The theory now substantiated is that the earliest Totems were zootypes of the Mothers, that the Mother was the earliest victim
eaten at the family meal, and that the human sacrifice was commuted by the substitution of the Totemic animal at a later stage of development. Thus, we hear that the sacrificial offering made to the river Nile was first of all a human virgin, and afterwards a sacred animal. Also, when the Panes-Bird of the Acagchemens is said to have been a woman previously, or elsewhere, we see the bird has been substituted for the human victim in the Eucharistic rite as representative of the Great Mother. The Emu was the bird of Earth in Australia, like the Goose in Egypt. As layer of the egg it represented Earth, the Mother of Food. Now the Emu, in the Kurnai mythology, is also called “the Woman,” or Mother, who, like Neith, was imaged as the Giver of Food. And when the Arunta members of the Emu Totem propitiate the power solicited by them for the increase of food, the blood which they shed from their own veins is not simply poured forth on the ground. A small prepared plot of soil is saturated with blood and allowed to dry, and on this the bird is outlined to represent the food of the Totem for which they are asking. The Emu is a type of the Earth-Mother to whom the oblation of blood is offered, and who is thus identified by the bird as their provider or providence, who had been “the Woman” previously. The human Mothers had been eaten sacramentally to preserve the family blood in all its primal, that was virginal, purity. At a later stage, when the Totemic animal was religiously eaten periodically as the sacrificial victim, this had come to represent the Great Mother, the Earth-Mother, the Mother who was propitiated and pleaded with for provender; the Mother of Food who was eaten vicariously with the Totem as her type of food. Blood was the ancient life and Motherhood the fount of source. Blood was the earliest human tie. Then the Blood-Brotherhood succeeded and gradually superseded the Blood-Motherhood. A group of progenitors, or brothers of the blood, began to usurp the place of the Ancestresses as parental powers on the way to finally establishing the Patriarchate.
Civilization first began with the conditions of the pre-Totemic people, who were pre-human. According to the traditions of the Arunta, they had no stone knife, no fire-stick, no rites or ceremonies of pubescence. Indeed, there were no men or women then extant. The nascent race was not yet humanized; it had to be created by becoming Totemic. This tradition of the human origin, which can be universally corroborated, is, in its way, a primitive version of the so-called “Creation of Man” that comes to us belated in the Book of Genesis. It tends to show that human beings, “Created Men” of the Egyptian “Tem,” were a birth of Totemism. The traditions of the Arunta affirm that Totemism originated with “Two Women” who, as here suggested, were the Mother and the Eldest Daughter in the human family, the first two persons who were recognized as ancestral types of the Virgin who conceived and the Mother who brought forth. There is ample evidence to show that Totemism was founded by “Two Women,” the “Two Women” who were the mythical Ancestresses of the Race. These are represented by the two females who prepared young girls for sexual intercourse at the period of pubescence, by performing the opening rite of introcision, and who were consequently the typical founders of Totemism.
The Arunta say it had been found that many of the younger women died in consequence of unlimited promiscuous intercourse with men who were unrestrained and women unprepared by the opening rite when there was as yet no law of tabu. The opening rite was preparatory and considered necessary to befit the young women for sexual intercourse, and also to protect them previously from savage treatment. Therefore we argue that it was devised by the Mothers for the protection of the daughters. The women of the Hawk Totem are said to have made certain men “ashamed of their excesses.” (Spencer and Gillen, N.T., p. 416.) The men were monstrous in their size and savagery, and necessitated the Totemic rites. It is related of the “Two Women,” here called the Elder and the Younger Sisters, that they were “considerably alarmed at the Ulpmerka Men.” But when the pubescent rites had been performed, the women were no longer afraid, and all the men had free access to them (p. 315). In order that the fears of the “Two Women” might be allayed the Ulpmerka made a large nurtunja, or Totem-pole, upon which the sacred emblems called the Churinga were suspended. “After this had been shown to the women they were no longer timid.” One of the Two was then decorated with the down of birds and a small nurtunja, of a blunt, conical shape, was set upon her head for ornament, and the men danced round her, shouting “Wah! Wah!” Then she was taken and laid beside the large nurtunja, which was fixed upright in the ground. The operation of opening the vulva, Atna ariltha-Kuma, was then performed by means of a large stone knife. After this the intercourse was lawful and all the men had access to her. The same ceremony was repeated in the initiation of the second or younger woman. Sexual intercourse till then had been promiscuous, and there was no standing on ceremony or waiting till the females came of age for rape to be enforced. The first two females were made into women by means of the opening rite in which they were prepared for Totemic connubium. One of these, the elder one, operated on the younger, and then the two women became the first Ancestresses of the Race who were constituted such by the opening rite that was performed at puberty. These were the Two Women of the Lizard Totem. There were only “Two Women” originally among the Plum-tree Ulpmerka Men, that is the uncircumcised. At first they were unopened. Then they were operated on, and all the men had access to them, first with one, and then with the other (p. 315). These were the Two Women with whom semi-promiscuity was regulated by the division into the two classes with which dichotomous-Totemism began. These Two Women are variously described as coming to introduce the rite of pubescence by means of which the girls were made into women and the uncircumcised males into men. This is performed by them at different halting places.
