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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Witchcraft and sorcery: Yoruba beliefs and medicine
Author:Osunwole, S.
Periodical:Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies
Geographic term:Nigeria
Abstract:Among the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria, belief in witchcraft and sorcery forms an important aspect of their world view. The author attempts to make a distinction between witches and sorcerers, methods of transmission of withcraft and sorcery, the functions of witches and sorcerers and how they are controlled or accommodated. Both witches and sorcerers are humans who possess supernatural powers to wreak havoc and cause misfortune at different levels of the world. Witches acquire their powers from the cosmic realm by metaphysical means. The power is purely psychic without the use of medicine. Sorcerers acquire their powers from bad practitioners or sorcerers like themselves. Medicines are in the form of herbal remedies and may also be rituals or charms. Witchcraft among the Yoruba can be inherited through transmission from mother to daughter or a close relative, or from father to son. Another form of transmission of witchcraft is through initiation based on mutual agreement between the witch and the one who becomes a witch. Both witches and sorcerers cause misfortune and ill-health to all their enemies. However, their activities are checked by the powers known to diviners, healers, faith healers and the gods. Ref.