witch doctor

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Related to Traditional healer: Traditional medicine, spiritual healer

witch doctor:

see medicine manmedicine man,
among Native Americans and other traditional peoples as far back as Paleolithic times, a person believed to possess supernatural healing powers. Like the shaman the medicine man was a specialist in spiritual healing.
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; shamanshaman
, religious practitioner in various, generally small-scale societies who is believed to be able to diagnose, cure, and sometimes cause illness because of a special relationship with, or control over, spirits.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
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N'Ganga, or witch doctor, in Zimbabwe. Courtesy Cynthia Hind/Fortean Picture Library.

Witch Doctor

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A term used for a shaman or practitioner of magic and healing in primitive cultures. Among the indigenous peoples of Africa, Haiti, Australia, Polynesia, South Africa and elsewhere, the local wise man or woman who uses spells and charms to cure and exorcise may be referred to by outsiders as a Witch Doctor. He or she is akin to the Hedge Witch but has no real connection to the European Witch in the sense of a Wiccan and follower of the Old Religion.


The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

witch doctor

1. a man in certain societies, esp preliterate ones, who appears to possess magical powers, used esp to cure sickness but also to harm people
2. a person who seeks out or hunts witches in some African tribal cultures
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Symptoms such as vomiting, pain in hands and legs, and fever with convulsions are perceived to be associated with the evil eye and thereby are thought to need the intervention of a traditional healer. Traditional healers are approached because they are trusted to give treatment for the spiritual cause of illness.
Some of them are framed as having originated from the traditional healers while some are framed in the voice of a patient/client or that of a neutral person that is used to ascribe to the good services offered by the traditional healer or his/her capabilities.
While all 13 allopathic health care providers recommended sending a child with a seizure to a clinic or hospital, three of the eight traditional healers stated that traditional medicines were preferred over allopathic medicine for such an event.
The following extract from an interview with a traditional healer amplifies the different perspectives and actions:
And businesspeople, politicians, civil and public servants, as well as students--all will approach the traditional healer for help to succeed in their various undertakings.
The training of Africa's traditional healers varies considerably from nation to nation and within each nation.
"Although there are no exact statistics, I believe that dozens of women work as traditional healers. I concentrated on women healers who are active in the Bedouin Diaspora in the Negev and in Jaffa, Lod and Ramle.
The patients took treatment from different health care providers like 74.4% from medical graduates, 15% from traditional healers (Kobiraj/Pir/Fakir) and 10.5% from village doctors.
In all models, the cost variable was specified as fixed, all other clinic attributes as random, and the traditional healer opt-out variable as an alternative-specific constant (Hole 2008).
For the pineapple oath, the fruit is sliced twice and immersed into a liquid mixed with a concoction, which has been prescribed by a traditional healer. The accused or complainant will chew one slice each.
Traditional Healers see the universe as a living intelligence that operates according to natural laws that manifest according to specific rules and correspondences, and exercise their inner conviction that the purpose of life and the nature of disease cannot be understood without knowledge of these laws and the individual's relationship to the natural world (Abdool Karim et al.
The traditional healer is said to have tricked more than 700 women, charging them large sums for the treatment.

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