The Brass Goggles Occult Society...The Esoteric Order of the Brazen Dawn...

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Khem Caigan:
Great knowledge of "medicine" is supposed to
be theirs. They rob gardens, cause rot among
pumpkins, and their touch makes vegetables and
fruits bitter. Hence offerings are made to them at
crossroads to save the crops. Some go on all
fours; some are bearded. They are sensitive about
their size, and a story with many variants is
widespread. When you meet one, and he asks
where you first saw him, you must say that you
saw him a long way off. If you say you first
noticed him quite near, your days are numbered,
or he spears you at once. These myths, it is
claimed by most of those who reported them,
refer to former inhabitants of the country,
transmuted into mythical beings.

Spoiler: Continued... (click to show/hide)
"Both Bushmen and Pygmies, whether racially
akin or not, are living representatives of a
prehistoric age, and have given rise to a great
deal of mythology." [ Prof. Alice Werner,
African Mythology, Boston, 1925, gives
a summary of the African dwarf legends in
chapter ix, "The Little People."
See also page 120. ].

In view of these folk-beliefs in mythical pygmies
who so much resemble our elves, fairies, and
dwarfs, and of the existence of actual pygmies
in different parts of the earth, the question may
be asked : Was a pygmy race ever widely
distributed over the earth ? There are various
pygmy races now existing, i.e. peoples under
four feet eleven inches in height. The Negrillo
tribes of Central Africa, perhaps akin to the
Bushmen, are not all of one physical type, but
they are regarded as a primitive and dwarfed
form of the Forest Negro. The Negritos—
Andamanese, Semang (Malay Peninsula),
Aeta (Philippines), Pesechem and Tapiro of
New Guinea— are believed to represent a
woolly-haired, brachycephalic, pygmy stock,
extending in early times over a wide area.

Still another pygmy stock—Sakai of Malay
Peninsula, jungle tribes of the Deccan, and the
Veddas of Ceylon, are regarded as remnants
of an early widely distributed pre-Dravidian
race, the Indian dwarfs of Ctesias. Others are
believed to exist in South America and in
Central America.

These various pygmy groups are generally in
a low state of culture. Some are ignorant of fire.
Most are nomads ; agriculture, where it exists,
is primitive. They live on fruits and roots, by
hunting, less often by fishing. Their dwellings
are rock or bough or leaf shelters, circular
beehive huts (Africa), and some have no dwelling.

Where they live among other tribes, they rob
the plantations by night, and the Aetas steal
cattle. If the robbery from the Negro plantations
is not resented, or if bananas are laid out for the
pygmies, they leave gifts of game, or otherwise
show their gratitude. Methods of barter, or of
"the silent trade," exist between pygmies and
their taller neighbours, and they are sometimes
regarded as demons by the people trading with
them. They are quick, bright, cheerful in
disposition, children rather than men. Some are
cruel and treacherous, but mention is made of
"their mischievous pranks, unseen, spiteful
vengeance, quick gratitude, and prompt return
for kindness."

In the Neolithic age in Europe groups of pygmies
seem to have lived side by side with taller peoples,
as sepulchral remains suggest (Schweizerbild and
elsewhere in Switzerland, in France, Italy, and
Germany), and Prof. Sergi is of opinion that a large
pygmy element existed in the people of Italy from
prehistoric times. This element has been found in
the existing population, as well as in Sardinia
[ J. Kollmann, "Das Schweizerbild bei Schaffhausen
and Pygmaen in Europa," in Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie,
1894, xxvi. 189 ff. ; cf. Journal of the Royal
Anthropological Institute, 1896, xxv. 117. Giuseppe
Sergi, The Mediterranean Race, London, 1901, pp.
233 ff. ].

This pygmy strain is connected with the Neolithic
pygmies. Different theories about these early
pygmies have been formulated. They are a distinct
variety of man, preceding the taller races in Europe,
the original stock from which all others were evolved.
Again, they are regarded as degenerate types; or
they and taller races are separate branches of the
main primitive human type.

