A female shaman's mind and body, and possession

  • Kawamura K
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In this paper two types of initiation processes for female shamans (fujo[Japanese characters]) are introduced and analyzed. The first is one for a blind woman. After training under a master she has to undergo a ritual called kami tsuke [Japanese characters]. During this ritual she becomes possessed by a divine spirit. It means that she encounters her possessing spirit by means of a traditional and culturally established device. By this process she not only becomes the bride of a male spirit, she also becomes a "woman" and is established as a full member of society. For her, therefore, this ritual has the double significance of an initiation both as a shaman and as an adult woman. The other process is that of a woman with normal eyesight. Such a woman does not have to undergo a set ritual. On her way to becoming a shaman she experiences psychosomatic disturbances and states of spiritual exaltation due to being possessed by various spirits. In the process she establishes the spiritual authority of her possessing spirit. By this authority she grows out of the household and local society she married into and, while not completely relinquishing her role as housewife, she builds her religious authority and religious world in the midst of her everyday world. CN - 0001

Author-supplied keywords

  • 2003
  • 255
  • 287
  • altered states of consciousness
  • asian folklore studies
  • medium
  • miko
  • possession career
  • shamanism
  • spirit possession
  • volume 62

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  • SGR: 60949948812
  • PUI: 550006418
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-60949948812
  • ISSN: 0385-2342


  • K Kawamura

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