In African Spirituality What Is The Lake For? (Question)

Water, realm of the spirits, plays a special role in the voodoo ceremonies of Benin, Togo and Nigeria; hence the magical qualities attributed to springs, rivers and waterfalls. Hence also the custom of pouring water over altars at the beginning of every ceremony, to summon the underworld spirits.

What does water signify spiritually?

With remarkable regularity across human cultures, water has been used to communicate the sacred value of life; the spiritual dimension of purification, protection, and healing; and the profound meaning of suffering and redemption in human life.

Are there any spiritual connections to water in Africa?

African cultures characterise water, by virtue of its life-giving nature, as both physical and spiritual in essence – but even of greater spiritual utility than physical. Water is used in important prayer forms in various acts of libation.

What is Mami water?

Mami Wata (Mammy Water) or La Sirene is a water spirit venerated in West, Central, and Southern Africa, and in the African diaspora in the Americas. Mami Wata spirits are usually female, but are sometimes male.

How do you do a water ritual?

Here are five simple yet powerful mini water rituals to help clear your energy.

  1. Respect the water you drink. Take time to put fresh lemon, lime, orange, basil, mint, or cucumber in your water for a light flavoring.
  2. Bless your water.
  3. Shower the day away.
  4. Use water as a visualization tool.

Does water represent the Holy Spirit?

The New Testament uses water as an image of the Holy Spirit. “Rivers of living water” represent the Holy Spirit’s presence and power poured out on Jesus’ followers. The Spirit’s presence points to his cleansing and sanctifying work in the hearts of God’s children.

What is a water spirit called?

The Nixie (English) or the Nix/Nixe/Nyx (German) are shapeshifting water spirits who usually appear in human form. The Undine or Ondine is a female water elemental (first appearing the alchemical works of Paracelsus).

What does water mean in a dream spiritually?

In general, when water appears in dreams, it usually symbolizes purity, rebirth, strong feelings, thirst for knowledge, but it could also mean a lot more. However, take note that the meaning of the water dream could also be negative.

What do water symbolize in African culture?

Representations of water are embedded in religion, spirituality, myths, legends and rituals. Three models for the representation of water are found in Black-African traditions: water as a source of life, as an instrument of purification and as a locus of regeneration.

How do you awaken spiritually?

Practical Ways to Have a Spiritual Awakening

  1. Declutter! Start by making room!
  2. Examine your beliefs. Be conscious of and intentional about what you believe.
  3. Expand your mind. Explore new ideas and differing beliefs.
  4. Go outside. There is energy and spirit and magic in the outdoors.
  5. Take care of yourself.
  6. Learn to let go.

What are mermaid spirits?

The mermaid Lasirn is a powerful water spirit popular in the Caribbean Islands and parts of the Americas. Like European mermaids, and the African mermaid water spirit Mami Wata, Lasirn holds a mirror to admire herself and a comb for her long, straight hair.

Where did Mami Wata come from?

“Mami Wata” is West African pidgin English literally meaning ‘Mama Water’… ‘Mother Ocean’ if you prefer. From Madagascar to Morocco, Liberia to Mozambique, Mami Wata is the African water spirit who appears in the shape of a mermaid.

How was Mami Wata created?

The conflation of various traditions of water divinities in nineteenth-century West Africa created Mami Wata. Devotees established shrines for Mami Wata decorated with objects reminiscent of the various traditions.

How do you worship a river goddess?

Worship of the river traditionally involves bathing in and drinking her waters in order to cleanse the body of physical and spiritual ills, and to hasten the path to Moksha (or Mokṣa) or liberation from the karmic cycle of reincarnation.

What is a water ceremony?

The Water Communion (Water Ritual) is a ritual service common in Unitarian Universalist congregations. It is usually held in the fall, during September, as it’s the beginning of the Liturgical year. Some congregations of other religions have also adopted the ritual.

What is a river goddess?

Oshun is commonly called the river orisha, or goddess, in the Yoruba religion and is typically associated with water, purity, fertility, love, and sensuality. She is considered one of the most powerful of all orishas, and, like other gods, she possesses human attributes such as vanity, jealousy, and spite.

Listening to the Spirit of Water

In the past, the presence of water drew people to the creation of commercial cities and towns near lakes and coastlines. The discovery of the planet was made possible by the use of water transportation. People in Africa recognized and revered sources of water as a source of spirituality, and they treated them as such. For example, before it was christened Lake Victoria by British commander John Hanning Speke, the area around it was known as Nalubaale, which literally translates as “the place of spirituality.” Bodies of water were owned and preserved by communities, and individuals were free to worship the spirit of water in whatever way they saw fit.

The advent of western civilisation into Africa altered the perceptions of local peoples about water as a natural resource as well as their rights to it.

Water was turned into a commodity that could be taxed.

Corporations were formed in order to process and deliver fresh water in exchange for a fee.

