The article I have chosen starts off discussing three separate spirits that are believed in throughout Begameder, Ethiopia. The Zar is the only one of the three spirits that is not known necessarily as bad, while the other two are. The zar is known as a nighttime spirit and is believed in by the Jewish and Christian communities in Begameder. The Zar doctor can be a woman while the clientele are also usually women as well. Zars are spirits that possess individuals and are explanations for people acting out of the ordinary. The curing process for healing of a Zar spirit is not meant to be exorcist but instead to train the Zar to heal the person and keep them healthy instead of harming them. The Zar is used to explain mental illnesses in this culture that in Western societies would be psychological disorders. the Zar spirits are known for their hysteria and catatonic states that can possess men and women.
There are several forms of medical professional in the ethiopian culture. The Zar doctor treats his patients by putting them into a trance and relieving them of their spirits and sometimes use group sessions to help rid the body. In this culture they have a Zar Conference where the Zars compete and show off their different methods and skills to others. The Zar doctor is noted the highest amongst the healers and once you participate you become amoung the Zar cult even as a patient. The Zar doctor is belived credible because he is a patient and a provider at the same time. Not only does he heal others but he also has Zar spirits in himself. He is able to learn how to control his own Zar through a long apprenticeship with a senior Zar. The Zar doctor is excused from social normals in the community and can be arrogant. They also stand out in a crowd by wearing colored head dresses instead of plain white ones.
Kahana, Yael. “The Zar Spirits, A Category of Magic in the System of Mental Healthcare in Ethiopia.” International Journal of Social Psychiatry(1985):125-143. Accessed July 17,2014. DOI:10.1177/002076408503100207