Images de page

beings united in blood-friendship, "one soul in two bodies"; a common life in two personalities. Again it is said in an Egyptian sacred text, "Ra is the soul of Osiris, and Osiris is the soul of Ră."1

An exchange of names, as if in exchange of personalities, in connection with a covenant of friendship, is a custom in widely diverse countries; and this custom seems to have grown out of the idea of an inter-union of natures by an inter-union of blood, even if it be not actually an accompaniment of that rite in every instance. It is common in the Society Islands,2 as an element in the adoption of a "tayo," or a personal friend and companion (See page 56, supra). It is to be found in various South Sea islands, and on the American continent.

Among the Araucanians, of South America, the custom of making brothers, or brother-friends, is called Lacu. It includes the killing of a lamb and dividing it—“cutting” it-between the two covenanting parties; and each party must eat his half of the lamb-either by himself or by such assistance as he chooses to call in. None of it must be left uneaten. Gifts also pass between the parties; and the two friends exchange names. “The giving [the exchanging] of a name [with this people] establishes between the namesakes a species of relationship which is considered almost as sacred as that of blood, and obliges them to render to each other certain services, and that consideration which naturally belongs to relatives." 3


It is related of Tolo, a chief of the Shastika Indians, on the Pacific coast, that when he made a treaty with Col. McKee, an American soldier, in 1852, for the cession of certain tribal rights, he was anxious for some ceremony of brotherhood that should give binding sacredness to the mutual covenant. After some parleying, he proposed the formal exchange of names, and this was agreed to. Thenceforward he desired 1 Renouf's The Relig. of Anc. Egypt, p. 107. 2 Miss. Voyage to So. Pacif. Ocean, p. 65.

8 See E. R. Smith's The Araucanians, p 262.

[blocks in formation]

to be known as "McKee."

The American colonel was now "Tolo."

But after a while the Indian found that, as in too many other instances, the terms of the treaty were not adhered to by the authorities making it. Then he discarded his new name, "McKee," and refused to resume his former name, "Tolo." He would not answer to either, and to the day of his death he insisted that his name, his identity, was "lost."-There is a profound sentiment underneath such a course, and such a custom, as that.

So fully is the identity of one's name and one's life recognized by primitive peoples, that to call on the name of a dead person is generally supposed to summon the spirit of that person to the caller's service. Hence, among the American Indians, if one calls the dead by name, he must answer to the dead man's goel. He must surrender his own blood, or pay blood-money, in restitution of the life of the dead-taken by him. (First An. Rep. of Bureau of Ethnol., p. 200.)

Even Herbert Spencer sees the correspondence of the blood-covenant and the exchange of names. He says: "By absorbing each other's blood, men are supposed to establish actual community of nature. Similarly with the ceremony of exchanging names. This, which is a widely-diffused practice, arises from the belief that the name is vitally connected with its owner. To exchange names, therefore, is to establish some participation in one another's being." " Hence, as we may suppose, came the well-nigh universal Oriental practice of inter-weaving the name of one's Deity with one's name, as a symbolic evidence of one's covenant-union with the Deity. The bloodcovenant, or the blood-union, idea is at the bottom of this.

Another custom, having a peculiar bearing upon this thought of a new name, or a new identity, through new blood, is the rite of initiation into manhood, by the native Australians. During childhood the Australian boys are under the care of their mothers, and they bear

1 Power's Tribes of California," in Contrib. to No. Am. Ethnol., III., 247.

Principles of Sociology, II., 21.

names which designate the place and circumstances of their birth. But when the time comes for them to put away childish things,' they are subjected to a series of severe and painful tests, to prove their powers of physical and mental endurance, preparatory to their reception of a new name, as indicative of a new life. A rite resembling circumcision is one step in their progress. During these ceremonies, there is selected for each lad a sponsor (or godfather) who is a representative of that higher life into which the lad seeks an entrance. One of the latest steps in the long series of ceremonies, is the choosing and conferring, by the sponsor, of the lad's new name, which he is to retain thenceforward during his life. With a stone-knife, the sponsor opens a vein in his own arm, and causes the lad to drink his warm-flowing blood. After this, the lad drops forward on his hands and knees, and the sponsor's blood is permitted to form a pool on his back, and to coagulate there. Then the sponsor cuts, with his stone-knife, broad gashes in the lad's back, and pulls open the gaping wounds with the fingers. The scars of these gashes remain as permanent signs of the covenant ceremony. And encircling tokens of the covenant are bound around the neck, each arm, and the waist, of the young man; who is now reckoned a new creature in the life represented by that godfather, who has given him his new name, and has imparted to him of his blood." That the transfusion of blood in this ceremony is the making of a covenant between the youth and his sponsor, and not the giving him blood in vivification, is indicated in another form of the same rite of manhood-initiation, as practised in New South Wales. There, the youth is seated upon the shoulders of his sponsor, while one of his teeth is knocked out. The blood that flows from the boy's lacerated gum in this ceremony is not wiped away, but is suffered to run down upon his breast, and thence upon the head of his sponsor, whose name he takes. This blood, which secures, by its absorption, a common life between the two, who have now



