No introduction to Mrs. Langloh Parker's book can be more than that superfluous 'bush' which, according to the proverb, good wine does not need. Our knowledge of the life, manners, and customary laws of many Australian tribes has, in recent years, been vastly increased by the admirable works of Mr. Howitt, and of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. But Mrs. Parker treats of a tribe which, hitherto, has hardly been mentioned by anthropologists, and she has had unexampled opportunities of study. It is hardly possible for a scientific male observer to be intimately familiar with the women and children of a savage tribe. Mrs. Parker, on the other hand, has had, as regards the women and children of the Euahlayi, all the advantages of the squire's wife in a rural neighbourhood, supposing the squire's wife to be an intelligent and sympathetic lady, with a strong taste for the study of folklore and rustic custom. Among the Zulus, we know, it is the elder women who tell the popular tales, so carefully translated and edited by Bishop Colenso. Mrs. Parker has already published two volumes of Euahlayi tales, though I do not know that I have ever seen them cited, except by myself, in anthropological discussion. As they contain many beautiful and romantic touches, and references to the Euahlayi 'All Father,' or paternal 'super man,' Byamee, they may possibly have been regarded as dubious materials, dressed up for the European market. Mrs. Parker's new volume, I hope, will prove that she is a close scientific observer, who must be reckoned with by students. She has not scurried through the region occupied by her tribe, but has had them constantly under her eyes for a number of years.
My own slight share in the book as it stands ought to be mentioned. After reading the original MS., I catechised Mrs. Parker as to her amount of knowledge of the native language; her methods of obtaining information; and the chances that missionary influence had affected the Euahlayi legends and beliefs. I wrote out her answers, and she read and revised what I had written. I also collected many scattered notices of Byamee into the chapter on that being, which Mrs. Parker has read and approved. I introduced a reference to Mr. Howitt's theory of the 'All Father,' and I added some references to other authorities on the Australian tribes. Except for this, and for a very few purely verbal changes in matter of style, Mrs. Parker's original manuscript is untouched by me. It seems necessary to mention these details, as I have, in other works, expressed my own opinions on Australian religion and customary law. These opinions I have not, so to speak, edited into the work of Mrs. Parker. The author herself has remarked that, beginning as a disciple of Mr. Herbert Spencer in regard to the religious ideas of the Australians--according to that writer, mere dread of casual 'spirits'--she was obliged to alter her attitude, in consequence of all that she learned at first hand. She also explains that her tribe are not 'wild blacks,' though, in the absence of missionary influences, they retain their ancient beliefs, at least the old people do; and, in a decadent form, preserve their tribal initiations, or Boorah. How she tested and controlled the evidence of her informants she has herself stated, and I venture to think that she could hardly have made a better use of her opportunities.
In one point there is perhaps, almost unavoidably, a lacuna or gap in her information. The Euahlayi, she says, certainly do not possess the Dieri and Urabunna
[1. Making of Religion, second edition; Myth, Ritual, and Religion, second edition.]
custom of Pirrauru or Piraungaru, by which married , and unmarried men, of the classes men and women which may intermarry, are solemnly allotted to each other as more or less permanent paramours. That custom, for some unknown reason, is confined to certain tribes possessing the two social divisions with the untranslated names Matteri and Kiraru. These tribes range from Lake Eyre southward, perhaps, as far as the sea. Their peculiar custom is unknown to the Euahlayi, but Mrs. Parker does not inform us concerning any recognised licence which may, as is usual, accompany their Boorah assemblies, or their 'harvest home' of gathered grass seed, which she describes.
Any reader of Mrs. Parker's book who has not followed recent anthropological discussions, may need to be apprised of the nature of these controversies, and of the probable light thrown on them by the full description of the Euahlayi tribe. The two chief points in dispute are (1) the nature and origin of the marriage laws of the Australians; and (2) the nature and origin of such among their ideas and practices as may be styled 'religious.' As far as what we commonly call material civilisation is concerned, the natives of the Australian continent are probably the most backward of mankind, having no agriculture, no domestic animals, and no knowledge of metal-working. Their weapons and implements are of wood, stone, and bone, and they have not even the rudest kind of pottery. But though the natives are all, in their natural state, on or about this common low level, their customary laws, ceremonials, and beliefs are rich in variety.
