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Religion and Myth, by James Macdonald, [1883], at

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When man reached the conception of good and evil spirits as personal and separate existences—that is to say, beings capable of being influenced by him and having an influence over him—it needed but the advent of a Milton to set the gods by the ears. But before the Miltonic conception was reached there was a long transition period during which the gods set men by the ears. We have seen that kings and divine priests claimed to have in their own persons: first, the spirit of the creative and reproductive powers of nature next, that of their ancestors and predecessors, this latter passing over to the idea of an impersonal god. These were the beneficent patrons of men, who gave them rain, sunshine, crops, fecundity, successful hunting, and kindred blessings. During the world's youth the want of these was attributed to the negligence of the king, and with the lapse of time, perhaps to his malice or ill-will, as when the king was said "to have a bad heart." It was no uncommon experience for the king to be called sharply to task when the course of nature got into confusion and disorder, and men began to feel the pinch of want or the inconvenience of having to travel far afield for game. With the

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advent of evil spirits the blame could be laid on their shoulders for all the ills that afflicted humanity. Evil persons were supposed to be in league with those evil spirits, and to be their agents in carrying out their nefarious purposes. As the good spirits acted for men's benefit through the king or tribal priest, so other malign spirits acted through persons whose whole object was pure mischief for its own sake, except when bribed to do good actions by large gifts. The expulsion of spirits had not yet occurred to man; propitiation did not always suit his purpose; and yet the case required that drastic remedies should be adopted. It was obviously a matter of the first importance that means should be discovered for the detection and extermination, if possible, of the class of persons who brought the ills from which men suffered upon them.

In earlier times the king himself was frequently put to death when he failed to order the course of nature regularly, and give the blessings expected from him, and if so, there could be no hesitation or doubt about the art of those who wilfully disturbed the course of nature being a capital crime, or rather the capital crime beyond all others even by comparison. For to savage man there is no crime comparable to witchcraft in malignity of purpose and object. Here, then, we have the origin of that system of jurisprudence and religious ritual which, projecting itself into civilised and Christian times, pursued its victims, under the sanction of civil law and church judicatories, as persons who ought not to live. Primitive faith, or superstition as we call it

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now, clung for generations to men professing to be disciples of Him who came to show the higher and better way, so tenaciously that they could, without pity or compunction, see their fellows amidst blazing faggots for an imaginary crime. If the growth of thought has been so slow within historic times, and among a people with a written language, what must it have been among primitive men? When religion, with all the sanction it received from the sacred books of Christianity, took so many centuries to realise such elementary facts regarding man's relation to the supernatural, do we wonder that millenniums pass without any appreciable difference in custom and myth among savages?

But how were wizards and witches to be discovered when the world was young, and before men learned to recognise the "witch's mark?" Spirits bent on evil gave no outward token of their presence so far as that could possible be avoided. These spirits would only be harboured by persons of the most malignant disposition, or who for some reason had a grudge against their kind. So the spirits sought out those who, through neglect or ill-treatment, had been soured and rendered bitter in heart against their fellows. * Thus it happened that deformed persons, and those who through any infirmity were unable to take their place and act their part in life like their fellows, were believed to be possessed of the devil, or, in other words, were wizards and witches. Dwarfs, dumb persons, women who never were sought in marriage, and those with

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any facial peculiarities or defects which made them conspicuous, were most frequently regarded as the incarnation of the evil spirit of the world. From them it was impossible to expel or allure the demon as in the case of a patient who was devil-possessed, for, unlike the sick, the devil dwelt within the wizards by their own will and choice. They were themselves devils incarnate as the king or high priest was incarnate god. Such being the case, the only hope of safety, the sole means of security, lay in the rigid enforcement of that curious Mosaic enactment: "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live." *

Let us now consider how man, as he groped his way towards a higher conception of truth and the facts with which he found himself surrounded in the world, sought to protect himself against the malign influences exercised by those persons who entered into league with evil spirits, for the purpose of injuring their kind. And here it will be better to begin with the southern portion of Africa, with the customs of which I am familiar, and which have been studied and recorded with a greater degree of minuteness than those of any other part of the continent. In any study of witchcraft it must be borne in mind that the wizard's power is unlimited, or only bounded by such limitations and restrictions as the gods are subject to. Evil spirits are as powerful as good; hence it follows that the good must have assistance from man himself, if they are to cope successfully with evil. Man and the gods.

