Hand Trembling, Frenzy Witchcraft, and Moth Madness

A Study of Navajo Seizure Disorders

Jerrold E. Levy (Author), Raymond Neutra (Author), Dennis Parker (Author)
Paperback ($22.95), Ebook ($22.95) Buy
According to traditional Navajo belief, seizures are the result of sibling incest, sexual witchcraft, or possession by a supernatural spirit—associations that have kept such disorders from being known outside Navajo families. This new study is concerned with discovering why the Navajos have accorded seizures such importance and determining their meaning in the larger context of Navajo culture. The book is based on a 14-year study of some 40 Navajo patients and on an epidemiological survey among the Navajos and among three Pueblo tribes.
"Given the rarity of good books in the medical anthropology of native Americans in the southwestern United States, this book is a most welcome addition to the literature. Its authors recognize the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach to adequately explain even one type of illness within this bicultural area and they succeed in integrating historical, psychiatric, epidemiologic and anthropological perspectives on seizure disorders. An interdisciplinary team, they expended years of research efforts in five Indian communities (Navaho, Apache, Zuni, Tewas, and Hopis). The result is an unusually comprehensive treatment of a disorder on which we have very little cultural data." —Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review

"The authors explore many questions . . . including the relationships among culture, psychopathology, and the personality types of shamans. This book will be . . . of interest to medical anthropologists and others involved in Navajo studies." —Medical Anthropology Quarterly

"[Clinically oriented case histories] provide considerable information that could complement other studies of these ceremonies—the Tremblingway, the Frenzy Witchcraftway, and the Mothway." —Shaman's Drum

"This book is a literary mosaic of bits from many sources—Navajo and Pueblo mythology, historical documents, culture and personality theory, epidemiological survey statistics, patient interviews, Freudian theories, disease incidence statistics . . . [and provides] readers with an extensive bibliography." —Journal of the Southwest
Hand Trembling, Frenzy Witchcraft, and Moth Madness
196 Pages 5.5 x 8.5 x 0.6
Published: January 1988Paperback ISBN: 9780816515721
Published: April 2022Ebook ISBN: 9780816548040

For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.



The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with readers, booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Join our email Newsletter. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.


Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.