11 Cor. 13: II. 2 See note at page 218, supra. 3 See pages 65-77, supra. 42 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4: 24; Col. 3: 9, 10. Angas's Savage Life, I., 114-116.

[blocks in formation]

a common name, is permitted to dry upon the head of the man and upon the breast of the boy, and to remain there untouched for several days.

In this New South Wales ceremonial, there is another feature, which seems to suggest that remarkable connection of life with a stone, which has been already referred to (page 307, supra); and yet again to suggest the giving of a new name as the token of a new life. A white stone, or a quartz crystal, called mundie, is given to each novitiate in manhood, at the time he receives his new name. This stone is counted a gift from deity, and is held peculiarly sacred. A test of the young man's moral stamina is made by the old men's trying, by all sorts of persuasion, to induce him to surrender this possession, when first he has received it. This accompaniment of a new name “is worn concealed in the hair, tied up in a packet, and is never shown to the women, who are forbidden to look at it under pain of death." The youths receiving and retaining these white stones, with their new names, are termed " Kebarrah, from keba, a rock, or stone." (Angas's Savage Life, II., 221.) the idea of a sacred covenant, a covenant of brotherhood and friendship, is underneath these ceremonies, is indicated by the fact, that when the rites of Kebarrah are celebrated, even "hostile tribes meet in peace; all animosity between them being laid aside during the performance of these ceremonies." "To him that overcometh, [saith the Spirit,] . . . I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2: 17). The Rabbis recommend the giving secretly of a new name, as a means of new life, to him who is in danger of dying. (See Seph. Hakhkhay., p. 37 f. and note.)


Again, in a form of marriage ceremony in Tahiti, there is a hint of this universal idea of inter-union by blood. An observer of this ceremony, in describing it says: "The female relatives cut their faces and brows with the instrument set with shark's teeth,2 received the flowing blood on a piece of native cloth, and deposited the cloth,

1 See references to drawing blood from the forehead, at page 86 ff., supra. 2 See pages 85-88, supra.

sprinkled with the mingled blood of the mothers of the married pair, at the feet of the bride. By the latter parts of the ceremony, any inferiority of rank that might have existed was removed, and they were [now] considered as equal. The two families, also, to which they respectively belonged, were ever afterwards regarded as one [through this new bloodunion]." Had these mothers mingled and interchanged their own blood before the births of their children, the children—as children of a common blood-would have been debarred from marriage; but now that the two children were covenanting to be one, their mothers might interchange their blood, that the young couple might have an absolute equality of family nature.

There are frequent references by travelers to the rite of brotherhood, or of close friendship, in one part of the world or another, with or without a description of its methods. Thus of one of the tribes in Central Africa it is said: "The Wanyamuezi have a way of making brotherhood, similar to that which has already been described, except that instead of drinking each other's blood, the newly made brothers mix it [their blood] with butter on a leaf, and exchange leaves. The butter is then rubbed into the incisions, so that it acts as a healing ointment at the same time that blood is exchanged. The ceremony is concluded by tearing the leaves to pieces and showering the fragments on the heads of the brothers." The Australians, again, are said to have "the custom of making Kotaiga,' or brotherhood, with strangers. When Europeans visit their districts, and behave as they ought to do, the natives generally unite themselves in bonds of fellowship with the strangers; each selecting one of them as his Kotaiga. The new relations are then considered as having mutual responsibilities, each being bound to forward the welfare of the other." 4 Once more, in Feejee, two warriors sometimes bind themselves to each other by a formal ceremony, and although its details 2 See Prov. 27: 9.

1 Ellis's Polynesian Researches, II., 569 f.

3 Cited from Capt. Grant's description; in Wood's Unciv. Races, I., 440.

4 Ibid., II., 81.

« PrécédentContinuer »