1st Edition

Some Spirits Heal, Others Only Dance A Journey into Human Selfhood in an African Village

By Roy Willis Copyright 1999
    236 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    Where does 'the self' in 'myself' begin and end? And what do ideas of 'spirit' tell us about the nature of human selfhood? To investigate these poorly understood matters, veteran anthropologist, neo-shaman and paranormal healer Roy Willis spent five months in a remote part of northern Zambia exploring human consciousness in a fascinating and sometimes terrifying series of adventures. This absorbing book tells the story of Willis' and his three local colleagues' quest, as they participate in and film rituals of ecstatic union with nature spirits and talk in depth with experts in managing the awesome powers of a world beyond the ordinary. The narrative follows the research team's day-to-day involvement with rituals of spirit revelation, healing, and exorcism, their encounters with the evil powers of sorcery, and the sometimes troubled relations between team members. The African healers in this book emerge both as exceptional individuals and as pioneering explorers of consciousness. Their experience is surprisingly congruent with our present sense of multiple and shifting selfhoods in the age of global electronic communication.

    List of Illustrations, Preface, Note on Orthography and Style, Introduction: the Making of This Book, 1. Research Assistance, 2. Homeland and Familihood, 3. Managing Time and Space, 4. Making Ethnography, 5. Sorcery Attack, 6. Dreaming Medicine, 7. Dispossession, 8. Afterthoughts: Selfhood in the Global Village, Appendix: Follow-up Reports on Ngulu Patients and Doctors, Glossary of Lungu Terms, Bibliography, Archival Sources, Index


    Roy Willis Emeritus Fellow in Social Anthropology,University of Edinburgh