Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/253

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Some Algerian Superstitions. 243

wide end of the scapula the death of a member of his tribe is foretold.^"

In order to ascertain whether some projected journey or enterprise is likely to be successful the Shawia of the Rassira valley will ask some old woman who possesses a reputation for skill in divination to obtain an augury for them.

The old woman draws two lines across the bottom of an upturned wooden dish, a dark line made with soot or ashes and a white line made with flour, so that the two lines intersect at right-angles in the centre dish.

She then takes an ordinary spindle-whorl with some wool on it and attaches a small piece of thread to its pointed end so that, when suspended by this thread, the spindle-whorl hangs vertically downwards. She holds the spindle-whorl by the thread with its knobbed end resting upon the dish at the point of intersection of the white and dark lines and gently raises it so that it is at liberty to swing like a pen- dulum. If the spindle-whorl swings along the course of the white line the journey or enterprise will be brought to a successful conclusion, but if it swings along the dark line an unsuccessful issue may be expected.

I do not think that any special dish or spindle-whorl need be used for the purpose, for I have seen them borrowed among the women standing by when a sorceress wished to use them.

Obviously the spindle-whorl can be made to swing along either line at the will of the sorceress, but the Shawia appear to believe in this means of ascertaining what chances of success await their enterprises.

Among the Ouled Ziane there are sorceresses who find out from what complaint a person is suffering with the aid

^For uses of scapulae kept from the Great Feast see Westermarck, "The Popular Ritual of the Great Feast in Morocco" {Folklore, .K.xii., p. 150); Doutte, Magieet Relif^ion datts V Afriqiie du Nord, p. 371 ; and Mauchamp, La Sorcellerie an Maroc (Paris), p. 14S.