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A P Elkin - Aboriginal men of high degree - Wega the wild cat



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Aboriginal men of high degree – A P Elkin

The postulant goes into a cave where wega (the wild cat), and kalaia (the emu) "kill" him and cut him open from his neck down the front of his body to the groin. They take out his heart, intestines, and other organs and insert marbain (magical substances). They take out his shoulder bones, cut along the thighs and take out the thigh bones. They dry the bones and, before putting them back, insert marbain. They cut round the ankles and stuff marbain into those parts. Finally, they take the frontal bone out, clean it, and insert marbain in the head before returning this bone to its place.

During the making, the head medicine man makes fires at night; he sleeps during the day.  After the postulant has been duly provided with magic, he makes him get up and gives him blood to drink.

This head doctor has maban or marbain as his cult-totem.  The totemic site is a stone cave in which a man, snakes, and marbain can be seen cut in the stone. The postulant goes to this cave and, after having given a present to the owner, is made to lie down and in due time comes out a medicine man.

…..A medicine man apparently has spirits … in his "mind," for he can send them into a sick man to take his sickness out of him. Sometimes he may send a spirit-child, djidji, instead

The source of the experience

Australian aboriginal

Concepts, symbols and science items


Spirit helper

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps