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Flashcards in Chapter 1 Midterm Deck (12)
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the fear of being buried alive - this fear was so wide spread in 18th and 19th century England and Europe that safety coffins were developed with a bell to ring in case they woke up


Four possible types of loss that could define death

Robert Veatch
•Loss of the flow of vital fluids
•Loss of the soul from the body
•Loss of the capacity for bodily integration(to regulate body’s own actions brain dead
•Loss of the capacity for social interaction – to be alive involves consciousness interaction


Harvard criteria of irreversible coma

•Unreceptively and unresponsiveness
•No movement or breathing
•No reflexes
•Flat electroencephalogram (EEG) – no electrical activity in the brain


Three major characteristics if primal world view

oDuality of the universe – the visible and the invisible world
oDuality of the person – material and immaterial – body and soul
•Some non-physical causes of sickness and death
•Soul-loss, spirit possession, intrusion of a disease spirit, spirit attack, violation of taboos → going against the social norms of the group and doing what is forbidden
oThe social function of religion
•Illness is a sign of imbalance – one death causes a soul sickness among the group that needs healing



a generic name given by scholars to those specialists in tribal or indigenous religions who communicate with the spirit world for the practical benefit of their community
o Each cultural group has their own name for the spiritual item/role that communicates with the spiritual world


Ideas of the Soul

oUsed to describe the invisible aspect of a person
oThere can be many souls associated with a person
oLife soul, shadow soul, dream soul etc.
oSouls are mobile and somewhat material
oThey move around – soul can leave during sleep, illness, fright etc.
oSoul is not necessarily eternal


Gurung People of Nepal - myth

oThe Gurung death rituals are based on a myth in which a girl from the underworld is sent to marry a man from the living world. The marriage signifies harmony between the living and the dead as well as harmony between the human clans.


Gurung People of Nepal - Death Rituals

-the mother’s side of the family must provide a white shroud to wrap the body
-represents harmony between the two sides of the family, which like in the myth, represents harmony between the living and the dead.
-body is cremated and soul is in the underworld where it needs rescued - food is offered to the soul which enters a pigeon who goes from person to person eating out of their hands --> when pigeon is released into sky, the soul is released from the underworld
- in trance state, shaman guides soul to the land of the ancestors


Gurung People of Nepal - Land of the Ancestors

-final trance in death rituals
- , a special type of shaman guides the soul to the land of the ancestors. The entrance to the land of the ancestors is a specific place in the local geography and all the landmarks along the way are familiar to the people.
oIf all these rituals are done correctly, then the soul will reach the dwelling place of the ancestors safely and become an ancestor


Yombe Group - birth beliefs

oBirth of a child is not the birth of a person
oA child becomes a person through ritual
oAn infant that dies before the social rituals are carried out is disposed of without social recognition as a person
oBirth and death are social constructions
oThe womb is called a house and the grave is also called a house


Yombe Group - birth rituals

– celebrations, cards, telling everyone, annual birthdays, meaning and significance causes from social relationships – these are all types of rituals
o Most important aspect of a person is their name *
o By naming someone, you are bringing it into social relationships
• If you eat chicken but if you have one named Maida, it is harder to eat it because it has a social relationship with you


Yombe Group - death

- death is a social construction just as it is at birth
oWhen dead, the person is laid pacing the land of the ancestors so when they pass, they can find their way to the ancestors