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Such are the beliefs relative to the soul and its destiny, in their most primitive form, and reduced to their most essential traits. We must now attempt to explain them. What is it that has been able to lead men into thinking that there are two beings in them, one of which possesses these very special characteristics which we have just enumerated? To find the reply to this question, let us begin by seeking the origin attributed to this spiritual principle by the primitive himself: if it is well analysed, his own conception will put us on the way towards the solution.

Following out the method which we have set before ourselves, we shall study these ideas in a determined group of societies where they have been observed with an especial precision; these are the tribes of Central Australia. Though not narrow, the area of our observations will be limited. But there is good reason for believing that these same ideas are quite generally held, in various forms, even outside of Australia. It is also to be noted that the idea of the soul, as it is found among these central tribes, does not differ specifically from the one found in other tribes ; it has the same essential characteristics everywhere. As one effect always has the same cause, we may well think that this idea, which is everywhere the same, does not result from one cause here and another there. So the origin which we shall be led to attribute to it as a result of our study of these particular tribes with which we are going to deal, ought to be equally true for the others. These tribes will give us a chance to make an experiment, as it were, whose results, like those of every well-made experiment, are susceptible of generalization. The homogeneity of the Australian civilization would of itself

be enough to justify this generalization ; but we shall be careful to verify it afterwards with facts taken from other peoples, both in Australia and America.

As the conceptions which are going to furnish us with the basis of our demonstration have been reported in different terms by Spencer and Gillen on the one hand and Strehlow on the other, we must give these two versions one after the other. We shall see that when, they are well understood, they differ in form more than in matter, and that they both have the same sociological significance.

According to Spencer and Gillen, the souls which, in each generation, come to animate the bodies of newly-born children, are not special and original creations ; all these tribes hold that there is a definite stock of souls, whose number cannot be aug­mented at all,1 and which reincarnate themselves periodically. When an individual dies, his soul quits the body in which it dwelt, and after the mourning is accomplished, it goes to the land of the souls ; but after a certain length of time, it returns to incarnate itself again, and these reincarnations are the cause of conception and birth. At the beginning of things, it was these fundamental souls which animated the first ancestors, the founders of the clan. At an epoch, beyond which the imagination does not go and which is considered the very beginning of time, there were certain beings who were not derived from any others. For this reason, the Arunta call them the Altjirangamitjina,2 the uncreated ones, those who exist from all eternity, and, according to Spencer and GiUen, they give the name Alcheringa3 to the period when these fabulous beings are thought to have lived. Being organized in totemic clans just as the men of to-day are, they passed their time in travels, in the course of which they accomplished all sorts of prodigious actions, the memory of which is preserved in the myths. But a moment arrived when this terrestrial life came to a close ; singly or in groups, they entered into the earth. But their souls live for ever ; they are immortal. They even continue to frequent the places where the existence of their former hosts came to an end. Moreover, owing to the memories attached to them, these places have a sacred character ; it is here that the oknanikilla are located, the sorts of sanctuaries where the churinga of the clan is kept, and the centres of the different totemic cults. When one of the souls which wander about these sanctuaries enters into the body of a woman, the result is a conception and

later a birth.1 So each individual is considered as a new appear­ance of a determined ancestor : it is this ancestor himself, come back in a new body and with new features. Now, what were these ancestors ?

In the first place, they were endowed with powers infinitely superior to those possessed by men to-day, even the most re­spected old men and the most celebrated magicians. They are attributed virtues which we may speak of as miraculous : " They could travel on, or above, or beneath the ground ; by opening a vein in the arm, each of them could flood whole tracts of country or cause level plains to arise ; in rocky ranges they could make pools of water spring into existence, or could make deep gorges and gaps through which to traverse the ranges, and where they planted their sacred poles (nurtunja), there rocks or trees arose to mark the spot."2 It is they who gave the earth the form it has at present. They created all sorts of beings, both men and animals. They are nearly gods. So their souls also have a divine character. And since the souls of men are these ancestral souls reincarnated in the human body, these are sacred beings too.

In the second place, these ancestors were not men in the proper sense of the word, but animals or vegetables, or perhaps mixed beings in which the animal or vegetable element predominated : In the Alcheringa," say Spencer and Gillen, " lived ancestors who, in the native mind, are so intimately associated with the animals or plants the name of which they bear that an Alcheringa man of, say, the kangaroo totem may sometimes be spoken of either as a man-kangaroo or a kangaroo-man. The identity of the human individual is often sunk in that of the animal or plant from which he is supposed to have originated."3 Their immortal souls necessarily have the same nature; in them, also, the human element is wedded to the animal element, with a certain tendency for the latter to predominate over the former. So they are made of the same substance as the totemic principle, for we know that the special characteristic of this is to present this double nature, and to synthesize and confound the two realms in itself.

