I.—The Elements of the Sacrifice

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WHATEVER the importance of the negative cult may be, and though it may indirectly have positive effects, it does not contain its reason for existence in itself; it introduces one to the religious life, but it supposes this more than it con­stitutes it. If it orders the worshipper to flee from the profane world, it is to bring him nearer to the sacred world. Men have never thought that their duties towards religious forces might be reduced to a simple abstinence from all commerce ; they have always believed that they upheld positive and bilateral relations with them, whose regulation and organization is the function of a group of ritual practices. To this special system of rites we give the name of positive cult.

For some time we almost completely ignored the positive cult of the totemic religion and what it consists in. We knew almost nothing more than the initiation rites, and we do not know those sufficiently well even now. But the observations of Spencer and Gillen, prepared for by those of Schuize and confirmed by those of Strehlow, on the tribes of central Australia, have partially filled this gap in our information. There is one ceremony especially which these explorers have taken particular pains to describe to us and which, moreover, seems to dominate the whole totemic cult: this is the one that the Arunta, according to Spencer and Gillen, call the Intichiuma. It is true that Strehlow contests the meaning of this word. According to him, intichiuma (or, as he writes it, intijiumd} means " to instruct " and designates the ceremonies performed before the young man to teach him the traditions of the tribe. The feast which we are going to describe bears, he says, the name mbatjalkatiuma, which means " to fecundate " or "to put into a good condition."1 But we shall not try to settle this question of vocabulary, which touches the real problem but slightly, as the rites in question are all

celebrated in the course of the initiation. On the other hand, as the word Intichiuma now belongs to the current language of ethnography, and has almost become a common noun, it seems useless to replace it with another.1

The date on which the Intichiuma takes place depends largely upon the season. There are two sharply separated seasons in Australia : one is dry and lasts for a long time; the other is rainy and is, on the contrary, very short and frequently irregular. As soon as the rains arrive, vegetation springs up from the ground as though by enchantment and animals multiply, so that the country which had recently been only a sterile desert is rapidly filled with a luxurious flora and fauna. It is just at the moment when the good season seems to be close at hand that the Inti­chiuma is celebrated. But as the rainy season is extremely variable, the date of the ceremonies cannot be fixed once for all. It varies with the climatic circumstances, which only the chief of the totemic group, the Alatunja, is qualified to judge : on a day which he considers suitable, he informs his companions that the moment has arrived.2

Each totemic group has its own Intichiuma. Even if this rite is general in the societies of the centre, it is not the same everywhere ; among the Warramunga, it is not what it is among the Arunta ; it varies, not only among the tribes, but also within the tribe, among the clans. But it is obvious that the different mechanisms in use are too closely related to each other to be dissociated completely. There is no ceremony, perhaps, which is not made up of several, though these are very unequally developed : what exists only as a germ in one, occupies the most important place in another, and inversely. Yet they must be carefully distinguished, for they constitute just so many different ritual types to be described and explained separately, but afterwards we must seek some common source from which they were derived.

Let us commence with those observed among the Arunta.

The celebration includes two successive phases. The object of the rites which take place in the first is to assure the prosperity of the animal or vegetable species serving the clan as totem. The means employed for this end may be reduced to two principal types.

It will be remembered that the fabulous ancestors from whom each clan is supposed to be descended, formerly lived on earth and left traces of their passage there. These traces consist especially in stones and rocks which they deposited at certain places, or which were formed at the spots where they entered into the ground. These rocks and stones are considered the bodies or parts of the bodies of the ancestors, whose memory they keep alive; they represent them. Consequently, they also represent the animals and plants which served these same ancestors as totems, for an individual and his totem are only one. The same reality and the same properties are attributed to them as to the actually living plants or animals of the same species. But they have this advantage over these latter, that they are imperishable, knowing neither sickness nor death. So they are like a permanent immutable and ever-available reserve of animal and vegetable life. Also, in a certain number of cases, it is this reserve that they annually draw upon to assure the reproduction of the species.

Here, for example, is how the Witchetty grub clan, at Alice Springs, proceeds at its Intichiuma.1

On the day fixed by the chief, all the members of the totemic group assemble in the principal camp. The men of the other totems retire to a distance;2 for among the Arunta, they are not allowed to be present at the celebration of the rite, which has all the characteristics of a secret ceremony. An individual of a different totem, but of the same phratry, may be invited to be present, as a favour ; but this is only as a witness. In no case can he take an active part.

