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We have now passed in review all the principal explanations which have been given for totemic beliefs,1 leaving to each of them its own individuality. But now that this examination is finished, we may state one criticism which addresses itself to all these systems alike.

If we stick to the letter of the formulae, it seems that these may be arranged in two groups. Some (Frazer, Lang) deny the religious character of totemism ; in reality, that amounts to denying the facts. Others recognize this, but think that they can explain it by deriving it from an anterior religion out of which totemism developed. But as a matter of fact, this dis­tinction is only apparent: the first group is contained within the second. Neither Frazer nor Lang have been able to maintain their principle systematically and explain totemism as if it were not a religion. By the very force of facts, they have been com­pelled to slip ideas of a religious nature into their explanations. We have just seen how Lang calls in the idea of sacredness, which is the cardinal idea of all religion. Frazer, on his side, in each of the theories which he has successively proposed, appeals openly to the idea of souls or spirits ; for according to him, totemism came from the fact that men thought they could deposit their souls in safety in some external object, or else that they attributed conception to a sort of spiritual fecundation of which a spirit was the agent. Now a soul, and still more, a spirit, are sacred things and the object of rites ; so the ideas expressing them are essentially religious and it is therefore in vain that Frazer makes totemism a mere system of magic, for he succeeds in explaining it only in the terms of another religion.

We have already pointed out the insufficiencies of animism and naturism ; so one may not have recourse to them, as Tyior

and Jevons do, without exposing himself to these same objections. Yet neither Frazer nor Lang seems to dream of the possibility of another hypothesis.1 On the other hand, we know that totemism is tightly bound up with the most primitive social system which we know, and in all probability, of which we can conceive. To suppose that it has developed out of another religion, differing from it only in degree, is to leave the data of observation and enter into the domain of arbitrary and unverifiable conjectures. If we wish to remain in harmony with the results we have already obtained, it is necessary that while affirming the religious nature of totemism, we abstain from deriving it from another different religion. There can be no hope of assigning it non-religious ideas as its cause. But among the representations entering into the conditions from which it results, there may be some which directly suggest a religious nature of themselves. These are the ones we must look for.