If the Totem is a means of Tabu, as we know it to have been, and the Mother or the Sister is represented by the Totem, then the human female is aimed at under various Totemic types. Thou shalt not eat the calf whilst it is red would convey protection for the pre-pubescent girl. There are twenty different kinds of game forbidden to the Narrinyeri youths in their initiation; also any food belonging to women is prohibited. This would include the animal which constituted the Totem that was first of all the sign of the Mother herself, as the cow, the sow, the mouse, or other female zootype. Thus, when, as Plutarch tells us, the Egyptians thought that if a man should drink the milk of a sow his body would break out in sores, it should be remembered that the sow was a Totem of the Mother, and the human Mother was masked by the sow. Various Tabus are expressed in Sign-language, which has to be interpreted. A prohibition against eating the Mother would be expressed by not eating the food or animal that was her Totem. Say the Totem was a type of the Mother, who was at one time eaten, and was represented by the cow, and afterwards the custom was prohibited, the law of Tabu in that case would be conveyed to the initiate in the primitive mysteries by the injunction “Thou shalt not eat the cow,” or cohabit with the Mother. Various Tabus were certainly conveyed in that way. Thou shalt not eat the cow, Hindu and Toda Tabu; Thou shalt not eat the sow, Jewish Tabu; Thou shalt not drink the milk of the sow, Egyptian Tabu; Thou shalt not eat the hare, Damara Tabu; Thou shalt not go near or look on the crocodile, Bechuana Tabu; Thou shalt not eat the calf while it is red, Omaha Tabu; Thou shalt not touch the Mother-blood, common Tabu; Thou shalt not eat the female of any animal, Kurnai Tabu; Thou shalt not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Biblical Tabu; Thou shalt not eat the Totem, common Tabu. We might add “Thou shalt not marry a deceased wife’s sister,” as a Christian Tabu. Thus not eating the cow or other female-totem–like the sow or the panes-bird–would originally mean not conjoining with the Mother, whereas not eating the calf whilst it was red would be a mode of protecting or of safeguarding the impubescent girl.
The Totemic festival of fructification naturally had a phallic character, as it was sexual from the first. It was not only performed at seed-sowing and harvest, on behalf of food. Long before corn was cultivated in the name of Isis or Demeter, there was a general rejoicing at the time when the youth was made into a man and the girl into a woman. The general rejoicing at the girl’s coming of age was in celebration of her entering into connubium, which was communal, as she was then open and accessible to all the males, at least on this occasion when she entered the ranks of womanhood as common property, which was afterwards made several by development of the marriage-law. Marriage began as a recognized, if regulated, right of all the brothers to ravish every maiden as she came of age, and thus to make a woman of her for tribal connubium. And the primitive rite, though commuted, was continued in the later ceremonies. Various customs tend to show that capture in marriage originated as a mode of rescuing or ransoming the woman from the clutch of the general community in which the female was common
to all the males of the group. In the special marriage of individual pairs the woman had to be captured and carried off from the group—only instead of being captured we might say “rescued” by the individual (and his friends) from being the promiscuous property of the community. Hence the custom of compensation to the group (or, later, parents) for permitting the female to become private property in personal marriage. The primitive rite of connubium was first consummated by all the males of the Totemic group, not by an individual husband. The customs show that communal connubium involved connection with the whole brotherhood as a rite of marriage after the general promiscuity had been modified. For instance, with the Australian Kunandaburi tribe when a girl became marriageable, on natural grounds, her affianced husband, accompanied by his male contemporaries, fetched her from her parents, and the marriage was consummated there and then, not by the husband, but by the whole of his confrères; the jus primae noctis, including all his Totemic brethren. Mr. O’Donnell, who furnished the information, says it included all the males present in camp without exception of class, Totem or kin, and was fulfilled for several days. (Howitt, Mother-right to Father-right, J. A. S., Feb. 7, 21, 1882.) This was communal connubium once for all, but only once, in place of the older custom of continual promiscuity. In the Sonthal marriage, which also takes place by the group once a year, all the candidates for matrimony live together for six days in promiscuous intercourse. After which, only separate couples are held to have established their right to marry. (The People of India, by J. F. Watson and J. W. Kaye, vol. I, p. 2.) Thus there was a rite of promiscuity observed as a propitiatory preparation for individual marriage. This was to be seen at the temple of Belit in Babylon, where the women offered themselves to all men promiscuously before they were free to marry. It was a mode of releasing the woman from a bondage imposed upon her in the past. It is said of this custom in the Epistle of Jeremy—“The women also with cords about them, sat in the ways burning bran for incense: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow that she was not thought as worthy as herself nor her cord broken (Book of Baruch, VI, 43). When the Attic maidens danced as bears at the Brauronia in the ¢rkteia of Artemis, it was a mode of making them individually marriageable, and the mode was evidently in accordance with the Totemic ritual as in the mysteries of Belit. This will also explain the crave for human blood, which was attributed to the goddess, on the ground that the blood was that of the Virgins thus consecrated by the most ancient practice of promiscuity, or all-for-all.
