Origin Of Religious Practices And Ceremonials
( Originally Published 1910 )
IN the preceding chapter the attempt was made to show that the social atmosphere furnishes the sine qua non of that peculiar type of consciousness known as the religious. It is this atmosphere which has produced the religious quality as well as conditioned the development of the very sense of value itself.
We wish now to go a step farther. The religious acts and ideas are themselves an organic part of the activities of the social body. They are, in fact, social acts. Under certain circumstances, customs become religious, or acquire religious values. It may be said that religious practices are social habits specialized in a certain direction. That a nation's gods are direct reflections of its social and political ideals, and that the deities cannot represent a higher ethical plane than that of the worshippers, is well recognized by students of religion. Barton gives clear expression to these facts when he says, "It is a law which may be regarded as practically universal, that the religious conceptions of a people are expressed in forms which are modelled, in large degree, on those political and social institutions which the economical conditions of their situation have produced. Thus, a god could not be conceived as a father where marriage was so unstable that fatherhood was no recognized feature of the social structure, nor as a king among a people into whose experience the institution of kingship had never entered."
But we may go even farther than this and maintain that religious beliefs and practices are not merely modelled upon the analogy of a people's economic and social life. The religious life is this social life in one of its phases. It is an organic part of the activity of the social body, not merely something built upon it. In other words, as before suggested, we may hold that the religious aspects of a people's life are special differentiations of the social order which appear under certain favoring conditions.
It may be appropriate, before attempting to illustrate our specific point, to review briefly the well-recognized relationship between the religion of a people and its political structure.
Although this relationship is so generally admitted, it gains an additional significance from the point of view thus far developed. That is to say, the relation is no merely external one, but is organic with the very development of the political structure itself. The following cases are illustrative; many more might be given, and others will no doubt occur to the reader. The religions of all the peoples of antiquity were inseparable from their political organization, a fact particularly true of the ancient Egyptians and of the Israelites. The establishment of a monarchial government at Jerusalem and the centralization of the worship of Yahweh at that place are practically interchangeable terms. The first thought of the leaders in the secession of the northern tribes was to establish centres in the north about which their traditional religious conceptions could find expression. To many of the Hebrews the destruction of Jerusalem and the dissolution of their national faith were synonymous. The same intimate relation-ship between government and religion in Persia, Greece, and Rome is well known. Among the ancient Teutons the priesthood was essentially a tribal institution. Both in the tribal subdivisions and the household the priestly duties were per-formed by the temporal head. This condition of affairs seems to indicate that the development of the priesthood was intimately connected with the development of social structure.
Eskimo laws and customs are closely connected, if not identical, with religious opinions. Rink tells us that the abolition of the angekok, the medicine-man and religious leader of a group, would mean the destruction of every authority in the tribe.' We have referred already to the judicial-social gatherings of these peoples, and shall have occasion to mention them again in another connection. Here they are of interest as an illustration of how the governmental, religious, and social functions of a primitive group may find expression in a single activity. The rudimentary religion of the Australians depended upon the old men who were the repositories of tribal lore, leaders in the ceremonies, and the nearest approach to political rulers whom these people knew. There is and was, among them, absolutely no demarcation between religious and governmental control. The coast tribes of the Malay Peninsula, repeatedly subjugated by foreign invaders, lost their native political organization and probably with it their religion, the remnants of which persist to-day as magic plus a great body of myth, or folklore.' It seems possible that myth and tradition might more likely persist after a political catastrophe than ceremonials, not because they are more truly the essence of religion than are the ceremonials, but because their preservation and transmission is a simpler matter. When, how-ever, the myths lose the support of the active attitudes, partly represented in the ceremonials, they quickly lose their religious character and eventually lapse into mere folklore.
Of the Pueblo Indians, we are told, the civil officials and war captains are also religious functionaries, and that their government in general is closely blended with their religious institutions. Their sociology and religion are so intimately woven together that the study of one cannot be pursued with-out the other.' Of the Tusayan Pueblos it is said that the Spanish priests sought to prohibit the sacred dances and votive offerings to the nature deities, and to suppress all secret rites, religious orders, and societies, but that these were too closely incorporated with the system of gentes and other family kinships to admit of extinction.'
Nassau, writing of the West Africans, says: "Religion is intimately mixed with every one of these aforementioned sociological aspects of family, rights of property, authority, tribal organization, judicial trials, punishments, intertribal relations, and commerce." s In the kingdoms of Dahomi and Porto Novo the kings are regarded as the heads of the priest-hood. As Ellis remarks, " this is not merely the union of despotism and priestcraft, but is rather an illustration of the intimate connection between religion and social structure." ' Many writers have made us familiar with the fact that the family, social, and political life of the Japanese is based on their religion.
However, it is scarcely necessary to multiply these general illustrations. It may be regarded as a generally accepted fact that religion, morality, and law form an undifferentiated whole in primitive societies. This is true even in societies of a high degree of culture, the continuity of whose evolution has not been too much interrupted by external influences.' Such facts as these have the greatest significance when taken in connection with the hypothesis that the religious activities of a group of people are fundamentally their practical, social, and `control' activities, which have, according to well-recognized psychological laws, undergone a special development. The religious consciousness, as a body of psychic attitudes, dispositions, concepts, and beliefs, represents the net outcome of the overt evolution. Specific and detailed illustrations in support of this further point will now be offered.
The Kwakiutl Indians of the Northwest furnish interesting evidence, which will serve as a transition from the type of cases given above z and the ones which are to follow. Their present social organization is not the same as that upon which their religious life is based. We are apparently not able at present to account for this state of affairs, but it is, in any case, a most significant fact that their entire social organization changes, when, in the winter season, they begin to celebrate the rites of their secret societies. "Instead of being grouped in clans, the Indians are now grouped according to the spirits which have initiated them." In the various groups, divisions are made according to the dances or ceremonies bestowed on the persons composing those groups. Societies, in other words, take the place of the clans. "The object of the whole winter ceremonial is, first, to bring back the youth who is supposed to stay (i.e. to be staying) with the supernatural being who is the protector of his society, and then, when he has returned in a state of ecstasy," to restore him to sanity by the exorcism of songs and dances.' We wish to call especial attention to the fact that we have here a series of religious ceremonies which are so closely connected with a certain type of social organization that that social order must be reinstated before the ceremonies can be performed. Such a condition as this seems to point strongly to an organic connection between, if not identity of, religious practices and the activities expressive of a certain type of social structure. In the next place, it is to be noted that these religious ceremonials are not directed toward any deity, nor are they strictly worshipful acts, but they rather possess for their performers immediate practical importance for the maintenance of the social organization, i.e. they are directed toward bringing the novices safely back and restoring them to reason. Here, then, are religious activities which are primarily a necessary part of the practices of a social group.
We should interpret from this point of view the many statements of ethnologists regarding the general religiosity apparent in so many of the diverse phases of primitive life. For example, "There is, of course, a great deal of superstitious practice connected with all these performances (i.e. in Pueblo life), for the Indian is so fettered to his complicated creed that his most insignificant actions are associated with some ritualistic performance." The fact to which all such statements point is that there is always a background of more or less necessary social activity, from which definite religious customs emerge, so gradually, however, that one type constantly tends to fuse with the other.
We may take occasion here to remark the connection, among many primitive peoples, of religious rites and some sort of secret societies.' It seems that these societies are particularly apt to be found' where the general social organization is defective. However obscure may be the causes leading to the formation of secret societies in a primitive group, the fact of the connection therewith of some sort of ceremonial is a striking illustration of our point that religious ceremonies are in some way primarily the natural expression of group life in its various practical, social, and play phases.
