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the arrow occurs as representative of the god Tyr, Runes, say travellers, are to be found in Tartary, which certainly is not surprising, if we can trace them to the sticks used in divination, to which all Scythic nations were so much addicted. "Grimm has shown that the Anglo-Saxon Runic alphabet was derived from the Scandinavian, at a period when it had only sixteen letters, and he then attempts to trace the sixteen. original runes to a remote Asiatic source, founding his conjectures on their inadequacy to express all the sounds of the Old Norse language, and therefore assuming that they must necessarily have been borrowed from a more primitive tongue."1 In tracing the ancient alphabets to rods used in divination, it is not without interest to remark, that "of the eighteen letters which at present compose the Irish alphabet, sixteen bear the same name that designate sixteen common trees and shrubs found in the island." "They tell us that the early inhabitants of Ireland brought the knowledge of those letters with them to Ireland, and that these came from a southern region where Irish trees were unknown."2 The writer in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, from whom I have just quoted, goes on to say that-"These letters appear to have been originally only sixteen, the same number Cadmus brought to Greece; and that the Irish alphabet has these eight letters less than the Roman, is an unanswered and unanswerable argument against the idea of Ireland having received her elementary characters from Latin sources any more than from the meridian age of classical Greece." In a note on Mr. Kemble's paper on Anglo-Saxon Runes, it is remarked as a singular coincidence that in Welsh the alphabet was called "The lot of the Bards." 4


That a very intimate connection subsisted between the arts of divination by rods or arrows, the casting of lots, and the primitive alphabets, cannot, I think, be doubted. It is a significant fact that just in those

1 Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 23.

2 Ulster Journal of Archaeology, vol. iii. p. 15.
4 Archæologia, xxviii.

3 Ibid.

regions of Asia where arrows were principally used in divination, there we find the cuneiform or arrowheaded characters in use.1

It would moreover appear that both divination and the primitive alphabets originated with that very early semi-civilized race, which seems to have spread over the whole world prior to the rise of Aryan supremacy, a race generally, although perhaps not very correctly, denominated Turanian, and which has certainly left traces in the language, religion, and customs of almost all nations quite alien to Aryan culture.

This race, by whatever name it may be designated, may, I believe, be identified with that serpent race of which I have treated in a previous chapter as the originators of agriculture and metallurgy in their earliest form.

Maurice, in his History of Hindostan, says-" Naga, in its primary sense, signifies diviner. The pre-Aryan population of India, and the Scythians, pre-eminently diviners, doubtless belong to this race, as did also the Etruscans, according to Canon Isaac Taylor, and they likewise were noted as soothsayers and diviners. Lenormant traces an underlying Turanian population in Chaldæa, Persia, and among the Eskimo. Ethnologists find remnants of the same race among the short dark peoples of Europe, especially in Ireland, and it may be laid down as a general rule that wherever these are found there also will the arts of divination yet linger. In America, to which I believe this race may be

1 The author of the article on Alphabets in the Encyclopedia Britannica says "It seems clear that the origin of this (cuneiform) system was Turanian, and that it was borrowed by the Semitic races who used it. Cuneiform characters were used in Persia, Assyria, Babylonia, and also among the old Scythian population of Media, who used a Turanian speech." Speaking of runes, the same writer says "It is probable both from the meaning of the word Rune (a secret), and from the evidence of foreign writers, that these symbols were not used by their owners for any of the ordinary ends of an alphabet." Runes were cut on smoothed ash boughs, and were used as magical symbols and also as means of augury, and for this reason they were proscribed to Christians.

traced by the arts of agriculture and metallurgy, I have already pointed out the symbols of divination, the ring and staff and the forked stick as sculptured on the rocks in Peru, whilst everywhere, but especially in Mexico and Central America, may be seen the preChristian cross, the symbol there, as in the Old World, of the elements, and particularly of water; but intercourse with America would appear to have ceased before that further development of divining-rods, twigs, and arrows into alphabets, since the American system of writing was by hieroglyphics.

