© 2000 – Routledge
The author provides a detailed portrait of the Spiritual Baptist Faith and Orisha Work, two religions that share a common basis in the traditional religion of the Yoruba in West Africa. Specifically, the author studies the phenomenon of spirit possession, an integral aspect of worship in both religions. In the Spiritual Baptist Faith, a person who is possessed by the Holy Spirit retains his or her own identity, while in Orisha Work, those who are possessed by the orishas (spirits), become the spirits. Both types of possession are based on the Yoruba concept of self in which identity is dependent on the spirit which animates a physical body. This common basis of religions enables the respective populations to interact extensively and explains why an individual can experience both types of spiritual possession.