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April 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER 1: ESTABLISHMENT General Introduction Preliminary Remarks The Problematique Rhetorical Strategies Data gathering Techniques Interpretive Frame Relevance of the Study Review of Related Literature Definition of Terms CHAPTER 2: TOTEM The Dynamic Role of Totemism in the Establishment of Institutional Prohibitions as Postulated by Sigmund Freud The Freudian Totem Totem as Guard Against Incest Formation of a Social Institution Taboos Arising Out of Totemic Fear The Concept of Taboo Taboo vis--vis the Society Religion as a By-Product of Taboo The Return of the Repressed From the Demon, to the Totem, to God The Death of the Primal Father Tracing the Past CHAPTER 3: TABOO Leonardo Mercado on Filipino Catholic Religiosity The Higher Ones God Through the Eyes of the Filipino The Spirits The Dead Filipinized Catholicism Fiesta: Jubilation out of Sacrifice and Death The Nazarene as a Tortured Redeemer The Season of Pain, Death, and Rebirth The Eucharist: Eat My Body CHAPTER 4: SACRED AND PROFANE Synthesizing Freudian Totemism with Mercados Study of Filipino Religiosity to Construct a Filipino Religious Identity The Reemergence of the Totem The Totem as Deity Feasting on the Totem Meal A Totem Pole: the Nazarene of Quiapo The Epic Road to Totemhood The Totem Meal! The Rise of the Taboo The Dependence of Religion on Taboo The Sacred The Profane Condemned?

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All-Too-Human PRELIMINARY REMARKS Is religion really founded on faith? Or is it the other way around? This is a yes or no question, yet the number of possible answers would be infinite depending on the point of view of the person asked. It would depend primarily on the identity of the person, and that identity is dependent on the milieu upon which that individual was shaped. The Filipino identity has been shaped by a great number of factors which may never be completely explained even by the ablest and most dedicated scholar. The complex Filipino psyche is a result of the fusion of various influences that came upon this nation from its ancient inhabitants, foreign merchants, invaders, religious missionaries, and the benefits of modernity. Extensive studies have been done to completely decipher what the Filipino identity is, but instead of answering our questions, the complexity of the issue even makes us question our questions. Despite the very lengthy list of influences that have shaped the identity of the Filipino, one of these should be seen as the most significant, as this has been a major foundation of what the Filipino actually is. Religion is a crucial factor in shaping the Filipino identity, and this thesis aims to prove that no other influence is as significant for the Filipino in every aspect of his life other than this. In the search for the proof to this proposition, the researcher deemed it proper to trace it through the primitive concept of totemism and try to draw the parallelisms between the primitive civilizations that employed such concept and the contemporary Filipino Catholic flock.

THE PROBLEMATIQUE Main Problem For his thesis, the researcher seeks to answer the query:

First Sub-problem To be able to answer the main problem stated above, the researcher would take into consideration the question:

Second Sub-problem To be related and synthesized with the aforementioned question is the other half of the main problem, which asks:

THE RHETORICAL STRATEGIES The Data-Gathering Techniques As this paper seeks to synthesize Filipino religiosity with a Freudian model of thinking, the researcher would try as much as possible to shun away biases, not only on his part, but also on the part of the resources he would employ in composing this thesis. The data gathering technique to be used

would primarily involve extensive library research, and would focus mostly on books by and on Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. It should be clear, therefore, that the sources would not solely rely on works of Freud, as there are a great number of works done regarding the philosophy behind his psychological theories by other contemporary thinkers both in Europe and in the United States. Aside from these, there would also be a great deal of study on certain Filipino religious practices which would include festivities and occasions within the Roman Catholic calendar. Works of renowned theologian Fr. Leonardo Mercado SVD would be the primary source for the study of the phenomenology behind these religious practices. This is so to be able to get a better view of the picture from the perspective of one who is respected in the field under study; for assessing a certain institution would be much credible if there is sufficient knowledge on the said institution under study. It is also relevant in the sense that sufficient knowledge of the topic at hand would make the topic open for further criticisms and investigation. Of course, there would be no synthesis unless the researcher deals with the framework that is to be used. This is why a great part of this thesis would deal with Sigmund Freud and his 1913 work Totem and Taboo. Focus on this work is necessary, not to confine this research to its content, but to avoid confusion with regards to the complexity of Freuds work when viewed in relation to his other works. As mentioned earlier, this paper would involve not just Freud, but also a number of his interlocutors who did not only study his concept of totemism, but also some of his works which the researcher deemed significant in the study of the topic of this thesis. However, it should be kept in mind that the aforementioned methodologies are non-exhaustive, for there

could be a couple of other methods that could, as time comes, be used for the betterment of this research. The Interpretive Frame In accordance with the abovementioned methodology of research, the following theoretical framework is thus presented to be able to clearly plot the line of thinking that this thesis would draw out.

Relying on Freuds concept of totemism, this thesis would look up certain episodes in the development of the Filipino religious identity and stress the presence of totemism in those episodes. The reemergence of totemism in the Philippine religious setting is the primary focus of this framework, and as we would see in the progress of this thesis, every important episode in the development of the religious identity of the Filipino Catholic is haunted by the ghost of primitive totemism.

THE RELEVANCE OF THE STUDY The researchers interest in the study arose out of the fact that Philippine society has been molded into its present form as influenced, in one way or another, by the Roman Catholic Church. Statistically, the Philippines is predominantly Roman Catholic, and it can never be denied that the vision and values of the society have been influenced by the Catholic Church. Policies and decisions concerning the entire nation have been carried out by Catholic leaders, and with it comes the influential lobbying habitually done discreetly by the Catholic hierarchy. It is accepted fact that religion plays an important role in the formation of an individual, and formation of an individual reflects an entire society. Every society owes its existence, in which ever way possible, to the values and traditions that its people hold dear. It is therefore significant for us to study the roots of the guiding principles this nation has, for it is upon this that our own personal convictions are based upon. It is not only necessary for Filipino philosophy to focus on nationalistic identity or political ideologies to be able to draw a philosophy that is distinctively Filipino. What is of utmost importance is for the Filipino philosopher to trace where his identity and ideologies are rooted upon. The researcher supposes that the link between ancient totemism and the religious practices of the present to be useful in deciphering who the Filipino actually is. If this is the case, then it is significant to look into the roots of the phenomenology of Filipino Catholic faith to be able to fully understand how the Filipino society came out with its guiding principles, which in turn has been influential in the operation of our government and society. Using Freuds totemism as a primary basis for this study, this thesis would bear out its significance once it proves the connection between the primitive totem and the

Filipino concept of God, and how it became the primary instrument in the establishment of the culture of restrictions and prohibitions prevailing within our heavily Catholic-influenced society. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. Vienna, 1913. Totem and Taboo is probably one of Freuds most significant works, and it is through this that Freudian psychology is clearly seen in practical application to historical and philosophical inquiry. It traces the origins of societal prohibitions from ancient adherence to totemism. Freud lays down the situation of primitive people and how they managed to develop a set of rules to guard against incest. He focuses his study on Australian aborigines, and also cites studies done by his contemporaries regarding the said topic. The first part of this book extensively discusses the primary importance of the totem image in the formulation of the set of regulations that would govern any society. In its evolution, the fear of the totem image started to possess a status that supercedes even that of consanguinity of family relationships. By focusing on primitive mans fear of committing incest, Freud clearly draws how a certain totemic fear could bring about a subconscious anxiety, which in time became institutionalized, on the part of a primitive man in sexually desiring a blood relative. Freud thus traces the origins of institutions from the fear of totem images, and particularly cites religious prohibitions as the most significant by-product of such totemism. In the second phase of Totem and Taboo, Freud expounds on the regulations resulting from the institutionalization of the totemic fear of the primitive man. It is here that he starts to discuss about taboo and how it has become in our contemporary period only a reference to the profane. Freud still

draws out his analysis from the aborigines concept of taboo, referring to both the sacred and the profane. From his observations on these primitive peoples adherence to their taboos, he establishes his idea that taboos are merely the projection of what the people feared, and has nothing to do with the resulting practicality of avoiding such taboos. Upon this, he also based the modern theistic fear of God, and in effect traces the concept of God from primitive mans fear of demonic spirits. Freud, Sigmund. Moses and Monotheism. Amsterdam, 1939. Freuds final piece of his life was Moses and Monotheism, a historical novel said to be a personal dedication to his ego ideal Moses. A whole new Israel, Moses, and Judaism would be introduced by this book, and despite being a novel, Moses and Monotheism would always knock into the realm of reality with its shrewd literature and extensive historical validity. Historicity is something that Freud never failed to employ in this composition, and the detective story of this book would lead one to accept as true not just its concepts, but even its story. In brief, the book details the real events in the life of Moses and the early Hebrews. According to the text, Moses was a pure Egyptian prince, and in contrast to Biblical account, was directly related to the family of the then reigning Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten. This pharaoh was pious and deeply religious, and was an ardent supporter of the monotheistic faith under the Egyptian sun-god Isis. When Amenhotep died around 1350 B.C., the institutions under him started to collapse, and with this the monotheistic religion he dearly loved started to fade away. Moses, being a loyal follower of the pharaoh, devised a plan to resurrect the lost religion of his master. He went to the Hebrews, who were under bondage in Egypt, and

offered them statehood under the god of Amenhotep. He thus led them out of Egypt and in effect, founded the Jewish nation. However, these people, as the Egyptians were after Amenhoteps death, were not able to tolerate the religion offered by Moses. An uprising occurred and Moses was murdered. They united with another tribe living within the area that is now Israel and adopted the worship of the volcano god Jahve. The old god of Moses was fused with the new volcano god, and the resulting god became the Judeo-Christian God we know today. Of great significance is Freuds psychology playing a great part in the narrative. In the tradition of Friedrich Nietzsche, Moses and Monotheism would touch the concept of the return of the repressed, and its inevitability in the human subconscious and in culture would be brought to better light. Mercado, Leonardo. Filipino Religious Psychology. Tacloban, 1977. A pioneer in the study of the Filipino psyche, Fr. Leonardo Mercado SVD presents a detailed study on the psychology behind Filipino religiosity. This book tries to portray Filipino religiosity from the Filipino standpoint. It tries to remove the western bias against Filipino religious concepts by looking into the topic using a purely Filipino psychology. The text includes studies done by respected names in the academe such as Fr. Jaime Bulatao, Prospero Covar, Lourdes Quisumbing, and Jaime Galvez-Tan. Their researches were focused on particular religious settings and involved participant observation on their part. With the help of these Filipino scholars, this book presents a number of significant Filipino religious ceremonies and rites and traces their roots from various factors which include indigenous culture, geographical make up, and political situation.

