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People who live in the State of Maine know that there are land masses on their eastern borders. It is unlikely that other Americans appreciate the fact that there is noteworthy real estate "up along" from "Down East". The former colonial provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, now known as Ontario and Quebec, are no more aware of these Atlantic Provinces as they are sparsely populated, and poltically and economically unimportant. When the National Geographic mapped the region in 1980, writers labelled it "land's end" and marvelled that "it juts so far east that its clocks run 1 1/2 hours ahead of New York's." Admitting that Atlantic Canada was the ultimate "unknown country", local journalist Silver Donald Cameron described it as "The Mysterious East" on the masthead of the magazine he published. In 1990, the Society of American Travel Writers held their annual convention in Saint John, New Brunswick. Among them was Mimi Kmet, a freelance writer from Los Angeles, who was one of the first out-of-towners
to note: "Really, this is where both countries started." Even if she was prompted by local tour guides, this first-time visitor to Canada was correct as far as the European settlement of North America is concerned. This effort, which started in 1604, has left behind the "Atlantic Provinces" of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, all having boundaries on the Atlantic Ocean; and located closer Europe than British Columbia. Newfoundland voted to become a part of Canada in 1949, but some would argue that the three remaining "Maritime Provinces" were annexed in 1876. In spite of their relative unimportance, the Maritime Provinces were central to land quarrels between the various peoples who attempted to claim North America. Fifteen thousnad years ago there were no differences of opinion, since the entire region lay beneath the great continental glacier during the long winter of "Wisconsin glaciation". By 10,000 B.C., the warming had released massive amounts of ice water, and the country took the form of offshore islands, what is now land remaining depressed, rebounding slowly from the weight of ice which had lain upon it. The people who occupied these islands were fisherfolk, entitled "the red-paint people" from their habit of burying their dead after colouring the corpse. There is a suspcicion that these aboriginals were unrelated to the Abenaki Indians, whose legends say they came to the region out of the American south-west. By that time, there was substantially more dry land and the offshore islands had been swept away by weathering and erosion. Large islands remain within the waters of the Atlantic Provinces, notably Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, St. Pierre and the islands of Miquelon. Some of these, the smaller islands of the region, or the lost isles, undoubtedly gave rise to notions of strange Atlantic isles, which Europeans perceived as located in the mysterious western ocean. One of the earliest Atlantic explorers of this ocean was the Irish abbott and missionary St. Brendan the Navigator, who lived between 484 and 578 A.D. He journeyed westward in a half-spherical craft known as a "curragh", a construction of bent wood and sewn leather. He kept no journal of his travels but, three centuries after his death, his verbal memoirs were transmitted and put on paper as "Navagatio Sancti Brendani". His unknown biographer was certain his hero located "a country covered with apple trees laden with fruit the whole year round", a place perpetually lit by the presence
of Christ himself. This paradise, variously called St. Brendan's Isle, the Blessed Isles, the Earthy Paradise, the Fortunate Isles, the Promised Land of the Saints, or something of that ilk, has been linked with the Antilles, the Azores, the Canaries. or the east coast of Newfoundland. An earlier pagan version of this place was Hi Breas Isle, encapsulated as Breasil or Brazil. According to Celtic legend this island kingdom belonged to the Fomors or seagiants, who admitted the sidh, or little people, to its shores after both races were defeated by men. The island, which had an uncanny tendancy to wander, was named for King Breas, who was briefly high king of Ireland. High Breas Island was also known in Gaelic as the Plain of Pleasure, the Land of Promise and as "Tir nan Og", the Land of Eternal Youth. Although it was occasionally found and charted there were always problems of relocation, so it was guessed that it was a magical place unclaimable because it retreated beyond the horizon or sank beneath the sea when approached. Interestingly, the Indians shared the European notion concerning giants, who they said occupied the land before the world flood. The Abenaki knew some of these vexatious people who demanded homage. The Algonquins insisted that the most dangerous manitou of Lake Superior was the "lord of the Floating Islands." "These islands were beautiful with trees and flowers...sweet fruits grew in plenty...In wonder and delight the hunter would speed towards them in his canoe, but as he neared their turfty bank the jealous manitou, who kept these fairy lands for his own pleasure. would throw a fog and shut them out of sight. Never could the hunter set foot on them, no matter how long he kept his search."1 While Isle Haut at the head of the Bay of Fundy was not barred to men it had a similar reputation as a floating island. In spite of these difficulties, repeated attempts were made to find and colonize the Celtic magic islands. Prince Henry Sinclair, Jarl of Orkney, may have been one who succeeded. In 1391 he enlisted a Venetian seaman to captain a fleet which spent four years cruising the North Atlantic. He was supported in this by members of Clan Gunn. Evidence of their passage is supposedly seen at Westford, Massachusetts, where a rock is punched marked with an effigy of a fourteenth century knight, who bears a shield which appears to show the earliest known example of the Gunn coat-of-arms.
Charles M, Myths and Legends of Our Own Land, (1896), volume II.
Even after America was "discovered" by Columbus in 1492, attempts continued and in the seventeenth century, Leslie of Classlough County, Monaghan, Ireland secured a Royal grant on "I-Breasil", contingent on its recovery and disenchantment. This was supposedly managed by the captain of a Killybeg's schooner in 1674, but details, as recorded in Hardiman's "Irish Minstrelsy" are very circumstantial, and there is no record of a land registry. In the same century, the Irish scholar O' Flaherty claimed that a boat driven from the Irish coast by storm came upon O'Brazil where seamen observed sheep grazing on the shore, but dared not land for fear of the Fomors. In his book "Iar Connacht" this writer recounted the tale of Morrogh O'Ley who supposedly resided for a half dozen years in the Land of Youth. When he returned to Galway O'Ley began to practice "both chirurgery and phisick... tho' he never studied or practiced either all his life time before..." Hardiman claimed that Ley had been given "The Book of O'Brazil" while on the island. This tome contained the medical and medicinal secrets of the sidh, enabling O'Ley to become an instant doctor. Almost every European race hypothesized mythical Atlantic islands. There was supposedly one due west of Bres, France, another off the coast of Denmark, and the Portuguese claimed that their Islands of the Seven Cities were colonized by seven Christian bishops, forced from the mainland by invading infidels. Christian missionaries actually did settle the islands of the west, and the Old Norse found a Irish enclave on Iceland when they came there shortly before 1,000 A.D. In the late 1970s, Ted Severin and three others reconstructed a medieval "curragh" in an attempt to show that "the stepping-stone route" (Ireland, the Hebrides, the Faeroes, Iceland and Greenland) led naturally across the Atlantic to Newfoundland. Their rudderless craft, named the "Brendan" sailed to Peckford Island, Newfoundland, arriving June 26, 1977. While remarkable, this proved nothing beyond the possibiltity of a trans-Atlantic crossing. In support of preColumbian discoveries it can be noted that the Isle of Brazil and the Islands of the Seven Cities are often charted in the same latitudes as Britain. In "The Westward Perspective of the Paris Map" (1490), held by the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, it will be noticed that these the Islands of the Seven Cities are well west of Iceland and might logically be seen as representing Newfoundland. The fabelled Celtic route to North America became the viking route after the Scandinavians began their careers of piracy and plunder in the
