The light of the world


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the rites of the same people. Thus, there were two covenants, one sealed in the blood of the female, one in the blood of the male, and both were applied to the deity according to the sex.

This mode of affiliation to the male deity is likewise obvious in the legend of the Guatemalans, who besought the Quiché God Tohil to favour them with the element of fire. This he gave them on condition that they united themselves to him by drawing blood “beneath the girdle.” (Bancroft, V, 547.) That is by drawing it from the membrum virile in a covenant of blood. When they did this they received the fire from Heaven which was derived direct from God the father as begetter who was Atum-Ra in Egypt, and God the father in spirit as well as in flesh and blood.

The cause of a mystical relationship that was recognized between man and the animals may now be traced on grounds less lofty than that of the supposed divine incarnations, and more natural than that of an animistic interfusion which led to a confusion of identity and personality. The animals were first recognized as powers in themselves, but they were also adopted as the living visible symbols of elemental powers that were superior to the human as a means of representing natural phenomena. They were further adopted into the human family as Totemic types with religious rites that gave them all the sanctity of the blood-covenant and made them typically of one flesh with the human brothers. Thus they were doubly adopted; and this led to their becoming later living fetishes as the naturalized representatives of superhuman powers, though not as the direct object of human worship. The life-tie assumed between Totemic man and the Totemic animal or zootype was consciously assumed, and we can perceive by what process and on what ground the assumption was made. The zootype being adopted as a badge of distinction, the primeval coat of arms, it was a custom for the human beings to enter into a brotherhood of blood. That is, the men who were not born of the same mother, or of two sisters, could extend the natural tie of blood by a typical rite to others who were born of different mothers. In this way, the larger kin, clan, or tribe was formed on the basis of brotherhood under some totemic sign. Now if the animal becomes of kin to the human brother by virtue of a covenant intentionally made in the blood of both, that proves the kinship did not exist before. The relationship did not spring from any root in nature, or any false belief, but was ordained for the purpose, and is consequently limited to the particular beast and brotherhood. The bull is only kinsman to those whom he serves as a Totem, an image of the ancestor and a type of the fraternity. So is it with all the other zootypes which had been employed from before the time when the individual fatherhood was known. There is no necessary confusion of identity. If men had abstained from eating the animals on the ground of kinship and intercommunion of nature, because of a confusion or identification of themselves with the beasts, they ought to have abstained from eating any, whereas they ate them all in turn, exceptions being made solely on the artificial ground of the Totemic motherhood or brotherhood. The beast only became of the “same flesh” with the particular family because it had been adopted as their Totem, ancestral animal, or foster-brother of the blood-covenant, and
not on account of any belief that they descended from this or the other non-human parent with a different progenitor for every separate group. Even in the human relationship the being “of one flesh” shows that the system represents a later extension of the same family that first derived from one mother, the mode of extension being by the blending of blood, the re-birth, the drinking of the covenant, and eating of the fetish. But there was nothing promiscuous in this arrangement, which had been made on purpose to avoid promiscuity. They did eat, and did not tolerate being eaten by, each other’s Totems. The relationship of men with beasts was most deliberately adopted, and the partnership was held with the strictest regard to the law of limited liability. Thus the blood-brotherhood with the beasts was not based on any belief that they were on a level with the human being, nor on any mental confusion respecting their oneness of nature. At least it was not that which first rendered the animals tabu, or made them sacred to men.

