Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Spiritual QuestTranscendence  in Myth, Religion, and Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robert Torrance

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520081321

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520081321.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Varieties of Spirit Possession

The Varieties of Spirit Possession

(p.103) Chapter Eight The Varieties of Spirit Possession
The Spiritual Quest

Robert M. Torrance

University of California Press

Communication with the divine through spirit possession is widespread in tribal (as in other) societies from almost every part of the globe. Sometimes, as among the highly centralized Ashanti of Ghana, the spirit speaks through his priest. More commonly, in Africa and elsewhere, the office of medium or diviner is distinct from the priest's, although the same person may hold both. In some tribes, the diviner is identical with the medium, whom some anthropologists call “shaman.” Where the two are distinguished, it is through the medium that the spirit speaks directly, whereas the diviner, though he may at first be empowered by unpredictable possession, thereafter interprets signs such as the patterns of scattered stalks or winnowed grain in accord with strict rules and conventions.

Keywords:   communication, divine, spirit, possession, Ashanti, Ghana, diviner, shaman

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.