Another excellent illustration of the dependence of a religious rite upon some sort of social structure is that of a certain type of sacrifice among the Todas. Nearly all the Toda clans are divided into two subdivisions, or kudr, and the offerings, in this type of sacrifice, "always pass from one kudr to another. There are a few clans of recent origin which have no kudr, and the members of these clans cannot make the offerings. In other clans, one kudr has become extinct, and so long as no occasion for these ceremonies should arise, nothing is done to supply the deficiency. As a general rule, it is only when some trouble arises which may require one or other of these ceremonies that a redistribution of the members of the clan is made, and it is decided that one or more of the polm, or smaller subdivisions of the clan, shall be constituted a new kudr."
It will thus be seen that we pass imperceptibly from these types of religion, which are definitely related to political structure, to types which are quite as definitely related to social organization and to phases of social activity. These latter types of religion we shall shortly discuss in considerable detail. In the meantime it will be significant to note the extent to which definiteness of religious consciousness is associated with definiteness of social organization. If the general thesis of the chapter — that religious acts and ideas are an organic part of the activities and ideas of the social body — is true, we should probably find diffuse forms of religion among those peoples who possess little social differentiation or little social solidarity.
The negroes of the African ` Gold Coast,' described by Ellis, seem, in many features of their life, to be examples of such a state of affairs. The Tshi-speaking peoples, according to this author, have at present no well-established social organization that extends beyond the village community. The character of the surface topography is such that there can be little development of tribal life. There are some customs regulating initiation and marriage, but the reader does not get the impression that they are very definite in nature, nor that they involve the entire local group in their performance. The food problem is not a pressing one, so that here also there is no need for united action and consequent organization of the group. The religious ideas of these peoples are as vague and as fluent as their social consciousness. Thus they recognize four classes of deities. The first two classes are nature deities, which are fixed in number, but have so little place in the thought or regard of the negroes that they can be called gods only in name. The spirits of the third and fourth classes are fluctuating in number, the natives' theory being that they may be increased by appointment on the part of the deities of the upper classes. These lesser spirits serve as tribal, village, family, and individual gods. The whole system of conduct regarding them seems to be very fluent. There is not enough of a unified tribal consciousness to generalize and render permanent the deity of any one locality. For the same reason the already existing general deities are pretty largely mere names which arouse no religious feelings of any sort. The real religion of these people seems to consist in a vague regard for a lot of detached values; spirits are worshipped or rejected in the most capricious manner. In all these matters there is much less fixity and definiteness than is to be found among the adjoining tribes, the Ewe- and Yoruba-speaking peoples of the Slave coast. Since, as has been already pointed out, the social organization of these tribes is in many ways much farther advanced than is that of the Tshi, it seems legitimate to infer that the vague religion of the latter is in some way related to, or conditioned by, their rudimentary social structure. Regarding their social structure, Ellis says that they are divided into twelve totemic divisions; marriage is exogamous; descent is counted in the female line; there is general abstinence from eating the totem; of religious ceremonials, some are propitiations, others concern the dead, and still others relate to hunting and harvesting. There are also some ceremonies which accompany the return of armies, the reception of visitors, and other important events in the social life of the tribe. These ceremonies are, however, rather indefinite, and do not seem to involve large portions of the tribe in such a way as indicates the presence of a very marked social consciousness. The priests form a somewhat indefinite order which is being constantly recruited from the outside, anybody who wishes being readily admitted. Their chief function is to exorcise and manipulate the various spirits which may happen to be of concern to any individual or to any village. There can hardly, in fact, be said to be a definite priesthood, but merely a some-what chaotic group of individuals, with no recognizable organization, with simply a few trade secrets and possibly with a little more cunning than their fellows, all of which, together with possible neurotic tendencies, render them persons of power within the tribes.
The Ewe-speaking people have a more highly developed political organization than do the Tshi. Some of the tribes are united into the kingdoms of Dahomey and Porto Novo. Others are semi-independent. It is significant to note that here the general nature deities are more than names; in fact, that they are of more importance than the tribal or local gods. The priesthood has a definite organization, of which, in the monarchial groups, the kings are regarded as the heads.' Even the king, however, is not supreme, but must pay due regard to religious custom, meaning, it would seem, that custom is more primitive than kingship, and that custom therefore expresses the deeper religious values.
The social organization of the Yoruba peoples is still more highly developed, for with them descent is counted through both parents, and succession is in the male. The priesthood is divided into recognized orders, and the whole is formed into a definite secret society. Here the local, fluent spirits are thrust entirely into the background, and the general gods are supreme.
The Kafirs of South Africa have no definite social structure. Their customs are numerous enough, but scattering and changing. They have no conception of fixity in anything, not even in the case of their gods, their legends, or their myths. All these matters, whether of custom or belief, vary indefinitely, having apparently no other standard than the whim of the individual. The notion of Umkulunkulu, one of their chief divinities, is worth noting in this connection. In the first place, their idea of him is extremely hazy, and there is little agreement as to who he really is. Sometimes he is called a creator, sometimes a great-great-grandfather; in fact, all their more remote ancestors go by this name. As the family has its Umkulunkulu, so does the tribe, and naturally, also, the world. In other words, there is no definite social structure among the Kafirs which can unify customs and can afford for beliefs a fixed standard.
The Masai, a division of the negroes of East Africa, present the same deficiency of social organization, united with indefinite religious beliefs and practices. Their commonest word for a deity is used indiscriminately of various striking objects, of natural phenomena, and of spirits. Their worship, like their belief, is vague, and lacking in ceremonial. The customs of the Masai, as in the case of the Kafirs, are numerous, but individualistic rather than social ; that is, the social groups do not meet to perform rites of any sort. The groups are divided into boys, warriors, and elders. The warriors are a well-organized body of young men who have no other desire apparently than military glory. The elders have little or no power, and consequently among them no state such as Uganda has developed. The nearest approach to a central and superior authority is the medicine-man, who is scarcely a religious functionary, since he does not stand for any religious beliefs, but is rather a diviner, a personage strictly analogous to the scientific man in a civilized state.
Our preliminary thesis, namely, that a low-grade social structure lies back of chaotic religious ideas, receives further confirmation from certain facts regarding the primitive religions of North America. Dr. Boas says s that the continuity of mythological material, "and therefore its æsthetic quality, is least in the Arctic and in the Northwest. In the East, Southeast, and Southwest, where political and social organization has attained a higher perfection, and where the ceremonial life of the people is strongly developed, the origin story is also more fully developed into it is woven the history of the origin of those phenomena, around which centres the interest of the Indians." Here it is evident that the ceremonial life and the social and political life are closely connected. In fact, we should say that they are but different aspects of the same thing. That the beliefs must, on their part, be closely connected with, if not the direct outgrowth of, the same social organization is equally manifest.
