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However, this mythological formation is not the highest which is to be found among the Australians. There are at least a certain number of tribes who have arrived at a conception of a god who, if not unique, is at least supreme, and to whom is attributed a pre-eminent position among all the other religious entities.

The existence of this belief was pointed out long ago by different observers; but it is Howitt who has contributed the most to establishing its relative generality. In fact, he has verified it over a very extended geographical area embracing the State of Victoria and New South Wales and even extending up to Queensland. In all this entire region, a considerable number of tribes believe in the existence of a veritable tribal divinity, who has different names, according to the district. The ones most frequently employed are Bunjil or Punjil, Daramulun

and Baiame.1 But we also find Nuralie or Nurelle,2 Kohin3 and Mangan-ngaua.4 The same conception is found again farther west, among the Narrinyeri, where the great god is called Nurunderi or Ngurrunderi.5 Among the Dieri, it is probable that there is one of the Mura-mura, or ordinary ancestors, who enjoys a sort of supremacy over the others.6 Finally, in oppo­sition to the affirmations of Spencer and Gillen, who declare that they have observed no belief in a real divinity among the Arunta,7 Strehlow assures us that this people, as well as the Loritja, recognize, under the name Altjira, a veritable " good god."8

The essential characteristics of this personage are the same everywhere. It is an immortal, and even an eternal being, for it was not derived from any other. After having lived on earth for a certain length of time, he ascended to heaven, or else was taken up there,9 and continues to live there, surrounded by his family, for generally he is said to have one or several wives, children and brothers,10 who sometimes assist him in his functions. Under the pretext of a visit he is said to have made to them, he and his family are frequently identified with certain stars.11

Moreover, they attribute to him a power over stars. It is he who regulates the journey of the sun and moon;1 he gives them orders.2 It is he who makes the lightning leap from the clouds and who throws the thunder-bolts.3 Since he is the thunder, he is also connected with the rain:4 it is to him that men address themselves when there is a scarcity of water, or when too much falls.5

They speak of him as a sort of creator : he is called the father of men and they say that he made them. According to a legend current around Melbourne, Bunjil made the first man in the following manner. He made a little statue out of white clay; then, after he had danced all around it several times and had breathed into its nostrils, the statue became animated and commenced to walk about.6 According to another myth, he lighted the sun ; thus the earth became heated and men came out of it.7 At the same time that he made men,8 this divine personage made the animals and trees;9 it is to him that men owe all the arts of life, arms, language and tribal rites.10 He is the benefactor of humanity. Even yet, he plays the role of a sort of providence for them. It is he who supplies his wor­shippers with all that is necessary for their existence.11 He is in communication with them, either directly or through inter­mediaries.12 But being at the same time guardian of the morals of the tribe, he treats them severely when these are violated.13 If we are to believe certain observers, he will even fulfil the office of judge, after this life ; he will separate the good from the bad, and will not reward the ones like the others.14 In any case, they are often represented as ruling the land of the dead,15 and as gathering the souls together when they arrive in the beyond.16

As the initiation is the principal form of the tribal cult, it is to the rites of initiation that he is attached especially ; he is their centre. He is very frequently represented by an image cut on a piece of bark or soaked into the ground. They dance around it; they sing in its honour ; they even address real prayers to it.1 They explain to the young men who the personage is whom this image represents ; they tell them his secret name, which the women and the uninitiated cannot know ; they relate to them his history and the part attributed to him in the life of the tribe. At other times they raise their hands .towards the heaven where he is thought to dwell, or else they point their arms or the ritual instruments they have in hand in this direction;2 this is a way of entering into communication with him. They feel his presence everywhere. He watches over the neophyte when he has withdrawn into the forest.3 He is attentive to the manner in which the ceremonies are celebrated. The initiation is his cult. So he gives special attention to seeing that these are carried out exactly : if there are any faults or negligences, he punishes them in a terrible manner.4

Moreover, the authority of each of these supreme gods is not limited to a single tribe ; it is recognized equally by a number of neighbouring tribes. Bunjil is adored in nearly all of Victoria, Baiame in a considerable portion of New South Wales, etc.; this is why there are so few gods for a relatively extended geographical area. So the cults of which they are the object have an international character. It even happens sometimes that mythologies intermingle, combine and make mutual borrowings. Thus the majority of the tribes who believe in Baiame also admit the existence of Daramulun ; however, they accord him a slighter dignity. They make him a son or brother of Baiame, and sub­ordinate to this latter.5 Thus the faith in Daramulun has spread in diverse forms, into all of New South Wales. So it is far from true that religious internationalism is a peculiarity of the most recent and advanced religions. From the dawn of history, religious beliefs have manifested a tendency to overflow out of one strictly limited political society ; it is as though they had a natural aptitude for crossing frontiers, and for diffusing and internationalizing themselves.   Of course there have been

peoples and times when this spontaneous aptitude has been held in check by opposed social necessities ; but that does not keep it from being real and, as we see, very primitive.

