In Dahomey the fetish-priests are a kind of secret police for the despotic king. Ellis writes, "Every native with whom I have conversed on the subject has laughed at the possibility of its being supposed that he could worship or offer sacrifice to some such object as a stone, which of itself would be perfectly obvious to his senses was a stone only and nothing more". An amulet, however, is the pledge of protection of a divine power. Its medicines, dances, and enchantments are also used in the professed innocent white art; the difference is in the work which the spirit is entrusted to perform. In spiritism , spirits are not bound up with certain objects, but may change their mode of revelation, partly at their own discretion, partly under the influence of magic. The journal brings together, in an anthropological perspective, contributions by art historians, archaeologists, philosophers, critics, architects, artists, and others.
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Charles de Brosses’s Theory of Fetishism
In other parts of the Congo the office falls on an individual in quite an accidental manner, e. Old English fetys in Chaucer. Where the spirit, for any reason, is supposed to have gone out of that thing and definitively abandoned it, the thing itself is no longer reverenced, but thrown away as useless, or sold to the curio-hunting white man. Current issues are available on the Chicago Journals website:
Menzies History of Religion, p. Schultze, analysing the consciousness of savages, says that fetishism is a worship of material objects. If his weapon fails, it is because some one has stolen the spirit, or made it sick by witchcraft. In this sense the term is used from time to time, e. The study of the African negro refutes this view. In every action of life he shows how much he lives with a great, powerful spirit-world around him. Thus the name became more general, until Comte employed it to designate only the lowest stage of religious development. A fetish then, in the strict sense of the word, is any material object consecrated by the nganga or magic doctor with a variety of ceremonies and processes, by virtue of which some spirit is supposed to become localized in that object, and subject to the will of the possessor.
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Charles de Brosses’s Theory of Fetishism | SpringerLink
Writers on the philosophy of religion have used the word fetishism in a vague sense, susceptible of many shades of meaning. This latter form of "life" with its "heart" can be stolen by magic power while one is asleep, and the individual sleeps on, unconscious of his loss. The witch-doctor believes that his incantations have subsidized the power of a spirit, which forthwith enters the body of the patient and, searching through its vitals, drives out the antagonizing spirit which is the supposed actual cause of the disease. The fetish is used not only as a preventive of or defence against evil i.
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