Pathology and Identity: The Work of Mother Earth in Trinidad by Roland Littlewood

By Roland Littlewood

The Earth humans of Trinidad draw on Yoruba resources to say the actual energy of girl creativity. this primary new Caribbean faith because Rastafari is led by way of a girl, mom Earth, whose principles emerged from her adventure of a cerebral ailment. the writer, Roland Littlewood, who's either a psychiatrist and a social anthropologist, bargains a nonreductionist view at the courting among pathology and creativity, among the usual and the human sciences.

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Extra info for Pathology and Identity: The Work of Mother Earth in Trinidad (Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

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Both the Rastas and the Shouter Baptists, whose practices and teaching have particular appeal for Mother Earth and who together provide the majority of her followers, are relatively sympathetic to the new community. As always, the attraction is the rejection of industrialisation and the return to nature. The details of her cosmology are debated, for there is widespread agreement that the Bible has indeed got some things 'upsided down'. Rural Catholic priests, faced with declining church attendance, privately envy the fervour and discipline in the Valley.

To Mother Earth these are identical traditions, for the mapapi, the Serpent of Africa, is the source of life, and the Earth People regard snakes as dangerous only to those who persist in wearing clothes. Jeanette has twice been taken by the police to St Ann's, the mental hospital in Port-of-Spain: in 1977 she was arrested in Arima and in 1980 the police raided the Valley and removed her. ' The major objection for urban Trinidadians is what both they and the Earth People regard as the most characteristic practice, nudity.

The shamanic 'election' may indeed in some instances originate in psychopathology; for while no contemporary scholar who has observed a functioning shaman in any detail claims they are psychotic, in few cases does the actual election appear to have been observed. 71 Charisma and contagion If millennial or revitalist leadership often seems consequent on some intense personal experience, the sociological model most applicable to the relation between prophet and follower - the reception of the message and its amplification and reworking - would appear to be that of charisma.

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