Page:The American Indian.djvu/246

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THE AMERICAN INDIAN

mental in the beliefs of the New World. The procedures of the shaman we have discussed are an expression of this faith. Of specific beliefs of this class, the most widespread seem to be those of the bear and the jaguar. From California to the Atlantic, we find the idea that shamans who derive their power from the bear can heal wounds and often restore life. Throughout the Amazon and even into the highlands of Peru and Mexico has spread the idea that the jaguar is the patron saint of all shamans, whose form many of them take on at will.

Three well-localized methods of purifying oneself for sacred offices have been noted. In the whole of the United States and Canada, except among the Eskimo and some of their near neighbors, the sweat house is used. From some notes by Bandelier,[1] the custom seems to have been followed by the Mexicans also, but they in common with the Maya, Chibcha, and Inca resorted to bleeding, or the offering of drops of blood, for the same purpose. In the Amazon Basin and the West Indies, violent emetics were taken for purging the body. The latter lapped over into the sweat house area along the Gulf, and even in the Pueblo area, while the bleeding method is found in the bison area.

The burning of incense, including the highly original use of tobacco, was almost universal.

The conception of renewing the fire was found in most agricultural tribes, often associated with planting and general seasonal rejuvenation. In modern times, the fire is still kindled with the firedrill or other primitive appliances. In the North, the ceremony appears even among the Pawnee, where, as elsewhere, the fire is kindled by a particular shaman or priest.

In the various discussions of ritualism, we have noted the tendency of the group to follow the whole year through with one ceaseless complex of ceremonies. This is far more conspicuous among the maize-growing tribes. Also closely associated with this cycle is the worship of the sun, moon, winds, rain, morningstar, and other heavenly phenomena.

The concept of the vow was widely diffused in the same area. In the Andean region, one when ill may promise the

  1. Bandelier, 1884. I.