack, an Ottawa Indian, renders it by Ododam. The Abbé Thavenet, quoting from the Algonkin language, gives nind Otem for "my tribe", and kit Otem for "thy tribe". The root of the word as here rendered is Tem or Dem. The name and things thus denoted are found to be universal for a group, a gathering, a collection, a total of persons, animals, huts or houses. The Magar Thum is the Phratry or Clan, of which there were
twelve altogether. The Attic township was called a Dem. The Sanskrit Dama is the home; Greek Domos, Latin Domus, Sclavonic Domu, English Dome. Itembe = the dome is the roof in Niamwezi. In Zulu the Tumu is an assemblage. In Maori, the Tamene is a collection of people. Also the Toma is a cemetery like the Scottish Tom, and the Tumuli where the dead were gathered together. Tomo, in archaic Japanese, denotes a gathering of persons who are companions. In Assyrian, likewise, the Timi are the companions.
As is usual in the present work, we turn to Egypt to see what the great Mother of Civilisation has to say concerning the Tem and the Totem.
Τωμ (Tom) in Coptic signified joining together as in the Tem. The word "Tern" has various applications in Egyptian. It signifies Man, Mankind, Mortals, also to unite, be entire or perfect. Moreover it is a name for those who are created persons, as in making young men and young women in the Totemic ceremonies, of which more hereafter. If ever the word "created" could be properly applied to the Making of Men and to those who were grouped together, it is in Totemism. In Egyptian, Tem, or Tem-t, is not only a Total and to be totalled.The sign of Tem-t in the Hieroglyphics is the figure of a total composed of two halves; thus the Tern is one with the Total, and the Total comprised two halves at the very point of bifurcation and dividing of the whole into two; also of totalling a number into a whole which commences with twofold unity. And when the youths of the Aborigines on the River Darling are made men of in the ceremonies of
puberty - that is, when they are created Men - they are called Tumba. (F. Bonney.) It would seem as if the word ,”Tem” for the total in two halves had been carried by name as well as by nature to the other side of the world, for two classes in St. George's Sound are universally called Erinung and Tern. The whole body of natives are divided into these two moieties. The distinctions, says Nind, are general, not tribal. They agree, however, with the Arunta division into two classes of the Churinga at the head of the Totems which represent the sub-divisional distinctions. (Scott Nind, Journal of Royal Geographical Society, Vol. I., 1832.) The Egyptian Tem is also a place-name as well as a personal name for the social unit, or division of persons. The Temai was a District, a Village, a Fortress, [Page 54] a Town or a City, on the way to becoming the Dom, as we have it in the heirdom and the kingdom, for the whole or total that is governed by a King. But the group-name for people preceded the group-name for a collection of dwellings, whether for the living or the dead. Here the "Tern" is a total, as we have it in English for a "team" of horses, a brood of ducks, a litter of pigs. Egypt itself had passed out of the Totemic stage of Sociology in monumental times, but the evidences for its prehistoric existence are visibly extant in the place-names and in the mirror of Mythology which reflects aloft a pre-monumental past of illimitable length. In Egypt the Zootypes of the Motherhoods and Companionships had become the Totems of the Nomes. Thus we find the Nome of the Cow; the Nome of the Tree; the Nome of the Hare; the Nome of the Gazelle; the Nome of the Serpent; the Nome of the Ibis; Nome of the Crocodile; Nome of the Jackal; Nome of the Siluris; Nome of the Calf; and others. These show the continuity of Totemic Signs. Also the status of Totemic Sociology survived in Egypt when the Artizans and Labourers worked together as the Companions in Companies; the Workmen in the Temple and the Necropolis were the Companions; the Rowers of a Ship were a Company like the Seven Ari or “Companions" on board the bark in the Mythical representation. These Companions are the Ari by name, and the Totemic Ari can be traced by name to Upper Egypt, where Ariu, the land of the Ari, is a name of the seventeenth Nome. (Brugsch.) At a remote period Egypt was divided into communities the members of which claimed to be of one family, and of the same seed - which, under the Matriarchate, signifies the same Mother-blood, and denotes the same mode of derivation on a more extended scale.
So ancient was Totemism in Egypt that the Totems of the human Mothers had become the signs of Goddesses, in whom the head of the beast was blended with the figure of the human female. The Totems of the human Mothers had attained the highest status as Totems of a Motherhood that was held to be divine, the Motherhood in Nature which was elemental in its origin. So ancient was Totemism in Egypt that the Tems were no longer mere groups, clans, or brotherhoods of people, or a collection of huts like the Tembs of the Ugogo. The human groups had grown and expanded until the primitive dwelling-places had become great cities, and the burial-mounds of still earlier cities; the zootype of the Motherhood and the Brotherhood had become the blazon of the kingdom. If we take the City to be the Egyptian Temai, the Lion was the Totem of the Temai in Leontopolis; the Hare was the Totem of the Temai in Unnut; the Crocodile was a Totem of the Temai in Crocodilopolis; the Cat in the Temai of Pi-Bast (Bubastes); the Wolf was the Totem or Lycopolis; the Water-Cow of Teb; the Oxyrhynchus of Pi-Maza; the Apis of Ni-ent- Hapi; the Ibis of Hermopolis; the Bull of Mendes; the Eel of Latopolis; the dog-headed Ape of Cynopolis.
When Egypt comes into sight, the Tems have grown into the Temais and the Totems into the signs of Nomes, and she has left us the means of explaining all that preceded in the course of her long development from the state of primitive Totemism in Africa: the state which more or less survives amongst the least cultured or most [Page 55] decadent races that have scattered themselves and sown the Kamite Wisdom which they carried as they crawled about the world; and, as the evidence shows, when this identifiable Wisdom of the Ancient Motherhood was first carried forth from Egypt, she was in the most ancient Totemic stage of Sociology. The “Tem", then, in the last analysis, as Egyptian, is a Totality in two halves, also a total of "Created Persons", that is, of those who were constituted persons or companions in the Tern or Group by means of the Totemic Rite. In other languages the Tem, Deme, or Timi are the Group, or Brotherhood. And in the languages of the Red Men, the Dodam, Otem, or Ododem is the symbol of the group of Brotherhood or Motherhood, who were known by their Totem. Totemism really originated in the Sign-Ianguage of Inner Africa. Some thirty different Totems have been enumerated as still extant amongst the natives of Uganda and Unyoro, and each Totem is connected with a birthplace or place of origin for the family in relation to the Elemental Ancestry (Johnstone), which is the same as with the Arunta in Australia. But a great mistake has hitherto been made in supposing that a sign called the Totem had its origin in Sociology. The primitive type now generalized under the name of "the Totem" was employed for various purposes as a factor in Sign-Ianguage. It might be personal, sexual, sociological or religious. It might be the sign of legal sanction, or a type of Tabu. It might identify the human Mother or the superhuman power that was invoked for water, for food and shelter as the Motherearth.
