Monday, August 31, 2009

Quotes: Primitive Beliefs (11)

Primitive belief 492 "They [North American Indians] thought that a certain Old Woman Who Never Dies made the crops grow and that, living somewhere in the south, she sent migratory waterfowl in spring as her tokens and representatives; each sort of bird represented a special kind of crop cultivated by the Indians: The wild goose stood for the maize, the wild swan for the gourds, and the wild duck for the beans." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 496 "Of these two conceptions, that of the corn-spirit as immanent in the corn is doubtless the older, since the view of nature as animated by in-dwelling spirits appears to have generally preceded the view of it as controlled by external deities…animism precedes deism." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 502 "…every Lithuanian reaper makes haste to finish his task; for the Old Rye-woman lives in the last stalks, and whoever cuts the last stalks kills the Old Rye-woman, and by killing her he brings trouble on himself." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 511 "The corn-spirit is supposed to lurk as long as he can in the corn, retreating before the reapers, the binders, and the threshers at their work…when he is forcibly expelled from the refuge in the last corn cut or the last sheaf bound or the last grain threshed, he necessarily assumes some other form than that of the cornstalks which had hitherto been his garment or body…form…the expelled corn-spirit [can] assume…naturally…that of the person who stands nearest to the corn from which…the corn-spirit has just been expelled." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 523 "The fondness of goats for straying in woods and nibbling the bark of trees, to which indeed they are most destructive, is an obvious and perhaps sufficient reason why wood-spirits should so often be supposed to take the form of goats." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

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