As regards marriage rules they are in several apparently ascending grades of progress. First we have tribes in which each person is born into one or other of two social divisions usually called 'phratries.' Say that the names of the phratries mean Eagle Hawk and Crow. Each
[1. See Mr. Howitt's Native Tribes of South-East Australia, and my Secret Of the Totem, chapter iii.]
born Crow must marry an Eagle Hawk; each born Eagle Hawk must marry a Crow. The names are derived through the mothers. One obvious result is that no two persons, brother and sister maternal, can intermarry; but the rule also excludes from intermarriage great numbers of persons in no way akin to each other by blood, who merely share the common phratry name, Crow or Eagle Hawk.
In each phratry are smaller sets of persons, each set distinguished by the name of some animal or other natural object, their 'totem.' The same totem is never found in both phratries. Thus a person marrying out of his or her phratry, as all must do, necessarily marries out of his or her totem.
The same arrangements exist among tribes which derive phratry and totem names through the father.
This derivation of names and descent through the father is regarded by almost all students, and by Mr. J. G. Frazer, in one passage of his latest study of the subject, as a great step in progress. The obvious result of paternal descent is to make totem communities or kins local. In any district most of the people will be of the same paternal totem name-say, Grub, Iguana, Emu, or what not. just so, in Glencoe of old, most of the people were MacIans; in Appin most were Stewarts; in South Argyll Campbells, and so on.
The totem kins are thus, with paternal descent, united both by supposed blood ties in the totem kin, and by associations of locality. This is certainly a step in social progress.
But while Mr. Frazer, with almost all inquirers, acknowledges this, ten pages later in his essay he no longer considers the descent of the totem in the paternal line as necessarily 'a step in progress' from descent in the maternal line. 'The common assumption that inheritance of the totem through the mother always preceded
[1. 'The Beginnings of Religion and Totemism among the Australian Aborigines,' Fortmightly Review, September 1905, p. 452.]
inheritance of it through the father need not hold good,' he remarks.
Thus it appears that a tribe has not necessarily made 'a great step in progress,' because it reckons descent of the totem on the male side. If this be so, we cannot so easily decide as to which tribe is socially advanced and which is not.
In any case, however, there is a test of social advance. There is an acknowledged advance when a tribe is divided into, not two, but four or eight divisions, which may not intermarry. The Euahlayi have four such divisions. In each of their intermarrying phratries are two 'Matrimonial Classes,' each with its name, and these are so constituted that a member of the elder generation can never marry a member of the succeeding generation. This rule prevents, of course, marriage between parent and child, but such marriages never do occur in the pristine tribes of the Darling river which have no such classes. The four-class arrangement excludes from intermarriage all persons, whether parents and children or not, who bear the same class name, say Hippai.
Among the central and northern tribes, from the Arunta of the Macdonnell hills to the Gulf of Carpentaria, the eight-class rule exists, and it is, confessedly, the most advanced of all.
In this respect, then, the Arunta of the centre of Australia are certainly more advanced than the Euahlayi. The Arunta have eight, not four, intermarrying classes. In the matter of rites and ceremonies, too, they are, in the opinion of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, more advanced than, say, the Euahlayi. They practise universal 'subincision' of the males, and circumcision, in place of the more primitive knocking out of the front teeth. Their ceremonies are very prolonged: in Messrs. Spencer and Gillen's experience, rites lasted for four months during a great tribal gathering. That the Arunta could provide supplies for so prolonged and large an assembly, argues
[1. Ibid. p. 462.
2 Ibid. p. 454]
high organisation, or a region well found in natural edible objects. Yet the region is arid and barren, so the organisation is very high. For all these reasons, even if we do not regard paternal descent of the totem as a step in progress from maternal descent, the Arunta seem greatly advanced in social conditions.
Yet they are said to lack entirely that belief in a moral and kindly 'All Father,' such as Byamee, which Mrs. Parker describes as potent among the less advanced Euahlayi, and which Mr. Howitt has found among non-coastal tribes of the south-east, with female descent of the totem, but without matrimonial classes-that is, among the most primitive tribes of all.
