Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 2).djvu/75

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
61
ZUNI MYTHS.

are stated thus: "Some of the totems divide not mankind only, but the whole universe into what may almost be called gentile divisions."[1] "Everything in nature is divided between the classes. The wind belongs to one and the rain to another. The sun is Wutaroo and the moon is Yungaroo. . . . The South Australian savage looks upon the universe as the great tribe, to one of whose divisions he himself belongs, and all things, animate or inanimate, which belong to his class are parts of the body corporate, whereof he himself is part. They are almost parts of himself" (p. 170).

Manifestly this is the very condition of mind out of which mythology, with all existing things acting as dramatis personæ, must inevitably arise.

The Zuni philosophy, then, endows all the elements and phenomena of nature with personality, and that personality is blended with the personality of the beast "whose operations most resemble its manifestation." Thus lightning is figured as a serpent, and the serpent holds a kind of mean position between lightning and man. Strangely enough, flint arrowheads, as in Europe, are regarded as the gift of thunder, though the Zunis have not yet lost the art of making, nor entirely abandoned, perhaps, the habit of using them. Once more, the supernatural beings of Zuni religion are almost invariably in the shape of animals, or in monstrous semi-theriomorphic form. There is no general name for the gods, but the appropriate native terms mean "creators and masters," "makers," and

  1. Kamilaroi and Kurnai, p. 167.