A very good friend has just told me that she has received a calling and is about to start her witch-doctor training. I know a bit about southern African spirit mediums and Catalan clairvoyants, but I’ve never really hung out with witchdoctors.

The first really good account of this kind of stuff is Evans-Pritchard‘s 1937 Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande. Evans-Pritchard played off two practioners, Badobo and Bögwözu, against one another in order to get them to reveal their professional secrets, but my impression is that the training currently on offer is guru-based. A new role & home for Pat Robertson, perhaps?

(Alok Naik suggests that witchdoctoring provides a refuge from dehumanising technology. OK, but then you have to hand in the keys to your BMW as well.)

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