Page:Primitive Culture Vol 1.djvu/346

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Yajur-Veda, where the bridegroom says to the bride, 'I am the sky, thou art the earth, come let us marry.' When Greek poets called Ouranos and Gaia, or Zeus and Demeter, husband and wife, what they meant was the union of Heaven and Earth; and when Plato said that the earth brought forth men, but God was their shaper, the same old mythic thought must have been present to his mind.[1] It reappears in ancient Scythia;[2] and again in China, where Heaven and Earth are called in the Shu-King 'Father and Mother of all things.' Chinese philosophy naturally worked this idea into the scheme of the two great principles of nature, the Yn and Yang, male and female, heavenly and earthly, and from this disposition of nature they drew a practical moral lesson: Heaven, said the philosophers of the Sung dynasty, made man, and earth made woman and therefore woman is to be subject to man as Earth to Heaven.[3]

Entering next upon the world- wide myths of Sun, Moon, and Stars, the regularity and consistency of human imagination may be first displayed in the beliefs connected with eclipses. It is well known that these phenomena, to us now crucial instances of the exactness of natural laws, are, throughout the lower stages of civilization, the very embodiment of miraculous disaster. Among the native races of America it is possible to select a typical series of myths describing and explaining, according to the rules of savage philosophy, these portents of dismay. The Chiquitos of the southern continent thought the Moon was hunted across the sky by huge dogs, who caught and tore her till her light was reddened and quenched by the blood flowing from her wounds, and then the Indians, raising a frightful

1 Pictet, 'Origines Indo-Europ.' part ii. pp. 663-7; Colebrooke, 'Essays,' vol. i. p. 220. Plato, Repub. iii. 414-5; ‘ἡ γὴ αὐτοὺς μήτηρ οὖσα ἀνῆκε—ἀλλ’ ὁ θεὸς πλάττων.’

2 Herod, iv. 59.

3 Plath, 'Religion der alten Chinesen' part i. p. 37; Davis, 'Chinese,' vol. ii. p. 64; Legge, 'Confucius,' p. 106; Bastian, 'Mensch,' vol. ii. p. 437, vol iii. p. 302.

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