Under the Matriarchate, racial descent was reckoned by the Mother-blood, therefore the Mother was the earliest Woman known. The eldest daughter was the primary channel of descent. Therefore the eldest daughter was the second woman of the primal Two. A score of mothers or daughters would not change the type of the two women first known as the Mother and Eldest Daughter or the Two
Sisters. Thus amongst the primitive or archaic traditions of the human race there is a legend of descent from “Two Women” called the “Ancestresses.” This is extant in Africa and in Australia: in Totemism and Mythology. The Arunta have several traditions or fragments of tradition concerning these two typical women in the sociology of Totemism. There were “Two Women” in the Alcheringa or Mythical Past. Two Women of the Opossum Totem. (p. 403). Two Women of the Magpie Totem (p. 404). Two Women of the Hakea Totem (p. 436). Two Women of the Kangaroo Totem (p. 464). Two Women who accompanied the Men of the Plum-tree in the Alcheringa, as Two Sisters, Elder and Younger (pp. 149, 315). The starting point of the Hakea-flower Totem is from Two Female Ancestors (p. 122). These Two Women are called the elder and the younger. All the men had access to both of them as soon as they had undergone the opening rite.
Thus the Arunta trace the origin of Totemism in its sociological aspect to the rites of puberty that were adopted for utility when the pre-human creatures were first changed into women and men by means of the rites. These were first performed upon Two Women of the Lizard Totem, one being described as the Elder, the other as the Younger Sister. The lizard is the sign of feminine pubescence and especially the Mother’s Totem in Africa and Australia. Hence it was honoured as the author of primitive marriage. The Two Women are the Ancestresses of the human race because they were the first two females to undergo the preparatory rite that changed them into Totemic women fitted for social intercourse in communal connubium. This feminine duality evolved in the sociology had been divinized as the Great Mother in mythology both in Australia and in Africa. In the Osirian cult Isis and Nephthys are at once the Two Mothers, Two Sisters, and Two Wives of Osiris. Isis is the Virgin-Mother, the Blood-Mother, the one of Two who conceives but does not bring forth the Child. Nephthys represents the Goddess who does bring forth and who is the Nurse by name. These are also called the Mother and Sister as well as the Two Sisters and the Two Wives. In short, they are the Two human Ancestresses of the Race who were divinized in Mythology. Thus the Two Women who were the Authors of Totemism are the Two Ancestresses who may be described either as Two Mothers, Two Sisters elder and younger, Mother and Daughter, or the Virgin and Gestator, in the various legends, because they are the typical Two that were from the beginning when the Mother and Eldest Daughter were the means of descent during the Matriarchate. With the Nairs of Malabar, whose manners are very primitive, the brothers obey their eldest sister. Next to the mother she is the ruler of the family. And in former times, on great ceremonial occasions, the reigning prince himself yielded precedence to his eldest daughter. She was one of the only “Two Women.” The Mother being the first person in the human family, the eldest sister was the second as next available for sexual intercourse; and these became the mythical “Two Women” from whom the Australian natives claim descent. These represent the female duality that brought on the Mother-blood. In some of the legends the Mother passes into the Two Ancestresses as the Mother