In various ways the Totemic or tribal organization fought hard and long against the woman becoming private property. The males considered, with Prudhomme, that property was robbery, and individual ownership in marriage had many modifications in the course of being eventually established.
In the south of Malayalam a married woman is permitted to have twelve other husbands as lovers besides the man to whom she is legally bound, but she must play the game fairly and not exceed the number allowed. With the Esquimaux or Inoits the primitive
communal marriage still obtains in spite of their being monogamists in appearance. As M. Réclus remarks, adultery is a daily escapade with the women as well as the men. The “members of the Marital Association keep running accounts and open large credits” with each other. When the wind blows from the south every woman is out on the rampage after other men, but each wife must lawfully couple with the man to whom the husband would willingly have lent her, and who will lend his own wife in return. They hold that all were made for all. The sin against nature is for the lawful wife to seek connubium with a bachelor, who can make no return in kind to the husband. (Réclus, Primitive Folk, Eng. tr., p. 32. Ross, Second Voyage.) The custom is African. Sir Harry Johnston mentions a curious mode of weighing out even-handed justice in cases of adultery. Amongst the A-nyanja if a man is caught in the act he is compelled to get another man as substitute to cohabit with his wife before he can return to her; he must also pay his substitute for this service four yards of cloth, or make an equivalent present, otherwise the substitute can claim and carry off the wife as his own property. (Brit. Cent. Africa, p. 415.)
It was not the men alone who resisted the change. According to Petherick, the mother of the bride, among the Hassanyeh Arabs, protests against “binding her daughter” to a due observance of that chastity which matrimony is expected to command for more than two days in the week at a time. (Petherick, J., Egypt, the Soudan, and Central Africa.) Various ways of limiting the primitive promiscuity, and at the same time of securing elasticity in the marriage tie, might be cited. For example, the Spaniards found a curious custom current in Lancerota. A woman there had several husbands, but “a husband was considered as such only during a lunar revolution.” (Spencer, Data, 298.) Thus one woman was limited to one man for a month, and the marital relations were changeable with the moon. That which was once the woman’s right is still sought for as a privilege when the Esthonian women claim to repeat the rites of the ancient saturnalia, such as dancing in a state of nudity at the festival of spring. With us the Matriarchate still survives on Friday, the woman’s day, and in February, the month in which the women claim the right to choose their husbands every leap-year. On certain festive occasions there is a total or partial return to the pre-eval status of the sexes. This return occurs at the phallic festival or primitive Agapæ. In a corroboree of the Arunta, which lasts for ten days or a fortnight at a time, there is a partial return to promiscuity, or the sexual licence which the natives say was a practice of the Alcheringa, or old, old times. (N.T., pp. 96-101.) This does not stand alone. According to the report of Mr. Kühn in Kamilaroi and Kurnai (by L. Fison and A. W. Howitt, pp. 285-7), the men of the Turra tribe were not debarred from sexual intercourse with women of their own Totem in the orgies of the grand corroboree. This shows the same return to utter promiscuity for the time being as in all other celebrations of the phallic festival when the only law was that of all for all. It was a return pro tem. to the most ancient usage, which is represented in mythology by the old first Mother in connubium with her own sons. The primitive customs were established as a means
of memorizing that which could not otherwise be registered. Thus the Arunta danced the history of their descent from the time when the race was not divided by the Lizard. And thus the state of promiscuous intercourse was repeated in the religious mysteries, including those of the Christian Church. According to a Latin myth, the saturnalia of ancient Rome was held in commemoration of the sexual promiscuity that once obtained. Such customs constituted the record of prehistoric if not primitive man. That is why their performance is so permanent and so universal.
