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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The place of 'gule wamkulu' in dreams attributed to spirits, nominal reincarnation and spirit possession: the Nankumba experience
Author:Sembereka, George
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Malawi
Central Africa
Subjects:African religions
spirit possession
Nankumba (Malawi)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/29778746
Abstract:Among the Nyanja of Malawi, 'gule wamkulu' is associated with the placation and the nominal reincarnation of spirits of the dead. One way of placating the spirits is by holding 'gule wamkulu' performances, called 'gule wamizimu', dance for the spirits. 'Gule wamizimu' is performed by partly following the 'gule wamkulu' calendar, but mostly at the request of spirits, through spirit mediums. Elsewhere the requests are made through dreams. Not all occurrences of spirit possession require 'gule wamkulu' performances for the placation or propitiation of the spirits involved. Other spirits request favours of a different nature or seize people for divinatory functions. In this article, the author explains the association and dissociation between 'gule wamkulu' on the one hand, and dreams attributed to spirits, nominal reincarnation and spirit possession on the other, as it occurs in the village of Nankumba, Mangochi District, Malawi, based on information collected in September-October 1988 and September 1989. There is a brief introductory overview of the history of Nankumba and Nyanja traditional religion as well as a short discussion of the symbolism of beer, fire and water as they are used in some of the rituals referred to in the bulk of the article. Bibliogr., notes, ref.