Since the brief jottings on "Totemism" were made in the "Natural Genesis" (Section 2) much water has passed beneath the bridge. A flood of light has been poured out on the subject by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen in their invaluable work on the Native Tribes of Central Australia. The Wisdom of the Egyptians is supplemented most helpfully by the traditions of the Arunta. The Gods and Goddesses may have been relegated to the "Alcheringa", but much of the primitive matter has been preserved at a standstill which had been transfigured by continued growth in Egypt. It is shown by the Arunta and other Australian Tribe that certain Totemic districts were identified by or with the food they produce, as the district of the Kangaroos, the district of the Emus, or the district of the Witchetty-Grubs. The Arunta Tribes are distributed in a large number of small local groups, each of which is supposed to possess a given area of country, and therefore of the food grown in it. Generally the group describe themselves by the name of some animal, bird, or plant. One area belongs to the group who call themselves Kangaroo-Men; another belongs to the Emu-Men; another to the Hakea-flower-Men; another to the people of the Plum-Tree. (N. T., pages 8 and 9.) The tribal area of the Australian Euahlayi is likewise divided into hunting-grounds in relation to food. According to Sir George Grey, the Natives say that the Ballaroke family derived their name from the Ballaroke, a small opossum, on account of their having subsisted on this little animal; and of the Nag-Karm Totem he tells us the Nagarnook family obtained their name from living principally in former times upon this fish. These, then, were food- totems. So likewise are the Witchetty-Grub, the Kangaroo, and the [Page 56] Emu of the Arunta groups. Scott Nind also tells us that the tribes of the Torndirrup and Moncalon classes are in a measure named from the kind of game or food found most abundant in the district (Journal of Royal Geographical Society, 1832 ), which is the same as saying that the members of the Emu-totem were named from the Emu-bird, or the Kangaroos from the Kangarooanimal, naming from food being sub-divisional and later than the descent from the Tree and Rock or the Churinga of the two primary classes. The most important ceremonies of the Arunta are performed for the sake of food, that is for increasing the supply of the plant, animal, bird, or insect which is the Totem of the particular group that enacts the rite and makes the magical appeal. The Emus perform, propitiate, and plead for abundance of Emus. The Witchetty-Grub people ask for plenty of Beetles. These not only eat their Totem, they are also its protectors. The Totem was eaten ceremonially as a type of the food that was
asked for, with its likeness drawn upon the ground in the blood of the brotherhood.
It is obvious that both in Australia and Inner Africa the primitive Totemic mapping-out includes that of food-districts, and that the special food of certain districts was represented by the Totem of the family or tribe. At the time of the 6th Egyptian Dynasty one family branch of the Hermopolitan Princes owned or possessed the Nome of the Hare whilst another governed the Nome of the Gazelle. (Maspero, "Dawn of Civilisation", English Translation, page 523.) These in the primitive stage would be the food-districts of the totemic Hares and Gazelles, and this status has been preserved in Australian Totemism with the ownership retained by the group. The totemic origin of the zootypes assigned to the Egyptian Nomes is shown when the animals .. were not to be eaten as common food. As Plutarch says, the inhabitants of
the Oxyrhynchus Nome did not eat a kind of Sturgeon known as the Oxyrhynchus. (Of Isis and Osiris, page 7.) Also, the people of Crocodilopolis would not eat the flesh of the Crocodile.
The notions of Totemism previously entertained have been upset by the new evidence from Australia, which tends to prove that the Totem was first of all eaten by the members of the group as their own especial food. Hence they were appointed its preservers and cultivators, and were named after it.
According to the present interpretation, the Totem primarily represented the maternal ancestor, the mother who gave herself for food and was eaten, and who as the mythical Great Mother in Egypt was the Goddess Hathor in the Tree; the suckler as Rerit the Sow, the Nurse as Rannut the Serpent, the enceinte Mother as Apt, who was fleshified for eating as the totemic Cow. The object of certain sacred ceremonies associated with the Totems is to secure the increase of the animal or plant which gives its name to the Totem. Each totemic group has its own ceremony and no two of them are alike, but however they may differ in detail the most important point is that one and all have for their main object the purpose of increasing the supply of food; not food in general, but the particular food that is figured by their Totem.
For example, the men of the Emu-totem perform their special ceremony and pour out the oblation of blood in soliciting plenty of Emu. There can be no mistake in the kind of food that is piously besought, as a likeness of the Emu-bird is portrayed on the ground in the blood [Page 57] of the tribe to indicate the Power that is appealed to. Thus, in the very dawn of ownership by the group, when property was common and not several, the Totem would be a sign of that which came to be called property as the special food of the totemic family or clan. A group of totemic Kangaroos would be the owners and eaters of the Kangaroo in their locality. A group of totemic Emus would be the owners and eaters of the Emu.
Those whose Totem was the Tree would eat the fruit of the Tree a Totem being the veritable image of the food. The women of the Grass-seed Totem fed upon the Grass-seed in the Alcheringa. The women of the Hakea-totem always fed upon the Hakea-flower in the Alcheringa. After the men of the Witchetty-Grub have performed the Intichiuma ceremony for increase of food, the Grub becomes Tabu to the members of the Totem, and must on no account be eaten by them until the animal is abundant and the young are fully grown. If this rule should be broken it would nullify the effect of the ceremony. (N. T., page 203.) If the Witchetty-Grub men were to eat too much of their Totem the power of performing the ceremony for plenty would depart. At the same time, if they were not to eat a little of the totemic animal it would have the same effect as eating too much. Hence the sacred duty of tasting it at certain times. The people of
the Emu-totem very rarely eat the eggs. If an Emu-man who was very hungry found a nest of eggs he would eat but one. The flesh of the bird may be eaten sparingly, and only a very little of the fat, eggs and fat being more tabu than the meat. "The same principle holds good through all the totems. A carpetsnake man will eat sparingly of a poor snake, but he will scarcely touch the reptile if it be fat". (N. T., page 202.) That was left, like the finest grain, for seed. So the members of the Irriakura-totem do not eat their Totem for some time after the ceremony of Intichiuma. The man of the Idnimita-totem, a large longhorned beetle, may not eat the grub after Intichiuma until it becomes abundant. It is the same with the men of the Bandicoot Totem. But when the animal becomes plentiful, those who do not belong to the Totem go out in search of one, which when caught is killed and some of the fat put into the mouth of the Bandicoot-men, who may then eat a little of the animal. (Pages. 204 to 207.) Again, the Arunta have a custom or ceremony in which the members of any local group bring in stores of the totemic plant or animal to their men's camp and place them before the members of the Totem. Thus, as Messrs. Spencer and Gillen remark, "clearly recognizing that it is these men who have the first right of eating it" (page 210), because it was their Totem. In this social aspect, then, Totemism was a means of regulating the distribution of food, and in all likelihood it must have included a system of exchange and barter that came
to be practised by the family groups. In this phase the Totem was a figure of the especial kind of food that was cultivated and sought to be increased by the magical ceremonies of the group. If we were to generalize, we should say that in the beginning the "food" represented by the Totem, whether animal or vegetable, was both cultivated or cared for, and eaten by the members of that Totem. In scarcity, it was eaten less and less, and was more and more prohibited to the brotherhood, for social, religious or ceremonial reasons, and that this was certainly one of the origins in Totemism. The Totem as food may [Page 58] partly explain the totemic life-tie when the human brother is taught to take care of the animal and told to protect it because his life is bound up with the animal's so closely that if it dies he too must die.
