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BLEEDING FOR BAAL.
it, so that it bled. Then she held her napkin beneath, and let three drops of blood fall into it; which she gave to her daughter, saying: 'Dear child, preserve this well, and it will help you out of trouble.'" That blood represented the mother's very life. It was accustomed to speak out in words of counsel and warning to the daughter. But by and by the napkin which held it was lost, and then the power of the young princess over her mother's servant was gone, and the poor princess was alone in the wide world, at the mercy of strangers.
Acting on the symbolism of this covenanting with another by the loving proffer of one's blood, men have reached out toward God, or toward the gods, in desire for a covenant of union, and in expression of fidelity of devotedness, by the giving of their blood God-ward. This, also, has been in the East and in the West, in ancient days and until to-day.
There was a gleam of this in the Canaanitish worship of Baal, in the contest between his priests and the prophet Elijah, before King Ahab, at Mount Carmel. First, those priests shed the blood of the substitute bullock, at the altar of their god, and "called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us! But there was no voice, nor any that answered." Then they grew more earnest
1" The Goose Girl," in Grimm's Household Tales.
in their supplications, and more demonstrative in their proofs of devotedness. "They leaped [or, limped] about the altar which was made. And they
cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them." Similar methods of showing love for God are in vogue among the natives of Armenia to-day. Describing a scene of worship by religious devotees in that region, Dr. Van Lennep says: "One of them cuts his forehead with a sword, so that 'the blood gushes out.' He wears a sheet in front, to protect his clothes, and his face is covered with clots of blood."2 Clearly, in this case, as in many others elsewhere, it is not as a means of self-torture, but as a proof of self-devotedness, that the blood is poured out-the life is proffered -by the devotee, toward God.
Among the primitive peoples of North and of South America, it was the custom of priests and people to draw blood from their own bodies, from their tongues, their ears, their noses, their limbs and members, when they went into their temples to worship, and to anoint with that blood the images of their gods. The thorns
11 Kings 18: 26–28. 2 Van Lennep's Bible Lands, pp. 767-769.
3 See Herrera's Gen. Hist. of Cont. and Isl. of America, III., 209, 211, 216, 300 f.; Clavigero's Hist. of Mex., Bk. VI., chaps. 22, 38; Montolinia's Hist. Ind. de Nueva España, p. 22; Landa's Relat. Yucatan, XXXV.; Ximenez's Hist. Ind. Gautem., pp. 171-181; Palacio's San
FRESH BLOOD DAILY.
of the maguey-a species of aloe-were, in many regions, kept ready at places of sacrifice, for convenient use in this covenant blood-letting.1 A careful student of these early American customs has said of the obvious purpose of this yielding of one's blood in worship, that it "might be regarded as an act of individual devotion, a gift made to the gods by the worshiper himself, out of his own very substance [of his very life, as in the blood-covenant]. The priests in particular owed it to their special character [in their covenant relation to the divinities], to draw their blood for the benefit of the gods [in renewed pledge to the gods]; and nothing could be stranger than the refined methods they adopted to accomplish this end. For instance, they would pass strings or splinters through their lips or ears, and so draw a little blood. But then a fresh string, or a fresh splinter, must be added every day, and so it might go on indefinitely; for the more there were, the more meritorious was the act; pre
Salv. and Hond. (in Squier's Coll., I.) 65 ff., 106, 116; Simon's Ter. Not. Conq. Tier. Firm. en Nue Gran. (in Kingsborough's Antiq. of Mex., VIII.) 208, 248; all cited in Spencer's Des. Soc. II., 20-26, 28, 33. See, also, Bancroft's Native Races of Pacif. Coast, I., 665, 723; II., 259, 306, 708, 710.
1 Serving the purpose of the Otaheitan shark's teeth. See page 86 f., supra.
2 Réville's Native Religions of Mexico and Peru, p. 84 f.
ciscly as is the standard of love-showing by blood-letting among Turkish lovers and Otaheitan wives and mothers, in modern times.
A similar giving of blood, in proof of devotedness, and in outreaching for inter-communion with the gods through blood, is reported in India, in recent times. Bishop Caldwell, of Madras, referred to it, a generation ago, in his description of the "Devil Dance" among the Tinnevelly Shawars. The devotee, in this dance, "cuts and lacerates himself till the blood flows, lashes himself with a huge whip, presses a burning torch to his breast, drinks the blood which flows from his own wounds, or drains the blood of the sacrifice; putting the throat of a decapitated goat to his mouth.” Hereby he has given of his own blood to the gods, or to the devils, and has drunk of the substitute blood of the divinities-in the consecrated sacrifice; as if in consummation of the blood-covenant with the supernal powers. "Then as if he had acquired new life [through inter-union with the object of his worship], he begins to brandish his staff of bells, and to dance with a quick but wild unsteady step. Suddenly the afflatus descends; there is no mistaking that glare or those frantic leaps. He snorts, he swears, he gyrates. The demon has now taken bodily possession of him. [The twain are one. The two natures are inter1 Cited in Adam's Curiosities of Superstition.
SIGNING ONE'S SOUL AWAY.
The devil-dancer is now worshiped
as a present deity, and every bystander consults him respecting his diseases, his wants, the welfare of his absent relations, the offerings to be made for the accomplishment of his wishes, and in short everything for which superhuman knowledge is supposed to be available." In this instance, the mutual covenant is represented; the devotee both giving and receiving blood, as a means of union..
On this idea of giving one's self to another, by giving of one's blood, it is that the popular tradition was based, that witches and sorcerers covenanted with Satan by signing a compact in their own blood. And again it was in recognition of the idea that two natures were inter-united in such a covenant, that the compact was sometimes said to be signed in Satan's blood.
Among the many women charged with witchcraft in England by the famous Matthew Hopkins, the "witchfinder" in the middle of the seventeenth century, was one, at Yarmouth, of whom it is reported, that her first temptation came to her when she went home from her place of employment discouraged and exasperated by her trials. "That night when she was in bed, she heard a knock at the door, and going to her window, she saw (it being moonlight) a tall black man there: and asked what he would have? He told her that she was discontented, because she could not get work; and