Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen":
RAIN-MAKING

AUSTRALIA


It is universally believed by the tribes of the Karamundi nation, Of the Darling River, that rain can be brought down by the following ceremony. A vein in the arm of one of the men is opened and the blood allowed to drop into a piece of hollow bark until there is a little pool. Into this is put a quantity of gypsum, ground fine, and stirred until it has the consistency of a thick paste. A number of hairs are pulled out of the man's beard and mixed up with this paste, which is then placed between two pieces of bark and put under the surface of the water in some river or lagoon, and kept there by means of pointed stakes driven into the ground. When the mixture is all dissolved away, the blackfellows say that a great cloud will come, bringing rain. From the time that this ceremony takes place until the rain comes, the men are tabooed from their wives, or the charm will be spoiled, and the old men say that if this prohibition were properly respected, rain would come every time that it is done. In a time of drought, when rain is badly wanted, the whole tribe meets and performs this ceremony.


A. W. Howitt, The Native Tribes of South-East Australia (London, 1904), PP. 39-7

Books by Mircea Eliade:

Man and the Sacred | Main Menu | Keyword Search