The article states that the Nacirema tribe practices body ritual, which is their way of cleansing the body because they portray the body to be ugly. Body ritual is such an important part of their culture that the tribe devoted numerous shrines to this practice. The tribe use the shrines and holy water for ablution. The tribe gets their holy water from a ‘Water Temple’, which is then blessed thus making holy water. In the article, it also talks about the different types of rakings there are such as the Medicine Man, Holy-Mouth-Men, and Witchdoctors.
These titles come with special perks. The Medicine Man is entrusted to distribute the ‘Charm Boxes’ which are boxes full of special materials. Holy-Mouth-Men are not ranked as high as the Medicine Man, but they are used for caring for the ‘mouth’, which is a possession that the Nacirema’s fantasize over. The ‘mouth’ is said to have “a supernatural influence on all social relationships” (Miner). Miner also talks about a specific witchdoctor titled ‘the listener’ who performs exorcisms on people who have been possessed by demons or other supernatural beings.
The tribe believes that a child’s parents can often possess their child. The listener cures people who have been possessed by listening to them talk about themselves. Another thing that Miner mentions in the article is that the Nacirema men preform a face scraping ritual daily with a sort or sharp object, and the women bake themselves from the neck up in an oven multiple times a month. These people also have numerous rituals or festivals which are held at the Latipso. The Latipso is a temple in which the tribe goes there because they believe it will keep them alive.
The people at the temple do erroneous acts such as being nude in front of others or bringing luxurious gifts to the temple. I believe that the people of Nacirema are extremist and they do a lot of erroneous actions to be deemed as worthy by their God. They act more as a cult than a religion. There are too many drastic measures to be taken within their religion. The Nacirema tribe believe in a lot of supernatural things such as their kids being possessed. They believe their kids to be possessed for no reason. Also, for their children to be released by the possessor all they must do is speak to a ‘listener’.
Men and women in the religion put themselves through mental and physical pain to sustain their position within the religion. The men do daily facial scrapings and the women bake their heads inside ovens. The religion also has different positions. The Medicine Man, Holy-Mouth-Men, and Witchdoctor are all different rankings within the religion and each rank holds a different power. The Medicine Man, which is the most powerful, is comparable to a pastor in Christianity.
The Medicine Man would be the most powerful person in the Nacirema tribe, he controls the special boxes that are delivered to shrines just as a pastor in a regular Catholic Church controls where all the money goes. The entire Nacirema religion does not make much sense. They humiliate themselves for ceremonies and they worship shrines by giving them precious goods. The tribe preforms many religious ceremonies where they are naked in front of their peers. I believe that the tribe is more of a cult.