The typical character of the Totemic animal was continued in various ways; putting on the skin was a mode of assimilating the wearers to the powers beyond the beast, the superhuman forces which the animals represented in visible symbolry. Hence on going to battle they wore the skins and acted the rôle of the animals, birds, and reptiles, as their link of alliance with the superhuman nature-powers that were over all. In like manner the God Shu, the warrior of the gods, the Egyptian Mars, does battle whilst wearing the superhuman power of the Lioness on his head—and the moon-god, Taht-Aan, is clothed with the power of the great Ape, the ideograph of superhuman rage, when he fights against the demons of darkness by night on behalf of the suffering Solar God. The mage or medicine-man was wrapped up in the skin of the Totemic beast for the purpose of communing with the spirits of the dead. Thus the trance, the transformer, and the transformation, the beast, the nature-power, and the human ghost, got mixed up together. Such being the fact, it is easy to identify the foundation of the faith of ignorant belief that the medicine-men had everywhere the power of transforming into wolves, hyænas, or tigers themselves; and that belief would cause the fear lest they should apply this power of metamorphosis to others, and ultimately create a belief in their power to transform human beings into animal shapes. The only veritable power of metamorphosis possessed by the ancient medicine-men or mages, the witches or wizards, was that of inducing the condition of trance either in others or in themselves. This was and is a fact in Nature with which the primitive races were profoundly well acquainted. But those who are ignorant of such phenomena will be apt to mistake a surface appearance for the underlying reality, and must find it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between the true cause and a false belief. In the mysteries they changed place and shape and nature with the beasts of prey. They masked themselves in the skins of animals, reptiles, and birds, and sat at feast in those forms to devour the sacrifice when the Totemic animal was slain for the Eucharistic rite. In that way they transformed and were said to change themselves into wolves or tigers, bears or crocodiles, to partake of this most primitive rite of transubstantiation. For it did

become a religious ceremony and a mode of entering into alliance and communion with the powers first apprehended as superhuman. When the ghastly, grim reality had passed into the legendary phase we are told, as Plato tells us in the Republic, that those who ate of the human sacrifices offered to the Wolf were transformed into wolves. Herodotus likewise relates that the Neurian wizards changed themselves into wolves for a few days once a year. First, the men who ate the flesh of the Beast had changed themselves into wolves to eat it, according to the mode of masking. Next it was said that by eating human flesh men would become Were-wolves, and lastly we have the Were-wolf as a man who is supposed to turn into the wolf on purpose to devour human flesh. Such are the tricks of typology, based on the primitive simplicity and the agnostic misinterpretation of later times when the mythos passes into the fable which deposits these types of the were-wolf, the mermaid, the cockatrice, the serpent-woman, the vampire, or the ghoul. In the latest phase of this transformation and transubstantiation it is the flesh of a supposed historical personage that is eaten and his blood that is drunk with the view of effecting a transformation into Horus or the Christ. It was a masquerade; but the men beneath the masks originally knew that they were acting in characters which they themselves had created. They wore skins in a typical transformation; they clothed or tattooed themselves with the signs of superhuman powers for a definite purpose, and not because they were returning to the condition of beasts from which they came, or expected to be saved by doing so. The masking and metamorphosis were but modes of the mysteries which included the mystery of Trance. This primitive drama is not yet played out. The rites and doctrines are also to be identified at times as survivals in religious ritual. A startling illustration may be seen in a collection of English hymns (1754), where these lines occur:—

“What greater glory could there be

Than to be clothed with God?

He drew His skin upon my skin,

His blood upon my blood.”

The skin is likewise assumed by the Manes as their Totem in the other life, different ideas being expressed by different kinds of skin. In the Ritual (ch. 145, 31) the speaker who has just been baptized and anointed in process of regeneration when he transforms into the likeness of Horus the adult says he has the skin of a Cat for his badge. The cat being a seer in the dark, the skin shows that he is no longer as the sightless Horus, but is the Horus with the second sight or beatific vision. With the Red Indians the skin of the Totemic animal is placed at the side of a man who is dead or dying. It has also been stuffed at times and hung above the grave. The sign is the same for the dead man as for the dead animal. In each instance the skin means renewal, repetition, resurrection for another life. It has been a common custom for the dead to be buried in the skin of an animal, or in shoes or boots made from the skin of an animal. When Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral his boots were taken with him to the tomb, and in a sense he was buried in the skin. The significance of the skin is everywhere the

