Textor, Robert Bayard. Roster of the gods: an ethnography of the supernatural in a Thai village

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Part One Introduction

Chapter One The Community Of Bang Chan

Chapter Two The Systems Of The Supernatural

The Supernatural Versus The Natural

The Three Analytical Supernatural Systems

Untitled Section: ...

The Divinatory System

The Merit-moral System

The Amoral-manipulative System

Inter-system Linkages

Part Two Concepts And Methods

Chapter Three The Conceptual Scheme

Structure And Function

Analytical Roles

The Role Of The “supernatural Object”

The “actor” And “alter” Roles

The “doctor” Role

Relationships Among Roles

The Concept Of Standardization

Chapter Four Field Methods

Personal Involvement

Working With Informants

Key Informants

Peripheral Informants

Other Research Techniques

Other Ethnographic Research In Bang Chan

Checking In Nearby Communities

Checking Against The Literature


Chapter Five Formal Field Procedures

Identification And Enumeration Of The Supernatural Objects

The Power To Reward Or Punish

Substance Versus Process

Degrees Of Distinctiveness

Raw Characteristics And Attributes

Part Three Inventory Of Relatively Simple Supernatural Objects

Chapter Six Supernatural Objects Occurring Miraculously In Nature

Cat's Eye Jewel (phéd Taa Maew)

Strange Pebble (khód)

Solid Pig's Tooth (khîaw Mˇuu Tan)

Pliable Iron (lèg Lˇaj)

Chapter Seven Supernatural Objects Deriving Their Powers From Miraculous Botanical Qualities

Waan Plant (wâan)

Waan Water (náam Wâan)

Chapter Eight Purely Oral Supernatural Objects Associated With The Khaathaa

Basic Principles Of The Khaathaa

“non-independent” And “independent” Khaathaas

Khaathaas As Distinct From Mantras

Similarities And Differences Between The Pali And Pali-thai Khaathaas

Forms Of The Khaathaas

Sources Of The Khaathaa's Power

Khaathaas And Cabalistic Letters

Khaathaa From A Dream

Medical Recipe From A Dream

Chapter Nine Supernatural Objects Associated With The Mantra

The Role Of The Maker, And The Source Of Power Of The S

The Monk As Maker Of Mantra, Mantra Oil, Or Mantra Water

The Layman As Maker Of Mantra

The Doctor As Maker Of Mantra Water Or Mantra Oil

The Technical Teacher As Maker Of Mantra Water

Mantra Water Made By Supernatural Objects

Group And Individual Aspects Of Mantra, Mantra Oil, And Mantra Water

Group Making Of Mantra, Mantra Oil, Or Mantra Water

Individual Making Of Mantra, Mantra Oil, Or Mantra Water

Individual And Group Chanting, And The Choice Of What To Chant

Naturally Occurring Mantra Water

Mantra Oil (námman Mon)

Mantra Water (nám Mon)

Ritual Purification

Forms Of Application

Variety Of Rewards Available

Chapter Ten Supernatural Objects Used Primarily For Invulnerability

Buried Needle (fˇang Kh[unavailable]m)

Tattoo (sàg)

Nude Woman Tattoo (iipˇoe)

Sacralized Tobacco (jaa Chˇun Sèeg)

Sacralized Betel (màag Sèeg)

Mouth Ball (lûug Om)

Stone Phallus (pàlàdkhìg)

Rolled Armband (w[unavailable]en Kh[unavailable]en)

Live Mercury (pàràud Thîi Pen)

Dead Mercury (pàràud Thîi Taaj)

Chapter Eleven The Missile And Related Supernatural Objects

Missile (khun)

Missile Doctoring And The Compulsive Production Of Missiles

Missile Doctoring And Inter-doctor Feuds

The Cessation Of Missile Doctoring

Missile From A Ghost (khun Phˇii)

Deteriorated Missile (lom Phee Lom Phád)