Though overly Filipinized and heavily focused on the individual, the approach of Mercado et al becomes an advantageous springboard for one who seeks a deeper understanding of the roots of Filipino religiosity, and for this reason, the researcher finds this text as a crucial material for this thesis. Mercado, Leonardo. Elements of Filipino Theology. Tacloban, 1975. As expected of a work by Mercado, this book aims indigenization of the topic. It seeks to enlighten the reader on the roots of Filipino theology from the frame of mind of a Filipino. It is in this book that Mercado lays out how God of our contemporary mindset arose from the ancient gods of our ancestors. Of great interest is the trace that he makes by using the names of God used by local natives from various parts of the country. Also of great significance is the analysis of the Filipino concept of profane and sacred. This we can interconnect with Freuds analysis of the sacred and profane in the formulation of taboo restrictions among ancient people. Though there is no direct relationship between Freuds study and that of Mercado, it would be natural for the researcher to further explore the possibilities of relating these to be able to arrive at a concept of Filipino religiosity guided by the Freudian concept of the taboo. For this reason, this text by Mercado should be considered as a primary source in the composition of this thesis. Badcock, Christopher. Essential Freud. Worchester, 1988. This text cites Freuds Totem and Taboo as the answer to questions posed by some intellectuals regarding incest-taboo as the primary limitation to human sexual life, and indirectly, to the human search for his desires. Christopher

Badcocks work thus becomes essential since this thesis seeks to understand how the transformation of totemic fear into taboo prohibitions brought about human religiosity. Also of importance for this thesis is the books attempt to answer an imposing question on whether the human fear of violating a taboo due to a totem is natural or arbitrary on the part of an individual and of the society in general as well. According to Badcock, this could be answered if one is to look closely at Freuds concept of neurotic prohibitions, which sees the ego as a tool in maximizing pleasure demands of the body being under the control of the unconscious power of the totem. It could be seen as a product of an institutionalized omnipotence of thought which is founded on the unconscious fear of a totem image. To further understand this concept, Freud referred to a primal horde, a group ruled by a single tyrannical male which could be attributed to a primal father unto which each member of the horde manifests extreme dread and love. This dread is due to the sons jealousy of the father in being able to commit sexual acts with his mother and sisters. The son then murders his father, but in the end repents and makes his father the role model he would emulate. This father image is what this thesis would prove as a foundation of Filipino religious faith, and as this thesis moves on, the concept of the Christ as the sacrificial lamb in the eyes of his Church would bring our study to brighter light. Grubrich-Simitis, Ilse. Early Freud and Late Freud. London, 1997. One of the ardent Freudian scholars, Ilse Grubrich-Simitis presents Freud as a psychologist under study of another psychologist. Early Freud and Late Freud is an academic study of Freuds works on a rather technical aspect.

Of primary significance is her study on Freuds original manuscripts of Moses and Monotheism. The chapter dedicated on this subject seems to seek a deeper understanding of Freuds psyche and how it affected his work. It inquires on why Freud wrote Moses and Monotheism and Totem and Taboo, and what psychological factors contributed to the desire on Freuds part to write both books. Lehrer, Ronald. Nietzsches Presence in Freuds Life and Thought. New York, 1995. This work impressively traces the link between Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche not just on the philosophical aspect, but also on the psychological aspect. Ronald Lehrer draws the picture of Nietzsche (aside from Moses) as the ego ideal of Freud. Various works of Freud were analyzed by the author in his desire to map out every Nietzschean aspect in Freuds writing. Parallelisms occur whenever Nietzsches and Freuds works are presented together. From Zarathustra to Totem and Taboo, The Birth of Tragedy to Moses and Monotheism, Genealogy to The Interpretation of Dreams, Lehrer manages to abstract concepts that would link the two philosopher-psychologists together. One significant parallelism between the teachings of the two is the concept of the return of the repressed. It is upon this that our study on the recurrence of the totemic fear in societies would center, and the similarity in the philosophies of both Freud and Nietzsche would be one of the necessary factors for the success of this thesis. The idea of Freud as the continuation of Nietzsche is not only literal (since Freud belonged to the generation after Nietzsches), but also academic. Proof of this could be read in the chapter dedicated to Moses and Monotheism. Also, the significance of the entire text for this thesis is centered upon the said

chapter, and the researcher considers that for this thesis to achieve soundness, a touch of Nietzschean philosophy is necessary. Sta. Maria, Madelene.





Psychological Research. Manila, 2000.

Since this thesis would tackle the phenomenological aspect of Filipino Catholic religiosity, the researcher deemed it necessary to look for a reliable source regarding the approach to phenomenology in contrast to another science mistaken for the aforementioned philosophical craft. Madelene Sta. Maria of De La Salle University tried to draw the line between phenomenology and psychology by classifying both as sciences, with similarities that make the distinction between them blurred to the point that mistake of associating both with each other often arises. Sta. Maria tried to distance phenomenology from psychology by dealing with the subjectivity of both sciences. Though both disciplines aim at objectivity, the human condition would not allow the absolute objectivity of studies regarding the human psyche. In exploring the roots of Filipino Catholic religiosity, there is a need to distinguish the psychological aspect of such concept from its phenomenological aspect. Psychology is purported to be objective in character, while phenomenology is subjective. If this is the case, then segregating the psychological approach of Christian faith from its phenomenological approach would be of utmost significance to be able to shun away any possible hint of bias in the study of the topic. DEFINITION OF TERMS In the progress of this thesis work, certain general concepts would be used in a different approach. This is why this section would give a brief

description of such concepts to enlighten readers as to how to treat such concepts as used in this thesis. Aboriginesthe ancient inhabitants of a certain locality. Commonly attributed to the primitive races who inhabited the Australian continent. Abstinencepersonal prohibition to indulge in natural and/or carnal desires. Christianitythe congregation of the followers of Jesus Christ. Membership covers more than a billion of the worlds population, but is divided into a number of sects due to differences in interpretation of Jesus Christs teachings. Churcha body of believers in a similar religion. Consanguinitydegree of blood relation. Deificationthe act of exalting a certain being as a god. This could be paganistic or not, and whatever form of regarding an entity as a supreme being qualifies as deification. Dualismin philosophy, this is the belief that every entity or concept in the universe has its equivalent contradiction that negates the other. Ego idealin psychological terms, a real or imaginary figure upon which a person bases his principles, ideas, beliefs, and convictions. It could be upon this image that the person tries to project himself. Eucharistin Roman Catholic faith, this is the focal point of worship. It is claimed that it is here that Jesus Christ personally and literally interacts with his flock by becoming the bread and wine that is partaken during the Mass. Exogamythe practice of preventing marriage between members of a single family or clan. Godfor purposes of this thesis, there would be two concepts of god. The first one (a common noun to be used) would refer to the impersonal god

of primitive civilization. The second concept (a proper noun God) would refer to the monotheistic God of modern civilization. Both concepts point to the supreme being. Hebrewsthe Semitic race dwelling in Palestine. Founded by Abraham, this race was subjected to Egyptian yoke until they were liberated by Moses, who led them to the land now known as Israel. The Hebrews practice the Jewish religion known as Judaism, and it is upon this that Christianity is originally based. Incestthe act of committing sexual relationships with a blood relative. Inculturationthe process of assimilating a foreign concept into the native culture. Institutiona person, a group of persons, an organization, a belief, or a conviction which by itself wields tremendous influence upon people that it is revered in some way as a foundation of a persons principles. Liturgyin Christian Churches, these are the ceremonies involving rituals used for worship rites. Monotheismthe belief in only one supreme being. By historical standards, practice of monotheism is the basis in considering a civilization as advanced. Paganismthe primitive religion deifying natural forces. Pantheismthe belief that everything that God created constitute the wholeness of God. This means that God is considered to be present in everything that He has created. Passoverthe Jewish celebration of their liberation from Egypt. A lamb is sacrificed in commemoration of the day the Israelites killed lambs so that the blood may be used to mark their doors. The Angel of Death


who slaughtered Egyptian eldest boys did not enter the doors painted with the blood of a lamb. Phenomenologythe descriptive study of the human experience. Encompasses every emotion, thought or sensation as experienced by the human being. This should be distinguished from mere experience, as this involves a deed as a human act alongside the philosophy behind it. Pre-colonialfor this research, this term applies to any concept which has been present in the Filipino society prior to the colonization of the country by the Spanish Crown. Primal hordethe societal group of advanced primates headed by one primal father-like leader. Anthropologists believe that early humans also lived in such primal hordes before the dawn of civilization. Primitive peoplefor purposes of this research, the term would not only refer to pre-historical people of the past. Primitive people may include those in the present or any point of time who are yet to be exposed to the contemporary way of living. Psychoanalysisa scientific field dealing with the human mind and its dynamism with the human experience. This is the expertise of Sigmund Freud, and he is considered to be one of the foundations of this field. Roman Catholic Churchthe largest sect of Christianity. Claims to be the original Church established in Rome by Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ. Its head, the pope, is a direct successor of Peter, and wields supreme and absolute power over the Church. This is the predominant religious sect in the Philippines, with around 85% of its population under it. Sacrificial mealin primitive races, the community partook of the meat of their totem as a form of celebration for a certain occasion such as victory in a war or a plentiful harvest. Ceremonies accompany such

meals, and it is only on such special occasions that the community is allowed to eat the meat of its totem. Split-Level Christianitypioneered by Fr. Jaime Bulatao, this tag has been used against those who profess the Christian faith yet do not manifest the Christian teachings in their actual lives. Subconsciousin psychology, the subconscious is the repressed part of the human psyche which is hidden from his cognizance. Sublimationin the field of psychology, this is the redirecting of desire, attention, or emotion towards something that resembles the original object of desire, attention or emotion. Tabooin its modern sense, taboo is commonly attributed to what contemporary society dreads. Although its early meaning both signify sacred and profane, evolution of language made taboo appear as a practice that ought to be avoided because it is not accepted within the standards of society. It is upon this that rules and regulations become part of societys norms, and standards drawn. Toteman inanimate object representing either a living or a dead being. Statues or icons qualify as totems, and believers attribute extraordinary powers upon these objects. In ancient times, the totem was used as the symbol of clans, and the beings projected by such totems are revered almost as gods. Utilitarianismthe idea that every action of man depends on the benefit he would get out of the said action. Venerationthe act of regarding something with utmost reverence due to the exalted or superior status of the object. For purposes of this research, the term would be limited to the lower degree of deification of particular entities possessing superior attributes over man.