Totemism, however, does not imply any worship of animals on the part of primitive men. It is the sheerest fallacy to suppose that the most undeveloped aborigines began to worship, say, fifty beasts, reptiles, insects, birds, or shrubs, because each in some way or measure fulfilled one of fifty different conceptions of a divinity that was recognized beneath its half-hundred masks. Moreover, if primitive men had begun by worshipping beasts and holding their deadliest foes religiously sacred as their dearest friends; if they had not fought with them for very existence inch by inch, every foot of the way, to conquer them at last, they never could have attained supremacy over their natural enemies of the animal world. It would be going against all known natural tendency for us to imagine that human nature in the early stage of Totemic sociology was confused with that of the lower animals. The very earliest operation of the
consciousness which discreted the creature with a thumb from those who were falling behind him on four feet was by distinguishing himself from his predecessors: and the degree of difference once drawn, the mental landmark once laid down, must have broadened with every step of his advance. His recognition of himself depended on his perceiving his unlikeness to them, and it can be shown how the beasts, birds, reptiles, and fishes were first adopted as zootypes on account of their superhuman and superior power in relation to the , various elements, and therefore because of their unlikeness to the nature of the human being. The ancestral animal then is neither an ideal nor imaginary being as a primitive parent supposed to have been a beast, or a bird, a plant, or a star, any more than the first female as head of the Gaelic Clan Chattan was a great cat, or was believed to be a Great Cat, by the brothers in the Clan Sutherland.
However ancient the mythical mode of representing external nature, some sort of sociology must have preceded mythology and been expressed in Sign-Ianguage. Actuality was earlier than typology. Thus amongst the American Indians we find that Earth, Water. Wind, Sun, and Rain are Totems, without being, as it were, put into type by mythology. This, which can be paralleled in Africa and Australia, points to a beginning with the elements of life themselves as the objects of recognition which preceded the zootypes; the elements of water, earth, air, and vegetation. It need scarcely be re-asserted that Totemism was a primitive means of distinguishing the offspring of one Mother from the offspring of the other; the children of the Tree from the children of the Rock, the hippopotami from the crocodiles, the serpents from the swine. The earliest sociology touches on promiscuity at the point of departure from the human horde when the Mother was the only parent known. The Mother comes first, and from that point of departure the Egyptian representation reflects the sociology in the Mirror of the Mythos. In the pre-Totemic stage, there was one Mother as head of the family. This is repeated in Egyptian Mythology. In Totemism the Motherhood is divided between two sisters, or a Mother and an elder sister. This [Page 59] is repeated in Egyptian Mythology. In Totemism the dual Motherhood is followed by the brotherhoods. This is repeated in Egyptian Mythology beginning with the Twin-Brothers Sut and Horus, or the Black Vulture and the Golden Hawk, which are equated by, or continued as, the Crow and Eagle-Hawk of Karween and Pundjel in Australia. In Totemism the two Brothers are followed by four or six in a group, and these are consorts of the sisters in group-marriage. So is it in the Egyptian Mythos. In this way Mythology will lend its
search-light to show the backward path of prehistoric Totemism.
At a very early stage the boys became the Consorts of the Mother. When of age they would enter into connubium with her, the eldest being first. Incest at the time was naturally unknown, it being the same with them as with the animals. This status is reflected in the mirror of Mythology. For example, there is evidence that the eldest Son was the earliest representative or outline of a Father and that he cohabited with his own Mother on purpose to keep pure the Mother-blood. This is an African institution. The Queens of Cape Gonzalves and Gaboon are accustomed to marry their eldest Sons as a means of preserving pure the royal blood. It was a very stringent law and custom with the Yncas of Peru that the heir to the kingdom should marry his eldest sister. (Bastian, Der Mensch in der Gescht'chte, Val. III., page 293;
Wearne, S.,Journey to the Northern Ocean, page 136.) This custom also is reflected in Egyptian Mythology. Indeed, so perfectly have the prehistoric sociological conditions been preserved by the Egyptians in their Mythical rendering of the natural fact that the very beginning in Heaven is with the first departure from utter promiscuity as it was on earth. The Genetrix as typical Woman is both Mother and Consort to her own Children. Hence Apt, the old first Mother of Gods and Men, was called the “Great Mother of him who is married to his Mother". That is, of Horus as the Crocodile-headed Sebek. Sut, the male. Hippopotamus, was also both Son and Consort of the same first Mother. As Hor-Apollo says, "when the male Hippopotamus arrives at its prime of life it consorts with its own Mother". This was the status of Sebek-Horus, who was termed the husband of his Mother. The earliest powers born of the Earth-mother were thought of as fecundating her in utero; Sut as the Hippopotamus, Sebek as the Crocodile, Shu as the Lion, Elder Horus as the Child. The tradition of the sons who consorted with the Mother is to be detected in the story told of Mars by Herodotus (b. ii., 64). He describes an Egyptian festival which the priests informed him was instituted to celebrate or commemorate the ravishing of his Mother by the God Mars. Now Mars, in Egypt, is the warrior Shu, who was one of the sons that cohabited with the Mother. Thus Sut, Horus, and Shu are all three described in this pre-Totemic character. There were seven altogether of these Sons who were Consorts of the Mother in Mythology, and who reappear with the Old Harlot and partake of her cup of fornication in the Book of Revelation. At a later time both Sut and Horus were denounced as “Violators of their Mother."When Isis uttered the cry of "No Crocodile", Horus had violated his Mother, and it was the Mother who effected the "Act of Salvation" by refusing the incestuous intercourse of Son and Mother, whether of the uterine Son or only of [Page 60] the same Totem, which in this case was the Crocodile. (Magic Papyrus, page 7.) With Sut as Violator, it was the Hippopotamus; with Horus the Crocodile, with Shu the Lion. Thus, in the mirror of Egyptian Mythology human promiscuity is reflected when the Great Mother's own Sons are her Consorts. Polyandry is represented when brothers and sisters couple together, as did Shu and Tefnut. The African marriage of one male with two sisters is reflected in the mythos when Osiris is the consort of Isis and Nephthys.
If we take the word "Totem" to indicate a sign, the earliest sign or symbol to be identified in Totemism was related to the fact of feminine pubescence. This was the Word that issued out of silence in the Beginning.
The earliest law of covenant or tabu was based upon the transformation that occurred at the time when the girl became a woman ready for connubium. This was the mystery of a transformation that was a primal source of all the transformations in the folk-tales of the world. The girl became a woman as a natural fact. This had to be expressed in the visible language already drawn from external nature. We are told by Theale, the Cape historian, that the only festival celebrated by the Zulu-Kaffirs to-day is one that is kept when the girl becomes pubescent. This was indeed the mother of mystery, the mystery of all mysteries ever solemnized or celebrated by the people of the past. It was a time of rejoicing because the girl had come of age and was now ready to be welcomed into communal connubium by the whole group of grown-up males. When the female had attained pubescence and become of age the opening period, as it is commonly designated, was proclaimed, and confirmation given in various modes of Sign- Ianguage. The fact was tattooed on the person. A cicatrice was raised in the flesh. Down was exhibited as a sign of the pubes. The Zulu women published their news with the Um-Iomo or mystical mouth-piece.
The act may be read on behalf of the women by assuming the operation to have been female from the first, and then passed on to the boys. The girl in her initiation joins the ranks of the Motherhood. She has attained her opening period. The tooth is knocked out to visualize the opening. One of the signs of readiness shown by the Arunta women was the erection of the sacred Pole immediately after the ceremony of introcision had been performed. A Purulu woman of the Achilpa Totem (in the mythical past) is said to have had a large Nurtunja. This when erected stood so high as to be seen by the men a long way off. The woman showed her Undattha or down (typical of the pubes and pubescence) and the men
performed the rite upon her, and then they all had intercourse with her. (N.T., page407.) The special fact then signified by the raising of her Nurtunja, or sacred pole, was that her womanhood was now accomplished. This may explain why no Nurtunja is used but once, a fresh one being made for every ceremony. Also why Churinga were hung upon the pole to intimate her Totem.