To Tyior this conception has appeared to be a part of so elevated a theology that he refuses to see in it anything but the product of a European importation : he would have it be a more or less denatured Christian idea.1 Andrew Lang, on the contrary, considers them autochthonous;2 but as he also admits that it is contrasted with all the other Australian beliefs and rests on completely different principles, he concludes that the religions of Australia are made up of two heterogeneous systems, super­imposed one upon the other, and consequently derived from a double origin. On the one hand, there were ideas relative to totems and spirits, which had been suggested to men by the sight of certain natural phenomena. But at the same time, by a sort of intuition as to the nature of which he refuses to make himself clear,3 the human intelligence succeeded at the first onset in conceiving a unique god, creator of the world and legislator of the moral order. Lang even estimates that this idea was purer of foreign elements at the beginning, and especially in Australia, than in the civilizations which immediately followed. With time, it was covered over and obscured little by little by the ever-growing mass of animistic and totemic superstitions. Thus it underwent a sort of progressive degeneration up to the day when, as the effect of a privileged culture, it succeeded in coming into its own and restated itself again with more force and clarity than it had in the first place.4

But the facts allow neither the sceptical hypothesis of Tyior nor the theological interpretation of Lang.

In the first place, it is certain to-day that the ideas relative to the great tribal god are of indigenous origin. They were

observed before the influence of the missionaries had as yet had time to make itself felt.1 But it does not follow that it is necessary to attribute them to a mysterious revelation. Far from being derived from a different source than the regular totemic beliefs, they are, on the contrary, only the logical working-out of these beliefs and their highest form.

We have already seen how the notion of mythical ancestors is implied in the very principles upon which totemism rests, for each of them is a totemic being. Now, though the great gods are certainly superior to these, still, there are only differences of degree between them; we pass from the first to the second with no break of continuity. In fact, a great god is himself an ancestor of especial importance. They frequently speak to us about him as though he were a man, endowed, to be sure, with more than human powers, but one who lived a human life upon the earth.2 He is pictured as a great hunter,3 a powerful magician,4 or the founder of the tribe.5 He was the first man.6 One legend even represents him in the form of a worn-out old man who could hardly move about.7 If a supreme god named Mura-mura has existed among the Dieri, the very word is significant, for it serves to designate the class of the ancestors. Likewise, Nuralie, the name of a great god among the tribes on the Murray River, is sometimes used as a collective expression which is applied to the group of mythical beings whom tradition places at the origin of things.8 They are personages wholly comparable to those of the Alcheringa.9 In Queensland, we have already met with a god Anjea or Anjir, who made men but who seems, nevertheless, to be only the first man.10

A fact that has aided Australian thought to pass from the numerous ancestral geniuses to the idea of the tribal god is that between the two extremes a middle term has been inserted, which has served as a transition : these are the civilizing heroes. The fabulous beings whom we call by this name are really simple

ancestors to whom mythology has attributed an eminent place in the history of the tribe, and whom it has, for this reason, set above the others. We have even seen that they ordinarily form a part of the totemic organization : Mangarkunjerkunja belongs to the Lizard totem and Putiaputia to the Wild Cat totem. But on the other hand, the functions which they are believed to fulfil, or to have fulfilled, are closely similar to those incumbent upon a great god. He, too, is believed to have introduced the arts of civilization among men, to have been the founder of the principal social institutions and the revealer of the great religious ceremonies which still remain under his control. If he is the father of men, it is because he manufactured them rather than begat them : but Mangarkunjerkunja also made them. Before his time, there were no men, but only unformed masses of flesh, in which the different members and even the different individuals were not yet separated from one another. It was he who cut up this original matter and made real human beings out of it.1 Between this mode of fabrication and the one the myth we have spoken of attributes to Bunjil, there are only shades of difference. Moreover, the bonds uniting these two sorts of figures to each other are well shown by the fact that a relationship of descent is sometimes established between them. Among the Kurnai, the hero of the bull-roarer, Tundun, is the son of the great god Mungan-ngaua.2 Likewise, among the Euahlayi, Daramulun, the son or brother of Baiame, is identical with Gayandi who is the equivalent of the Tundun of the Kurnai.3 Of course it is not necessary to conclude from these facts that the great god is nothing more than a civilizing hero. There are cases where these two personages are carefully differentiated. But if they are not confounded, they are at least relatives. So it sometimes happens that we find it hard to distinguish them ; there are some who could be classified equally well in one category or the other. Thus, we have spoken of Atnatu as a civilizing hero; but he comes very near to being a great god.

