Among the Healers: Stories of Spiritual and Ritual Healing Around the World / Edition 1

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Every day, everywhere in the world, people deal with sickness (both physical and mental), and must choose ways to address the illnesses from which they suffer. Some will go to doctors, take medicine, have surgery. Others will do nothing. Still others try a combination of prayer and medical attention. And some communities rely on religious, spiritual, and ritual healing methods that employ various techniques to heal their loved ones. Here, a renowned anthropologist takes the reader on a tour of the myriad spiritual healing traditions from around the world. Lessons from communities in rural Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, Israel, Russia, Africa, and the U.S. will provide a road map for readers as they navigate through the many traditions, rituals, and sacred mysteries of healing.

Eleven degrees south of the equator in Africa, members of a small, mud-hut village gathered around a little African shrine—just a forked pole—to heal a member of their community. Holy things were being done. Music played. The old medicine men sang, and everyone joined in. The crowd was intent on singing-out a harmful spirit from the body of a sick woman. Would the ritual work? Would the woman be healed? The stories and anecdotes found here will enlighten readers about alternative, non-medical approaches to healing a variety of illnesses through spirit and ritual. The stories, told from first-hand accounts in many cases, are fascinating and will move readers to a greater understanding of the role of religion and the spirit in the life of the body. Anyone facing an illness of any sort, or caring for a loved one, will find strength in these pages, and possibly new approaches that engage the mind, the spirit, and the body in the fight against sickness.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In order to make the exotic familiar and to make the familiar exotic, the editor of the Anthropology and Humanism journal, shares lessons she learned from studying diverse spiritual healing traditions. In her experiential approach, Turner includes her own and other anthropologists' accounts, from the singing out of spirits in patients in Africa to alternative healing in the U.S. The 23 stories address the themes of energy, experiencing power, transmitting power, spirits, and community. Several B&W photos feature healers, their herbs and rituals."


Reference & Research Book News

"Anthropologist Turner aims to convince readers of the truth and factuality of spiritual and ritual healing. For evidence, the author draws on her extensive experiences in a variety of fieldwork locations and on an array of excerpts from writings by anthropologists and ritual practitioners. She classifies healing experiences by cause—energy, power, or spirits—highlighting throughout the book the role of communities rather than religion, region, or time period….For readers who seek evidence that people worldwide experience divinely inspired healing, the book will have appeal. The text may encourage readers interested in a particular kind of healing experience to pursue the author's original text and argument, which offers a way of popularizing this often-arcane area of the anthropology of religion….Recommended. General Readers."



"Turner brings together stories about healing experiences that are documented by anthropologists involved in healings, and traces the personal calling of the healers. Turner, an anthropologist herself, connects various cultural and spiritual experiences around the world through the similarities of the afflicted person, the healer, and the rituals. Her passion is expressed by the collection of firsthand accounts of the healer and the anthropologist recording the sacred experience. After each story, the author ties together parallel themes of the ritual healing….This book connects multiethnic religions, spirituality and medical science and is recommended for large public and college and university libraries."


MultiCultural Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275987299
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Series: Religion, Health, and Healing
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

EDITH TURNER is a renowned anthropologist and editor of the journal Anthropology and Humanism. Her books include: The Hands Feel It: Healing and Spirit Presence among a Northern Alaskan People (2003), Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture: Lectures on the History of Religions (1995), Blazing the Trail: Way Marks in the Exploration of Symbols (1992).

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Table of Contents

Series foreword
Introduction : coming to recognize spiritual healing
Ch. 1 Breakthrough to healing : the sighting of an African spirit 1
Ch. 2 Energy healing 25
Ch. 3 The experience of power 57
Ch. 4 Scenes of the imparting of power 83
Ch. 5 The presence of spirits in healing 103
Ch. 6 The idea of communitas 141
Ch. 7 Patterns of healing 161
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