and Sister, instead of Mother and Daughter. At others they are the Two Sisters. Isis is designated the Mother, and Nephthys the Sister. Demeter is the Mother, and Persephone or Kore is the Daughter. The two were often called the Mother and Daughter. It may seem a long way from the Greek Mother and Daughter to the Polynesian Mythology, but as a form of the feminine ancestors they are originally the same in the human sphere. In the Australian ceremonies of initiation there is what Howitt terms the feminine “duality” of Ngalalbal, in the “Wives of Daramulun.” This female duality is the analogue of the two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, who were the two consorts of Horus or Osiris in the Egyptian mythos. These Two Sisters are the same Two Mothers of the typical child in Australia as in Africa. Daramulun, like Horus, is the child of the Two Mothers, “The Ngalalbal-dance,” says Howitt, “is rendered very effective through being preceded by the ‘duality’ of Ngalalbal, the wives of Daramulun.” These are seen to glide from the forest past the fire and to disappear in the gloom beyond to a slow and rather melancholy air sung by the audience, which may be rendered, “Ngalalbal, you two coming from afar, where are you going to?” (Howitt, Australian Ceremonies of Initiation.) Ngalalbal, the wife of Daramulun, was originally represented by the Emu, and is at the same time “the Woman” who divides into the Two Women. Thus the human source of descent follows the pre-human here, as in the Egyptian Mythos. And in the duality of Ngalalbal we have the two wives who are the two sisters of Horus in the Osirian myth. This feminine duality was one of the secret mysteries in Australia as in Africa. Communal marriage, as practised in Totemism, had been reduced in Egypt to the system of two wives; the one being known as the Hemet or Wife, the other as the Neb.t-Paru or Mistress of the House. This was also an Inner-African marriage institution. The first corresponded to Isis the Wife; the second to Nephthys the Mistress of the House. The Wives of Osiris were also his Sisters. Isis says to Osiris, “I am thy double Sister.” This she was in the two characters of Isis and Nephthys, because the Great Mother qua Mother duplicated in the two females as ancestresses. Hence the “Double Divine Mother” who is mentioned in the texts. Not that Osiris was supposed to have married two Blood-Sisters, but that sister was the earlier name for the Wife, because there was a Totemic Sisterhood corresponding to the Totemic Brotherhood. This dual symbolism extant amongst the Australian aborigines, had been divinized and preserved in the Mythology of Egypt, because it was once extant in the Sociology. In these Two Sisters who were Two Wives one sees the Totemic consorts reduced to that number as the sisters of one brother, on the way to complete monogamy. At an earlier social stage, which we find among the Namaqua Hottentots, two chiefs had four wives in common among them. This was a departure from the equality of the more primitive communal connubium in which four brothers were husbands to four sisters, as in Africa, or ten brothers to ten sisters, as in Britain.
There would have been two Ancestresses to the human race in the Hebrew Genesis if the legend had been properly reported. In the extra-biblical tradition Adam had two wives, Lilith and Chavah, but
Lilith, the more mystical female of the two, has been damned by orthodoxy as the demoniacal destroyer of children=she who did not bring forth. In a more mystical phase the female duality of nature was pre-pubescent and pubescent. It is mentioned here because the dogma of a Virgin-Mother originated in this natural reality, and because the two divine women Isis and Nephthys also represent the Virgin and the Mother in this mystical character. Isis was the Virgin who brought forth the child. Female nature of itself divides into the two phases of Girlhood and Womanhood; the Virgin and the Mother, the one being the Mother of blood, the other the Milch-Mother of the child. Such was the origin of a double Motherhood which is personified in the Egyptian mythos. In one cult the Goddess Neith is the Mother who conceives the child, and Sekhet is the Bringer-forth. Now, Neith was the mystical Virgin, whilst Sekhet was the Goddess of sexual passion. But in the Osirian cult this female duality was represented by Isis the Virgin and Nephthys the Nurse. These are the Two human Ancestresses (Tiriti) divinized, but not merely as two sisters in sociology.
