Among the healers Stories of spiritual and ritual healing around the world

Edith L. B. Turner, 1921-

Book - 2006

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Series
Religion, health, and healing,
Subjects
Published
Westport, Conn. : Praeger c2006.
Language
English
Physical Description
xxv, 183 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. [173]-176) and index.
ISBN
0275987299
ISSN
1556262X
Main Author
Edith L. B. Turner, 1921- (-)
  • Breakthrough to healing : the sighting of an African spirit
  • Energy healing
  • The experience of power
  • Scenes of the imparting of power
  • The presence of spirits in healing
  • The idea of communitas
  • Patterns of healing.
Review by Choice Reviews

Anthropologist Turner (Univ. of Virginia) 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. Readers looking for in-depth anthropological analyses of these healing experiences, including their political, historical, and social specificities and dimensions, will need to look elsewhere. 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. The danger of collapsing specific and key differences among these varied healing experiences and the lack of critical probing into their culturally specific meanings, however, make the book of limited use for academic courses. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. Copyright 2006 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Tells the compelling story of spiritual healing traditions from around the world, revealing the body-soul link in a variety of religious settings.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)