The Greeting Party

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In the afterlife there are beings, sometimes described as angels, guardian spirits or souls of the previously departed. They have the task of meeting and greeting new souls that enter the afterworld. In Anishinawbek belief, such beings not only greet new spirits, but they guard against malevolent entities that may try to intrude. In this picture the spirit of a shaman, not shown in the picture, intentionally enters the afterworld through a trance. The greeters see this new spirit, and immediately recognize that it is not from a deceased person. The greeters look at the new spirit, and challenge it to identify itself. The viewer of this picture stands in the place of the shaman’s spirit.

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