Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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The purpose of this paper is to study the ways the sacred power of "Moh Yao," Phu Thai folk healers, are transmitted and to study the network formation between the Yao healers and their followers through ritual in Tambon Nonyang, Nongsung District, Mukdahan Province, Thailand. The research results reveal two methods of how the "Yao" healers inherit their sacred power: first, through the maternal descent line, and second, through a certain ritual called "Yao Khum Phi Ok"/เหยาคุมผีออก, which must be performed annually for three consecutive years in order to obtain and sustain the sacred healing power. A "Yao" healer completing these rituals is then regarded as being spiritually empowered with a "healing license." After that, Yao practitioners will be authorized to transfer their sacred power to heal patients. Those patients who fully recover can decide later whether or not they would like to pursue the goal of becoming a Yao practitioner themselves, which is how the network is formed. This study illustrates the relationship between the ritual and folk healing methods of the Phu Thai ethnic group in northeastern Thailand.

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