Cover image for Some spirits heal, others only dance : a journey into human selfhood in an African village
Title:
Some spirits heal, others only dance : a journey into human selfhood in an African village
Author:
Willis, Roy G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford, England ; New York : Berg, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 220 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1380 Lexile.
ISBN:
9781859732830

9781859732885
Format :
Book

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BF1275.F3 W55 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Where does 'the self' in 'myself' begin and end? And what do ideas of 'spirit' tell us about the nature of human selfhood? To investigate these poorly understood matters, veteran anthropologist, neo-shaman and paranormal healer Roy Willis spent five months in a remote part of northern Zambia exploring human consciousness in a fascinating and sometimes terrifying series of adventures. This absorbing book tells the story of Willis' and his three local colleagues' quest, as they participate in and film rituals of ecstatic union with nature spirits and talk in depth with experts in managing the awesome powers of a world beyond the ordinary. The narrative follows the research team's day-to-day involvement with rituals of spirit revelation, healing, and exorcism, their encounters with the evil powers of sorcery, and the sometimes troubled relations between team members. The African healers in this book emerge both as exceptional individuals and as pioneering explorers of consciousness. Their experience is surprisingly congruent with our present sense of multiple and shifting selfhoods in the age of global electronic communication.


Author Notes

Roy Willis Emeritus Fellow in Social Anthropology,University of Edinburgh


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Willis (social anthropology, Univ. of Edinburgh) presents a fascinating, well-documented ethnographic study of ritual trance, sorcery, and healing behavior among the Lungu people of northern Zambia, including relevant excerpts from field notes, in order to highlight the daily perceptions and observations made by his three Zambian research assistants and himself. These notes also serve to bring into focus both the camaraderie and the tensions present among the researchers. Willis's study has a unique twistÄhe describes his own paranormal experiences, which occurred in connection with the trance healing ceremonies that he observed. Throughout, Willis attempts to explore selfhood and consciousness as the Lungu healers see them and draw closer to a Lungu understanding of the spirit forces thought to help the healing process. Although the narrative is occasionally disjointed, this rather nontraditional ethnography should be a useful addition to anthropology collections in large academic libraries.ÄElizabeth Anne Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

"A fascinating, well-documented ethnographic study of ritual trance, sorcery and healing behavior among the Lungu people of northern Zambia
Willis' study has a unique twist
he describes his own paranormal experiences
This rather non-traditional ethnography should be a useful addition to anthropology
collections in large academic libraries."
Library Journal
"I cannot put it too strongly how important it is to publish this book, to correct the balance of ethnography to include the deeper levels of ritual that as yet fall outside the boundaries of "science"
Willis is one of the new breed of experiencing anthropologists, producing meticulously documented ethnography
What the author has done during his fieldwork is to use his own deepest power, that of healing, for his field people
This alone makes the book truly unique
The book shows how he continually edged in his style and thinking towards the ways of the Lungu until he began to experience as they did
In the minds of some anthropologists this is supposed to be impossible, but he can be seen doing it."
Professor Edith Turner, University of Virginia
"A remarkable account of the author's recent field trip in Africa that marks a sea change in the way that anthropologists operate by including deeper levels of reality normally dismissed by orthodoxy."
Network
"Willis writes with the power of conviction."
African Studies Review