Greenlanders, Religion of The

Greenlanders, Religion Of The These people, like the other Esquimaux, spiritualize all objects that surround them. The spirits are called Innuet, i.e., rulers. Malina and Aniunga are the rulers of the sun and moon. They were formerly men, but have been placed in the heavens. Their food changes their color, for they are sometimes red, sometimes yellow. The planets are women, who visit each other, therefore oftentimes a number are seen together. The rulers of the atmosphere are Innerterirsok and Erloersortok; the spirits of the sea Konguesetokit, and the ice-ruler, Sillagigsartok. The spirits of fire are called Ingersoit. The mountains are inhabited by great spirits and small gnomes, Tannersoit and Innuarolit. The gods of war Erkiglit, the spirits of food Nerrim Innuet, etc., are distributed everywhere, and they can be persuaded by mysterious means, only known to magicians, to become the protecting spirits of men. Such a guardian is called Torngak, but the great spirit, the ruler of all Innnets and Torngaks, is called Torngaseak. The wife or mother' of this great spirit is a dreaded being; she is the daughter of the sorcerer who tore Disko (Greenland) from the mainland, and thrust towards the north. She lives under the sea, and( injures the fish-traffic. The invisible ruler of the universe, Scylla or Pirksoma, is the unimaginable, omniscient god. The Greenlanders have no divine worship with ceremonies. When a young man captures his first sea-lion, he lays a piece of fat or meat under a stone as a sacrifice, in order to insure good success in hunting. Sun and moon are sister and brother. The latter loved his sister, who was very beautiful, and he conceived the idea of putting out the lamps in winter, in order that he might caress and embrace her. She wanted to know who her lover was, and therefore covered her hands with rust, and thus blackened his face and clothes. Then she brought in the light, and, recognizing her brother, she fled. The brother lighted a bundle of moss in order to find his way and follow her; the moss would not ignite, the sister escaped, and was placed in the heavens. The sun still follows her, and the dark spots which he has are the stripes made by his sister's blackened hands. Heaven, according to the Greenlanders, rests on the top of a mountain on the North Pole, about which it revolves daily. They have no knowledge of astronomy whatever, which is quite singular, as the stars and planets are the only means of reckoning time during the long half-year night. They have, however, the following theory as to the origin of thunder and lighting: Two old women, inhabiting a log cabin in heaven, are angry with each, other over a dry, stretched seal-skin; as often as they strike the skin with their fists, a peal of thunder is heard. When, then, the house tumbles, and the burning rafters fall, the lightning is produced. The rain also has its explanation: The souls live in heaven on the brink of a dammed- up sea. When this sea swells, the overflowing waters form the rain. Their traditions also tell of Adam, Noah, and. a flood. Kollak was the first man, from whose thumb there sprang the first woman, and from her came all human beings. When, after many years, the earth sank into the sea, only one man-was left, who began a new generation. The Greenlanders have a twofold conception of souls: these are a shadow, or a breath. A dangerous journey must be made by all souls to heaven; for five days they must slide down a steep rock, which is therefore covered with blood.

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