Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/359

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The Religious Basis of Social Union. 349

names. There is no need of the hypothesis of conscious imposture : fortune telling or rain-making is a precarious liveHhood when Hfe is the forfeit of failure. The public magician whose abnormal powers were utilized became the Fetish-King — a figure down to our own time regarded with suspicion by the Whig Oligarchy of the Elder Brethren. If these 'rude forefathers' had a religion beyond formal magic, rites of initiation for the young, mysteries and bull- roarers to terrify the women, it was Manism — the placation of ancestral ghosts whose character as a rule was anything but improved by their passage into the Sacred World of the hereafter. But the cult of the personal powers of some strangely gifted individual threatened this monopoly. Over against their Manism arose what might be termed Manaisni — belief not in the hereditary right of the Seniors but in tested and approved capacity wherever it could be found. As the Elder Brethren had set up their aristocratic com- promise in place of the Sire's absolutism, so now their privilege was challenged by personal aptitude, sometimes appearing as the champion of 'democracy,' of innovation and of reform.

III. Only by this path lay the way out of the old grooves. We cannot explain the expansion of mankind into more 'spacious times' and wider sympathies by the sole hypo- thesis of War — the great migrant movements of robber- bands driven on to more peaceful folk by the Drought in the Grasslands. No doubt the able war-captain came to the front in such a crisis by purely personal merit. But war is, we may say, a late phenomenon — except in the form of marriage-capture or the alternate victims of the blood-feud. War does not account for the fetish-king. He appears in two phases — active and passive, as a worker of marvels in his own right, as the vehicle of an effective inana — so long as it is content to rest upon him ; or as the symbol (rather than the channel) of a spiritual grace which he derives from the sanction of the Elders, from public