Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/298

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been remodeled by the hand of man until not a trace of natural contour remained. There was a vast system of level courts inclosed by successive terraces and bordered by pyramids on pyramids. Even the sides of the mountain descended in a succession of terraces." But San Juan Teotihuacan, twenty-five miles northeast of the capital, in the magnitude of its remains and in the evidence the site furnishes of population and antiquity, "easily stands at the head of the ancient cities of Mexico. It lacks the well-preserved, sculpture decorated buildings found elsewhere in Mexico and Central America"; . . . but if the entire mass of the ruined structures of either Chichen, Uxmal, or Mitla was to be heaped up in a single mound it would hardly surpass the great Pyramid of the Sun alone in bulk, and the whole bulk of the Teotihuacan remains is many times that of its chief pyramid."

Significance of the Totem.—The Import of the Totem was the subject of a paper read by Miss Alice C. Fletcher before the Anthropological Section of the American Association. The Omahas have two totems, the social and the individual. In the course of the ceremonial attendant upon reaching puberty the young man fasts till he falls into a trance. If he sees or hears anything while in that condition, that becomes the medium through which he obtains supernatural power. He must seek and slay the animal he saw and preserve some part of it. This memento is his totem. Its efficacy is based on the Omaha's belief in the continuity of life, which links the visible to the invisible, binds the living to the dead, and keeps unbroken the thread of life running through all things, making it impossible for the part and the entirety to be dissociated. Thus one man could gain power over another by obtaining a lock of his hair. The totem opens a means of communication between man and the various agencies of his environment, but it can not transcend the power of its particular species; consequently all totems are not equally potent. Men who see the bear are liable to be wounded in battle. Winged forms give the faculty of looking into the future and controlling coming events, while thunder gives ability to control the elements and authority to conduct certain religious rites. The simplest form of the social totem is in the religious societies, the structure of which is based upon the grouping together of men who have received similar visions. Applied to the gens, or tribal body, the object of the totem was to teach the people the knowledge and duties of kindred, and one of the most important of these duties was the maintenance of the union of the tribe. The gentile totem gave no immediate hold upon the supernatural, as did the individual totem to its possessor. Outside of certain rites it served solely as a mark of kinship, and its connection with the supernatural was manifest only in its punishment of violations of the taboo. Its inculcation was that the individual belonged to a definite kinship group, from which he could never sever himself without incurring supernatural punishment.

The Moon and the Sabbath.—The Rev. R. J. Floody presented to the American Association the results of ten years' research into the origin of the week and holy day among primitive peoples. He found that they were widespread among the nations of the ancient world from very early times. Each of these peoples is assumed to have independently originated the Sabbath and not to have received it second hand from other tribes. To account for the unanimity in observing this universal custom among so many races, we must look for its source in some pheomenon of Nature common to all. The prominence of seven as a sacred number among ancient peoples is due to the moon. Each lunation has four phases or quarters, averaging about seven days apiece. Nature worship was the earliest form of worship among primitive peoples, and the moon took precedence among objects of Nature. When the new phase of the moon appeared, men worshiped it, showing their honor and respect by sacrifices and then a feast. They would naturally rest from labor most of the time to give attention to the feasts. Work on the sacred day was considered inauspicious. This early week was the rough and ready reckoning of men devoid of the use of astronomical instruments. The holy day was not the seventh day of time, but the seventh day of the moon. The difficulty of getting the exact number of days of the lunar week