Chapter

Ritual and Magic: Two Diverse Approaches to Inner Healing in the Cambodian American Community

Thomas J. Douglas and Sophon Mam

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167962.003.0004
Ritual and Magic: Two Diverse Approaches to Inner Healing in the Cambodian American Community

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This chapter presents two vignettes that describe how ritual and magic help Cambodian refugees respond to some of the negative social forces of their lives. Both approaches to inner healing involve a purification of the psyche, a cleansing of the old, and a renewal of the spirit. Although these two cases are operating from two decidedly different religious traditions, the goals are the same: the refinement of the soul, the regeneration of the spirit, and the ending of a cycle of suffering. The unique approaches described in this chapter, coming from Cambodian immigrants and Cambodian Americans themselves, demonstrate the ability of these communities to provide their own meaning, interpretation, and solution to illness, as well as to the larger experience of being human.

Keywords: Cambodian Americans; immigrants; ritual; magic; inner healing; purification; psyche; suffering; illness

Chapter.  5660 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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