After the men of the totem have assembled, they leave the camp, leaving only two or three of their number behind. They advance in a profound silence, one behind another, all naked, without arms and without any of their habitual ornaments. Their attitude and their pace are marked with a religious gravity: this is because the act in which they are taking part has an exceptional importance in their eyes. Also, until the end of the ceremony they are required to observe a rigorous fast.

The country which they traverse is all filled with souvenirs left by the glorious ancestors. Thus they arrive at a spot where a huge block of quartz is found, with small round stones all around it. This block represents the witchetty grub as an adult. The Alatunja strikes it with a sort of wooden tray called apmara3

and at the same time he intones a chant, whose object is to invite the animal to lay eggs. He proceeds in the same fashion with the stones which are regarded as the eggs of the animal and with one of which he rubs the stomach of each assistant. This done, they all descend a little lower, to the foot of a cliff also celebrated in the myths of the Alcheringa, at the base of which is another stone, also representing the witchetty grub. The Alatunja strikes it with his apmara ; the men accompanying him do so as well, with branches of a gum-tree which they have gathered on the way, all of which goes on in the midst of chants renewing the invitation previously addressed to the animal. About ten different spots are visited in turn, some of which are a mile or more from the others. At each of them there is a stone at the bottom of a cave or hole, which is believed to repre­sent the witchetty grub in one of his aspects or at one of the phases of his existence, and upon each of these stones, the same ceremonies are repeated.

The meaning of the rite is evident. When the Alatunja strikes the sacred stones, it is to detach some dust. The grains of this very holy dust are regarded as so many germs of life ; each of them contains a spiritual principle which will give birth to a new being, when introduced into an organism of the same species. The branches with which the assistants are provided serve to scatter this precious dust in all directions ; it is scattered everywhere, to accomplish its fecundating work. By this means, they assure, in their own minds, an abundant reproduction of the animal species over which the clans guard, so to speak, and upon which it depends.

The natives themselves give the rite this interpretation. Thus, in the clan of the ilpiria (a kind of "manna"), they proceed in the following manner. When the day of the Inti­chiuma arrives, the group assembles, near a huge rock, about fifty feet high ; on top of this rock is another, very similar to the first in aspect and surrounded by other smaller ones. Both represent masses of manna. The Alatunja digs up the ground at the foot of this rock and uncovers a churinga which is believed to have been buried there in Alcheringa times, and which is, as it were, the quintessence of the manna. Then he climbs up to the summit of the higher rock and rubs it, first with the churinga and then with the smaller stones which surround it. Finally, he brushes away the dust which has thus been collected on the surface of the rock, with the branches of a free ; each of the assistants does the same in his turn. Now Spencer and Gillen say that the idea of the natives is that the dust thus scattered will " settle upon the mulga trees and so produce

manna." In fact, these operations are accompanied by a hymn sung by those present, in which this idea is expressed.1

With variations, this same rite is found in other societies. Among the Urabunna, there is a rock representing an ancestor of the Lizard clan ; bits are detached from it which they throw in every direction, in order to secure an abundant production of lizards.2 In this same tribe, there is a sand-bank which mythological souvenirs closely associate with the louse totem. At the same spot are two trees, one of which is called the ordinary louse tree, the other, the crab-louse tree. They take some of this sand, rub it on these trees, throw it about on every side and become convinced that, as a result of this, lice will be born in large numbers.3 The Mara perform the Intichiuma of the bees by scattering dust detached from sacred rocks.4 For the kangaroo of the plains, a slightly different method is used. They take some kangaroo-dung and wrap it up in a certain herb of which the animal is very fond, and which belongs to the kangaroo totem for this reason. Then they put the dung, thus enveloped, on the ground between two bunches of this herb and set the whole thing on fire. With the flame thus made, they light the branches of trees and then whirl them about in such a way that sparks fly in every direction. These sparks play the same role as the dust in the preceding cases.5

In a certain number of clans,6 men mix something of their own substance with that of the stone, in order to make the rite more efficacious. Young men open their veins and let streams of blood flow on to the rock. This is the case, for example, in the Intichiuma of the Hakea flower among the Arunta. The ceremony takes place in a sacred place around an equally sacred rock which, in the eyes of the natives, represents Hakea flowers. After certain preliminary operations, " the old leader asks one of the young men to open a vein in his arm, which he does, and allows the blood to sprinkle freely, while the other men continue the singing. The blood flows until the stone is com­pletely covered."7 The object of this practice is to revivify the virtues of the stone, after a fashion, and to reinforce its efficacy. It should not be forgotten that the men of the clan are relatives of the plant or animal whose name they bear; the same principle of life is in them, and especially in their blood. So it is only natural that one should use this blood and the mystic germs which it caries to assure the regular reproduction of the

totemic species.  It frequently happens among the Arunta that when a man is sick or tired, one of his young companions opens his veins and sprinkles him with his blood in order to re­animate him.1 If blood is able to reawaken life in a man in this way, it is not surprising that it should also be able to awaken it in the animal or vegetable species with which the men of the clan are. confounded.

