witchcraft and sorcery in east africa pdf

Witchcraft and sorcery in east africa pdf

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Witchcraft and Sorcery in East Africa | UVA Library | Virgo

Table of contents

Table of contents

Motive Rather than Means.

Witchcraft and Sorcery in East Africa | UVA Library | Virgo

Richard W. Lieban, Witchcraft and Sorcery in East Africa. Edited by John Middleton and E. Foreword by E. New York: Frederick A.

The same dichotomy between sorcery and witchcraft exists sometimes more ambiguously in the beliefs of many peoples throughout the world. Again, witches are typically seen as particularly active after dusk, when law-abiding mortals are asleep. According to traditional Navajo belief, when a witch travels at night, he wears the skin of a dead animal in order to effect a transformation into that animal. In some African cultures witches are believed to assemble in cannibal covens , often at graveyards or around a fire, to feast on the blood that they, like vampires, extract from their victims. Like those in Western society suspected of child abuse and Satanism , African witches in the popular imagination are believed to practice incest and other perversions. It can be activated merely by wishing someone ill and is thus a kind of unspoken, or implicit , curse.

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As a set of beliefs that varies region by region and has a good many consequences in everyday life, African witchcraft is in many respects similar to corresponding sets of beliefs found among peoples of other continents. African systems, however, are of great interest because they have some unique features and because they have provided material for the formulation of definitions and the development of theories of worldwide application. Most African societies — though not all — hold the cardinal belief that certain members of the community are in the habit of using supernatural means for illicitly destroying the interests, or even the lives, of their fellows. This basic tenet has led Africans to attribute to persons designated by terms we might translate as "witches" or "sorcerers" characteristics that resemble those of their counterparts elsewhere. Beliefs about witches are, of course, not directly observable, but they may have overt consequences in everyday life. Thus African witches in the generic sense, including sorcerers are believed to harm others either because they possess powers of which they may not be aware and which their fellows find incomprehensible that emanate from their aberrant personalities or because they perform antisocial magic, technically referred to as "sorcery" see below.

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Containing ten essays by anthropologists on the beliefs and practices associated with witches and sorcerers in Eastern Africa, the chapters in.


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