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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The spirit's wish: possession trance and female power among the Punu of Congo-Brazzaville
Author:Plancke, CarineISNI
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa (ISSN 0022-4200)
Geographic term:Congo (Republic of)
Subjects:spirit possession
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/157006611X599181
Abstract:Among the rural Punu of Congo-Brazzaville, possession trance is an essential part of the mainly female celebrations dedicated to the 'bayisi' or water spirits. It is a privileged medium through which these spirits reveal their wishes and condition their willingness to assure the community's well-being. On the human side, in order to be possessed an 'opening of the mind' is requested and needs to be activated through collective song-dance performances that recall the flowing motions of the spirits' water world and convey the longing for this maternal universe. As a critique of the predominant use of the term 'agency' in reference to autonomy and resistance, this paper adheres to a context-based view that relies on the way the actors experience the phenomenon. In line with the Punu reality the paper considers receptivity, in its ambivalent link to suffering, as the main source of the power these possessions grant to women. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]