Here occurs a remarkable difficulty. Mr. Howitt asserts, with Mr. Frazer's concurrence, that (in Mr. Frazer's words) 'the same regions in which the germs of religion begin to appear have also made some progress towards a higher form of social and family life.' But the social advance from maternal to paternal descent of the totem, we have seen, is not necessarily an advance at all, in Mr. Frazer's opinion. The Arunta, for example, he thinks, never recognised female descent of the totem. They have never recognised, indeed, he thinks, any hereditary descent of the totem, though in all other respects, as in hereditary magistracies, and inheritance of the right to practise the father's totemic ritual, they do reckon in the male line. By such advantage, however it was acquired, they are more progressive than, say, the Euahlayi. But, progressive as they are, they have not, like the more pristine tribes of the south-east, developed 'the germs of religion,' the belief in a benevolent or ruling 'All Father.' Unlike the tribes of the south-east, they have co-operative totemic magic. Each totem community does magic for its totem, as part of the food supply of the united tribe. But the tribe, though so solidaire, and with its eight
[1. 'The Beginnings of Religion and Totemism among the Australian Aborigines,' Fortnightly Review, September 1905, p. 452.
2. Ibid. p. 462.]
classes and hereditary magistracies so advanced, has developed no germs of religion at all. Arunta progress has thus been singularly unequal.
The germs of religion are spoken of as the results of social advance, but, while so prominent in social advance, the Arunta have no trace of religion. The tribes northward from them to the sea are also very advanced socially, but (with one known exception not alluded to by Mr. Frazer) have no 'All Father,' no germ of religion.
From this fact, if correctly reported, it is obvious that social progress is not the cause, nor the necessary concomitant, of advance in religious ideas.
Again, the influence of the sea, in causing a 'heavier rainfall, a more abundant vegetation, and a more plentiful supply of food,' with an easier and more reflective life than that of 'the arid wilderness of the interior,' cannot be, as is alleged, the cause of the germs of religion. If this were the case, the coastal tribes of the Gulf of Carpentaria and of the north generally would have developed the All Father belief. Yet, in spite of their coastal environment, and richer existence, and social advance, the northern coastal tribes are not credited with the belief in the All Father. Meanwhile tribes with no matrimonial classes, and with female descent of the totem-tribes dwelling from five to seven hundred miles away from the southern sea-do possess the All Father belief as far north as Central Queensland, no less than did the almost or quite extinct tribes of the south coast, who had made what is (or is not) 'the great step in progress' of paternal descent of the totem.
Again, arid and barren as is the central region tenanted by the Arunta, it seems to permit or encourage philosophic reflection, for their theory of evolution is remarkably coherent and ingenious. The theory of evolution implies as much reflection as that of creation! Their magic for the behoof of edible objects is attributed to the suddenness of their first rains, and the consequent outburst of life,
[1. Ibid. p. 463.
2 Ibid. p. 465.]
which the natives attribute to their own magical success. But rainmaking magic, as Mrs. Langloh Parker shows, is practised with sometimes amazing success among the Euahlayi, who work no magic at all for their totems. Their magic, if it brings rain, benefits their totems at large, but for each totem in particular, no Euahlayi totem kin does magic.
Again, agricultural magic has been, and indeed is, practised in Europe, in conditions of climate unlike those of the Arunta; and totemic magic is freely practised in North America, in climatic conditions dissimilar from those of Central Australia.
For all these reasons I must confess that I do not follow the logic of the philosophy which makes social advance the cause of the belief in the All Father, and coastal rains the cause of social advance. The Arunta have the social advance, the eight classes, the relatively high organisation; but they have neither the climatic conditions supposed to produce the advance, nor the religion which the advance is supposed to produce. The northern coastal tribes, again, have the desired climatic conditions, and the social advance, but they have not the germs of religion found in many far inland southern tribes, like the Euahlayi, whose social progress is extremely moderate. We thus find, from the northern coast to the centre, one supposed result of coastal conditions, namely, social progress, but not the other supposed result of coastal conditions, namely, the All Father belief. I do not say that it does not exist, for it is a secret belief, but it is not reported by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. On the other hand, among tribes of the south-east very far from the coast, we find the lowest grades of social progress, but we also find the All Father belief. I am ready, of course, to believe that good conditions of life beget progress, social and religious, as a general rule. But other causes exist; speculation anywhere may take crudely scientific rather than crudely religious lines. Especially the belief in ancestral spirits may check or nullify the belief in a remote All Father. We see this among the Zulus, where spirits entirely dominate religion, and the All Father is, at most, the shadow of a name, Unkulunkulu. We may detect the same influence among the northern tribes of Australia, where ancestral spirits dominate thought and society, though they receive no sacrifice or prayer. Meanwhile, if we accept Mrs. Parker's evidence, among the Euahlayi ancestral spirits are of no account in religion) while the All Father is obeyed, and, on some occasions, is addressed in prayer; and may even cause rain, if property approached by a human spirit which has just entered his mansions. Clearly, climatic causes and natural environment are not the only factors in producing and directing the speculative ideas of men in early society.