From these general considerations we now turn to seek specific illustrations of our theory of the origin of religious practices, especially of rites and ceremonies, and their relation to the more ordinary activities of the social group. Stated in its most general form, the question before us is : Why do the simpler activities arising directly out of the life-process give rise to secondary activities, of which religious ceremonies are types? This question has already been answered in a general way in a preceding chapter in the discussion of `intermediate activities.' It was pointed out there that many of man's complex activities are necessary developments from practical adjustments, due to the recurrent need of meeting new or more complicated difficulties; that others are due to chance variations in the original activity, and preserved by imitation until they become customs. It was also pointed out that many accessory acts arise through association with an end which is insistently held in attention, when direct adjustments for attaining the end are for the time being impossible. These acts are closely akin to play, and are apt to be strongly emotional, just because the practical outgo is, at the moment, either purposely or necessarily held in check. Primitive customs may, then, for our purposes, be conveniently classed as either practical or as accessory.
Some ceremonials and religious practices seem to be the outgrowth of adjustments which to the savage are decidedly practical. Others seem to be more related to play, to sports of various kinds; and still others seem to be the outgrowth of feasts of rejoicing before or after the harvest or hunt, or of feasts and dances preceding the departure of a war party, or after its return. All these types of activity are relatively simple, and it is easy to explain them on psychological grounds. Hence, whatever practices can be shown to be outgrowths of these elementary activities may be regarded as at least in a measure related and clarified. Mere `practical' adjustments certainly do not need explanation here, whether or not we hold to the instrumental view of consciousness. The other types are in a measure either derivatives of the `practical,' or are due to the overflow of energy after or during times of repression or times of emotional tension. Because these accessory activities are relatively high in emotional values, they probably furnish the basis for the largest number of religious ceremonials. Purely practical acts, in environments which make heavy demands upon the attention of a people, are apt to change frequently as the necessity of new adjustments arises, so that they do not form a good basis for the development of valuational attitudes. When, however, such acts be-come relatively fixed, because of the lack of change in the stimulating environment, they may become objects of attention in themselves, and important media of social intercourse, or at least of social expression. Under these conditions they frequently acquire religious value.
The social assemblies of the Greenland Eskimo are good examples of `accessory' activities, and their social and æsthetic value is so great, and their function as an institution of social control is so evident, that they maybe considered religious rites. The Eskimo have, on the other hand, many habits connected with their hunting, but these depend so clearly upon individual skill and painstaking practice, and the conditions under which they are called forth are so acute, that they continue almost of necessity quite definitely `practical,' and hence non-religious.
The general point, thus far, has been that some of the more fixed activities of a primitive group may acquire a certain religious value; in fact, that these are the first manifestations of religion, furnishing the objective conditions for the appearance of religion as a psychic attitude. It has been further shown that wherever we find chaotic or fluent religious concepts and practices we almost always find a chaotic social body. That this is the relation existing between a primitive social group and its religion will, we believe, be made more evident by the illustrations which follow. For convenience as well as clearness we group them into activities which seem most closely allied to primitive man's `practical adjustments, and into those which are apparently the outcome of his `accessory' employments. In many cases the practice, while distinctly religious, will bear marks of a more or less definite relationship to the `practical' or `accessory' activities of the group, while in others the primary character will be social or practical, although they will seem to have a decided religious coloring. In a word, there are among primitive peoples, and to a certain extent among the culture-races as well, many religious activities which reveal a kinship to the practical activities of the social body, and there are, likewise, many social and practical functions which seem to be to a certain extent religious. Facts such as these would apparently lead to the conclusion that the social organization and its activities constitute the ground from which religious practices and religious consciousness itself are the more or less complex development.
In general, it seems a legitimate hypothesis that the group, as a social, economic, and political unit, is the primary postulate in the interpretation of every phenomenon of human life. That is, wherever it is possible to use these phases of life as explanations, it is not necessary to seek other and less obvious causes. If a social group tends naturally to express itself in various practical ways and in various social and playful forms, then that process which is seen to consist of one or more of these natural methods of activity does not require the introduction of any additional explanation such as an original religious motive. A social group is sure, in any case, to have its practical problems, its sports, and its festive occasions; we may more easily comprehend how these phases of action could be productive of a consciousness of higher values than that these values might have been given offhand, that is, that they should possess no antecedents or natural history. Hence we are impelled to believe that the feasts, dances, and all similar processes, found in such intimate connection with practically every primitive religion, were primarily the spontaneous expressions of primitive life under this or that appropriate condition. It is significant to note that these ceremonies do seem to take place at times when we should, in any case, expect some sort of an emotional overflow. Navaho and Moqui ceremonies occur in the winter, ostensibly because dangerous powers are less active, but psychologically because the more active pursuits of these peoples are, for the time being, of necessity suspended. A people, whether primitive or cultural, would under such circumstances seek to divert itself by sports, festivities, and dramatic rehearsals of stories. Sup-posing all myths are merely the product of idle fancy, as some of them doubtless are, the impulse would still be strong to act them out, just as it is with our own little children, who can scarcely hear exciting stories without the same tendency to dramatize them. In the cases above mentioned, there would also at this season of the year be some anxious thought that the next season might be fruitful, and this very antecedent suspense would be sufficient ground, psychologically, for the appearance of many activities. It seems natural, then, that the things done at such a time should partake of the nature both of social festivities, pure and simple, and of what, to the untutored mind, were practical expedients to insure success in the following season's work. Possibly some of these doings would be not really practical expedients, but rather overflow activities such as are likely to occur in any somewhat prolonged period of suspense.
In general, it is a fact of social psychology that periods of relaxation, after times in which attention has been rather fully taken up with objective interests, also periods immediately following the successful drawing to a close of a long series of activities, as in the harvest or at the end of a hunt, will be somewhat full of emotional tensions which will find expression in various forms of social intercourse and in many activities closely allied to play. The same is also true of times of suspense before or during a hunt or conflict of any kind. Various joyous acts would also express the relief felt at the close of any dreary season, as in the springtime, after a hard winter, or in moonlight nights, after the dark portion of the month. The psychological reasons for such manifestations are already fairly well established, and need not be discussed here. We simply hold that phenomena of this sort are the spontaneous manifestations of such a psycho-physical organism as man and many animals possess. Now, it is a striking fact that almost any number of religious ceremonials are directly associated with just such periods of stress or relief as are mentioned above. It is therefore difficult to avoid the conclusion that the religious values of these acts have been built up on the basis of the simpler social values which they originally possessed. In fact, all grades of practices, from the avowedly religious to the merely social, can be found among the natural races (and among the culture-races, too, for that matter).
The development of the religious from the `practical' and from the social is seen in a general way in all such cases as have been mentioned in which the governmental functions of a group are regarded as religious, and where governmental officials are also religious officials. The statement has already been made that the political and religious institutions of the Pueblo are closely interwoven. There are priestly societies having as their object the performance of various tribal and social functions, such as those relating to war, medicine, hunting, as well as those relating specifically to ecclesiastical life.' The ceremonial life growing out of these religio-political organizations is quite elaborate. Here we are interested to point out only that the purely practical and economic organization of society becomes itself the basis for a certain amount of religious consciousness and religious practice.
The Pueblo natal ceremonies are good illustrations of acts which have both a practical and a religious value, and it certainly seems probable that the original character of the acts was practical, acquiring the religious quality in the manner explained in Chapter IV. At the birth of a child the paternal grandmother brings in, among other things, a bowl of water and a blanket, makes a yucca suds in the bowl, bathes the child while uttering a prayer of thanks, rubs the body with ashes, and prepares a bed of warm sand for it by the side of the mother. She puts in the babe, covers it with a blanket, and places at its right side an ear of corn, if it is a girl, or three plumules of corn, if it is a boy.' That these are ostensibly religious ceremonies is indicated by their definitely prescribed character, and by the various symbolic acts, such as the placing of the corn by the child, which are intermingled with the more useful expedients. In fact, the clearly practical and the symbolic are so fused that we cannot doubt that the whole forms a religious ceremony, and is not merely a mixture of useful and religious acts. The time of the birth of a child is apparently, among most peoples, a time of considerable emotional suspense, as is proved by the almost universal prevalence of some sort of natal observances. Under such conditions, the specifically useful duties of the attendants would acquire a special import and would be fused with various symbolic acts into a solemn ceremonial.
