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Greek water of aspersion, according to Theocritus, was mixed
with salt, as is sometimes the modern Italian holy water. J.J.
Blunt, _Vestiges of Ancient Manners and Customs_, p. 173.) Among
the Hottentots, as Kolbein and others have recorded, the medicine
man urinated alternately on bride and bridegroom, and a
successful young warrior was sprinkled in the same way. Mungo
Park mentions that in Africa on one occasion a bride sent a bowl
of her urine which was thrown over him as a special mark of honor
to a distinguished guest. Pennant remarked that the Highlanders
sprinkled their cattle with urine, as a kind of holy water, on
the first Monday in every quarter. (Bourke, _Scatalogic Rites_,
pp. 228, 239; Brand, _Popular Antiquities_, "Bride-Ales.")
Even the excreta of animals have sometimes been counted sacred.
This is notably so in the case of the cow, of all animals the
most venerated by primitive peoples, and especially in India.
Jules Bois (_Visions de l'Inde_, p. 86) describes the spectacle
presented in the temple of the cows at Benares: "I put my head
into the opening of the holy stables. It was the largest of
temples, a splendor of precious stones and marble, where the
venerated heifers passed backwards and forwards. A whole people
adored them. They take no notice, plunged in their divine and
obscure unconsciousness. And they fulfil with serenity their
animal functions; they chew the offerings, drink water from
copper vessels, and when they are filled they relieve themselves.
Then a stercoraceous and religious insanity overcomes these
starry-faced women and venerable men; they fall on their knees,
prostrate themselves, eat the droppings, greedily drink the
liquid, which for them is miraculous and sacred." (Cf. Bourke,
_Scatalogic Rites_, Chapter XVII.)
Among the Chevsurs of the Caucasus, perhaps an Iranian people, a
woman after her confinement, for which she lives apart, purifies
herself by washing in the urine of a cow and then returns home.
This mode of purification is recommended in the Avesta, and is
said to be used by the few remaining followers of this creed.
We have not only to take into account the frequency with which among
primitive peoples the excretions possess a religious significance. It is
further to be noted that in the folk-lore of modern Europe we everywhere
find plentiful evidence of the earlier prevalence of legends and practices
of a scatalogical character. It is significant that in the majority of
cases it is easy to see a sexual reference in these stories and customs.
The legends have lost their earlier and often mythical significance, and
frequently take on a suggestion of obscenity, while the scatalogical
practices have become the magical devices of lovelorn maidens or forsaken
wives practiced in secrecy. It has happened to scatalogical rites to be
regarded as we may gather from the _Clouds_ of Aristophanes, that the
sacred leathern phallus borne by the women in the Bacchanalia was becoming
in his time, an object to arouse the amusement of little boys.
Among many primitive peoples throughout the world, and among the
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