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When A Goddess Weeps—Ritual Failure Or Failed Performance? A Case Study From Nepal

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Chapter Summary

The Newars, the indigenous populace of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, celebrate a wide range of festivals throughout the year, in which domestic and cosmic rituals have a great place of importance. In the context of the author research among female healers who have established themselves as mediums of a deity, typical mistakes or errors are, for instance, when the seam of the sari of a pūjā participant touches the water vessel that was used in the ritual, or if somebody steps barefoot into a specific ritual area. The case in point concerns a ritual that was conducted within a healing cult devoted to the goddess Hāratī in Nepal. Ritual possession by the goddess is generally considered to be a fairly recent phenomenon that has become more widespread over the past forty or so years or at least been brought more strongly to public awareness in recent years.

Keywords: Nepal; pūjā; ritual failure



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