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Possession - Exorcism of the Demons by a Shaman Priest


Exorcism is also ritual. Magic or religious, it is difficult to decide because it often depends on the person who conducts the ceremony. In principle, an exorcism is to exhort a demon or a devil to leave the body of a person or an animal, or to leave an object, a place.

In contact with evil

The altered behavior of a human being or an animal is sometimes attributed to a demon who has seized the body of its victim. This concept of "possession" is well before that of Christianity and widespread throughout the world. Many civilizations attest to this phenomenon and mythological diversity offers many possibilities.

Countermeasures are also described: a man with adequate powers - according to the belief, a shaman, a priest, a hero, a tribal leader or other - must come into contact with the spirit that is made master of the creature to chase it away. According to the civilizations, the banishment is done differently: besides the prayer, a true "intellectual" conversation is put in place, so as to "convince" the demon to leave the body. Dance in a state of trance allows the shaman to access a spiritual plan to fight the unwanted spirit.

The parallels with the magic ritual are more obvious when it comes to exorcising humans or animals whose altered state is due to witchcraft or a spell.

Symptoms of possession

The abnormality of human or animal behavior can not be the subject of a general description. There is little written evidence of the symptoms that suggest a possession, but the fact that the subject speaks an incomprehensible language, repels religious symbols, vociferates, screams, develops superhuman strength, presents important physical changes and speaks with different successive voices are commonly accepted signs.

In some cases, the entourage close to the possessed is also a victim of paranormal phenomena, including telekinesis (ability to move objects by the force of the mind), significant temperature changes or unexplained noise emission seem to come from nowhere.

The conjuration of the demon

Only a few grimoires contain the rituals of the exorcists. However, several accounts suggest that a countermeasure is effective only if the exorcist himself manages to conjure the demon and order him to free the body of the possessed. Even if the process seems different from one case to another, we can nevertheless distinguish a fundamental frame in the ritual.

At first, the exorcist must threaten the evil spirit so as to irritate the demon who will then behave recklessly. Then the question of the name of the demon is asked. This procedure is due to the fact that many demons and spirits would be subject to a hierarchical structure. In a non-religious setting, a magic ritual is performed to urge the entity to leave the victim's body. But within the Christian Church, a peculiarity of unknown origin would allow the exorcist to take power over the devil once its name is revealed. From then on, he would order it to leave the body of the possessed. Then by a final formula, he would forbid it ever to return to this body.

The duration of an exorcism is due to three factors: the strength of the demon, that of the exorcist and the energy of the victim. Some possessed are said to have died of exhaustion or wounds inflicted during the exorcism.

Exorcism and diseases

Some medieval accounts of possession have been studied in the light of medical, but especially psychological, discoveries of recent decades. Almost all these descriptions could be related to clinical pictures known today, since epilepsy, which causes in some patients cramps and tremors, strange tics (Gilles de la Tourette syndrome), the subjects incomprehensibly articulated or with uncontrolled muscular agitations. Also identified are cases of schizophrenia or personality disorders that may cause subjects to temporarily adopt unusual behavior.

While some sources mention other phenomena that occurred during an exorcism, the scientific community agrees that the reports of smoke or temporary physical deformations are the result of the imagination of the editor or are more of a symbolic nature. Since possession is not a phenomenon recognized by science, the effectiveness of an exorcism is also subject to skepticism.

Exorcism and the church

Nowadays, the Catholic Church distinguishes between small and great exorcism. Simple exorcism concerns above all the baptism by which the newborn is free from his sins and therefore from the devil. A great exorcism can only take place if the priest has received the authorization of his bishop, who is not released until he has received the opinion of a representative of the medical profession. In effect since the Middle Ages, this procedure prevents sick people from being subjected to exorcism. In the Middle Ages, if certain diseases could be counted on a curse, it was considered that nothing was incurable if the doctor took care of his patient. But, in the face of possession, medicine remained powerless. Thus, the Church allowed an exorcism only after all other remedies had been exhausted. However, the scientists of the time did not have our knowledge in psychology, many people suffering from mental disorders were subjected to an exorcism. Since 1999, the Church has recognized mental illnesses as a possible alternative to possession.

But the Catholic Church still recognizes exorcism. Thus, the Vatican even offers courses. In 2004, the first Congress of Exorcism was held in Mexico City.

The Orthodox Church also retains its tradition of exorcism. Here, the possessed must be "crucified" as part of the ritual. Stories of this nature are still related to our time.

It is the same in most animist religions where the shaman leads, even today, his fight against the demons on the spiritual level.

On the other hand, Protestant churches have abandoned this practice. Here too, scientific advances in psychiatry have made their way and most cases are being handed over to doctors for appropriate treatment.

At present, effective methods of exorcism are still unknown. Indeed, cases of possessions almost always explain, after adequate examinations, by a psychic illness, although demonic expulsions are still in progress. Their results, however, remain unknown.