II

К оглавлению
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 
34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 
68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 
85 86 87 88 89 90 91 

The spirits of which we have just been speaking are essentially benefactors. Of course they punish a man if he does not treat them in a fitting manner;2 but it is not their function to work evil.

However, a spirit is in itself just as capable of doing evil as good. This is why we find a class of evil geniuses forming itself naturally, in opposition to these auxiliary and protecting spirits, which enables men to explain the permanent evils that they have to suffer, their nightmares3 and illnesses,4 whirlwinds and tempests,5 etc. Of course this is not saying that all these human miseries have appeared as things too abnormal to be explained in any way except by supernatural forces; but it is saying that these forces are thought of under a religious form. As it is a religious principle which is considered the source of life, so, all the events which disturb or destroy life ought logically to be traced to a principle of the same sort.

These harmful spirits seem to have been conceived on the

same model as the good spirits of which we have just been speaking. They are represented in an animal form, or one that is half-animal, half-man;1 but men are naturally inclined to give them enormous dimensions and a repulsive aspect.2 Like the souls of the ancestors, they are believed to inhabit trees, rocks, water-holes and subterranean caverns.3 Taking the Arunta as a particular example. Spencer and Gillen say expressly that these evil geniuses, known under the name of Oruncha, are beings of the Alcheringa.4 Many are represented as the souls of persons who had led a terrestrial life.5 Among the personages of the fabulous epoch, there were, in fact, many different temperaments: some had cruel and evil instincts which they retained;6 others were naturally of a bad constitution; they were thin and emaciated ; so after they had entered into the ground, the nanja rocks to which they gave birth were con­sidered the homes of dangerous influences.7

Yet they are distinguished by special characteristics from their confreres, the heroes of the Alcheringa. They do not reincarnate themselves; among living men, there is no one who represents them; they are without human posterity.8 When, judging from certain signs, they believe that a child is the result of their work, it is put to death as soon as born.9 Also, these belong to no determined totemic group ; they are outside the social organization.10 By all these traits, they are recognized as magic powers rather than religious ones. And in fact, it is especially with the magician that they have relations ; very frequently it is from them that he gets his powers.11 So we have now arrived at the point where the world of religion stops and that of magic commences; and as this latter is

outside the field of our research, we need not push our researches further.1