CHAPTER TWO: THE DYNAMIC ROLE OF TOTEMISM IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF INSTITUTIONAL PROHIBITIONS AS POSTULATED BY SIGMUND FREUD Religions owe their existence to the return of the repressed; they are reawakened memories of the very ancient, forgotten, and highly emotional episodes of human history. Sigmund Freud, letter to Lou Andreas-Salom THE FREUDIAN TOTEM Man is known by the stages of development which he leaves behind us. This idea is the jump-off point of Freuds Totem and Taboo, a work which merges together the human psyche, Freuds expertise, with society and culture. Sigmund Freud draws from the savage aborigines of Australia his analysis of the formulation of customs and regulations in a particular society using the psychic dread or fear for the wrath of a god-like image. In the first part of Totem and Taboo entitled The Savages Dread of Incest, Freud focused on the natives fear of having sexual relationships with his blood relatives to be able to show how certain fears could be traced to the animistic adherence to a totem, which then dictates what the prohibitions are in an entire community. Somehow, he saw in the primitive Australian the ideal form of totemism. It is for this reason that he used it to expound on his theory that it is from totemism that human institutions arose. Among these primitive Australians, the system of totemism exists in all of their institutions, be they religious or not. A totem is usually an animal representing a single tribe. This animal could either be harmless or not, and everything that the tribe does as a tribe it does in the name of its totem. Although at times a totem could also be a plant or a force of


nature such as thunder, it is more common to have an animal as a totem since it could more likely represent the attributes of a human being. Totem as Guard Against Incest Primitive people consider a totem more than a figurehead to represent their tribe. For them, the totem is literally an ancestor. This is so because the animal that represents their tribe is the same animal that their ancestor used in his heroic deeds way back in time. For instance, a tribe under the totem of an eagle had an ancestor who came to be known as the Eagle during his time due to his keen sense of foresight whenever he engages his enemies. In the course of time, this Eagle was considered by his descendants as the great forefather whom they elevated to the status of a demigod. In being a totem, an animal therefore figuratively seen as the hereditary ancestor of the people, and its spirit is considered omnibenevolent over every member of the tribe. Ceremonies to honor totems are done in elaborate rituals wherein offerings and dances are held. Such ceremonies are so sacred that it would be only at these events that the tribe is allowed to eat the meat of their totem as a sacrificial meal in honor of it. Not only is the totem considered as a figurehead, but also as a god who transcends the existence of every member of the tribe. What caught Freuds interest is the fact that the totems power even surpasses the importance of blood relationships as manifested by the resulting system of exogamy practiced not only by the primitive people of Australia but also of a number of primitive races studied by some of his contemporaries. He supposes that these primitive people, as compared to modern man, need more protection against sexual relations with relatives that the totemic system of prohibiting incest becomes necessary.


In his analysis of the circumstances surrounding the savages, Freud concluded that they need a more powerful guard against incestuous relationships as compared to modern man. It is indeed the totemic system that became the guard against familial intercourse, but one would still fail to establish how the savages came up with it. The complexity of the system fascinates Freud, and through earlier studies by anthropologists of his time, he mapped out the totemic system of exogamy to point out how totemic fear aroused such mental complexity among these primitive people. Freud saw that tribes indeed form totem clans named after and in honor of an animal totem wherein members of the same clan may not marry each other. However, the prohibition does not end there. Members of two distinct totem clans may not be permissible to marry if their clans are incompatible by tribe standards. The system is complicated, as it involves subclasses of totem clans which are matched according to a predetermined system of intermarriage. An illustration in Totem and Taboo1 shows how a tribe is divided into twelve exogamous totem clans. These twelve are then divided into two marriage groups called phratries, which in turn are divided into two subphratries. Only three totem clans would fall under the umbrella of a subphratry, reducing a persons option of marrying someone from only three totem clans.

Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. Taken from The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud ed. A.A.Brill. 781.


Given the complexity of such a system, Freud was left to conclude that the primary purpose of grouping a tribe into totem groups was to restrict the marriage among members of the tribe. The importance of such marriage groups would cease once their purpose is accomplished. Again, what amazes Freud is the fact that the totemic system did not wane from the psychology of these people that even after the accomplishment of its purpose (to prevent intermarriage) the adherence of individuals to their totem image remained. It became the foundation of other regulations in their society. Freud even noted that the aforementioned system of preventing intermarriage among clans is similar to the one in effect in the present Catholic Church.2 Formation of a Social Institution In his analysis, since this fear of the totem is inherent in all religious and social institutions among the savages, it would be logical to presume that it is the foundation of the established laws and restrictions of their society. The establishment of such prohibitions is not necessarily induced from their fear of the totem, but is merely the result of a practical coincidence by which primitive people devised a way to avoid group incest, which they feared could have bad results for their entire tribe. We say practical coincidence in a sense that the totemic system became the most efficient way for the entire society to prevent sexual relations among the same clan even without the coercive force of a governmental body. As to how this system evolved, Freud could never really answer. Nevertheless, what he is sure about is that the fear of the totem evolved to create the institution of fear that society eventually learned to obey voluntarily.

Freud. Totem and Taboo. 781.


Deification of the totem thus becomes the foundation of the social relationships of the Australian aborigines and, as pointed out by Freud, even supercedes the consanguinity of family relationships. The social obligation on the part of these primitive people towards their totem is so strong that society becomes a priority over blood relationships. The fear of committing any sexual act with one who is of the same totem is one remarkable manifestation of this. Freud goes further by describing how the fear of violating totem restrictions psychologically created a sense of dread among relatives belonging to the opposite sex. It is indeed remarkable that such respect for a totem, which is nothing but a mere animal image, imposes upon primitive man a very great sense of disgust over seeing even his mother-in-law! Even Freud is fascinated by the very strong adherence of the primitive man to this totemic system of incest dread, and he finds no other psychological reason behind it other than fear. It is out of this fear that disgust becomes automatic for an individual to the degree that it becomes institutionalized in the form of norms and customs which are based on another concept which is inseparable from the topic of totemism. This is the concept of tabooand Freud tries to draw its significance in every aspect of civilization despite his acknowledgement of the fact that he lacks sufficient familiarity with the said topic. Nevertheless, it is the focus of the second part of Totem and Taboo. TABOOS ARISING OUT OF TOTEMIC FEAR It is in part two of Totem and Taboo that Freud first mentions the term taboo after a lengthy discussion on totemism in the first part. In Taboo and the Ambivalence of Emotions, he describes the term taboo in the contemporary time as branching off into two opposite directions. It could either mean sacred, or could also mean unclean, both in the extreme sense.

Although these are contradictory terms, they both denote one thingdread. Society forbids both the holy and the profane, and reservations always come before us once we come into the presence of these two. This combination of holy dread would always express the meaning of taboo.3 The Concept of Taboo Basically, taboos concern three principles: the sacredness of its possessor, the prohibition arising from this sacredness, and the sanctity resulting from a violation of the prohibition. Taboo could be natural in a person by virtue of his status, as that of a king or a priest. It could also be acquired through family relation or imposed upon a person by another person of distinguished status (such as a king or a priest). Freud himself admits that he himself does not understand how taboo came to be what it is. The restrictions primitive people impose upon themselves are, for Freud, unfounded. The restrictions are for no apparent reason. What is clear is that these taboos aim at the protection of important people, of the weak, or of any person with regards to the wrath of a god or spirits. It could also be imposed by priests to be able to secure property from thieves. There is even a principle that states that the taboo avenged itself. By that we mean that when the violation involved breaking the will of a god (or a totem), then the punishment is deemed as automatic. This concept evolved, and eventually society itself became the implementor of the punishment against an offender. From this came mans first system of punishment. Taboo thus becomes a tremendous force passed onto an individual as transmissible as electricity. Removal of a taboo includes expiatory ceremonies and requires only those with authority to preside. Priests, kings, and dead

Freud. Totem and Taboo. 789.


people are those who possess permanent human taboo, while temporary human taboo is present in people undergoing unusual events in their lives. By unusual event, we refer to experiences such as menstrual flows, participation in wars, and circumcision among others. It is during these events in the life of the individual that he/she is considered tabooed. This temporary taboo is a human taboo, the second highest class of taboo. Of the three types of taboos present in primitive societies, the animal taboo forms the core of totemism, with systems of restrictions very strong. Human taboo only forms the second stage of taboo; while plant/object taboo the last. Taboo vis--vis the Society Freud attempts to map out how taboo became what it is today by looking at what it originally was. But he admits that taboo is such a complicated concept that only descriptive study could be done regarding it. He heavily relies on William Wundts study of Australian aborigines taboo restrictions and from this he tried to draw out how taboos arose within the primitive societies under study. Taboo, as a mysterious attribute of any single entity, always results in a prohibition, and the prohibition always has its corresponding system of implementing itself. Freud thought that there was something psychological about the prohibition system of taboos among the primitive races, but he could not surmise what it was. All he could do is to analyze Wundts study and try to abstract concepts he could use to better explain how taboo came out of primitive consciousness. What is clear is that not a single race or culture in the world has escaped the power of taboo. Our modern contempt over using another persons property without consent or our dread over using certain words are manifestations that even modernity could not completely wipe out cultural taboos.

