Kassim’s Burden: The Practice of an Exemplary Spirit Medium

  • Michael Lambek
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


The Great Service at the shrine of Ndramisara is far from the only event to which northern Sakalava are called. Over the course of a year people may contribute to service at several other shrines. In this chapter I examine activities in Mahajanga oriented to Bezavodoany the cemetery in which the monarchs who founded the kingdom of Boina lie, as well as the more general ethos of conservation and care that underlines service to the shrines. As in chapter 7, the discussion is organized around the practice of a key medium. His story illustrates the very rich and complex family relationships represented by the senior-most spirits and the polyphonic interplay between the lives of mediums and those of their spirits.


South Side Stone Wall Wall Panel Burial Ground Female Medium 
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© Michael Lambek 2002

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  • Michael Lambek

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