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The Religion of the Ancient Celts

Page: 98

In these cases incest with a mother cannot be explained by totemic usage, but the cases may be distorted reminiscences of what might occur under totemism, namely, a son taking the wives of his father other than his own mother, when those were of a different totem from his own. Under totemism, brothers and sisters by different mothers having different totems, might possibly unite, and such unions are found in many mythologies. Later, when totemism passed away, the unions, regarded with horror, would be supposed to take place between children by the same mother. According to totem law, a father might unite with his daughter, since she was of her mother's totem, but in practice this was frowned upon. Polygamy also may co-exist with totemism, and of course involves the counting of descent through the mother as a rule. If, as is suggested by the "debility" of the Ultonians, and by other evidence, the couvade was a Celtic institution, this would also point to the existence of the matriarchate with the Celts. To explain all this as pre-Aryan, or to say that the classical notices refer to non-Aryan tribes and that the evidence in the Irish sagas only shows that the Celts had been influenced by the customs of aboriginal tribes among whom they lived,

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