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Observations placeholder

PubMed paper - Xhosa healing using drumming and ritual



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Transcult Psychiatry. 2003 Jun;40(2):194-207.

Ancestor reverence and mental health in South Africa.

Berg A.  zimi@iafrica.com

The great majority of South Africa's people consult traditional healers. The deeper meaning of much traditional healing centres on ancestor reverence. This belief system and its accompanying rituals may positively influence the mental health of the individual and the community.

Among traditional Xhosa-speaking peoples, the relationship with the ancestors is given expression in life cycle rituals that have much in common with Western psychotherapeutic principles and practices. The common thread that underpins many rituals is that of making links via concrete, literal means.

Examples include the participation of the community in the healing of the individual; the linking of body and mind through dancing and drumming.

Dreams form an essential connection between conscious life and the unconscious. Understanding the psychological depth of these practices is important so that a respectful relationship between Western-trained professionals and traditional healers can develop. Analytical psychology, with its notion of the collective unconscious has a particular contribution to make to cross-cultural understanding. The ancestors may be understood as archetypal representations of the collective unconscious.

PMID:  12940645

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps