Chapter 9: Coping with life: Religion, World View, and Healing
Uncertainty/Forces beyond their control = illness, misfortune, death -> counteract forces/gain some control over their lives = cultural meaning and sense of things (VERY important). Dobe Ju system = forces beyond natural = high god, lesser god, animal spirits (bring luck, misfortune, success and failure). Gangwasi = ghosts of the recently deceased = cause illness and misfortune. Restore health/good fortune = herbs, spells, and magic spells and practices … n/um = magical medicine/energy given by the gods to enter in trances and heal people. Plead, argue and battle the gangwasi to leave them alone.
Trances = in all-night dances, change, new manifestation, and revelation in dreams, trances and illnesses. Pragmatic in other belief systems = African witchcraft and European medicine and practices. Lee’s experience: Kasupe (Dobe member), curing ceremony, middle of the afternoon, women singing, healer rubbing body with sweat and moaning -> Kasupe fell into a lion’s trap set by the Herero hurting his ankle really bad -> wound really infected (dirt and blond and dirty bandages) -> healer said, “It’s not the leg killing him, it’s dead N=isa; angry, dead, N=isa”. Healers = trance = change into something else = see things ordiary people can’t = mind goes blank, no pain, ground spins = ghosts themselves = see the dead (gangwasi). Alive = good; when they die = turn bad.
God or the gangwasi can kill people.
Several origin myths -> eg. humans and animals lived together in a village led by an elephant. Two major deities = high god (big big god) and low god (trickster god). Different myths about the nature of gods = high-good, low-evil (or viceversa); high-creator, low-destroyer/death; high-creator&destroyer. “Heaven ate him/her” if the person lived a long life and died peacefully, but if the person dies from an illness or accident then gangwasi are involved. Healers interact with ganwasi differently = some...
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