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symbol of water, or of the god of the atmosphere. This perhaps explains the connection between the diviningrod and water, whilst the form of the rod employed in the search for water may perhaps have some connection with the Etruscan legend, which relates that "An Etruscan ploughman happening to drive his share somewhat deeper than usual, was surprised by the sudden appearance of a boy from beneath the ground. The worthy rustic alarmed the neighbourhood, and in consequence all Etruria resorted to the spot and learned from the lips of the subterranean stranger, who was no other than a god Tages, the doctrines of divination, which were afterwards carefully committed to writing." i Hence the Etruscans claimed to be the originators of divination, but that as well as the letters of the alphabet came to Europe apparently from the East.

This subterranean god would seem to have some connection with the Greek Python, for we are told that those who retained the superstitious customs connected with that worship in Christian times were accustomed to offer a certain perfume, and to move in the hand a magic wand, or divining-rod of myrtle, uttering certain words. Then he who held the rod stooped down as if to consult some one who was underground, and who answered him in so low a voice that he could only understand the spirit of the response, without hearing anything distinctly; 2 and a further trace of this subterranean divinity may probably be found in the word Runa, which Mallet, in his Northern Antiquities, derives from the root Mandragora, designated in Old German Alraun, which root resembles, as is well known, the commonly received form of the divining-rod, and around which cluster a number of old-world superstitions, even to the present day, for it is probable that in many places shrieks and groans would still be expected to follow its forcible extraction from the earth. If I am not mistaken, this root figures in different positions in two or three letters of the Runic alphabet, in which also 1 Encyclopædia Metropolitana: Article, "Divination." 2 Maimonides, Traité de l'Idolatrie. Lebrun, tom. ii. p. 402.

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." 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

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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 denied 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 Phoenix-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 seems 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.

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