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may keep evil in check. Either of them alone would be unequal to the task. Can the beneficent god give rain? The wizard can thwart his purpose by the simplest of expedients. Can he make domestic animals prolific? The wizard has but to get a hair out of a cow's tail to bring murrain among them. Does the "father of men" give easy delivery to mothers? The wizard causes death in childbed or blights the offspring with a curse. Throughout the whole circle of social and domestic life the good designs of Providence and the gods can be frustrated by the art of witchcraft, and, indeed, the wizard may in a sense, be said to be more powerful than the gods. To them belong the initiative; all things are under their control and ordered by them; and the wizard has but to lie in wait till the gods act, and then, by the practice of his art, frustrates their intentions by marring their work. He, on the other hand, is safe from assault by the gods, for he never initiates any original work on his own account. His business is to watch their doings, and when they favour men to bring calamity and death.

So the Hottentot priest, when he sacrifices for any purpose, takes the most extraordinary precautions against malign influences. He keeps his purpose a profound secret, lest his intentions should become known to some "suspect person." At the sacrifice none must be present except such as can be fully trusted. And here lies his chief difficulty. Wizards are as cunning as are evil spirits themselves, and adopt every kind of disguise so as to remain unsuspected. He can guard against the presence of

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reputed wizards and suspect persons. But these have "friends" who are neither known nor suspected, and should one of them be present to inform the wizard of what goes on, and convey to him as much as a single hair from the sacrifice, or even a blade of grass from the spot on which an important person, as the chief or priest, sat, he can accomplish all the evil that he could have done by his presence among the crowd. For some reason, which I never could discover, suspect persons cannot be, or at all events are not, put on trial till specific acts can be charged against them before a properly constituted tribunal. They cannot even be shut up by such methods as we have often found so convenient beyond St. George's Channel.

Under such circumstances it is necessary to have a method by which guilt can be easily and surely brought home to those practising the unlawful art. This is done by a class of men known as witch-doctors. These are really magicians or priests, who, because of the dignity of their calling, occupy a premier position among the religious teachers of Africa. They are permitted to have armed retainers, and to rank on an equality with heads of clans. Their places of residence are sanctuaries; they hold court and try causes; their persons are sacred, and in virtue of their office they are entitled to receive fees in connection with all cases and trials. The following may be taken as illustrative of the witch-doctor's method of procedure:—When any one, say a man in middle life, falls ill, his friends, believing him to be bewitched, repair to the witch-doctor's

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house, and sit down outside in a waiting attitude. After a brief interval the doctor appears, says "Good morning," and then sitting down, takes a leisurely pinch of snuff. If the visitors ask for tobacco, he knows it is but an ordinary call, and enters into conversation on current topics. If they do not ask a pinch, he retires to his house, and returns with a dry hide and a small bundle of sticks which he throws down before his visitors. He then says, "You have come about a child?"

They, beating softly on the hide, reply: "We agree."

The doctor proceeds: "You are going to speak about a woman?"

"We agree," say the strangers, while they continue their gentle beating.

"The man you have come about is very ill," may be the doctor's next remark.

"We agree, we agree," cry out the visitors, this time beating violently.

On such lines the doctor proceeds till he has learned all he wishes to know: the man's age; whether of a strong or weakly constitution; how long he has been ill; whether he has any known enemy, and his means. After this he sits a long while in silence, and then says, oracularly, "You are being killed." When asked how and by whom, he replies that he cannot tell; they must return on the following day, and meantime the gods may divulge to him the secret. He mentions his fee, generally an ox, as a retainer, and this must be brought when they return next day, otherwise no revelations will

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be made to him. He is the servant of the gods, and what is given to him is offered to them. The deputation then retire, and when they go home a trusted friend receives a hint as to whom they suspect of bewitching the patient. This neighbour goes at dead of night, and has an interview with the doctor, who is now in a position to act. A muster of villagers is duly called, attendance at which is compulsory on pain of confessed guilt. The accused marches, in ignorance of his doom, with the cavalcade On the way he may be casually asked, "What does the person bewitching our brother deserve?" and he of course promptly replies, "He must die."

The ritual followed at the meeting varies, but the following is one method. All the villagers give up their arms to the doctor's guard, and then seat themselves in a semicircle. The doctor sings, dances, capers and mutters incantations within the circle of expectant sitters; then rushing up to the doomed man cries out, "This is the wizard who bewitched so and so, the gods name him." He then runs in among his armed guards, and all the people jump up, leaving the culprit sitting alone. He must not move, nor will any one go near him. No one is allowed to plead his cause even if they wished. His friends are disarmed and cannot strike a blow for him. The man's doom is inexorably fixed, and his only chance of escape is the somewhat slender one of the chief ordering an ox to be substituted and offered as a sacrifice; this, or a clean pair of heels, if he can show them. On crossing the border of the

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tribal territory he is safe, there being no extradition treaty for wizards.

