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4. At the ceremony called “the burial of Osiris” the Egyptians made a crescent-shaped chest “because the moon, when it approaches the sun, assumes the form of a crescent and vanishes.””
5. The bull Apis, held to be an image of the soul of Osiris,” was born of a cow which was believed to have been impregnated, not in the vulgar way by a bull, but by a divine influence emanating from the moon.”
6. Once a year, at the full moon, pigs were sacrificed simultaneously to the moon and Osiris.” The relation of pigs to the god will be considered later on.
7. In a hymn supposed to be addressed by Isis to Osiris, it is said that Thoth—
Placeth thy soul in the bark Ma-at,
And again :
Thou who comest to us as a child each month,
Here then Osiris is identified with the moon in set terms. If in the same hymn he is said to “illuminate us like Ra” (the sun), this is obviously no reason for identifying him with the sun, but quite the contrary. For though the moon may reasonably be compared to the sun, neither the sun nor anything else can reasonably be compared to itself. Now if Osiris was originally, as I suppose, a deity of vegetation, we can easily enough understand why in a later and more philosophic age he should come to be thus identified or confounded with the moon. For as soon as he begins to meditate upon the causes of things, the early philosopher is led by certain obvious, though fallacious, appearances to regard the moon as the ultimate cause of the growth of plants. In the first place he associates its apparent growth and decay with the growth and decay of sublunary things,
1 Plutarch, Isis et Osiris, 43. ef Osiris, 8. * Ibid. 20, 29. * Accords of the Past, i. 121 sy. ; * /bid. 43. Brugsch, Weligion und Mythologie der
* Herodotus, ii. 47; Plutarch, /sis alten . leopter, p. 629 sq.
11 I JAVFL UEAVCE OF THE MOOAV I 55
and imagines that in virtue of a secret sympathy the celestial phenomena really produce those terrestrial changes which in point of fact they merely resemble. Thus Pliny says that the moon may fairly be considered the planet of breath, “because it saturates the earth and by its approach fills bodies, while by its departure it empties them. Hence it is,” he goes on, “that shellfish increase with the increase of the moon and that bloodless creatures especially feel breath at that time; even the blood of men grows and diminishes with the light of the moon, and leaves and herbage also feel the same influence, since the lunar energy penetrates all things.”” “There is no doubt,” writes Macrobius, “that the moon is the author and framer of mortal bodies, so much so that some things expand or shrink as it waxes or wanes.”” Again Aulus Gellius puts in the mouth of a friend the remark that “the same things which grow with the waxing, do dwindle with the waning moon,” and he quotes from a commentary of Plutarch's on Hesiod a statement, that the onion is the only vegetable which violates this great law of nature by sprouting in the wane and withering in the increase of the moon.” Scottish Highlanders allege that in the increase of the moon everything has a tendency to grow or stick together.” From this supposed influence of the moon on the life of plants and animals, men in ancient and modern times have deduced a whole code of rules for the guidance of the husbandman, the shepherd, and others in the conduct of their affairs. Thus, an ancient writer on agriculture lays it down as a maxim, that whatever is to be sown should be sown while the moon is waxing, and that whatever is to be cut or gathered should be cut or gathered while it is waning.” A modern treatise on superstition describes how the superstitious man regulates all his conduct by the moon: “Whatever he would have to grow, he sets about it when she is in her increase; but for what he would have less he chooses her wane.” In Germany the phases of the moon are observed by superstitious people at all the more or even less important actions of life, such as tilling the fields, building or changing houses, marriages, hair-cutting, bleeding, cupping, and so forth. The particular rules vary in different places, but the principle generally followed is that whatever is done to increase anything should be done while the moon is waxing; whatever is done to diminish anything should be done while the moon is waning. For example, sowing, planting, and grafting should be done in the first half of the moon, but the felling of timber and mowing should be done in the second half.” In various parts of Europe it is believed that plants, nails, hair, and corns, cut while the moon is on the increase will grow again fast, but that if cut while it is on the decrease they will grow slowly or waste away.” Hence persons who wish their hair to grow thick and long should cut it in the first half of the moon;" those who wish to be spared the trouble of cutting it often should I i i OAV VAEGE 7A TVOAV 157 cut it in the second half." On the same principle sheep are shorn when the moon is waxing, because it is supposed that the wool will then be longest and most enduring.” The Highlanders of Scotland used to expect better crops