Experts look at sorcery

National, Normal

The National, Monday October 21st, 2013


SORCERY, generally held as part of the local cultural heritage, provides a challenge to developing the underlying law, an anthropologist says. 

Dr Andrew Moutu, the National Museum and Art Gallery director, told a conference on underlying law in Port Moresby that sorcery lived in and emanated from our belief systems.

It was practised or observed, feared or revered, denied or concealed, valued or despised in the different forms of its manifestations of cultural or customary practices, he said. 

The conference was held to discuss the underlying law concerning the nature and application of customs in the country’s legal system. 

“The idea of an underlying law is largely concerned about that which already exists rather than that which ought to be,” Dr Moutu said. 

“Sorcery practices always bring into view the organising metaphysical divide between the seen and the unseen, mind and body, natural and supernatural, the objective and subjective, scientific and superstitious, the real and the unreal. 

“As a customary practice and belief, sorcery and witchcraft appear to occupy a pride of place in helping us think about the challenges of developing the underlying law.”

He said this was because some customary practices provided a challenge and a prospect that might add to the attempts at developing the underlying law. 

“Sorcery, among other kinds of customary practices, provides some intriguing prospects towards developing the overall project of the underlying law,” he said. 

“Sorcery has always and will continue to remain a topic of intense debate, but it could be one of terror and healing.”