category: Cultural Studies



Totem and taboo in primitive society

Finished Art. 11gr. ZUF.

Sychugova TS


Totemism arose from the belief of a group of people in their relationship with a certain type of animal, plant and forces Nature. Totem was mostly animal consumption. This animal could be harmless or dangerous or fearsome nice. Less totem was a plant or a force of nature (rain, water, fire).

"Taboo" Polynesian word that is difficult to translate, because now no longer denote the concept. At present, the value taboo branches in two opposite directions. On the one hand, it means - holy, holy. On the other hand - scary, dangerous, forbidden. Thus, the taboo associated with the idea of something that requires caution. Most often it is expressed essentially in prohibitions and restrictions.

emergence of a taboo in human history is an important point, because if it were not for these many and varied taboo, but now there would be no civilized society. < / p>

emergence of totemism in primitive society, people are also many important link in the history of man, because totemism is one of the layers of religious beliefs.

1. The emergence of totemism

In his book "Totem and Taboo, Freud creates a kind of psychoanalytic myth. At the heart of it - the dramatic story of the sons, who have eaten and killed his father, whom they were jealous of their mothers. Freud very arbitrary constructs social organization doreligioznyh our ancestors, based on the hypothesis of Darwin-Atkinson of the primitive horde, consisting of women and their children and headed by an elder - the patriarch. Incest - a marriage between blood relatives

- had not yet been taboo, and the leader could have sexual relations with all women, including their own sisters and daughters. Boys who have reached puberty, expelled the old leader. The exiled sons, deprived of access to women, together and dealt with her father. But then, covered by feelings of guilt and repentance, to atone for their sin they did his father's object of religious worship. From the psychological phenomenon known as complex

Oedipus emerged religion. According to the modern definition, the Oedipus complex (or father complex) - is a group of largely unconscious ideas and feelings are concentrated around the desire to have a parent of the opposite sex and eliminate the parent of the same sex. In boys, it usually manifests itself by hatred for his father or even the desire of his death with a simultaneous love for the mother. Reverse

(negative), the Oedipus complex is manifested, on the contrary, in the love of father and hostility to the mother. However, very often these two forms of the complex blend.

Religion emerged in the form of totemism, which killed his father became a totem of their offspring: for primitive people called totem of his ancestor or ancestors. Ambivalent feelings toward his father - love and hate

- sons moved to the totem animal. Every year, they staged totemic rituals, reproduce by means of ritual murder of his father's killing and eating totemic animal. So once killed and eaten his father turned into a totem animal, and ancient cannibal meal - a ritual totemic meal-sacrifice. Totemic religion came from an awareness of the sons of his guilt as "an attempt to calm this feeling and appease the offended father, the late obedience".

Over time, the "alternate" the father - has become a totem of the god. God is the development of religion is an idealization of the psychological image of his father. In God the father regains his human form.

emergence of totemism can be attributed to the belief of primitive man in his spiritual unity with nature. After all, not a few found in the caves - the habitats of primitive men - strange drawings. The drawings depicted incredible monster with feet of people and goats' heads, with antlers and a human torso.

1.2 Totem in different tribes.

Adoration of the buffalo, buffalo as a totem.

According to archaeological research in various areas

Earth totem existed in ancient times by many people. For example for the peoples living in forest regions of South America from

Guiana to Patagonia, in North America and Australia.

Instead of missing all religious and social precepts Australians have a system of totemism. Australian tribes split into small families or clans, each of which bears the name of his totem. Totem is forefather of the family, in addition, guardian angel or an assistant, who had predicted the future and miluyuschim their children, even if it is dangerous to others. Totem patrons Australians are generally a kangaroo, possum, lizard, bat, etc. Those of a sacred totem bound in case of breach of commitments: not to kill his totem, and to refrain from the use of its flesh (or the other on the user's enjoyment), the offender shall be punished . Symptom totem is not linked to individual animals or a separate entity: it is connected to all individuals of this kind. From time to time in the tribal feast, at which persons of one totem ceremonial dances depict or imitate the movements of his totem.

