A Caribbean term with at least two distinct uses: It can label an accusation of malevolent sorcery, but it can also refer to practices that have evolved from the interaction of indigenous-, African-, European-, and Asian-derived religious traditions. Reference to “Obeahman” or “Obeahwoman” usually indicates dislike and distrust of those accused of malevolence and inappropriate engagement with spirits. It can even be used to allege that, through mastery of spirits, someone controls the dead and makes them serve evil interests. Practitioners themselves may speak only of “going to a man” or “going to a woman” for them to “work.” However, they may define Obeah as doing either “dirty work” or “good work” (although some are said to do “everything”). This parallels the ambiguity of shamanic work elsewhere, as practitioners utilize their knowledge and relationships with other-than-human persons who act as helpers or allies to offer protection and advice, especially on how to gain one’s desires or to injure enemies and prevent them harming clients, perhaps by causing illness. Alongside various ceremonial practices, herbalism is significant. The term itself is a Creolized form of the Ashanti term Obayifo (“witch”) or obeye (“beings that inhabit witches”). Obeah practitioners were among the leaders of rebellions against slavery and provided some means of asserting agency among oppressed groups. Ceremonies, especially those that included drumming, were therefore outlawed in various places. Practitioners of Obeah can be members of Christian, Hindu, and other congregations at the same time. Similarly, Obeah practice often contradicts the stereotype that it is the preserve of impoverished descendents of slaves—rather, it has adherents in all social and ethnic strata of society. It is of the essence that Obeah and similar Caribbean traditions are Creole and popular traditions.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Obeah — (auch Obi) ist ein auf den Westindischen Inseln gebräuchlicher Begriff zur Bezeichnung von Praktiken und Lebensvorgängen, die nach naturreligiösen Vorstellungen zugeordnet werden. Die Vokabel Obeah entstammt vermutlich aus die Igbo (Nigeria) und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Obeah — (ou appelé également Obi) est un mot d origine africaine désignant la magie occulte. Le maître spirituel de la religion Obeah est appelé « l homme Obeah », il est considéré comme un soigneur ou un conseiller (informateur). Il est celui… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Obeah — O*be ah n. Same as {Obi}. a. Of or pertaining to obi; as, the obeah man. B. Edwards. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • obeah — sorcery, witchcraft among blacks in Africa and the W.Indies, 1760, from a W. African word, e.g. Efik (southern Nigeria) ubio a thing or mixture left as a charm to cause sickness or death, Twi ebayifo witch, wizard, sorcerer …   Etymology dictionary

  • obeah — ☆ obeah [ō′bē ə ] n. [of WAfr orig.] [often O ] a form of magic or witchcraft practiced by natives of Guiana, and formerly also in parts of the South and in the West Indies …   English World dictionary

  • Obeah — This article is about West Indian religion and magic. For obeah within the context of Thelema, see Obeah and Wanga. For the West African monster, see Obia (folklore). Obeah (sometimes spelled Obi, Obea or Obia) is a term used in the West Indies… …   Wikipedia

  • obeah — Obi O bi, n. [Prob. of African origin.] 1. A species of sorcery, probably of African origin, practiced among the negroes of the West Indies. [Written also {obe} and {obeah}.] De Quincey. B. Edwards. [1913 Webster] 2. A charm or fetich. [West… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • obeah — /oh bee euh/, n. 1. a form of belief involving sorcery, practiced in parts of the West Indies, South America, the southern U.S., and Africa. 2. a fetish or charm used in practicing obeah. Also, obi. [1750 60; cf. Gullah, Jamaican E, Guyanan E,… …   Universalium

  • obeah — I Jamaican Slang Glossary The withcraft or spiritual science native of Africa. It is the type of voodoo in Jamaica. She a put Obeah pon ya. (She cast a spell on you.) II Rasta Dictionary traditional African science , relating to matters of the… …   English dialects glossary

  • obeah — o•be•ah [[t]ˈoʊ bi ə[/t]] also obi II n. 1) cvb ant a form of belief involving sorcery, practiced in parts of the West Indies, South America, the southern U.S., and Africa 2) cvb ant a fetish or charm used in practicing obeah • Etymology:… …   From formal English to slang

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