  • According to religious teachings, cultural beliefs and behaviors were connected with Satan and primitivism.
  • Through the spiritual networks, the globe earth seems to be an irregular ball submerged in water when viewed from a spiritual perspective.
  • Water is found in enormous quantities in the bodies of nearly all living things, and it aids in the performance of their tasks.
  • As a result, water serves as a reconnection point between our worldly existence and the spiritual realm.
  • Individuals are given life by the spirits of life as they go through all living beings, depositing active components that give them existence, as well as the holiness and potential that life possesses.
  • The water that connects Africa and America is a massive body of water.
  • As a result, water makes the natural phenomena of interdependence easier to see.

Water is a natural resource with a distinct worth and awareness, which enables it to detect any tiny imbalance in the life-sustaining systems in which it is present.

Because spirits are living creatures, they wander from one substance to another, correcting and depositing various energy levels that are transported away by water or other traditional ways, allowing the world and the universe to be healed.

Despite the fact that water provides several advantages, it should be handled with reverence and dignity since it is a holy natural resource that sustains life on the planet.

Water is a fundamental human right, and nature supplies it freely through the rains.

It is also important that indigenous peoples are involved in the management of holy natural resources.

Health risks are produced, such as cholera, and the industrial hazardous waste products that are dumped into bodies of water pose a significant environmental threat to the ecosystem.

Lake Victoria, one of the world’s freshwater lakes, has been partitioned into private parcels and sold to investors in East Africa; fishing and transportation have also been commercialized on the lake.

In the past, fishing was a means of subsistence and a source of money; but, due to limits on lakes now, most fishermen sell their property and invest the proceeds in motorbikes that carry people between cities.

At the moment, the rainfall pattern in the region has significantly shifted, and agricultural operations in the area have been adversely affected.

Agriculture has become an unreliable source of income as a result of extended dry seasons and erroneous weather projections.

There is a pressing need to institutionalize spirituality as a distinct system from religion and political government.

The religious organizations proclaim the supremacy of a supernatural being who, according to the spiritual hierarchy, is above and beyond mankind, despite the fact that humanity is answerable to this divine nature.

These are the spirits of life that go through water, and this is the spiritual foundation with which we should begin to establish a relationship with one another.

Water and Spirituality

In his role as Archbishop of Constantinople, Bartholomew I serves as spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians. Because of his devotion to environmental sustainability, Bartholomew is renowned around the globe as the “Green Patriarch.” 1 The use of water in sacred healing rites is seen in almost all global religions. Since ancient times, Eastern Orthodox Christians have believed that specific springs of water were endowed with healing properties. The Church of St. Mary of the Spring in Istanbul, Turkey, is home to one of the world’s most known natural springs.

  1. As Leo was searching for water to offer to the guy, he heard a voice say “Leo, go into the grove and get the water that you will find there, then give it to the thirsty man you will encounter.
  2. After that, construct a temple here so that everybody who comes will be able to discover answers to their prayers.” Leo followed the instructions, and the blind guy was able to see again.
  3. Among Roman Catholics, the most well-known tradition of healing water is that of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, which dates back to the 12th century.
  4. Year after year, thousands of people flock to the Grotto of Massabielle in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, where they follow the directions given to Bernadette and receive healing.

Symbol of Movement from Separation to Redemption

Religious traditions have also utilized the yearly water cycle, which includes drought, flood, life-giving rain, and the rainbow, to represent the human experience of transitioning from a state of separation from God to one of reconciliation with God. God brought a big flood at the time of Noah, according to both the ancient Hebrew Torah and the Christian Bible, because “the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). Noah’s perseverance was rewarded by God with dry ground and the establishment of a covenant “between you and me and every living thing.” As a symbol of this covenant, the rainbow was given to the people (Genesis 9:12-13).

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The prophet Elijah’s first remarks proclaim a drought as a punishment for Israel’s sins (1 Kings 17: 1).

Water is also used as a metaphor for the many stages of one’s life journey in Islam.

According to the Qur’an, believers will be able to enjoy “rivers of unstagnant water” (47:15) as well as “a flowing fountain” (88:11-12).

The word sacrament is derived from the Latin word acramentum, which literally translates as “a symbol of the sacred.” Water is poured over Christians at Baptism or they immerse themselves in water in order to be cleansed of sin and accepted into the Christian community, according to the Catholic Church.

When you made a sign of the waters of the great flood, you were also making a symbol of the waters of Baptism, which put a stop to sin and marked the beginning of goodness.” Water serves as a vehicle for conveying the sanctity of life and putting the inevitable cycle of that existence within an ancient tale of separation and redemption once again.

Questions to Consider

Consider the following scenario: you are traveling to the Maasai tribe of East Africa and have been asked to participate in their traditional rainmaking rite. Keep an eye out for ithere.

  • Which aspects of the Maasai people’s connection to water do you think this rite reveals about them
  • Do you think a ritual like this is meaningful? If yes, what is the reason behind this? If not, what is the reason behind this?

