Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quotes: Primitive Beliefs (2).

Primitive belief 81 "At an eclipse of the sun the Ojibways used to imagine that it was being extinguished...shot fire-tipped arrows in the air, hoping to rekindle his expiring light." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 93 "In Homeric Greece it was thought that the reign of a good king caused the earth to bring forth wheat and barley, the trees to be loaded with fruit, the flocks to multiply, and the sea to yield fish...when the crops failed, the Burgundians used to blame their kings and depose them; and, in the time of the Swedish king Domalde, when a mighty famine broke out, the chiefs decided that the king himself was the cause of the scarcity, wherefore they slew him and smeared with his blood the altars of the gods." Frazer, The New Golden Bough. Now that's accountability.

Primitive belief 96 "Certain persons are supposed to be possessed from time to time by a spirit or deity: while the possession lasts, their own personality lies in abeyance, the presence of the spirit is revealed by convulsive shiverings and shakings of the man’s whole body, by wild gestures and excited looks, all of which are referred, not to the man himself, but to the spirit which has entered into him; and in this abnormal state all his utterances are accepted as the voice of the indwelling god or spirit." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 98 "In Uganda the priest, in order to be inspired by his god, smokes a pipe of tobacco fiercely till he works himself into a frenzy; the loud excited tones in which he then talks are recognized as the voice of the god speaking through him." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 105 "He is supposed to conjure down rain and to drive away locusts; but if he disappoints the people's expectation and a great drought arises in the land the Alfai is stoned to death, and his nearest relations are obliged to cast the first stone at him." Frazer, The New Golden Bough. Shades of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."

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