Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/529

This page needs to be proofread.


Reviews. 49 1

associated with the spirits of Alcheringa ancestors." It is interesting to find Dr. Roth reporting independently that certain of the Queensland tribes, though they use small bull-roarers as play-things, are obliged to have recourse to the Worgaia for the more elaborate implements they want for the more serious purposes of love-charms and the initiation ceremonies;^ and from the Worgaia the use of these implements, at all events as love- charms, has been learned. That is to say, both their manufacture and their magical if not their religious use are derived from the outlying central tribe of the Worgaia. Indeed, upon the Tully it is believed that they have only been introduced within recent times.

The question would take too much space to argue here at length, as M. van Gennep does ; but I may say that I am wholly unconvinced by his arguments, and it seems to me the only possible conclusion is the converse of that enunciated by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen and by himself. The greater the develop- ment of the Arunta in the respects enumerated, the wider seems to me their departure from any condition that can be described by the term "primitive." Messrs. Spencer and Gillen find it " more easy to imagine a change which shall lead from the present Arunta or Kaitish belief to that which exists among the Warramunga," and from that to the beliefs of the tribes further away, than the converse. The statement is made specifically of the belief in the connection between the Churinga and the ancestors of the Alcheringa ; but I think the authors will admit that it represents their mental attitude to the beliefs and social institutions of the Central Tribes in general. To me, on the contrary, the facts they record raise difficulties in the way of their conclusion which at present appear insurmountable.

I have dwelt upon this question of the relative primitivity of the Arunta because it is one of the main issues raised in M. van Gennep's carefully reasoned introduction. There are many other points deserving of attention on which I am happy to find myself more nearly in agreement with the author. He defends

' This latter, however, is not quite clear, though it seems implied. Cf. Roth, Ethnol. Studies, 129 (s. 215), and Bull, v., Superstition, Magic and Medicine, 24 (s. 87).