It appears to me a subject worthy of investigation whether there really exists among the races designated inferior a certain power which has been eliminated from the more highly-developed Aryan. It cannot be Idenied that certain of the lower animals are endowed with faculties (or instincts) far more keen than can be found in the human race, although some of these are shared to a small extent by savages, and it may well be that those more nearly allied by blood to the earlier races, may retain more of those occult affinities with nature shown by the lower animals, than the highlycultured man of civilized Europe. After making every possible allowance for trickery, the effects of imagination and religious excitement, there remains a substratum in the marvels related of the old magicians of Egypt and Chaldæa, and in those of their modern representatives in India and elsewhere, which has never been satisfactorily accounted for by the teachers of science. In this category may be placed the successful use of the divining-rod in the present day, and that singular magnetic influence, which under the name of hypnotism is now making so great a sensation. These things, however, belong rather to psychology than to anthropology, and must be left to scientific investigators. My endeavour has been rather to trace the origin and geographical distribution of a curious superstition and its bearing upon early inventions, than to investigate the truth or falsehood of an assumed power.



Birds as Symbols of Ancient Divinities-The Goose-Sacred in India, Ceylon, Egypt, Rome, and Ancient Britain-A Turanian Totem-Transformed into the Swan among Aryans -The Peacock in India-Emblem of Juno denoting her Eastern Origin-The Owl of Evil Augury—Minerva's Owl perhaps the Cuckoo, or Minerva the Chief Divinity of Owl Tribe-The Phonix-An Astronomical Myth-The Hawk in Egypt, India, and Persia-Fijian Legend-Mexican BirdSerpent--The Vulture, Emblem of Maut-Worn as Head-dress in Egypt and China - Bird of Augury - The Cock Symbol of Osiris and Durga-Sacred to Mars, Apollo, and Esculapius Of Sepulchral Significance in Etruria-Sacrificed to the Sun in Scotland-The Dove the Bird of Venus -Symbol of the Soul in Etruria-Connection with the Mundane Egg-The Eagle-Special Symbol of Aryan Races-Legendary Antipathy to Serpents denotes Race Antagonism-The Eagle in Mexico and in India—Legend of the Mundane Egg in many Lands.

BIRDS were used as emblems of almost all the very ancient divinities; but, notwithstanding the great variety which have thus been employed, it

possible to select some birds as peculiarly adopted by. certain races, so as to render their presence in the mythologies of other races, ground for a belief in an admixture, or of the conquest, of one by the other. Among Turanian races, I think we shall find a preference given to the goose or swan, the hawk and the peacock; among the Semites, to the dove; and among the Aryans, to the eagle; and although these birds are often supplemented by others, yet they stand out as more decidedly distinctive of race than any others.

1 See Journal of the Anthropological Institute, February 1875.

I. Closely following in the track of the serpent, often, but not always, associated with, and generally running parallel to it, we find the Hansa, or sacred Brahminical GOOSE, still adored in Ceylon and Burmah, and which appears to have been almost the earliest bird to receive divine honours. On all the temples of India whereon the worship of the serpent is delineated, the goose also occurs as an ornament, or as in some way connected with the mysterious worship of that deadly reptile. Sir E. Tennant says "There is something still unexplained in the extraordinary honours paid to the goose by the ancients, and the veneration in which it is held to the present day by some of the Eastern nations." The figure that occurs so frequently on Buddhist monuments is the Brahminical goose (casarka rotila), which is not a native of Ceylon, but from time immemorial has been an object of veneration there and in all parts of India. Among the Buddhists1 especially, the hansa has attracted attention by its periodical migrations, which are supposed to be directed to the holy lake of Manasa in the mythical regions of the Himalaya. The poet Kalidasa, in his Cloud Messengers, speaks of the hansa as "Eager to set out for the sacred lake." Hence, according to the Rajavali, the lion was pre-eminent among beasts, but the hansa was king over all the feathered tribe. "The goose is at the present day the national emblem emblazoned on the standard of Burmah, and the brass weights of the Burmese and Javanese are generally cut in the shape of the sacred bird, just as the Egyptians formed their weights of stone after the same model.” 2 Sir Gardiner Wilkinson thinks that the Egyptians did not pay divine honours to the goose, although it was the emblem of Seb, the father of Osiris, but upon this see note by Dr. Birch, in Sir E. Tennant's Ceylon (p. 487). The reason assigned for the veneration in which this bird was held by the ancients, is its fondness

1 It is remarked that Buddhism is peculiarly the religion of Turanian races.

2 Tennant's Ceylon, p. 484.


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