ninth century. These speakers of the Old Norse tongue reached Iceland in 870 A.D. and in 982, they explored and colonized Greenland under Eric the Red. According to their written records Bjarni Herjolfsson contracted to supply the Greenland settlement and was blown far off his intended course ending on the shores of Baffin Island, which he named Helluland. He managed to work his way back to Greenland and the next year Leif Eriksson borrowed one of his ships and went seeking these previously unknown lands. Sailing southward into "the most distant parts of the Western Ocean Sea", he came upon a land "so choice it seemed the cattle would not need winter fodder." The lakes and rivers were seen to be filled with the largest salmon the travellers had ever seen and because the land was filled fruit-bearing vines Eriksson named it Vinland. There was no permanent settlement at "Promontorium Winlandia" but Eriksson, and others who followed, overwintered there. Early in the 11th century Thorfinn Karlsefni transported 65 people to Vinland settling them at Leif's abandoned quarters. The colony prospered for two years but had trouble with the native "skraelings", or shreiking people, and sailed back to Greenland. Vinland has never been positively located and "Eric's Saga" and the "Greenlander's Saga" , which recount these voyages, were at first considered fictions. Norwegian scholar Helge Ingstad vindicated the ancient writers when he discovered a Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, on the northeastern promontory of Newfoundland in 1962. Fortunately there were artifacts of obvious Scandinavian origin on site and material which was carbon dated was dead on the Saga date of 1000 A.D. There is now evidence of an Old Norse settlement within Atlantic Canada but no proof that L'Anse aux Meadows was Eriksson's Vinland. The place was not a floating island, but a reading of the Sagas makes it seen almost as elusive: The directions given for getting there are inconsistent from one season to the next, leading scholars to suspect that "Vinland" may have been used in a generic sense, with two or more sites finally bearing the name. The Newfoundland location is a front-runner but other scholars prefer Cape Breton, Grand Manan Island and the Hudson River region. Whatever the case, the sea-voyagers landed in America at in an inopportune time, for the Abenaki's had just arrived in the region. While the viking warrior-merchants were giants in the eyes of the Indians they had only slightly better weapons and were inferior in numbers. The next group of Europeans to come to the region were equipped with guns and explosive
powders. In the influx or explorers and colonists after 1492, the western Atlantic islands were found to have firm roots on the ocean floor, so the mythical cities peopled by magicians, giants and wee folk were pushed into the unexplorered interior of North America. About this time, Norumbega began to appear as descriptive of a portion of the eastern coast of what is now Canada and the United States. It has been guessed that the name remembers the Norse settlements and may relate to "Norvegia" or Norway. In 1524 Verrazzano's brother mapped Norumbega as the northern portion of the land "Gallia Nova", or New Franc, and placed it at the location of presentday Cape Cod. While it was clearly represented as a region on this map it was patently a city on others. Mapmakers disagreed about its extent, some showing it incorporating all the land between Florida and Nova Scotia, while one showed it as a narrow band of territory along the Penobscot River in Maine. Whether a mythical kingdom or city it was greatly sought after: Jacques Cartier working for the English sailed up the Penobscot in 1534 with the intention of finding Norumbega, which was reputed to be rich in oranges, almonds, sweet-smelling trees and gold. His lack of success did not prevent the French explorer Samuel de Champlain from believing the tales of "several pilots and historians" who had told him of "a large town peopled with skilled Indians who weave cloth with cotton threads." In the end Champlain concluded that "those who mentioned this place have not seen it but talk of it because they have heard others speak who are no better informed than themselves." On Verrazzano's map Norumbega appears as the northern province of New France, the southern portion being noted as Arcadie. Anciently, Arcadie was the most isolated part of Greece a land of peaceful shepherds and hunters, thus the word became synoymous with a pastoral paradise. Giovanni da Verrazzano is thought to have given the name to Maryland or Virginia "on account of the beauty of the trees." According to W.F. Ganong the name migrated northward in a succession of maps, finally becoming attached to the present Atlantic Provinces. William F.E. Morley claimed that the "r" was inadvertently dropped by Champlain when he mapped the region in the seventeenth century. While the notion of Atlantic Canada as a pastoral paradise or rural
backwater is attractive Acadia may not have a classical origin. In the original French, Acadia is represented as "La Cadie" contracted to "Acadie". Several professional wordsmiths relate this to the Abenaki "cadie", or "quoddy", which appears in placenames such as Schbenacadie and Passamaquoddy, and is their word for "a place". On the other hand, the Spaniards mapped the much sought lands of weath as "Cadiz" or the "Indies" and this designation may have been taken up by the French, who expected but failed to find great wealth in this part of the New World. Through cartographic use Acadia became attached to the northeastern coast between 40 and 46 degrees latitude, everything north being designated New France. The English who settled south of 40 called their land New England in contradiction to Nouvelle Francois. Acadia, lying between these two warring peoples changed hands several times before before being surrendered to England in 1763. Under new management Acadia, was first termed New Scotland, the charter Latin name Nova Scotia being preferred as having more class. At the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783 disbanded British troopers and Loyalist sympathizers came to the region. They demanded and got autonomy from Halifax and three new provinces were formed: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, the last reassimilated into present-day Nova Scotia. From this brief history it can be seen that the Maritime Provinces are old in history and rich in peoples: The Abenaki were the earliest settlers and are divided into two language groups, the Woolastooks (or Maliseets) living west of the Saint John River in New Brunswick and the Micmacs, who reside west of this informal boundary. Less than ten percent of the population is of English descent, the largest number having been Scottish and Irish immigrants who originally spoke Gaelic. The French-speaking Acadians were removed after the English occupation but many returned creating communities in Cape Breton, the west of Nova Scotia and the northeastern New Brunswick. In addition, German mercenaries who had served with England in the Revolutionary War were added to countrymen who had settled the southwestern shore of Nova Scotia after the Acadian exile. Any discussion of local folklore is made complex by this mixed population. "Strange is the collection of people here." noted an official involved in the 1783 resettlement. Even stranger were their myths and legends. All of the founding peoples have known the difference between truth
and fiction. The Micmacs distinguished "a'tukwaqn", which were their myths, from "aknutmaqn", the daily news, the latter requiring less rigid veracity. Similarly the Celtic races separated the "naidheachdan" from their "naidheachdan fada thall", these being the equivalent of the English "tale" and "tall tale". The last two are Anglo-Saxon words similar in meaning to the Anglo-Norman "histoire" and "fable". Present day history is considered packed with facts, but it was anciently considered no more trustworthy than the myth. History was defined as "a narrative of events based on real or imaginery happenings;" while a myth was, "a story, or history, whose origins are forgotten but thought based on fact." Both terms are Anglo-Norman, having come to England from France at the Norman Conquest in 1066. While "myth" now descibes "a person or events which exist in the imagination" it was originally applied to situations where that person or happening had an unverifiable existence. The myths of our past are distinguished from legends, which centre on the acts of men. Myths have always focused on the business of gods, or the god-like men or animals, who had control of the arts variously called "m'ntu", "ceard", "craeft" or "magic". "Culture myths" are stories in which a god gifts men with some of his craft or magic. "Nature myths" explain natural phenomena. Other classes of myth attempt to delineate the origin of the gods or explain the basis of religious rites and customs. The legend, in addition to taking and interest in human activities, is usually location bound, attached to one or two localities; the stories being told by relatively few wordsmiths. A myth is usually widely spread, the incidents in the life of the magic-makers being being surprisingly constant between communities. The names of the gods differ from place to place, and their motives vary among tribes, but their acts are almost uniform. As elsewhere, the mythical Maritimers come in three basic sizes: the giant, who ranges to fourteen feet in height; the god, who is usually a couple of feet taller than the average human; and the fay, who rarely exceed a height of two and one-half feet. Men have occasionally practised magic, and inasmuch as these people are god-like they may be thought of as mythic. It is noteworthy that all the peoples of Atlantic Canada have, at some time, agreed on the actual existence of giants, gods, little people and men, as well as this order of appearance on earth.
