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In the first place, we find a group of scholars who believe that they can account for totemism by deriving it from some previous religion;

For Tyior 1 and Wilken,2 totemism is a special form of the cult of the ancestors ; it was the widespread doctrine of the transmigration of souls that served as a bridge between these two religious systems. A large number of peoples believe that after death, the soul does not remain disincarnate for ever, but presently animates another living body ; on the other hand, " the lower psychology, drawing no definite line of demarcation between the souls of men and of beasts, can at least admit with­out difficulty the transmigration of human souls into the bodies of the lower animals." 3 Tyior cites a certain number of cases.4 Under these circumstances, the religious respect inspired by the ancestor is quite naturally attached to the animal or plant with which he is presently confounded. The animal thus serving as a receptacle for a venerated being becomes a holy thing, the object of a cult, that is, a totem, for all the descendants of the ancestor, who form the clan descended from him.

Facts pointed out by Wilken among the societies of the Malay Archipelago would tend to prove that it really was in this manner that the totemic beliefs originated.  In Java and Sumatra, crocodiles are especially honoured ; they are regarded as benevo­lent protectors who must not be killed ; offerings are made to them. Now the cult thus rendered to them is due to their being supposed to incarnate the souls of ancestors. The Malays of the Philippines consider the crocodile their grandfather ; the tiger is treated in the same way for the same reasons. Similar beliefs have been observed among the Bantous.5 In Melanesia

it sometimes happens that an influential man, at the moment of death, announces his desire to reincarnate himself in a certain animal or plant ; it is easily understood how the object thus chosen as his posthumous residence becomes sacred for his whole family.1 So, far from being a primitive fact, totemism would seem to be the product of a more complex religion which pre­ceded it.2

But the societies from which these facts were taken had already arrived at a rather advanced stage of culture ; in any case, they had passed the stage of pure totemism. They have families and not totemic clans.3 Even the majority of the animals to which religious honours are thus rendered are venerated, not by special groups of families, but by the tribes as a whole. So if these beliefs and practices do have some connection with ancient totemic cults, they now represent only altered forms of them4 and are consequently not very well fitted for showing us their origins. It is not by studying an institution at the moment when it is in full decadence that we can learn how it was formed. If we want to know how totemism originated, it is neither in Java nor Sumatra nor Melanesia that we must study it, but in Australia. Here we find neither a cult of the dead5 nor the doctrine of transmigration. Of course they believe that the mythical heroes, the founders of the clan, reincarnate themselves periodically ; but this is in human bodies only ; each birth, as we shall see, is the product of one of these reincarnations. So if the animals of the totemic species are the object of rites, it is not because the ancestral souls are believed to reside in them. It is true that the first ancestors are frequently represented under the form of an animal, and this very common representation is an important fact for which we must account; but it was not the belief in metempsychosis which gave it birth, for this belief is unknown among Australian societies.

Moreover, far from being able to explain totemism, this belief takes for granted one of the fundamental principles upon which this rests ; that is to say, it begs the question to be ex­plained. It, just as much as totemism, implies that man is

considered a close relative of the animal ; for if these two king­doms were clearly distinguished in the mind, men would never believe that a human soul could pass so easily from one into the other. It is even necessary that the body of the animal be considered its true home, for it is believed to go there as soon as it regains its liberty. Now while the doctrine of transmigration postulates this singular affinity, it offers no explanation of it. The only explanation offered by Tyior is that men sometimes resemble in certain traits the anatomy and physiology of the animal. " The half-human features and actions and characters of animals are watched with wondering sympathy by the savage, as by the child. The beast is the very incarnation of familiar qualities of man : and such names as lion, bear, fox, owl, parrot, viper, worm, when we apply them as epithets to men, condense into a word some leading features of a human life."1 But even if these resemblances are met with, they are uncertain and exceptional ; before all else, men resemble their relatives and companions, and not plants and animals.  Such rare and questionable analogies could not overcome such unanimous proofs, nor could they lead a man to think of himself and his forefathers in forms contradicted by daily experience. So this question remains untouched, and as long as it is not answered, we cannot say that totemism is explained.2

Finally, this whole theory rests upon a fundamental misunder­standing. For Tyior as for Wundt, totemism is only a particular case of the cult of animals.3 But we, on the contrary, know that

it is something very different from a sort of animal-worship.1 The animal is never adored ; the man is nearly its equal and sometimes even treats it as his possession, so far is he from being subordinate to it like a believer before his god. If the animals of the totemic species are really believed to incarnate the ancestors, the members of foreign clans would not be allowed to eat their flesh freely. In reality, it is not to the animal as such that the cult is addressed, but to the emblem and the image of the totem. Now between this religion of the emblem and the ancestor-cult, there is no connection whatsoever.

While Tyior derives totemism from the ancestor-cult, Jevons derives it from the nature-cult,2 and here is how he does so.

When, under the impulse of the surprise occasioned by the irregularities observed in the course of phenomena, men had once peopled the world with supernatural beings,3 they felt the need of making agreements with these redoubtable forces with which they had surrounded themselves. They understood that the best way to escape being overwhelmed by them was to ally themselves to some of them, and thus make sure of their aid. But at this period of history men knew no other form of alliance and association than the one resulting from kinship. All the members of a single clan aid each other mutually because they are kindred or, as amounts to the same thing, because they think they are; on the other hand, different clans treat each other as enemies because they are of different blood. So the only way of assuring themselves of the support of these supernatural beings was to adopt them as kindred and to be adopted by them in the same quality : the well-known processes of the blood-covenant permitted them to attain -ihis result quite easily. But since at this period, the individual did not yet have a real personality, and was regarded only as a part of his group, or clan, it was the clan as a whole, and not the individual, which collectively contracted this relationship. For the same reason, it was contracted, not with a particular object, but with the natural group or species of which this object was a part ; for men think of the world as they think of themselves, and just as they could not conceive themselves apart from their clans, so they were unable to conceive of anything else as distinct from the species to which it belonged. Now a species of things united to a clan by a bond of kinship is, says Jevons, a totem.

In fact, it is certain that totemism implies the close association of a clan to a determined category of objects. But that this

association was contracted with a deliberate design and in the full consciousness of an end sought after, as Jevons would have us believe, is a statement having but little harmony with what history teaches. Religions are too complex, and answer to needs that are too many and too obscure, to have their origin in a premeditated act of the will. And while it sins through over-simplicity, this hypothesis is also highly improbable. It says that men sought to assure themselves of the aid of the super­natural beings upon which things depend. Then they should preferably have addressed themselves to the most powerful of these, and to those whose protection promised to be the most beneficial.1 But quite on the contrary, the beings with whom they have formed this mystic kinship are often among the most humble which exist. Also, if it were only a question of making allies and defenders, they would have tried to make as many as possible ; for one cannot be defended too well. Yet as a matter of fact, each clan systematically contents itself with a single totem, that is to say, with one single protector, leaving the other clans to enjoy their own in perfect liberty. Each group confines itself within its own religious domain, never seeking to trespass upon that of its neighbours. This reserve and moderation are inexplicable according to the hypothesis under consideration.