The Spirit of the Symbol

  • The Spirit of the Symbol
  • JT Torres
  • Anthropology & Humanism, December 2016, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/anhu.12139

A memoir about the author's first encounter with spirit possession in Cuba.

What is it about?

An excerpt from a forthcoming book about the performance of spiritual identities in Cuba, this essay explores through sensorial detail what the meaning of ritual spirit possession as performed by Arara communities in two rural towns: Perico and Agramonte.

Why is it important?

The memoir suggests particular themes of discourse that constitute spirit possession. The underlying argument is that identity and membership in communities linked to Arara historicity shape, and are shaped by, ceremonies that emphasize contact with spirits of a postcolonial and mythological past.

Perspectives

JT Torres
Colorado Mountain College

The article forgoes traditional academic writing (e.g., citations and a neutral narrator) in favor of literary language. The goal of this memoir, as well as the book that inspired it, is to call attention to the phenomenological moments experienced through the senses. Writing this memoir moved knowledge away from the exclusive domain of the rational mind and equally shared it with the sensitive body.

Read Publication

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/anhu.12139

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