The name for a Totem (in Luganda) is Muziro, which signifies something tabooed: "something I avoid for medical or other reasons". This tends to identify the Totem in one of its aspects as a teacher of Tabu in relation to the primitive mystery of female nature.
The fact is that the Sign-language of Totemism was in existence long before two groups of people were distinguished from each other [Page 61] by two different signs or zootypes. Sign-Ianguage is far older than any form of Totemic sociology .The signs now known as Totemic were previously extant; they had served other uses, and were continued for other purposes. The very first thing to regulate in primitive marriage was the time at which the pubescent girl was marriageable. This was determined primarily by nature and secondly by the preparatory rite. As shown by the Australian customs, no girl was marriageable until the rite of introcision had been performed upon her person. Her Totem followed the Totemic rite as her heraldic badge. Thus a first division was made to indicate the fit and protect the unfit from savage assault, when the Totem was individual and feminine. So in the mysteries of Artemis no young woman
was considered marriage-able until she had danced in the bear-skin at the Mysteries; the Bear-skin that symbolized the pubes or pubescence, as did the down of birds or the skin of the serpent. The natural raison d' être, the primary need for the Totem, was in its being a sign of feminine pubescence. In a state of sexual promiscuity the first thing to be determined was the Mother-blood. This was manifested at the period of puberty and the Totem was adopted as the symbol of motherhood. The manifestor was now a frog, a serpent, a she-bear, or as we say, a Woman to be distinguished by her Totem. The Totem then was the sign of "Earth's first blood" on this most primitive natural ground. When the Australian black described the Churinga-like sacred stones of New South Wales as "All same as bloody brand", he meant the blood-brand, or Totemic mark, and thus identified the Mother-Totem with the Mother-blood. The different mother-hoods were recognized as different Mother-bloods which were visibly discriminated by the different Mother-Totems. The recognition of the Mother-blood, even in the undivided horde, would naturally lead to the Blood~motherhood which we postulate as fundamental in Totemism. At first no barrier of blood was recognized. The brothers and sisters of the same mother intermarried although they were, or because they were originally of the same one blood. When the nations of the earth were all of one blood it was the blood of the Mother, who in her mystical aspect is the Virgin-Mother of the Mythos and the Eschatology. On entering the ranks of the motherhood the girl assumed her sign which signified that she was now a woman. In being made Totemic she was recognized by her zootype - that is, by the reptile, beast, or bird of the Totem into which she had first made her transformation at the time of puberty.
In various legends it was said that in making this transformation the young women were changed into beasts. Once on a time a young girl in Arcadia transformed into an animal. It is common in the folk-tales for the female to change into a hyena, a tigress. a serpent, a lioness. or some other beast or reptile. It was the same with the Zulu-Kaffir girl who became a frog. When her change occurred she was no longer a tadpole of a girl, but a full-blown frog and in the human sense a woman. The beginnings were very lowly in Sign-language. It had been awesomely remarked that the serpent had the faculty of sloughing its skin and renewing itself. Hence it is said by the Kaffirs that when the girl makes her change [Page 62] she is visited by the great serpent, or, in other legends, she is said to change into a serpent. In the Arunta tradition the two females who are the founders of Totemism and finishers of the human race made their transformation into the lizard. (N.T., page 389.) The native women of Mashonaland also tattoo themselves with the lizard-pattern that is found on their divining tablets when they come of age. (Bent., i page 305.) Thus the lizard in one instance, the serpent in another, the frog in a third, is the type of beast or reptile into which the young woman is said to transform at the particular period. Hence the lizard, frog, and serpent remain as fetishes with the aborigines. Both lizard and frog were continued in Egypt, but the serpent there attained supremacy. At the coming of age the girl changed into a lizard, a frog, or a serpent as a mode of indicating her status as a woman, whether in nature or in Totemism. Thus three different types, the lizard, frog, and serpent, are identified as figures of the fact in nature, with the "beast" or reptile into which the young girl made her transformation in the mysteries of motherhood which formed the mould of other later mysteries in Totemism and mythology; the types of which were worn by the Goddesses as well as by the Egyptian women. The amulet of Isis which she tied round her neck when she had conceived Child-Horus corresponded to the Totemic sign of the pubescent Virgin. It was of blood-red stone and it imaged the blood of Isis. (Plutarch, c. 65.) The girl was changed into the woman at the time of puberty, therefore the Totem was a type of motherhood. In a sense it was the Crown of Maternity which in Egypt was represented by the serpent of renewal. In attaining this type the girl
became a lizard or the Zulu maiden was said to be visited by the great serpent. The serpent that visited the Kaffir maiden was also a Totem of the Virgin-goddess Rannut, in the Kamite mythos, and this was doubled to be worn by the Egyptian Queens as the symbol of Maternity or a Totem of the dual Motherhood, in the characters of Girl and Woman, Maid and Mother, Virgin and Gestator. We may now affirm that Totemism was founded on the nature of the female as a mode of showing when the maiden might be admitted into the ranks of Motherhood, and the young girl made her transformation into the animal and became a frog, a lizard, serpent, crocodile, bear, lioness, cat or other zootype as the bringerforth of human offspring in the mask. Which animal was represented would depend upon the Totem of
the Motherhood or the Group of Males. And here it may be asserted that for the first time we touch another of the several tap-roots of Totemism.
The Totem has sometimes been called the "original Ancestor", as if it were a representative of the human Father. But the sole original Ancestor in sociology, in Totemism, in mythology, is the Mother; and the female Totems of the Motherhood on earth were repeated as the Totems of the Mother in heaven, or in the Astronomical Mythology. One object of the Totem being worn in the form of the Skin, the badge of tattoo, or the crest, was to signify the "blood" which could only be determined by the Motherhood, so that the children of the same Totem could or should not intermarry because they were or were not of one blood. It follows, therefore, that the earliest Totems must have signified the Mother as a means of identifying the one [Page 63] blood of her children. Descent from the Mother, identified by her Totem, is indicated from one end of Africa to the other, when the Egyptian Pharaoh wears the tail of the Cow, the Kaffir chief or Bushman the tail of the Lioness, and the Hottentot is the Son of the yellow Lion-tail. So is it
in the Egyptian Mythology where, the priority of the Mother-Totem is well exemplified. Shu is also a Son of the Lion-tail, the She-Lion, and he carries the Ur-heka or Great Magical Power on his head. This is the hinder-part of the Lioness; and the tail of a Lioness on his head denotes the Lioness as a Mother-Totem from which the child traces his descent as a lion. The earliest human being individualized was necessarily the Mother. She and her children formed the primal family, whose tie was that of Blood- Motherhood, a tie that must have been already common with the horde in pre -Totemic times, the one blood of Motherhood being the original source of all Blood-Brotherhood. The primary form of human personality (Personâ) was that attained by woman under the Matriarchate as the Mother. Fortunately Providence placed the Mother first and secured her on the side of procreant nature, for the perpetuation of the race. It has been cast up against Woman that she is Mother first and Consort afterwards, and that the Maternal instinct reigns supreme. But Woman was the Mother ages earlier than she could be the wife. The Mother had the start by many thousand years. The child was known as hers from the beginning. The husband was not. Her function was that of breeder for the group and bearer for the Tribe, and not for love of the individual. She fulfilled the Ideal of Primitive Man as the Woman of infinite capacity, like the Lioness, Hippopotamus, or other huge Titanic type of superhuman power and size. She may have had her individual likes and dislikes, but was grimly governed in the grasp of stern Totemic Law. It was perforce her duty to provide pasturage for forty feeding as "one" or the whole tribe, not to cultivate her own personal preferences. The Mother necessarily grew predominant in the duality of her nature.
