Right after arriving
He is one of the first people to receive news about an alleged witch arriving. It is his job to accept her in good faith.
The first thing he does is tell the accused witch to find two chickens of any type and bring him money.
The amount of money varies depending on the type of case. Those who run away from their community voluntarily can pay any amount of money. Those who are sacked from their community because of a mysterious death or sickness must bring 40 cedi (around $20) because they must wash their deaths down in their stomach.
The day of the cleansing ceremony the alleged witch wakes up at 4 in the morning, doesn’t take breakfast, and enters the shrine.
The priest says incantations and oracles, and then slaughters the two chickens. The chickens will testify as to whether she was accused falsely. The results of this test aren’t shared with anyone; the alleged witch and the priest will be the only people who ever know the results. The accused then drinks a special concoction composed of water and a special stone, and neutralizes their powers. The second chicken is slaughtered to ask for permission to stay or leave the community.
The accused then confess that they have witchcraft and drink a concoction. The special concoction was prepared by the priest’s great-grandfather and is in the form of a stone. The stone is soaked in water. If the accused is not lying, she will take the concoction peacefully. If she denies having witchcraft, the concoction will give her diarrhea and she will die in 3 months.
But the chicken doesn’t tell the whole story, which is why the chickens are wrong sometimes.
The fetish priest says that his powers come from God to do the purification ceremony. The chicken has the ability to do the interpretation.
When the Priest dies, the title is passed on to someone else. The day that the priest dies, the chief consults the oracles. The next day the talisman and the staff will appear at the new priest’s house.
Prior to becoming the priest, his father was the priest and he observed his father performing all the ceremonies.
The village revolves around oracles. The oracles were brought by a nigerian man who founded the community hundreds of years ago. The priest interprets the oracles based on the way the wind blows through the camp. The priest can also ask the oracles for favors.
For example the oracles used to not allow electricity in the camp. Each time electricity poles were put up, the storm would strike the posts. The villagers asked the priest to consult the oracles to let them have electricity. After a sacrifice of a ram, cow, and chicken at the shrine to pacify the gods, they were able to install electricity successfully.
The oracles are different than the gods. The oracles are simply the gods’ messengers.
We asked how these oracles and smaller gods work together with the almighty god since many of the villagers were muslim. He said that these smaller gods that they worship get their powers from the almighty god. They then worship the almighty through the smaller gods.
There are many oracles. When he leaves the village, 1 or 2 oracles travel with the priest and the majority stay at the camp, this way he is signaled if something bad happens.
He says that the biggest problem in the camp is feeding – many of the women don’t have any supporters.
He also says that the women should be allowed contact with her family. After the purification ceremony she is born again and can’t harm others.