If such a pygmy race once existed widely in Europe,
and if traditional dwarfs and, to some extent, fairies,
are derived from memories of an actual race, we
might regard pygmies as the source of the tradition,
as the African mythical "Little People" are derived by
some anthropologists from earlier pygmies or Bushmen.

In Switzerland, where pygmies existed, there are
stories of an inoffensive people driven out by "men."
Similar legends occur elsewhere in Europe. In
Melanesia small, mythical beings are in part a dim
memory of earlier men, perhaps pygmies. Many
folk-traditions might be traced to such a source.
Pygmy tribes are apt to be regarded as uncanny,
as spirits, or as sorcerers. They are propitiated by
their taller neighbours. Nuesch thought that the
legend of dwarfs haunting caves and hills might be
a reminiscence of the Neolithic pygmies [J. Niiesch,
Der Dachsenbuel, eine Hohle aus fruhneol. Zeit,
Zurich, 1903, and cf. L' Anthropologie, 1904,
xv. 383]. Sir H. H. Johnston, who accepted this
theory, held that most fairy myths originated from
"the contemplation of the mysterious habits of
dwarf troglodyte races, lingering still in the crannies,
caverns, forests, and mountains of Europe, after
the invasion of Neolithic man," and he pointed to
traits of the Congo pygmies which recalled those
of our elfin folk. At the same time, he uttered a
needed warning against reckless theorizing [ Sir
H. H. Johnston, The Uganda Protectorate, London,
1902, i. 513 ff ].

Some traits of existing pygmies resemble those
told of mythical dwarfs, and vice versa. Of these
may be mentioned the method of barter, familiar
in dwarf and fairy tradition. Pygmies, like dwarfs
and fairies, are shy of being seen, and can appear
or disappear with marvellous speed. Traditional
dwarfs dislike church-building, bell-ringing, new
methods in metallurgy, cutting down forests, and
agriculture. These represent various strata in
civilization and therefore in tradition. Dislike of
agriculture reminds us of the Negrilloes, who do
not cultivate the soil. These and other antipathies,
giving the impression of one race in presence of
a higher one, and of Paganism in presence of
Christianity, have a historic aspect. But inevitably
such known or imagined dislikes on the part of
actual men, would easily be transferred to groups
of supernatural beings in course of time.

There are legends of dwarfs, or elfins, migrating
usually because of men and their ways. These
suggest "the oppression and expulsion of an actual
aboriginal race by newcomers." On the other hand,
perhaps with the gradual disbelief in supernatural
beings, new legends would arise in answer to the
question : where have they gone ? Everywhere, be
it remembered, there are myths of the departure
of gods, of spirits, from earth, because of men's

Though dwarfs are said to dislike agriculture, other
legends speak of their help in harvesting, just as
African pygmies clear the ground of weeds for
their taller neighbours. While actual pygmy races
have little or no agriculture, we know nothing of
the attitude to it of Neolithic pygmies, living among
people who used it. Is the contrast, then, a dim
memory of the contrast between Paleolithic men,
who knew no agriculture, and Neolithic men who

While dwarfs and fairies dislike human civilization,
they often take advantage of it, as do also pygmy
tribes. Tales of fairies' borrowing; of their theft
of produce, animals, or utensils; of their kidnapping
women and infants, might conceivably reflect incidents
in the contact of conquered and conquering races.
Such kidnappers would appear always more sinister
in traditional memory. Nevertheless the same
kidnapping is ascribed to beings who could not
be transmuted men—water-spirits, and spirits and
demons of all kinds. The existence of such beings
was used to explain certain facts in human life.

At the same time actual doings of men were
reflected upon spirits and such-like beings. Actions
of gods and spirits were often human actions first
of all.

Mr. MacRitchie based his theory of fairies as once
actual men partly on stories of fairies resenting
human interference with their dwellings in mounds
or tumuli by these being built upon by the invading
people, ignorant of those who dwelt beneath. But
tumuli were not dwellings: even had they been
they were too small for houses to be built on them,
nor are there any traces of dwellings on the top
of mounds; nor would the invaders long remain
ignorant of the presence of such hypothetical
subterranean dwellers. There are many stories,
however, of fairies resenting a human dwelling
being built above their own, or refuse finding its
way down to it. But here we are evidently dealing
with forms of the wide-spread belief that earthspirits
—whether Earth personified, or spirits and demons,
or, later, dwarfs and fairies—resent our opening
up the earth, ploughing it, building on it, defiling it.