A change in the human descent from the Motherhood to the Fatherhood is apparent in the Egyptian Mythology as early as the time of Ptah, the father of Atum-Ra. The Mother, human or divine, was primordial. Next came the sisters. Then the brothers, the same in mythology as in Totemism. Previous to the dynasty of Ptah there were seven brothers born of the sevenfold Motherhood, when there was as yet no father individualized. Six of these were pre-human, for instance, Sut the Male-Hippopotamus, Sebek the Crocodile, Shu the Lion, Hapi the Ape, Apuat the Jackal, Kabhsenuf the Hawk; and one, the Elder Horus, was human, as the child of Isis, the blood-Mother. The seven souls are commonly reckoned as 6+1. The six are pre-anthropomorphic. They were powers of the elements represented by the zootypes, such as the soul of earth that was imaged by the beast of earth; the soul of water by the crocodile; the soul of breathing-force by the lion; the soul of fire by the ape; the soul of vegetation by the serpent. The seventh soul was human. This was imaged in Child-Horus, who became the chief of the Seven and leader of the Company.
The Dog-rib Indians preserve a tradition, which is also repeated along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Oregon, that the ancient Mother of the human race was a woman who was mated with a dog. The woman gave birth to six pups, which used to throw off their skins at will when they were alone, and play in human shape. This, in its quaint way, is another form of the mystery of the six as pre-human souls which culminated in the seventh soul that attained the human status together with the anthropomorphic type. In the Mangaian “Mute-land,” at the root of all beginning, there are “Two Women,” called the Mother and her Daughter. This beginning was at the bottom of the hollow cocoa-nut shell called Avaiki. Vari is the name of the mythical Great Mother. Tu-Metua is the daughter. Her name, which signifies “Stick-by-the-parent,” is knowingly natural. Another point. She is the last product of the Great Mother, the only female child, and is called her support, her beloved child. These two are the ground and basis of a world in six divisions.
Now, there came a time in Egypt when the brothers, who had previously been the children of the Mother, were called the sons of Ptah, and all their powers were comprehended in the unity of the God who was portrayed as both Father and Mother in one person. In the Texts, Ptah is called “the husband of his Mother,” which shows the polygamous Patriarch who afterwards entered the monogamic state with Sekhet Mer-Ptah for his single consort. (Maspero, The Dawn of Civilisation, p. 106, note, Eng. tr.) It has been previously
shown that the custom of couvade was a dramatic mode of affiliating the offspring to the father which had previously derived its descent from the Mother. (Nat. Genesis.) It is certain that in this the male impersonates the Mother because he acts as if in gestation with the child and sometimes undergoes a fictitious parturition. But the supreme peculiarity of this primitive mystery is that the male parent not only acts the part of the Mother, but also of the father; both parents in one person. It is in this sense only that Sut, who was the first-born of the Seven, is called in later language a Father of the Gods. (Rit., ch. 8.) In Akkad or Babylonia, the group of seven males is divided into Ea as a father with his six sons. It is the same among the Zuni Indians, whose fetish deities are seven in number, that is six, with a form of God the Father as the supreme one. These were the rulers of the six regions or mountains, with Po-shai-an-kia in the centre as the head over all. (Cushing. Second Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, Washington, 1883.)
A soul of life in man, animal, and vegetable was at one time held to be derived by the transformation and embodiment of some external force in animal guise. Hence came the anima or soul of wind that was humanized in breathing, whether as the soul of man or animal. At length it was observed that a human soul of flesh was formed or embodied in the Mother-blood, as it was written in the secret Book of Nature. This was the earliest soul of man that was discreted from the external elements of life, which formed the rudimentary and pre-human beings who are to be met with in the legends of the aborigines the whole world over. These were also known to the Semites as pre-Adamic people; the Admu, the Kings of Edom, which brings us back to the Egyptian root of the matter in the word Tum or Tem. Tem, we repeat, signifies Mankind, mortals created persons, which were created mystically from the soul of Adam in Hebrew, or Atum in Egyptian, the earlier form of which name in the Ritual is “Tum.” The race of Tum, Atum, or Admu identify their origin in nature, with the soul of blood by the Adamic name. And, sociologically, the “Creation of Man” qua man was a birth of Totemism. The creation of man in the Egyptian genesis is late when measured by the mythology. Atum represents the primal being who was the earliest evolved as perfect man. As Sun-God he is designated Ra in his first sovereignty, the solar mythos being last of all. This, with Atum as Supreme God in the human likeness, was preceded by the lunar and the stellar mythos; by the Mother-earth and all her Elemental Powers. We shall frequently find the time-gauge of the past in Egypt when it is nowhere else recoverable on earth.
