Presidential Address. 25
important of the initiatory rites, there is a ceremony in which the water from eight waterpots is poured o\-er the initiate,^ who thereby ceases to be any longer a student vowed to celibacy but is fit to entertain thoughts of marriage.
Again, in the rites of coronation recorded in the Agiii- Purdna it is stated that the prince is sprinkled with water by his ministers as well as by the royal priest, who uses water which has passed through the perforations of a pitcher.^ These rites, however, occur in conjunction with others of the symbolic entrance into the homa-fire and touching with earth from various places. It is not said that the sprinkling with water is associated with the idea of rebirth. It would be straining the evidence to see in any of these rites the definite representation of rebirth by means of water, though the possibility of such symbolisation cannot be excluded
Passing from India to Africa and Oceania we find that ceremonies common to both regions occur here and there which may be regarded as symbolic of rebirth, and there is the further common feature that in both regions these ceremonies are either connected with the rite of circum- cision or form part of the proceedings of the organisations which are usually known as secret societies.
In Africa we know of nothing which can be regarded as a ceremonial representation of rebirth except in West Africa and the Congo region, and there as part of the ritual of secret societies. As a rule there is little more indication of the presence of the idea of rebirth than the fact that the candidates receive new names and return to the habits of everyday life after a period of seclusion. In a few cases, of which the Poro society of the Timne is an example, the
1 Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, The Rites of the Twice-born, London, 1920, P- 39-
^ Op. cit., Ind. Antiquary, 1919, P- 87.