There is a suggestion of the `practical' in the method pre-scribed by religion by which the Wichita construct their lodges. The rules are very definite; one of them provides that there be east and west doors, that the sun may look in at its rising and setting, and a hole at the top (for smoke, but ostensibly that the sun may also look in at noon). There is also a south door, which is unused, but is retained that the south wind may enter. Both the sun and the south wind are of importance to the agricultural Wichita, and are consequently deities, or are at least possessed of powers which make them objects of worship. The fireplace in the lodge is also an object of reverence, for here offerings are made, food is cooked, and medicine is heated.' It would seem that these and other elements of household construction and economy have in the first place been determined by their usefulness, and that, because they remained so fixed and were at the same time more or less constantly in the field of attention in connection with the objects (e.g. the sun and the south wind) which brought to them success in agriculture, they become an additional means of communication with the powers above.
The religious dances and festivals of the Iroquois were quite clearly of a social and semi-practical character. Thus, the war and feather dances were dramatic rehearsals of the ways real problems were in a measure met. The festivals of the Maple, of the Planting, of the Strawberry, the Green-corn, the Harvest, and the New Year, may be regarded as primarily cycles of activities grouped about important economic events in the life of the tribe, having possibly as their object the better control of the events which they preceded or clustered about, but they were in great measure perpetuated because they were the outlets of strong social impulses and emotional tensions which would at such times be aroused.
These same types of activity, occurring among peoples of lower grades of social organization, often seem to possess little value beyond that of play or social intercourse. Whether their apparent lack of a religious quality is due to defective social structure, of course cannot be fully determined, for the interrelations are too complicated for analysis, even if we had a perfect account of all the elements involved. But even if we cannot make a precise correlation between the social body and the greater or less religiosity of these activities, they are at least of great interest as showing how, taken in and of themselves, a particular type of activity may possess all grades of value, from the purely social to the highly religious. The Thompson Indians furnish good illustrations of this type of activity on what is apparently a purely social level. Their social organization, Teit says,' was very loose, neither band nor village forming a permanent social unit. There was no line of chiefs, the leaders being merely those preeminent in bravery or influence, temporary chiefs being appointed for ceremonies, hunts, or war parties. These had no characteristic dress or insignia. The tribe also had no totems, except in the case of two families who were descended from coast tribes. They had many social customs, which seem, however, to have been more social than religious. Thus they were especially fond of gathering for feasts and for the attendant social intercourse. It is not clear from Teit's account just which of their feasts were in a degree religious. All of them, he says, apparently held uppermost the idea of good fellowship. Many were simply social gatherings, called, for instance, by one family when it chanced to have a large supply of food, that it might show its liberality and good-will. Feasts were also given when one family visited another. There were also social gatherings called potlaches, at which there was a general distribution of presents by a wealthy individual or family. All of these customs were so definitely fixed that their observance was certainly a phase of tribal good form, if not of tribal morality and religion. At any rate, they are interesting as showing a rudimentary stage in the development of real religious feasts. The social gatherings of the Greenlanders are of the same character. Other phases of the Thompson Indians' religious beliefs and practices do not particularly concern us here, and will be discussed in another connection.
Very distinctly social festivities accompany the sacred rite of the eating of the white buffalo among the Uncapapa, and here, again, it is conceivable that the purely social side is primary, while the religious element is derived from it. Among the Wakamba, an African tribe described by Decle, there is little social organization, the chief having only nominal power. The tribe is scattered about in tiny villages, and has no definite religious belief nor regular ritual. These people offer interesting illustrations, however, of practices which are more practical and social than religious. The following is a practical expedient in which the group joins when it faces the crisis of a drought, and which partakes of the character of a religious ceremony. On such an occasion the elders hold a meeting and then take a calabash of cider and a goat to a certain kind of tree. The goat is there killed, but not eaten.' Their dances are still more deficient in definite religious quality. They occur chiefly among the young men and women and are impromptu and sportive rather than ceremonial in character. It is instructive to compare such groups as these with others of a more highly socialized character, such as the Pueblo, among whom all dances, sports, and economic activities are undertaken in a definitely religious frame of mind. The Matabele, another of the tribes described by Decle, have some dances with a religious significance, as the one before harvest, in which many villages join. Here the political organization is definite, and centralized under an absolute ruler.
The Korenas, whom Stow describes as having no religious rites, not even that of circumcision, had, nevertheless, the beginnings or the remnants of such rites in the feast given by the father of a boy entering manhood. In other words, the elaborate initiation ceremonies of some peoples here occur in only rudimentary or vestigial form, and as such are seen to be merely social festivities. Here, again, we get the suggestion that complex initiation rites may all, originally, have. been such social occasions arising at a period of life which would naturally be of considerable interest to the family and the group.
The Hottentots had moonlight dances which are variously described as ceremonial and as merely for pleasure.' Stow, also, describes at some length the moonlight dances of the Bushmen.' He says the brilliancy of the moonlight in those latitudes renders the night, after the burning heat of the day, a very natural occasion for social enjoyment and sport. The Bushmen were passionately fond of dancing, especially during the light nights of the month. The Bushmen dances seem to have been of every grade, from the spontaneous overflow of animal spirits to those of a clearly religious character. Stow's account is so suggestive that it is worth quoting in some detail. Dancing was their chief diversion, and was indulged in upon every fitting occasion. The "universality of the custom was shown from the fact that in the early days, in the centre of every village, or kraal, or near every rock shelter, and in every great cave, were places where either the grass or ground was beaten flat and bare from the frequent repetition of their dances." " It was when food was abundant, after having eaten, that they gave rein to their favorite amusement. Feasting and festivity were ever accompanied with continuous dancing and rejoicing from the close of evening to the dawn of the returning day." "They had special seasons when the dance was never neglected, such as the time of the new and full moon. Dancing began with the new moon as an expression of joy that the dark nights had ended, and was continued at the full moon, that they might avail them-selves of the delicious coolness after the heat of the day, and the brilliancy of the moonlight in this particular portion of the southern hemisphere. It is probable that similar practices in a remote period gave rise, among some of the nations of antiquity, to their feasts and festivals of the new and full moon, which, as they emerged from the primitive barbarism of their ancestors, became connected in their observance with a number of religious rites and ceremonies." Stow apparently possessed an acquaintance with these rapidly disappearing people such as no one else has ever gained, and his description of their customs, as well as his comment thereon, are the more interesting. His remarks upon the moonlight dances are entirely in line with the theory of primitive religion here presented. We should say, however, that such purely playful dancing became not merely connected with religious rites and ceremonies, but that it itself became religious ceremonial, and in a measure helped to develop the religious consciousness.