Chapter Twelve Homeopathic Aggressive Supernatural Objects

Tied Statuette (phùug Hùn)

Aggressive Uses

Amatory Uses

Marital Uses

Defense And Treatment

Buried Statuette (fˇang Rûub Fˇang Rauj)

Cut Strip Of Wood (bang Fan)

Twisted Intestine (bìd Sâj)

Chapter Thirteen Supernatural Objects Used Primarily For Affection

Sacralized Cigarette Smoke (phôn Khwˇan Bùrii)

Flower Insect (dàug Campii Sèeg)

Sacralized Lip Wax (sˇii Ph[unavailable]ng Sˇii Pàag)

Sacralized Face Powder (pâeng Phàd Nâa)

Treasure Rattan (wˇaaj Nímíd)

Coupling Philtre (jaa Fàed)

Anointment (coem)

Gold Leaf On The Forehead (ná Nâa Thaung)

Gold Leaf Emplacement (pìd Thaung)

Chapter Fourteen Supernatural Objects Used Primarily For Success In Selling

Charity Coin (sàtaang Joon Thaan)

Sacralized Banknote (“thánnábàd Kháakhˇaaj,” Or “thánnábàd Kôn Thˇung”)

Boat Mother (mâe Jâa Naang Rya)

Beckoning Lady (naang Kwàg)

Chapter Fifteen Supernatural Objects Related To Childbirth And Child-rearing

Monks' Lotus (bua Kìaw Kàb Phrá)

Mother Guardian (mâe Sýy)

Chapter Sixteen Miscellaneous Simple Supernatural Objects

Coconut From Corpse Head (máphráaw Nâa Sòb)

Teachers' Candle (thian Jóg Khruu)

Part Four Inventory Of Supernatural Objects In The Realm Of The Ghosts

Chapter Seventeen The Ghosts In General Outline

The Amorphousness And Capriciousness Of The Ghosts

Special Methodological Problems In Studying Ghosts

Ghosts Contrasted With Other Spiritual Essence Concepts

Ghosts And Khwan-soul

Ghosts And Ceedtaphuud-soul

Ghosts And Devas

Ghosts And Winjaan-soul

The Replication Of Real-life Role Relationships

Contagious And Homeopathic Principles Of Ghostdom

The Contagious Principle

The Homeopathic Principle

Fear Of Ghosts

Ancestral Ghosts And Non-fearsomeness

Fear Of Ghosts, By Manner In Which The Predecessor-person Died

Fear Of Ghosts, By Kind Of Villager

Learning To Fear Ghosts

The Traditional Drama And Ghosts

Chapter Eighteen Types Of Interaction With Ghosts

The Basic Typology Of Interaction

Kinds And Degrees Of Punishment

Ghosts Embodied In Corpse Materials



Onset And Symptoms

Submission And Dissociation

Identification And Role-taking





Induced Convulsion

Rational And Ritual Procedure

Incidence And Susceptibility

Induced Convulsion And Possession Behavior

Chapter Nineteen Ancestral Ghosts

Ancestral Possessing Ghost (phˇii Pùujâataajaaj Thîi Khâw Eeng)

House Ghost (“phˇii Ryan” Or “phˇii Bâan”)

Ghost Propitiated At A Wedding (phˇii Thîi Sên M[unavailable]a Tàengngaan)

Chapter Twenty Ghost Lords With Territorial Jurisdictions

Ghost Lord Of The Place (phˇii Câw Thîi)

Determining The Identity Of The Ghost Lord Of A Place

Similarity To House Ghost

Processes Of Punishment And Reward

Supernatural Sentry Against Supernatural Predators

Miscellaneous Ad Hoc Assistance

Ghost Lord Of The Field (phˇii Câw Thûng)

Snake Lord Of The Place (nguu Câw Thîi)

Chapter Twenty-one Infant And Child Ghosts

New Baby Ghost (phˇii Lûug Daeng)