Since no other souls than these exist, we reach the conclusion that, in a general way, the soul is nothing other than the totemic principle incarnate in each individual. And there is nothing to

surprise us in this derivation. We already know that this principle is immanent in each of the members of the clan. But in penetrating into these individuals, it must inevitably individualize itself. Because the consciousnesses, of which it becomes thus an integral part, differ from each other, it differentiates itself accord­ing to their image ; since each has its own physiognomy, it takes a distinct physiognomy in each. Of course it remains something outside of and foreign to the man, but the portion of it which each is believed to possess cannot fail to contract close affinities with the particular subject in which it resides ; it becomes his to a certain extent. Thus it has two contradictory character­istics, but whose coexistence is one of the distinctive features of the notion of the soul. To-day, as formerly, the soul is what is best and most profound in ourselves, and the pre-eminent part of our being ; yet it is also a passing guest which comes from the outside, which leads in us an existence distinct from that of the body, and which should one day regain its entire independence. In a word, just as society exists only in and through individuals, the totemic principle exists only in and through the individual consciousnesses whose association forms the clan. If they did not feel it in them it would not exist ; it is they who put it into things. So it must of necessity be divided and distributed among them. Each of these fragments is a soul.

A myth which is found in a rather large number of the societies of the centre, and which, moreover, is only a particular form of the preceding ones, shows even better that this is really the matter out of which the idea of the soul is made. In these tribes, tradition puts the origin of each clan, not in a number of ancestors, but in only two,1 or even in one.2 This unique being, as long as he remained single, contained the totemic principle within him integrally, for at this moment there was nothing to which this principle could be communicated. Now, according to this same tradition, all the human souls which exist, both those which now animate the bodies of men and those which are at present unemployed, being held in reserve for the future, have issued from this unique personage; they are made of his substance. While travelling over the surface of the ground, or moving about, or shaking himself, he made them leave his body and planted them in the various places he is believed to have passed over. Is this not merely a symbolic way of saying that they are parts of the totemic divinity?

But this conclusion presupposes that the tribes of which we have just been speaking admit the doctrine of reincarnation. Now according to Strehlow, this doctrine is unknown to the Arunta, the society which Spencer and Gillen have studied the longest and the best. If, in this particular case, these two observers have misunderstood things to such an extent, their whole testimony would become suspect. So it is important to determine the actual extent of this divergence.

According to Strehlow, after the soul has once been definitely freed from the body by the rites of mourning, it never reincar­nates itself again. It goes off to the isles of the dead, where it passes its days in sleeping and its nights in dancing, until it returns again to earth. Then it comes back into the midst of the living and plays the role of protecting genius to the young sons, or if such are lacking, to the grandsons whom the dead man left behind him ; it enters their body and aids their growth. It remains thus in the midst of its former family for a year or two, after which it goes back to the land of the souls. But after a certain length of time it goes away once more to make another sojourn upon earth, which is to be the last. A time will como when it must take up again, and with no hope of return this time, the route to the isles of the dead ; then, after various incidents, the details of which it is useless to relate, a storm will overtake it, in the course of which it will be struck by a flash of lightning. Thus its career is definitely terminated.1

So it cannot reincarnate itself ; nor can conceptions and births be due to the reincarnation of souls which periodically commence new existences in new bodies. It is true that Strehlow, as Spencer and Gillen, declares that for the Arunta commerce of the sexes is in no way the determining condition of generation,2 which is considered the result of mystic operations, but different from the ones which the other observers told us about. It takes place in one or the other of the two following ways :

Wherever an ancestor of the Alcheringa3 times is believed to have entered into the ground, there is either a stone or a tree representing his body. The tree or rock' which has this mystic relation with the departed hero is called nanja according to

Spencer and Gillen,1 or ngarra according to Strehlow.2 Some­times it is a water-hole which is believed to have been formed in this way. Now, on each of these trees or rocks and in each of these water-holes, there live embryo children, called ratapa,3 which belong to exactly the same totem as the corresponding ancestor. For example, on a gum-tree representing an ancestor of the kangaroo totem there are ratapa, all of which have the kangaroo as their totem. If a woman happens to pass it, and she is of the matrimonial class to which the mothers of these ratapa should belong,4 one of them may enter her through the hip. The woman learns of this act by the characteristic pains which are the first symptoms of pregnancy. The child thus conceived will of course belong to the same totem as the ancestor upon whose mystical body he resided before becoming incarnate.5