The Old Norse, who came to our region, had no doubts concerning the reality of the three elder races, who they referred to as the "thrym", the "aesir" and the "elfs". It is on record that they fought with a little people in defence of their Greenland settlement. In Thorston's saga, the "Kampa Dater", or Camp notes, he writes of encountering a "dverg", or dwarfmagician who gifted him with magic abilities. The French explorers were also familiar with "gods", "geants" and the "fee", and found correspondent "mn'tu'k", "kookwess" and "mikumwess" among the Micmacs. Champlain's shipmates claimed to have heard the horrendous voice of the giant Gougou and the cartographer himself became convinced that Miscou Island in northern New Brunswick was "the dwelling place of some devil who torments the Indians." There have always been nay-sayers, and the first may have been Marc Lescarbot, who wintered with Champlain in 1606-7 and went back to France to write disparagingly of the Norsemen, Jacques Cartier and Champlain: "And as to the Gougou, I leave its credulity to the reader, for though a few savages speak of it and hold it in dread, it is in the same way that some feeble-minded folk at home dread the Phantom Monk of Paris." On balance, it has to be recalled that Champlain was the experienced explorer, a man who surrendered his belief in Norumbega, but continued to insist that Sieur Prevert de Malo and his crew had heard "strange hissings from the noise it made." Elsewhere in Canada, the English explorer Sir John Franklin spotted six inch high fairies who, "lead a life similar to the Indians and are excellent hunters. Those who have the good fortune to fall in with tiny encampments have been kindly treated and regaled on venison..." Franklin wondered if these were an indigenous population or immigrants, but concluded the former. The Victorian poet John Hunter-Duvar later spoke of a mass migration of "sidh" or fairies to Prince Edward Island long before the first European settlements. In 1888 he had published The Emigration of the Fairies, an epic poem based on this theme. Surprisingly, writers have generally shown themselves less imaginative than explorers and tradesmen. Catherine Parr Traill was certain that "ghosts or spirits appear totally banished from Canada." Considering the size of the Ontario wilderness in which she settled during the 1830s this was
probably the equivalent of whistling in the dark. Her sister, Susanna Moodie declared Canada, "the most unpoetical of all lands." Several decades later the visiting English poet Rupert Brooke concurred that there was little subject matter, saying, "There are no ghosts in Canadian lanes." One of our own poets, Douglas LePan took this as the theme for his poem, "A Country Without A Mythology" (1948) and Earle Birney further solidified the idea in his poem, "Can. Lit.", which contains the often quoted line: "It's only by our lack of ghosts we're haunted." This Upper Canadian literary effort has reinforced the picture of Canada as a place, "whose history is as yet blank," a contented but gray place, perhaps to be expected of "the land that God gave to Cain." This view of mythology, which dismissed the new land as "a godless place" where nothing lurked in the shadowed forests and no arm raised a magic sword from the sea, is that of armchair travellers. Practical explorers were less certain, and David Thompson even admitted playing cards with a black-horned "devil" at Cumberland House in northern Saskatchewan in 1786. The Indians also perceived a much busier place, filled with visible and invisible spirits, which inhabited rocks and trees and inanimate objects as well as more obvious forms. They suspected that objects which failed to show motion were locked in place by powerful enchantments. This did not prevent them from recognizing the potential power of certain "sleeping" god-spirits, thus the Jesuit father Pierre de Charlevoix noted (1744): "Formerly the Savages in the neighbourhood of Acadia had in their Country, on the Side of the Sea, a very old tree of which they used to tell many wonderful Stories, and which was always loaded with offerings. The Sea having laid all its Roots bare, it supported itself still a long time against the Violence of the Wind and Waves, which confirmed the Savages in their notion that it was the Seat of some great Spirit. Its fall was not even capable of undeceiving them, and as long as there appeared some Ends of the Branches out of the water, they paid it the same Honours as the whole tree had received while standing." The fay lands and peoples have traditionally been seen by children, seers, poets, healers, and those gifted with the Celtic "double-sight". The mythical races are also visible to men and women who are at peace with with the natural world, or are related to them. If settlers or poets have failed to see imprints on the wind it may be a product of their disbelief or the fact that they insist in living in crowded places which ghosts or spirits intensely dislike.
While poets and diarists have embraced rationalism, clerics have warred against the mythic world. In 1567 the Scottish Bishop Carswell noted the persistence of "vain, lying seductive stories about the Tuatha Da Danann (variously described as Celtic gods and/or little people)..." He disliked this because these tales were circulated in preference to "the true word of God." Four centuries later the Reverend John Murray had this to say of newly arrived Scots: "Perhaps the only bad traits they brought with them were superstitions regarding witches, fairies, ghosts etc, and of course their fondness for whisky." Folklorist Mary L. Fraser said that "the early settlers of Nova Scotia brought with them from the old land a belief in fairies." Her contemporary, Helen Creighton also guessed that the wee folk were "not entirely foreign to (i.e. absent from) our soil." She located sufficient mythological material to fill nearly a dozen books. Historians usually prefer not to discuss the mythic races but A.A. Mackenzie did think that "Celtic ghouls and ghosties made an easy crossing of the Atlantic but the fairies (technically the "sidh") found America too tough for their taste." In his later writing he recanted: "Maybe, like the products of some vineyards, the superstitions of Ireland did not export well...Nevertheless, a few fairies made the voyage..." With respect, we suggest this in an understatement. Rod C. Mackay 1990
THE MAGICIANS A peoccupation of the mythic peoples was that body of arts or crafts generally called magic. Men were poor magicians, the giants better practitioners, the little people still more advanced, and the gods most adept.
