Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/434

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420 Reviews.

as there are in the latter, but anybody may communicate with the spirits and lead the religious exercises of the family, though no doubt some persons acquire a greater reputation than others, and are more frequently called on to give stances. Miss Czaplicka attributes the dissimilarity to geographical, including probably economic conditions. She leaves it, however, in doubt whether the Palaeo-Siberian form is the more primitive. Prima facie it would seein that it is; but the question must finally be determined by a minute investigation of the history of the Siberian tribes and their religion — a task on which nobody has yet seriously entered.

The mythologies of the tribes vary much. Most of them acknowledge a chief god or Supreme Being. In all cases there are other and more or less independently acting divinities. The Koryak, Mr. Jochelson thinks, have a tendency to monotheism. Nevertheless their "Supreme Being" is but a vague entity. He is propitiated for such things as food supply ; yet he does not interfere actively in human concerns. The souls of the departed go to his dwelling, and hang on posts and beams until the time comes for them to be born again, the duration of their subsequent life being marked by thongs, whether short or long, fastened to them. It may be that if we had of the other tribes as full an account as of the Koryak (which we owe to the Jesup North Pacific Expedition), we should find the highest deity of other tribes equally prominent. This, however, is by no means certain, since Mr. Jochelson considers it possible that the monotheistic tendency he discerns may be due to Russian intercourse. The possibility is heightened by the number of names which are applied by the Koryak to their " Supreme Being," and which may well have been originally the names of distinct mythological personages.

Turning, amid the many interesting subjects scattered over the pages before us, to that of relationships, detailed lists are provided for several of the tribes. They need to be carefully examined and compared with the customs of the tribe, in view of Dr. Rivers' discoveries as to the meaning of terms of relation- ship in the Melanesian area, and of Dr. Lowie's criticisms in a recent number of the American Atithropologist. If Dr. Rivers hypothesis as to the value of the terms be found to hold good