The same process is employed in the Intichiuma of the Undiara kangaroo among the Arunta. The theatre of the ceremony is a water-hole vaulted over by a peaked rock. This rock represents an animal-kangaroo of the Alcheringa which was killed and deposited there by a man-kangaroo of the same epoch ; many kangaroo spirits are also believed to reside there. After a certain number of sacred stones have been rubbed against each other in the way we have described, several of the assistants climb up on the rock upon which they let their blood flow.2 " The purpose of the ceremony at the present day, so say the natives, is by means of pouring out the blood of kangaroo men upon the rock, to drive out in all directions the spirits of the kangaroo animals and so to increase the number of the animals."3

There is even one case among the Arunta where the blood seems to be the active principle in the rite. In the Emu group, they do not use sacred stones or anything resembling them. The Alatunja and some of his assistants sprinkle the ground with their blood; on the ground thus soaked, they trace lines in various colours, representing the different parts of the body of an emu. They kneel down around this design and chant a monotonous hymn. From the fictitious emu to which this chant is addressed, and, consequently, from the blood which lias served to make it, they believe that vivifying principles go forth, which animate the embryos of the new generation, and thus prevent the species from disappearing.4

Among the Wonkgongaru,5 there is one clan whose totem is a certain kind of fish ; in the Intichiuma of this totem also, it is the blood that plays the principal part. The chief of the

group, after being ceremoniously painted, goes into a pool of water and sits down there. Then he pierces his scrotum and the skin around his navel with small pointed bones. " The blood from the wounds goes into the water and gives rise to fish."1

By a wholly similar process, the Dieri think that they assure the reproduction of two of their totems, the carpet snake and the woma snake (the ordinary snake). A Mura-mura named Minkani is thought to livf under a dune. His body is represented by some fossil bones of animals or reptiles, such as the deltas of the rivers flowing into Lake Eyre contain, according to Howitt. When the day of the ceremony arrives, the men assemble and go to the home of the Minkani. There they dig until they come to a layer of damp earth which they call " the excrement of Minkani." From now on, they continue to turn up the soil with great care until they uncover " the elbow of Minkani." Then two young men open their veins and let their blood flow on to the sacred rock. They chant the hymn of Minkani while the assistants, carried away in a veritable frenzy, beat each other with their arms. The battle continues until they get back to the camp, which is about a mile away. Here, the women intervene and put an end to the combat. They collect the blood which has flown from the wounds, mix it with the " excrement of Minkani," and scatter the resulting mixture over the dune. When this rite has been accomplished, they are convinced that carpet snakes will be bom in abundance.2

In certain cases, they use the very substance which they wish to produce as the vivifying principle. Thus among the Kaitish, in the course of a ceremony whose object is to create rain, they sprinkle water over a sacred rock which represents the mythical heroes of the Water clan. It is evident that they believe that by this means they augment the productive virtues of the rock just as well as with blood, and for the same reasons.3 Among the Мага, the actor takes water from a sacred hole, puts it in his mouth and spits it out in every direction.4 Among the Worgaia, when the yams begin to sprout, the chief of the Yam clan sends men of the phratry of which he is not a member himself to gather some of these plants ; these bring some to him, and ask him to intervene, in order that the species may develop well. He takes one, chews it, and throws the bits in every direction.5 Among the Kaitish when, after various rites which we shall not describe, the grain of a certain grass called Eriipinna has reached its full

development, the chief of the totem brings a little of it to camp and grinds it between two stones ; the dust thus obtained is piously gathered up, and a few grains are placed on the lips of the chief, who scatters them by blowing. This contact with the mouth of the chief, which has a very special sacramental virtue, undoubtedly has the object of stimulating the vitality of the germs which these grains contain and which, being blown to all the quarters of the horizon, go to communicate these fecundating virtues which they possess to the plants.1

The efficacy of these rites is never doubted by the native : he is convinced that they must produce the results he expects, with a sort of necessity. If events deceive his hopes, he merely concludes that they were counteracted by the sorcery of some hostile group. In any case, it never enters his mind that a favour­able result could be obtained by any other means. If by chance the vegetation grows or the animals produce before he has per­formed his Intichiuma, he supposes that another Intichiuma has been celebrated under the ground by the ancestors and that the living reap the benefits of this subterranean ceremony.2