Magic is any act that produces effects through the assistance of a supernatural being, the ultimate power resting with the creator-god. The difference between the Christian God and His pagan equivalents was the fact that He defined Himself as "A Jealous God". The pagan creator-gods are represented as disinterested entities, who willingly subdivided their powers over nature among the inhabitants of earth. While their first representatives were the immortal elemental or nature-gods, The God allowed no dilution of his powers. C.S. Lewis names Him: "the God of Nature - her inventor, maker, owner and controller." Magic was an integral part of the pagan religions, the word originating with the Latin "magi". The Romans got this word from the Greeks who used it to identify ancient Persian priests, men who ultimately became infamous in the western world for their practise of necromancy and sorcery. The singular form of magi is magus, the female counterpart being a maga. From the last we have the Old French word "magicien" from which our word, magician. The overthrow of magic in the west was largely due to Christianity, which was opposed to calling upon either spirits of the dead or demons as sources of information. Surprisingly, the early Christians did not deny the utility of magic as science has done in this century. Magic was proclaimed not false, but evil, especially where it aimed at injury. Thus the "black arts" were divided from the "white arts" or "miracles". The latter were attributed to the helpfulness of God, who was sometimes said to act through his angels or saints. There was a good deal more to magic than conjuration: the simplest form was "sympathetic magic". Beyond that we had "divination" and "wonder works". Divination had many sub-divisions, the most prominent being astrolgy, clairvoyence, augury, sortilege and necromancy. Wonder-working was sometimes referred to as thaumaturgy, its divisions being alchemy, jugglery, legerdemain and trickery. All of the forms of magic depended on the principle that the life force is mutable. It is also a basic belief of magic that spirit cannot be dimished or destroyed but only transformed from one form to another. As Robert Kirk said of the fay people: "It is ane of their tenets that everything goeth in circles." Within this circle individual men and women sought temporary advantage, seeking an extra large share of life force through magical means. Raw power has always been an aim of the ancient or "magic" religions. The priests of earlier times were very interested in gaining control over the
physical world: power over the flood, vulcanism, and the wind, control over the sun and man's corporeal limitations. Speaking of the Abenakis, Ruth Whitehead has noted: "Power is the essence which underlies the perceived universe... (men) survive by accumulating Power...This is such an important tenet that almost every story of the People has Power as its central theme: how to acquire it, how to use it, how to lose it, and the consequences attendant on all of the above." These aims hardly vary from those of modern science and this is understandable since, "Magic takes the place of science with primitive and barbaric people, usually incorporating what scientific knowledge they possess along with a mass of superstitions..." In earlier times men felt that they could accumulate god-like power and become gods if their will was sufficient. Successive man-god-kings imagined that a great deal depended on them; from the staying of the path of the sun and the moon to maintaing the natural course of the seasons. These leaders of the magic religions had always attempted to control the world, while Christianity viewed this as an unworthy practise: "It is only at an advanced stage of civilization that man relinquishes his attempt to manipulate the physical world in favour of the idea that there is another world beyond... (Christian) religion seeks to transcend this world, magic to control it. A moralist might take the view that religious concentration on something beyond this world leads man toa greater freedom, whereas those who are intent on dominating this world become enslaved by their own practises...In simpler terms, magic is performed because the individual wants something specifically for his own self, and is therefore a mean and earthbound pursuit compared with religious communion with God." (Tindall, p. 13) This view of God was very different from that of earlier men who thought that the creator god was approachable in the current world. This entity was observed to be incapable of subversion, unreponsive to worship, flattery and threats; generally, a poor listener. His mortal minions were a different breed; subject to periodic reincarnation, the mortal gods were perceived to have all the failings of men, thus allowing for the development of formal religious worship, polytheism and magic. There were two brands of sympathetic magic: contact magic and associative magic. Both depended on the idea that the spirit-force will move between things which are, or have been, in contact. In consuming food, men ate plants and animals, incorporating the
spirits of these organisms into their being. Extending this rationale to the extreme, some men cannibalized their bravest enemies, hoping to acquire some portion of their ghost or spirit. The Dagda, chief of the Celtic gods is best remembered as a harpist, womanizer and eater of porridge, the last being regarded as the most important ritual manifestation of his godliness. While Christianity supported austere eating and drinking habits Dagda is remembered as "obscenely magnificent."
They filled for him the king's cauldron, five fists deep, into which went four score gallons of new milk and a like quantity of meat and fat. Goats and sheep and swine were put into it, and they were all boiled together with the porridge...Then the Dagda took his ladle, and it was big enough for a man and a woman to lie in the middle of it... Sleep came upon him after eating... Ancient Irish Tales. In those pre-cholesterol days, when a surfeit of food tallied with a bigger spirit, the Dagda kept his larder suppled from his magically supplied cauldron of the deep. What the Dagda gained in spirit also bloated his body: "Not easy was it for the hero to move along owing to the bigness of his belly..." A tendancy to favour wine, woman and song came to be thought of as weaknesses in the Christian theology, but the Dagda cosummed all three. He was sire to an entire generation of Celtic gods. His chief mates were Boann, the earth goddess and Morrigan, the raven-haired Celtic goddess of summer. The latter is represented as one of a triarchy that included the queens Medb and Macha. All of these ladies were as sexually voracious as the father-god who was described as carrying a "club" that routed "a deep ditch" about the bounds of his kingdom. For her part the goddess Queen Medb said: "...it would be a reproach for my husband should his wife be more full of life than himself, and no reproach our being equally bold. Should he be jealous, that too would not suit me, for there was never a time that I had not one man with another standing in his shadow..." The need for a balanced sexuality between the earth deities lay in the belief that a more powerful spirit would tend to assimilate the soul of a weaker mate. Among the Abenaki sexual alliances and marriage was considered a danger-filled adventure. The prospective husband had to undergo physical
testing by the bride's family, who had to be convinced that his union with their clan would add to their communal power. Marriage and casual alliances were considered potential roads to power, there being a reciprocity of spirit between closely placed objects. All of a man's (or woman's) possessions, including his tools, clothing and animals were liable to a reciprocal diffusion of spirits. The Micmacs of Atlantic Canada had a similar belief that "the part equals the whole". The man who possessed the bones of a snake, a bear, or the magical horned-serpent people held the power of these creatures to use as he wished. By this same law clothing could serve a protective function. Ruth Whitehead said: "...clothing, adornment and even tatooing or bodypainting is (their) armour: the cumulative Power-fields of all the materials and symbols used. Animal hide and fur, ivory, teeth, claws, horn, bones and feathers are Power locked into dress." The mortal-gods were so empowered they could release life-energies at a touch. Thus, the ancient myth that the touch of a king could cure the ravages of disease. This continued until the reign of Queen Anne of England, who was one of the last monarchs called upon to lay on hands to cure "the king's evil". This disease was technically known as scrofula, a tuberculous swelling of the lymph glands in the neck. Formerly a malady of children it sometimes ended in an intractable skin infection which ultimately involved the mucous membranes, bones, joints nad other parts of the body. The spirit of men was always prone to wander, and excepting that required to maintain body functions, exited each night through one of the body openings. In ill health the spirit frequently wandered from the body for considerable periods and departed finally and completely at death. In the Celtic myth concerning Demott and Grania, the former was nearly killed. He survived and was rescued by the god Angus who reunited him with his lady. It is recorded, however that, "The life of Grania almost fled through her mouth when she saw him with all the marks of combat." A man who returned from the land of the dead, told the Micmacs that: "Every person has a skitekumj, a ghost body. For a man or a woman, it looks like a black shadow of a man or woman. It has hands and feet, a mouth, a head, and all the other parts of a human body. It drinks and eats. It puts on clothes, it hunts and fishes and amuses itself. With a moose or a beaver, it looks like a black shadow of the animal. For a canoe or a pair of snowshoes,