There were other times of interest to the Bushmen, such as the approach of the first thunder-storm of the season, when they were particularly joyful because it was a token of the commencement of summer. "In the midst of their excessive rejoicing they tore in pieces their skin coverings, threw them into the air, and danced for several nights in succession. Some tribes made great outcries, accompanied with dancing and playing upon their drums." As the season advanced, some of the terrific storms aroused their dread, and "among some of the tribes this culminated in fits of impotent rage, as if the war of elements excited their indignation against the mysterious power which they supposed was the cause of it." Here, again, is a situation which would furnish a basis for developing some aspect of the religious attitude. The emotions and acts aroused by great storms would become associated in the minds of the people with these phenomena, and eventually symbolize their human value or significance. Such spontaneous acts of terror could become in time the ritual by which a storm deity would be appeased or invoked.
Many of the Bushmen dances were, in a way, games, and required of their performers considerable skill, some of which were for women and others for men. They had competitive dances of a stated character for the women, and a dance for men who were distinguished for their manly qualities.. There was also a hunting dance with bows and arrows, and in the case of others the participants were disguised as animals, and took the greatest delight in imitating the noises and movements of those which were well known to them. Thus, there was a baboon, a frog, and a bee dance. Some of these had more or less religious or at least mythological significance, but their merely play value is so evident that we can scarcely avoid the belief that they grew directly out of an impulse to imitate the drolleries or striking peculiarities of these animals. We gradually pass from these activities, in which the sportive element seems to predominate, to others of a more religious character. Thus, there were dances for those who were to be initiated, also national, various phallic, and blood dances. There was certainly no sharply dividing line between the religious and the non-religious in these cases. In all, the social and play elements were prominent. Their fondness for this diversion as mere sport suggests that their ceremonial dances were specializations from a perfectly spontaneous manifestation of primitive joyousness, which still persisted as a sort of background or matrix for their truly ceremonial activities, and served to keep alive the spirit expressed in them. In short, the great significance of the Bushmen in this connection is that their dancing had not entirely lost its purely play value, and continued to exist, on the whole, as a much more general form of activity than can be accounted for on the basis of religious ceremonial alone. They danced, in the first place, because they were glad for the light, because they were refreshed by the coolness of the nights, or because of an abundance of food after times of scarcity. Among other primitive peoples these same activities came, in many instances, to express to their doers some sort of ultimate worthfulness. That is, the meaning of their lives, as far as they were able to conceive it, was in some way bound up with the moon, with the sun, with certain natural phenomena such as storms, or with food itself; and as a consequence, the activities, which had gradually crystallized about these intense centres of interest, since they were literally the expression of the relation of the people to these things and were the only means by which they could think of that relation — these activities, we repeat, became religious ceremonials in the true sense. We insist that only that can be considered of value which either potentially or actually does excite some sort of reaction in the person recognizing the value and that the value is, of necessity, conceived in terms of this active relationship. Aside from such relations, a value cannot be stated or even conceived. The whole case is tersely summarized by Stow in these words : —
"From this [i.e. the preceding description] we seem to learn something of the primitive ideas, which became more and more elaborated, until dancing was looked upon as a religious ceremony."
Another excellent example of the transformation of a practical act into one having religious significance is furnished by the Japanese and their customs relating to uncleanness. In Shinto actual personal dirt is worse than moral guilt. To be dirty is to be disrespectful to the gods. It seems to the present writer that we have here a purely social habit become a genuinely religious act; in other words, that the habit of cleanliness has become so thoroughly ingrained into Japanese character that it is now conceived as a religious duty. What the exact social conditions were that made them hold the need of cleanliness so constantly and vividly in attention, we probably can never fully determine; but, from all we know of primitive religion, it seems, as we have said, that it is a case of social habit acquiring religious value, rather than a habit en-joined by a preëxisting conception of religious propriety. In the case of this habit the practical connection with the decent conduct of life seems quite evident, but in the case of many religious duties (we speak generally, not of the Japanese in particular), and especially in the case of such complicated ones as ceremonials, the primitive relation which probably existed between them and the ordinary activities of the group is lost.
It is easy to see how, on purely psychological grounds, that which has lost its direct connection with life may persist ac-cording to the law of habit. When this is the case, it is natural to refer the practice back to whatever conceptions seem to the people to be ultimate, that is, least susceptible of analysis. Every individual and every people possess a more or less definite substratum of axioms or postulates beyond which they do not attempt to go. (This is, of course, itself one of the subtle results of what may be called our habit-forming capacity and need not here be further discussed.) The North American Indians refer many of their customs to their culture-heroes; the Israelites believed that all their religious rites were instituted by Moses ; the Central Australians regard the state-ment, `It was so in the Alcheringa' [i.e. among their half-human ancestors], as entirely final; the Todas, similarly, explain, ultimately, nearly all their ceremonies and customs by saying that they were so ordained by their chief deity, Teikirzi. For precisely the same psychological reasons one of us may account for the evil in an act by saying that it is prohibited by one of the Ten Commandments, or is not in accord with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, or we may use as our ultimate postulate the moral imperative, the Good, or the Good-will, while, as a matter of fact, in every case, the act, in so far as it is not the outcome of reflective morality, had originally some definite social context in which it had either practical value, or was related to some of the accessory activities of a social group. Of course, true reflective morality simply recognizes the social criterion as the really ultimate one, and attempts actively to reconstruct conduct on this basis instead of leaving it to the slow action of unconscious selection.
Referring again to Shinto, it is interesting to note that it furnishes a type of illustration analogous to that of the Bush-men. There seem to be all gradations of Shinto festivals, from the purely social to the clearly religious, but in all the note of social enjoyment is quite easily detected. Some of them seem to be little more than special occasions when people call upon their friends for the exchange greetings of good-will.
Thus, Kaempfer, writing in the year 169o, says: "Perhaps [Shinto] would not have stood its ground so long had it not been for its close connection with civil customs, in the observation of which this nation is exceedingly nice and scrupulous." "It is observable, in general, that their festivals and holidays are days sacred rather to mutual compliments and civilities than to acts of holiness and devotion. Another name for them is visiting days." The same observer says of their monthly and yearly festivals that they are little more than times of social rejoicing; that New Year's Day, the most solemn of all their festival seasons, was then spent in visiting and complimenting each other. Aston says that Shinto is a reflection of the dominant mood of a sociable, enjoyment-loving race. So essentially is it a religion of gratitude and love that the demons of disease and calamity are mostly obscure and name-less. In other words, we may say that the pleasures of social intercourse have become so much a matter of attention, and have furnished such an all-important nucleus for habit and custom, that it has come to be, or to express, to the Japanese the very centre and meaning of life. As we have already held, when this stage is reached, the habits and customs, in terms of which alone this value can be thought, become true religious ceremonials. An excellent illustration of a social act transformed into a religious rite appears in the festival of Nifu Moojin in Kü. When the procession bearing offerings arrives before the shrine, the village chief calls out in a loud voice, "According to our annual custom, let us laugh."
Our general point finds further exemplification in Shinto offerings. The earliest of these were portions of the ordinary meal set apart in grateful recognition of the source from which it came. "The primary and most important form of offering is food and drink." 2 Religious expression in the form of sacrifice would seem also to be the outgrowth of the ordinary activities of this naturally sociable people. The giving of food and drink, or other articles, would be originally a natural expression of social regard and, when customs generally became in a measure religious ceremonies, this particular aspect of social regard would also have its place as one phase of religious expression. The offering of food, drink, and clothing would symbolize most vividly to them certain elements of their appreciative attitude toward that social `concept' which seemed to express most fully to them the meaning of their lives. The later forms of Shinto sacrifice, of which some are expiatory, some rewards for services, some given to close bargains for future benefits, and some propitiatory, are also closely analogous to, if not the direct outcome of, acts which would easily arise within a social group. Such offerings rest at least upon the assumption that the spirit world is more or less continuous with the social milieu of the worshipper, and that it consequently requires the same sort of conduct as is required within the visible social body. We are predisposed to think, however, that these sacrificial acts are the actual remnants of reactions to concrete social problems, the exact nature of which has long been lost, although their general character is quite evident. In that case they would directly illustrate our point that religious ceremonies are in many cases, if not in all, due to the persistence in the social body of various practical and play activities which have accumulated about its most absorbing objects of attention.