The marital or sexual relations were at first promiscuous. Then there was a division of the gregarians into two communities or classes in which the primal promiscuity was regulated for group-marriage with the totality divided in two halves, and subdivided afterward by the Totems, which were extended more and more until they reached the radius of the “Upper Ten” or the Chinese “hundred families.” As will bear repeating, to the confusion of various writers, the Arunta have traditions of a time when a man always married a sister of his own Totem. This, as tribal, followed the marriage of the brother and sister of the blood in natural endogamy: the same intermarriage that is found in African Totemism. There was a time, the Arunta also say, when “under the old system” all the Purula women were eligible as wives to a Panungo man, whereas under the new system only one half of the women were marriageable to him (Native Tribes, p. 421), those of the other half being strictly forbidden to him. This shows that utterly promiscuous intercourse was followed and superseded by the division of the whole into two halves; which we take to have been the intercourse that was sacred to the brother and sister of the blood within the matriarchal family, and which was afterwards divided into the first two exogamic intermarriageable groups. As testified to by the latest witnesses, the “fundamental feature” in the organism of the Australian tribes is “the division of the tribe into two exogamous intermarrying groups” (p. 55). In the Urabunna Tribe, which may be taken as typical, “the whole tribe is divided up into two exogamous intermarrying classes, respectively called Matthurie and Kirarawa. These two classes are subdivided into two sixes as Totemic groups. “All descent is counted from the Mother both as regards class and Totem” (p. 60). And “the men of one half of the tribe must marry the women of the other half,” in marriage by the group, no such thing as individual marriage being known. One of the Australian aborigines who had travelled far and wide has stated that “he was furnished with temporary wives by the various tribes amongst whom he sojourned in his travels; that his right to these women was recog-
nized as a matter of course; and that he could always ascertain whether they belonged to the division into which he could legally marry, though the places were 1,000 miles apart and the languages were quite different.” (Fison and Howitt, p. 53.) Starting from the beginning with the Two Classes, one man at that stage was entitled to half the women. As we find, the two divisions spread out over great parts of the land. Totems were added and further divisions made when the two were divided into four and the four into eight, but if the man belonged to one of the primary two classes, his right to half of the women corresponding to his Totem would still hold good if they were scattered over all the country. His range in the communal marriage would be more circumscribed if his were one of the well-known four Totems, and become still more limited if it were only one of the eight into which the two were so frequently subdivided in Australia and America. On certain festival occasions the women of all the Totems are held as common property or there is partial promiscuity of the sexes by a return from the subdivisional arrangement to that of the first Two Classes; as when a man will lend his wife to a stranger, always provided that he belongs to the same class as himself (N.T., p. 93), the class that was anterior to the Totem. This common right of all the tribal brothers of one class to all the women of the other even from the beginning, when there were but two, will explain certain perplexing marriage customs of later times, when the marriage of individuals was slowly taking the place of marriage between groups or classes; which may be termed customs of exemption from the primitive communal connubium, such as the right of the tribal elders to act the part of Baal-Peor, and the droit du seigneur still extant, although commutable, in the island of Jersey.
As a natural fact, the human race originated from the Mother-earth in Two Classes. They were the forest-folk and the Troglodites born of the Tree and the Rock; and such a fact was sure to have been preserved in the Kamite Record. In the very first stage they were the children of Earth, or the Earth-Mother. The Mother is then divided or followed by the Two Women who are distinguished from each other by their emblems of the Birth-place: the Tree and the Rock, or stone with a hole in it, which is an image of the Mother-earth. We can now compare the wood and stone Churinga of the Arunta with other emblems of the Tree and Rock of earth.
The Australian Totemic system begins with being Dichotomous. There is a Division of the Whole in two halves. The Arunta erect two Totem-posts or sacred poles, one for the south and one for the north, by which the division is most carefully distinguished. There are Two Ancestresses or self-existent female founders; Two kinds of Churinga made of wood and stone; Two Women of the Lizard Totem. There are several instances in which the first departure from promiscuity remains final because it has never been outgrown. This is so in the case of the two classes still extant and still recognizable, which held good for marital rights all over the continent. The whole universe was divided into two primary classes of things, corresponding to the two primary Totemic classes of the Australian aborigines.
The Port Makay Tribe in Queensland divided all Nature between their two primary Motherhoods; the dichotomous system founded on the twofold character of the Mother as Virgin and Gestator whom the Egyptians had divinized as She who conceived and She who brought to birth. The Totems commonly follow the two divisions as the signs of subdivisions. Indeed, it appears that we get a glimpse here and there of the two divisions without any Totems following them, as if the most rudimentary organization had extended no further. The Banks Islanders, for example, appear to have been divided into two primary classes, and to have had no sub-divisional Totems. Reading Totemism by aid of the Egyptian wisdom, it is evident that the two classes, the two kinds of Churinga (wood and stone), the two Poles (North and South), the two women, represent the Motherhood that was duplicated in the two female ancestors; and that the Totems of the sub-divisions represent the blood-brotherhoods, thus affiliated to the Mother-blood, which were followed finally by the blood-fatherhood. The Arunta beginning is immeasurably later than the Egyptian tradition preserved in the astronomical mythology. Their beginning is in fact with Totemism. This was preceded by a period or condition of existence called “the Alcheringa” or the far-off past of the mythical ancestors of whose origin and nature they have no knowledge but have preserved the tradition.
