Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/258

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244 Reviews.

the very beginning, if we adopt my suggestion that by the two phratries were throughout, from the first to the last, meant permitted spouses and prohibited spouses.

The whole trouble seems to me to arise from the unnecessary assumption that in the beginning the primitive local group did not contain the two phratries, but was itself identical with one of the phratries, or with what eventually became one of the phratries. If we start from this gratuitous assumption, we must either resort to the further hypothesis of a promiscuous horde, out of which just two groups broke — and why it should break into just two groups, as Dr. Durkheim imagines, is, as Mr. Lang points out, an unexplained mystery. Or else we must resort to Mr. Lang's guess that two local groups constituted themselves into phratries, in which case it is again an unexplained mystery why there should not have been, and why there should not be, three or more phratries. But there is no mystery at all, if the two phratries were from the beginning what they are now, viz. the persons permitted and prohibited marriage with me.

And where, now, does totemism come in? Totemism does not prohibit the union of sire and daughter. It reinforces, but can hardly be the original cause of, the prohibition of unions between brothers and sisters. Indeed one is tempted to believe that totemism owes the length of its life to the fact that it appeared to provide a sanction, a supernatural penalty, for violating that prohibition. The prohibition was felt, deeply if dimly, to be fundamental ; and the fact that totemism supported it, imparted to totemism an importance which otherwise totemism might not have had.

Mr. Lang, as we have seen, holds that what became a phratry was originally a local group ; local groups received names (names of plants and animals) from other groups ; and in course of time the groups, not knowing why they were called after plants or animals, concluded there must be some mysterious connection between them and the name-giving thing. But if, as I have argued, the primitive local group contained both phratries, a name given to the group as a whole would not be peculiar to either phratry, that is to say, would not be a phratry name. Neither would it be peculiar to the sire on the one hand or