same. The slipper thrown after the newly-wedded has the same meaning. Leather is made from the skin that denotes a renewal of life, and the act expresses the desire for the couple to be blest with children. We have seen that the skin was equivalent to the animal as a type of renewal. This may afford us a clue to the custom of swearing oaths in making covenants on the skin, which would be like swearing by the future life, the hope of immortality, or “by the eternal God.” The earliest masks were formed of the head and skin of the Totemic zootype. They also represented the invisible powers, and finally became the heads of goddesses and gods. Masks were assumed when deities or spirits were represented in the mysteries. Thus, when a mask is put on by the Inoit girl at the time of her first menstrualia it denotes the presence of the Nature-power that reveals itself in this particular way as one of the mysteries of Nature. The masks that were worn in certain mysteries were derived from the Totemic zootypes, not from the human face. Hence their superhuman ugliness at times. These masks were used as portraits of the powers beyond the Totem, and in the Inoit mysteries, when the controlling spirit of a Shaman was consulted, it was customary for the mask which represented the particular power invoked to be laid upon the Shaman’s face, and this mask was the skin of a victim that moment killed. (Réclus, Prim. Folk, Eng. tr., p. 87.) A tribe of the hill-men near Darjeeling, in India, still retain the huge and hideous masks that represent the powers of Nature. These are worn on the heads of priests when performing their elaborate religious rites. One of these images the god who looks after their spears and helps to drive them home. Which shows the character of the masks as effigies of the Nature-powers is not forgotten. (Paragraph and picture in the London Daily Mail, Nov. 20, 1896.) We have seen that the change made by the young girl into an animal at puberty was an origin of wearing the mask. This we assume to have been primary. Next, the practice was continued in Matriarchal Totemism. Then the customs of cutting in sub-incision, of wearing the skin, and of becoming the Totemic beast, are applied to the male in the later mysteries of young-man-making.

The Totemic mysteries survived as eschatological in the Osirian religion. For example, when Horus the child, who was born of the Mother only, under the divine Matriarchate, makes his transformation into Horus the adult, who rises from the dead in Amenta, it is in the character of the Anointed son of the Father. Anointing had then become the mode of showing the Glory of the Father in the person of the Son. This was imaged with the holy oil upon the face of Horus. He who had been Horus the mortal in the flesh, is now Horus in spirit personalized and established as the Anointed Son. The typical Anointed originated as the youth who was made a man of at the period of puberty, at which time the Mother’s child assumed the likeness of the father at the time of his Totemic rebirth. The boy who was initiated into the mysteries of the Australian Blacks was equally made the Anointed in however primitive a fashion. When his probation terminated, and the stringent rules of his novitiate were relaxed, he was rubbed by an old man with fat that was taken from the Totemic animal which was previously forbidden food. He

was not permitted to eat the female of any animal, nor the emu, that primordial Mother-Totem, and he becomes a free man by having the fat of the animal smeared over his face. In fact he is made a figure of the Anointed. The Kurnai youth was made a free man of when anointed with fat. With the Adamanese the bodies of the initiates are smeared over with the melted fat of pork and turtle in the ceremony of free-man-making. (E. H. Man, Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, p. 62.) The boy was anointed when he made his change into the adult. Horus was anointed when he transformed from the mortal Horus to the Horus in spirit who rose again from the dead. And this anointing is still practised in the extreme unction of the Roman Catholic rite that is administered when the dying are about to pass into the future life. This again correlates with, and is a survival of, the aboriginal custom of placing a lump of fat in the mouth of the dead, by which act they were made into a form of the Anointed preparatory to their resurrection. The mummies exhumed at Deir el-Bahari show that the faces had been painted and anointed for burial. “The thick coats of colour which they still bear are composed of ochre, carmine (or pounded brick) and animal fat.” (Maspero, Dawn of Civilisation, Eng. tr., p. 54, note 5.) These are also forms of the Anointed One, who was made so by extreme unction more primitively applied to Osiris the Karast-Mummy.