a cooking pot, or a sleeping mat, it looks like a shadow of these things, these Persons." (Whitehead, pp 207-208) This supernatural is sometimes seen as a "dead light" in and was called the runner or gopher by those living in English-speaking Atlantic Canada. The departure of a "soul" was witnessed on Tancook Island off the coast of Nova Scotia: "When Sebastioan died, when his last breath came, the whole shape of him came out his mouth like he was ayoung man, no longer old and wrinkled, and it went out the door." (Creighton, Bluenose Ghosts). The ultimate resting place of these "shadow men" is not usually given but my Grand Manan Island relatives said that drowned sailors inhabited the souls of birds, especially the Stormy Petrel, which is known in the Passamaquoddy region as "Mother Carey's Chickens". The Guptills are Germanic and it is interesting to note that Kari, or Carey, was the old Teutonic god of the wind, whose duties included collection of the souls of the dead. Assuming that the spirit of man can be naturally diminished or expanded it is easy to propose a rationale for sympathetic magic. Death was very common in the magical worlds, but death was not oblivion as is now supposed. The first law of the older universe was that of transformation: "Everything is eternal, but nothing is constant." All spirits, they thought, were in flux, constantly changing in weight and form with time. "The entire landscape of the...worlds is a nexus of Power moving beneath the outward appearance of things...Persons shifting in and out of form, patterns recombining. Life is a kaleidoscope of Power, and death is just a shifting of the glass." (Whitehead, pp. 9-10). In this world, spiritual reincarnation depended on observing the "natural laws", the second of which is: " Any part of an object encapsulates the whole." This explains why local fishermen returned the remains of their catch to the sea and why Micmac hunters were taught that aninmal bones must be respected and returned to the earth. It was reasoned that all creatures of the world had the capacity to regenerate even after their flesh had been eaten by humans. It was also assumed that the dispersed spirit of a dead creature could use bones as a focal point for regathering, a channel for once again becoming matter. To eliminate an enemy it was therefore necessary to obliterate every part of his body. This was not an easy task as Collin de Plancey noted: "It was held during the seventeenth century that corpses, the ashes of animals
and even the ashes of burned plants contained reproductive seeds; that a frog, for example, could engender other frogs even as it decayed, and that the ashes of roses had produced new roses..." The Micmac named Kikwaju managed to reduce the body of his enemy to dust, but at that he feared reassembly through the life-force, he flung the grit into the air magically transforming it into blackflies. He reasoned that the insects would follow their impulse to scatter thus preventing the foe from reconstituting himself. Having family problems, Kitpusiaqnaw treated his fathers ashes similarly, causing them to become mosquitoes and flies. Sympathetic magic worked because the part was the whole and any damage to one was known to effect the fortune of the other. Our ancestors were, for this reason, especially careful with the disposal of hair, faeces, urine, nose drippings, ear exudations, and nail clippings, which containing their spirit, could be used against them. An example of contact magic is seen in an old Maritime love potion made by placing a drop of blood in an alcoholic drink or candy which was offered to a potential lover. If the person accepted the spirit of the bloodletter was thought inextricable combined with that of the cosumer thus creating a love match. Again, local witches sought body by-products to incorporate in a ball of wax. If this psychic representation of an enmy was destroyed in a candle flame it was supposed that the larger person would die following a high fever. Similar reasoning was against stirring a cow's milk with a sharp object since this might cause the animal to give bloody milk. It was even held that the essence of a man remained in his footsteps, and in the ancient Scottish Kingdom the only kings selected were those whose feet matched an image in stone at Dunadd. The Norse pirates sealed all bargains by spitting into a common jar and upon one another's footprints, acts akin to exchanging blood from cuts in the arm. Closer at hand, it used to be common practise to hold witches at bay by plunging a steel knife into their footprints. It was actually believed that this would pin the evil-doers in place and lead to their death. Alternately, a small portion of witch blood placed in a vial and frozen in ice was though to produce chills, while allowing it to evaporate, following proper spell-casting, led to a wasting disease. Associative magic has also been called homeopathic magic and differs
from contact magic or magic of contagion in supposing that things that look alike actually are alike. The voodoo doll is the best known example of homeopathic magic, being one step more complex than the simple ball of wax filled with hair or nail clippings. Quite often the doll would contain these materials but a good representation of the victim was thought to be all that was really required. In point of fact the representation was not always terribly accurate, but appeared to work well among true believers whether they were witches or amateur practitioners: "...there lived at Tatamagouche (Nova Scotia) an old sea captain who sailed his little shallop between here and "the Island". One day he was sailing there under a steady and favourable breeze when suddenly in the Strait, far from land and in deep water, his vessel, without any reason whatever suddenly stopped. An ordinary mariner would have been at a loss to understand so strange a phenomenon but this old salt was not only a master of the waters of Harbour and Gulf, he was a master of witchcraft as well. He knew that his plight had been wished on him by an enemy... His fingers ran through his long, white, grizzly beard, and across his weather beaten features came a cunning confidant smile. He lashed the wheel and disappeared in the cabin. In a moment he re-appeared carrying in one hand an old musket which many times had broken the quietness of Gouzar and brought death to the wildfowl that ever frequent there; in the other a rough slab on which he sketched the likeness of his enemy... Placing the slab by the mast he shot at it "five fingers" out of his old "muzzle-loader". Scarcely had the report died away when the vessel began to move and soon the spray was flying beneath her clumsy bow and at the stern a happy sea captain wore upon his face that would not wear off. That night the little shallop with its cargo of lumber lay at the wharf at Charlottetown, and in the impregnablke fortress of his cabin, the captain, safe from all witchery, slept and snored." (Patterson, p. 57). We have already mentioned that men were temporarily reincarnated as birds, but they more frequently reappeared as trees. Even the Norse god Thor took leave of absence in the giant pines of the northern forests, and the interconnection of men and trees is also represented in the myth that men and women of the north were originally activated from an ash and and an elm log respectively. A very similar story exists among the Abenaki, who used to believe that the Great Spirit, or his representative Glooscap, released the spirits of men from trees by shooting magic arrows into them.