In a way, society has brought the extreme meanings of taboo together, and what prevailed was its negative meaning. The common contemporary connotation for taboo is prohibition, and dread always accompanies it. Among the ancient races Freud mentioned in the previous chapter, taboo prohibitions are prevalent. He differentiates taboo prohibitions from religious prohibitions, stating that taboo prohibitions are never included in a system of standard abstinences with rationality for the necessity to commit such abstinences. Taboo therefore lacks the justification of moral or religious prohibitions, and is merely rooted unto the culture of the predecessors of those who are beholden to such prohibitions. Taboo could therefore refer to cases upon which prohibitions result to the creation of gods or spirits to be able to back up threats against violators.4 Religion as a By-Product of Taboo It would be at this point that we could perfectly link the idea with totemism, as Wundt himself regards animal taboo, the highest of the three classes of taboo, as the very nucleus of totemism.5 According to him, this kind of taboo in both primitive races and rich cultured peoples could be traced to a common fear: fear of demonic power. These people thought that demonic spirits possessed whatever it is that is tabooed, and as time went by, the concept evolved and the taboo freed itself from the idea of a demonic force and by itself became the foundation of societys customs and laws. This transference of taboo restrictions from the sphere of demons to that of theistic conceptions6 could therefore be seen as the evolutionary process by which societal prohibitions developed. From demonic fear, the primitive
4 5

Freud. Totem and Taboo. 790. Wundt, William. Voelkerpsychologie, Religion, and Myths. 237. 6 Wundt. 313.


people shifted their fear to the sacred god-like totem which, through its powers, avenged taboo violations for the sake of the people. The former fear which was negative became positive when the concept of the totem was introduced. Through this, the people were compelled to follow the restrictions on a positive way instead of a conditional cooperation towards a demon that they feared would harm their tribe. This is consistent with Wundts idea that taboos indeed preceded the concepts of god and the totem. These two latter concepts emerged to back up and improve the system of regulations within primitive races. Taboo could therefore be considered as the oldest unwritten code of law of all humanity, as it precedes the religious age and forms the foundation for contemporary monotheistic religions. If this is the case, then the development of religion heavily depended on primitive mans fear of violating taboo restrictions. But it is not solely dependent on that fear, for a number of factors contributed to the development of religion from its emergence as a by-product of taboo restrictions towards its post-modern form as we see it today. THE RETURN OF THE REPRESSED The totemic system is not immune from the curse of time. It is also subject to an evolutionary process through which it changed forms and adjusted according to the dictates of civilization. Though Freud found it hard to establish the psychological and theoretical roots of taboo restrictions, he did not find it hard to draw out how taboo restrictions paved way for modern mans belief in God. As pointed out in the previous segment of this chapter, theistic fear came from demonic fear, and taboo restrictions are founded on the same


concept with just some modifications regarding the persona of the feared entity. From the Demon, to the Totem, to God Mans first object of fear was the demon. He feared that the demonic spirit/s would get back to him once rules are disobeyed. Then came totemism, and the fear was deviated towards the totem, the caring but strict tutelary spirit of the tribe who punishes his descendants for violating regulations instituted for their own sake. Totemism then evolved to theism, and the totem was replaced by God, whose love for his people is the basis for punishment of violations of his prohibitions. It is in this process that we could see a repressed form of a previous belief unconsciously emerging in a society. This return of the repressed is inherent in all human institutions, and the evolution of religion from totemic fear to its modern form is a perfect manifestation of this. The Death of the Primal Father In a number of his works, Freud uses the concept of the primal father to clearly map out how animosity against a dreaded father evolved into an endearment so intense that the image of the father becomes an image of a god worthy of emulation. The primitive man, in his jealousy of his fathers sexual relations with his mother and sister, harbors disdain against the father. However, since he is under the power of the father, he represses his anger and waits for the proper time to actualize that anger. When he finds the time, he murders his father and rejoices the death. However, a psychological sense of guilt would haunt him, and as time would pass by, the image of the father as a protector and provider would be rekindled and would bring about emulation

from his part. The primal father becomes the totem of the son, and his acts would all depend on what the father would have desired. This concept emerges in a number of Freuds ideas, one of which is the historical fiction Moses and Monotheism (story discussed in chapter 1, review of related literature). In this story, the original Moses, as primal father of the Jewish nation, is murdered due to his intolerable teachings. His death marked the emergence of a new Jewish nation with a new faith under the volcano god Jahve. However, his status as founding father instilled an indelible mark on the subconscious of the Jews, and his teachings reemerged and overwhelmed the new faith.7 Moses thus became the new totem image of the Jewish nation for two reasons: his previous status as founding father, and the guilt out of his murder. According to Freud, the primal father concept is not only evident in humans, as primates also clearly manifest such psychological phenomenon. Gorillas live in hordes wherein a single tyrannical male has the exclusive right to have sexual intercourse with females. At the time that the younger apes think they could take on the primal ape, they would contest with him and the victor would be the new prime ape.8 The dead primal father would then be devoured by the horde, and his meat becomes the sacrificial meal symbolizing the transfer of power to the new master. In effect, the death of the father elevates him to the status of being a totem, and his spirit becomes the light upon which the entire horde looks up to. Tracing the Past In the cases of both Moses and that of the primal ape, the previous force reemerges to topple a newly instituted force. The murder of the primal father
7 8

Freud. Moses and Monotheism. Freud. Totem and Taboo. 871.


would always result to guilt, and guilt would always lead to the deification of the dead father. Return of the repressed, as Friedrich Nietzsche puts it. The fact that this phenomenon is inherent in all social institutions supports our assertion that religions came from societys repressed desire to reinstate its subsequent totem. In using the term subsequent totem, we refer to a previous belief upon which a society traces its basic values and convictions (taboos included); and the succeeding chapter would be dedicated to tracing how a particular society has been molded into its present form by the institutions of its past.


CHAPTER THREE: LEONARDO MERCADO ON FILIPINO CATHOLIC RELIGIOSITY If the triangles made a god, they would give him three sides. Baron de Montesquieu, The Persian Letters THE HIGHER BEINGS The idea that religion has encompassed every civilization is an accepted fact for every educated thinker. Ever since primitive man started to think, he saw some sort of a superior being upon which he gave utmost reverence. Now that civilization has reached its present state, the thinker is left to wonder what religion is for him. Is religion a part of the progress of civilization? Or is it just a remnant of a past that reminds him of his primitive roots? As human civilization progressed, the concept of the supreme being has been a major force in shaping the individual human being. Man has made his God the touchstone of his very existence, and he has devised numerous ways to express his belief in this God. As mentioned earlier, this thesis aims to show how the Filipinos belief in the concept of God developed through the reemergence of the totemic system in every important point of its historyand how it resulted to the religiosity that has become an essential characteristic of the Filipino. This chapter would draw the evolution of the Filipino adherence to the idea of the superhuman from its ancient roots to its colonial inculturation and to its eventual Filipinization. To fully understand this, this thesis would present each component of Filipino religiosity and discuss how they evolved as the Filipino society went through its multifaceted historical progress.


God Through the Eyes of the Filipino The religiosity of the Filipino is not just shown by the lady walking along the aisle of the church on her knees. The religiosity of the Filipino is more than that. The religiosity of the Filipino covers the entire time that he has envisaged a superior being upon which he could confide to and give utmost devotion. The religiosity of the Filipino goes way back to the time that he first started to reason. The Filipino does not ask whether God exists or not. Its existence is not a matter of question,9 and whoever a person is, God is present in any possible way. According to Fr. Leonardo Mercado, the concept of God for the Filipino encompasses everyone. Status and condition in life does not matter. The diversity of the Filipino race is thus reflective of the religious identity of the Filipinos. In Mercados analysis, if a farmer sees God in his harvest, then an activist sees God as a revolutionary hero. A persons preoccupations and biases color his idea of God.10 This is why God is seen in various ways, and personal situation very well determines what God is for the Filipino. In every aspect of life of the average Filipino Catholic, God is something that he always takes into consideration. He leaves the consequences of his actions upon Gods hands. The sign of the cross becomes a routinary act that every Catholic does. It has become part of his day-to-day actions, be they evil or not. This is just one of the reasons why the Filipino Catholic has been regarded as one of the most religious peoples of the world.11 The Filipino does not just owe this religiosity to the Spanish colonizers who baptized him with Christianity, for the religiosity of the Filipino is deeply engraved in his

Mercado, Leonardo. God, Spirits, and the Departed. Elements of Filipino Theology. 39. Mercado. 40. 11 That does not necessarily mean that the religiosity of the Filipino is applied. The Filipino has not yet learned to apply his religion.


consciousness by the ancestors who left an indelible mark on the culture of this nation. But what does the Filipino actually think of his God? Does he know who and what God actually is? In Elements of Filipino Theology, Mercado lays before us what God is for the Filipino. The old Filipino name for God is Bathala. It was derived from the Sanskrit term bhattara, which means noble lord. This is equivalent to other Filipino names for the supreme being such as Panginoon and Apo. These names indicate that for the early Filipinos, God is creator. This is why early Filipino creation myths reflect how the Filipino sees his God.12 Filipino creation myths suggest that the supreme being created the world out of pre-existing material. This is in contrast with the biblical concept of the universe being created out of nothing. This signifies the Filipino adherence to the idea of non-dualism wherein everything is harmonized. Mercado believes that this non-dualistic mentality13 of the Filipino is the reason why the creation story is non-pantheistic, that is, that God thrives in his creation, but he is not what the creation is. Another significant attribute of God for the Filipino is its being remote. The Filipino God is taboo, that is to say, unapproachable, and it is only through intermediaries that man is able to communicate with it. This reflects the highly regarded social stratification in Philippine society wherein the Big People14 are only accessible to the Small folks through intermediaries. This kind of exaltation of God also reflects the apersonal attribute of God for the Filipino believer.
12 13

Mercado. The Filipino Image of God. Inculturation and Filipino Theology. 74. Mercado. Elements. 40. 14 Fr. Mercado referred to the financially well-off as Big People while the ordinary townsmen as Small People. This reflects the social stratification of the Filipinos which dates back to pre-colonial period.


