A study of spirit possession groups in Metro Manila from Segundo Galilea's theologico-pastoral perspective of popular religiosity

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education Major in Religious Education and Values Education

Subject Categories

Religious Education


College of Liberal Arts


Theology and Religious Education

Thesis Adviser

Andrew B. Gonzalez, FSC

Defense Panel Chair

Andrew B. Gonzalez, FSC

Defense Panel Member

Ismael Maningas
Jaime A. Belita
Roberto C. Salazar,


This study of spirit possession in Metro Manila follows the framework of Segundo Galilea's approach to popular religiosity.The methodology used in the study is a combination of methodologies of the social sciences and theology as suggested by Galilea in his approach to popular religiosity. Case studies, participant observation, informal interviews, along the line of Enriquez' 'katutubong pamamaraan (1992: 95-96), and documentary analysis are used in the phenomenology of the various spirit possession groups. The hermeneutic aspect of the phenomenon consisting of theological analysis and evaluation follows the norm set by Galilea. Theological analysis and evaluation follows the pastoral criteria related to Christology and ecclesiology laid down by Galilea. The writer immersed himself from 1977-1981 in the milieu of 5 selected spirit possession groups, namely, Nana Kikay, Sister Fely, Auntie, Auntie Dolor, and Sister Dolor.Conclusions drawn from the study were:1. The various spirit possession groups in the study are loose groupings or associations of friends, relatives and individuals who are in them due to a variety of motives, principally to be healed of ailments, physical and otherwise. They revolve around their leader, a woman regarded as instrument, medium, or possessed by a familiar spirit or spirits, usually God the Father, Christ, the Virgin or the saints.

2. An interdisciplinary consideration of the various spirit possession groups relates the phenomenon with the tradition of shamanism which has deep roots in Philippine history.3. From a theological and pastoral perspective, however, the various spirit possession groups exemplify the Filipino popular Christian community that expresses its spirituality according to its cultural and social conditions. Its spirituality is characterized by complex devotionalism and ecclesial marginality.4. Despite some negative or ambiguous elements in the religiosity of the various spirit possession groups studied, the groups generally possess dynamic Christian elements that are truly liberative of the Filipino masses.From the foregoing, recommendations related to the evangelization of spirit possession groups were drawn.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

[208] leaves ; Computer print-out


Spirit possession; Religiousness; Gifts, Spiritual; Pastoral theology; Spiritual healing; Galilea, Segundo; Healers

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