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Obeah: A Sorcerous Ossuary (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 14. April 2014

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7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A personal and unique art 7. November 2013
Von D. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Anthropologist and psychologist, Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold new work details his experience and understanding of the diverse, secretive and powerful Caribbean tradition of obeah. For Frisvold, initiated into a obeah lineage from Trinadad, "obeah is a sorcerous cult, a personal and unique art rooted in spirit pacts and spirit trafficking - as such it is difficult to explain it's tenets in a uniform way. It is difficult to explain because sorcery tends to be highly pragmatic in its orientation, and thus is centered on one's merging and induction to a spirit patron or patrons that support the sorcerous power and teach the sorcerer in the virtues of that power."

In Frisvold's work he presents what he admits is an idiosyncratic vision of Obeah, based on the understanding he has through the initiation of an Obeahman who initially tried to persuade him to accept the lighter Caribbean tradition of the Spiritual Baptists. As with his other works on African Diaspora Traditions, Frisvold has stepped forward in the midst of a scholarly vacuum to provide his personal insights into practices which have been, and continue to remain, shrouded.

For perspective, although a scholarly examination, Obeah and Other Powers: The Politics of Caribbean Religion and Healing, never gives a proper description of what Obeah is, or how it is practiced. Eleven academics writing on the topic, and not one article discusses the actual practical existence of the cult. This obfuscation is found in all the material dealing with Obeah, and this is one of the most powerful recommendations of Frisvold's work, wherein we find an outline of the tradition as he was given it.

Since Obeah is practiced by individuals and small groups across the Caribbean and even in parts of South and Central America, and has no formal or systematic doctrines, even this glimpse into one facet of the practice does nothing to bring light to the secrets that the tradition holds. This is not a critique, but rather a celebration, as all too often scholarly inquiry can act like a cold, dead hand covering the light it seeks to reveal. What Frisvold has provided is a small crack through which we can see some of the deeper currents flowing through this mysterious practice which has supported revolutionaries, confidence artists, community leaders, healers and Scientists for centuries.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Concise and intriguing monograph on another neglected aspect of African Diaspora practices 21. Januar 2014
Von The Mysterious Mr. E. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
First, this is a lovely little book physically, in hardcover with gilded lettering on the spine and colorfully attractive and intense book jacket image by artist Kyle Fite: all for a reasonable price. Hadean Press (the publisher) is worth following as they put out some fairly unique and extraordinarily intelligent things, especially on grimoire based magick.

Before looking at Max Thomas' other reviews, I was thinking that his one star review along with complaints of the material in this book being erroneous might be something to attend to. I am not an initiate of Obeah or Winti and so I can't speak to the authenticity or correctness per se. However, the diversity within this tradition is spoken to within this book which does lend the notion that one person's experience of Obeah in a particular lineage could well be entirely different from another persons even perhaps within the same lineage. "After all, the craft of the Obeahman is a mystery. Everything is developed as a consequence of true rapport with the spirits of obeah and the possession of obiya. In this sense the craft of each Obeahman is a secret art that is developed between the Obeahman and spirit. Trance states, possessions, 'shamanic journeys' and automatic writings were the tools I was introduced to -- but for another Obeahman the tools of ingress might be different. The obiya will always forge a path unique inasmuch as it will resist any system or order that makes sense for many. Obeah is and will be a sorcerous path for the empowered individual." p. 66 - 67.

Obiya in this context refers to magickal power or efficacy. I feel that this also describes the foregrounding and facilitation of initiation by spirit and of congress with spirit that is also present in shamanistic streams of Traditional Craft of which I am an initiate. Obeah is perhaps the most similar to of all African Diaspora traditions to my own spiritual practice.

Mr. Thomas' other reviews of other books and grimoires are all consistently hypercritical (and one star with one exception, two stars) such that I'm more inclined to dismiss them all without specific back up to his claims (which is not present in his brief panning of this particular book).