And still the noblest nature yet evolved is hers whose desire for maternity is dual, and who blends most perfectly the love of the Mother and Wife in one.
The solution of the problem now propounded is that the secret of the Totemic Sphinx, in its ultimate secrecy, originated with the Totem being first of all a sign of feminine pubescence, and a personal means of making known the natural fact; that it thus became a blazon of the Mother-blood and primal family group; which tends to corroborate the suggestion now sought to be established that the Totem was a figure of the female from the beginning, and that this was followed by along and manifold development in the application of the Sign to the Motherhoods and Brotherhoods, and to the inter-marriage of the groups now called Totemic.
There are two classes of tradition derived from Totemism concerning the descent of the human race.
According to one, human beings were derived from the Totemic animals, or Birds, as the Haidahs in Queen Charlotte Sound claim descent from the Crow. According to the other, the Totemic zootypes are said to have been brought forth by human mothers. The Bakalai tribes of Equatorial Africa told Du Chaillu that their women gave birth to the Totemic animals, we have [Page 64] seen how, and that one woman brought forth a Calf, others a Crocodile, a Hippopotamus, a Monkey, a Boa, or a Boar. (Du Chaillu, Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa, page 308.) The same statement as this of the Bakalai is made by the Moqui Indians, who affirm that the people of their Snake-Clan are descended from a woman who gave birth to Snakes. (Bourke, Snake-dance of the Moquis, page 177.) In various savage
myths we have seen how the animals are descended from human mothers. This is a complete reversal of the supposed belief that the human race is descended from beasts, birds, reptiles, and all the other Totemic types, and tends to show that the primary Totems were representative of the Mothers, whence the alleged descent of the Totemic animals from human originals which of necessity were female; when the Women as the authors of Totemism brought forth the types. Because the Mother was the primal personality it followed that the earliest human group was a Motherhood. The Clan at first was Matriarchal.
This is still extant in the Oraon Maharis, which are the Motherhoods by name. (Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, (page 63.) When there was no individual fatherhood yet determinable, descent was in the female line, from the Mother to the Eldest Daughter. These became the typical "Two Women" in Totemism and the "Two Mothers" in Mythology because they had been the Two Mothers in the primitive Sociology, as the Mother and the Eldest Daughter of the human family. The primary human group was naturally uterine.
The family first formed were the children of one Mother, and the human pact or tie was founded on the one blood of the Mother; the Blood-Motherhood which determined the Blood-Brotherhood. According to Schoolcraft, the Totems of the Algonquins denote the Mothers. The Emu, which is also "The Woman", Ngalalbal, is a Mother-Totem of the Kurnai in Australia. When the Euahlayi tribe of Australia take their Totem-names from their Mothers, and are divided into two groups as the Light-blooded and the Darkblooded, this indicates a two-fold derivation from the one Mother-blood, whether pre-Totemic or Totemic.
If we take the Bear as a Mother-Totem, we can understand the Ainu of Japan when they say their earliest ancestor was suckled by a Bear. In that case the Totemic Mother was a She-Bear, and the fact was memorized when the Ainu women suckled the young Bear that was to be killed and solemnly eaten at the annual festival. Besides which, when the She-Bear was eaten in place of the human Mother the sex of the Totem was determined by her being invested with a necklace and adorned with eardrops like a woman.
It is the same when the Snake-Clan of Arizona claim descent from a Woman who gave birth to Snakes.
She was the Mother of that Totem and the Snakes were her children. But there was a Mother in Mythology who did give birth to the Totem-animals, and who is confused at times with the human Motherhood. This was the Mother-earth, who was represented by the snake as renewer of vegetation in the Goddess Rannut. Egyptian Mythology is a mirror of Totemism from the beginning with the human Mother who was the primal parent. And as it was in Totemism so is it in the Mythology and Eschatology of Egypt. In the beginning was the Great Mother, because the first person recognized in Totemism was [Page 65] the Mother. The Totemism of Egypt was the basis of all its Mythology and Eschatology, but that stage of sociology was almost silted under and hidden out of sight as one of the several strata of Egypt's buried past. The Indians who trace their descent from the Spirit-Mother and a Grizzly Bear acknowledge that the Bear, like that of the Ainos, was a She-Bear, and consequently a Mother-Totem. The Tugas claimed descent from a She-Wolf, and the Tufans from a She-Dog. Descent from the Mother or in the female line was universally recognized by the aborigines. From this it follows that the zootypes first represented the Motherhoods; and when the males came to the fore the same animal would serve two purposes. As female it would represent the motherhood; as male the brotherhood. A tribe of Indians still living in North-West America claim to have descended from a Frog. If this was a Totem of the Motherhood, the descent would be the same as if it were from the Goddess Hekat, only their sign is simple Frog, whereas the Frog had been elevated in status by becoming an image of the Mother as Mistress Hekat, the Froggess who typified the Divine Mother in the transforming Moon. The divine Cow of the Todas is an extant type of the Great Mother as the giver of food, equivalent to Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, the Cow that protected her Son with her body, primarily when the Mother was a Water-Cow. The Toda Palal or High Priest obviously personates the Divine Son, and is the dispenser of blessings to the world for the divine Motherhood that was represented by the Cow.
No race on earth so ignorant but that it has claimed descent from the Mother. And this human descent being the recognized fact in Totemism from the remotest times, the descendants from the Mother who could be, and was, identified as their own flesh and blood and breath, the Mother who gave visible birth to the human offspring, and no other, from the womb, never could have claimed an actual descent from animals, reptiles, birds, trees, stones and other objects, animate and inanimate. An Australian tribe considered themselves to have been Ducks who at one time were changed into Men. In that case the Duck would be a Totem of the Mother as the means of tracing their descent in the female line. When they became Men the descent would be reckoned from the Male Progenitor. The Bygahs have a tradition that the foster-mother of the first Man was a Milch-Tigress, and therefore, as we show, a Mother-Totem. In this statement the foster-mother is distinguished from the human Mother and is identified by means of her Totem as the Tigress and Lioness, or Sow or Water-Cow, or any other female zootype. The Hyena was a Mother-Totem of Inner Africa. The Wanika in East Africa reverence this animal as ancestral. When a Hyena dies it is bewailed by the whole people. The mourning for a chief is said to be nothing compared with the death of a Hyena (New, Charles, Life and Wanderings, page 122), because, as we hold, of its being a maternal zootype. It is certain that the hippopotamus was a Mother-Totem with the natives of the Zambesi, who have now the greatest horror of touching its flesh. Livingstone's pilot would go without food rather than cook it in the same pot which had contained any of the meat. (Livingstone, Zambesi.) As Herodotus tells us, the first Mother of [Page 66] the Scyths was a Serpent-woman. With the Kings of
Abyssinia the line of descent was traced from the Serpent, which was therefore a Mother- Totem. The process of divinizing the power by means of the type had begun in Africa beyond Egypt. The vulture in Ashanti is the same sign of royalty as with the Egyptians. In Coomassie, says Ellis, "vultures are considered birds sacred to the Royal Family". This is not in the same way as the leopard is to the leopard family; but rather that these birds have been despotically declared to be sacred, " which means that they are exceptionally sacred by being the totem of the Royal Family, or, as in Egypt, of royal and divine Maternity. Any molestation of this bird was punishable with death. (Ellis, A. B., The Tshi-speaking People, page 213.) It is a Mother-Totem like the vulture of Neith, which was both royal and divine, as the Bird of Blood, the Mother-blood, the royal blood.
