Friday, September 4, 2009

Quotes: Primitive Beliefs (15)

Of Witches, Mistletoe and External Souls.

Primitive belief 608 " Another witching time is the period of twelve days between Christmas…and Epiphany (the sixth of January)." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 647 "Thus we infer with some probability that the sacred twelve days or nights at midwinter derive their peculiar character in popular custom and superstition from the circumstance that they were originally an intercalary period inserted annually at the end of a lunar year of three hundred and fifty-four days for the purpose of equating it to a solar year reckoned at three hundred and sixty-six days." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 679 "The mistletoe was viewed as the seat of life of the oak, and so long as it was uninjured nothing could kill or even wound the oak…conception of the mistletoe as the seat of life of the oak would naturally be suggested to primitive people by the observation that while the oak is deciduous, the mistletoe which grows on it is evergreen; in winter the light of its green foliage among the bare branches must have been hailed by the worshippers of the tree as a sign that the divine life which had ceased to animate the branches yet survived in the mistletoe, as the heart of a sleeper still beats when his body is motionless." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 681 "External soul: In a tale told by the Saxons of Transylvania it is said that a young man shot at a witch again and again…bullets went clean through her but did her no harm, and she only laughed and mocked at him: 'Silly earthworm,' she cried, 'shoot as much as you like…does me no harm…know that my life resides not in me but far, far away; in a mountain is a pond, on the pond swims a duck, in the duck is an egg, in the egg burns a light, that light is my life; if you could put out that light, my life would be at an end…can never, never be.' ” Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

Primitive belief 683 "The…Indians of British Columbia tell of an ogress who could not be killed because her life was in a hemlock branch." Frazer, The New Golden Bough.

No comments: