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Taming the Wind of DesirePsychology, Medicine, and Aesthetics in Malay Shamanistic Performance$
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Carol Laderman

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780520069169

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520069169.001.0001

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An Introduction to Malay Shamanism

An Introduction to Malay Shamanism

(p.3) 1 An Introduction to Malay Shamanism
Taming the Wind of Desire

Carol Laderman

University of California Press

This chapter provides an introduction to Malay shamanism, first as the author herself was introduced to it, and later through a review of changing Western attitudes toward the phenomenon. Malay shamanism has attracted the attention of foreign writers and researchers for more than a hundred years. The spirit-raising séance first appeared in Western literature as demon worship, the very existence of which is scarcely known, since there are probably not many Englishmen who have witnessed the frantic dances of the Pawang, or listened to the chant and drum of the Bidu [bomoh] beside the bed of some sick or dying person. Early accounts of Malay séances show that they occurred in many parts of the Peninsula, although, even at the turn of the century, we were cautioned that they were “very seldom undertaken.”

Keywords:   Malay shamanism, Western attitudes, séances

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