An-annung is the Ilocano of nasapi-an in Pilipino. Spirits cast spell on a person, the old folks say. The victim may suffer of stomachache or headache accompanied by cold sweat, body weakness or feeling of exhaustion.
Well, take this case. It was dusk when a tenant of ours insisted of climbing a betel palm, Areca catechu to gather its nuts for nga-nga. My dad objected to it, but somehow the young man prevailed when dad left.
"Spellbound to the spirits of the living and the dead." A painting by a contestant in a painting competition at UST
There had been a number of cases I “succeeded” in healing the naan-annungan. But I could also induce – unknowingly - the same effect on someone else. That too, my dad and old folks believed. They would sought for my “power” to cast the spell away from - this time – no other than my own “victim”. What a paradox!
As I grew up and pursued my education, my perception on the supernatural began to change. I read Nostradamus prophesy, Hawthorn's House of the Seven Gables, Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, Washington Irving's ghostly characters like The Headless Horseman. It was fun reading Dracula, The Mummy, The Exorcist, Ghost. They are all out of this world; they just come in imagination and entertainment. And to scare naughty children.
The impressions I got from other books are different. Take the case of Alexander Dumas' Count on Monte Cristo, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and Charles Dicken's Oliver, Kemphis' Imitation of Christ and a lot of great writings, many considered classical because of their relevance and timelessness, and people often getting back to read them when they feel the world tightening up.
What really make people well? Of course, we have to know what make them sick of various kinds of ailmnents and symptoms in the first place.
People who are unwell are not necessarily those who are physically sick; they are those who are sick in the heart and mind. They have lost hope, they have low esteem of themselves, they are tied up with unforgettable traumatic experiences. They are full of anger and hatred. And bad intentions.
Or they have drawn into the recesses of their mind and won't like to face the world. They fear reality, so they use fantasy as shield. Things out of this world is a defeatist argument, when logic fails, when reality is distorted. Sickness is deeper than what is physiologic or pathogenic. And there is only one thing that can make these people feel well.
And that is to bring them back to self-confidence and self-trust. After that they start building confidence and trust in others.
What was my role as the boy who can dispel bad spirits that chanced upon a person? I was merely as agent of renewal. Children are like that because they are pure and innocent. They are the best healers because they bring back faith and hope which the grownups are losing or have lost. The faith healer is the master catalyst. It was Christ way of healing, the key to his miracles.
I read something about Alexander the Great consulting the Oracle at Siwa to find out if indeed he is god-sent.
“The Pharaoh will bow to you, ” the priestess told him. And it did happen - the pharaoh kissed Alexander’s feet when he arrived in Cairo.
The great warrior knew no bounds of his power, conquering empire after empire, encompassing the whole breadth of the known civilized world at that time, reaching as far as the Orient.
But alas! on the bank of the Tigris-Euphrates River, one evening the great warrior, the son of god, died. Thus ended his lofty dreams as the ruler of the world. The myth went with him. He was barely 33 years old. ~