The art of Tattooing was likewise a Totemic mode of Sign-language. This also corroborates the feminine origin of the signs, as when some of the aborigines such as the Ainu of Japan, and the Siberian Chukchi, only tattooed their women. “Tattoo the women and not the men,” is the command that was given in the Wisdom of Manihiki. The Totem is sometimes tattooed on the person of the clansman, as it was by the Iroquois, the Ojibways, and other tribes of the Red Men. The Indians of San Juan Capistrano practised a peculiar mode of tattoo. A figure of the personal Totem was made of crushed herbs on the right arm of the novice. The paste was then set on fire and the figure of the Totem burned into the flesh. At an earlier stage before the art of tattoo had been mastered it was the custom to cut the flesh and raise cicatrices to pattern. This was especially practised by the Australian aborigines, and the tribal badges thus figured in the flesh were sometimes representations of the Totem. (Kamilaroi and Kurnai, by Fison and Howitt, p. 66.) Herbert Ward, who suffered the ceremony of establishing the covenant of blood-brotherhood with Mata Mwiki, a Bangala chief, in 1886, found that the skin of the Bangalas was tattooed or slashed and cicatriced in conformity with the Totemic or tribal pattern and that the patterns varied with the different tribes. (Herbert Ward, Five Years with the Congo Cannibals, 1890.) The Esquimaux indicate the particular Inoit tribe by different ways of trimming the hair; the women by the figures tattooed on their faces. The Aleuts at one time tattooed the figures of birds and fishes upon their skins. The women told Hall that they tattooed their faces as a mark of high distinction. It was so, as a sign of womanhood. The custom of tattooing the Totemic token upon the body may be traced in survival through all

the later mysteries as a mode of identifying the initiates with their particular community. It is more than probable that the habit of the ancient Britons mentioned by Roman writers in staining their bodies with woad really refers to the system of Totemic Tattoo, as is indicated by the description of the Picts found in Claudian’s De Bello Getico (XXIV, 417-18), “ferroque notatas porlegit examines Picto moriente figuras.” This is shown by an initial letter in the Book of Kells—a facsimile of which has been published by the Palæographical Society, containing the figure of a man quite naked, the body being covered all over with significant marks just as the hieroglyphics are described by Boece, who affirms that in “all their secret business the ancient Britons wrote with cyphers and figures of beasts made in manner of letters” which he identifies with the hieroglyphics of Egypt. Thus the woad-bedaubed men stigmatized as savages become the more intelligent illustrators of Totemic times and customs who wore the stigmata of Tattoo, and the Picts or painted men are the men who carried the Totemic marks either painted or branded on the living book of their own bodies. They were not merely dyeing their flesh for decoration, but making figures for use that could be read by others at sight. Even the raising of cicatrices in the flesh which preceded tattooing was an Egyptian custom. On the bas-reliefs of the Temples at Philæ and Ombos the bosoms of goddesses and queens are scored with long incisions which, starting from the circumference, united in the centre round the nipple of the breast. (Maspero.)

In Totemism the Mother and Motherhoods, the Sisters and Sisterhoods, the Brothers and Brotherhoods, the girl who transformed at puberty, the Mother who was eaten as a sacrifice, the two women who were ancestresses, were all of them Human, all of them actual, in the domain of natural fact. But when the same characters have been continued in mythology, they are superhuman. The Mother and Motherhoods, the Sisters and Sisterhoods, the Brothers and Brotherhoods, have been divinized. The realities of Totemism have supplied the types to mythology as goddesses and gods that wear the heads or skins of beasts to denote their character. The Mother, as human in Totemism, was known as the Water-Cow, and this became a type that was continued, not the human Mother. The Mother as first person in the human family was first person in the Totemic sociology. Thence came the Great Mother in mythology who was fashioned in the Matriarchal mould. But with this difference: it is the human Mother underneath the mask in Totemism. It is not the human Mother who was divinized as the Great Provider in mythology. Totemism is not derived from mythology, but it has been mixed up with it because the same Sign-language was employed in both. Thus, the Mother was human in the mask of Totemism and is superhuman in the mask of mythography. This was the Great Mother who was the First Person, as the “only one,” according to the Egyptian Wisdom.