As we move northwards we find the same or even greater precautions taken against witchcraft, but the system of jurisprudence is modified. In the Nyassa region, for example, the office of discovering persons who practise the illegal art falls not to the priest, but to the prophetess, who is frequently the principal wife of the chief, and one of the most formidable and justly dreaded persons met with in Africa. It is to the prophetess the ancestral spirits make known the will of the gods. When she sees these face to face, which always happens at the dead hour of night, she begins by raving and screaming, which she continues till the whole village is astir, and she herself utterly prostrated by her exertions; she then throws herself on the ground in a kind of trance, during which the villagers gather round her, awe-stricken, waiting for the oracle of the god, for she is now god-possessed. After such possession and revelations she may impose impossible tasks on men, and these they will attempt without question as their destiny. * She may demand human sacrifices, and no one dare deny her victims. Suppose she declares a victim must be offered to a mountain deity—for there are gods of the valleys and gods of the hills, deities of the river and of the forest—the victim is conducted to the spot indicated and bound hand and foot to a tree, If during the first night he is killed by beasts of prey, the gods have accepted the sacrifice; if not, he is left to die of

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starvation or thrown into a pool. The slave was not worthy the god's acceptance; he is of no further use to any one.

It is, however, as a detective of wizards and witches the prophetess is in most constant demand. When she travels on such duty she is accompanied by a strong guard; and when she orders a meeting of a clan or tribe attendance is compulsory. When all are assembled, our friend, who is clad with a scanty loin cloth and literally covered from head to heels with rattles and fantasies, rushes about among the crowd in the most frantic manner. She shouts and raves and rants like one demented. After which, assuming a calm judicial manner, she goes from one to another touching each person's hand. As she touches the hand of the bewitcher, she starts back with a loud shriek and yells, "This is him, the murderer. Blood is in his hand." * Having discovered the culprit, she next proceeds to prove his guilt. This she does by "finding the horns" he used in the prosecution of the unlawful art. These are generally the horns of a small species of antelope which are par excellence "witches’ horns." She finds the horns by going along the bank of the stream from which the family of the bewitched person got water. At intervals she lifts water from the stream, which she pours upon the ground, and then stoops to listen. Spirit voices direct her to the wizard's hiding-place. Arrived there, she begins to dig with a hoe she carries, muttering incantations as she works, and there she finds the incriminating horns. 

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Now, how does the prophetess find the horns? By what devil's art does she hit upon the spot where they are concealed? The explanation is to us very simple, but the African has not yet discovered it, or if he has, no one has dared to say so. Wherever she is employed she must spend a night at the village before she begins operations. She does not retire to rest with the other villagers, but wanders about the live-long night listening to spirit voices. If she sees a villager outside his door after the usual hour for retiring, she brings that up against him next day as evidence of guilty intention, and that, either on his own account or the wizard's, he meant to steal away to dig up the horns. The fear of such consequences keeps all persons within doors, and leaves the prophetess free to arrange for the tableau of the next day. So far is the fear of witchcraft carried, that whole villages have been known to partake of the ordeal poison in order to root out evil persons. * If a man is guilty, he dies; if not guilty, even if caught in the act red-handed, he recovers—he was in that case not a thief, he was bewitched to make him steal. Such is the Wayao philosophy of trial by ordeal.

Among the Bongo on the White Nile no communication can be had with the spirit world except by means of certain roots which are known to the magicians.  These are of service, not only in holding communication with the gods, but in warding off all evil influences. Had the secret been kept, the

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[paragraph continues] Bongo would have been the happiest people under the sun, but in an evil hour some noted wizard discovered it and made the world unhappy. With this knowledge in their possession, old people may apparently be lying peaceably in their beds while their spirits range the forest by moonlight in search of the magic roots. * These spirits assume animal form, which remind us of the familiar stories of farmers wounding hares, and hearing of old women in the next village having broken arm or leg mysteriously, which they set and dressed without aid of doctor; assured sign that the fear of his seeing the bullet-mark prevented their seeking his aid.