Totem is inherited through the maternal or paternal line. Freud assumed that initially everywhere was the first type of transmission (through the maternal line), and only then there was his replacement of the second. Belonging to a totem is the basis of all social obligations of Australians. On the one hand, carriers of one totem belong to the tribe, and, on the other hand, totem masks a kinship. Totem binds stronger than, blood or kinship ties. Totem is not linked to any area, nor with the location of the tribe. Those one totem can live separately and live peacefully with members of other totems.

totem of the Phoenicians was the Pig. Indians - a cow. The peoples of the north revered crow. In tribal India Oran and Munda totems are a hawk, a falcon. Heron, etc.

Living Arsinonta worshiped sacred reptiles. They fattened geese and fish, adorned their necklaces and bracelets, and after his death turned them into mummies.

To the north of the Himalayas totemism found in Mongoloid tribes. We Yakut is a swan, crow, etc.

In Africa, a tribal beguany totems are crocodile (clan Baku), fish (clan batlipi), lion (clan balaunga), wild grape (bamorara).

2. The emergence of the taboo

the problem of the taboo, Freud also came from psychoanalysis, that is, the study of unconscious psychic life of the individual.

emergence of the taboo, Freud explains the same story: after killing his sons father, they were feelings of guilt and remorse. And to atone for his sin and to prevent the violent struggle for women in their midst, the children have created laws - a taboo. Taboo banned incest and admitted marital intercourse only with women from groups with other totems. Tabu represented nothing more than a religious or moral prohibitions. It is also tightly regulated all aspects of life and dominion over them. Taboos in primitive society, served as a means of custom.

It is possible that the first taboo arose due to random collisions with the failure of primitive man (for example in the home).

Later they began to introduce chiefs and shamans - sorcerer, who were believed to be led by spirits, ghosts and even the gods. Fear of retaliation against the spirit was so high in the minds of primitive men, that sometimes, breaking taboos, he died of fright, and such dramatic episodes greatly strengthened the power of the taboo on living.

The cause of the taboo (specifically bans on eating any animal) was totemic.

addition prohibitions (taboos) in primitive society, having such means of regulation, both positive and permission to compel (only in rudimentary form). Allowing occurred in the case of certain types of animals and time hunting for them, species and timing of collection of fruits, the use of a territory, water sources, etc. Positive compel was necessary to organize behavior in the processes of cooking, building shelters, fireplace , making tools, etc.

2.1 Tabu in different tribes.

studying the life of the patriarchal tribal level of development, still preserved in Asia, Australia, Africa and America, Freud made a startling discovery. It turned out that all these tribes, some striking way the system of moral prohibitions governing all the important aspects of life. Almost everywhere, where there was a totem, there was a law that members of the same totem should not engage with each other in sexual relations, therefore, can not join together in marriage.

The same is true for the peoples Alaska, the Tlingit tribes and

Hyde. These tribes were banned marriages between relatives in direct line: siblings.

Tylor in his book Primitive Culture "tells of taboos that exist in the tribe, a life which is similar to the life of primitive society. For example, one of the prohibitions Indians - a ban on saving a drowning man. Hindus will not save a man who drowned in the sacred Ganges. Incidentally, this is cruelty to a drowning man shared the tribes of the Malay Archipelago. Primitive Kamchatkans this prohibition has the most remarkable form. They think a big mistake to save a drowned man: he who would save him, after he drowned.

Even if a person is like - something accidentally fell into the water, then it was considered a great sin to get out of it: if he intended to sink, he does sin, escape from drowning. Nobody would let him into her home, talk to him, give him food or wife, believing him dead. If a man fell into the water in the presence of people they would not help him, but instead would have drowned him.

by the same savages allowed go near the fire-breathing mountains if there are spirits there and cook their own food. To bathe in hot springs is also a sin, because they believe in the existence of a sea spirit, the form of a fish (Mitgk).

Tabu Eskimos - they did not dare to mix in the food of terrestrial and marine livestock. < p> One of the taboos of the Indians of North America prohibits the collection of marine bivalve mollusks in the summer-autumn period.

tribes of Indians in the ban on eating one meal a child, which is often thought of his mother while still pregnant .

