Cultural and Religious Examples of Exorcism

Exorcism involves many different rituals that depend on the culture. In New Zealand, the Maori culture calls their exorcism ceremonies a makutu lifting. This particular practice involves water, but in the case of Janet Moses , the outcome did not have a happy ending. In this article, you will learn more about Moses, as well as other cultural and religious rituals associated with exorcisms.

Janet Moses

In 2007, one 22-year-old woman died and a teenager was hospitalized after a makutu lifting (another way to refer to an exorcism) was performed in Wellington, New Zealand. Makutu lifting was a practice associated with the Maori religion.

Before the ritual was performed on the woman, she had exhibited psychological issues and her behavior distressed her family members. Elders were consulted before the ritual was conducted, and they advised the family to take the responsibility of her healing into their own hands. None of the family members had any knowledge of the true nature of the exorcism ritual, so the ceremony was improvised. Because of this, too much water was used, which led to the woman’s drowning.

In 2009, nine members of the extended family of the woman, siblings of her mother and their some of their spouses were criminally charged in the event. In the end, one uncle and four aunts were subsequently found guilty for drowning the woman. The family was not sent to jail for the death, but was given sentences of community service.

Examples of Judaic Exorcism

During the days of Moses, non-New Testament Jewish sources reported exorcisms that were performed with the help of drugs containing poisonous root extracts. Sacrifices were also a part of the exorcism rituals. There is documentation to suggest that exorcisms were carried out by the Essene branch of Judaism (as told in the Dead Sea Scrolls). A rabbi named Yehuda Fetaya also wrote a book titled Minchat Yahuda, which dealt with the topic of exorcism, as well as his experience with possessed people.

Exorcism in Buddhism

Depending on the Buddhist sect, Buddhists do believe in exorcism. For example, some Tibetan Buddhists see exorcism as serving as a metaphor for “expelling negative thoughts and transforming them into enlightened mind.” Some Buddhists feel that blessings are better than exorcisms as a way to rid themselves or places of negative thoughts and/or negative spirits.