A social activity connected with a time of some tension or excitement is the Kafir custom reported by McDonald. When a thunder-storm is seen approaching, the whole village, led by the medicine-man, will rush to the nearest hill and yell at the hurricane to divert it from its course.' Here is the sort of activity which might, and in all probability does, furnish the starting-point for a religious ceremony in the worship of a storm-god or other natural phenomenon.
Stow says of the Bushmen's custom of placing stones upon the graves of the dead, that it might originally have been adopted to prevent wild beasts from getting at the bodies, and that it was finally regarded as demanded by the spirit of the deceased, thus becoming an imperative duty for the passer-by to add to the pile, as this secured to him and his family the favor of the spirit.' Here, again, is a custom well on the way toward a religious rite in the worship of the dead, or, if the dead should be forgotten, a ritual connected with a sacred place. The development of the idea that the spirit required this service would come quite naturally when, for any cause, the original necessity was less keenly felt, and, even if they remained fully conscious of its relation to wild beasts, it would be easy for the idea to arise that the spirit demanded the rite.
A case similar to the preceding ones is that of the naming of the chief's son among the Kayans, when the whole village is called together for what is ostensibly a religious rite, and incidentally a season of merrymaking?
The transformation of practical acts into religious ones through the medium of habit has no more striking illustration than that furnished by the Todas with their dairy religion. What the original Toda religion was we cannot determine with certainty. They have now somewhat vague beliefs regarding certain deities, beliefs which were quite possibly at some time in the past much more definite. This condition probably existed before they came to their present country in the Nilgiri Hills of southern India. The significance of the changes which have probably taken place in Toda religion we shall take up in connection with the general problem of the evolution of religion. It is sufficient here to note that most of the attention of the Todas has in some way been diverted from their older belief, and has come to be centred upon the care of their buffaloes. It is not strange that this is the case, since their subsistence is almost entirely gained from these animals. They have, it is true, an annual ceremony for increasing the supply of honey and fruit, indicating that at some period they must have been considerably dependent upon these things. Since, however, these are not any longer important articles of food to the Todas, very little interest is taken in the ceremony.
Whether their religion is rudimentary, as some hold, or rather degenerate, as Rivers thinks, there is no question that at present they are absorbingly interested in their buffaloes. The buffalo is a sacred animal, though not worshipped. The most sacred places are certain of their dairies; their most sacred objects are the utensils of the sacred dairies, and particularly the bells worn by the buffaloes. The dairy building is the nearest approach to a temple, and the dairyman is practically a priest. He can enter upon his duties only after certain ordination ceremonies, varying with the sanctity of the dairy in which he is to minister. During the period of his service he must observe as strict rules to maintain his ceremonial cleanliness as does many a real priest of a higher cult. In fact, they have few religious acts entirely divorced from their practical interest in the care of the buffalo and the securing of milk, i.e. they have no idols, images, no sacred objects apart from the dairy, no dreaded supernatural beings to be appeased, and no sacrifices beyond eating a little buffalo meat at stated intervals, or drinking fresh milk on certain occasions. Al-though they owe no duties to a deity, "yet," as Marshall says, "they hold to certain practices and habits in daily life; which are to them in the place of religion, being performed with all the strictness and certainty which should be bestowed on sacred observances." These practices are intimately allied with the care and distribution of that divine fluid, milk. As Rivers says, "In the Toda rites and ceremonies is little else than the arrangements which a pastoral and communistic people have made for the provision and care of an article of food."
In general, then, it seems that we have in the Todas a unique illustration of how the habits of a group of people, habits which have originated in some practical interest, may become of such great importance that they are true religious ceremonies. Moreover, if our principles of interpretation are true, these very habits have served to enhance the value, the sanctity, of the object about which they have gathered, if they have not actually produced it. We believe the Todas illustrate these points, even though there are some of their buffaloes which are not sacred, or rather some of the dairies are not sacred (for the sanctity of the buffalo seems to depend at present upon its being connected with a sacred dairy), and even though there are all degrees of sanctity in these various things. The initial causes of these valuations we may never be able to determine, but at least we do know that sanctity, as far as it is recognized by them at all, is definitely related to their dominant economic pursuit.
If we were to analyze the development of the present religious ideas of the Todas and the relation of these ideas to their everyday life, we believe that the following hypotheses would be fully in accord with the facts as at present observed. In the first place, it is evident that their current religious system is not their original one, for they have vague beliefs in a body of deities which have probably come down to them from a time when their life was quite different from what it now is. These gods seem to be becoming less and less important; they are stranded, as it were, in a new social order.' The only deity who has retained any considerable importance is Teikirzi, the one to whom they trace most of their dairy ceremonials. Some of the other deities are supposed to have lived upon the earth and to have been dairymen. That is, the Todas most definite ideas regarding their gods are those concerning their relationship to the social order under which the people now live. In so far as they have been able to throw the old gods into relation with their new conditions of life, they have kept them fairly definite, but even thus, they seem to be little more than intellectual concepts, or postulates, certainly not objects of worship. The real object of the Todas' valuational consciousness is the milk and the dairy. It is uncertain whether the milk or the buffalo was the original object of their sacred regard, but that is not here a matter of great importance, since we wish simply to show how one of their objects of reverential regard assumed its present importance. If the buffalo were first regarded as sacred, it is natural that the fluid given by the buffalo would acquire by association a like value. But its sacredness would be greatly enhanced if it came to be the chief source of their livelihood. This would make it an object of solicitous attention, and every act connected with the pro-curing and care of it would likewise become an object of interest. If, for any other reason, the killing of the female buffalo had been tabooed, their hesitation at doing such a thing would now be much increased by the fact of their dependence upon the buffalo's milk. Granted, then, that the milk becomes a matter of great moment to them because of its economic importance, it is easy to see how its value could be indefinitely increased by the habits arising in the care of it. Only let the idea arise that a certain thing has great worth, and secondary processes will be set up which will make the value greater than ever. That is, when the worth of an object is once established by its relation to a group's practical and social life, it thereby gains enough internal momentum to go on increasing, in relative independence of practical and social interests. This is certainly true regarding milk among the Todas. When this article of food acquires considerable value, both because of its practical importance and because of the primary adjustments necessitated in caring for it, situations repeatedly arise which necessitate secondary adjustments in order that due regard may be shown to this preexisting sanctity, or in order that it may be preserved intact in the new relations, or that no injury may come to its possessors when its sanctity is in a way violated, as, for instance, when it is removed from its accustomed environment. These secondary processes, designed to preserve the value, not only accomplish that end, but even greatly enhance it.