We must also remember that the neighbours of the Arunta, northwards, who share certain peculiar Arunta ideas, possess, beyond all doubt, either the earliest germs of belief in the All Father, or that belief in a decadent condition of survival. This is quite certain; for, whereas the Arunta laugh at all inquiries as to what went before the 'Alcheringa,' or mythic age of evolution, the Kaitish, according to Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, aver that an anthropomorphic being, who dwells above the sky, and is named Atnatu, first created himself, and then 'made the Alcheringa,'--the mythic age of primal evolution. Of mankind, some, in Kaitish opinion, were evolved; of others Atnatu is the father. He expelled men to earth from his heaven for neglect of his ceremonies, but he provided them with weapons and all that they possess. He is not très ferrè sur la morale: he has made no moral laws, but his ritual laws, as to circumcision and the whirling of the bull-roarer, must be observed as strictly as the ritual laws of Byamee of the Euahlayi. In this sense of obedience due to a heavenly father who begat men, or some of them, punished them, and started them on their terrene career, laying down ceremonial rules, we have certainly 'the germs of religion' in a central tribe cognate to the Arunta.
Mr. Frazer detects only two traces of religion in the centre, omitting the Kaitish Atnatu, but I am unable to see how the religious aspect of Atnatu, non-moral as it is, can be overlooked. He is the father of part of the tribe, and all are bound to, observe his ceremonial rules. He accounts for the beginning of the beginning; he is the cause of the Alcheringa; men owe duties to him. We do not know whether he was once as potent in their hearts, and as moral as Byamee, but has dégringolé under Arunta philosophic influences; or whether Byamee is a more highly evolved form of Atnatu. But it is quite certain that the Kaitish, in a region as far almost from the north sea as that of the Arunta, and further from southern coastal influences than the Arunta, have a modified belief in the All Father. How are we to account for this on the philosophic hypothesis of Oceanus as the father of all the gods; of coastal influences producing a richer life, and causing both social and religious progress?
Another difficulty is that while the Arunta, with no religion, and the Kaitish, with the Atnatu belief, are socially advanced in organisation (whether we reckon male descent of the totem 'a great step in progress,' or an accident), they are yet supposed by Mr. Frazer to be, in one respect, the least advanced, the most primitive, of known human beings. The reason is this: the Arunta do not recognise the processes of sexual union as the cause of the production of children. Sexual acts, they say, merely prepare women for the reception of original ancestral spirits, which enter into them, and are reincarnated and brought to the birth.
If the women cannot accept the spirits without being 'prepared' by sexual union, then sexual union plays a physical part in the generation of a spirit incarnated, a fact which all believers in the human soul are as ready as the Arunta to admit. If the Arunta recognise the
[1. 'The Beginnings of Religion and Totemism among the Australian Aborigines,' Fortnightly Review, September 1905, p. 452, Note 1.]
prior necessity of ' preparation,' then they are not so ignorant as they are thought to be; and their view is produced, not so much by stark ignorance, as by their philosophy of the eternal reincarnation of primal human spirits. The Arunta philosophers, in fact, seem to concentrate their speculation on a point which puzzled Mr. Shandy. How does the animating principle, or soul, regarded as immaterial, clothe itself in flesh? Material acts cannot effect the incarnation of a spirit. Therefore, the spirit enters women from without, and is not the direct result of human action.
The south-eastern tribes, with female descent of the totem, and with no belief in the universal and constant reincarnation of ancestral spirits, take the Æschylean view, according to Mr. Howitt, that the male is the sole originating cause of children, while the female is only the recipient and 'nurse.' These tribes, socially less advanced than the Arunta, have not the Arunta nescience of the facts of procreation, a nescience which I regard as merely the consequence and corollary of the Arunta philosophy of reincarnation. Each Arunta child, by that philosophy, has been in being since the Alcheringa: his mother of the moment only reproduces him, after 'preparation.' He is not a new thing; he is as old as the development of organic forms. This is the Arunta belief, and I must reckon it as not more primitive than the peculiar philosophy of reincarnation of ancestral spirits. Certainly such an elaborate philosophy manifestly cannot be primitive. It is, however, the philosophy of the tribes from the Urabunna, on Lake Eyre (with female descent of the totem), to the most northerly tribes, with male descent.
