fringe which she wore as a cover for her nakedness. In death the little apron is purposely left upon her body with the strings untied, so that if the poor thing should rise up with a desire to return, her only bit of clothing will fall from her, and she will be forced, from delicacy of feeling, to crouch down again in shame and confusion, and thus be unable to show herself to the living. (Fison, Notes on Fijian Burial Customs.)
Now it was known that no Fijian corpse had ever risen and returned from the tomb. It was also known that the consciousness thus appealed to was not that of the corpse. This therefore was an appeal in Sign-language pathetically made to the Manes or spirit of the departed not to come back and trouble the living. When the bodies of the dead (or living) were buried at the base of a building, it was not for any service that could be rendered by the rotting body, but for the spirit to become a protecting power. In Siam when a new city gate was erected the first four or eight people passing were seized and buried beneath it as “guardian angels.” Under the gates of Mandalay human victims were buried alive to furnish “spirit watchers.” Everywhere the spirit or ghost, not the corpse, is the object of religious regard. And as no corpse was ever known by any race of people to return from the grave, the practices that were intended to prevent the dead from coming back were not aimed at the corpse, to whom they did not apply, but to the alleged living consciousness of the spirit that was represented by the double. Hence the custom of eating or of burying the victim whilst alive.
Brough Smyth describes a Birraark or medium as lying on his stomach beside the dead body whilst speaking to the sprit of the deceased, receiving and reporting the messages given to him by the dead man (Aborigines of Australia, vol. I, 107). The Birraark of the Kurnai were declared to be initiated into their mysteries by the spirits or mrarts whom they met in the bush, and it was from the spirits of the dead they obtained their replies when they were consulted by members of the tribe (ibid., p. 254). Spirits of the dead appear to the living and address them in their own language, as when the Eskimo mother comes back to her boy by day to cheer him and says, “Be not afraid; I am thy mother, and love thee still” (Crantz, vol. I, 209). The Mandan Indians arrange the skulls of their dead in a circle. The widows know the skulls of their former husbands, and the mothers know the skulls of their children. The skulls so placed form the spirit-circle in which the women sit for intercourse with the souls of the departed. “There is scarcely an hour in a pleasant day but more or less of these women may be seen sitting or lying by the skull of their child or husband, talking to it in the most pleasant and endearing language that they can use (as they were wont to do in former days), and seemingly getting an answer back” (Catlin, N. A. Indians, vol. I, p. 90). John Tanner bears witness to the reality of these phenomena amongst the Indian Medamen. He was himself inducted into the state of abnormal seership, and saw a spirit in the shape of a young man, who said to him, “I look down upon you at all times, and it is not necessary you should call me with such loud cries.” (Narration, p. 189, New York, 1830.) The Marian Islanders held that the spirits of the dead returned to talk with them.
The dead bodies of their ancestors were desiccated and kept in their huts for the purpose of spirit-communion, and oracles were supposed to be given from their skulls. This tends to identify at least one motive for making and preserving the mummy. A custom of the Acagchemen Indians is peculiarly enlightening in relation to totemic spiritualism. At seven years of age the children are, or used to be, thrown into a trance by the medicine-men in order that they might learn from their spirit guides which of the zootypes, beast, bird, reptile, or what not, was to be adopted for the child’s own personal totem. This, according to the present reading of the data, was a mode of identifying the particular power represented by the totemic zootype, and a means of affiliating the child, now become an individual, to the power (the later god) for the protection thus sought, and this power was figured and visualized by the totemic zootype. Thus the personal totem which was seen by the child in trance was a prototype of the spiritual support extended to the novice by a protector in the spirit world. So when the Inoit novice had prepared his body to become the temple of some spirit, he would call upon the genius (or ka) to take up its abode with him. The spirit invoked sends some totemic animal, an otter or badger or other zootype, for him to kill and flay and clothe himself with the skin. By this means he is supposed to obtain the power of running wild or of making his transformation into the animal that images the superhuman power. The tongue of the beast is then cut out and worn as the medicine, the fetish, charm, or gree-gree of the initiate. This again, to all appearance, is equivalent to the Child-Horus becoming the Word.
