Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/69

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1. First we have that nebulous and confused frame of mind to which all things, animate or inanimate, human, animal, vegetable, or inorganic, seem on the same level of life, passion, and reason. The savage draws no hard and fast line between himself and the things in the world. He regards himself as literally akin to animals and plants and heavenly bodies; he attributes sex and procreative powers even to stones and rocks, and he assigns human speech and human feelings to sun and moon and stars and wind, no less than to beasts, birds, and fishes.[1]

2. The second point to note in savage opinion is the belief in magic and sorcery. The world and all the things in it, being vaguely conceived of as sensible and rational, obey the commands of certain members of the tribe, chiefs, jugglers, conjurors, or what you will. Rocks open at their order, rivers dry up, animals are their servants and hold converse with them. These magicians cause or heal diseases, and can command even the weather, bringing rain or thunder or sunshine at their will. There is no supernatural attribute of "cloud-compelling Zeus" or of Apollo that is not freely assigned to the tribal conjuror. By virtue, doubtless, of the community of nature between man and the things in the world, the conjuror (like Zeus or Indra) can assume at will the shape of any animal, or can metamorphose his neighbours or enemies into animal forms.

3. Another peculiarity of savage belief naturally connects itself with that which has just been described.

  1. "So fasst auch das Alterthum ihren Unterschied von den Menschen ganz anders als die spätere Zeit."—Grimm, quote by Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde, p. 17.