Zalusam banned lead in the tribe of sick people out - for fear of dead bodies. They were thrown out in the woods and leave the sick people.

chiefs and priests in Polynesia were not allowed to touch his hands to food, so they were obliged to feed others. Their dishes, clothing and other supplies could not be used by other people in fear of illness and death. Subject to the same precautions in primitive societies require in relation to the girls during the first menstruation, women after childbirth, a murderer, to persons who are in mourning,.

Maori anyone who has dealt with the dead man - helped deliver it to the place of burial or touched to the bones of a deceased person - is almost completely isolated from the others. He could not enter the house, nor come into contact with this or any other person, nor to touch any subject without having to bring not to damage it. He could not even touch food with his hands, which were so much taboo and unclean, that have been made useless. Dining set for him on the ground, he had to sit down or kneel down and folded his hands behind his back as he could eat it. In some cases, feeding was entrusted to another person: the last try, extending his hand to do its work so as not to touch the taboo.

Rule, which prohibits people who are in contact with a corpse, to touch food with his hands apparently distributed throughout the

Polynesia. Thus, on the islands of Samoa "those who cared for the dead, carefully avoiding to deal with food, and as helpless infants fed for days more. It was believed that in case of violation of this rule, the god of the hearth punish hair loss and tooth loss ?.

Indians-Shuswap (British Columbia) is isolated widowed while wearing mourning and forbid them to touch his head and body ; bowls and vessels for cooking and serving of food they enjoy at this time can not be used by any other.

in Tahiti a woman given birth to two or three weeks, placed in a temporary hut built on sacred land. During this period it is forbidden. touch the food, and feed it to others.

If during this period the child touched another person, it is subjected to the rite of purification by the same prohibitions as the mother.


According to Freud, from the ancient parricide grown religion, social organization and morality.

According to Tylor religion arose because of the intertwining of animism (belief in spirits and souls of men - objects and phenomena of the world) with other primitive religious beliefs. In fetishism (belief in the supernatural properties of some inanimate objects), magic (ceremonies connected with the belief in the supernatural power of human influence on other people and the surrounding reality), and totemism.

In our time, the predominant view that the original layer religious beliefs, probably was totemism in

which primitive people in the only possible time for them aware of their intrinsic shape, as if the ties of kinship, with immediate natural surroundings.

remnants of totemism , fetishism, magic, preserved in virtually all religions, as well as in the traditions and life of the peoples of the world. For example, for the Greek world was typical of the universal animation of nature. Every natural phenomenon, every river, every mountain and grove had their own deity: Tserers - the goddess of vegetation,

Neptune - the god of the sea. Serpents figure prominently in the religions of the world as the embodiment of the deities. They still serve as an object of worship among the Negroes Slave Coast.

ban on killing cows in India, the taboo on pigs with the Israelis and the Muslims - the distant echoes of antiquity, when these animals were sacred totems.

taboo in primitive society for a long time was the only form of public regulation. Currently prohibitions also underlie the regulation of social structure.

system of prohibitions, many people eventually transformed into the form of moral standards, religious rules. From the ban grew its unique culture.

archaic notions that have fallen into the popular beliefs and poetry, have shown a clear link between the primitive thoughts and survivors from the ancient custom (the tale of water, sprites, hobgoblins, etc.) >

list of used literature:

1. A. Elkin, Aboriginal people of Australia ", Moscow, 1952.

2. Tokarev "Early forms of religion".

3. Dashkov "essays on cultural studies, the manual". M., 2002.

4. Tylor, Primitive Culture, Politizdat, 1989.

5. AN Krasnikova "Mysticism. Religion. Science. Classics of world religion. Anthology M., Kanon +, 1998.

6. Freud, "Totem and Taboo".

7. alexandrmen/books/tom2/2_gl_02.html

8. bolshe/book/id=816

9. history.rsuh/historycd/HISTORY/HTML/T3/T3-02-09-02.htm

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