Still-born Ghost (lûug Kràug)

Still-born Corpses Available For Inspection

The Actor Role

The Doctor And Alter Roles

Golden Child Ghost (phˇii Kùmaan Thaung)

Case Study Of An Actor

Case Study Of A Doctor

Chapter Twenty-two Ghosts Of Persons Who Have Died Violently

Violent Independent Ghost (phˇii Taaj Hˇoong Thîi Khâw Eeng)

Propitiated Unsolved-murder Ghost (phˇii Thîi Sên, S[unavailable]ng Thùug Khâa Taaj, Dooj Mâj Rúu Wâa Khraj Pen Phûu Khâa)

Chapter Twenty-three A Ghost That Explains Shortness Of Breath During Sleep

Chapter Twenty-four Initiative-taking, Non-possessing Ghosts That Cause Illness

Water Ghost (phˇii Phraaj Náam)

The Derivation Of Water Ghost

“phraaj” As Deteriorated “phii”

Diseases Caused By Water Ghost

Epidemic Ghost (phˇii Hàa)

Protective Measures

Animal Epidemics

Chapter Twenty-five An Unusually Versatile Ghost

The Host Woman In Whom Filth Ghost Dwells

The Process Of Becoming A Host Woman

Methods Of Detecting A Host Woman

Filth Ghost's Means And Forms Of Locomotion

Punishments Inflicted By Filth Ghost

Inter-linkage Of Anxieties About Sickness, Loss Of Love, And The Muslim Out-group

The Wife's Fear Of Losing Her Husband

Special Fear Of Muslim Magic

Fear Of Loss Of Health

Ritual Defenses Against Filth Ghost

Rationalizations For The Decline Of Filth Ghost

Chapter Twenty-six Manipulated Fresh Corpse Ghosts

Ritual Techniques For Suppressing And Arousing A Corpse Ghost

Similarities And Differences Between Suppressed And Aroused Corpse Ghost

Chapter Twenty-seven Ghosts Manipulated In The Form Of Corpse Materials

Common Features Of All Three Corpse-material Ghosts

Mixed Perceptions Of Lust And Hostility

Contagious Causation

Projective Aspects

The Role Of The Actor

The Role Of The Actor's Doctor

The Nature Of S

The Role Of The Alter

Special Muslim Aspects

Moral Aspects

Corpse Oil (námman Phraaj)

Corpse Bone Powder (phˇong Kràdùug Sòb)

Corpse Face Wax (khîi Ph[unavailable]ng Pìd Nâa Sòb)

Chapter Twenty-eight A Violent Ghost Nurtured And Used By A Doctor

Violent Dependent Ghost Compared With Other Supernatural Objects

Violent Dependent Ghost And Missile

Violent Dependent Ghost And Corpse Oil

Violent Dependent Versus Violent Independent Ghost

The Process And Structure Of Nurturing

The Process Of Nurturing

The Structure Of Nurturing

The Cessation Of Nurturing

Violent Dependent Ghost And Exorcism


Chapter Twenty-nine A Ghost Used For Divination

Chapter Thirty New Year's Fun Ghosts

Mother Abundance (mâe Sˇii)

Windborne Monkey Ghost (ph˘ii Ling Lom)

Fish-trap Ghost (phˇii Sùm)

Coconut Half-shell Ghost (phˇii Kàlaa)

Winnowing Basket Ghost (phˇii Kàdông)

Creeping Snail Ghost (phˇii Hˇauj Khòong)

Chapter Thirty-one Brahmanically Derived Supernatural Objects In The Realm Of The Ghosts

Great Ghost (phˇii Lˇuang)

King Of The Ghosts (“tháaw Wêedsùwan” Or “tháaw Kùween”)

Chapter Thirty-two A Quasi-ghost

Chapter Thirty-three Material Supernatural Objects Used As Protection Against Ghosts