But among none of these tribes has the philosophy that extraordinary effect on totemic institutions which, by a peculiar and isolated addition, it possesses among the septs of the Arunta nation, and in a limited way among the Kaitish.
Among all tribes except these the child inherits its totem: from the mother, among the Urabunna; from the father in the northern peoples. But, among the Arunta and Kaitish, the totem is not inherited from either parent. According to the belief of these tribes, in every district there is a place where the first human ancestors--in each case all of one totem, whichsoever that totem, in each case, might happen to be--died, 'went under the earth.' Rocks or trees arose to mark such spots. These places are haunted by the spirits of the dead ancestors; here they are all Grubs, there all Eagle Hawks, or all Iguanas, or all Emus, or all Cats. Or as in these sites the ancestors left each his own sacred stone, churinga nanja, with archaic patterns inscribed on it, patterns now fancifully interpreted as totemic inscriptions. Such stones are especially haunted by the ancestral souls, all desiring reincarnation.
When a woman becomes aware of the life of the child she bears, among the Arunta and Kaitish, she supposes that a local spirit of the local totem has entered her, and her child's totem is therefore the totem of that locality, whatever other totems she and her husbands may own. The stone amulet of the ancestral spirit, who is the child, is sought; if it cannot be found at the spot, a wooden churinga is made to represent it, and it is kept carefully in a sacred storehouse.
Even in the centre and north, where the belief in reincarnation prevails, this odd manner of acquiring totems is only practised by the Arunta tribes and the Kaitish, and only among them are the inscribed stones known to exist as favoured haunts of ancestral spirits desiring incarnation. The other northern tribes believe in reincarnation, but not in the haunted sacred stones, which they do not, north of the Worgaia, possess; nor do they derive totems from locality, but, as usual, by inheritance.
It thus appears that these Arunta sacred stones are an inseparable accident of the Arunta method of acquiring the totem. How they and the faith in them cause that method is not obvious, but the two things-the haunted sacred stone, and the local source of totems--are inseparable--that is, the former never is found apart from the latter. Now such stones, with the sense and usage attached to them, cannot well be primitive. They are the result of the peculiar and strictly isolated Arunta custom and belief, which gives to each man and woman one of these stones, the property of himself or herself, since the mythical age, through all reincarnations.
One cannot see how such an unique custom and belief, associated with objects of art, can be reckoned primitive. Yet, where such stones do not exist, the usage of acquiring totems by locality does not exist; even where the belief in reincarnation and in local centres haunted by totemic spirits is found in North Australia.
On these grounds it appears that the hereditary totem is the earlier, and that the Arunta usage is the result of the special and inseparable superstition about the sacred stones. It may be a relatively recent complication of and addition to the theory of reincarnation. Meanwhile, the belief and usage produce an unique effect. The Arunta and Kaitish, we saw, are so advanced socially that they possess not two, or four, but eight matrimonial classes. The tribe is divided into two sets of four classes each, and no person in A division (nameless) of four classes may marry another person of any one of these four, but must marry a person of a given class among the four in B division (nameless). The succession to the class is hereditary in the mate line. But any person among the Arunta, contrary to universal custom elsewhere, may marry another person of his or her own totem, if that person be in the right class of the opposite division. Nowhere else can a person of division A and totem Grub find a Grub to marry in the opposite division B. But this is possible among the Arunta and Kaitish, because their totems are acquired by pure accident, are not
[1. For an hypothesis of the origin of the churinga nanja belief, see my Secret of the Totem, chapter iv.]
hereditary, and all totems exist, or may exist, in division A and also in division B.
Mr. Frazer argues that the Arunta is the earlier state of affairs. He supposes that men acquired their totems, at first, by local accident, before they had laid any restrictions on marriage. Later, they divided their tribe, first into two, then into four, then into eight classes; and every one had to marry out of his class, or set of classes. All other known tribes introduced these restrictions after totems had been made hereditary. On passing the restrictive marriage law, they merely drafted people of one set of hereditary totems into one division, all the other totem kins into the other division. But the Arunta had not made totems hereditary, but accidental, so all the children of one crowd of mothers were placed in division A, all other children in division B. The mothers in each division would have children of all the totems, and thus the same totems now appeared in both of the exogamous divisions. If a man married into his lawful opposite class, the fact that the woman was of the same totem made no difference.