The Bongo priest who has obtained the coveted roots, can only hold communication with the gods in the approved manner by falling into a trance and receiving their commands in dreams and visions. The wizard, wielding equally potent spells, and restricted by no canons of custom, can leave the visible body, as the soul does in sleep, his only risk being the body being stolen during the spirit's absence, enter a hyæna, and range over mountain and plain, working evil as he goes. When a people are exposed to such dangers, to exorcise ghosts, demons, wood goblins, and all evil spirits and persons, must ever be their chief religious duty. When the destiny of a nation depends on guarding against evil influences of a spiritual nature, that people must be regarded as deeply religious, however little their rites may attract the attention of those who visit them.

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Dr. Schweinfurth, who is one of our best authorities on the usages of tribes living on the upper reaches of the Nile, says that some of them have hardly any religion. The Niam-niam, he says, have no religion, and use for divinity the word for lightning. * It is curious so observant a traveller should have been so far misled as to what constitutes religious observances. We are familiar in Zululand, Nyassa region, and in Uganda with the use of the term for lightning—in each case a different word—for heaven, thunder, or the god, and these peoples are among the most religious communities in Africa. When a man cannot knock his foot against a tree stump without attaching to it a supernatural significance  that man is religious whether he has a separate word for his god or not. The statement seems all the more inexplicable when we find the doctor himself saying that the same Niam-niam, who have no religion, "have a word for prayer"; that they practise augury, and believe in goblins, ghosts, and witches, the latter of which are treated by them as they have always been by persons with properly constituted minds—that is, by getting rid of them in the manner most approved for the extermination of the pestilent race. If the Niam-niam have no religion, to whom do they pray? Whence came their goblins? How do their witches attain their power except by spirit agency? These are questions which must be satisfactorily disposed of before we can accept a general statement that a people have

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been found who have no religion—that is, no faith in regard to supernatural powers or agents.

If the Nile tribes conduct their witch prosecutions, and religious services generally, in so perfunctory a manner as to attract the attention of travellers but slightly, their deficiency is more than made up by the Bullom tribes of the West Coast. When they drink beer they pour out a few drops as a religious act; when they eat, particles of food are allowed to fall on the ground for the same purpose. * They can neither walk nor sit, sow nor reap, hunt nor fish, without performing acts of devotion and dutiful obedience to the gods. They move among divinities, and these may be disturbed by loud laughter, by improper movements, or by words which can imply disparagement of the gods or their works. Each day has its own religious duties, but it is in the "witch palaver" their true devotion and fidelity to the will of the gods is seen to best advantage.

Their three great palavers are, "sauce palaver," "woman palaver," and "witch palaver."  In the first, which refers to all ordinary offences, the case is conducted according to the ordinary rules of evidence, either by witnesses or the ordeal. The accused is held as guilty, and he must prove his innocence. If he have witnesses, good; if not, then the poison bowl. The same remarks apply to "woman palaver," only that in this case the accused must submit to the ordeal. What that ordeal is we

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shall see in another connection; our present business is with the "witch palaver." In this case the accused can prove his innocence by no other means than the ordeal. When the offence was committed he may have been on a journey, at sea, asleep, sick and unable to move, on the war path; in any condition or circumstances. None of these things can be admitted in evidence nor in mitigation of sentence. Persons who have the power of transforming themselves into animals or insects, feigning sleep, or even death, so perfectly as to deceive the very elect—that is to say, the authoritative religious guides of the community—are not to be trifled with. So it is, when a suspect is on trial for specific acts of witchcraft, a red hot-iron is applied to his skin, partly to jog his memory, but principally that the brand may be examined to determine how much skin adheres to the hot metal, whether the wound bleeds, and how its edges "curl." * To each of these signs great importance is attached in determining presumption of guilt. This ordeal may be final and satisfactory, but the probabilities are against it. The show is too good to be over so soon, and the red-hot poker is succeeded by a jar of oil, which is placed on the fire till it boils. Into this boiling oil a stone, made red hot in the fire, is now dropped and the culprit directed to fish it out with his naked hand.  According to the condition of the hand after the ordeal is the presumption of guilt or innocence. If

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these means do not conclusively prove the case, he must drink "red water." * This is a decoction which is prepared by the priest in public from poisonous substances. After the preparation is made the priest washes his hands, as well as the mortar and pestle used, as a ceremonial act. The accused for a similar reason must rinse his mouth with clean water. He is then given a quantity of boiled rice which he must eat; after it he drinks the poison. If the red water acts as an emetic, and that vomiting continues till he brings up particles of rice, he is innocent and escapes; the red water ran away from him. When it does not act as an emetic, even if the man does not die from the effects of the poison, he is guilty; the red water clung to him. Sometimes the drug causes purging. In this case the culprit has "spoiled the red water"; the augury is doubtful, and to remove all difficulties he is sold—out of the territory, it is needless to say.

