Malaysia – Shamans in Malaysia (called bomoh, pawing, or dukun in various languages), heal illnesses by exorcism or by dealing with the other world, other-than-human persons, or spirits who inflict problems or bad luck. Shamans may serve as doctors within their Christian, Islamic, Hindu, or indigenous societies and sometimes across religious and ethnic boundaries. In discussing gendered and political distinctions and relationships in relation to Malaysian shamans, Ioan Lewis also provides examples of the sexual nature of some human relationships with other-than-human persons or possessing or electing spirits. He notes that a Muslim woman who claimed to have had a child by a “spirit to which she was ‘married’ was fined by an Islamic court for committing adultery.” In contrast, he also discusses the “mystical marriage” between a Malay bomoh and his “spirit bride” that lasted for 13 years, resulted in the birth of two “spirit children, a boy and a girl,” and ended in divorce. Happily, the divorced bomoh continued to be guided and medically advised by his ex-spirit wife.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007


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