of grain by sowing their seed in the moon's increase.” But in this matter of sowing and planting a refined distinction is sometimes drawn by French, German, and Esthonian peasants; plants which bear fruit above ground are sown by them when the moon is waxing, but plants which are cultivated for the sake of their roots, such as potatoes and turnips, are sown when the moon is waning.” The reason for this distinction seems to be a vague idea that the waxing moon is coming up and the waning moon going down, and that accordingly fruits which grow upwards should be sown in the former period, and fruits which grow downwards in the latter. Before beginning to plant their cacao the Pipiles of Central America exposed the finest seeds for four nights to the moonlight,” but whether they did so at the waxing or waning of the moon is not said. Again, the waning of the moon has been commonly recommended both in ancient and modern times as the proper time for selling trees," apparently because it was thought fit and natural that the operation of cutting down should be performed on earth at the time when the lunar orb was, so to say, being cut down in the sky. In France before the Revolution the forestry laws enjoined that trees should only be felled after the moon had passed the full ; and in French bills announcing the sale of timber you may still read a notice that the wood was cut in the waning of the moon." But sometimes the opposite rule is adopted, and equally forcible arguments are urged in its defence. Thus, when the Wabondei of Eastern Africa are about to build a house, they take care to cut the posts for it when the moon is on the increase; for they say that posts cut when the moon is wasting away would soon rot, whereas posts cut while the moon is waxing are very durable.” The same rule is observed for the same reason in some parts of Germany.” But the partisans of the ordinarily received opinion have sometimes supported it by another reason, which introduces us to the second of those fallacious appearances by which men have been led to regard the moon as the cause of growth in plants. From observing rightly that dew falls most thickly on cloudless nights, they inferred wrongly that it was caused by the moon, a theory which the poet Alcman expressed in mythical form by saying that dew was a daughter of Zeus and the moon.” Hence the ancients concluded that the moon is the great source of moisture, as the sun is the great source of heat.” And as the humid power of the moon was assumed to be greater when the planet was waxing than when it was waning, they thought that timber cut during the increase of the luminary would be saturated with moisture, whereas timber cut in the wane would be comparatively dry. Hence we are told that in antiquity carpenters would reject timber felled when the moon was growing or full, because they believed that such timber teemed with sap ;" and in the Vosges at the present
1 Pliny, Wat. Hist. ii. 221.
Century, edited by A.
Allardyce, ii. * Brand, Popular Antiquities, iii. 144, quoting Werenfels, Dissertation upon Superstition (London, 1748), p. 6.
* Wuttke, Der deutsche Volksaberglaube,” $ 65. Cp. Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie," ii. 595; Montanus, Die deutsche Volksfeste, Volksbräuche und deutscher Volksglaube, p. 128; Praetorius, Desiciae Prussicae, p. 18; Am Cryuell, v. (1894), p. 173. The rule that the grafting of trees should be done at the waxing of the moon is laid down by Pliny (Mar. Hist. xvii. 108). At Deutsch-Zepling in Transylvania, by an inversion of the usual custom, seed is generally sown at the waning of the moon (A. Heinrich, Agrarische Sitten und Gebräuche unter den Sachsen Siebenbürgens, p. 7). In the Abruzzi also sowing and grafting are commonly done when the moon is on the wane; timber that is to be durable must be cut in January during the moon's decrease (G. Finamore, Credenze, Usi e Costumi Abruzzest, p. 43).
* Sébillot, Traditions et Superstitions
de la Haute-Bretagne, ii. 355; Sauvé,
1 The rule is mentioned by Wuttke and Sauvé, ll.cc. The reason assigned in the text is conjectural.
* Krauss, op. cit. p. 16; Montanus, 1.c.; Varro, Rerum Rusticarum, i. 37 (see above, p. 156, note 4). However, the opposite rule is observed in the Upper Vosges, where it is thought that if the sheep are shorn at the new moon the quantity of wool will be much less than if they were shorn in the waning of the moon (Sauvé, l.c.). In Normandy, also, wool is clipped during the waning of the moon ; otherwise moths would get into it (Lecoeur, Esquisses du Bocage Normand, ii. 12).
* S. Johnson, Journey to the Western
278; Holzmayer, op. cit. p. 47.
* J. Lecoeur, Esquisses du Bocase 3 ; Macrobius, Saturn...yii. 16. See
-\'ormand, ii. 1 I sy. further, W. H. Roscher, ( her Sc/ente und * O. Baumann, Usambara und seine Perwanates (Leipsic, 1890), p. 49 sy. .Vachbargebiete (Berlin, 1891), p. 125. * Plutarch and Macrobius, II.cc. :
* Montanus, Die deutsche looseste, Pliny, A’at. Hist. ii. 223, xx. 1 ; losksbräuche und deutscher looksg/aute, Aristotle, Problemata, xxiv. 14, p. 937 p. 128. B, 3 sy.
* Plutarch, Quaest. Conroit. iii. Io. * Macrobius and Plutarch, I/.cc.