Another quotation from the book really intrigued me: "Obeah is very pragmatic in how it selects its tools. Its vastness allows it to handle a wide range of sorcerous technologies that are then fused with this dramatic power of obiya. The spirit of trees, plants and animals who have the woods as their home are the natural tutors for the Obeahman. So, Obeah is not eclectic in any way -- it is not about using tools for an appearance of convenience, but as spirit teaches. Anyone who needs to ask where the difference lies does not understand the ways Sasabonsam teaches. Within the cape of Papa Bones there are many veins and many rooms and it is rarely experienced that the family of spirits belonging to Obeah have become adversaries in relation to already existing spirits in the house of the seeker as this spirit host resonates with your very own skeleton. It thus follows that the prime technique of Obeah is what we have come to know as Shamanism. Shamanism in this context means a technology for entering into contact with the spirits of Nature -- these being by seeking out places of power, the use of herbs or drinks -- for the sake of being tutored by the legions of Sasabonsam and Papa Bones and being gifted their particular power as they resonate with the structure of the Obeahman." p. 34.

Here again, though I am not an initiate of this particular way of working, this speaks by analogy directly to my own way of working with spirit and also to important issues of appropriation, syncretism, etc.

Overall, I found this book to be deftly concise, interesting and expressive of important considerations in approaching an understanding of Obeah and even related traditions.

My primary complaint about this brief book is that it really screams for a detailed glossary of terms if not footnotes. It is peppered with what for most readers are going to be unfamiliar terms. Some terms are described or explained in brief once in the text and then woven together with other unfamiliar terms later in the text at which point the slim meanings attached may have evaded the reader. Some terms are really not explained at all.

So the reader must rely on prior knowledge or must then stop and do some online research to follow what is being said to a substantive degree.

Another reason for a glossary of terms here, is that the author's own direct experience of this tradition is apt to have been idiosyncratic perhaps by the very diverse and various nature of the tradition itself. Hence, a glossary of terms would give the reader the author's own definitions when helpful to the reader (without interrupting the flow of narrative or thought otherwise). Footnotes don't seem essential here but given that this is a basic and brief intro. to a big subject, more of a bibliography with descriptions would have been helpful as well.

Despite these issues, I gave the book 5 stars because I really enjoyed it and found it very valuable (at least to me, where I'm coming from). This author has also brought other African Diaspora traditions to greater attention and prominence along with his particular writings on Traditional Witchcraft. He has a uniquely broad and interesting set of skills (both academic and esoteric) and knowledge that may well function as a gateway for many into unusual and often misunderstood forms of spiritual practice.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great read, literally couldn't put it down 16. April 2014
Von TonyT - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Ever since I started researching esotericism, I've always been looking for a good book to read on this particular system and the force transmitted through it, and I have to say, it is a great book, very informative, inspiring, and in my opinion, rather profound and revealing (in terms of coming to a better understanding of the red, black, and green mysteries of the forests, ancient forces, wicked and yet pure, harkening back to the times of hunter gatherer societies and the interactions between our ancestors and the mysteries of the living land.) Showing provocative glimpses of a unified truth that informs the marriages between the oneiric fields of people bound by the shared experience of oppression and sorrow, and a invaluable look at a fascinating lineage of Obeah. In conclusion, this is a bad assss book.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Obeah Dark Sorcery 27. April 2014
Von Mobius Null - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Obeah: A Sorcerous Ossuary is an excellent "grimoire" concerning one particular branch's approach to the dynamic powers of Cosmos and Nature and how "we" can interact with these powers through the eyes of an initiated Trinidad Obeahman. This tome is deep if you take the time too digest "ALL" the information presented.... (and read-between-the-lines). A superb example of a Obeah Magick manual! "Papa Bones has to be very pleased being brought forth unto an wider world audience!"

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Obeah- the real deal 8. November 2013
Von Lucas Book - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
There is not much out there about Obeah. Frisvold has taken a daring turn, revealing some of is experiences, a little about the path as well. It helped me learn about the path of Obeah and whether or not to continue on.
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