The subject of the Hebrew beginnings is fundamentally the same, as will be seen when we can reach the root. It is the evolution of the human race from the pre-human conditions that were actual in nature and not, as alleged, the abortions of a false belief. This was the subject dramatized, danced and taught in all the mysteries of gesture-language and Totemic ceremonies by means of which the unwritten past was commemorated and indurated by ceaseless repetition of the acted drama.
The so-called Legends of Creation would be more correctly termed
the legend of human Evolution, although in a different sense from that of Darwinian development. As Semite, they came to us in the latest and least genuine form, with no clue to any true interpretation. In a Maori myth, Man was created by the God Tiki from red clay. This he kneaded with his own blood, or with red water from the swamps. Man is Atum in Egyptian, Admu in Assyrian, Adam in Hebrew; and this was the creation of the human Being discriminated from the preliminary and pre-human Beings of the Mythos and the Märchen in legendary lore. It was the soul of blood distinguished from the earlier souls or forces of the external elements, which were the six preceding the human soul as supreme one. The origins in mythology are very natural underneath the mask. Indeed, they are a hundredfold more natural than the pretended explanations of their modern misinterpreters. Primitive naturalists had only the light of nature for guidance, and by this they went.
The creation of man, or, as the earlier versions have it, of men and women, was mystical in one sense, in another it is Totemic. As before said, the history of the race might be roughly divided into pre-Totemic and Totemic, pre-human and human. This, when reflected in the mirror of Egyptian Mythology, is pre-Atumic, or, in the Semitic version, pre-Adamic and Adamic. The same legend of a later origin for mankind is also Mexican. When there were no human beings on the earth certain of the lower powers solicited help from the supreme gods in the work of creation, or of a re-beginning. They are instructed to collect the remains of the former race, and these will be vivified by the blood of the Gods. In this version the god who plays the part of Atum, Adam, or Belus procures a bone from the burial-place, and on this the gods drop the blood drawn from their own bodies. Whereupon there is a new creation, namely, that of mankind. (Mendieta, Hist. Ecl. Ind., p. 77.) Here, as elsewhere, the human soul of blood is derived from source as male instead of from the earlier motherhood. So in the Book of Genesis the second creation of Adam is based upon the bone called a rib which is extracted from the male.
It is in Atum, the Son of Ptah, that man was perfected. In him the Matriarchate is completely superseded by the Father-Right or derivation from the Fatherhood. Now the change in the human descent from the Mother-blood to the Father-blood is obviously commemorated in the mysteries or ceremonial rites of the Arunta. In the operation of young-man-making two modes of cutting are performed upon the boy by which he becomes a man and a tribal father. The first of these is commonly known as circumcision, or lartna, by the Arunta; the other ceremony of initiation, which comes later, is the rite of sub-incision called ariltha. The second cutting is necessary for the completion of the perfect man. Indeed, some of the more stalwart young men undergo the cruel rite a second or even a third time (N.T., p. 257.) to prove their manhood. With this trial-test the youth becomes a man; a fathership is founded, and, as certain customs show, the Motherhood is in a measure cast off at the time or typically superseded by the fatherhood. Nature led the way for the opening-rite performed upon the female, therefore we conclude that this preceded the operation performed upon the men, and we
suggest that this was a custom established, like that of couvade, in the course of commemorating the change from the Matriarchate to the Father-right.
The rite is Inner African. It is universally practised by the Fan (or Fang) Tribes. An uncircumcised native is not considered as a man either for fighting, working, or inheriting, but is regarded as a nonentity and not allowed to marry. The rite proves the reality of manhood. (Nassau, Fetishism in West Africa, p. 12.)