Thus, much of the dairy ritual has grown up as a means of counteracting the danger involved in giving the sacred sub-stance, milk, to peoples whom they regard as inferior beings. " Similarly, the migration ceremonies have the general under-lying idea of counteracting any possible evil influence which may accompany the passage of the buffaloes through the profane world from one sacred place to another. During the migration, certain utensils may be seen by the multitude which, under ordinary circumstances, are strictly screened from the general gaze, and objects may be touched, or be in danger of being touched, by people who ordinarily may not even see them. Again, the ceremonies connected with entrance upon any dairy office are intended to purify the candidate and make him fit to see and touch and use the sacred objects." These are all the crude attempts of a primitive people to effect what is, for them, a very practical end, and the `secondary processes,' as we have called them, aroused by the social interest in the object, serve to increase that interest, and hence to enhance the value of the object itself.
The Todas have other ceremonies which are directly connected with seasons of stress or of emotional tension. They are distinctly social in character, and they may thus be sup-posed to be the outcome of these psychological conditions rather than to have been caused by any original religious motive. Among these may be mentioned the Irpalvusthi ceremony, which occurs about the fifteenth day after the birth of a calf. It strongly resembles a sacrificial or thanksgiving feast; the dairyman performs elaborate ceremonies in connection with the calf and its mother; the people assemble in large numbers and partake of the fresh milk of the buffalo, a thing not done on any other occasion. From this time the calf is allowed to run with the others, and the buffalo is milked with the rest of the herd. This festival, in which the people partake of the milk of a sacred animal, bears an interesting analogy to sacrificial feasts of some other peoples, in which the sacred animal itself is consumed.'
The giving of salt to the buffaloes occurs at stated intervals, and is accompanied with a definite ceremonial. Rivers thinks it points to a time when salt was difficult to obtain.' If this were ever the case, the giving of salt would naturally have been an event of some importance, and would easily serve as a centre about which habits would cluster. Certain of the Toda sacrifices can be rather clearly traced back to some sort of purely practical social custom. In certain Toda clans the offering of a buffalo as an atonement for some sin is made from one division of the clan to another. "It seems that we have in these offerings a good example of something which is midway between a social regulation of the nature of punishment and a definite religious rite of propitiation of higher powers." This seems the more likely in view of the fact that there are some other types of offerings, closely related to the foregoing, and, in fact, designated by the same name, in which the religious and sacrificial character is quite clear. That is, the buffalo, instead of being given to another division of the clan, is given to a ti, the most sacred type of Toda dairy. The animal is not killed, but on entering the sacred herd it is devoted to the service of the gods. If the clan divisions are primary, Rivers thinks that the offering made to the ti dairies may be an example of what was originally a mere social regulation transformed into a religious rite. That is, "religious sanction has been added to the system of social punishment, which seems to be all which clearly exists in the offerings, when these are kept within the clan."
It is very significant that most of the Toda offering ceremonies are closed by feasts, and also that they all involve prescribed activities on the part of the whole clan.' The offerings are distinctly clan affairs; that is, they are social ceremonies.
It is impossible to separate the purely `practical' from the `accessory' in any examination of the origin of religious activities. So great is the exuberance of human impulse, that accessory activities constantly and inevitably cluster about our practical adjustments, often resulting in a union so intimate that it is impossible, even in ourselves, to separate them. So, in all the activities of primitive peoples, we find, intermingled with the direct responses to the demands of the Iife-process, multitudes of play activities, festivities of various kinds, all bearing witness to the fact that the life-process is a social process, and that after its most insistent demands are in a measure satisfied, the 'activities it calls forth are functionally valuable not merely as means for preserving life, but in greater and greater degree as means of social intercourse.
The life of the primitive Semites, as reconstructed by W. Robertson Smith and G. A. Barton, is very pertinent in this connection. Barton brings forward much evidence to prove that their religion was definitely related to the form of social organization that prevailed among them, which, in turn, can be connected in many ways with the fundamental problems of the life-process as they came to consciousness among these peoples. Many of their religious rites, Barton says, spring out of the prominence among them of the mother and the institutions of maternal kinship as well as their tendency to unregulated intercourse and the important functions of the date palm.' As has already been pointed out, the gathering of a clan on an oasis to harvest the dates was to it a time of great importance, necessitating not only organization for the purpose of harvesting, but also for the purpose of maintaining their rights to the oasis against the encroachments of hostile clans. The very act of gathering the dates was a religious one. Out of this primitive situation grew various festivals and sacrifices, all of which were originally connected with practical ends, and had their development, no doubt, facilitated by the fact that they furnished important avenues for social intercourse.
Here, then, are a whole series of acts, useful from the Semitic point of view, and centring about the objects and processes most prominently in their field of attention. But inasmuch as they are acts performed by a social group, they inevitably acquire an added value, namely, as media of social intercourse. In other words, the fundamental expedients of the life-process, because they are of necessity carried on by groups of people, naturally gain many accretions from these people's social and play impulses, and these accretions may become of almost more importance than the fundamental acts about which they gather, even to the extent of obliterating them. Thus, among the Semites of historic times we find circumcision festivals, which, while partly social gatherings and occasions of social intercourse, probably grew out of a cycle of activities, including the sacrifice of sheep and the dancing of girls, and had as its objective point the more adequate control of the principle of fertility, especially within the clan. It was, in a sense, the mating period of the group, a time when the young men chose wives.' The religious rite of the Pass-over finally emerged as a generalized and reduced form of the springtime celebration of fertility, which was not altogether a celebration of fertility but a group of social activities necessary to insure the permanence of the clan. Just as the spring had its cycle of activities, which in time became religious ceremonies, so did the periods of harvest. Here also festivals of a religious character grew out of the primitive customs connected with gathering the fruit of the date palm.
We should bear in mind, throughout this inquiry, that in every religious rite there are two elements to be distinguished; namely, the form and the content. The first element is determined by the structure of the worshipping body; that is, it is one of the acts or adjustments of that body. The con-tent of the rite, on the other hand, by which we mean the objects with which it is concerned and toward which it is directed, is determined by whatever figures most prominently in the field of attention. For instance, two primitive Semitic divinities, Ishtar and Tammuz, stood for certain objective interests of these peoples, interests which depended upon their material environment. "Ishtar was originally a water goddess, the divinity of some never-failing spring or springs, and some sacred tree to which the spring gave life represented her son." If the attention of the Semitic clans had centred about other objects, the content of their worship would have been different. But even a different content could be approached from the same angle, or through the same social machinery. Both the `form' and the `content' stand for values, the first originating in the reacting organism, the latter in the environment of this organism. (This holds true, even though it be admitted that the type of organism is itself ultimately determined by the natural environment.) Thus, phallic worship is probably immediately due to the type of social organization itself, while the particular content in which it finds expression will depend upon the objects of the natural environment which are prominently thrust upon the attention. Barton holds that some form of phallicism underlies early Semitic religion. This particular form of religion we at-tribute to the type of Semitic social organization, while the presence in attention of the date palm, with its striking method of fertilization, and of flocks with the necessary interest in their breeding, furnished a `content' of a particular kind to this phallicism. The particular environmental interests furnished the specific concepts and ceremonial acts which gave body to their fundamental interest in the reproductive functions. In general, then, it may be important to bear in mind these two classes of factors when we attempt to interpret the religious practices and beliefs of certain groups. At any given time, the religious activities of a people are not determined alone by the stimuli of the social and physical environment, but are determined as well by the specific character of the reacting organism itself. It is the incompleteness of our information regarding primitive religion and primitive social organization that renders it difficult to go very far in such an analysis of elements.