Oriental philosophy sees God as an entity that does not have a persona, and it cannot be embodied by the worldly concept of the person. If this is the case, then intermediaries are indeed a must for the Filipino to be able to understand and be in communion with the impersonal and inaccessible God thus the concept of the spirits. The Spirits The Spanish missionaries realized that it would be impossible to completely erase the pre-colonial superstitious beliefs of the Filipinos. It is for this reason that they just decided to assimilate Christian beliefs in the indigenous culture of the natives. The manipulation of the hierarchical structure of the pre-colonial Filipino spirits, with Bathala at its peak, became easy. Since the veneration of the dead was the core of pre-colonial religion, the Spanish missionaries substituted the saints as intercessors to God in place of dead relatives.15 The veneration of the Virgin Mary easily became a hit to the natives since the image portrays that of a mother. The mother image, being a subconscious yearning in every individual,16 perfectly fitted the persona of Mary. If the images of the saints and the Virgin Mary easily crept into the psyche of the Filipino in place of the ancient spirits they once deified, the image of the evil underwent a different process. The Christian image of evil was fused with the indigenous, and the resulting concept became an assembly of evil forces composed of elements such as the manananggal, tiyanak, aswang, kapre, nuno sa punso, and countless others. These are the
15 16

Mercado. Elements. 46. Psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung spoke of parent images as archetypes in mans subconscious. In the case at hand, the Filipino natives used the psychological concept of sublimation in adopting the devotion to Mary.


opponents of another group of spirits which are not in any way connected to God. This block, composed of the diwata, engkantada, duwende, among others, are indifferent to God and occupy another dimension which could not be traced as one of Gods creations. These concepts deviate from the religious concept of the devil and God, and are usually classified under superstition. However, deeper analysis would show that in some ways, these superstitions are usually, though erroneously, associated with the formation of religion. This is evident in the beliefs of the Filipino regarding another group of spirits which transcends the line between the forces of good and evil. The kaluluwa, or the spirit of the dead, is a unique element of Filipino culture which is very much connected to the evolution of Filipino religiosity. The Dead As mentioned earlier, pre-colonial Filipinos and even the ethnic minorities of the present venerate their dead, and the spirits of these dead relatives were accorded a special place in their religious practices. It is believed that the dead still have interest in the lives of his kin that he remains in their presence in the form of spirit. Ethnic Filipinos express their communion with the dead by food offerings.17 But this connection between food and the deceased is not exclusive to ethnic groups though, as modern Filipinos hold picnics at cemeteries during death anniversaries and All Saints day. This practice reflects the importance of the dead in the religious life of the Filipino. It involves the belief that the dead could intercede between the living and the supreme being. It is mentioned earlier that God is inaccessible, and mediators are needed to be able to reach Him. Since the dead are regarded as being in a higher level compared to the

Mercado. Elements. 46.


living, then they are considered to be worthy as mediators to God. The departed, though in a lower level as compared to God and the saints, have their voice in the transcendental world of the spirits, and could therefore bring the sentiments of the living to God. This is contrary to Western practice which places no power in their dead. If the Filipino prays to his dead mother that their family be spared from poverty by calling unto God, the American prays to God so He may take care of his mothers soul. Though not an exclusive Filipino concept, the veneration of the dead has somehow developed a distinctive Filipino characteristic that sets it apart from others. It has evolved as a fusion between the ethnic traditions of the precolonial era and the foreign influence brought by the Spanish colonizers. This applies not just to this aspect of Filipino religiosity, for it is evident that the entirety of the Filipino religious tradition has been the result of the historical events that have molded this nation into what it is at this moment of history. FILIPINIZED CATHOLICISM The extent by which the Roman Catholic religion has evolved and assimilated into Filipino culture has been well documented and studied by a great number of scholars. However, most of these focused on theory and generalities. Instead of bringing answers to our questions, these arouse more doubt. This is the reason why this thesis aims to bring the matter on a clearer light by deviating from the general concept of Filipino religiosity. The researcher deemed that it would only be possible to achieve the said goal by studying specific components of certain Filipino Catholic religious rituals, and at the succeeding chapter of this thesis, synthesize them with the Freudian concept of totemism. The researcher took into consideration Filipino Catholic practices wherein the concept of sacrifice serves as the foundation. It

would be through the rituals involved in these practices that this thesis would try to trace the extent by which totemism has reemerged in the psychology of Filipinos who participate in them. This thesis would also try to show how these practices are parallel with and at the same time deviant from mainstream Catholic tradition. Fiesta: Jubilation Out of Sacrifice and Death One of the most important features of Filipino religiosity is food. Food plays a central role in the Filipino way of life. Love of food, though universal, has a distinctive importance for the Filipino. Hospitality for the Filipino has been world-renowned for its lavishness on feeding guests. Every important occasion involves food and drinking. For the Filipino, the act of eating transcends the necessity of doing the actits essence is in the fact that eating is a way to be in communion with others. The essence of the meal is not just foodit is the pleasure of company.18 It involves the affection that accompanies the act of eating. This is the reason why the Filipino formed his own customs and rules of etiquette regarding the act of eating. For him, it is unethical to sing in front of the meal, or to leave while others are still eating, or to enter a house where a meal is being partaken without eating too. The importance of food is something that is deeply embedded into Filipino culture, and its importance is reflected even in Filipino religiosity. Jesus Christ, who was considered as a glutton,19 conducted most of his ministry under the backdrop of feasts and wine. In the same way, the Filipino has himself expanded the significance of food into his religious practices most worth mentioning the fiesta. After being introduced by Spanish missionaries as a religious event to commemorate the dedication of a church to
18 19

Mercado. Elements. 177. Mercado. Elements. 179.


a certain saint, the fiesta has been completely Filipinized and now has its own secular, social, political, and cultural dimensions.20 The fiesta has transformed from the colonial religious celebration in honor of a saint into its contemporary form which reflects the entirety of the Filipino cultural identity. The lavishness of the celebrations just astonishes the foreigner. Fiestas are equivalent to family reunions, and localities declare holidays even without government permission. Every sector of the community participates in the celebrations, and the festivities last for days, with huge amounts of money spent. But the central aspect of the fiesta is not really on the activities or the church services. Fiesta is now centered on food. A fiesta without food is not a fiesta at all.21 Due to the importance that the Filipino places on food, the fiesta has transformed from mere novenas and masses for the patron saint to the extravagant feasts held around town. The Filipino has his reasons, chief of which is that the festivities he holds are for the patron saint. The religious aspect, though overshadowed by the aesthetic aspect, remains within the subconscious of the festive Filipino. Though the saint has been set aside by the commercialization of the fiesta, the concept of the death and consummation of the sacrificial meal still lurks behind every Filipino fiesta. Behind the festivities, the religious aspect of sacrifice and the consummation of this sacrifice still serves as the foundation of this highly Filipinized and totally evolved aspect of Filipino Catholic religiosity. This is because the fiesta is held on the death anniversary of the patron saint. It is a commemoration of the death of the person upon which their community looks up to for intercession with God. The death of the saint is celebrated because in a way, the death brings them closer to the supreme being. Again,
20 21

Mercado. Elements. 179. Mercado. Elements. 179.


pain and suffering leading to death becomes the theme behind the celebration, and sacrifice is seen as a medium for sacredness. The fiesta illustrates that for the Filipino, death could be a reason for jubilation. Through the fusion of the cultural fondness of the Filipino for food and the colonial concept of commemorating the dead saint, a distinct Filipino religious practice emerges. In its religious and cultural aspects, the Filipino fiesta reflects the inseparability of sacrifice from celebration. Sacrifice, being a significant component of Filipino religiosity, is the foundation for the celebration of the fiesta. But it should not just be perceived to be confined to fiesta, for it seems that sacrifice serves as the foundation for every Filipino religious custom, and this includes the devotion to the Nazarene of Quiapo. The Nazarene as a Tortured Redeemer January ninth requires Quezon Boulevard and its adjacent roads to be closed for traffic. The heavy vehicular traffic along one of Manilas busiest thoroughfares is replaced by a sea of barefooted people dressed in red shirts. At least a million people flood the vicinity of the Shrine of the Black Nazarene along Quezon Boulevard yearly. A million people with only one goalto see the statue of the tortured Christ. The statue of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo is an embodiment of sacrifice. The anguishing eyes, the thorn-struck head, and the bloodied body of Jesus Christ carrying a heavy wooden cross are images of pain, and the Filipino sees this pain as a way towards redemption, a way towards the divine. The statue of the Nazarene was brought to the Philippines by the Augustinian Recollect friars some time between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Devotion to this dark-skinned image started as early as 1742, when


the Confradia de Jesus Nazareno was established.


This confraternity of

devotees grew in number and their present strength could be seen in the yearly processions of the statue around Manila held every January 9 and Holy Monday. The devotion to the Nazarene is not confined to a specific social class or age bracket, as the devotees come from all walks of life, from politicians to beggars, from rich businessmen to bum drunkards. As early as 2 a.m., devotees come in great numbers to be able to get a better position for the procession of the image at noon. By the time the statue comes out of the church, the throng of people move in unison towards the statue. It is their ultimate goal to touch any part of the Nazarene, but due to the great number of people, throwing a towel and having it wiped on the image is enough. If they are not lucky enough to be near the statue to be able to throw a towel, touching the rope tied on the carriage carrying the statue is enough. They consider touching that rope to have the same effect as that of touching the statue itself. This practice reflects the superstitious characteristic of the Filipino being fused with religion. The devotee believes that the towel that touched the statue would be endowed with healing powers and would bring him blessings and forgiveness. It is an act of gratitude for the blessings of the past and an act of penance for the sins committed and to be committed. Devotees believe that it is through touching the image that they are absolved from their sins for the past year, and not through going to the confessionary.23 The devotees avoidance of fulfilling their religious obligations and using the devotion to the Nazarene as an excuse has been a common target


Jacob, Wilfredis. Religious Experience in the Quiapo Nazarene Devotion. Filipino Religious Psychology. Ed. Leonardo Mercado. 82. 23 Jacob. 89.


for critics of the Quiapo devotion. They contend that this is a manifestation of what Jaime Bulatao called split-level Christianity24 among Filipinos. A closer analysis of the Nazarene devotion would show that it is somehow deviant from Roman Catholic teaching. Even the philosophy of the Second Vatican Council calling for the inculturation of Catholic rituals into native practices25 could not save the Quiapo phenomenon from criticism. In a study done by Sister Wilfredis Jacob of the Congregation of the Missionary Servant of the Holy Spirit, the Quiapo devotion is closer to paganism than to theism, and the devotee seems to be ignorant of this. In fact, as part of the said research, devotees asked regarding the religious aspect of the devotion are dumbfounded on what answer they could give. It would suffice to say that instead of faith and reverence, what really motivates the devotion to the Black Nazarene are fanaticism and utilitarianism. As to how the devotion is not faith but fanatism could be seen by the presence of the superstitious practice of wiping the statue or the rope for the supposed healing attributes. Genuine faith, by definition of the Church, does not equate to that. Such act is a result of a blinded belief clouded by probable desperation on the part of the devotees. Regarding the proposition that it is not reverence but utilitarianism that binds a devotee to the Nazarene, this study is cited: according to Jacobs research, the devotees panata26 is based on a previous material benefit received from the Nazarene.27 They vow to do the devotion year after year because a