We now turn to the chief human agent in the production of abnormal phenomena, namely, the spiritual medium. As usual, we make use of the Egyptian wisdom for guidance in the past. A human soul had been discreted and discriminated from the animistic and totemic souls and personalized in Horus as the Child of the Blood-Mother. This was Horus in the flesh, or in matter. A divine soul was then imaged as the Horus who had died and risen again in spirit from the dead. The powers previously extant had been united and continued as “the Seven Souls of Ra.” We read of these in the Ritual, where they are the seven elemental powers that were divinized as the “Ancestors of Ra,” those who preceded him in time, but are now “in his following.” (Rit., ch. 178, 22, 34, 180, 36.) Ra is the self-originated invisible and eternal being, the father in spirit who is not to be apprehended save through the mediumship of Horus the son; that is, Horus in spirit who bears witness for the father in his resurrection from the dead by testifying to the hidden source of an eternal life, the Horus who says in the Ritual, ch. 42, “I am the Everlasting One: Witness of Eternity is my name.” In him the human Horus divinized in death became the spirit medium of the father-god. Ra the Holy Spirit was now the source of a divine descent for human souls, who were consequently higher in status than the earlier gods that were but elemental powers, and higher than the mother-soul which had been incarnated in the human Horus. These were ever-living souls, and born immortals, who were looked upon in many lands as divine beings manifesting in the human form. A spirit that lived for ever was now the supreme
type of the human soul. The king who never dies, that is, the divine personage in human form, now took the place of the turtle that never died, or the Bull of Eternity, or any other totemic type of the elemental and pre-human soul. The king who never dies impersonates the immortal in man, who was the royal Horus in the Kamite eschatology. “The king is dead, long live the king!” is an ancient doctrine of human Horus dying to rise again as royal Horus the ever-living, who was the typical demonstrator of a life eternal as Horus the born immortal. The king who ever lives is a human figure of the immortal born from the dead. Egyptian kings were not directly deified. The human Ra was an image of the divine Ra, a likeness of the superhuman power. In various texts the Pharaoh is called the ka of the god, the image and likeness, and to that the worship was indubitably directed. It was as the living representative of divinity that the Ra or Pharaoh was adored by the Egyptians. In this character the king himself is portrayed in the act of worshipping his own ka, or divine eidōlon—the god imaged within and by himself. In both cases the worship was no mere flattery of the mortal man; it was meant for the ever-living immortal. The Pharaoh was the representative of Ra on earth. So was it in Africa and beyond. The Master of Whiddah said of himself, “I am the equal of God; such as you behold me, I am his complete portrait” (Allen and Thompson’s Narrative, vol. I, 228). This as Egyptian would be the ka-image of the god. The person who, as reckoned, now inherited a soul that was thought to be immortal verily shared in a nature that was superior to any of the elemental forces, such as those of wind and earth and water, even the sun, or the blood of Isis, the highest of them all; and over these the spirit-born, or second-born, assumed the mastery or claimed supremacy. They themselves were of spiritual origin, and as spirits they were superhuman on a higher plane than any merely animistic powers, who, like the Polynesian Tuikilakila Chief of Somosomo, also claimed to be a god. Mendieta in his report of the Mexican gods tells us: “Others said that only such men had been taken for gods who transformed themselves or (who) appeared in some other shape and did or spake something while in that shape beyond (the ordinary) human power” (Mendieta, Historia Ecclest. Indiana, 1870, p. 84). The Mexicans were here speaking of their trance-mediums. They entered the state of trance for their transformation, and in that condition manifested superhuman or spiritual powers that were looked upon as divine. Amongst all races of people such men were divinized under whatsoever name, as mediums, mediators, and links betwixt two worlds. In this phase the transformers were those who entered the state of trance. This asserted superiority over the powers of the elements is one cause of the claims made by or accredited to the divine mediums, preposterous enough at times, with regard to their superhuman control of the elements as rain-makers and rulers of the weather. The supernormal faculty of the seer and sorcerer is the sole root of reality from which the fiction springs. The Mexican kings, on assuming the sovereignty, were sworn to make the sun shine, the clouds to give forth rain, the rivers to flow, and the earth to produce abundantly (Bancroft, vol. II, 146). The Inoit Angekok has to
play the part of “great provider” to the people, as master of the elements on which plenty of food depends, the water for fish and the air for returning birds of passage. Such mediums were a sort of titular, not actual, masters over the elemental powers, as a result of their asserted higher origin. A line of priest-kings founded on this basis of divinity was at one time extant in the island of Niué, in the South Pacific. Being the representative of deity, the monarch was made responsible for the growth of food, and in times of dearth he was put to death because of a failure in the crops. So exigent were the people that at last no one would consent to become king, and so the monarchy expired. (Turner, Samoa.)
