Under such circumstances the original magical idea underlying the pricking of a candidate’s finger, the mingling of the blood thus obtained with that of the other members, and the drinking of the mixture by all assembled, would be that each man present henceforth possessed within himself a particle of the life principle of every other member of the Lodge. It will be remem bered that the old members as well as the new had to prick their fingers, and thus the ceremony is reciprocal, unlike those other ceremonies, such as cutting a lock of the candidate’s hair, whose object is to place the initiate at the mercy of the Lodge. On the one hand every member of the Lodge now has a hold on the candidate, but on the other hand he has an equal hold on them, and, moreover, any harm done to him is liable to injure that particle of each other member which the candidate henceforward carries within him. Thus by this simple process the self-interest of all the other members is joined to any altruistic sentimental feelings they may be supposed to feel towards the new initiate. Clearly, if the initiate is murdered by some outsider, all the life hostages of the rest which are in his body in the form of minute particles of their blood are liable to perish also, or, his corpse may be taken by the murderer
60 THE HUNG SOCIETY. and appropriate magical ceremonies performed with a view to injuring the surviving members of the Lodge. Thus we have an adequate reason why the other brethren should hasten to avenge his death and punish the murderer, and also a very practical reason why they should be careful to see that every brother is properly buried. Sentimental regard for each other is thus artfully blended with self-interest by the comparatively simple process of drinking each other’s blood.