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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Spirit Possession Cults in a Comparative Perspective: A Modern Amhara Village and Ancient Greece
Author:Hecht, Elisabeth-Dorothea
Year:1996
Periodical:African Study Monographs
Volume:17
Issue:1
Pages:1-34
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:African religions
spirit possession
Amhara
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://jambo.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/asm/normal/asm_17-1.html
Abstract:Spirit possession cults are still found today in various parts of the world. The example described here is that of a Tänquay, a ritual functionary of a possession cult in Jehur, an Amhara village in the highlands of Ethiopia, whom the author met in 1971 and 1972. She describes how the Tänquay presented herself, her self-image and the image which she had created among the local population, her methods of operation and her interactions with the inhabitants of the region. Not only the Tänquay's visitors, but she herself as well, were sincerely convinced that she was possessed by a spirit or by several spirits, and that it was spirits who spoke through her and used her as mouthpiece. The phenomenon of spirit possession can function only if everyone concerned believes in it, and a great part of the Tänquay's success may be due to the sincerity of belief of all those involved. The promises the Tänquay's spirits made were quite simple and very much in keeping with the interests of the local people: to find things which had been lost, to help barren women have children, to tell the future, to punish those who had broken the unwritten laws of traditional society, and to cure the sick. Comparison with the possession cults of ancient Greece, in particular the Oracle of Delphi, indicates that this was the same phenomenon. App. (Amharic text, transliteration and translation of interview with the Tänquay), bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.
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