The tree elfs of Europe led lives tightly bound with the fate of their indivvidual trees and were therefore very protective of whatever species they favoured. In Germany, it was considered dangerous to break a branch from the wood without an appropriate charm, viz.: "Frau Ellhorn, give me of your wood, and when mine falls in the forest it will be returned to three." The magic-maker would then spit three times on the tree as notice of a firm contract. Again in the sailing ports of the low countries it was the custom to plant a guardian tree at the birth of human children. If the child died it was believed that his spirit took residence in that tree until it was reborn in another form. Even the wood from such trees was considered to harbour spirits which were sometimes cut down and carved into figureheads. When these image-spirits were mounted on ships they took over duties of warning the crew against disasters, repelling sickness, and helping the sailors at their work. Great care was taken to protect the sensibilities of these spiritchildren because it was observed that when they left a ship it was certain to sink. While the Christian missionaries attempted to stamp out the veneration of trees, their own beliefs often interfered with this: The Trappist priest named Father Vincent ministered to the MIcmac Indians of Scasoni, Cape Breton. Perceiving that he was not in his usual robust condition, his Indian patrons questioned "What will be the sign of your death?" Sighing audible the old monk pointed across the Bras d'Or lakes to a large tree and said, "You'll know that I'm dead when that tree falls." Father Vincent was absent from them for several weeks but when the tree fell word spread through local settlements that he was dead and when enquiries were made at the monastery the new was confirmed. (Fraser, p. 51). Even with a guardian-spirit in place, ships could be damaged by simple sympathetic magic: The folklorist Neil MacNeil tells of a Nova Scotian witch who claimed to be able to sink ships. She was dared to show her power, at which she asked for an egg. THis she placed in a shoe which she rocked back and forth. At a distance, a ship in the harbour commenced rocking in exact sympathy with the egg, and its loss was only prevented when onlookers made he cease her magic. In this case an egg was made the stand-in for the combined life forces on board. My relatives used to say that the simplest way to effect a shipwreck was to turn bread or a wooden bucket upside down on the ship, or on land while visualizing the demise. In all our waterfront communities women as well as priests and ministers were excluded from ships because of their reputation for witchcraft, which might be accidental
or intentional. Some men had a reputation for the craft that allowed them a "mug up", or shot of rum, aboard any ship on which they made a request for drink. The remaining forms of magic are based on sympathetic magic rather than being parallel crafts. Divination is more commonly called fortune-telling and less commonly soothsaying. Among local Indian tribesman, the craft was executed by the "nikani-kjijitekwewinu", the practitioners being the "kinapaq", or power-brokers. The Gaelic clans of Maritime Canada were also involved in exercising the "an dara sealladh", generally translated as "the second sight" but properly termed "the two sights". Since the Celts occupied Britain before the coming of the Anglo Saxons, they may have originated this magic, which now has mythic status. The English word "soothsay" is from the Anglo-Saxon "soth seggen", which meant "to tell an exact truth". Their Norman conquerors disparaged that craft, substituting their own art of divination. Divination is Latin in origin, and is a word meaning to foresee or foretell or otherwise gain hidden knowledge. The word "divine" is incorporated, and it is obvious that the art assumes the help of supernatural forces in getting results. Soothsaying was often attempted using a stick or a piece of bone known as a "spelianer", or speller. The Norman equivalent was called a diving rod. These were typically a forked branch from a tree, but a shephard's crook, a walking staff, a cane, or a simple wand were other forms. Since trees were supposed to house spirits having a close relationship with men, the use of wood is understandable. There were two kinds of divination, the first dependant on the psychic condition of the diviner and the second independent of his condition. The first could be called "altered state divination" where men or women reported on events observed in dreams or trances or made use of the two sights. Mediumship might also involve crystal gazing or the taking of hallucinatory drugs. "Mantic divination" required no special mental state, but was divination through the observation of external events. The ending "mancy" is a form of the Greek word "mantic" or "prophetic" and appears in mantic arts such as chiromancy, where the behaviour of flocks of birds is consulted; necromancy, which depends on information gained from the dead; and aleuromancy, where one looks at wheat or flour. Aside from this are: augury, which is now a synonym for divination in general, but originally depended upon close observation of the flight of flocks of birds; portending,
which looked at natural structures, sub categories being astrology, and palmistry; sortilege which is involved with man-made "sorts" (i.e. groups of objects of similar character such as playing cards, runes or talismen. Finally there used to ordeals, which might also presage the future or reveal hidden information. Ordeals included those by combat, water, fire and immolation, by choice or otherwise. From very early times men distinguished between estatic or "insane" divination and rational or "sane" divination, the difference arising from whether, or not, the result seemed "sothful", or "truthful". Diviners whose interest was in seeking the future were sometimes called fortune-tellers, but the arts also involved seeking the past and perceiving happenings at a distance. Fortune telling was commonplace among the Abenaki races. Whitehead noted: "Quite a few Persons (animate and inanimate) can forsee coming events, warn of dangers yet to be. Precognition plays a part in many tales, and various methods of divination are depicted. When Plawej falls on his face by the bowl of water he enters a trance, empowering the water to speak to him. And it does. It becomes blood, The appearance of the blood...is a frequent device in Micmac stories. It is always an announcement of death." (Whitehead p. 9) Again, the Abbe Maillard (1758) said that the Micmacs claimed they could see into the future and "the hearts of men" by gazing into a great birchbark dish filled with water "from any river in which it was known there were beaver huts." (Whitehead, p. 227). Among Maritimers of the last century precognitive work was similarly widespread and Neil MacNeil suspects that the "augury" of times past was a matter of refined observation. "...people of today will claim that experiences of that sort never existed...but those who believed did so because they were observant..."giseagan"..."superstitions" they work for these people...I have had some of that experience myself. And on account of that I must believe. I don't particularly want to believe but there is no way to avoid it." (MacNeil p. 208) Cleve Townsend, an elderly resident of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia recounted a number of examples of mediumship for the Cape Breton Magazine in the 1970's; among them: "I remember when I was a boy, any (three) knocks at the door, I wouldn't let anyone go to the door but me. I knew there was nobody there that they could see. I knew the knocks were coming from that world (i.e. the unseen world). And I'd always go to the door. And as far as this world is concerned I could say ther was no one
there. be like they'd them. 162).