The notion of a supreme god even depends so closely upon the entire system of the totemic beliefs that it still bears their mark. Tundun is a divine hero, as we have just seen, who is very close to the tribal divinity; now among the Kumai, the

same word means totem.1 Similarly, among the Arunta, Altjira is the name of a great god ; it is also the name of the maternal totem.2 But there is more to be said than this; many great gods have an obviously totemic aspect. Daramulun is an eagle-hawk;3 his mother, an emu.4 It is also under the features of an emu that Baiame is represented.5 The Altjira of the Arunta has the legs of an emu.6 Before being the name of a great god, Nuralie designated, as we just saw, the ancestor-founders of the tribe ; now some of these were crows, the others hawks.7 According to Howitt,8 Bunjil is always represented in a human form ; however, the same word serves to designate the totem of a phratry, the eagle-hawk. At least one of his sons is among the totems included in the phratry to which he has given, or from which he has taken his name.9 His brother is Pallyan, the bat; now this latter serves as sexual totem for the men in many tribes in Victoria.10

We can even go farther and state more definitely the con­nection which these great gods have with the totemic system. We have just seen that Bunjil is the totem of a phratry. Dara­mulun, like Bunjil, is an eagle-hawk, and we know that this bird is the totem of phratries in a large number of south-eastern tribes.11 We have already pointed out that Nuralie seems to have originally been a collective term designating indistinctly either eagle-hawks or crows ; now in the tribes where this myth has been observed, the crow is the totem of one of the two phra­tries, the eagle-hawk, that of the other.12 Also, the legendary history of the great gods resembles that of the totems of the phratries very closely. The myths, and sometimes the rites, commemorate the struggles which each of these divinities fought against a carnivorous bird, over which it triumphed only with the greatest difficulty. Bunjil, the first man, after making the second man, Karween, entered into a conflict with him, and in the course of a sort of duel, he wounded him severely and changed

him into a crow.1 The two species of Nurtalie are represented as two hostile groups which were originally in a constant state of war.2 Baiame, on his side, had to fight against Mullian, the cannibal eagle-hawk, who, by the way, is identical with Dara­mulun.3 Now, as we have seen, there is also a sort of constitu­tional hostility between the totems of the phratries.  This parallelism completes the proof that the mythology of the great gods and that of these totems are closely related. This relation­ship will appear still more evident if we notice that the rival of the god is regularly either a crow or an eagle-hawk, and that these are quite generally the totems of the phratries.4

So Baiame, Daramulun, Nuralie and Bunjil seem to be phratry-totems who have been deified ; and we may imagine that this apotheosis took place as follows. It is obviously in the assemblies which take place in regard to the initiation that the conception was elaborated, for the great gods do not play a role of any importance except in these rites, and are strangers to the other religious ceremonies. Moreover, as the initiation is the principal form of the tribal cult, it is only on this occasion that a tribal mythology could arise. We have already seen how the rituals of circumcision and subincision spontaneously tend to personify themselves under the form of civilizing heroes. However, these heroes exercised no supremacy ; they were on the same footing as the other legendary benefactors of society. But wherever the tribe acquired a livelier sentiment of itself, this sentiment naturally incarnated itself in some personage, who became its symbol. In order to account for the bonds uniting them to one another, no matter what clan they belonged to, men imagined that „they were all descended from the same stock and that they were all descended from a single father, to whom they owe their existence, though he owed his to no one. The god of the initiation was predestined to this role, for, according to an expression frequently coming to the lips of the natives, the object of the initiation is to make or manufacture men. So they attributed a creative power to this god, and for all these reasons, he found himself invested with a prestige setting him well above the other heroes of the mythology. These others became his auxili­aries, subordinate to him ; they were made his sons or younger brothers, as was the case with Tundun, Gayandi, Karween,

Pallyan, etc. But other sacred beings already existed, who occupied an equally eminent place in the religious system of the clan : these were the totems of the phratries. Wherever these are maintained, they are believed to keep the totems of the clans dependent upon them. Thus they had all that was necessary for becoming tribal divinities themselves. So it was only natural that a partial confusion should arise between these two sorts of mythical beings ; it is thus that one of the two fundamental totems of the tribe gave his traits to the great god. But as it was necessary to explain why only one of them was called to this dignity and the other excluded, they supposed that this latter, in the course of a fight against his rival, was vanquished and that his exclusion was the consequence of his defeat. This theory was the more readily admitted because it was in accord with the rest of the mythology, where the totems of the phratries are generally considered enemies of one another.

A myth observed by Mrs. Parker among the Euahlayi1 may serve to confirm this explanation, for it merely translates it into figurative language. It is related that in this tribe, the totems were only the names given to the different parts of Baiame's body at first. So the clans were, in a sense, the frag­ments of the divine body. Now is this not just another way of saying that the great god is the synthesis of all the totems and consequently the personification of the tribal unity?

But at the same time, it takes an international character. In fact, the members of the tribe to which the young initiates belong are not the only ones who assist at the ceremonies of initiation; representatives from the neighbouring tribes are specially summoned to these celebrations, which thus become sorts of international fairs, at once religious and laical.2 Beliefs elaborated in social environments thus constituted could not remain the exclusive patrimony of any special nationality. The stranger to whom they are revealed carries them back to his own tribe when he returns home; and as, sooner or later, he is forced to invite his former hosts, there is a continual exchange of ideas from tribe to tribe. It is thus that an international mythology was established, of which the great god was quite naturally the essential element, for it had its origin in the rites

of initiation which it is his function to personify. So his name passed from one language to another, along with the representa­tions which were attached to it. The fact that the names of the phratries are generally the same in very different tribes could not fail to facilitate this diffusion. The internationalism of the totems opened the way for that of the great god.