In other cases, the process employed is slightly different: the ancestor himself acts in person. At a given moment he leaves his subterranean retreat and throws on to the passing woman a little churinga of a special form, called namatuna.6 The churinga enters the body of the woman and takes a human form there, while the ancestor disappears again into the earth.7

These two ways of conception are believed to be equally frequent. The features of the child will reveal the manner in which he was conceived; according to whether his face is broad or long, they say that he is the incarnation of a ratapa or a namatuna. Beside these two means of fecundation, Strehlow places a third, which, however, is much more rare. After his namatuna has penetrated into the body of the woman, the an­cestor himself enters her and voluntarily submits to a new birth. So in this case, the conception is due to a real reincarnation of the ancestor. But this is very exceptional, and when a man who

has been conceived thus dies, the ancestral soul which animated him goes away, just like ordinary souls, to the isles of the dead where, after the usual delays, it is definitely annihilated. So it cannot undergo any further reincarnations.1

Such is the version of Strehlow.2 In the opinion of this author it is radically opposed to that of Spencer and Gillen. But in reality it differs only in the letter of the formulae and symbols, while in both cases we find the same mythical theme in slightly different forms.

In the first place, all the observers agree that every conception is the result of an incarnation. Only according to Strehlow, that which is incarnated is not a soul but a ratapa or a namatuna. But what is a ratapa ? Strehlow says that it is a complete embryo, made up of a soul and a body. But the soul is always represented in material forms ; it sleeps, dances, hunts, eats, etc. So it, too, has a corporal element. Inversely, the ratapa is in­visible to ordinary men ; no one sees it as it enters the body of the woman;3 this is equivalent to saying that it is made of a matter quite similar to that of the soul. So it hardly seems pos­sible to differentiate the two clearly in this regard. In reality, these are mythical beings which are obviously conceived after the same model.  Schuize calls them the souls of children.4 Moreover, the ratapa, just like the soul, sustains the closest relations with the ancestor of which the sacred tree or rock is the materialized form. It is of the same totem as this ancestor, of the same phratry and of the same matrimonial class.5 Its place in the social organization of the tribe is the very one that its ancestor is believed to have held before it. It bears the same name,6 which is a proof that these two personalities are at least very closely related to one another.

But there is more than this; this relationship even goes as far as a complete identification. In fact, it is on the mystic body of the ancestor that the ratapa is formed; it comes from this; it is like a detached portion of it. So it really is a part of the

ancestor which penetrates into the womb of the mother and which becomes the child. Thus we get back to the conception of Spencer and Gillen : birth is due to the reincarnation of an ancestral personage. Of course it is not the entire person that is reincarnated, it is only an emanation from him. But this difference has only a secondary interest, for when a sacred being divides and duplicates itself, all of its essential characteristics are to be found again in each of the fragments into which it is broken up. So really the Alcheringa ancestor is entire in each part of himself which becomes a ratapa.1

The second mode of conception distinguished by Strehlow has the same significance. In fact, the churinga, and more especially the particular churinga that is called the namatuna, is considered a transformation of the ancestor; according to Strehlow,2 it is his body, just as the nanja tree is. In other words, the person­ality of the ancestor, his churinga and his nanja tree, are sacred things, inspiring the same sentiments and to which the same religious value is attributed. So they transmute themselves into one another : in the spot where an ancestor lost his churinga, a sacred tree or rock has come out of the soil, just the same as in those places where he entered the ground himself.3 So there is a mythological equivalence of a person of the Alcheringa and his churinga ; consequently, when the former throws a namatuna into the body of a woman, it is as if he entered into it himself. In fact, we have seen that sometimes he does enter in person after the namatuna ; according to other stories he precedes it;

it might be said that he opens up the way for it.4 The fact that these two themes exist side by side in the same myth completes the proof that one is only a doublet of the other.

