Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/108

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82 Correspondeiice.

ceremony in question. Considering that certain other totemic ceremonies, like those which are performed for the purpose of making rain, are obviously based on the principle of homoeopathic magic, it is quite possible that the same principle underlies the partaking of the totem. I could quote cases from Morocco in which a ceremonial meal is an act of homoeopathic magic supposed to increase the supply of food. Dr. Frazer is inclined to believe, I think on insufficient grounds, that savages originally ate their totems freely and habitually, and that they did so from a wish to identify themselves either with their totem or with their kinsfolk, between whom indeed they "did not clearly distinguish." This is an echo of the old doctrine that in early society each member of the kin testifies and renews his union with the rest by taking part in the sacramental meal. The assertion that a savage did not clearly distinguish between his totem and his kinsfolk is certainly not supported by the customs of existing totemists, even of the lowest type, who treat their totemic animals and their human relatives in very different manners, (cf. Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of Cefitral Australia^ p. 207); nor is Dr. Frazer's description of the tendency of totemism to strengthen the social ties altogether justified by known facts. He repeats his old statement that the totemic tie is sometimes deemed more binding than that of blood. But, when the totemic group is identical with a social unit based on a common descent, either through the father or through the mother, how can we decide whether the strength of the tie which unites its members is due to the common totem or to the common descent? Among the Arunta and some other Central Australian tribes we have an opportunity of studying the social influence of totemism apart from that of clanship, and what do we find ? " In these tribes," say Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, " there is no such thing as the members of one totem being bound together in such a way that they must combine to fight on behalf of a member of the totem to which they belong. . . . The men who assist him are his brothers, blood and tribal, the sons of his mother's brothers, blood and tribal. That is, if he be a Panunga man he will have the assistance of the Panunga and Ungalla men of his locality, while if it comes to a general fight he will have the help of the whole of his local group. ... It is only indeed during the performance of