We have previously traced the custom of couvade to Ptah, and now propose to trace the rite of ariltha or sub-incision to the full-formed father Atum, who was his son. When the Arunta perform the rite of sub-incision, which follows that of the primary operation, a slit is cut in the penis right down to the root. The natives have no idea as to the origin of the practice. (N.T., p. 263.) But as the practice proves, it is performed as an assertion of manhood, and is a mode of making the boy into a man, or creating man. Now, at this time it was customary to cast the Motherhood aside by some significant action, that is at the time when the fathership is established in the initiation ceremony. And in the Arunta rite of sub-incision the operating Mura first of all cuts out an oval-shaped piece of skin (from the male member) which he flings away. (p. 257.) The oval shape is an emblem of the female all the world over, and this we take to be another mode of rejecting the mother and of attributing begettal to the father, as it was attributed in the creation by Atum-Ra, who was both male and female (as the one All-Parent). The human soul was preceded by the elemental forces of external nature which were typified in a tradition that is universal. The soul that followed these as human was then born of blood, at first of Mother-blood, the blood of Isis, which was followed by a creation from the Father-blood. In the Babylonian legend concerning the generation of mankind attributed to Oannes by Berosos, the beginning is with hideous beings in the abyss, which are described as human figures mixed with the shapes of beasts. “The person who was supposed to have presided over them was a woman named Omoroca.” This is the Great Mother who at first was Mother-earth. “Belus came and cut the woman asunder,” which in Totemism is the dividing of the one woman, or the type in two. At the same time he destroyed the animals in the abyss. Thus the pre-human period was succeeded by the Matriarchate and the two female Ungambikula, who in the Arunta tradition cut and carved the rudimentary creatures into Totemic men and women. Then Belus the deity “cut off his own head: upon which the other gods mixed the blood with the earth; and from thence men were formed.” Thus the source of life, or a soul of blood was changed from the female to the male deity who in the Egyptian theology is Atum-Ra, or Tum, the image of created man, or of man who was created from the soul of blood that is at first female and afterwards was fathered on the male. This creation of man or Tum is represented in the “Book of the Dead” (ch. XVII). The God, as Father, takes the Mother’s place; the Matriarchate terminates in the mythology of Egypt. Tum is described as giving birth to Hu and Sa, as the children of Him who now unites the Father with the Mother as divinity in one person.
Hu denotes matter, Sa (or Ka) signifies spirit. This creation, then, is from blood and spirit; “the double primitive essence” first assigned to Ptah. The change from the Mother-blood to the Father-source is the same in the Kamite legend as in the Semitic version, but the modus operandi was different. Belus produces the blood by cutting off his own head, whereas in the Ritual Father Atum draws the blood from the genitalia of a divine being who is both male and female blended in the formation of the Father-Mother, from whom the soul of blood was now derivable. The drops of blood are described as issuing from the person of Atum when he performed the rite of “sub-incision” or of mutilation on himself in the generation now attributed to the solar deity, considered to be male as well as female, or, finally, male instead of female. Thus the Arunta are still performing a blood-covenant in the rite of ariltha on the male which is attributed to Atum-Ra in the Egyptian mythos and by which he demonstrates the parentage of the children Hu and Sa, in the course of changing the descent from the Matriarchate to the Patriarchate. The primitive essence of human life was blood derived from the female source, with Nature herself for the witness. In the later biology it was derived from the “double primitive essence” of Ptah that was continued in Atum and his two children Hu and Sa. Thus the basis of being was shifted from the Mother-blood to that of blood and spirit assigned to the Fatherhood.
From the “cutting” of the male member now attributed to Atum-Ra we infer that the rite of circumcision and of sub-incision was a mode of showing the derivation from the human father in supersession of the Motherhood, and that in the Arunta double-cutting the figure of the female was added to the member of the male. Nor is this suggestion without corroboration. In his ethnological studies (p. 180.) Dr. Roth explains that “in the Pitta-Pitta and cognate Boulia dialects the term Me-Ko ma-ro denotes “the man with a Vulva,” which shows that the oval slit WAS cut upon the penis as a figure of the female and a mode of assuming the Motherhood. In the Hebrew Book of Genesis this carving of the female figure on the person of the male–in the second creation–has been given the legendary form of cutting out the woman from the body of the male. Adam is thus imaged in the likeness of the biune Parent. The foundation of Jewish Monotheism was laid in the blood of the new covenant which followed the cult of the female. It is noticeable that when the Jewish child is circumcised it is said of him that he is made to “enter into the covenant of Abraham,” that is of the Great Father in Israel. Moreover, the man who stands sponsor as the godfather is called the Master of the Covenant. (Godwyn, Moses and Aaron, p. 216.) This may possibly explain the re-circumcising of the children of Israel. If, as the history asserts, they dedicated to the female in the earlier time and were afterwards circumcised in a covenant made with the deity as God the father, re-circumcising would be a means of denoting a change in the rite, when the people were circumcised on the Hill of Foreskins. “And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise” (Joshua, ch. V, 2, 4). The two covenants would thus tally with the two forms of the ceremony performed in first circumcision by the Arunta and in sub-incision, which is re-circumcising in