Images de page

they cut their foreheads with swords;1 and so they are shown to be foreigners and not Egyptians."


It would even seem that in Egypt, as in other parts of the primitive world, the prohibition of the eating of many sacred animals applied to the eating of them when not offered in sacrifice. Because those animals became, as it were, on the altar, or on the table, of the gods, a portion of the gods themselves, they must not be eaten except by those who discerned in them the body of the gods, and who were entitled to share them in inter-communion with the gods.3

The monumental representations of the other world show the gods sharing food and drink with the souls of the deceased. And the idea of a divine-human inter-communion through the partaking by gods and men of the food provided for, or accepted by, the former, runs all through the Egyptian record. A remarkable illustration of this idea is found in an extended inscription from the tomb of Setee I., whose daughter is supposed to have been the finder of the infant Moses. In this inscription, which is sometimes called the Book of Hades, or more properly the Book of Amenti, the Sun-god Rā is represented as passing through Amenti-or the under world-on his noctur1 Hist., II., 61. 2 See references to this custom at page 85 ff., supra. 3 See Wilkinson's Anc. Egypt., III., 404–406.

Renouf's The Relig. of Anc. Egypt, pp. 138–147.



nal circuit, and speaking words of approval to his disembodied worshipers there.1 "These are they who worshiped Ra on the earth,

their oblations.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

who offered

They are [now] masters of

their refreshments; they take their meat; they seize their offerings in the porch of him, whose being is mysterious. Rā says to them, Your offerings are yours; take your refreshment." Again and again the declaration is made of "the elect," of those who are greeted by Ră in Amenti: "Their food is (composed) of Ra's bread; their drink [is] of his liquor tesher [a common word for "red," often standing for “blood” 2]. And yet again: "Their food is to hear the word of this god."3 "Their food is that of the veridical [the truth-speaking] ones. Offerings are [now] made to them on earth; because the true word is in them."


Thus there was inter-communion between man and the gods in ancient Egypt, on the basis of a bloodmade inter-union between man and the gods; as there was also in primitive Assyria and Babylon, in primitive India, and in primitive China.

Turning now from the far East to the far West, we

1 See Rec. of Past, X., 79–134.

2 See page 102 f., supra.

3" Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." (Deut. 8: 3. See, also, Matt. 4: 4; Job 23: 12; John 4: 34.)

4 See John 8: 31, 32; 16: 13; 17: 19.

find that Central American and South American history and legends tend to illustrate the same primitive belief, that inter-communion with the gods was to be secured by the hearty surrender of self—as evidenced by the tender of personal, or of substitute blood. A Guatemalan legend has its suggestion of that outreaching of man for fire from heaven which is illustrated in the primitive and the classic myths of the ages.1 The men of Guatemala were without the heaven-born fire, and they turned, in their longing, to the Quiché god, Tohil, seeking it from him, on such terms as he might prescribe. "The condition finally named by the god was, that they consent to unite themselves to me, under their armpit, and under their girdle, and that they embrace me, Tohil'; a condition not very clearly expressed [says a historian], but which, as is shown by what follows, was an agreement to worship the Quiché god, and sacrifice to him their blood, and, if required, their children. They accepted the condition, and received the fire."2

In the light of the prevailing customs of the world, concerning this rite of blood-covenanting, the require

1 See Réville's Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru, pp. 63, 163; Cory's Anc. Frag., p. 5; Dubois's Des. Man. and Cust. of India, Part II., chap. 31; Tylor's Prim. Cult., II., 278 ff.; Dorman's Orig. of Prim. Supers., p. 150; Anderson's Lake Ngami, p. 220.

2 Bancroft's Native Races, V., 547 f.


ments of the Quiché god were clearly based on the symbolism of that rite; as the historian did not perceive, from his unfamiliarity with the rite. If men would be in favor with that god, and would receive his choicest gifts, they must unite themselves to him; must enter into oneness of nature with him, by giving of their blood, from "under their armpit, and under their girdle"; from the source of life, and at the issue of life; for themselves and for their seed; and they must lovingly embrace their covenant-god, accordingly. And in the counsel given to those new worshipers, it was said: “Make first your thanksgiving; prepare the holes in your ears; [blood was drawn from the ears, as well as from other parts of the body, in Central American worship; indeed one of their festivals was 'the feast of piercing the ears,' suggesting a similar religious custom in India;'] pierce your elbows; and offer sacrifice. This will be your act of gratitude before God." 2

Among all these aboriginal races of Central America, not only was the flesh of the sacrificial offerings eaten as in communion with the gods; but the blood of the offerings, and also the blood of the offerers themselves, was sometimes sprinkled upon, or commingled with, those articles of food, which were made 1 Monier Williams's Hinduism, p. 60.

2 Bancroft's Native Races, V., 548.

a means of spiritual inter-communion with their deities. Cakes of maize sprinkled with their own blood, drawn from "under the girdle," during their religious worship, were "distributed and eaten as blessed bread." 1 Moreover, an image of their god, made with certain seeds from the first fruits of their temple gardens, with a certain gum, and with the blood of human sacrifices, was partaken of by them reverently, under the name, "Food of our soul."2 At the conclusion of one of the great feasts of the year at Cuzco, in Peru, the worshipers “received the loaves of maize and the sacrificial blood, which they ate as a symbol of brotherhood with the Ynca "3-who claimed to be of divine blood and of divine power.

Herrera describes one of these ceremonies of intercommunion with the gods, by means of a blood-moistened representation of a god. "An idol made of all the varieties of the seeds and grain of the country, was made, and moistened with the blood of children and virgins. This idol was broken into small bits, and given by way of communion to men and women to eat; who, to prepare for that festival, bathed, and

1 Bancroft's Native Races, II., 710.

2 Mendieta's Hist. Eccles. Ind., p. 108 f.; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., II., 20.

3 Acosta's Hist. Nat. Mor. Ind., Bk. V., chap. 27, cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., II., 26.

« PrécédentContinuer »