The exhibition illuminates a number of healing practices
Various healing practices are important for millions of people around the world. These practices are based on a world view and knowledge system that are different from western medical science. In Room 1 of the exhibition, you are introduced to six ritual specialists working in the Netherlands. Their work is based on the principle that there is no distinction between the body and the mind, people and nature.
Alfred Quenum from Benin was still a child when he became seriously ill after the death of his grandfather. His grandfather had been a Kossalite, a special rank in the West African Vodun religion. Alfred’s illness was therefore interpreted as a sign that he was to succeed his grandfather. When his family responded to the calling and brought him to a temple, his health suddenly improved. Years of Vodun training followed. Alfred has been living in Nijmegen for many years now and, besides his priesthood, he is also a musician and theatre maker.
Marco Hadjidakis is the ceremonial leader of the Santo Daime community in The Hague. The Santo Daime religion originated in Brazil in the early twentieth century. Now, communities can be found around the world. Santo Daime contains elements of Christianity and other ancient traditions from the Amazon region and West Africa. Everything revolves around the belief in “the other world” — a different spiritual dimension which you can enter by drinking daime. Daime is a substance traditionally used by South American shamans. This drink is a mix of the vines and leaves of certain plants found in the Amazon and it has a mind-altering effect. Drinking this mix has a great impact: you are believed to make a spiritual trip to deeper layers of yourself and the cosmos. This is supposed to help you better understand your own life, body and mind.
Marian Markelo is a lecturer in nursing and a Winti priestess. Winti literally means “wind”, and Marian Markelo describes Winti as “a philosophical and religion expression from Suriname that emerged during slavery.” There are many different Winti’s, or “natural spirits”, and Marian actively works to share her knowledge about Winti. She gives lectures, teaches classes and organises parties in honour of various Winti’s.
Daan van Kampenhout
Daan van Kampenhout has been studying shamanism for many years, and he also gives training courses and sessions on the subject. He learned about shamanism from teachers in North America and Lapland, among others, and he has developed his own shamanistic method. Daan is also a visual artist and designer of ritual costumes. These costumes are inspired by dreams, myths and examples seen in museum collections, to which Daan adds his own spiritual and artistic interpretation. You can also find Daan’s work in the exhibition.
Because of her education and work experience with respect to palliative nursing and psychosocial therapy based on anthroposophy, Petra Nelstein is very familiar with western medicine. She has also developed herself into what she herself calls a Mestizo shaman. While Mestizo or Mestiza is an emotionally charged Spanish term for people with European and indigenous South American ancestors, Petra feels this term best represents how she designs her treatments.
Coby Rijkers grew up in a family of farmers in Brabant, where she learned everything about plants and animals and their medicinal properties. As an adult, Coby visited the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle during a holiday in England and became enormously fascinated by the subject of witchcraft. It was as if pieces of a puzzle suddenly fell into place: elements from her youth, the medicines based on natural ingredients that her grandmother created, her upbringing, and previous paranormal experiences. She also recognised plenty of common areas with her discipline, biology. Once back in the Netherlands, she immersed herself in the study of witchcraft, which has become a way of life for her.