But there was always someone there. From the other world. It would to bring a notice about a death or something like that. I don't think say anything. I'd receive thoughts from their mind. But I would see Yes. I could see a form, see their face. Oh, yes."(Capplan, pp.161-
A similar case has been reported by Annie Foote, a one time resident of Outer Wood Island. The island is located immediately southeast of the larger land mass known as Grand Manan Island in the Passamaquoddy Bay region of the Bay of Fundy. Her sister Miriam once spent a Sunday morning at home with their grandmother. Three knocks came at the door and her grandmother answered but no one stood on the threshold. On a repetition the same result followed. Later when the older woman went to the pantry the door opened of its own accord and a cold wind blew into the room. At this Miriam went to see who had arrived but her grandmother was there first. From another room she heard: Penelope, I've told you to leave us alone. There's nothing to be done; besides, you'll scare the youngster." By the time Miriam had reached her grandmother's side there was no sign of any other person in the room. The girl asked who Penelope was, but it was not until years later that she learned that Penelope had been a resident of the place murdered by her married lover. Penelope's death had never been avenged which explained her repeated attempts to gain the attention and support of people in the land of the living. Another case of altered state divination was reported by Dan MacNeil who spoke of a young girl named Mackenzie, who lived on Christmas Island, Nova Scotia: "In the night thered be knocks at the door and a little hand would show on the wall...and she'd go in what you'd call a trance. She'd faint. And she'd go across to the other side...when she'd wake up...she'd tell everything...she says, "My neighbour died just a few minutes ago...And by the gosh the next morning they enquired...and the neighbour died at that certain time... she used to be like that every night." In her final performance the Mackenzie girl met a newly dead woman on the far side and was instructed: "You tell your father to go to my son, and look in the old trunk in the attic and you'll find a ring there...And get that ring and put that on your finger and this'll never happen to you again." MacNeil commented: "By gosh, she told her father...and he went down and told the man of the house the story about his mother, that the little girl was talking to his mother in heaven. Well he says, :There is such a trunk upstairs all right. The old woman...she said, "That ring is wrapped up in a rag..." And by gosh they found the rag in the bottom of
the trunk with the ring wrapped up inside...a woman's ring...and they had to tie that ring with string on to her (the medium). And she never saw anything after that. And she got married and only died about three years ago." (Crandall, p. 204, 1980). Local witches or baobhs actually cultivated the two sights, allowing them to see the past and the future. One of these was Willam Lawlor, "The Wizard of the Miramichi". Earlier in this century, while working with a lumbering crew near Newcastle, New Brunswick, he engaged in chiromancy. Coming into camp at the end of a day of cutting, he told the gang that he had talked with a black bird that was niteher a crow nor a raven. The bird had wearned: "beware of the night of the thirteenth." The men treated the warning as a joke and were convinced that "Bill Lawless" was deranged. When the day of the thirteenth passed without event they began to tease Bill, but that evening almost all of them fell ill and one that did not die became death, while another lay in a coma for two years. The "disease" was never diagnosed but the camp was burned to retard the spread of the causative agent. When the camp was reassembled Lawlor was the only man who was not rehired. If these incidents were nothing more than hallucinations they were surprisingly widespread and often involved groups of people. The folklorist Mary L. Fraser noted: "Years before the Gypsum works were installed at Iona, Victoria Cou. (Cape Breton), the wooded heights overhanging the calm waters...were the haunt of the spirits of the present day workers; their machinery and railway trains were also seen and heard there by many. So frequent were these occurrences that people in nearing the present location of the plant, used to get into the water and wade past it; for there is a belief that spirits cannot touch you if you are in the water. (Fraser, p. 49). Even less explicable are the branches of magic which fit under the general Anglo-Saxon heading of wonderworks, and which the Normans preferred to call thaumaturgy. There are equivalent Indian crafts collectively termed "kinap". The "kinapaq" or possessors of this power were men who were able to expand their physical strength as well as their perceptions. The power-brokers who exercised "mentu" were diviners, largely disinterested in phyical display, who only occassionally took human form; nevertheless it was said, "the world shimmers with their presence". Finally, there were curers who were sometimes loosely identified as "shamans". They were the "puoinaq" and their crafts were "puoin", a power
which seems the reverse of "kinap". The kinapaq were men who could outrun the wind, shape-change, tear up trees by the roots, carry a ton of moose meat on their back, or dance with their feet knee deep in a plastic earth. The puoinaq were similarly gifted beyond ordinary folk, and because medicine has the potential to kill as well as cure, they were often feared and in many tales of the People were driven from their village or killed out of fear, jealousy, for revenge or as a precautionary measure. The myths of the wonderworkers hardly vary from tribe to clan to tribe. The English categorized their work as jugglery, legerdemain, trickery, conjuration and enchantment. What jugglers do is now downgraded as stage "magic", but the manipulation of objects in space was once regarded as more than simple eye-hand co-ordination. Legerdemain, also called sleight-of-hand is defined as a dextrous (left-handed) craft and was simply an intimate form of juggling. It is represented in a multitude of disappearing coin tricks and "magical" acts in which pre-chosen playing cards are identified by the "craeftiman" or craftsman. It is interesting to note that many of the elder day gods (in particular Tyr, the Norse god of war) were said to be lefthanded. In each of these crafts it was implicit that some supernatural had a part in gifting men with these abilities to defraud. We have spoken briefly of the mantic crafts of necromancy and sortilege, or sorcery. The necromancer was capable of calling up the dead while the sorcerer cast lots. Both were essentially interested in gaining information rather than making a show of naked power. There were however conjurers, who had sinister purpose. The word conjuration comes from a Latin word meaning to bond together under oath to a supernatural for the purpose of committing damage to others. The British witches were rarely put down for divination but the law was severe with those who hurt, or were supposed to have injured, their neighbours. It was this difference in effect that caused de Plancey to define magic as either "natural" or "diabolical": "Natural magic is the art of predicting the future and producing extraordinary effects (e.g. the curing of diseases) by natural means. Black or diabolical magic, taught by the devil and practised under his influence, is the art of invoking demons...and performing supernatural things." (dePlancey, p. 86). Interestingly, black magic is a misnomer: Necromancy evolved from the Latin "necros" indicating "the dead". Among medieval copyists this was confused with the Latin "nigros", meaning "black". Over time black magic became erronously confused with acts of conjuration.
The range of activities thought possible through conjuration are suggested in a survey of trial records from the days of witchcraft: Isaac de Auriran was said carried through the air by an apparition. The sons of Aymon rode a demon horse, who travelled at incredible speed and grew in length when he had to accomodate more than one of the four brothers. Thomas Boulle sat on live coals without being burned and was given the ability to seduce women of his choice. With the help of supernaturals five Spaniards were "borne through the clouds by devils", made crops rot at their pleasure, brought about the death of people and animals and were burned alive for their efforts. Another pair of Spanish witches were said to possess two eyeballs in each eye with which they "mortally enchanted those at whom they looked, and killed people at whom they gazed for a long time." This was supposedly possible as the second pair of eyes were those of their demonic doubles. De Plancey declared that magicians were capable of "unleashing tempests, winds and thunder" of walkingh on water, and having "infernal cohorts" had "little difficulty in appropriating for themselves, without arousing suspicion, the goods of others." The arts of enchantment, or fascination, were never as spectacular as conjuration but could be dangerous for the individuals on the receiving end. The use of the voice as a tool of witchery has a long history among the fay. Of the Gaelic sidh it was said: "Their voices are sweet and seductive and their bagpiping unrivalled." Again it was advised that men avoid the dances of the French Fees because, "their wild whirlwinds of song and movement are so tiring that men who take part in them die of exhaustion." The same character was imputed to speech, it being noted that the Norse god Loki got out of tight scrapes through his use of humour. The penultimate master of speech magic was the Celtic god Ogma, "the honey-mouthed". The Greek satirist, Samosata, described him as having "slender golden chains" connecting his tongue with the individuals in his audience. While the voice was first tool of enchantment musical instruments became an extension of this art. The Anglo-Saxons bewitched their friends and enemies with spells and charms. To be spellbound was to be held by the power of words, while a speller was a rod used to point out letter supposedly releasing them from their bound state on wooden tablets. The word charm, on the other hand rises from their word "cirm", which identified a confused blending of voices, for example birds in a flock. While the spell was the release of words
