Ritual and Magic Potions

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When I read Body Rituals Among the Nacirema by Horace Miner the first time, I couldn’t imagine how a culture could behave this way and live their daily lives following these rituals. They believed that their bodies were ugly and its natural tendency was to debility and disease. They devoted much of their time trying to prevent these characteristics After observing the Nacirema customs, I found it to be crazy that they had shrines with a box or chest built into the wall full of magic potions. Medicine men prescribed these potions which they felt without they could not survive. In this shrine they performed all of their daily rituals in private. Miner explained the mouth rite each individual followed religiously on a daily basis as “Putting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures.” In addition to the daily mouth rites they also visit a holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. The holy-mouth-man uses augers, awls, prods and probes. He uses these tools to enlarge any holes that decay may have caused. He then puts magical powders in the holes. The members of this tribe continue this ritual even though the decay continues. I found it revolting that part of the women’s rites was to bake their heads in small ovens four times in each lunar month. The men used a sharp instrument to scrape their face and even lacerating it on a daily basis. They perform these extreme rituals just to seem desirable. In my opinion the people were foolish for continuing to go the latipso when they were deathly ill to receive treatment. Although most people that go do not recover. Many Small children that need to go there whose indoctrination is lacking, often resist because “That is where you go to die.” Although many adults are eager to undergo the treatments if they can afford it. Members of this tribe are turned away and refused treatment in emergency situations if they...
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