Fr. Jaime Bulatao eventually recanted his statement that the Filipino devotee who wipes the feet of a statue is a split-level Christian. 25 Mercado. Inculturation. 25. 26 Whenever a devotee asks for a favor from the Nazarene, he vows to do something if ever the request is granted. The moment the Nazarene grants the request, the devotee faithfully fulfills his vow. Usually, this vow involves the yearly participation in the procession of the statue of the Nazarene. 27 Jacob. 88.


previous wish was granted and fear that the Nazarene might think of them as not having a debt of gratitude brings them to Quiapo to fulfill their obligation. The aspect of fear is important in this respect, as it clearly distinguishes the revered God from the feared God. The devotee therefore does his yearly sacrifice out of subconscious fear, and not really out of reverence. The panata is done to pay for a devotees dues. Since we have mentioned the fusion of Filipino superstitious belief and religion, it would be worth noting that superstition may have gotten the upper hand in this fusion. The religious aspect of the Nazarene devotion has been overshadowed by the folk traditions that have helped this devotion assimilate into Filipino culture. In the final analysis, the Nazarene of Quiapo is not just a monument in commemoration of the death of the sacrificial lamb; the Nazarene of Quiapo is a monument in honor of the fusion of Filipino animism with Catholic religiosity. The Season of Pain, Death, and Rebirth As a monument to the fusion of Filipino animism and Catholic religiosity, the Nazarene of Quiapo serves as a perfect backdrop to complement another aspect of Filipino religiosity that is also founded on suffering, pain, death, and eventual jubilation. The series of religious rituals encompassing the entire Lenten season culminating in the Holy Week perfectly presents the argument of this thesis work. Jesus Christ, as the central figure of all Christian Churches around the world, perfectly fits in the totem image postulated by Freud as the foundation of religious and social prohibitions. But since it is the fourth chapter of this thesis that would deal with the synthesis of the two mentioned concepts, this segment would not extensively discuss them. Nevertheless, for purposes of bringing the topic to better light prior to the

succeeding chapter, a brief narrative on the Filipino observance of the Lenten season is hereby presented: Ash Wednesday. On the Wednesday forty days prior to the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 25, the Roman Catholic Church observes Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of the Lenten season. For forty days, the Catholic faithful are prohibited from eating three full meals in a day. And every Friday within this season, livestock meat is also prohibited. Palm Sunday. The Church celebrates Jesus Christs glorious entry to Jerusalem. His entry to Jerusalem was glorious because the Jews welcomed him as king thinking he would liberate them from Roman bondage before the week ends. This event is commemorated in the Philippines through the Palaspas festival. Holy Monday. The Nazarene of Quiapo is brought out of its shrine for procession. Though not as festive as the January 9 procession, this is just one of the two instances that the image is brought out for procession. Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper is commemorated. The Roman Catholic priest reenacts the momentous night when Jesus and his disciples first celebrated the Eucharist. The priest also washes and kisses the feet of twelve lay people representing the twelve apostles. Good Friday. The Siete Palabras, or Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ prior to his execution is reenacted. As a sign of mourning for the death of Jesus, churches cover statues of Christ and saints with black or purple cloth. No Mass is celebrated on this day. Somewhere else, penitentes whip themselves to show solidarity with the suffering of Christ. Though not ritual loving Catholics, these penitentes believe, like the Quiapo devotees, that through their penitensya, God would absolve them of their sins.


Black Saturday. Again, no Mass is celebrated until midnight when the Easter vigil would commence. Easter Sunday. To celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a High Mass is celebrated and the Easter Pascal candle is lighted. In the early morning, the Salubong, a reenactment of the meeting between Jesus and his mother, is held. THE EUCHARIST: EAT MY BODY Vital to Roman Catholic faith is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist rites were started by Jesus the night prior to his arrest and eventual execution on charges of blasphemy and conspiracy to commit rebellion against the Roman authorities. As he was celebrating the Passover meal with his twelve apostles, he instructed them to do the same rites in memory of him.28 For two thousand years, the Church celebrated this ritual, and it went through innumerable modifications. In spite of the very long time that has passed since its establishment, one idea remained intact in this Catholic ritual: that the bread and wine partaken during the Eucharist is literally the body and blood of Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church bases this doctrine on the words of Jesus to his apostles on that night.
Take and eat it, he said; this is my body. Then he took the cup, gave thanks to God, and gave it to them. Drink it, all of you, he said, for this is my blood, which seals Gods covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.29

28 29

Matthew 26:17-35. Matthew 26: 26-29.


Since then, the Church ate the unleavened bread drank and grape wine to literally partake of Christs body and blood. The consequence of eating the body and blood of Christ is of great significance for the Catholic, for it is an assurance of a place in Christs unearthly kingdom which he said he would establish after his Second Coming. Partaking of the meal is equivalent to eternal life as stated by Jesus,
Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died. But the bread which comes down from heaven is such that whoever eats it will not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give him is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live. For my flesh is the real food, my blood is the real drink.30

The fellowship meal which is the Eucharist is therefore a solemn occasion wherein Catholics eat the actual flesh and drink the actual blood of Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross redeemed those who believes in him. Jesus spoke of himself often as the sacrificial lamb, and reminiscent of Freuds totem meal, whenever Jesus flesh is eaten, his status as god is strengthened. It is tempting to jump into the comparison between the Freudian totem and Jesus as the sacrificial lamb of Christianity, but it is not yet proper to discuss such matters since the scope of this chapter is limited to the phenomenology of the discussed Filipino Catholic practices. The synthesis of this chapter with the preceding chapter would commence on the fourth chapter where the development of the Filipino religious identity would be mapped out by tracing how the Freudian totemic system emerged at certain episodes within the formation of Filipino religiosity.


John 6: 49-50


CHAPTER FOUR: SYNTHESIZING FREUDIAN TOTEMISM WITH MERCADOS STUDY OF FILIPINO RELIGIOSITY TO (DE)CONSTRUCT A FILIPINO RELIGIOUS IDENTITY Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of all present facts; something which gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet is beyond reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and yet the hopeless quest. A.N. Whitehead, Science and the Modern World THE REEMERGENCE OF THE TOTEM The history behind the formation of Filipino religiosity is more complicated than it seems. This chapter would interconnect the concept of totemism with the Filipino religious practices discussed in the previous chapter to be able to prove that from the ancestor-worshipping Filipino of antiquity to the avant-garde multicultural Filipino of post-modernity, religion has played a role more than that of a code of rules upon which man would peek into whenever he feels the pain of a pin pricking his skin. The Totem as Deity Every civilization has had its own primitive religion upon which its present religion is founded. Religions usually originate from primitive paganism, and as discussed in the second chapter, its evolution is a consequence of the progress of civilization. In the course of time, certain aspects of geography, culture, and politics play major roles in the development of a religion. The evolution of the totemic system from being a prohibitory

mechanism against incest to being an organized religion for the Australian aborigines presents the significance of conditions of society in the development of religion. It shows that as the need for such mechanisms arises, society finds ways to adopt certain practices which would bring about the desired result considered best for the entire community. The Filipino concept of God is the result of an evolution of this kind. Considering the type of society of the pre-colonial Filipino, creation myths reflect how God was first conceptualized. The non-pantheistic, non-dualist, and apersonal approach towards a creator-god is based on the general situation of the pre-colonial Filipino society. The totemic system associates godliness to ancestry. The totem image, notwithstanding its animal image, is considered as the hereditary ancestor of the entire tribe. This is parallel with Filipino veneration and/or deification of their ancestors. The Filipino has an affinity with his ancestors which he considers to transcend earthly life. This affinity is manifested by both the ethnic and modern Filipino practice of praying to their deceased for guidance and for intercession to the supreme being. It is in this belief in the ability of ancestors that this thesis would link the foundation of the Filipino concept of God. The Filipino God is a father-figure, a provider, and a protector. The totem, being the hereditary ancestor of the entire clan, is also the father-figure, provider, and protector for the tribe. The primitive people Freud studied looked up to their totem for agricultural prosperity by attributing to it the control of weather and natural disasters. In the same way, the totem is believed to be the primary force behind military success as manifested by the use of the totem symbol as the coat-of-arms of armies. The Filipino God is also remote, and that means that it is unapproachable. This inapproachability of God perfectly reflects the taboo that

the sacred/profane dichotomy incurs to whatever possesses it. Direct communication with God is taboo for the Filipino, and this brought about the need for intercessors. This could be attributed to the social stratification resulting from the Filipino sakop mentality which draws lines of demarcation between social classes. The elites are therefore not accessible to the masses other than through intermediaries. For the Filipino, God, like the socioeconomic elites, is in a different sphere and does not have a persona that they could relate to/with. The spirits of the saints and dead relatives, therefore, are in a parallel position to the Filipino middle classes who have access to the elites by virtue of their educational attainment or socio-political achievement. They are not taboo from both approaching the elite and mingling with the common people. (See figure below) The sacred/profane dichotomy is therefore offset by their educational attainment and social achievents.

