Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/120

This page has been validated.

produce.[1] "C'était un moyen de faire tombre la pluie en réalisant, par les répresentations terrestres des eaux du nuage et de l'éclair, les conditions dans lesquelles celui-ci détermine dans le ciel l'épanchment de celles-là." A good example of magical science is afforded by the medical practice of the Dacotahs of North America.[2] When any one is ill, an image of his disease, a boil or what not, is carved in wood. This little image is then placed in a bowl of water and shot at with a gun. The image of the disease being destroyed, the disease itself is expected to disappear. Compare the magic of the Philistines, who made golden images of the sores which plagued them and stowed them away in the ark.[3] The custom of making a wax statuette of an enemy, and piercing it with pins or melting it before the fire, so that the detested person might waste as his semblance melted, was common in mediæval Europe, was known to Plato, and is practised by Negroes. The Australians take some of the hair of an enemy, mix it with grease and the feathers of the eagle, and burn it in the fire. This is "bar" or black magic. The boarding under the chair of a magistrate in Barbadoes was lifted not long ago, and the ground beneath was found covered with wax images of litigants stuck full of pins.

The war-magic of the Dacotahs works in a similar manner. Before a party starts on the war-trail, the chief, with various ceremonies, takes his club and stands before his tent. An old witch bowls hoops at

  1. Bergaigne, Religion Védique, i. 126–138, i. vii. viii.
  2. Schoolcraft, iv. 491.
  3. I Samuel vi. 4, 5.