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History, Culture and Religion. Transmission processes in the Burmese cult known as the cult of the Thirty- Seven Lords are examined here through the analysis of three succession cases among the ritual specialists of this cult. I seek to understand how transmission works in a cult whose main ritual manifestation is spirit possession that involves the logic of inspiration and vocation, rather than the logic of reproduction and succession.
A careful examination of contrasted cases reveals that succession among spirit mediums, rather than obeying fixed rules, actually involves the differentiated transmission of assets made of ritual property, functions, positions, and knowledge. Various combinations -- of spirit possession and affiliation or fictive kinship, of inspiration and tradition -- appear to operate at different levels of the cult, with inversions of values sustaining both its dynamics and its reproduction.
This article illustrates the relationship between religion and political power in a particular process of contemporary Burmese nation building. I highlight the symbolic appropriation of a specific national territory through the mediation of a spirit, and the recent building of a sanctuary in Arakan state by the wife of a Burmese military officer posted in the region, an action that is akin to concluding an agreement with a local spirit and then establishing the foundation of central authority over a local population.
It highlights a process whereby the use of religion by the Burmese in the configuration of territory is observed as a way of maintaining or legitimizing hegemony over the country's marginal population groups. The article also shows how this process is made possible thanks to a specific segment of the local Arakanese elite, perceived to be the referring authority Arakan state--spirit cults--nation building--territory-- locality--authority and power--tradition.
Festival Time at a Nat Shrine. For five days each year Taung Pyone village becomes a fairground. They are said to have been executed by the 11th century Pagan ruler King Anawrahta for failing to help in the construction of a chedi to enshrine Buddha relics.
The story is kept alive today by the symbolic absence from the ancient chedi of two bricks which the two brothers were instructed to contribute Ancient nat cult still rules in Burmese households The wedding announcement in a Burmese newspaper read like any other. But there was one startling discrepancy—the bridegroom was dead.
Online Burma Library > Main Library > Society and Culture > Religion > Animism > The Nats
The bride, though, believed she was marrying someone who could support her as well as any living being. Her chosen partner was a nat, an influential member of the spirit world. She became a nat kadaw, or nat spouse.