As discussed in Totem and Taboo, communication with the totem and the imposition of taboo are exclusive tasks of priests. In a way, they are accorded the status of saints and it is presumed that they embody the will of the totem. In Roman Catholic practice, priests are accorded the same status. Catholic

theology imposes upon its flock the dogma that the priest, whenever he celebrates the Mass or conducts confession, is endowed with the powers of Christ in exercising his ministerial duties of celebrating the Eucharist and absolving sins. This reflects the principle under the totemic system that taboo is transmissible. But this transmissibility of taboo does not just end there. It is also present in the other Filipino religious rituals under this thesis, the discussion of which would commence on the later subchapter that would be focusing on taboo. Then again, this thesis would, for this subchapter, focus on the traces of totemism in specific Filipino religious rituals discussed in the previous chapter, one of which involves the link between the veneration of saints and the act of devouring the sacrificial totem. Feasting on the Totem Meal It is probably the Filipino fiesta that best depicts the ceremonial meal concept of the totemic system. The fiesta is celebrated on the death anniversary of the patron saint of a town (or any local unit). A patron saint is a saint imposed on the locals by the Church. Usually, the patron saint assigned to a certain local unit is dependent on the type of community that the local unit has. For example, an agricultural town as a rule has San Isidro Labrador, the farmer, as patron saint. Whenever the death anniversary of the patron saint comes, the entire community holds elaborate celebrations. The church is decorated, the public park is filled with people, programs and concerts are initiated, families conduct reunions, bands march around town, and banderitas are seen hanging everywhere. Every sector of society plays its part. But above all of the pandemonium that accompanies the fiesta, its most important aspect would have to be food. Fiesta has been synonymous with

lavishness when it comes to food. Every house opens its doors for visitors, both known and unknown. The food aspect, when connected to the core idea of the celebration of fiesta, perfectly reflects the ceremonial meal offered by primitive men in the name of their totem. The death of the totem is the central idea behind the offering of a totem meal wherein the entire community partakes of the meat of their totem animal. Feasting on all sorts of food to honor the patron saint, the local units totem, is the focal point in the celebration of the fiesta. A Totem Pole: the Nazarene of Quiapo If the fiesta presented the ceremonial meal aspect of totemism, then the devotion to the Nazarene of Quiapo presents the other aspect of totemism the suffering of the totem. The bloodied body of a dark-skinned Jesus carrying a wooden cross is a perfect picture of the totem ready for the sacrificial offering. The spectacle that occurs every January 9th and every Holy Monday, which attracts at least a million devotees every year, is the manifestation Filipino totemism, and as shown by the other superstitious practices that the Filipino devotee includes in the profession of his belief in the Nazarene, all that could be concluded is that the Filipino, from the words of Bulatao, is still an animist. The parallelism between the totem of Freud and the Quiapo Nazarene is highlighted by the fact that the Nazarene is an image of suffering, and his pain is the basis for his exaltation. The wounds on the statue are the source of its power over the multitude of devotees. The anguish on the face of the bloodied image fuels the devotees to walk the excruciating procession amidst the unruly crowd that sees nothing else but the statue that each of them targets to touch.


Touch is a key element of totemism, as it is through touch that taboo is passed. Apparently, touch is also a key element in the Quiapo Nazarene devotion, as mere touching of the image is believed to bring cure to whatever physical or even financial burden a devotee has. The Nazarene is therefore the totem pole of the devotees, and the taboo that the statue projects finds no other realization than in the taboo that arises out of the totem of the primitive man. The Epic Road to Totemhood The suffering of Christ is not confined to the Nazarene devotion though. The suffering of Christ is apparent in every tradition instituted by the Catholic Churchmost notable of which is the Lenten observance of Christs passion, death, and purported resurrection. Roman Catholics around the world commemorate the passion of Jesus through the observance of the Lenten season. For the Catholic, it is a season of repentance and reconciliation with God. The forty days covered by Lent starts from the Wednesday forty days before Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is set on the Sunday following the Jewish commemoration of the Passover. On every Friday in the entire duration of Lent, all Catholics are prohibited from eating meat from livestock such as swine, poultry, and cattle. They are also required to drop one whole meal in a day, also for the entire duration of Lent. The reasoning behind these is that it is through these abstinences that a Catholic shares with the suffering that Jesus went through. To culminate the Lenten season is the Holy Week. It starts with Palm Sunday, the feast of the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem.31 When Jesus

Prior to his entry to the city, Jesus apostles forewarned him that a plot was in the making to implicate him into a conspiracy to commit rebellion against the Roman authorities. Jesus ignored the warning and entered Jerusalem where jubilant people welcomed him. The people


entered the city, the crowd waved palm leaves in his honor and laid blankets on his path. The Catholic Church in the Philippines celebrates this event using the palaspas, a handcrafted object made of palm leaves. After the palaspas is blessed at the Palm Sunday Mass, it is taken home and kept or displayed in the house. Most of the time, it is displayed at a conspicuous place or near windows and doors due to the belief that it drives off evil spirits, aswangs, and bad luck. The palaspas is therefore tabooed and accorded totemic power based on the premise that it was blessed at the commemoration of Christs entry to Jerusalem and at the same time to welcome the Holy Week. On Holy Monday, the Quiapo of Nazarene is brought out for procession. Similar to the mayhem on its feast day on January 9, the devotees of the Nazarene once again flood the streets of Manila to join the procession and touch the statue or even just the rope of its carriage. Again, the totem pole manifests its power! Maundy Thursday is a national holiday in the Philippines. This day marks the day Jesus ate his last supper and instructed his apostles to continue the tradition of the Eucharist. A dramatic scene would commence in the church during the Last Supper Mass. There would be a reenactment of the Last Supper, and the priest would wash and kiss the feet of twelve people playing the role of Christs apostles. Eucharistic celebration on this day should be regarded as the most solemn, as this day marks the day Christ first instructed his apostles to continue the ritual until his return. (The discussion on the presence of totemism in the Eucharist would be discussed on a separate subchapter.) The solemn Maundy Thursday ceremony is a universal practice in the Catholic Church, yet Filipino culture is still prevalent in this ritual as
were thinking that Jesus was to liberate them from Roman bondage before the Passover feast was over. Their expectations were failed when Jesus was arrested four days later. Frustrated, the people called for his execution for blaspheming about being Messiah.


manifested by the grin on the face of teens while watching the priest kiss the foot of complete strangers. The next day is a day of mourning. This statement does not only apply to religious people though, as the entire community is indeed in a state of mourning on Good Friday. Also a holiday in the Philippines, Good Friday marks a day when traffic is light, people are nice, and stomachs are empty. This day of sorrow and fasting continues until Black Saturday and ends on the Easter vigil and Salubong of Easter Sunday, the day of Christs resurrection from the dead. There is no doubt that totemism is prevalent in the said religious practices. However, the one that attracts more attention than any of those numerous Church activities is the Good Friday penitensya. In any local community, one would never fail to encounter someone who practices this Filipinized Holy Week ritual. The penitentes inflict pain upon themselves by whipping their back under the scorching heat of the sun. They usually do it in groups and walk around town barefooted wearing crown of thorns. In some instances, they would invite people on the road to join them. Usually, the penitentes culminate their procession in a plaza where some of them are crucified (although the nails they use are sterilized prior to their crucifixion). The spectacle is a usual tourist attraction. In a study done under the auspices of Mercado, Fr. Benjamin Bacciera tried to extract the motives and emotions of the penitentes of Palo, Leyte.32 The penitentes of Palo are unique among the penitentes of other places as they do their rites wearing robes and hoods similar to the ones used by the Ku Klux Klan. At the conclusion of Baccieras study, the unanimous answer of those asked for

This study formed part of the extensive studies done by the Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino, which was later published by the Divine Word Seminary Publication through Fr. Leonardo Mercado.


their motives in undergoing such rites is to do penance for their sins and failures of the entire year.33 It became apparent that the penitentes do such acts to clean themselves of their shortcomings for an entire year. This gives the impression that an entire years accumulation of misgivings could be offset by a days worth of self-flagellation. According to the interviewees, the main emotion behind their sacrifice is fear of punishment from God. Though it happens just once a year, the devotee feels that his Good Friday ritual is enough for his year-long string of sins to be absolved. His fear for the year ends in a day of sacrifice. This reflects the primitive mans fear of his totem. The primitive man believes that his totem watches his actions and could inflict punishment upon him should he defy prohibitions. The most significant prohibition under the totemic system is the prohibition against incest, and the representation of the totem applied to clans and phratries (as discussed in Chapter 2) best imposes this prohibition. Another element of totemism that could be seen in the penitentes is their imitation of the experience that Jesus Christ endured. Their desire to be in solidarity with Christ by undergoing the pain of his passion towards the cross is similar to the primitive mans ritual in sacrificial totem ceremonies. Primitive people mimic the acts of their totem, and it is only on rare and special occasions that they do such tabooed acts. In the same way, the penitentes do such acts of penance, which includes imitating Christ, on the very special day of Good Friday. This once-a-year event puts them in the same situation Christ went through the day he was executed. It is amusing to say that these penitentes, most of which are self-confessed non-practicing Christians and menaces to society, return to God on a single daya day when they carry the same cross and same burden that Jesus Christ, their totem, carried.

Bacciera, Benjamin. Religious Experiences in Palo Lenten Observances. Filipino Religious Psychology. 79.


The Totem Meal! So far, this thesis work has tried to establish the notion that Jesus Christ is the primary totem of Christendom; we say primary because Filipino Christianism has had a great number of totem images which makes it impossible to place on Jesus the exclusive status of being totem. In trying to present Jesus as the totem of Filipino Christianity, the researcher finds one specific component of Filipino Catholic religiosity that best places Jesus on the totem pole. It is none other than the Eucharist. The celebration of the Eucharist is a universal Christian ritual which is not even exclusive within the Catholic Church. However, there are certain aspects which make the Filipino Eucharist distinctive. Mercado gave four natures of the Eucharist34 upon which this thesis work would base the assertion that Jesus is being portrayed by the Eucharist as the totem of Christianity. The first characteristic of the Eucharist is that it is a meal. Early Filipinos celebrate meals in honor of their dead, and the primitive aborigines of Freuds study honor their totem through sacrificial meals. It is the Eucharist, above all Catholic rituals, that perfectly presents the totemic ceremonial meal of the primitive man. For the Filipino, the Eucharist is the fellowship meal by which he could be in communion with others. The importance that the Filipino accords the act of eating is reflective of the value of the Eucharist for his spiritual life. If the Filipino expresses his love for food through the fiesta, it is through the Eucharist that he expresses his love for the soul. The Eucharist, therefore, is the ceremonial meal in honor of the totem who embodies the salvation of the Filipino Catholics soul.


Mercado. Elements. 184.