The Mother was the primal parent, and the Totem was a means of distinguishing one mother and one group of children from another before these were divided in the two classes of the Two Mothers. Single Motherhood was natural1y known to the gregarious horde. Which means that the earliest Totems were types of the female. This is shown in the Egyptian Mythology .that mirror of the Matriarchate. "Your Mother" knew her children and they knew their Mother. "My Mother" knew her children, and they knew their Mother. But without some permanent sign the children would go forth like the beasts from the lair and the birds from the nest, and even this one natural link of relationship must have been lost in the undistinguishable horde. That sign was the Totem as the earliest mode and means of identifying the
Mother and of memorizing the descent of the children upon any line of the original Matriarchate. The mother's sign then was the Totem of her own children, male and female, differentiated by sex. "Your Mother" was known by her Totem; "My Mother” by her Totem - to each other's children. The Mother's Totem was naturally recognized by her own children. If "Your Mother" was a Lioness, the male offspring knew themselves as her young Lions. If "My Mother" was a Hippopotamus, her children knew themselves as Hippopotami, or Bulls of the Cow if male. The Mother was always human beneath the Totemic mask which was needed, adopted, and worn to distinguish one human mother from the rest, so that she could be identified by others who were not her children. Thus the first "Two Women", the "My Mother" and "Your Mother" of the Kamilaroi, were recognized as the Emu and Iguana, and these became
the Totems of their children.
The Arunta in their isolation have preserved some relics of a primitive tradition of the pre-Totemic and pre-human state in what they term the"Alcheringa". In this the mythical ancestors, the Nooralie, or Mura- Mura of other tribes, are supposed to have lived. At that time, or in that condition, nothing human had been evolved, distinct from other forms of life. As it is said, in those days there were neither men nor women, only rudimentary creatures waiting to be humanized. The Alcheringa represents a mythical past which did not commence with those who have no clue to the origins. It is a past that was inherited and never had any contemporary existence for them. These rudimentary beings the Arunta call "the Inapertwa, [Page 67] or imperfect creatures". We know what was meant by the term because it is still applied to the girls who have not been opened and the boys who have not undergone the rite of circumcision or sub-incision. Such beings still remained the same as the Inapertwa creatures because they had not yet been made into men and women. The sexes were not then divided at puberty or, in other words, had not yet become Totemic. The Arunta tradition tells us further that the change from prehuman to human beings, and from the pre-Totemic to the Totemic status, was effected by Two Beings who were called the Ungambikula, a word which signifies "out of nothing" or "self-existing". Though these two are not designated Women, they are two females. There being no men or women in those days, only
the rudimentary Inapertwa, it was the work of the Ungambikula to shape the Inapertwa creatures into women and men, with their lalira, or great stone knives, made of quartzite. These Two Beings were the primitive creators of men and women from the undistinguishable horde of the imperfect Inapertwa as founders of Totemism (N.T., page 388), by means of the Totemic rites. They are said to have changed the Inapertwa into human beings belonging to six different Totems-(I) The Akakia, or Plumtree. (2) The Inguitchika, or Grass-seed. (3) The Echunpa, or Large Lizard. (4) The Erliwatchera, or Small Lizard. (5) The Atninpirichina, or Parakeet. (6) The Untaina, or Small Rat. The Two Beings having done their work of cutting and carving which was to establish Totemism, then transformed themselves into lizards. Hence it was the lizard of Australian legend that was reputed to have been the author of marriage, because the
lizard was an emblem of the feminine period.
It will be shown by degrees what the nature of these rudimentary creatures was, and what is their relation to the human race and to Totemism. The same primeval tradition is to be found in the Mangaian myths of creation. In this the beings born of Vari-ma-te-takere, the originator of all things, the very-beginning, dwelt in the Mute-land at the bottom of Avaiki. There was no verbal language in this land of the Great Mother.
You could not provoke an angry answer there. The only language known in the Mute-land is said to be that of signs - "such as nods, elevated eyebrows, grimaces, and smiles". (Gill, page 6.)
“Avaiki is a land of strange utterance,
Like the sighs of a passing breeze;
Where the dance is performed in silence,
And the gift of speech is unknown". (Native song).
The Mother and Daughter of the Mangaian version take the place of the two female ancestresses in the Arunta legend. Also, one name of the daughter in another of the islands was Papa or Foundation. In this also the six Totems are equated by six parts of Avaiki, the body of the Great Mother (Mother-earth), who is said to pluck off six portions of her flesh, from the right and left sides of her body, with which to form her children. The tradition is one and universal with many variants. It is fundamentally the same in the mythology of the Californian Indians, who tell us that at first their ancestors walked on all fours. Then they began to put forth some members of the human body, such as a finger or a toe, until they were perfected [Page 68] like the Inapertwa when these were made into men and women. They missed their tails, which they lost as the result of having to sit up. It was a result of this derivation of the children from the mothers illustrated by means of Totemic zootypes that the aborigines in various Asiatic and European countries were despised and derided by later races as “The Men with Tails". When the Burmese call the Karens “Dog-men", and the Airyas of India call the aborigines “Monkey-men" they are naming them derisively in accordance with the primitive Totemic status. Nothing is more common than for the later lighter races to accredit the old dark races with the possession of tails, as a continuation of the Totemic likeness. They were the beast men, or their descendants from the earlier Totemic times and status. The Kickapoos tell a humorous story of their ancestors who once were in possession of tails which they afterwards lost. Then the impudent frog would send every morning and ask them how they felt without their tails, much to the amusement of the bear, who used to listen and shake her fat sides with laughter at the joke. As the frog
had likewise lost its tail in the process of becoming a frog from a tad-pole we may see in this the particular Totemic type of the Kickapoos that lost their tails. The tail or hinder part is naturally a Mother- Totem. The tail of the lioness carried on his head is the Mother-Totem of .Shu. The Egyptian kings were men with tails. They wore the tails of the lioness and the cow, which were two forms or zootypes of the mythical mother, Neith the Milch-Cow (earlier, Apt, the Water Cow) and Tefnut, the Lioness. Here the tails of the lioness and cow were worn by the human lion or bull who at one time sported his Mother- Totem in the shape of the typical animal's tail. Various tribes on the Upper Nile are the wearers of artificial tails made of hair , straw, or fibre of hemp, in place of the earlier skin. On grand occasions the Egyptian
judges and other dignitaries wore the tails of jackals made of horsehair. In Egyptian symbolism the jackal represents the judge; and the tail of horsehair still survives with us as the queue of the judge's wig. The fox in Europe took the place of the jackal as the zootype of the lawyer, and this preserves the character of Anup, the jackal, as the sign of council and of cunning or wiseness on the part of those who “wear fur", or the later silk.
One supreme and primary object of Totemism was the preservation of the Mother-blood in aboriginal purity. This gave priority and un-paralleled importance to maternal Totems like those of the Serpent and Vulture of the Mother which were symbols of royal and divine maternity in Egypt. The most profoundly primitive of all the ancient mysteries was that of the Mother-blood. At the same time it was the most profoundly natural. By this mystery it was demonstrated that blood was the basis of womanhood, of motherhood, of childhood, and in short, of human existence. Hence the preciousness of the Motherblood.
Hence the customs instituted for its preservation and the purity of racial descent. Only the mother could originate and preserve the nobility of lineage or royalty of race. And the old dark race in general has not yet outlived the sanctity of the Mother-blood which was primordial, or the tabu-Iaws which were first made statutable by means of the Mother's Totem.
