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You Shall Be As Gods

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To many Filipinos, the anting-anting is more than simply a protective talisman or good luck charm. It is part of an elaborate system of belief that has evolved over centuries, synthesizing the animist spirituality of ancient precolonial Filipinos with the Catholic doctrines brought by Spanish colonizers. In times of colonial rule, fervent belief in the anting-anting’s mystical properties was a way for the oppressed to rise up and stand equal to their oppressors. Over time, it became a way for ordinary Filipinos—particularly the poor and downtrodden—to assert power over their own destinies. Today, this belief system continues to manifest itself in daily life with its complex hierarchies, manifold trials and rituals, dense symbolism, and flights into mysticism and the unknown.

You Shall Be As Gods, the inaugural book of the Voyager series, explores the many variations of belief in the anting-anting and its role in Philippine history, culture, and psychology. The author Dennis Villegas won the confidence of dozens of the most important anting-anting users and spiritual leaders to delve deep into the origins of various faith communities in the country. He also underwent harrowing tests of physical and spiritual fortitude, all in order to understand the power that the anting-anting continues to hold over the Filipino psyche. This book is the triumphant result of in-depth research coupled with the derring-do of first-person gonzo journalism.