The immortal in man being more immediately demonstrated by spiritual manifestation and the abnormal phenomena of trance and interior vision, the mediums were the first divine persons who demonstrated the facts of spirit existence and spirit intercourse. And such were the earliest born immortals. They had the witness within. But those who were not mediums had to attain assurance as best they could; they had to make use of the others. Paul speaks of not being certain of his own immortality. But he presses on to see if by any means he may attain to the resurrection from the dead. This led to a doctrine of conditional immortality that was universal, and to a theory of the mediums or mediators being divine personages or born immortals, like the second Horus, who was the first fruits of them that previously slept. The earliest guidance then was spiritual on this ground. The aboriginal priest-king or divine person was looked to as a ruler and leader in this world on account of his abnormal relationship to the other. He was the demonstrator of a soul that was the first considered to be ever-living. This divine descent was based upon the derivation from the god in spirit who was now superior to all other gods, and who in the Egyptian religion is Ra the Holy Spirit. The three highest ranks in Egypt were the divine, the royal, and the noble, and the three were distinguished from each other by their peculiar type of beard. Thus the loftiest rank was spiritual, and this primacy originated not in men becoming bishops, but in their possessing those spiritual powers and faculties which have been repudiated and expurgated by the Churches of orthodox Christianity, but which were looked upon of old as verily divine. We also learn from Synesius’s Logos Aiguptios, quoted by Heeren (Ideen, vol. II, Egypt, p. 335), that in electing a monarch, whereas the vote of a soldier was reckoned as one, the vote of a prophet or seer was counted as one hundred. The Egyptian priesthood pre-eminently exemplifies the idea that the incarnating power made use of certain persons as sacred agents, male or female, for such a purpose. Hence the higher order of priests were known as fathers in god. They were supposed to share in the divine nature, with power to communicate the holy spirit to others who desired to partake of its benefits. The insufflation of the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands by modern religious impostors who do but parody the ancient custom without knowledge is a relic of the sacred rite. The spiritualistic medium was originally revered not because he was a priest or king, not on account of his earthly office, but because of his being an intercessor with the superhuman powers on behalf of mortals. Among the Zulu Kaffirs the
mere political chief has been known to steal the medicines and fetish charms, the information and the magical vessel of the diviner and seer, on purpose to confer the sacred authority on himself and then to put the spiritual ruler to death and take his place, which is similar to the method of the Christians in getting rid of the pagans and stealing the appurtenances of their religion, and ruling without their “open vision.” Among the Hottentots the “greatest and most respected old men of the clan” are the seers and prophesiers, or the mediums of spirit intercourse. Their practical religion, says Dr. Hahn, consists of a “firm belief in sorcery and the arts of the living medicine-man on the one hand, and on the other belief in and adoration of the powers of the dead” (Hahn, Tsuni Goam, p. 24). That is the religion of all ancient spiritualism distinguished from animism, and it is universal amongst the aboriginal races. The spirits of the dead are accepted as operative realities. They are dreaded or adored according to the mental status of the spiritualists, and the sorcerers, magi, the medicine-men, the witches, and witch doctors are the spirit mediums employed as the accepted and established means of communication. Also witches, wizards, sorcerers, shamans, and other abnormals who had the power of going out of the body in this life were feared all the more after death by many tribes because they had demonstrated the facts which caused such fear and terror; they had also been their exorcists and layers of the ghost whose protective influence was now lost to the living. One way of denoting that such beings were heavenly or of divine descent was signified by the custom of not allowing them to touch the ground with their feet. This was not an uncommon kind of tabu applied to the divine personage as representative of the god. It was a mode of showing that he was not of the earth earthy, and therefore he was heavenly, or something betwixt the earth and heaven, like Horus, who was “the connecting link” in spirit (Rit., ch. 42). It was because he was reckoned of divine descent that the king or other form of the ruler was not allowed to show the ordinary signs of age, decay, and decrepitude, nor to die a natural death like any mere mortal, but was put to death in his prime whilst robust and vigorous, and, as the saying is, “full of spirit.” The Japanese Mikado was carried on men’s shoulders because it was detrimental to his divinity for him to go afoot. One account of him says, “It was considered as a shameful degradation for him even to touch the ground with his foot” (Pinkerton’s Voyages and Travels, vol. VII, p. 613). These were the divine kings, like the Egyptian Ank, the everlasting ones, the born immortals among men. This mode of doing honour and conferring dignity has its survivals in the custom of “chairing” or carrying the hero of the hour on the shoulders of those whose desire is to elevate him beyond a footing of equality with themselves on common ground; also in the practice of taking the horses out of the hero’s carriage, when human beings take the place and position of the beasts.
