Chapter

Spiritual Defenders and Protectors

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520262645.003.0006
Spiritual Defenders and Protectors

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In marked contrast to Maria Nazaré de Souza Oliveira's stories of human treachery, when she spoke of her various spirits it was always in positive terms as her protectors and spiritual guides. In these narratives, the spirits invariably protected Nazaré from those who threatened to harm her or her children, particularly Maria Molambo, who played the role of Nazaré's most important and stalwart safeguard. According to Nazaré, the most acute threat to her well-being came not from an external enemy, but from within her own family: her father and, later, her husband, the very men whose social roles identified them as protectors of women and children. Unlike the ideologically defined image of the benevolent patriarch, these figures appeared in Nazaré's stories as sources of bitter conflicts or humiliating betrayals.

Keywords: Maria Nazaré de Souza Oliveira; human treachery; spirits; Maria Molambo; enemy; family; betrayals

Chapter.  7497 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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