Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/223

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
211
BELIEFS ABOUT THE SOUL.

with that of plants, called the vegetable soul; then with the sensitive, which all brute animals have; and, lastly, the rational soul is infused; and these three in man, he adds, are like Trigonus in Tetragono.

The Iroquois and Algonquins believed that the soul which gave bodily life was of a vegetative character, and remained with the corpse after death until it was released by being reborn into another body; while the ethereal soul, which roamed at will while the body was asleep or in a trance, after death departed directly to the land of spirits.[1] Infants were buried by the sides of paths, that their vegetative souls might enter into the body of some mother, and their rebirth thus be hastened.[2] Among the Tucullus the medicine-man placed his hands over the breast of the dying, and then, holding them over the head of a relative, blew through the expanded fingers, in order that the next child born to him might be the representative of the departed.[3] Certain tribes on the Pacific coast believed that one of the souls had its dwelling in the bones, and, if these were planted, they would germinate like seed, and produce human beings.[4] The Choctaws believe that every man has an outside shadow, shilombish, and an inside shadow, shilup, both of which survived his body.[5] The Sioux believed in three souls, one of which went to the cold world, another to the warm world, while the third remained and watched over the body.[6] Mrs. Eastman[7] tells us that the Dakotas extended the number of souls to four, one of which wanders through the world, another hovers around the village where its possessor lived, the third stays by the grave, and the fourth goes to heaven. With certain Greenlanders one soul took the form of a shadow, the other that of the breath.[8] The Feejeeans distinguished between a man's dark spirit or shadow, which goes down to hades, and his light spirit, the one that is reflected in water or a mirror, and which remains when he dies.[9] The Malagasy say that the saina, or mind, vanishes at death; the aina, or life, becomes mere air; while the matoatoa, or ghost, hovers around the tomb.[10]

  1. "Rel. des Jesuits," 1636, p. 104.
  2. Ibid., 1635, p. 130.
  3. Waitz, "Anthropology," vol. iii, p. 95.
  4. Bancroft, "Native Races of the Pacific Coast," vol. iii, p. 514.
  5. Brinton, "Myths of the New World," p. 251.
  6. "Hist. Coll. Louisiana," vol. iii, p, 26.
  7. "Legends of the Sioux," p. 129.
  8. Tylor, "Primitive Culture," vol. i, p. 432; Spencer, "Principles of Sociology," vol. i, p. 191.
  9. Williams, "Fiji and the Fijians," vol. i, p. 241.
  10. Ellis, "Madagascar," vol i, 393.