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Pagtatawas is a ritual in pseudomedicine in Filipino Psychology (but considered superstition in Western psychology) where an affliction or psychological disorder is diagnosed by interpreting the form produced in water by heated alum or molten wax droppings from a lighted candle.

Technique[edit]

Earlier and in some rural areas in the Philippines, alum (i.e., hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate or tawas in the vernacular) is ritualistically used by the albularyo or medicine man for diagnosis of a variety of health conditions: a child's incessant crying, frequent fatigue, or even failure to conceive. The tawas is used to 'cross' (sign of the cross) the forehead and other suspicious or ailing parts of the body as prayers are being whispered (bulong or oracion). It is then placed on glowing embers, removed when it starts to crack, then transferred to a small basin of water.[1] As it cools, its new form spreads on the water surface and assumes a shape that may suggest the cause of the illness, often one of several indigenous forces: dwarfs, devils or other evil spirits (na-nuno, na-kulam, na-demonyo). The water in the vehicle is then used to anoint the ailing part or parts of the body to counteract the evil forces or illness. The tawas is then discarded and thrown westward, preferably into the setting sun.[2]

Presently and in most areas, it is an albularyo who simply lights and holds the candle during the ritual. In some, it is the albularyo's assistant or the afflicted person who holds the candle, but almost invariably, it is the albularyo who interprets the vague shapes produced by the wax as it solidifies in the basin of water. An albularyo may see supernatural beings displeased as cause of the illness in the shapes and forms, and suggest some cleansing ritual or peace offering.

Modern variations have the albularyo use other materials for divination purposes, such as eggs, mirrors, plain paper, cigarettes,[3] chewing gum, chicken feathers, and the liver of a freshly-slaughtered chicken or pig (the last one classically known in the West as haruspicy).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SITO Artchive: '''Pagtatawas''' by Jose A. Fadul". Sito.org. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  2. ^ "Tawas (Alum): Miscellaneous Therapies in Philippine Alternative Medicine". Stuartxchange.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  3. ^ FMAdigest Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagtatawas — Please support Wikipedia.
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3 news items

Rappler

Rappler
Thu, 24 Mar 2016 00:52:30 -0700

Aware of the deep and mysterious powers embedded in the Philippines culture, he also imparted skills of being an Albularyo and the procedures to perform Pagtatawas to his apprentice. With the vast riches that he was left with, Bonifacio travelled the ...

GMA News

GMA News
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:48:45 -0700

Habulan conjures these juxtapositions in a background of white candle wax, reminiscent of the practice of pagtatawas, a process used by local healers using the drippings of lit candle on water in order to discern the presence of an offending spirit ...

Journal Online

Journal Online
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 03:52:30 -0700

KRIS Bernal, as co-host of “Starstruck 6”, really sympathized with the four ousted artista wannabes when the Final 14 candidates were chosen last Friday. We were there and we saw the compassionate Kris crying with them and doing her best to console the ...
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