Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/381

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CHAPTER VII

MEDICINE-MEN AND MAGIC

Term "medicine-man" explained—In all tribes there is a belief that the medicine-men can project objects invisibly into their victims—The Dieri Kunki—"Pointing the bone"—Roasting charms for the purpose of harming others—The Wotjobaluk Bangul—The Wurunjerri Wirrarap—The Wiimbaio Mekigar—The Wotjobaluk Bangal—The use of human fat in magic—The Yuin Gommera—The Wiradjuri Bugin—Magic of Bunjil-Barn and Bulk among the Kurnai—Curative practices of the medicine-men—Kurnai Birraark distinguished from the Mulla-mulung—Rain-makers and weather-changers—Charms to influence food-supply—Omens and warnings—The "Bad Country"—The making of medicine-men—Use of rock-crystal and human fat in magic—Conclusions as to the powers of medicine-men—Songs and song-makers.

I have adopted the term "medicine-men" as a convenient and comprehensive term for those men who are usually spoken of in Australia as "Blackfellow doctors"—men who in the native tribes profess to have supernatural powers. The term "doctor" is not strictly correct, if by it is meant only a person who uses some means of curing disease. The powers which these men claim are not merely those of healing, or causing disease, but also such as may be spoken of as magical practices relating to, or in some manner affecting, the well-being of their friends and enemies. Again, the medicine-man is not always a "doctor" ; he may be a "rain-maker," "seer," or "spirit-medium," or may practise some special form of magic.

I may roughly define "doctors" as men who profess to extract from the human body foreign substances which, according to aboriginal belief, have been placed in them by the evil magic of other medicine-men, or by supernatural

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