Hence many propitiatory rites; hence foundation
-sacrifices. The interference is primarily one
concerning spirits: it had nothing to do with
aboriginal inhabitants dwelling underground.

Look now at the fairy dislike of iron, a dislike
shared by ghosts and spirits. This is certainly
primarily a human dislike, transferred to them,
for what man feared, spirits would also fear.
And doubtless it first concerned bronze or
copper. The discovery and working of metals
was surrounded with mystery. This, and the
suspicion connected with its early use and the
supposed ill-luck following on that use,
contributed to the ideas regarding it in folklore.

Its discovery was bound to be revolutionary to
men whose ancestors had used stone weapons
and tools for thousands of years; and as it was at
first bound to be rare, magical ideas were easily
connected with its use. Those who found it used
against them would be struck with terror and
easily conquered, just as in New Guinea "the
possession of a single little piece of iron, out of
which they would fashion a rude but terrible
weapon, increased the repute of a single tribe."
[ Moriz Hoernes, Primitive Man, London, n.d.,
page 86. ]

For such and other reasons, and for the fear of
metal by those who did not possess it, men now
regarded it as obnoxious to supernatural beings
and effective against their inroads. Thus this dislike
of iron by fairies need not prove that they are an
early non-metal using people transmuted into elfins,
but only that a well-known human fear of metal
was transferred to supernatural beings by those
who used it.

There is again the use of flint arrow-heads by fairies.
When used by fairies, trolls, witches, mermaids, the
Slavic Vily and various other beings, the arrow-head
caused sickness or death, but left no trace of a wound.
This use of arrow-heads by elfins is thought to be a
relic of the time when stone-using men lived in
contact with those who used metal, and who held
the former in that superstitious awe with which
aborigines are often regarded by conquerors because
they possess superior magic. This is possible, though
it does not follow that fairies are a transmuted form
of such aborigines, and it is remarkable that dwarfs,
who much more easily answer to this description,
are seldom said to use the elf-bolt. The association
of elfins with arrow-heads must have arisen when
the use of stone-weapons by man was forgotten.

How quickly it might be forgotten is seen by the fact
that in Kamchatka, where the use of such weapons
might have been remembered, a native, finding a
fluted prism of obsidian, from which blades had been
flaked, had no idea of its purpose [ E. B. Tylor, Early
History of Mankind, London, 1865, p. 207. ].
While some memory of a stone-using race might be
transferred to fairies, the raison d'etre of the elf-bolt
is to be found in the fact that they, as well as many
other spirits, used invisible weapons to cause a
"stroke," and that when arrow-heads were found
near a person attacked by sudden illness, as they
must frequently have been, they were regarded as
these weapons now become visible. The superstition
is actually the expression of an animistic belief that
gods, spirits, demons, and sorcerers cause sickness
or death by invisible weapons which might become
visible, like the stone axe- heads which are thought
to be thunder-bolts thrown by deities who were
assuredly not transmuted Stone Age men. Thus the
attribution of stone arrow-heads to fairies is in
keeping with this, and does not prove that they had
once been an actual stone-using race.

Reviewing the evidence as a whole, we may conclude
that while some traits of fairies and dwarfs suggest
an earlier race of men, others, when traced back, are
found to be purely animistic in origin. Even where, as
in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Africa, certain groups
of fairy-like beings seem to be an earlier race thus
transformed, many things said of them are non-human
—their tiny size, their supernatural powers, their spirit
aspect. These require explanation.

With every allowance for the facts, the existence of
an early pygmy or dwarfish race cannot be the sole
cause of the belief.

