The Other Side of the World

Walter E. A. van Beek

in The Dancing Dead

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199858149
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949489 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ritual Studies Series

The Other Side of the World

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After setting out the basic rituals, the text moves into the realm of religious conceptions. Using the notion of “the other world” is more consonant with Kapsiki thinking than “the supernatural,” and the main focus is on the concept of shala, the personal god of the Kapsiki. This appears to be a flexible, fluid notion of one’s “personal other,” shifting easily from a familiar spirit to almost a high god. Its main characteristic is that it is fully relational, depending on the composition of the groups involved in their discourse on “the other world.” Other beings populate the invisible world as well, such as spirits—which may blend in with shala—and special snakes, but more important are personages such as Rain, Death, and some particular diseases. Correspondingly, people differ in their “unseen” sides also, like clairvoyants (or spirit walkers) and witches. The chapter closes with the religious history of the village, the founding myths.

Keywords: other world; conceptions; Shala; death; witch; myth

Chapter.  14298 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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