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Full Access “Living Water” in Nguni Healing Traditions, South Africa

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“Living Water” in Nguni Healing Traditions, South Africa

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

This paper explores the ideas of “living water” held by Nguni-speaking diviner-healers in South Africa. It considers their beliefs in snake/mermaid water divinities and their claims of being called by them underwater, either physically or in a dream, to obtain knowledge and gifts of healing. Seen as cosmic generators of life, fertility and water/rain, these divinities are believed to reside in certain sites of “living water,” which, while characterized by certain physical features, are dependent on correct human ritual relations to maintain their vitality.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, Rhodes University Grahamstown, 6139, Eastern Cape, South Africa, p.bernard@ru.ac.za

10.1163/15685357-01702005
/content/journals/10.1163/15685357-01702005
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This paper explores the ideas of “living water” held by Nguni-speaking diviner-healers in South Africa. It considers their beliefs in snake/mermaid water divinities and their claims of being called by them underwater, either physically or in a dream, to obtain knowledge and gifts of healing. Seen as cosmic generators of life, fertility and water/rain, these divinities are believed to reside in certain sites of “living water,” which, while characterized by certain physical features, are dependent on correct human ritual relations to maintain their vitality.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15685357-01702005
2013-01-01
2017-09-23

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