It may be that there were other reasons than the one assigned upon a previous page for the crucial seclusion of the girls at the period of puberty. It is probable that they were at the same time initiated in the mysteries of mediumship. Seeing that it was a practice for pubescent lads to be initiated into the mysteries of seership and made mediums
of at the time they were made into men, it is more than probable that the girls were also inducted into the mysteries of trance at the time of their pubescent transformation. This would explain the extreme length of time during which the girls were often secluded from all eyes save those of their female overseers. We hear of the boys being kept in their isolation and practised upon until they did see. Why not the girls? Clairvoyance was “the vision and the faculty divine,” the “beatific vision” of all the early races. It was sought for and cultivated, prized and protected, as the most precious of all human gifts, and the possessor was held to be divine. The girls who were secluded for the serpent’s visit would, as spirit mediums, become the oracles of the serpent wisdom, and as mediums they would attain to primitive divinity. Moreover, when the typical serpent visits the Basuto virgin her limbs are plastered over with white clay and her face is covered by a mask. This denotes her transformation into a superior being of a spiritual order, which she would become as a spirit medium. This suggestion finds support from a story that is told by the Kirgis of Siberia. The daughter of a khan was kept shut up in a dark iron house so that no man might look upon her. She was attended by an old woman. When the girl attained her maidenhood she said to the old woman, “Where do you go so often?” “My child,” said the old woman, “there is a bright world. In that bright world your father and mother live, and all sorts of people dwell; that is where I go.” Obviously this other world was entered in the state of trance as well as at the time of death. The maiden said, “Good mother, I will tell nobody, but show me that bright world.” So the old woman took the girl out of the dark iron house. But when the girl saw the bright world she fainted and fell. And the eye of God fell on her and she conceived. This was evidently in the hypnotic swoon that was induced by the aged woman, who thus initiated the maiden into the mysteries of mediumship at the period of her puberty. (Radloff, W., cited in The Golden Bough, vol. II, p. 237.)
According to Mansfield Parkyns, the greater number of the mediums or possessed persons among the Abyssinians were women. It is the same to-day in modern spiritual phenomena. Also in ancient Egypt the woman was held to be the superior medium as seer and diviner. Duff Macdonald (vol. I, p. 61) says of the Yao people: “Their craving for clearer manifestations of the deity is satisfied through the prophetess. She may be the principle wife of the chief. In some cases a woman without a husband will be set apart for the god (or spirit). The god comes to her with his commands at night. She delivers the message in a kind of ecstasy. She speaks (as her name implies) with the utterance of a person raving with excitement. During the night of the communication her ravings are heard resounding all over the village.” It was as a medium for spirit communication that the witch or wise woman attained her preeminence in the past and her evil character in the present. Witchcraft is but the craft of wisdom; witches were the wise in a primitive sense and in ways considered to be magical for assignable reasons. But witchcraft and wizardry, magic and “miracle,” would be meaningless apart from primitive spiritualism. The witch as abnormal seer and revealer was the most ancient form of the mother’s wisdom. The
spirit medium was the nearest approach to a human divinity. He or she was the born immortal who demonstrated the existence in this life of a soul or spirit beyond or outside of the body for a life hereafter. And as he or she was the demonstrator of that soul, they were the first to be accredited with the possession of such a soul, and this possession constituted him or her as born immortal. The Tongans hold that it is not everyone who possesses a spiritual part capable of living a separate existence in Bolutu, the Tongan Amenta. Only the Egi or chiefs are credited with the possession of enduring souls in the life on earth. The status of these souls of the nobles is well shown when it is said they cannot return to earth in the old totemic guise of lizards, water-snakes, or porpoises. Not these, but the ghost, or double, is the one witness for the ever-living souls. (Mariner, Tonga Islands, vol. II, pp. 99-105.) The Fijians, amongst others, declare that only the select few have souls which are inherently immortal. Thus, when the ordinary Egyptian entered Amenta he, like Paul, was by no means certain of his enduring soul. This had to be attained, and his pilgrimage and progress to that end are portrayed in the drama of the Ritual, as will be hereafter shown. It is quite common for the old dark races to be despised and badly treated by the more modern as the people who have no souls. They are not looked upon as human beings, but are denounced as wild beasts, reptiles, monkeys, dog-men, men with tails, and it is here explained how it was they had no souls. They were