This latter form of ordeal is common in cases of supposed adultery among many tribes of the West Coast, as well as throughout the whole of the Lake region of Central Africa, and is specially worthy of note because of its close resemblance to, if not identity with, the practice of trial by ordeal for the same offence among the Jews: "If a man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, and a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close . . . . And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled; or, if the spirit of

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jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled, then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest . . . . And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; . . . . And the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse . . . . And the priest shall write three curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water, and he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse . . . . And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot, and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled but be clean, then she shall be free." * The connection between this enactment in the Mosaic legislation and the practice among primitive men, it is not my province to trace in the present essay, but the resemblance is so striking that the inference seems plain enough.

Turning to the history of witchcraft among civilised peoples, we have in it perhaps the best illustration of the persistency in popular imagination of the belief in the supreme power of evil spirits, and in man's power to influence the course of nature by necromancy and magic. It would be easy to cite examples from every country in Europe to show how the same belief in the power of evil, personified in wizards and witches, influenced the

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whole domestic and social life of the people. In Jutland a rowan growing out of the top of another tree is exceedingly efficacious against witchcraft. * This tree has the same virtue in Scotland, and I knew a worthy farmer's wife, who died only a few years ago, and who annually, in early summer, had a St. Andrew's cross made of rowan twigs, which she placed in the cowhouse as a talisman against the arts of witches. German farmers use the mistletoe for a similar purpose. In the island of Rum it was believed that if one of the family of Lachlin—a local family of note—shot a deer on the mountain of Finchra, he would either die on the spot or contract a distemper from which he could not recover.  This may belong to the class of totems rather than to witchcraft. Traces of clan totems are frequently met with in the north and west of Scotland.

Confining ourselves to this country, we have ample evidence, in the witch and fairy cult still current, of the ancient belief in man's power to influence nature and the lives of his fellow-men. And not the least curious thing is, that the persons accused of witchcraft often claimed to possess the power ascribed to them, though this meant an alternative between faggots and a deep pool. Among savage men, on the contrary, denial is all but universal when one is accused of having communication with evil spirits, or exercising the art of witchcraft. Among Scottish witches and fairy folk we get glimpses of persons of different grades, some of them holding high office and directing the affairs of the

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peculiar community to which they belong. Thus, in the confessions of Isabella Gowdie, indicted for witchcraft at Nairn in 1662, we have a King and Queen of Fairyland. "I was," said Isabella when in the dock, "in Downie hill, and got meat from the Queen of the Fairies, and more that I could eat. The queen is brawly clothed in white linen and in white and brown cloth; and the king is a braw man, well-favoured and broad-faced. There were plenty of elf bulls, rowting and skoyling up and down, and affrighted me." * Mr. Kirk, from whom I quote, adds, that on the authority of local tradition, fairyland is well supplied with musical instruments and books of history, travel, plays, novels, biography, but no Bibles—the lack of the latter owing to the fairy folk being in league with the devil, from whom they receive their government and power.

Before our familiar fairy cult was evolved, the evil spirits of primitive man had crystallised into a personal devil, supreme and all-powerful, with numerous attendant angels or messengers, and it is curious to note that something very nearly akin to this is met with in Ashantee, where the king has a thousand "Kra," or souls.  The Kra are the king's spies, a kind of secret service guild, and are called the king's souls, because when he dies they are all put to death that they may attend upon him in the land of shades. To strike, or even touch a Kra, is not only a deadly insult, but a serious capital crime. It is doing it to the king himself; and it is quite consistent with savage thought to regard a powerful king and his

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[paragraph continues] Kra as still actively engaged in connection with the world's affairs long after they have quitted the upper air. He is chief dictator, and each of his souls do his behests in the affairs of men. This is the common doctrine of witchcraft as that lives in popular imagination. The black art is something carried on under the direction of a supreme evil spirit, who is assisted by a countless host of minor devils or angels; that is to say, messengers, Kra, or souls. This doctrine must have been developed when man reached the conception of a supreme spirit of good, opposed by a supreme spirit of evil. But in tracing the growth of the idea of one supreme spirit of good, or god, we are met by greater difficulties than in tracing the doctrine of devils, for the latter took shape and colour from the former. When man found a supreme spirit among the gods, he had to account for the fact that he did not, or could not, at all times order events for the good of man. Evil still persisted; so he concluded there must be a supreme and personal devil, who commanded such agencies in the unseen world as were at the disposal of the good god himself.

