chapter  XI
48 Pages

SPIRITS OF INANIMATE OBJECTS

I N dealing with South American animism relative to inanimate objects, my especial task will be, first, to establish the general character of the spiritual beings which, according to Indian

belief, people mountains, rocks, stones, precipices, caves, heavenly bodies, etc.; and secondly, to inquire whether there is any connection between these spirits and the supernatural power or mana, which is commonly ascribed to certain fetishes or “ medicines ” obtained from the mineral kingdom. Both the one task and the other are difficult owing to the scarcity of the material, and it is needless to say that in this, just as in my chapters on the animal and the plant spirits, I am only able to present probability evidence in support of the theses which mark the chief results of my inquiries.