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But death is not the only event which may disturb a com­munity. Men have many other occasions for being sorry and lamenting, so we might foresee that even the Australians would know and practise other piacular rites besides mourning. How­ever, it is a remarkable fact that only a small number of examples are to be found in the accounts of the observers.

One rite of this sort greatly resembles those which have just been studied. It will be remembered that among the Arunta, each local group attributes exceptionally important virtues to its collection of churinga: this is this collective palladium, upon whose fate the fate of the community itself is believed to depend. So when enemies or white men succeed in stealing one of these religious treasures, this loss is considered a public calamity. This misfortune is the occasion of a rite having all the characteristics of mourning: men smear their bodies with white pipe-clay and remain in camp, weeping and lamenting, during a period of two weeks.1 This is a new proof that mourning is determined, not by the way in which the soul of the dead is conceived, but by impersonal causes, by the moral state of the group. In fact, we have here a rite which, in its structure, is indistinguishable from the real mourning, but which is, never­theless, independent of every notion of spirits or evil-working demons.2

Another circumstance which gives occasion for ceremonies of the same nature is the distress in which the society finds itself after an insufficient harvest. " The natives who live in the vicinity of Lake Eyre," says Eyimann, " also seek to prevent an insufficiency of food by means of secret ceremonies. But many of the ritual practices observed in this region are to be distinguished from those which have been mentioned already: it is not by symbolic dances, by imitative movements nor dazzling decorations that they try to act upon the religious powers or the forces of nature, but by means of the suffering which individuals inflict upon themselves. In the northern territories,

it is by means of tortures, such as prolonged fasts, vigils, dances persisted up to the exhaustion of the dancers, and physical pains of every sort, that they attempt to appease the powers which are ill-disposed towards men."1 The torments to which the natives submit themselves for this purpose sometimes leave them in such a state of exhaustion that they are unable to follow the hunt for some days to come.2

These practices are employed especially for fighting against drought. This is because a scarcity of water results in a general want. To remedy this evil, they have recourse to violent methods. One which is frequently used is the extraction of a tooth. Among the Kaitish, for example, they pull out an incisor from one man, and hang it on a tree.3 Among the Dieri, the idea of rain is closely associated with that of bloody incisions made in the skin of the chest and arms.4 Among this same people, whenever the drought is very great, the great council assembles and summons the whole tribe. It is really a tribal event. Women are sent in every direction to notify men to assemble at a given place and time. After they have assembled, they groan and cry in a piercing voice about the miserable state of the land, and they beg the Mura-mura (the mythical ancestors) to give them the power of making an abundant rain fall.5 In the cases, which, by the way, are very rare, when there has been an excessive rainfall, an analogous ceremony takes place to stop it. Old men then enter into a veritable frenzy,6 while the cries uttered by the crowd are really painful to hear.7

Spencer and Gillen describe, under the name of Intichiuma, a ceremony which may well have the same object and the same origin as the preceding ones : a physical torture is applied to make an animal species multiply. Among the Urabunna, there is one clan whose totem is a variety of snake called wadnungadni. This is how the chief of the clan proceeds, to make sure that these snakes may never be lacking. After having been decorated, he kneels down on the ground, holding his arms straight out. An assistant pinches the skin of his right arm between his fingers, and the officiant forces a pointed bone five inches long through the fold thus formed. This self-mutilation is believed to produce the desired result.8 An analogous rite is used among the Dieri to make the wild-hens lay : the operators pierce their scrotums.9

In certain of the Lake Eyre tribes, men pierce their ears to make yams reproduce.1

But these partial or total famines are not the only plagues which may fall upon a tribe. Other events happen more or less periodically which menace, or seem to menace, the existence of the group. This is the case, for example, with the southern lights. The Kurnai believe that this is a fire lighted in the heavens by the great god Mungan-ngaua ; therefore, whenever they see it, they are afraid that it may spread to the earth and devour them, so a great effervescence results in the camp. They shake a withered hand, to which the Kurnai attribute various virtues, and utter such cries as " Send it away ; do not let us be burned." At the same time, the old men order an exchange of wives, which always indicates a great excitement.2 The same sexual licence is mentioned among the Wiimbaio when­ever a plague appears imminent, and especially in times of an epidemic.3

Under the influence oi these ideas, mutilations and the shedding of blood are sometimes considered an efficient means of curing maladies. If an accident happens to a child among the Dieri, his relations beat themselves on the head with clubs or boomerangs until the blood flows down over their faces. They believe that by this process, they relieve the child of the suffering.4 Else­where, they imagine that they can obtain the same end by means of a supplementary totemic ceremony.5 We may connect with these the example already given of a ceremony celebrated specially to efface the effects of a ritual fault.6 Of course there are neither wounds nor blows nor physical suffering of any sort in these two latter cases, yet the rite does not differ in nature from the others : the end sought is always the turning aside of an evil or the expiation of a fault by means of an extraordinary ritual prestation.