In the Egyptian system of representation there are Seven Souls [Page 69] or life-forces recognized in nature. Six of these were pre-human, elemental powers, born of the primary Great Mother when there was as yet no human soul distinguished from the six that were the souls, such as light, or air, earth, or water, and animal or vegetable life. The seventh soul alone was human. This was the soul of blood brought forth by a Goddess in the human likeness. The earliest soul considered to be human, the soul that was made flesh in the Child- Horus, was born of the Mother-blood, the blood of Isis, and, as such, was distinguished from the earlier elemental powers, otherwise the six Totemic and pre-human souls.
The Blood-Mother was imaged as the Virgin Neith who was represented in one phase by the vulture that was fabled, like the pelican, to pierce its thigh and give its off-spring her own blood for nourishment. (Hor- Apollo, B. I. I I.) This was as the conceiver of a soul that was incarnated by the Blood-Mother. The blood that was considered to be the soul of life, in a series of seven souls, is the blood of the female - not the typical blood of the male; the blood of Isis, not the blood of Adam, Atum, or Belus; and it can be shown that the human race, distinguished from the preliminary people, originated in the Mother-blood. This was a demonstration made by nature herself on grounds as permanent as they were primitive. The reproduction of human life and the means of descent were dependent on the Mother-blood. By this same means the Mother also attained her supremacy, the Matriarchate being based upon the Mother-blood that was to be so preciously preserved and memorized. According to the Egyptian wisdom, the salvation of the human race was effected by the blood of Isis. Salvation was perpetuation. Isis was the Virgin- Mother, and hers also was the Mother-blood. The blood of the Mother, who was primarily the Virgin, being the earliest recognized source of human life, thence came the doctrine of a Virgin-Mother and the saving blood in the Eschatology. This Mother-blood originated with the Virgin at the time of puberty. It passed into the racial Mother-blood in the phase of fulfilment with marriage. The Virgin, represented in the Egyptian Mystery, was the maiden who conceived; in her second character she was the bringer-forth. These Two Mothers were imaged by the double Uraeus-crown of Maternity. The mythical Virgin-Mother had a very natural origin. She represents the pubescent female who was the fount and source in nature for the one original blood.The blood of Isis was the Virgin-blood. She was the Mother of Life in the mythical representation, and in the first of two characters she is the Virgin-Mother, when her sister Nepthys is the Bringer-forth or Nurse of the child. The sacredness of the Virgin-blood, the earliest Mother-blood, will help to account for the sanctity of the pre-pubescent virgins who were so carefully secluded from the outer world at the time of its primary manifestation. Among the Ot-Danons of Borneo the pre-pubescent girl is sometimes shut up during seven years awaiting her sign of the Virgin-
Motherhood. This is born in blood, and she is consequently looked upon as one newly born into life. She is led forth to breathe the air, and is shown the sun, the water, and the trees. Then the event is celebrated by the sacrifice of a slave, and her body is painted with his blood. This was the Blood-Mother as a Virgin, in the first of the two characters assigned [Page 70] to the female. Thus, the Two Women in Totemic Sociology were the Virgin and the Mother. It is the same in the Mythology, and lastly in the Eschatology.
The first of the Two was the pubescent Virgin who conceives: the second is she who brings forth. Hence the doctrine of a Double Motherhood. Ra is said to be united to his "Double Mother". One of the Ptolemies claims to be the Beloved of the "Double Divine Mother". The Double Mother was also the Double Sister in another relationship with Horus. "I am thy Double Sister", says Isis to Osiris. (P. Pierret Pantheon Eg. 28. ) In this duality Isis is the Blood-Mother and Nephthys the Milch-Mother; hence she is called the Nurse. Isis is at once the Great Mother and also the Virgin-Mother who keeps the primary place in the Mythos because the Virgin preceded the bringer forth of the child as source itself. This double Motherhood is also assigned to Jesus in the ", Gospels with the Two Mothers as two sisters: the
first being the Virgin - Mary, the second, Mary the wife of Cleopas.
In modern times the blood in certain families is considered to be royal, and royal blood is the blood to be sacredly or very carefully preserved from any base admixture, although the origin of royal blood is hitherto unknown. Under the Matriarchate there could be no blood-royal by derivation from the Male.
There was but one blood, that of the Mother. It was impossible at first for the males to transmit. There was but one means of descent for the race. This was the Mother-blood. Hence the primitive customs for preserving it in purity and sanctity. The Mother-blood was not only known as the "one blood" of the race, it also denoted the "one flesh" or one stock. Descent from the Mother connoted the one blood or one flesh. It would be a way of preserving the Mother-blood in Totemism for the brother and sister of the same Totem to intermarry; the same Totem being a determinative of the Motherhood, as the means of identifying the original Mother-blood. Messrs. Spencer and Gillen tell us that the Arunta traditions point to a time "in the Alcheringa" when it was the normal condition for the male to cohabit with a woman of the same Totem as his own. The evidence points back to a time when the brother and sister of the same Totem always married each other. It was long sought to keep the Mother-blood intact by the intermarriage of the uterine brothers and sisters."These used to cohabit, and such intercourse was at one time considered to be not only natural and proper, but was esteemed as preferable. The Kalangs of Java are what is now termed Endogamous, and when a girl is asked in marriage the man "must prove his descent from their peculiar stock". That is originally the one stock of the Mother-blood. People of this stock were known both in Africa and Australia as the one-legged people, those who were the undivided primitive Endogamists. Prolonged efforts were made by the “Endogamists" to preserve the Mother-blood or the "one flesh", as it was called by the aborigines of Victoria, who say of a man that takes a woman of his own group to wife, he has "fallen into the same flesh". (Dawson, Australian Aborigines, page 28.) It was a custom long continued by the Egyptians to preserve the Mother-blood by the marriage of the brother and sister, a custom that was sacred to the Royal family, thus showing that the [Page 71] Mother- blood transmitted by the elder sister was the Royal blood. The Goajiros of Colombia in South America have divided and subdivided into a score of Totemic groups, but they all preserve the descent in the female line, and therefore from the Mother-blood. For, if a member wounds himself with his own knife he is not allowed to spill any of his own blood without paying for it. His family on the Mother's side demand bloodmoney in compensation for their loss. There was no individual property in the Mother-blood. This belonged to the family or tribe. It happens with the Gonds of Central India that they have lost much of their pure blood by intermixture with the Hindu race. Hence, at the installation of a rajah his forehead must be touched with a drop of blood drawn from the body of a pure aborigine of the tribe to which the rajah belongs. (Forsyth, J ., Highlands of Central India, page 137.) Intermarriage has now come to be called Endogamy in opposition to Exogamy, or marriage outside the group. But the family traced from the Mother-blood was earlier than the Totemic tribe. When the children of one and the same mother
intermarried, a kind of Endogamy, however limited, would be founded. And when the children of one mother were compelled to marry the children of another mother a sort of Exogamy was established.
The Mother was the foundress of the family, consisting of herself and children. The foundation of the human structure was in blood, the blood of the Mother. The fact was commemorated in blood-sacrifice when the victim was immured, or the blood was poured out at the base of the building; the custom, like others, is a mode of memorial that was continued in Sign-language when the origin and meaning of the act were inexplicable. The Mother-blood, we repeat, was primary, and various customs, rites, or ceremonies show the purpose that was intended to keep the one first blood, that of the Mother, intact.
Each family would be proud of and prefer their own fount of source, and endeavour to keep it pure.
