Friday, 2 November 2012

Today's Classified: 21st-Century Shamans and Witch-Busters

I remember that on one of the vacations to the US my wife and I took we ran into Zoltar the coin-operated fortuneteller (order one for your business or home today!)  I think it was in Vegas.

I've had my fortune told a number of times and I still own my own Tarot deck from my days as a Wiccan.  I now don't think anyone can really tell the future, especially by looking at crystal balls, cards or tea leaves.

Every work day I commute to and from work using our subway system, the Metro.  I often pick up one of the free papers (Metro or 24 Heurs) to pass the time during the trip. I peruse the latest filtered-down-to-be-offensive-to-no-one news and general interest stories about how to keep relationships strong while enduring kitchen renovations.  I say hello to unusually happy looking "Mega Gym girl" (whom I'm actually beginning to think I've developed an unhealthy crush on) in her daily advert which often leads me into the classified section.

The classified sections in these papers have an unusually high concentration of shamans, fortunetellers, psychics and healers of all stripes.  It seems the really big ones are Native American shamans or supernatural seers with African-sounding names.  One advert that is just as daily as the "Mega Gym girl" is INDIAN SHAMAN.

Usually the INDIAN SHAMAN is a small insert.  Sometimes it is larger and includes a customer testimonial. As far as I can tell, all of the two or three testimonials I've read so far are women thanking the shaman for helping them attract the perfect mate.  But yesterday's advert and testimonial made me a little upset and concerned.

Here it is. Question marks are where I'm not able to parse the French with certainty.

Healer from birth / Return of a loved one, no matter the circumstances or distance between you. / Heals of all kinds of illnesses and malign influences / Reveals the face of the enemy / Purifies houses and offices/ I am the REAL SHOUMEN / the COUROU / No margin of error / 33 years of experience

I KNOW the SECRETS of SUCCESS and I know how to RESOLVE difficult and impossible things

Within Testimonial box insert:
100% Guarantee / Don't believe in witches(?), / But they exist, (it's?) the truth!

REAL TESTIMONIAL / Only INDIAN SHAMAN could liberate my family and house from the influence of the witchcraft which my neighbour did against us.  He had buried a fetiche in our back court in order to destroy us.  Thank you INDIAN SHAMAN. / BOBBY.

Native American Shamanism has likely existed for thousands of years.  I'm really not qualified to judge the authenticity of this shaman based on the advert.  But there are a couple of unrelated items here that bug me.

It's apparent that there is some substantial amount of belief in witchcraft in this day and age right here in Montreal.  And I don't mean the Wiccans here.

I wonder how this little testimonial story was supposed to play out.  What is BOBBY supposed to do with his witch-neighbour now that he has a real shaman proving to him that they attempted to destroy his house and family with a curse?  I know what happens to accused witches in certain parts of the world - it's not good.

Is this advert basically saying this shaman can double as a witch hunter and give people handy supernatural excuses to malign or persecute others?  I know I'm probably overreacting here, but doesn't anyone else find this a little disturbing?  And if BOBBY thinks witches are running around burying fetiches (religious objects) to destroy him then what do you think he would think of the Wiccan who lives down the street or that Atheist at his work?

One of the few things I believe Quebec is excelling at is secularism and the decline of organized religion.  A recent survey said 78% of Quebecers do not consider themselves religious and churches are being converted to secular use at an encouraging rate. But where are we headed?  Into blind superstition?

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