The Two Types Of Ghost Fences

Ghost Fence For Corpse

Camphor Leaf (baj Nàad)

Sacralized Sand (saaj Sèeg)

Sacralized Salt (klya Sèeg)

Part Five Inventory Of Supernatural Objects Involving The Khwan-souls Of Humans And The Rice Plant, And Other Botanical Phenomena

Chapter Thirty-four Human Khwan-soul In Various Ritual Aspects

General Features Of The Human Khwan-soul

Features Shared By Called And Ladled Khwan-soul

The Khwan Calling Rite

The Khwan Ladling Rite

Ladled Khwan-soul And Other Supernatural Subsystems

Khwan-soul In Its Various Life Cycle Ritual Aspects

Tying The Khwan As “reverse Exorcism”

Chapter Thirty-five Supernatural Objects Related To Rice

The Crucial Importance Of Rice

Rice Mother (mâe Phoosòb)

General Features Of The Rice Khwan-soul

Rice Khwan-soul In The Field (or At The House): (khwˇan Khâaw Klaang Naa) (ryy: Khâw Bâan)

Rice Khwan-soul At The Threshing Floor (or Granary) (khwˇan Khâaw Thîi Laan) (ryy: Thîi Júng)

The Rice Starting Rites

The Annual Cycle Of Rice Rites

The Rite Of Starting To Break The Ground

The Rite Of Starting To Plant

The Rite Of Starting To Transplant

The Rite Of The Rice Khwan-soul In The Field

The Rite Of Starting To Take The Rice To The Threshing Floor

The Rite Of The Rice Khwan-soul At The House

The Rite Of The Rice Khwan-soul At The Threshing Floor Or Granary

The Rite Of Starting To Put The Rice In The Granary

The Quasi-rite Of Starting To Remove The Rice From The Granary

Ghost Fence For Rice (chàl[unavailable]ew Cháj Weelaa Tham Khwˇan Khâaw Klaang Naa)

Rice-eating Ghost (phˇii Tàmauj)

Chapter Thirty-six A Supernatural Object Used For Rain-making

Rain And Rice Technology

Supernatural Objects Used To Produce Rain

Rain Statues In Their Simple Version

Rain Statues In Their Complex Version

The Chanting Of Monks

The Lady Cat Parade

Summary Of Rain Statue's Characteristics

Chapter Thirty-seven Supernatural Objects That Dwell In Trees

Avoidance Of The Wrath Of Tree-dwelling Supernatural Objects

Traditional Pharmacy And Respect For Tree-dwelling Supernatural Objects

Common Characteristics Of The Three Tree-dwelling Supernatural Objects

Lady Tree Ghost (phˇii Naang Màaj)

Lady Banana Ghost (phˇii Naang Taanii)

Tree Deva (rúgkhà Theewádaa)

Part Six Inventory Of Supernatural Objects Associated With The Brahmanical Tradition

Chapter Thirty-eight The Brahmanical Tradition

“… And All Things Sacred”

Support For Belief In Brahmanical Sacred Beings Through Sermons, Literature, Art, And Drama

Brahmanical Sacred Beings Falling Outside The Amoral-manipulative System

Chapter Thirty-nine Supernatural Objects Related To The Cosmos

Direction Deva (theewádaa Pràcam Thíd)

Protective Deva (theewádaa Khúmkhraung)

Phra Time Eater (phrá Sàwˇoej Aajú)

Chapter Forty Supernatural Objects Related To The Bodily And Natural “elements”

Mother Earth (mâe Thauránii)

Mother Water (mâe Khongkhaa)

Phra Air (phrá Phaaj)

Phra Fire (phrá Phloeng)

Atmosphere Deva (aakàadsà Theewádaa)

Chapter Forty-one Supernatural Objects With Areal Responsibilities

Lord Phaalii (câw Krung Phaalii)