I have offered quite an opposite explanation. Arunta totems were, originally, hereditary among the Arunta, as everywhere else, and no totem occurred in both exogamous divisions. The same totems, later, got into both divisions as the result of the later and isolated belief in reincarnation plus the sacred haunted stones. That superstition has left the Kaitish practice of marriage still almost untouched. A Kaitish may, like an Arunta, marry a woman of his own totem, but he scarcely ever does so. The old prohibition, extinct in law, persists in custom; unless we say that the Kaitish are now merely imitating the usual practice of the rest of the totemic races of the world.
Moreover, even among the Arunta, certain totems greatly preponderate in each of the two exogamous intermarrying divisions of the tribe. This must be because the present practice has not yet quite upset the ancient usage, by which no totem ever occurred in both divisions. There is even an Arunta myth asserting that this was so, but it is, of course, of no historical value as evidence. Here it is proper to give Mr. Frazer's contrary theory in his own words:--
'This [Arunta] mode of determining the totem has all the appearance of extreme antiquity. For it ignores altogether the intercourse of the sexes as the cause of offspring, and further, it ignores the tie of blood on the maternal as well as the paternal side, substituting for it a purely local bond, since the members of a totem stock are merely those who gave the first sign of life in the womb at one or other of certain definite spots. This form of totemism, which may be called conceptional or local to distinguish it from hereditary totemism, may with great probability be regarded as the most primitive known to exist at the present day, since it seems to date from a time when blood relationship was not yet recognised, and when even the idea of paternity had not yet presented itself to the savage mind. Moreover, it is hardly possible that this peculiar form of local totemism, with its implied ignorance of such a thing as paternity at all, could be derived from hereditary totemism, whereas it is easy to understand how hereditary totemism, either in the paternal or in the maternal line, could be derived from it. Indeed, among the Umbaia and Gnanji tribes we can see at the present day how the change from local to hereditary totemism has been effected. These tribes, like the Arunta and Kaitish, believe that conception is caused by the entrance into a woman of a spirit who has lived in its disembodied state, along with other spirits of the same totem, at any one of a number of totem centres scattered over the country; but, unlike the Arunta and Kaitish, they almost always assign the father's totem to the child, even though the infant may have given the first sign of life at a place haunted by spirits of a different totem. For example, the wife of a snake man may first feel her womb quickened at a tree haunted by spirits of goshawk people; yet the child will not be a goshawk but a snake, like its father. The theory by which the Umbaia and Gnanji reconcile these apparently inconsistent beliefs is that a spirit of the husband's totem follows the wife and enters into her wherever an opportunity offers, whereas spirits of other totems would not think of doing so. In the example supposed, a snake spirit is thought to have followed up the wife of the snake man and entered into her at the tree haunted by goshawk spirits, while the goshawk spirits would refuse to trespass, so to say, on a snake preserve by quartering themselves in the wife of a snake man. This theory clearly marks a transition from local to hereditary totemism in the paternal line. And precisely the same theory could, mutatis mutandis, be employed to effect a change from local to hereditary totemism in the maternal line; it would only be necessary to suppose that a pregnant woman is always followed by a spirit of her own totem, which sooner or later effects a lodgement in her body. For example, a pregnant woman of the bee totem would always be followed by a bee spirit, which would enter into her wherever and whenever she felt her womb quickened, and so the child would be born of her own bee totem. Thus the local form of totemism, which obtains among the Arunta and Kaitish tribes, is older than the hereditary form, which is the ordinary type of totemism in Australia and elsewhere, first, because it rests on far more archaic conceptions of society and of life; and, secondly, because both the hereditary kinds of totemism, the paternal and the maternal, can be derived from it, whereas it can hardly be derived from either of them.'
This argument appears to take for granted that the conception of primal ancestral spirits, perpetually reincarnated, is primitive. But, in fact, we seem to know it, among Australian tribes, only in these which have advanced to the possession of eight classes, and have made 'the great step in progress' (if it is a great step), of descent of the totem in the paternal line. The Urabunna, with female descent of the totem, have, it is true, the belief in reincarnation. But they intermarry with the Arunta, borrow their sacred stones, and practise the same advanced rites and ceremonies. The idea may thus have been borrowed. On the other hand, the more pristine tribes of the south-east, with two or four exogamous divisions, and with female descent of the totem, have no known trace of the doctrine of reincarnation (except as displayed by the Euahlayi), and have no doubt that the father is the cause of procreation, save in the case of the Euahlayi, who believe that the Moon and the Crow 'make' the new children.
