The meaning of life as seen through the window




НазваниеThe meaning of life as seen through the window
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THE MEANING OF LIFE AS SEEN THROUGH THE WINDOW

OF DEATH RITUALS PRACTICED WITHIN

COLOMBIAN FOLK RELIGION


By


Dale R. Meade


B.A., Cincinnati Bible College, 1972

M.A., Wheaton College Graduate School, 1990

M.Min., Cincinnati Bible Seminary, 2003


A DISSERTATION


Submitted to the faculty

in partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

in Intercultural Studies/Educational Studies

at Trinity International University


Deerfield, Illinois

May 2005


Copyright 2005 by Dale R. Meade

All rights reserved


Accepted:


________________________________

Dissertation Director


________________________________

Second Reader


________________________________

Program Director


ABSTRACT


The view of death will determine the type of life and culture that the person and the society collectively will build. Understanding the view of death opens a door of understanding into the values that under-gird individual choices and cultural patterns; it may reveal the meaning of life within society. In a society like Colombia, which has developed a culture of violence, an understanding of the worldview related to death and the afterlife is the structural paradigm that is prerequisite to understanding the values of life which form culture.

This research uses the death ritual as a window for investigating basic values; indeed the meaning of life. This was done by observing the wake and funeral and then listening to the related value laden conversations and interviewing individuals who recently lost a loved one. These rituals and conversations reveal the most foundational of values that form the socially constructed meaning of life.

Analysis of the data demonstrated a universal belief among the informants in an afterlife, a fatalistic view of life and death, the need for the living to help the dead in transition, then an expectation of help from those who inhabit the spirit realm and are now in the presence of powerful spirit beings. The deceased, upon securing release from purgatory and arriving in heaven, repay the living by intervening with the powerful spirit beings to help them in the struggles of life. Men and women are thought to be judged by a harsh God upon entering the spirit realm based on how they fulfilled their gender specific roles while on earth.

There is a clearly defined social order in the levels of spirit beings. These spirit beings become models for human social structure. Machismo is the most visible of the socially constructed gender hierarchy that reflects the hierarchy within the spirit world. These roles are clearly defined in both the spirit and material world and are the subject of reinforcement in the chants of the magic words and conversations of the death ritual. Effecting change in individual worldview in Colombian society can be achieved only by transforming these gender role models.


I dedicate this dissertation to my beloved wife Jean who patiently endured many long separations so I could study and who willingly and capably shouldered the extra

work of managing family and home in my absence. Without her

sacrificial support for and encouragement

of my dreams this effort would have

never been possible


CONTENTS


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xii


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii


Chapter


1. THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH TOPIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1


Research Concern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


Research Problem Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


Research Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22


Definition of Argot Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


Stated Assumptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28


Significance of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

2. THE PRECEDENT LITERATURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Historical Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40


The Theory of Folk Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43


The Theory of Ritual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50


The Theory of Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59


Ethnographic Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64


Latin American Biographies and Colombian Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66


Biblical and Theological Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69


Academic Journals, Theses, and Ph.D. Dissertations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70


3. RESEARCH DESIGN AND PROCEDURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74


Case Study Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75


Participant Observation Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Operationalization of the Research Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84


Research Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89


Data Collected . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

4. THREE DEATH RITUALS OBSERVED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

The Wake in Restrepo, Meta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100


The Wake in Villavicencio, Meta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118


The Wake in Bogotá, Cundinamarca . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144


The Novenario or Ninth Day Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158


The Desentierro or the Disinterment of the Remains. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163


Cremation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168


Rituals of Lesser Significance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169


Additional Observations and Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173


5. FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURES OF THE DEATH RITUAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179


Primary Extrapolation of the Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179


The Death Ritual as a Socio/Religious Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185


Ritual Components and Their Meaning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186


The Wake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186


The Requiem Mass and Burial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191

The Novenario; the Ninth Day Requiem Mass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196


Aids in Communication with the Spirit Beings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

The Cult of the Dead: el Culto de las Animas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199

The Disinterment—Confirmation of Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200

The Death Ritual Analyzed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203


Communication and Commerce with the Spirit Beings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206


Purpose and Intent of Communication in Orthodox Religion . . . . . . . . . 210


Purpose and Intent of Communication in Folk Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211


Communication with the Spirit Beings in the Underworld . . . . . . . . . . . 213


Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215


6. FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL STRUCTURES OF THE SPIRIT WORLD . . . . . . . . 219



The Schematic Diagram of the Socio/Religious Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219


A Search for Intermediaries and Power Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222


High Level Spirit Beings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224


The Nature of God in the Death Rituals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225


Mary: Loving, Forgiving, and Non-judgmental . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227

El Divino Niño: The Divine Boy/Child—Children Never Criticize . . . . 232

Secondary Level Spirit Beings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

The Saints: They Struggle Like We Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

Orthodox Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235

Folk Religion Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237


Dead Relatives: You Always Stick up for Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239


Lower Level: Underworld Spirit Beings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242


Dealing with the Devil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243


The Souls of Those Who Died a Bad Death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243


Gate Keepers: The Human Helpers of the Spirit Being . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246


Rezanderas and Curas: The First Level in Folk and Orthodox Religion . 246


Teguas and Curanderas: They Know Secret Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249


Shamanes and Brujas: They Help You Get Even . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250


Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252


7. FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURES OF MALE/FEMALE RELATIONSHIPS . . . . 253


Gender Hierarchy in the Physical World/ Spirit World Symbiosis . . . . . . . . . . 253


Gender Specific Role Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255


Social and Religious Meaning for Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262


Women are the Primary Intercessors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263


The Good Woman Is Submissive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265


Bearing Male Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267


Purity = Virginity or Chastity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269


Suffering with Resignation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273


Devoted to Sons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275


Loving, Merciful, and Forgiving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280


Concluding Thoughts about Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282


The Social and Religious Meaning for Men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283


Men can Aguantar: Bear Hardship and Endure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293


Men Are Followers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295


Honor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298


Sexual Conquest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301

Guardian of Family and Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309


Alcoholic Drink and the Absentee Father . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312


Die The
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