Hence the marriage of the uterine brother and sister was a mode of preserving the Mother-blood. Hence also the eating of the Mother living was a way of preserving her blood to the consanguineous group. The Mother eaten sacramentally was the earliest victim of blood-sacrifice. In this great cruel rite the body was eaten living to preserve the Mother-blood. Eating the Mother was the primitive Eucharist in which the Mother was the Host whose flesh was torn in pieces like the later bread, and whose blood was drunk religiously as is the later wine. Blood was the life, and this was given by the Mother in her life and death.
The human Mother was then in the position of the Totemic zoo type that was substituted for the parent and eaten by the brothers in a later sacrificial rite. It is not uncommon for the communicants who partake of the Sacrament to hold that they have eaten the body and drunk the blood of God himself, and this belief survives in Christianity, as witnessed by the hymn which is sung after taking the Sacrament, beginning with-
“Jesus, Mighty Saviour,
Thou art in us now".
To emphasize the fact still more, it is sometimes requested that those [Page 72] who have not eaten the God should sing the word "with" instead of “in". (Instance quoted in British Weekly, Sept. 1895.) The eucharistic rite of the Mexicans was called Teoqualo, or “God is eaten"; and to eat the God as represented was to share the nature of the divinity. In like manner the Namaquas eat the flesh and drink the blood of the lion and tiger to partake of their superhuman strength. The Tierra del Fuegians explained that they ate the white man on purpose to share in his superior power. The Kamilaroi will eat the heart and liver of a brave man in order that they may partake of his spirit. The Mother was eaten on the same principle, but, as the Mother, she was eaten sacramentally in the primitive family meal. The custom of "killing the God", the priest, the royal personage, the virgin or divine animal, and eating the victim at a sacrificial meal was rooted in this very primitive practice of the children eating the body of the Mother and drinking her blood in what may be termed the primordial Eucharist. The Mother was the earliest of the sacrificial victims that for special reasons were only allowed to live a certain number of years, at the end of which time the giver of life was eaten in honour by her children as the most primitive sacramental food.
The Mother was eaten at the family sacrament because, in the first place, she was the Mother. But there were other motives at work. She was sacrificed comparatively young to preserve her from the effects of age, from grey hairs and wrinkles, from disease, decrepitude, and bodily decay. The children were preserving her from the worms of earth and from the prowling beasts of prey, and probably from the change of life at the departure of the lizard. In eating the body of her who had been the food-giver, they were returning her as food to the family, and in partaking of her blood, the precious Mother-blood, they were giving back the soul (of blood) to the life of the family or brotherhood. Some races, like the Indian, will not eat the blood of an animal, for fear the soul of the animal should enter the human body. But this
was a reason, in religious cannibalism, for the eating of the Mother-blood in order that her soul of life which was her blood might re-enter the family or brotherhood, or be “contained" by them. The Mother was not turned into a sacrifice, or the blood preserved on her own personal account, so much as on account of the family or tribe to which the blood belonged. Dawson tells us that only those who had died a violent death were eaten by the aborigines of the Port Fairy District, Western Australia. And then they were eaten "as a mark of affectionate respect, in a solemn service of mourning for the dead". (James Dawson, Australian Aborigines.) The dead were eaten as a sign and token of mourning for those who were taken away before their time; and thus religious cannibalism is resolved into a solemn mourning for
the dead; and the significance would be the same when the funeral feast was furnished by the body and blood of the Mother. The Fijians, among other races, used to put their mothers to death before they had attained old age. There is an account in Wilkes's exploring expedition of the putting to death of a mother (page 211, abbreviated). She was walking about as gay and lively as anyone, when one of her boys invited Mr. Hunt to the funeral. Her two sons considered she had lived long enough. They [Page 73] had prepared her funeral feast, and were now going to kill and bury her. They were doing this from love of their mother, and said that none but themselves, her own sons, could perform so sacred an office.
Among the wandering Birhors of India, who are cannibals, the parents in articulo mortis will beg their children to kill and eat them; and this is done as an act of filial piety. (Réclus, Primitive Folk, - English. Translation, page 249.) At the British Association meeting for 1895 it was testified by Capt. Hynde that one of the finest races of the Congo negroes are still in the habit of eating the old and decrepit members of their families. Now, as the Mother was the earliest parent known and honoured, it was she who would be eaten by the children in the earliest form of a funeral meal. According to Herodotus (4,26), it was a custom observed by the Issedones to eat the dead bodies of their parents. But, we repeat, the Mother was the only parent known at first, therefore the only one that could be knowingly eaten as the parent.
The Mongols and other races considered it impious for any part of the sacrifice to remain uneaten or unconsumed. Terrible penalties were inflicted for such sacrilege. Now, there is I nothing like the eating of the Mother with honour that can so plausibly explain the origin of such a custom. The Mother as sacrifice would be "very sacred indeed", and to eat the body wholly and entirely, including the bones and viscera, would be giving the proof of the highest honour and the profoundest affection which at the time was humanly possible. Nothing was considered unclean, because it was the Mother. At first the body of the human Mother was religiously eaten as the most primitive Eucharistic Meal. Her flesh thus eaten was the sacred food, and her blood was the drink when these were devoured warm with life. Her representative, the Totemic zootype, was adopted later, and torn piecemeal, to be eaten in a similar manner. This tearing of the "host" in pieces tooth and nail was continued in the Egyptian, Greek, and other mysteries; and so it
comes about that the body of Osiris or the Christ was torn in pieces as flesh in the form of bread, and everyone of the communicants must drink of the wine as blood. Hence the commandment: "Drink ye all of it". And here it may be remarked that the sacrificial victim in the Gospel is eaten alive, or, at least, the Last Supper is solemnized before the victim was crucified. We next see the group of communicants extending beyond the inner circle when, as related by Angas, the different part of the body were apportioned according to the human relationship, the choicest portions being given to those who had been nearest and dearest to the departed in this life. It was from affection the children ate their parent, but the ceremony of devouring her alive was awesome and cruel. It had to be performed, from motives that sufficed to establish the custom, but she was not eaten because the act was cruel. Still, the cruel ending of her life made her become a sacrificial victim, and as she was eaten piously, the meal was sacramental and the prototype of all the sacraments in which the Totemic zootypes or the Divine Son succeeded as the victim sacrificed at the Eucharistic Meal. The Mother gave her life back to the family or tribe whilst living. She was literally eaten alive. In accordance with the laws of Tabu, it was the custom for everyone to share and share alike all round in killing and eating the sacrifice. [Page 74] This was so when the victim was a fawn or a kid. But no victim was so naturally calculated to raise the initial difficulty of striking the first blow in a form so acutely cruel as the Mother. This must have verily necessitated the practice of all the participants falling on the victim together to avoid the sense of individual bloodguiltiness.
Everyone must partake of the body, everyone must tear the flesh and lap the blood; everyone must share the responsibility of the awful act. The Mother was not only eaten physically. There was a primitive kind of spiritual communion celebrated in the rite which I raised it to a religious status. The body and blood were supposed to be converted into spirit. The theory is explicitly expressed in the Greek statement that "the dead was raised again in the same sacrifice". "All tasted the sacrificial flesh, so that the life of the victim was renewed in the lives of those who ate it". (Theophrastus in Porph., De Abst., 2, 29. Cited in Encyclopedia Brit., volume xxi, page 137 , Ninth Edition) And this, of course, applied to the Mother as well as to any other victim whose flesh was eaten as a sacrifice. In eating the flesh and blood of the Mother, the Brothers were absorbing her soul of life and she was being converted into a spirit.