Another nature of the Eucharist which highlights the parallelism between its Filipino form and the totemic system is its concretization of the concept of the sakop or subject. In the totemic system, each member of the tribe is bound to the group by the totem. The totem serves as a figurehead upon which every individual attributes the essence of his existence. In the Eucharist, Christ serves as the body (even literally) that binds the people together. Partaking of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist makes one feel solidarity not just with Christ, but also with his fellow believers. In the same way, the primitive man feels solidarity with his totem ancestor and other members of his tribe through the ceremonial totem meal. A unique ritual practiced by Filipinos even before the colonizers arrived, the sanduguan (blood compact) is also one aspect that the Eucharist has acquired when it was inculturated by the Filipinos. As a sign of brotherhood, precolonial Filipinos sealed pacts through the sanduguan. Through the Eucharist, Christs body and blood serves as the new instrument of sanduguan through which a believer seals his pact of solidarity with his God. The totem meal, on the part of the primitive man, serves as the sanduguan which seals the regulations setting the prohibitions in their society. The last attribute of the Eucharist echoing totemism in the Filipino setting is that it indicates sacrifice. The blood of the primal ancestor has to be sacrificed for him to become totem. For ethnic Filipinos, sacrificing blood is necessary in every ritual, such as when blood is spilled on a new house to drive away evil spirits. When the Filipino was Christianized, Christs blood became the sacrificial blood that took the place of his previous pagan sacrifices. Sacrifice thus evolved from its pagan roots to its present Catholic form. This element presents the necessity of sacrifice in every religious undertaking, and as


the concept of sacrifice resurfaces on Filipino religiosity through the Catholic Eucharist, traces of totemism just become clearer. THE RISE OF THE TABOO The more manifest totemism becomes in Filipino religiosity, the more does its consequence. Taboo is an essential element of the totemic system, and it is due to this that this thesis would never discount its relevance in the establishment of the Filipino religious identity. To be able to grasp the extent by which taboo has resulted from the development of the Filipino religiosity through totemism, the researcher considered it necessary to identify certain taboo aspects of the religious practices discussed earlier to be able to emphasize that taboo is necessary in the institutionalization of any religious conviction. The Dependence of Religion on Taboo In establishing any organized religion, there is a need to concretize the power relations between the believers and the object of the faith. Doing this warrants the imposition of rules and regulations binding upon every member. The most efficient way of instituting such rules is through the imposition of taboos. As this thesis has presented in the second chapter, taboo arises out of the totemic system of fear based on deliberate adherence and not on coercion. The method by which the totemic system induces voluntary cooperation from its adherents has been clearly shown by how incest dread resulted from the totem clan system. In this light, this thesis moves on to present how Roman Catholicism in the Philippines has utilized totemic fear to institute taboo prohibitions which induced voluntary adherence from the Filipino believer. The Sacred

It has been repeatedly mentioned in earlier parts of this thesis how God, the saints, the spirits, and the dead possessed taboo of different magnitudes. It would not be a burden for this chapter to repeat the discussions done in the previous chapters by elucidating on the taboo of these higher beings. However, this segment would present how taboo became an instrument of control through which the Filipino Catholic was brought into submission. The Black Nazarene of Quiapo is the perfect manifestation of this sacred submission, as the taboo it possesses simply astounds the outsider. The way by which hundreds of thousands of people struggle to be able to touch of the statue reflects the degree of taboo that it possesses. The primary element in the taboo of the Nazarene is the pain that the image projects upon the Filipino believer. The appearance of the statue suggests extreme pain, and the resulting taboo is sacredness. The pain on the face of the Nazarene impresses upon the devotee a sense of association. The devotee associates his personal grief in life with the grief of Jesus, and this solidarity links him with the Nazarene, thus resulting to a degree of affinity that brings about desire on the devotee to take part in the predicament of Jesus by physically touching the image. This is where taboo (as discussed in Chapter 2) arises. This taboo is projected by the devotees belief that touching the statue would result to healing, and that this healing attribute is transmissible through towels wiped on any part of the statue. Even the rope tied to the carriage of the statue is considered to be taboo, as devotees who fail to get near the statue to be able to throw a towel on it would make do with touching the rope. The sacrifice by which a million devotees are willing to go through is the result of the taboo arising out of the image of sacrifice emanating from the Nazarene. The image of sacrifice begets devotion, and devotion results to deification. The

taboo that this projects is the complete opposite of the taboo arising out of dreaded objects as manifested by the taboo on eating meat on Lenten Fridays. The Profane The other face of taboo is the profane. What is not prohibited because of sacredness is prohibited due to profanity. In the previously discussed components of Filipino religiosity, the practice of fasting and abstinence during the Lenten season ideally presents the idea of the profane. As discussed earlier, Catholics are prohibited from eating meat on Fridays during the entire duration of the Lenten season. At the same time, they are also required to skip one whole meal every day during the said period. This taboo arose out of the idea that Christs suffering for his people was too much that Christians ought to make up for the pain that he had endured. The taboo was based on the sacrifice of Jesus, and the commemoration of his death during the Lenten season in effect tabooed indulgence in full meals and meat. The dualism between the sacred and the profane is once again presented on a clearer light by the taboo that arose out of the said Filipino religious rituals. It is therefore necessary to look into taboo not just as a mere contingent element of religious institutions, as its role in the perpetuation of a religious practice is something that could not be simply set aside. It is indeed true that taboo arises out of totemic fear, but once taboo is removed, the totemic fear itself would have no sense at all because a base with nothing on it has no use being a base after all. CONDEMNED? The dualism between the sacred and the profane is the basis for the rise of the concept of the taboo in Filipino religiosity. However, the argument in

the third chapter of this thesis that the Filipino sees his universe in a nondualist light poses a contradiction between the mindset of the Filipino and the resulting religiosity that this thesis is trying to propose. There seems. The fact of the matter is that the present Filipino religiosity is the byproduct of the interaction among forces that have tried to instill different versions of religious truth in the mind of the Filipino. The non-dualist mindset of the Filipino sought to harmonize these forces through deconstructing the opposing sides and trying to patch the differences up. However, in the course of his quest to harmonize the concepts laid before him, he realized that the irreconcilability between the sacred and the profane is actually the harmony that he was looking for. The task of the Filipino thinker, therefore, is to formulate harmony out of irreconcilability by treating opposing forces as sides of a magnet. Opposites attract, so they say. The irreconcilable concepts thus attract every opposing force, and the pile-up results into the genuine Filipino religious identity which is always on its formative stage. It is always on its formative stage because it repels no contradicting force, and finality is something that it is condemned not to ever achieve. Should the Church employ methods to be able to achieve such actuality, it would face several obstacles which are deeply embedded into the subconscious mind of the Filipino. As this thesis has presented, Filipino religious identity is founded on unstable ground, and to be able to reconstruct it, there would be a need to pull it out of its present foundation. There would be a need to uproot the foundation of these religious rituals for the Church to succeed in avoiding the self-destruction that Filipino religions continuous formative stage would eventually bring about. And that is a risk.


The fate of the faith thus lies in the hands of both the lay and the clergy, for the Church does not merely exist as a body of close-minded prelates or a band of blind followers. There is a need for the clothed men to do away with their ritualistic distance from the faithful should they desire to move away from the rock-solid fundamentalism of religious institutions, particularly the Catholic Church hierarchy. The Filipino religious identity should therefore free itself from the cultural merger of colonialism, modernism, and the human subconscious ties with the totem image. However, the task does not seem feasible considering the complexity of the interrelation between the individual psyche and the influence of society. An impossible task it seems, if seen from the perspective of the average Filipino. The Filipino thinker is therefore left with the gargantuan task of reconstructing his faith to be able to build it on a more solid ground. But how could the Filipino reconstruct his faith if this faith is still in its formative stage? He is left with no other choice but to gamble. The Filipino thinker is left to risk deconstructing his religious rituals to open up for new possibilities by which he would establish a better religious identity. He should abandon a faith that is condemned to be ever formative, with actuality a contradiction of its very existence. The Filipino religious identity is therefore a totem pole made up of vertically arranged totem statues. It grows in height whenever a new totem is placed on top of the previous topmost totem. No totem really gets toppled down in the process; they just pile up until the totem pole reaches an intolerable height. Unless the church acts to consolidate its religious truths into an unswerving and cohesive whole, a day would come that the imbalance would eventually cause its collapse and bury the formative Filipino religious identity into oblivion.

It is therefore nothing less than paradoxical to state that the more complex and developed the Filipino religious identity becomes, the farther it gets to the truthand the closer it gets to its demise.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT This thesis paper is a result of the hard work and sacrifice not just of the researcher, but also of other people who contributed to its successful conceptualization, drafting, data-gathering, and eventual finalization. I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to Professor R.Rafael Dolor, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Human Resource Development, for playing a major role in the conceptualization of the topic of this thesis. Also, this thesis was partly made possible by The Bedan, the official student publication of the College of Arts and Sciences. The hours I spent away from my personal computer at home was made productive by the resources of the said publication, and I could not give anything else to express my appreciation for the publication except for my devoted service to its cause by being an exemplary writer and editor. Of course, an archival thesis work such as this could not be made possible without the service of the College Library. Although the head librarian has been most critical to us senior Philosophy majors, we could never discount the fact that the accommodating privileges that were given to us were of great value to the completion of this thesis work. To Professor Maxwell Felicilda, who has taught me that humility is a far more reliable virtue than confidence, I offer my thanks. Without him I would not have realized that utmost dedication for the cause of this thesis work is not enough to make it free from both structural and substantive flaws. Sir, I would like to express my apology for my arrogance during the defense of this thesis, and I humbly accept the fact that my confidence and dedication for the cause of this thesis blinded me from seeing the right path to its perfection.

Also, Professor Daxter Beley has been more than instrumental in the finalization of this thesis work. He has not only shown his concern for the technical betterment of this thesis work, but has been an inspiration for me in the quest for philosophical enlightenment. Lastly, the four years I spent in San Beda College as a Philosophy major could not have been as worthwhile as it could be without the tutelage of Professor Jose Ma. Arcadio Malbarosa. As our mentor, he has molded our batch into the rational and astute critical thinkers that we have become. For his role both as a professor and as a father-figure for this batch of Philosophy majors, the only way by which we could proudly express our indebtedness is by saying that, Sir, we have not been miserable!

JC Sadian March 18, 2005


REFERENCES Bacciera, Benjamin. Religious Experiences in the Palo Lenten Observances. Filipino Religious Psychology. ed. Leonardo Mercado. Badcock, Christopher. Essential Freud. Worchester, 1988. Freud, Sigmund. Moses and Monotheism. Amsterdam, 1939. Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. Vienna, 1913. Grubrich-Simitis, Ilse. Early Freud and Late Freud. London, 1997. Jacob, Wilfredis. Religious Experience in the Quiapo Nazarene Devotion. Filipino Religious Psychology. ed. Leonardo Mercado. Tacloban, 1977. Lehrer, Ronald. Nietzsches Presence in Freuds Life and Thought. New York, 1995. Mercado, Leonardo. Elements of Filipino Theology. Tacloban, 1975. Mercado, Leonardo. Filipino Religious Psychology. Tacloban, 1977. Mercado, Leonardo. Inculturation and Filipino Theology. Manila, 1982.