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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

An exposition of the Burmese Nat Pwe spirit possession ceremony provides the vehicle for Judith Becker to explore the uses of music for imaginative transformations of the autobiographical self. In these rituals, the spirits of historical personages, nats, bestow their powers on the androgynous, transgendered person of the medium, whose autobiographical self is transposed to that of the nat, who is then able to bestow favors on supplicants. Becker makes the case that it is the power of the rituals’ musical accompaniment that provides the means through sensory overload and high emotion to actualize the imaginative realm of the nats.

Keywords: Burma, Myanmar, spirit veneration, trance, sensual overload, consciousness, autobiographical self

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