Becoming a Zelador

Kelly E. Hayes

in Holy Harlots

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262645
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949430 | DOI:
Becoming a Zelador

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Maintaining harmonious relations with the spirit world involves a great deal of work: preparing and offering favorite dishes, holding annual parties, making sure altars are cleaned and infused regularly with substances that fortify the spirits to whom they are dedicated, assembling a community in which these and other ritual duties may be fulfilled, and, perhaps most important, providing the corporeal form that makes it possible for the spirits to manifest themselves in the human world. Maria Nazaré de Souza Oliveira believes the spirits look out for her welfare and that of her family. By continually serving the spirits in these ways, Nazaré is confident that she is able to draw on their powers for the benefit of others. A zelador, then, is a person who through his or her caretaking activities is able to mobilize the powerful forces of the spirit world in order to affect the human world.

Keywords: spirit world; ritual; spirits; human world; Maria Nazaré de Souza Oliveira; zelador

Chapter.  10383 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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