This exception was discovered by Messrs Spencer and Gillen among the Arunta of central Australia, some allied septs, and their nearest neighbours to the north, the Kaitish.
Gillen, Notes on Manners and Customs of the Aborigines of the Macdonnell Ranges belonging to the Arunta Tribe; J.
239), between the whole of the kinship group, whether adult or not; and, moreover, nowhere are rites found which are intended to strengthen the union between a man and his totem by means of the blood bond, unless we include the aberrant totemism of the Arunta (Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of Central Australia, 167), who eat their totems in order to gain magical powers of increasing the stock of the totem animal.
The Arunta hold that the spirits of kangaroos are expelled by human blood from certain rocks.
Among the Arunta of Central Australia, the ghosts of the dead haunt certain localities, and, entering the bodies of passing women, are constantly reincarnated; the Black-snake clan of the Warramunga tribe embodies the spirits which the original ancestor had deposited by a certain creek.'
Moreover, it is a human weakness to manipulate one's ancestry, and the common claim to be descended from the local godling is not to be confused with the Arunta type of reincarnation.4 Again, in the part taken by women in serpent-lore other problems of primitive society and religion intermingle.
The, arungquiltha of Central Australia; and here, we may note, we come nearest to a conception of magic as something other than religion, the trafficker in arungquiltha being socially suspect, nay, liable to persecution, and even death (as amongst the Arunta tribe, see Spencer and Gillen, Native Tribes of C. Australia, 536), at the hands of his fellows.
In the centre of Australia, Atnatu, self-created, is known, as has been said, to the Kaitish tribe, next neighbours of the Arunta of the Macdonnell Hills.
Among the Arunta, Mr Strehlow (Globus, May 1907) finds such a being as Atnatu, and also among some other adjacent tribes, as the Luritja.
Gillen, who discovered Atnatu, did not find any trace of an All-Father among the Arunta, or any other of the tribes to the north and north-east of the centre.
Mr Strehlow's branch of the Arunta they did not examine.
While the All-Father belief is common in the tribes of southeastern Australia, the tribes round Lake Eyre, the Arunta (as known to Messrs Spencer and Gillen), and the other central and northern tribes, are credited with no germs of belief in what is called a supreme, and may truly be styled a superior being.
Meanwhile, among some of the Arunta of the centre, among the Dieri and Urabunna tribes near Lake Eyre and their congeners, and among the tribes north by east of the Arunta, no such belief has been discovered by Messrs Spencer and Gillen, from whom the tribes kept no secrets, or by Mr Siebert, a missionary among the now all but extinct Dieri.
These beings modified the face of the country; in Arunta belief rocks and trees arose to mark the places where they finally " went into the ground " (Oknanikilla), and their spirits still haunt certain places such as these; and are reincarnated in native women who pass by.
These beings, in Arunta called " the people of the Alcheringa, or dream time " (but cf.
Most of the magic is worked (Intichiuma in Arunta) by the members of each totem kin or group for the behoof of the totem as an article of food supply.
Among the Arunta, the Alcheringa folk are part of a strangely elaborate theory of evolution and of animism, which leaves no room for a creative being, or for a future life of the spirit, which is merely reincarnated at intervals.
But tribes far from the sea, as in northern New South Wales and Queensland, have the All-Father belief, with individual marriage and female descent, while tribes of the north coast, with male descent, are credited with no All-Father; and the Arunta, as far as possible from the sea, have no All-Father (save in Strehlow's district), and have individual marriage and male reckoning of descent in matters of inheritance; while the Urabunna and Dieri, with female descent and the custom of pirrauru (called " group marriage " by Howitt), are not credited with the All-Father belief.
The Arunta of Messrs Spencer and Gillen may have possessed and deposed the Altjira superior being of the Arunta known to Mr Strehlow, like the Atnatu of the adjacent Kaitish, or the All-Father of the neighbouring Luritja; or these beings may be more recent divergences of doctrine, departures from pure Alcheringaism with no AllFather.