Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/255

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Reviews. 241

Chiiringas are not a sine qua non of the belief in re-incarna- tion : even amongst the AustraUans the belief is found without the churmga. In the Euahlayi tribe " the spirits of babies and children who die young are re-incarnated," and may be born again of their first mother or of some other woman {The Euahlayi Tribe, p. 51). From the belief that some spirits are re-incarnated to the belief that all spirits are or may be re-incarnated, the passage is easy : if this child is a re-incarnation, that child also may be. A further point of resemblance between the Arunta belief and that of the Euahlayi is that " spirit-babies hang promiscuously on trees until some woman passes under where they are, then they will seize a mother and be incarnated " {ib. p. 50). And the Euahlayi belief seems intermediate between that of Mr. Spencer's Arunta and that of Mr. Strehlow's Arunta, for like the latter they believe in incarnation as the general rule, but in the special case of children who die young they believe in re-incarnation, as Mr. Spencer's Arunta believe in it in all cases. Mrs. Parker says that the Euahlc^yi spirit-babies ^' hang promiscuously on trees," whereas amongst the Arunta it is only on those trees which mark an oknanikilla that the spirit-babies hang. But Mrs. Parker's words do not, I think, necessarily exclude the possibility that it is only on certain definite trees that spirit-babies " hang promiscuously." Be that as it may, the re-incarnation belief, as it exists amongst the Euahlayi, co-exists with the knowledge that the woman who bears a child is its mother (even if the spirit of the baby has in a previous portion of its career animated the child of another woman) and with the knowledge that the man who begets it is its father. It cannot therefore be the case that the re-incar- nation belief is incompatible with the knowledge in question or implies ignorance on the point, even amongst the Arunta. But if there is, even amongst the Arunta, no ignorance on the point, the argument that the Arunta exhibit the most primitive form of Australian toteinism falls to the ground. The Arunta form of totemism implies the re-incarnation belief. The belief in re-incarnation is the fruit of reflection, and cannot be con- sidered original or self-evident. And the belief is found in an earlier stage of growth amongst the Euahlayi than amongst

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