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  • "Pagtatawas" is a ritual in psycho-medicine in Filipino Psychology where an affliction or psychological disorder is diagnosed by interpreting the form produced in a basin of water as heated alum or molten wax drop from a lighted candle. Earlier and in some rural areas in the Philippines, alum is ritualistically used by the albularyo or medicine man for diagnosis of a variety of health conditions: a child's incessant crying, frequent fatigue, or even failure to conceive. The tawas is used to 'cross' the forehead and other suspicious or ailing parts of the body as prayers are being whispered. It is then placed on glowing embers, removed when it starts to crack, then transferred to a small basin of water. As it cools, its new form spreads on the water surface and assumes a shape that may suggest the cause of the illness, often one of several indigenous forces: dwarfs, devils or other evil spirits. The water in the vehicle is then used to anoint the ailing part or parts of the body to counteract the evil forces or illness. The tawas is then discarded and thrown westward, preferably into the setting sun. Wikipedia

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