It would thus appear that the central and northern belief in perpetual reincarnation of primal spirits is not primitive, yet the Arunta method of acquiring totems does not exist save by grace of this belief, plus the isolated belief in primal sacred stones.
I am obliged to differ from Mr. Frazer when he says that 'it is easy to see how hereditary totemism, either in the paternal or in the maternal line, would be derived from' the Arunta belief and practice, whereas 'it is hardly possible that this peculiar form of local totemism [Arunta], with its implied ignorance of such a thing as paternity at all, could be derived from hereditary totemism.'
I do not know whether the other northern tribes share the Arunta nescience of procreation, or not. Whether they do or do not, it was as easy for them to e plain all difficulties by a reconciling myth-a spirit of the husband's totem follows his wife-as for a white savant to frame an hypothesis. The Urabunna, with female descent of the totem, have quite another myth-to reconcile everything.
Nothing can be more easy. Supposing the Arunta to have begun, as in my theory, with hereditary totemism, the rise of their isolated belief in spirit-haunted sacred stones, encroached on and destroyed the hereditary character of their totemism. The belief in churinga nanja is an isolated freak, but it has done its work, while leaving traces of an earlier state of things, as we have shown, both among the Kaitish and Arunta.
If I am right in differing from such a master of many legions as the learned author of The Golden Bough, the irreligion of the Arunta and northern tribes (if these be really without religion) is the result of their form of speculation, wholly occupied by the idea of reincarnation, while the Arunta form of totemism is the consequence of an isolated fantasy about their peculiar sacred stones. Meanwhile the Euahlayi, as Mrs. Parker proves, entertain, in a limited way, not elsewhere recorded in Australia, the belief in the reincarnation of the souls of uninitiated young people. They also, like the Arunta, recognise haunted trees and rocks, but the haunting spirits do not desire reincarnation, and are not ancestral. Spirits of the dead go to one or other abode of souls, to Baiame, or far from his presence to a place of pain. So limited is human fancy, that here, as in Beckford's picture of hell in Vathek, each spirit eternally presses his hand against his side. Were this a Christian doctrine, the Euahlayi would be said to have borrowed it, but few will accuse them of plagiarising from Beckford. These myths, like all myths, are not consistent. Baiame may change a soul into a bird.
We may ask whether, with their limited belief in reincarnation, and with their haunted Minggah trees and rocks, the Euahlayi have set up a creed which might possibly develop into the northern faith, or whether they once held the northern faith, and have almost emerged from it. Without further information about intermediate tribes and their ideas on these matters, the question cannot be answered. We are also without data as to whether the nearly extinct southern coastal tribes evolved the All Father belief, and transmitted it to the Euahlayi, to some Queensland tribe, with their Mulkari, and even to the Kaitish, or whether the faith has been independently developed among the tribes with no matrimonial classes and the others. Conjecture is at present useless.
In one respect a discovery of Mrs. Parker's is unfavourable to my theories. In The Secret of the Totem have shown that, when the names of the phratry divisions of the tribes can be interpreted, they prove to be names of animals, and I have shown how this may have come to be the case. But among the Euahlayi the phratry names mean 'light blood' and 'dark blood.' This, prima facie, seems to favour the theory of the Rev. Mr. Mathews, in his Eagle Hawk and Crow, that two peoples, lighter and darker, after an age of war, made connubium and marriage treaty, whence came the phratries. The same author might urge, if he pleased, that Eagle Hawk (about the colour of the peregrine) was chosen to represent 'light,' and Crow to represent 'dark'; while the phratry animals, White and Black Cockatoo, were selected, elsewhere, to represent the same contrast. But we need more information as to the meanings of other phratry names which have defied translation.
In many other things, as in the account of the yunbeai of the Euahlayi, their mode of removing the tabu on the totem in food, their magic, their 'multiplex totems,' their methods of hunting, their initiatory ceremonies, their highly moral lullabies, and the whole of their kindly life, Mrs. Parker's book appears to deserve a welcome from the few who care to study the ways of early men, ' the pit whence we were dug.' The Euahlayi are a sympathetic people, and have found a sympathetic chronicler.