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The Spiritual QuestTranscendence  in Myth, Religion, and Science$
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Robert Torrance

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520081321

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520081321.001.0001

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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

Possession and Transformation

Possession and Transformation

(p.117) Chapter Nine Possession and Transformation
The Spiritual Quest

Robert M. Torrance

University of California Press

The literature of spirit possession repeatedly emphasizes the contrast between the convulsive spasms of the disoriented novice and the controlled trances of the authoritative medium who is no longer, in the Afro-Brazilian distinction, an undisciplined child, but a mother or father of the god. The initial seizure is not always a call to the medium's vocation. Unexpected encounters with the wild can lead to destruction as well as mastery, and malignant possession, whether from witchcraft or random demons of the bush, may result in wasting illness, madness, or death, unless the invading spirit is exorcized or appeased. If the seizure is diagnosed as a call, moreover, the vocation to which it summons may be that of an exorcist or diviner who will not thereafter enter possession, even if inducing it in others.

Keywords:   spirit possession, seizure, medium, witchcraft, spirit, vocation, diviner

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