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Spirits and The Spirit: The Ministry of Madagascar's Healing Shepherds

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Madagascar has a history of spirit possession and medium activity. Mediumship is traditionally women's work and the traditional spiritual authority of women is significant. Early Protestant missionaries brought to the island concepts of a male deity whose worship was led exclusively by males, and strove to repress ‘emotional’ worship, seeing it as endorsing pagan ritual, and did not associate worship with healing ritual. Thus, Christianity became incoherent to many islanders. Hence, when a Christian charismatic movement affirming the leadership and healing power and authority of women arose, it quickly attracted many. This article explores the movement's rise and growth, its contextual coherence, and the effectiveness of its model of healing, particularly for the mentally ill.

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