A celebration of demons: Exorcism and the aesthetics of by Bruce Kapferer

By Bruce Kapferer

The Sinhalese exorcism rituals are probably the main complicated and the main impressive in functionality nonetheless extant. For this moment version, the writer has written a brand new preface and advent during which he argues that the concepts of therapeutic in Sri Lanka and the aesthetics of this therapeutic can't be diminished to Western psychoanalytic or psychotherapeutic phrases, and develops new and unique ways to ritual and the cultured generally.

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Additional resources for A celebration of demons: Exorcism and the aesthetics of healing in Sri Lanka

Sample text

These functions, and the fact that ayurveda is a traditional Sinhalese specialism and contains principles and ideas relevant to other traditional practices, give the other Sinhalese p r a c t i c e s - including exorcism - some of their legitimacy among ordinary Sinhalese. Sinhalese frequently appeal to a variety of specialists in diverse areas of p r a c t i c e for a single event of illness. Thus, someone who is ill may seek the services of both a Western-trained medical doctor and an ayurvedic physician, visit an astrologer, attend a deity shrine, and have an exorcism performed.

He cannot be approached for help. But in practice individuals direct rituals and offerings to him in the expectation that this show of devotion and piety will bring rewards. At times of personal crisis, individuals will appeal to him for assistance. The Buddha has presidential status in all rituals which address supernatural beings, as the organization of gesture and offerings in rituals shows. The Buddha is worshipped with hands on the head or forehead, deities are approached with hands clasped at the chest or further down, while the demons are shown no respectful obeisance at all.

Illness is not viewed as an accidental, discrete event, unrelated to other misfortunes that may befall an individual or family. A specific illness is frequently regarded as but part of a general syndrome which may include other " l a m i t i e s and misfortunes, such as the loss of a job, failure in business, accidents, or a quarrel with a friend or neighbor. Western medical explanations of sickness, and to some extent the explanations and t r e a t m e n t s of vedaralas, r e l a t e to a specific instance and do not address its particularity in the manifold dimensions which many Sinhalese consider important.

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