Pharmaceutical Potentials

Praying over Medicines in Pentecostal Healing

Kristine Krause


As shown by research on “the social life of medicines,” pharmaceuticals can be used in a number of ways. Based on research with Ghanaian Pentecostal practitioners and patients in Ghana and Europe, I examine how pills and substances can become points of contact for God. By being prayed upon, pills move from being a medical commodity to becoming a boundary object in the connection created between a sickness, biomedical practices, and the Holy Spirit. It is the unmarked position of the Holy Spirit in the plethora of spirits that makes this possible. Unlike in Catholicism or other religious traditions that work with spirits through objects, the Holy Spirit is not carried in the pills but only amplifies their pharmaceutical potential.

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