Special Role In Rituals Connected With The Home

Controller Of Other Supernatural Objects

Phra Of The Area And Lord Of The Place (phrá Phuum Câw Thîi)

The Shrinelet

Rewards, Punishments, And Other Attributes

Phra Of The Rice-field Area (phrá Phuum Naa)

Part Seven Inventory Of Other Complex Supernatural Objects

Chapter Forty-two Supernatural Objects Housed In Shrines

Shrine Lord (câaw Thîi Sˇaan)

Shrine Lord Contrasted With Phra Of The Area And Lord Of The Place

Shrine Lords And Possession-doctors

Other Attributes

Shrine Lord And Buddhism

A Case Study

Lord Father Pillar Of The City (câw Phâu Làg Myang)

Chapter Forty-three Material Multi-reward Supernatural Objects

Cabalistic Amulet (tàkrùd)

Types Of Amulet

Preparing And Sacralizing The Amulet

Sources Of Supernatural Power

Testing The Power Of The Amulet

The Mynah Bird Amulet (tàkrùd Sˇaalíkaa)

Cabalistic Cloth (phâa Jan)

Types Of Cabalistic Cloth

Cabalistic Cloth In Relation To Other Supernatural Objects

Buddha Amulet (phrá Khw[unavailable]en Khau)

Types Of Amulet

Making The Amulet

Sources Of Supernatural Power

Testing The Power Of The Amulet

Using The Amulet

Maintaining The Amulet's Power

Chapter Forty-four Additional Supernatural Objects Associated With The Buddhistic Tradition

Buddha Statue (phrá Phúdthá Rûub)

General Characteristics Of The Presiding Buddha Statues

Making, Sacralizing, And Handling A Presiding Buddha Statue

The Soothaun Buddha Statue

Case Studies Of The Soothaun Buddha Statue's Influence

Kacaajjana Statue (rûub Phrá Kàcaajjáná)

Lord Of Revenge And Chief Of Karma (câw Ween Naaj Kam)

Preta Ghost (phii Prèed)

Part Eight Sequel And Summary

Chapter Forty-five Stability And Instability Of Belief, 1957 To 1970

Benchmarks Of Supernatural Involvement In 1957

The Generality Of Involvement

The Influence Of Wealth On Involvement

Cross-system Involvement

Return To Bang Chan

The Context Of Change

Pinpointing Changes In Intensity Of Belief

Overall Findings

Belief Ratings And Belief Stability

The Greater Stability Of The Non-anthropomorphs

Some Methodological Conventions

Stability Versus Instability

Chapter Forty-six Concluding Remarks

The Ethnographic Inventories

Some Pervasive Symbolic Themes



Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: Roster of the gods: an ethnography of the supernatural in a Thai village

Published By: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 1973. 3, 44, 911 leaves: ill.

By line: by Robert B. Textor

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2000. Computer File

Culture: Central Thai (AO07)

Subjects: Magical and mental therapy (755); Burial practices and funerals (764); Cult of the dead (769); Religious beliefs (770); Religious practices (780); Prophets and ascetics (792);

Abstract: This study attempts to describe naturalistically, and to analyze, the cognitive, structural, and functional aspects of one major sub-domain of the total domain of religio-magical belief and behavior in Bang Chan, a rural village in central Thailand. This sub-domain, which Textor terms the “amoral-manipulative system,” consists of 114 “supernatural objects,” i.e., spirits, ghosts, sacred objects, and various other culturally standardized entities that possess supernatural power to reward or punish an individual. Textor shows how villagers make choices among supernatural objects culturally available to them as they seek to achieve a particular reward or avoid a particular punishment.

Document Number: 11

Document ID: ao07-011

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 829) The household survey on which Textor bases certain

Field Date: 1952-1971

Evaluation: Ethnographer-5

Analyst: David Sherwood ; 1984

Coverage Date: 1952-1971

Coverage Place: Bang Chan, Thailand

LCSH: Thais


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