Spirit Possession Rituals Research Paper by Jay Writtings LLC

Spirit Possession Rituals
This paper compares the spiritual possession ceremonies of Haitian Voudou and the Songhay people of Niger.
# 119952 | 2,114 words | 5 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on May 30, 2010 in Anthropology (African) , Religion and Theology (Other)

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In this paper the author compares the rites of two spiritual possession ceremonies, finding their common roots and their reasons for existence. First, the paper takes a look at the Songhay people of Niger and their spirit possession troupes. Various reasons are suggested for the need of these ceremonies. Next, the author examines the similarities between Haitian Vodou and spiritual possession of the Songhay, citing that Vodou was influenced by various religions brought to Haiti by African slaves The Vodou ceremonies and symbols are described at length.. The paper concludes by reiterating the functions of spirit possession, highlighting how it brings people together in times of need and helps people make sense of the harsh world in which they live.

From the Paper:

"Spirit possession in Songhay culture is strikingly similar to that seen in Haitian Vodou. Haiti's slave population was largely built up with African inhabitants in the eighteenth century (Brown 1987:66). Now, Haitians speak of Ginen(Guinea) as their ancestral home (Brown 2001:22). Since Haitian Vodou is influenced by various religions brought to Haiti by slaves, it makes sense that spirit possession in Haitian and Songhay culture is so similar. In Haitian Vodou there are "families" who come together to celebrate the spirits, and in Songhay culture there are possession troupes that stage ceremonies to appease the spirits."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brown, Karen McCarthy 2001 Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Brown, Karen McCarthy 1987 Voodoo. In The Encyclopedia of Religion. Mircea Eliade, editor. New York: Macmillan.
  • Olkes, Cheryl, and Paul Stoller 1987 In Sorcery's Shadow: A Memoir of Apprenticeship Among the Songhay of Niger. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Stoller, Paul 1995 Embodying Colonial Memories: Spirit Possession, Power, and the Hauka in West Africa. London: Routledge.
  • Stoller, Paul 1989 Fusion of the Worlds: An Ethnography of Possession Among the Songhay of Niger. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Spirit Possession Rituals (2010, May 30) Retrieved December 06, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/research-paper/spirit-possession-rituals-119952/

MLA Format

"Spirit Possession Rituals" 30 May 2010. Web. 06 December. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/research-paper/spirit-possession-rituals-119952/>