The twofold division was fundamental and universal in Egypt. Beginning with the two Egypts and the two Tiruti, they had the two halves, North and South, divided by the Equinoctial line: the two earths upper and lower, the two houses of earth and heaven, the two houses of government, the two houses of the treasury, the two granaries, the two fields of sacrifice. The War Department was twofold. The property of the State and of the Temple was divided into two parts. An endeavour to recover the Kamite mythology from the traditions of the Arunta may look like fishing the infinite, but deep-sea dredgers sometimes find strange things. The Ritual preserves a record of the fact that in the primary division of the total or the whole earth in two halves, the boundaries of South and North were determined by two trees. Hence, when the Sun, or Solar God, rises in the East, he is said to issue forth from betwixt the two sycamores of the North and South. This division of the oneness in space into North and South in locality has been curiously preserved by the Arunta Tribes, who make use of the two Poles in their religious or Totemic ceremonies, one the Nurtunja, is erected in the North; the other, called the Waninga, is made use of in the South. (P. 627.) These are equivalent to the Kamite two sycamore-trees of the North and South, as types of the original division of the earth, and of the later earth and heaven; also called the two trees in the garden of the beginning. This primordial division of the whole into two classes still persists in the Christian scheme of the future life, where the dichotomous arrangement of the promiscuous multitude is continued as from the first. There are to be only two classes of people in the world to come, and only two Totems, the sheep and the goat, to distinguish those who are still described in gesture-language as being the one on the right hand, the other on the left;
which is a re-beginning hereafter in exact accordance with the first Totemic bifurcation of the human race on earth.
In the course of time, as human consciousness increased, the Mother would be made exempt from the primitive promiscuous intercourse. Here it may be observed that much of the early wisdom was secreted in the Totemic Tabus that were recited to the initiates in the mysteries of young-man and young-woman-making. The Buffalo-clan of the Omaha Indians are prohibited from eating a calf whilst it is red, but when it turns black the animal may be eaten. This, as we understand it, was a mode of memorial by means of Tabu. There was a similar prohibition in the Red Maize clan. The youngsters of the sub-clan are told that if they were to eat of the red maize they would break out in running sores all round the mouth. Nothing is more common in the initiation of Australian youths than for these to be solemnly warned against eating forbidden food. They are not to eat the emu, that is a Totem which represents the Mother—as did other forms of prohibited food, including the tree. Thus eating the fruit of the forbidden tree is violating the Mother or female, in one of the phases known to be prohibited. If, as herein advanced, the Totem first represented the Mother, we may find a root-reason why it came to be prohibited from being eaten, excepting as a sacrament at the religious festival of promiscuity once a year. We know that in the Totemic Mysteries it was the Mothers or female elders who inducted the boys into a knowledge of connubium. This probably registers the fact that, when the boys became pubescent, the Mothers showed their own the way, in the early state of promiscuity. And the likelihood is that the Mother was made Tabu to her own children as the earliest law of prohibition from what came to be considered unnatural sexual intercourse which had been at one time natural. They were prohibited from “eating of her” in this sense, and the mode of memorizing the law would be by not eating of the zootype which represented the Mother. The Hindu does not eat the cow, the Jew does not eat the swine, and this is because these represented the Mother as a Totemic sign, and the typical Great Mother in the Mythology. Descent from the Mother was represented by descent from the Totem. Thus, if the Totem were a cow, and it was said in a mystery, thou shalt not eat of the cow, when it was intended to repudiate the primitive practice, the command would signify in Sign-language, “Thou shalt not eat the Mother.” She was now forbidden food, whether as the cow, the sow, the emu, or the tree, the same as with the red calf, which represented the child. According to Bailey, the custom of the Veddahs “sanctions the marriage of a man with his younger sister.” But to “marry an elder sister or aunt would, in their estimation, be incestuous,” whereas “marriage with the younger sister is considered to be natural.” It was in fact the proper marriage. To understand this, we may assume that the elder sister of two stands for the Mother, and that the Tabu was originally directed against connubium betwixt the son and the Mother, whereas the marriage of a brother and sister, blood or tribal, was allowed as the only proper connection now for preserving the Mother-blood without committing incest.