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Sacred Landscape, Healing Landscape

“Taking the Waters” in Tunka Valley, Russia

Katherine Metzo

This article examines the sacred mineral springs in Arshan, Buriatiia. These springs have been inscribed as sacred due to their medicinal properties and are marked as sacred through rituals and material offerings. Residents lament the loss of healing, and implicitly sacred, strength of Arshan. The author argues that the sense of loss is due to the medicalization of healing in Tsarist and Soviet times and from the commodification of this type of sacred site through bottling and tourism.

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"Ceremonies of Renewal"

Visits, Relationships, and Healing in the Museum Space

Laura Peers

Access to heritage objects in museum collections can play an important role in healing from colonial trauma for indigenous groups by facilitating strengthened connections to heritage, to ancestors, to kin and community members in the present, and to identity. This article analyzes how touch and other forms of sensory engagement with five historic Blackfoot shirts enabled Blackfoot people to address historical traumas and to engage in ‘ceremonies of renewal’, in which knowledge, relationships, and identity are strengthened and made the basis of well-being in the present. The project, which was a museum loan and exhibition with handling sessions before the shirts were placed on displays, implies the obligation of museums to provide culturally relevant forms of access to heritage objects for indigenous communities.

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Healing the Nation

In Search of Unity through the Holy Spirit in Vanuatu

Annelin Eriksen

The rapid growth of new Pentecostal churches in the South West Pacific nation Vanuatu is the focus of this article. It is argued that we need to look at the social dimensions of new religious movements—the way that the social in itself becomes the key to a transformed life—in order to gain an understanding of these movements' significance and proliferation in this area. This does not imply that the religious in its ontological sense is not important, but that this might be inseparable from the social—the rules and regulations, the activities and meetings. In order to highlight this dimension of the new churches, the literature on the cargo movements from Melanesia is used as a comparative background.

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Anthropologists and Healers

Radical Empiricists

Edith Turner

what Jung called their ‘collective unconscious’, and what Thomas Fowler (2008) refers to as the ‘psyche’. Like anthropologists, healers such as Claire are what I call ‘radical empiricists’: they go by what their hands feel and what they see with their

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Between Ordinary Pain and Extraordinary Knowledge

The Seer Vanga in the Everyday Life of Bulgarians during Socialism (1960s-1970s)

Galia Valtchinova

This article focuses on a little-known aspect of everyday life in socialist Bulgaria: the act of consulting a clairvoyant for health issues, thereby dealing with the broader process of medicalisation of healing. It is grounded on files from consultations with the renowned Bulgarian seer, prophetess and healer baba Vanga, which were collected between 1966 and 1974. These highly specifi c historical sources allow me to analyse late twentieth-century ideas and notions of health and disease, of pain and suffering, and thus to access social realities, cultural practices and representations of healing under socialism. By scrutinising the categories used in these records, the article delineates the relationship between the seer-healer, her patients, and the state institutions involved in the regulation of this process.

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Kyrgyzchylyk

Searching New Paradigms for Ancient Practices

Gulnara Aitpaeva

This essay discusses the concept of kyrgyzchylyk (rather inadequately rendered in English as 'Kyrgyzness') as a way of transcending different boundaries: the Soviet past, Koran-based Islam, rational thinking. Several aspects of the concept and its meaning in everyday life are discussed; in particular the idea of kyrgyzchylyk as spirituality is examined. Moreover, the concept can be seen as transcending the boundaries between traditional beliefs and Islam. Traditional practitioners - healers, clairvoyants, epic storytellers, sacred sites custodians and others - are seen as becoming powerful people through their practices, and the role of kyrgyzchylyk in the context of the traditional worldview is assessed.

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Shu-Yuan Yang

Christianity functions as a significant identity marker for the Bunun, an Austronesian-speaking indigenous people of Taiwan. However, identity construction and boundary maintenance are not given by them as immediate reasons for conversion. Instead, the continuity between Bunun traditional beliefs and Christianity is commonly viewed as the most important reason why the latter took strong hold among the Bunun. This article aims to explain why this is so, and to illustrate how the Bunun have transformed Christianity from a foreign religion into something that is familiar, indigenous, and of their own. Among the local Christians, theology is downplayed in favor of piety, which is cultivated and expressed through practical activities. Healing, in particular, is seen as a demonstration of the power of the Christian God and constitutes the Bunun experience of Christianity.

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Johan Wedel

This article focuses on efforts to overcome the divide between state legality and local practices. It explores a pragmatic effort to deal with witchcraft accusations and occult-related violence in customary courts among the Miskitu people in Eastern Nicaragua, taking into account both indigenous notions of justice and cosmology, and the laws of the state. In this model, a community court (elected by the community inhabitants and supported by a council of elders), watchmen known as ‘voluntary police’ and a ‘judicial facilitator’ play intermediary roles. Witchcraft is understood and addressed in relation to Miskitu cultural perceptions and notions of illness afflictions, and disputes are settled through negotiations involving divination, healing, signing a legally binding ‘peace’ contract, a fine, and giving protection to alleged witches. This decreases tensions and the risk of vigilante justice is reduced. The focus is on settling disputes, conciliation and recreating harmony instead of retribution.

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Shane Harrison

Gartner, Richard B., ed. 2018. Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse . Oxon: Routledge. 368 pp. $44.95. ISBN 978-1-138-94222-6 (paperback) Gartner, Richard B., ed. 2018. Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and

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Miraculous Healing for the Warrior Soul

Transforming Fear, Violence, and Shame in Fourteenth-Century Provence

Nicole Archambeau

This article considers the crises of plague, civil war, and mercenary invasion that Provençal communities faced in the years between 1343 and 1363. Canonization inquest testimony reveals that both combatants and noncombatants prayed to the holy woman, Countess Delphine de Puimichel, to heal the spiritual sickness of violence. In their testimonies, witnesses relived moments of crisis when they had used Delphine's special relationship to God to escape death, fear, and humiliation.