Probably the belief in the manikin soul, no less than
general animism, and also human imagination and
dreams, had great influence in its formation. Many
traits of fairies are also those of supernatural beings
with no human ancestry—a fact too often forgotten
—Greek Nereids, Slavic Vily, spirit foxes in Japan,
spirits of all kinds, and such near cousins of fairies
as nixies, mermaids, and swan-maidens.

Primitive animistic or even pre-animistic ideas are
the basis of the fairy creed, attached now to groups
of imaginary beings, now to all kinds of super-naturals,
now to traditions of actual men. On the other hand,
these traditional memories doubtless gave definiteness
to the fairy creed, or to certain parts of it. Yet it must
be remembered that man always tends to regard the
beings of his creed in his own likeness—he never
knows how anthropomorphic he is.

In so far as the fairy tradition is connected with
actual men it may go back to the hostile relations
existing between Paleolithic and Neolithic groups.
Men of the Old Stone Age, driven out by Neolithic
invaders, would act towards them in some of the
ways ascribed to fairies ; and in accordance with
the rule that incomers regard aborigines as more
or less supernatural, demoniac, possessed of
powerful magic, they would be viewed more or
less mysteriously.

A tradition would be formed, and it might be handed
on to metal-using tribes by their Mesolithic or Neolithic
captives, while new traditions, due to the use of metal,
would be formed. It is true that in many regions
Neolithic people developed a metal industry. But if
tradition proves anything, it points to a clash of
metal-using and stone-using peoples, somewhere and
at some time.

With Andrew Lang we "cannot deny absolutely that
some such memory of an earlier race, a shy and
fugitive people who used weapons of stone, may
conceivably play its part in the fairy legend."
[ Andrew Lang, in Kirk, p. xxv. ].

We conclude then that there has been interaction
between animistic belief in groups of imaginary
beings and folk-memory of earlier races regarded
always more and more from an animistic and
mythical point of view.

Khem Caigan:
I see that we have several new members
here < circumambulates the temple with
steampumpkin and thurible >

Happy New Year, and Welcome to the
Order of the Brazen Dawn!

Theosophus Grey:
And a happy and holy pagan new year to you, sir!

be honest folks, I'm not sure if this is the right arena for me to play in, I'm very much a hard line spiritist, survivalism of the soul, ectoric projections, contact mediumship...

I'm not a pagan a wiccan an occultist or any form of new age transcendentalist...

as for my religious leanings, I'm a Unitarian universalist, and I'm talking the p.t. barnum ben franklin kind not the dan zimmern h.p. white kind (if you get that reference you probably need to get out more)

i collect information on hoodoo vodun and juju rituals, I'm a very well read enthusiast in 19th century spiritualism, i prefer the investigators to the mediums, i believe in the human soul, its survival after death and passage to another life, that said i believe we can tap into that next life and use the wisdom of those there to benefit us in this life.

i myself am not a medium, a south sayer, an automatic writer, a touch empath or even a very good conductor of my own psychic energy, let alone any one else's...

i have spent a good amount of time perfecting this one talent that i have, and that is the talent of being a poor conductor, as a result, i find that i am highly insulated against the spiritual world, so highly so that during seances, ghost hunts and necrotic rituals where i am present, my own presence is like a 'psychic interrupter switch" as i have heard in the past, the spirits do not like me, they do not come to me and they certainly do not wish to mess with me, as my personal studies are all in the field of dismissing, dispelling, exorcising, identifying, trapping and pacifying ghosts demons and spirits... to this end i have an extensive collection of herbs, stones, items, objects and fluids which are used for this purpose...

for me it is a belief in hard line, old world, orthodox mysticism... not some new age fad or cult, I'm personally offended by these new age 'witches' as they try to tell me about 'their' power i take it too seriously to be taken in by their love potions and petty curses...

so before i continue, i will say that i respect what others do so long as they respect me, and if you all think that this is infact a good place for me, or if you think that perhaps someone with my limited but focused talents could be usefull, please let me know, as i have been seeking  an occult or spiritist group here from the moment i first came to brass goggles...

thank you...

Captain Billbill:
I say, what an interesting society, hopefully you are still accepting membership as I would like to throw my hat into the ring.


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