the preliminary people, who only had totemic souls which were born of the elements and only represented the elemental or pre-human soul. An arresting instance is mentioned by Howitt in which a group of the Australian aborigines ceased to use their own totemic name and called their children after a celebrated seer or medium. In doing this they were affiliating the fatherless ones to a higher type than that of the old totemic elemental soul. This was the soul whose origin was held to be divine, as demonstrated by the supranormal faculties of the Birraark or spirit medium. The Incas of Peru were a superior race, who had souls, whereas the aborigines were looked down upon as the people without souls. The Incas, on account of this superior soul, were also born immortals or the ever-living ones, whose name of the Inca agrees with that of the Egyptian Ank, the king, or the Ankh, as the ever-living. Such persons did not originate in kings and emperors or as earthly rulers merely mortal. Under whatsoever personal title or type, the divine or semi-divine character was primarily derived from intercourse with spirits or the gods, and the consequent extension of human faculty in the abnormal phase of mediumship. The people of East Central Africa, says Santos (1586), “regard their king as the favourite of the souls of the dead, and think that he learns from them all that passes in his dominions. This identifies the king in this case with the spiritual medium, and points to the origin of the priest-king in the same character. The Fitaure of the Senegambian Sereres, who is the chief and priest in one, is a spiritual medium, with power over the souls of the living and the spirits of the dead. “Every West African tribe,” says Miss Kingsley, “has a secret society—two, in fact, one for men, one for women. Every free man has to pass through the secret society of his tribe. If during
this education the elders of the society discover that a boy is what is called in Calabar an ebumtup (a medium), a person who can see spirits, they advise that he should be brought up to the medical profession.” (Kingsley, W. A. S., p. 214.) In Kimbunda the Sova or chief is the religious centre of his tribe. He is their wise man, their seer, their supreme man of abnormal powers. The religion, according to Magyar, consists in making sacrifices to the ghosts of their ancestors, the richest offerings being made to the Sova. The faculty of seeing and foreseeing formed the basis of their power over the common people. The mchisango or witch-doctor of the Yao and other Central African tribes, who is called by Stanley the “gourd-and-pebble man,” is the person sought by the people in all their profoundest perplexities. The man of mental medicine still keeps his place and holds his own against the doctors who deal in physics (Africana, vol. I, p. 43). He invokes his spirits by means of a rattle made of a dried gourd with small pebbles inside it. “Some of these diviners,” says the Rev. Duff Macdonald, “are the most intelligent men in the country.” The same account is given by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen of the Arunta spirit mediums and medicine-men in Central Australia.
The divine man was the diviner, the seer, the sorcerer, the spirit medium with all the early races. In the Marquesan and the South Sea Islands the divine man was supreme, whether he was a priest, a king, or only a person of inferior birth and station. If he had the supernormal faculty, the mana, he was the human representative of divinity on that account. “Among the Solomon Islanders,” says Mr. Codrington (J. Anth. Inst., X, 3), “there is nothing to prevent any man becoming a chief, if he can show that he is in possession of the mana—that is, the abnormal, mediumistic, or supernormal power.” The Egyptian magical power will explain the mana of the Melanesians, described by Dr. Codrington as a power derived from all the powers of nature that were recognized. They are not in the mental position of thinking they can derive their mana directly from a god that is postulated as the one spiritual source of power. The powers recognized in nature are various, and were recognized because they were superhuman though not supernatural. Hence their influence was solicitously sought to augment the human. The unseen powers were operant in nature from the first as elemental forces which man would like to wield if he only knew the way to gain alliance with them and to share the power. “The mana,” says Dr. Codrington, “can exist in almost anything. Disembodied souls or supernatural beings have it and can impart it, and it belongs essentially to personal beings who originate it, though it may act through the medium of water, or a stone or a bone” (p. 119). That is, it can be gathered from the powers that were pre-personal and elemental, as well as from the ancestral spirits who are personal. The Melanesian gathering his mana may be seen in the Manes of the Egyptian Ritual in the act of collecting his magical power. Here the mana is magical, and it is described as the great magic Ur-heka which is formulated for use as the word of power that can be directed at will by the Manes in possession of it. The soul of the deceased has great need of this superhuman power in his passage through Amenta. It is by means of this he opens the doors that are closed against him, makes