Some Spirits Heal, Others Only Dance: A Journey into Human Selfhood in an African Village

Some Spirits Heal, Others Only Dance: A Journey into Human Selfhood in an African Village

by Roy Willis
     
 

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Where does 'the self' in 'myself' begin and end? And what do ideas of 'spirit' tell us about the nature of human selfhood? To investigate these poorly understood matters, veteran anthropologist, neo-shaman and paranormal healer Roy Willis spent five months in a remote part of northern Zambia exploring human consciousness in a fascinating and sometimes terrifying

Overview

Where does 'the self' in 'myself' begin and end? And what do ideas of 'spirit' tell us about the nature of human selfhood? To investigate these poorly understood matters, veteran anthropologist, neo-shaman and paranormal healer Roy Willis spent five months in a remote part of northern Zambia exploring human consciousness in a fascinating and sometimes terrifying series of adventures.

This absorbing book tells the story of Willis' and his three local colleagues' quest, as they participate in and film rituals of ecstatic union with nature spirits and talk in depth with experts in managing the awesome powers of a world beyond the ordinary. The narrative follows the research team's day-to-day involvement with rituals of spirit revelation, healing, and exorcism, their encounters with the evil powers of sorcery, and the sometimes troubled relations between team members.

The African healers in this book emerge both as exceptional individuals and as pioneering explorers of consciousness. Their experience is surprisingly congruent with our present sense of multiple and shifting selfhoods in the age of global electronic communication.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Willis (social anthropology, Univ. of Edinburgh) presents a fascinating, well-documented ethnographic study of ritual trance, sorcery, and healing behavior among the Lungu people of northern Zambia, including relevant excerpts from field notes, in order to highlight the daily perceptions and observations made by his three Zambian research assistants and himself. These notes also serve to bring into focus both the camaraderie and the tensions present among the researchers. Willis's study has a unique twist--he describes his own paranormal experiences, which occurred in connection with the trance healing ceremonies that he observed. Throughout, Willis attempts to explore selfhood and consciousness as the Lungu healers see them and draw closer to a Lungu understanding of the spirit forces thought to help the healing process. Although the narrative is occasionally disjointed, this rather nontraditional ethnography should be a useful addition to anthropology collections in large academic libraries.--Elizabeth Anne Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781859732885
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
06/28/1999
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.53(d)

Meet the Author

Roy Willis is an Emeritus Fellow in Social Anthropology, at the University of Edinburgh.

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