Outside of mourning, such are the only cases of piacular rites which we have succeeded in finding in Australia. To be sure, it is probable that some have escaped us, while we may presume equally well that others have remained unperceived by the observers. But if those discovered up to the present are few in number, it is probably because they do not hold a

large place in the cult. We see how far primitive religions are from being the daughters of agony and fear from the fact that the rites translating these painful emotions are relatively rare. Of course this is because the Australian, while leading a miserable existence as compared with other more civilized peoples, demands so little of life that he is easily contented. All that he asks is that nature follow its normal course, that the seasons succeed one another regularly, that the rain fall, at the ordinary time, in abundance and without excess. Now great disturbances in the cosmic order are always exceptional; thus it is noticeable that the majority of the regular piacular rites, examples of which we have given above, have been observed in the tribes of the centre, where droughts are frequent and constitute veritable disasters. It is still surprising, it is true, that piacular rites specially destined to expiate sins, seem to be completely lacking. However, the Australian, like every other man, must commit ritual faults, which he has an interest in redeeming ; so we may ask if the silence of the texts on this point may not be due to insufficient observation.

But howsoever few the facts which we have been able to gather may be, they are, nevertheless, instructive.

When we study piacular rites in the more advanced religions, where the religious forces are individualized, they appear to be closely bound up with anthropomorphic conceptions. When the believer imposes privations upon himself and submits him­self to austerities, it is in order to disarm the malevolence attributed by him to certain of the sacred beings upon whom he thinks that he is dependent. To appease their hatred or anger, he complies with their exigencies; he beats himself in order that he may not be beaten by them. So it seems as though these practices could not arise until after gods and spirits were conceived as moral persons, capable of passions analogous to those of men. For this reason, Robertson Smith thought it possible to assign a relatively late date to expiatory sacrifices, just as to sacrificial oblations. According to him, the shedding of blood which characterizes these rites was at first a simple process of communion : men poured forth their blood upon the altar in order to strengthen the bonds uniting them to their god. The rite acquired a piacular and penal character only when its original significance was forgotten and when the new idea which was formed of sacred beings allowed men to attribute another function to it.1

But as piacular rites are met with even in the Australian societies, it is impossible to assign them so late an origin. 

Moreover, all that we have observed, with one single exception,1 are independent of all anthropomorphic conceptions : there is no question of either spirits or gods. Abstinences and effusions of blood stop famines and cure sicknesses directly and by them­selves. No spiritual being introduces his action between the rite and the effect it is believed to produce. So mythical personalities intervened only at a late date. After the mechanism of the ritual had once been established, they served to make it more easily representable in the mind, but they are not conditions of its existence. It is for other reasons that it was founded; it is to another cause that it owes its efficacy.

It acts through the collective forces which it puts into play. Does a misfortune which menaces the group appear imminent ? Then the group unites, as in the case of mourning, and it is naturally an impression of uneasiness and perplexity which dominates the assembled body. Now, as always, the pooling of these sentiments results in intensifying them. By affirming themselves, they exalt and impassion themselves and attain a degree of violence which is translated by the corresponding violence of the gestures which express them. Just as at the death of a relative, they utter terrible cries, fly into a passion and feel that they roust tear and destroy; it is to satisfy this need that they beat themselves, wound themselves, and make their blood flow. When emotions have this vivacity, they may well be painful, but they are not depressing; on the contrary, they denote a state of effervescence which implies a mobilization of all our active forces, and even a supply of external energies. It matters little that this exaltation was provoked by a sad event, for it is real, notwithstanding, and does not differ specifically from what is observed in the happy feasts. Sometimes it is even made manifest by movements of the same nature: there is the same frenzy which seizes the worshippers and the same tendency towards sexual debauches, a sure sign of great nervous over-excitement. Robertson Smith had already noticed this curious influence of sad rites in the Semitic cults: " in evil times," he says, " when men's thoughts were habitually sombre, they betook themselves to the physical excitement of religion as men now take refuge in wine. . . . And so in general when an act of Semitic worship began with sorrow and lamentation—as in the mourning for Adonis, or the great atoning ceremonies which became common in later times—a swift revulsion of feeling followed, and the gloomy part of the service was presently

succeeded by a burst of hilarious revelry."1 In a word, even when religious ceremonies have a disquieting or saddening event as their point of departure, they retain their stimulating power over the affective state of the group and individuals. By the mere fact that they are collective, they raise the vital tone. When one feels life within him—whether it be in the form of painful irritation or happy enthusiasm—he does not believe in death ; so he becomes reassured and takes courage again, and subject! vely, everything goes on as if the rite had really driven off the danger which was dreaded. This is how curing or preventive virtues come to be attributed to the movements which one makes, to the cries uttered, to the blood shed and to the wounds inflicted upon one's self or others; and as these different tortures necessarily make one suffer, suffering by itself is finally regarded as a means of conjuring evil or curing sickness.2 Later, when the majority of the religious forces had taken the form of moral personalities, the efficacy of these practices was explained by imagining that their object was to appease an evil-working or irritated god. But these conceptions only reflect the rite and the sentiments it arouses ; they are an interpretation of it, not its determining cause.

A negligence of the ritual acts in the same way. It, too, is a menace for the group; it touches it in its moral existence for it touches it in its beliefs. But if the anger which it causes is affirmed ostensibly and energetically, it compensates the evil which it has caused. For if it is acutely felt by all, it is because the infraction committed is an exception and the common faith remains entire. So the moral unity of the group is not endangered. Now the penalty inflicted as an expiation is only a manifestation of the public anger, the material proof of its unanimity. So it really does have the healing effect attributed to it. At bottom, the sentiment which is at the root of the real expiatory rites does not differ in nature from that which we have found at the basis of the other piacular rites : it is a sort of irritated sorrow which tends to manifest itself by acts of destruction. Sometimes it is assuaged to the detriment of him who feels it; sometimes it is at the expense of some foreign third party. But in either case, the psychic mechanism is essentially the same.3