thought to have occult power, the charm put these words into song. The Norman equivalent of spoken word-magic was the incantation or enchantment. The effect produced was called fascination, but if the the incantation was in verse, the victim was said to be enraptured. It is noteworthy that all unusually gifted craftspeople were once considered wonderworkers, thus the Anglo Saxons distinguished statecraft, priestcraft, witchcraft, stonecraft, ironcraft, clothcraft, watercraft and many other occupations. All shared the Anglo-Saxon ending "craeft", or craft, which was then defined as dexterity in the jobplace, power, strength, artifice, or magical control over materials. The witch for example was in times past a weaver of wicker, the two words being synonymous. The clothcrafter by contrast was concerned with weaving "klop", the ancient name for wool. We have spoken of European practises, but wonder-working was as commonplace in Atlantic Canada. Whitehead has noted that the Micmacs considered all people capable of great magic because they shared a fraction of the Great Spirit . "As such they can (potentially) manipulate Power just as Kjikinap does... (but) the ability to use Power varies from individual to individual. Some can just naturally do it better (presumably because they are more spirited). The Handbook of Indians of Canada gives another reason for differences of ability: "It is the belief of the Indians that all things are animate and incarnate (that is living and subject to reincarnation) - men, beasts, lands, waters, rocks, plants, trees, stars, winds, clouds and night all possess volition and immortal life; yet many are held in perpetual bondage to wierd spells of mighty enchantments. So although lakes and seas mat writhe in billows, they cannot traverse the earth...brooks and rivers may run and bound over the land, yet even they may be held by the potent magic of the god of winter. Mountains and hills may throb and quake with pain and grief, but they cannot travel...because they are held in thralldom by the power spell of some potent enchanter. Thus...the various bodies of nature are the living tombs of diverse spirits. (Tenth Report Geographic Board of Canada, 1913). The Abenakis have a peculiar absentive case ending which conveys the state of what we term inanimate matter. The Absentive case is applied as well to persons we would term dead. In their theology, as with that of the
early Celts, the dead were considered animate if temporarily inoperative. The business of recalling the dead was therefore a mantic craft, inferior to the marvel of a silken-tongued orator. Superior tale-telling was in fact in a league with trickery, and it is noteworthy that Glooscap translates as liar. The business of shape-shifting was also practised by Indian magicians. In one of the tales collected by Silas Rand an enemy puoin took the form of a shark in order to harass the hero. This wonderwork was made possible by the fact that men were said to possess totem animals whose bodies may be temporarily occupied by a human spirit, the human body placed, during the interval of change, in animal counterpart. In another story Plawej exists both as a man and a birch-partridge, while his wife exists as a seal in addition to her usual form. An ugly and unskilled lad who sought help from the "mikumwees", or little people was given gifts of strength, muscianship,and beauty. His craft with the "pipukwaqn", or alder flute, following the transformation allowed him to attract women and mimic the sounds of birds and whales. In a similar story, two young men ate from Glooscap's "bowl that is never empty". Overeating, one nearly died of stomach cramps and diarrhoea. In sympathy for his condition Glooscap nursed him and gave him a "sakklopi", or hair-string of Power. This hair-string enabled the brave to take the shape of the mikumwees, or little people. Again, Tiam was said to have the truly wonderful power of invisibility. Rand was told his story by Susan Barss at Charlottetown, P.E.I. in the winter of 1848. This brave had considerable wealth but agreed to marry the first woman who could penetrate his invisiblity. Tiam's rainbow-hued shouldere straps were seen by a terribly burned young lady who was magically transformed into a beauty just before their wedding. Like most other Micmacs, Tiam possessed a "tioml" or guardian, his totem being the moose. When Tiam's infant son unknowingly shattered the leg-bone of a mooserelative, Tiam was symapthetically damaged. Tiam asked that he be killed so that his powers might be passed to his sister. As she struck him down with an axe, he fell in his moose form which she skinned to create a medicine bag. Tiam's sister was warned that she was tabooed from letting the bag out of her possession on penalty that "the Power will turn on you." The medicine bag protected the sister from the giants and the horned serpent people, but was purloined by a Dog Woman named Lmujijuij. At this, the kinapaq named Tiam returned from the dead, striking down the thief. Unfortunately, he was unable to contain his battle-rage and employed a death-shout to kill his
sister. This warrior-magic was consistently used by the "kookwees", or giants, and the rage had parallels among the Norse berserker. The Celtic hero Cu Chullain also underwent periodic "warp-spasms" which were very close to shape-change: "His body made a furious twist inside his skin...On his head the temple sinews stretched to the nape of the neck...He sucked in one eye...the other fell out on his cheek...his cheeks peeled back from his jaws until the gullet appeared and his lungs and liver flapped from his mouth, The hair of his head twisted like a thornbrush...and from the dead centre of his skull arose a spout of black blood, darkly smoking." The wonderworking witches of the Maritimes were as busy as their Micmac counterparts. One of their favourite diversions was the conjuration of invisible helpers. This business also harks back to the time of Cu Chulainn, who had two sidh-warriors who could be called to his side in situations of mortal combat. When he called them to fight the redoutable Ferdiad, the latter noted his increased spirit and complained: " Thy friends Dolb and Indolb have come to thee, and thou has't kept this from me." Cu Chlainn explained that he was tabooed from revealling them: "If the magic of their presence is made public by me, none of their kind will continue to have the power of concealment. But why complain, Ferdiad? Thou has't the advantage of the horn skin armour which is nearly impenetrable!" At New Germany, Nova Scotia, a man who lacked a team hired a known witch to do the job. He was surprised when the man appeared without horses and even more taken aback when the stooks disappeared from the field and seemed to be rematerializing in his barn. When a couple of tons had accumulated the owner of the hay became frightened and laid off his new worker, who obviously had supernatural helpers. A very similar story is told of William Lawlor who conjured hay into self-propelled hay wagon. At the barn he caused the wagon to unload itself into the mow. In a lumber camp on the Southwest Miramichi, Bill chopped one hundred and fifty logs a day, an act which should have taken the energies of three men. These seeming contraventions of physical laws of time and space are explained by the fact that such laws differed in the parallel world of the fay. A Micmac orphan who spent one night in the wigwam of a mikumwees returned home to find he had been thought dead since he had been gone for a year. When Glooscap called his ting friend Marten to his side, the mikumwess appeared instantly from distant dimensions. The witches were reputed to have this same ability of instantaneus travel, and it was said that they travelled on the backs of invisible "demons". They could also seemingly violate the law of gravity by
having their invisible familiar lift them or other objects from the ground. These wanderings were never never restricted to the witch clans, it being thought that instantaneous travel was possible through simple belief in the process. It was suggested that the travel through the unseen dimension worked best at night, and was activated by the following spell: "I wish from the bottom of my heart that I was in..." In the case of last minute reconsideration, the spell could be reversed by adding, "but not with this night's wish." Mary L. Fraser has given as an example the apperarance of a man named Daniel at his home in Antigonish Harbour, Nova Scotia: His brother William was awakened in the middle of the night on hearing Dan enter his room. Seeing him settled for the night he was surprised to be unable to find him in the morning. A fortnight after, Dan actually did return home. William asked him if he had wished to be home on the night when he had seemed to be present. The traveller answered: "Yes, as our schooner rounded Cape George, the waves were mountainous and we were in great danger. I wished with all my heart and soul to be on land..." (Fraser, p. 55). Other spells are a matter of record: Charity Thomson of Tennant's Cove, N.B. supposedly brought down John Pulcher, "a strong, fine-looking man," with these words: "May the Great Christ Himself, the friend of little children, hear my curse on you...There go you, spoiler of the dead. Before forty your stomach will take in the fires of hell and you will suffer blindness for the wrong done to me and mine." Most spells were more pointed,