Friday, May 29, 2009

The New Golden Bough (2)

Sir James George Frazer. A New Abridgment. Ed. Dr. Theodore H. Gaster. New York: New American Library. 1890 (1959).

Why read it? Study of primitive rites and cultures, vestiges of which underlie our own modern culture. A study of primitive superstitions.

Sample Quotes and Ideas (2)

“…overall picture of how, at the primitive level, man in general thinks and acts, and of how that primitive mentality persists sporadically even in the more advanced stages of his development.” Gaster, Editor’s Foreword, xx.

“For such was the rule of the Sanctuary of Diana of the Woodland Glade: A candidate for the priesthood could succeed to office only by slaying the incumbent priest in single combat, and could himself retain office only until he in turn was slain by a stronger or craftier…. …could fling his challenge only if he had first succeeded in plucking a golden bough from the tree which the priest was guarding.” p. 32.

“In Germany yellow turnips, gold coins and rings, saffron and other yellow things are still esteemed remedies for jaundice….” p. 41.

“Cure for a tumor: Take a root of vervain, cut it across, and hang one end of it around the patient’s neck, and another in the smoke of the fire…. As vervain dries up in the smoke, so the tumor will…dry up and disappear.” p. 42.

“If you are troubled with pimples…watch for a falling star, and then instantly, while the star is still shooting from the sky…wipe the pimples with a cloth or anything that comes to hand. As the star falls from the sky, so the pimples will fall from your body; only you must be very careful not to wipe them with your bare hand or the pimples will be transferred to it.” p. 42.

To be continued.

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