That the religious is secondary to a social process of some sort originating in some other than a religious need, but be-coming the ground for the development of the religious as such, finds further illustration in such instances as the following : In the first place may be mentioned many of the elaborate ceremonials of certain North American Indian tribes, for example, the Snake Dance of the Moqui and the Mountain Chant of the Navaho. The latter consists of a great cycle of activities which are undoubtedly of a religious character. That they originated, however, in a practical problem and have been perpetuated and developed because they were important avenues of social intercourse and recreation seems highly probable. Their ostensible object is to cure disease in some member of the tribe who asks to have the ceremony performed and bears the expenses incident to it.
The cure is effected in connection with the dramatic rehearsal of a complicated myth regarding the migrations of a family, the escape of a son from the hostile Ute, his protection and succor by various gods and animals until he reaches his kindred. It seems to us immaterial, as far as our present problem is concerned, whether we regard this myth as explanatory of the rites of the ceremony, or whether the rites are dramatizations of a preexisting myth. Whichever is primary, each has without doubt reacted upon the other. The significant points, to which we would here call attention, are these : Although the ostensible purpose is to cure disease in an individual, it is also the occasion for invoking the unseen powers in behalf of the people at large for various purposes, such as good crops and abundant rains. The rehearsal of this myth occupies more or less the whole group for nine days; it has its stated season, the winter-time, when the thunder is silent and the rattlesnakes are hibernating. In this respect, and also in the minute observance of detail it involves, as well as in the more obvious intent of the ceremony to please the gods or obtain favors of them, it is clear that the whole cycle is religious. It is also equally full of the dramatic and play spirit, and the merely social function is extremely obvious. It is an occasion when the people gather to have a jolly time.' Do we not have here a series of ceremonies which are primarily expressions of the social and play impulses and secondarily religious?
The Snake Dance of the Moqui seems to be an illustration of the same point. Its object is to insure abundant rains for the following season, while the social and dramatic element is also very marked. It seems possible to say that it too was first of all an adjustment to a practical problem, and that it furnished a nucleus for a large number of accessory activities from which the religious values have developed.'
As Jevons says' in another connection, " Ceremonies which were used for the purpose of rainmaking [i.e., purely practical expedients] before rain was recognized as the gift of the gods, [may] continue for a time to be practised as the proper rites with which to approach the god of the community or the rain god in particular." This significant statement of Jevons we should be inclined to generalize and apply to all sorts of activities occurring within the social group. Thus, may we not with reason suppose that the elaborate ceremonies and regulations observed by the coast tribes of British Columbia," with reference to the first salmon of the season, were primarily practical expedients, — as they saw it, — intermingled with a certain amount of playfulness, the whole object of which was to insure a good catch ? If they had developed a definite deity or a salmon-god, these expedients would have become quite naturally a part of his ritual.
It is in the primitive religion of the Romans, however, that some of the most striking illustrations may be found of this relation of religious ceremonial to antecedent `practical' and `accessory activities. The popular mind is so possessed with the idea that Roman religion was merely a duplicate of that of the Greeks that it is something of a surprise to learn that the deistic ideas of the early Romans were most vague, while the ritualistic side of their religion was, on the contrary, elaborate and important. Fowler says that in the oldest festivals the deities are "either altogether doubtful, or so wanting in clearness and prominence as to be subordinate in interest to the details of the ceremony. The cult appealed to this people as the practical method of obtaining their desires, but the unseen powers with whom they dealt in this cult were beyond their ken, often unnamed." In many of their festivals we find the occupations of the family and the various "processes and perils of pastoral and agricultural industry" clearly represented.
In the native Roman religion, in fact, we may find almost our whole theory of the origin and development of religion clearly illustrated. To start with, they had the primitive interests in food and in the family, and about these interests various activities, of necessity, sprang up. These acts served not merely to express but also to enhance the interests, and they seem in time to have become true religious ceremonies. One or two illustrations from many will suffice. The importance of the family in the life of the early Romans is well known. As such it called forth many activities which expressed and emphasized the values of the household. Two of their objects of especial attention were the doorway and the hearth. As Fowler says, the entrance to the house was "the dangerous point, where both evil men and evil spirits might find a way in." Hence to the father of the family naturally belonged the care of the doorway, and from this arose his function of the priest of Janus.' We cannot doubt that the ritual of the worship of Janus developed from the expedients used by the father to protect his dwelling from all evil. We may assume, also, that these acts antedated the conception of a god of entrances, and that through them such a concept was actually built up. The very vagueness of the idea of this god, even with the Romans themselves, indicates that their interest was rather in the concrete values associated with the doorway and in the practical expedients necessary in guarding it. Thus the generalized worship of Janus as the god of beginnings sprang not from the personification of "an abstract idea of beginning . . . but from the concrete fact that the entrance to the house was the initium, or beginning of the house, and at the same time the point from which you started on all undertakings."
The worship of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, illustrates the point still further. The hearth was another centre of interest in the primitive household, and the daughters of the house had an important function in keeping the fire always alight, so that, without loss of time, it might be used when needed? All the subsequent development of the Vestal Virgins and their subordination to the pontifex maximus clearly harks back to the place of the daughters in the early Italian household, upon whom devolved the duties about the hearth. The importance of fire for human life may well have made it, in very early times, an object of veneration, and all acts necessary in preserving and using it were consequently more or less religious. Out of the household duties developed the beliefs and ceremonials of the goddess of the hearth. Of the later cult we are told, "The close connection of Vesta and her ministrants with the simple materials and processes of the house and the farm is quite plain; and we may trace it in every rite in which they took part."
The interest of the Romans in the ritual of their religion rather than in their gods suggests that in the former they found real expression for their religious valuations. More-over, the many obvious connections of the ritual with the practical interests and crises of life and with such social and play activities as arise among the members of a primitive group confirm in a striking way the theory of the natural history of religious practices, and with them of the religious attitude, which has been presented in these pages.
It is perhaps unnecessary to give further illustrations. Whether those which have been offered lend genuine support to the thesis of the chapter, the reader will have to judge for himself. If they do not, the multiplication of instances will not be any more convincing. Our attempt has been rather to illustrate a point of view than to adduce all the evidence in support of it which seems to us to be pertinent. It is needless to say that this evidence might be extended almost indefinitely.
Our conclusion is that the accumulation of habits in various directions is one of the first steps in the evolution of religion. The world for most of us consists primarily of a number of foci of interests. What we apprehend is always related to ourselves more or less directly. This sense of relationship, as we have tried to show, depends quite definitely upon the fact that we are active creatures. The first objects of attention come to consciousness because we have been doing something in various instinctive or impulsive ways. These objects develop, their values become more pronounced, as still further adjustments, or modes of behavior, are organized and elaborated about them.
In connection with this development of behavior as influencing the unfolding of interests and values, it will be necessary, however, to take account of another factor, a 'concept,' we may call it, for want of a better term, which has probably played a large part in the unfolding of human thought, and has consequently reacted in important ways upon behavior and custom. It is difficult to relate it exactly to what has thus far been said of the development of the value-consciousness, and yet it has had a part in that development which we trust will not seem to be altogether adventitious, even though we should stand firmly upon the theory as thus far outlined.
This `concept,' if we may call it such, is not in itself a religious one, although it has been operative, along with other things, in the development of the religious attitude. The notion to which we refer is that there is in the universe, as the primitive man knows it, an undefined and hence more or less impersonal force, a force extremely potent in nature and in the affairs of human life, and with which man may, in various ways, come into rapport. To the consideration of the nature, origin, and possible influence of this `concept,' we shall devote the following chapter.