They were not seven human mothers or sisters who were constellated in the fields of Heaven as seven Hathors or seven Cows. These were the Mothers of food, who were givers of life in the form
of the Cow, when the Seven Stars in Ursa Major supplied the numerical figure of Plenty. Thus there are two kinds of Motherhoods that have to be most carefully discriminated one from the other; the first is human, the last is superhuman. The human Mother might be represented by or as the Totemic cow, serpent, frog, or vulture. Nevertheless they were not human Mothers who were divinized in those same likenesses as the Egyptian goddesses Isis, Rannut, Hekat, and Neith. But the human Mother who was eaten at the sacramental meal did supply a type of the superhuman Mother in external nature, who also gave herself as a voluntary sacrifice for human food and sustenance; the Mother of life in death who furnished the Eucharist that was eaten in the religious mysteries. The human Mother had been an actual victim, eaten as a sacrifice. The superhuman Mother or goddess was eaten typically, or by proxy. Hence she who was the giver of food and life to the world came to be eaten sacramentally and vicariously, that is, in some Totemic victim, by whose death her sacrifice was symbolically represented.

There were different types of the sacrificial victim at different stages of the Eucharist. At one stage it was the Red Calf as the type of Horus, the child. At another it was Osiris as the Bull or Ox. The victim, speaking in the Book of the Dead, exclaims, “I am the Bull of the sacrificial herd” who identifies his body with the “mortuary meal.” But in Egypt the Great Mother was eaten as the Cow that represented the goddess Hathor or Isis; also as the Sow which represented the goddess Shaat or Rerit; two of the types that were figures of the Great Mother who thus gave her body and blood for human food that was eaten as a voluntary sacrifice of her own maternal self. Herodotus notwithstanding, the cow had been a type of sacrifice in Egypt. Moreover, it was the Red Cow or Red Heifer, the same as in the Hebrew Ritual. As already shown, the Mother-types and Totems were primary and the Red Cow was a type of the Blood-Mother from the time when she was the Red Water-cow of the first Mother Apt, who was succeeded by Hathor, as the Milch-Cow.

It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the human Mother in Totemism and the Great Mother in Mythology, because the same types were employed for both. Besides which, as Earth was the bringer-forth of all living things, she was also a Mother to the human race in common with the other forms and elements of life. For instance, as the bringer-forth of life she was the Mother of animal food; the giver of grass-seed; of tubers and plants in the soil, and of food in the fruitful tree. As the Crocodile, the Serpent, the Goose, the Emu, or the Witchetty-Grub, she was the layer of the egg, and thus a Mother to be ultimately divinized as the Great Mother who was superhuman, in the Kamite Mythology; Apt, the Hippopotamus; Rerit, the Sow; Neith, the Crocodile; Rannut, the Serpent; Uati, the Papyrus; Hathor, the Fruit-tree; Isis, the Field. The human Mother was the suckler of her children. This image of Maternity was likewise given to the Earth as the Nursing-mother, who was the giver of liquid life in water. But the Earth as wet-nurse or layer of the egg for food could not be so directly rendered. Hence the need of Sign-language in the mythical repre-
sentation of superhuman phenomena. The human Mother had brought forth her children in the forest and from the cave in the rock; in consequence of which, as natural fact, the tree and the hole in the stone, or the ground, have each continued ever since to represent the human birth-place in the image of the female figured as the superhuman Mother, the Great Mother-earth. It was not the human Mother that was the object of worship or of propitiation with the offering of blood. This was the typical Mother; the Great or pregnant Mother; the Mother of food and sustenance; the Mother who for ages on ages was not imaged in the human shape because she was superhuman. In modern phraseology the primitive “seekers after God” were seekers after food and drink and physical sustenance. The Giver of these elements was the Earth itself, or herself, when depicted in the image of the Mother as the Nurse of life.

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