Moreoyer, in whatever way the conception may have taken place, there can be no doubt that each individual is united to some determined ancestor of the Alcheringa by especially close

bonds. In the first place, each man has his appointed ancestor; two persons cannot have the same one simultaneously. In other words, a being of the Alcheringa never has more than one repre­sentative among the living.1 More than that, the one is only an aspect of the other. In fact, as we already know, the churinga left by the ancestor expresses his personality; if we adopt the inter­pretation of Strehlow, which, perhaps, is the more satisfactory, we shall say that it is his body. But this same churinga is related in the same way to the individual who is believed to have been conceived under the influence of this ancestor, and who is the fruit of his mystic works. When the young initiate is introduced into the sanctuary of the clan, he is shown the churinga of his ancestor, and someone says to him, " You are this body ; you are the same thing as this."2 So, in Strehlow's own expression, the churinga is " the body common to the individual and his ancestor."3 Now if they are to have the same body it is neces­sary that on one side at least their two personalities be con­founded. Strehlow recognizes this explicitly, moreover, when he says, " By the tjurunga (churinga) the individual is united to his personal ancestor."4

So for Strehlow as well as for Spencer and Gillen, there is a mystic, religious principle in each new-bom child, which emanates from an ancestor of the Alcheringa. It is this principle which forms the essence of each individual, therefore it is his soul, or in any case the soul is made of the same matter and the same sub­stance. Now it is only upon this one fundamental fact that we have relied in determining the nature and origin of the idea of the soul. The different metaphors by means of which it may have been expressed have only a secondary interest for us.5

Far from contradicting the data upon which our theory rests, the recent observations of Strehlow bring new proofs confirming it. Our reasoning consisted in inferring the totemic nature of the human soul from the totemic nature of the ancestral

soul, of which the former is an emanation and a sort of replica. Now, some of the new facts which we owe to Strehlow show this character of both even more categorically than those we had at our disposal before do. In the first place, Strehlow, like Spencer and Gillen, insists on " the intimate relations uniting each ancestor to an animal, to a plant, or to some other natural object." Some of these Altjirangamitjina (these are Spencer and Gillen's men of the Alcheringa) " should," he says, " be manifested directly as animals ; others take the animal form in a way."1 Even now they are constantly transforming themselves into animals.2 In any case, whatever external aspect they may have, " the special and distinctive qualities of the animal clearly appear in each of them." For example, the ancestors of the Kangaroo clan eat grass just like real kangaroos, and flee before the hunter; those of the Emu clan run and feed like emus,3 etc. More than that, those ancestors who had a vegetable as totem become this vegetable itself on death.4 Moreover, this close kinship of the ancestor and the totemic being is so keenly felt by the natives that it is shown even in their terminology. Among the Arunta, the child calls the totem of his mother, which serves him as a secondary totem,5 altjira. As filiation was at first in the uterine line, there was once a time when each individual had no other totem than that of his mother ; so it is very probable that the term altjira then designated the real totem. Now this clearly enters into the composition of the word which means great ancestor, altjirangamitjina.6

The idea of the totem and that of the ancestor are even so closely kindred that they sometimes seem to be confounded. Thus, after speaking of the totem of the mother, or altjira, Strehlow goes on to say, " This altjira appears to the natives in dreams and gives them warnings, just as it takes information concerning them to their sleeping friends."7 This altjira, which speaks and which is attached to each individual personally, is evidently an ancestor ; yet it is also an incarnation of the totem. A certain text in Roth, which speaks of invocations addressed to the totem, should certainly be interpreted in this sense.8 So it appears that the totem is sometimes represented in the mind in the form of a group of ideal beings or mythical personages who are more or less indistinct from the ancestors. In a word, the ancestors are the fragments of the totem.9

But if the ancestor is so readily confused with the totemic being, the individual soul, which is so near the ancestral soul, cannot do otherwise. Moreover, this is what actually results from the close union of each man with his churinga. In fact, we know that the churinga represents the personality of the indi­vidual who is believed to have been born of it;1 but it also expresses the totemic animal. When the civilizing hero, Man-garkunjerkunja, presented each member of the Kangaroo clan with his personal totem, he spoke as follows: " Here is the body of a kangaroo."2 Thus the churinga is at once the body of the ancestor, of the individual himself and of the totemic animal; so, according to a strong and very just expression of Strehlow, these three beings form a " solid unity."3 They are almost equivalent and interchangeable terms. This is as much as to say that they are thought of as different aspects of one and the same reality, which is also denned by the distinctive attributes of the totem. Their common essence is the totemic principle. The language itself expresses this identity. The word ratapa, and the aratapi of the Loritja language, designate the mythical embryo which is detached from the ancestor and which becomes the child ; now these same words also designate the totem of this same child, such as is determined by the spot where the mother believes that she conceived.4