The difficulty of tracing the growth of the idea of a supreme god arises from the impossibility of determining with certainty what was originally a local or tribal deity, and what a spirit regarded generally as supreme. We have seen that the Zulu term Mlungu, and its equivalents may mean, great ancestor, lightning, the powers of nature generally, or god, and we have at least one instance which seems to show how such ideas as that of Mlungu first

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take hold of the popular imagination, and become almost universal myth, for myth it is when all has been said, but myth which describes a sober fact of human faith and the progress of thought. The Rev. Duff Macdonald, a careful observer, who lived several years in Central Africa, says of the Wayao, that they not only worship their own ancestors, as is common to most Africans, but also invoke by prayer and sacrifice the gods of the country who were worshipped by the people they expelled. The older inhabitants were compelled to retire before the advance of the Wayao, but their great god Kangomba remained undisturbed on Mount Socki, nor would he be displaced by the newer divinities or the arts of magic. * So it is that the present chief, Kapeni, when making annual supplication and sacrifice, asks some noted Wanyasa priest to come to his assistance. The Wanyasa are related to the people whose god Kangomba originally was, and their presence is acceptable to him. Such a god as this, though originally a local tribal deity—some remote ancestor of a chief—gradually gathers more than a local reputation. The Wanyasa priests officiating at his annual festivals will carry his fame to their own people, and bring the Wanyasa tribe, through association with the Wayao at his festivals, to worship him in times of stress and trial at their own homes. If he grants their prayer his reputation will speedily spread as both powerful and good. Besides, every African who returns from a journey exaggerates all his experiences, and adorns

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his narratives with gorgeous imagery. In this way Kangomba will lose nothing of his glory and power by distance. He will be spoken of in every Wanyasa village as great beyond all local deities, and may, in a few generations, occupy a place second only to Mlungu himself.

Such probably was the origin of Mlungu when first men worshipped him, and if so, it furnishes us with the key we have been striving to find as to how primitive men arrived at the idea of a supreme god, and from that deduced the doctrine of a supreme devil, on which he hangs all the traditions he has regarding witchcraft and kindred evils. It will also help us to understand much with which we have long been familiar, though we may not have understood the relation of facts to one another. Such conceptions of deity and of evil are consistent with the acknowledgment of Nebuchadnezzar, that the God of Daniel was supreme among the gods—greater than those of the mighty empire itself.

We have now arrived at an advanced period of the world's progress in thought. If the theory suggested is correct, the African, starting with the crude idea that men could influence the course of nature, and that the power to do so was vested in his king, who was god—the personification of nature herself—advanced a long way when he conceived his chief, whose body he had buried or burned, still living and taking an active interest in the world's affairs. As thought progressed and man began to differentiate more accurately, he reached the doctrine of all human souls living in a land of spirits, thus

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making his way towards the conception of immortality, and that instead of the world's forces being regulated by caprice, there were good and evil spirits at work. To secure success to the good, good men sought for means of thwarting the evil. The evil, on the other hand, not to be baulked of their object, sought out agents on whom they conferred supernatural powers. This war of good and evil could not long continue before certain of the good spirits, or evil, attained to a place of supreme power. In tracing the history of witchcraft and the methods adopted to eradicate its votaries, we find how naturally man came to believe in persons possessing supernatural powers for evil. We have also seen, casually, the growth and development of another order, magicians and prophets; but before endeavouring to trace the history of prophecy among primitive peoples, it may be best to consider some of their festivals, as those of first-fruits and harvest, where magicians or prophets are seen to best advantage in the exercise of their functions; after which we can the better understand the development of the order and the importance attached to the office.


115:* J. Sutton, MS. notes.

116:* Exod. xxii. 18.

121:* Rev. Duff Macdonald.

122:* Rev. Duff Macdonald.

122:† Ibid.

123:* Rev. Duff Macdonald.

123:† Schweinfurth.

124:* Schweinfurth.

125:* Schweinfurth.

125:† Rev. Duff Macdonald; Dr. Elmslie, MS. notes.

126:* Walker.

126:† Winterbotham.

127:* Winterbotham.

127:† Ibid.; Rev. Duff Macdonald.

128:* Winterbotham.

129:* Numbers. v. 12-28.

130:* Kamp.

130:† Martin.

131:* Kirk.

131:† Kühne and Rameyer.

133:* Rev. Duff Macdonald.

Next: Chapter VIII. Harvest Festivals