Weaving the Threads of Life: The Khita Gyn-Eco-Logical Healing Cult among the Yaka / Edition 2

Weaving the Threads of Life: The Khita Gyn-Eco-Logical Healing Cult among the Yaka / Edition 2

by Rene Devisch, Renaat Devisch
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226143627

ISBN-13: 9780226143620

Pub. Date: 11/28/1993

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

For the Yaka of Southwestern Zaire, infertility is a tear in the fabric of life, and the Khita fertility ritual is a trusted way of reweaving the damaged strands. In Weaving the Threads of Life Rene Devisch offers an extended analysis of the Khita cult, which leads to an original account of the workings of ritual healing.

Drawing on many

…  See more details below

Overview

For the Yaka of Southwestern Zaire, infertility is a tear in the fabric of life, and the Khita fertility ritual is a trusted way of reweaving the damaged strands. In Weaving the Threads of Life Rene Devisch offers an extended analysis of the Khita cult, which leads to an original account of the workings of ritual healing.

Drawing on many years among urban and rural Yaka, Devisch analyzes their understanding of existence as a fabric of firmly but delicately interwoven threads of nature, body, and society. The fertility healing ritual calls forth forces, feelings, and meanings that allow women to rejoin themselves to the complex pattern of social and cosmic life. These elaborate rites—whether simulating mortal agony and rebirth, gestation and delivery, or flowering and decay; using music and dance, steambath or massage, dream messages or scarification—are not based on symbols of traditional beliefs. Rather, Devisch shows, the rites themselves generate forces and meaning, creating and shaping the cosmic, physical, and social world of their participants.

In contrast to current theoretical methods such as postmodern or symbolical interpretation, Devisch's praxiological approach is unique in also using phenomenological insights into the intent and results of anthropological fieldwork. This innovative work will have ramifications beyond African studies, reaching into the anthropology of medicine and the body, comparative religious history, and women's studies.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226143620
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
11/28/1993
Edition description:
1
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue1
1Field and Method11
1.1The Yaka People11
1.2Fieldwork20
1.3Bantu Cults of Affliction23
1.4Healers in the Town25
1.5Healing as a Social and Theatrical Drama: A Critique33
1.6Body and Weave: A Semantic-Praxilogical Approach37
2The Cosmology of Gender Arrangements and Life Transmission53
2.1Horizontal and Vertical Spice54
2.2Cosmological Portrayal of Gender60
2.3Animals and Plants74
2.4Capturing and 'Cooking' Untamed Forces86
3The Social Formation of Life Transmission92
3.1Life-hearing and Nurturing in the Homestead93
3.2Marriage as a Transfer "Along the Path to the Village"101
3.3The Reproductive Cell106
3.4The Two-forked Tree of Agnatic Descent and Uterine Filiation115
3.5Hunting versus Sorcery, and the Fabric of Kin122
4Body, Group, and Life-world: Between Maze and Weave132
4.1Physical and Sensory Modes of Contact134
4.2The Relational Body139
4.3The Body and Its Afflictions146
4.4Cults of Affliction and Communal Sodalities147
5Impediments to Life Transmission161
5.1Masculinist Views on Human Agencies in Infertility164
5.2Divinatory Etiology and the Work of Cults169
5.3Etiology as an indication of Therapy173
6The Khita Fertility Cult: Reversing the Evil179
6.1Khita and Similar Cults180
6.2The First Stage: Reversing the Persecution into Uterine Bonds of Life Transmission183
6.3The Second Stage: The Decay and Cooking of Generative Forces196
7The Khita Fertility Cult: Reorigination of the Fabric of Body, Kin, and Life-world213
7.1The Third Stage: Seclusion in the Uterus of the World214
7.2The Fourth Stage: Emancipating Forest Forces into Social Fecundity224
7.3Relapse of Illness244
7.4Fertility Rituals and Analyses Compared: A Look at Victor Turner245
8The Body as the Weaving Loom of Healing and Life255
8.1The Role of Music and Dance in Healing259
8.2The Source of Healing264
8.3Paradox, Transgression, and Homeopathic Healing267
8.4A Ternary Logic of Mediation and Effusion in Self-healing276
Epilogue282
Appendix A: A Case of Infertility285
Appendix B: Herbarium293
Maps296
Notes299
References315
Index325

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >