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Holy HarlotsFemininity, Sexuality, and Black Magic in Brazil$
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Kelly Hayes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262645

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262645.001.0001

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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: 28 September 2021

Wicked Women and Femmes Fatales

Wicked Women and Femmes Fatales

(p.3) Chapter 1 Wicked Women and Femmes Fatales
Holy Harlots

Kelly E. Hayes

University of California Press

This chapter examines the intersections of magic, morality, and social marginalization in contemporary Brazil as they are embodied in and through the figure of Pomba Gira. Rather than abstracting this imaginative persona from the human dramas in which she figures, this chapter focuses on the significance of Pomba Gira in the life of an individual devotee, Maria Nazaré de Souza Oliveira, a working-class housewife, mother, and spiritual healer who lives with her extended family on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Situating the spirit within the particularities of Nazaré's life, the chapter explores her relationship with Pomba Gira as a means for “working on the self and the world,” to borrow the historian Robert Orsi's formulation. The chapter suggests ways that individuals endeavor to transform both themselves and the world around them through stories and ritual practices invoking this spirit entity, and how they are transformed in the process.

Keywords:   magic, morality, social marginalization, Brazil, Pomba Gira, Maria Nazaré de Souza Oliveira, Rio de Janeiro, spirit, self, ritual

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