Obeah and Amerindian Practices
A number of folk beliefs continue to be practiced in Guyana.
Obeah, a folk religion of African origin, incorporates beliefs and
practices of all the immigrant groups. Obeah practitioners may be
Afro-Guyanese or Indo-Guyanese, and members of all the ethnic
groups consult them for help with problems concerning health, work,
domestic life, and romance. Some villagers wear charms or use other
folk practices to protect themselves from harm.
Traditional Amerindian religious beliefs vary, but shamans play
a significant role in all of them. The shaman is believed to
communicate with the world of spirits in order to detect sorcery
and combat evil. The shaman is also a healer and an adviser, the
representative of the village to the spiritual world and sometimes
its political leader as well. Missionary activity to the
Amerindians has been intense. As a result, the traditional beliefs
and practices of all the Amerindian groups have been modified; some
have even disappeared.
Data as of January 1992