Water in Spiritual Life

While water has played an important role in religious symbolism and ritual throughout human history, far too many adherents of the world’s faiths fail to see that water is a limited natural resource that must be conserved. Many members of religious communities, as well as many people who do not declare a religious affiliation, are in need of an inner, spiritual conversion in order to realize the importance of water in their daily lives. In the Jesuit publication Healing a Broken World, which offers the spiritual foundation for this Healing Earthtextbook, the requirement of this conversion, or “change of heart,” is emphasized throughout the booklet’s message of reconciliation.

We must confront our inner resistances and gaze at creation with gratitude, allowing our hearts to be moved by its wounded reality and making a strong personal and collective commitment to mending it.” In this statement, we may discern three emphases: thankfulness for creation, reconciliation with injured creation, and action that heals creation.

  • As defined by the Christian theological tradition, a genuine conversion of heart toward the natural world reveals itself in a profound inner sense of appreciation to God for the gift of creation, which God deemed to be “very excellent” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).
  • Ignatius of Loyola) held a strong conviction in the underlying goodness of all creation (1491-1556).
  • It is both a gift from God and a location where one can find God.
  • Besides inflicting harm on creation and insulting God, this also has a negative impact on individuals, as we are all reliant on the products of creation for our own existence.
  • We have a “urgent duty of reconciliation with creation,” which is also related to a reconciliation with the poor, who are the individuals whose lives are most adversely affected by the water issue, according to Healing a Broken World.
  • In this reconciliation, we receive the spiritual energy we need to envisage a healed Earth and take actions to bring that vision to fruition.

An educational approach and a technique of teaching created by the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus that stresses learning via a sequential process of “seeing,” “judgment,” “reflection,” and “doing.” guides us through a process of scientifically perceiving, evaluating ethically assessing, reflecting spiritually reflecting, and responding effectively Tomasz Migla, a student at Kostka Jesuit Secondary School in Krakow, Poland, has created a film to artistically describe the process in which he is involved.

We will now proceed to the fourth stage, which is the ‘water and action’ step.

Questions to Consider

Think about yourself as though you are having a discussion with St. Ignatius Loyola, and he is encouraging you to “see God in all things.”

  • What do you believe he’s referring to when he says this? More information can be found in this brief talk. What difference do you think it would make in your water use if you genuinely followed his advice? When it comes to your attitude toward the natural world, do you believe it would make a difference.

An insight into the cultural and spiritual value of water

The concept of value may be seen from three distinct angles. A thing’s exchange value, or the price at which it may be sold in the market; its utility, or how much an item or service is used; and its significance, which refers to the amount of appreciation or emotional worth associated to a particular good or service. This latter point is critical to this essay since diverse religious, indigenous, and local communities have assigned an emotional worth to nature itself, which is discussed more below.

  • In 2017, the High Level Panel on Water recognized that water has many values in itsBellagio Principles on Valuing Water, which were published in 2017.
  • A relationship may be drawn between this and the need to consider water beyond its economic worth and to include the spiritual and religious qualities that many indigenous societies, whether in Africa, South America or Oceania, associate with it within the purview of water administration.
  • Water, as our most valuable resource, has long been intertwined with the history of humanity and the development of culture, and it has become a source of profound symbolic meaning.
  • For example, the Egyptians had a deity of the Nile river named Sobek, who was portrayed as a crocodile, and the Aztecs had a goddess named Chalchiuhtlicue who symbolized the entirety of natural manifestations of water and as such was engaged in every aspect of life, from conception to death.

It was also through the development of infrastructures aimed at conserving and managing water for ceremonial, economic, and social purposes that this divine connection with water manifested itself, such as crop terraces and irrigation systems in the Inca Sacred Valley and the Nazca aqueducts in Peru, that this divine connection with water manifested itself.

  1. Image courtesy of Monica Volpin on Pixabay.
  2. Rain, according to the Wayuu people of La Guajira, Colombia, is regarded as the giver of life, the father who permits the reincarnation of the dead, and in this way, it represents the source of life and blood of Mother Earth.
  3. Water is seen as a living creature by the Wayuu, and it is at the center of their ancient rites and festivities.
  4. Many faiths still practice the practice of worshipping bodies of water as deities, which is a tradition that dates back thousands of years.
  5. It is considered sacred.
  6. Hindus from all over the world have historically gathered on the banks of the river for sacred festivals, when they immerse themselves in the water to be cleansed of their sins and purified from the world.
  7. Local and indigenous interests have been neglected as a result, allowing for the pursuit of industries such as mining and oil extraction, as well as the creation of major hydroelectric dams for hydroelectric power generation.
  8. Because of this, it is imperative that indigenous people be included and enabled to participate fully in decision-making processes, including consultation and active involvement, particularly when it comes to activities that may have an impact on them and their livelihoods.
  9. Most recently, efforts to protect the environment have been made while also taking into consideration and including the perspectives of indigenous communities.

Examples include the growing recognition in national legislation and jurisprudence of “natural rights,” which are defined as “the right to be in touch with nature.” Article 71 of the Constitution of Ecuador states that “Nature or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structural functions and its process in evolution”; and in this sense, the people have the legal authority to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems, with the ecosystem itself named as a defendant.

The Vilcabamba River was the plaintiff in the first lawsuit based on the constitutional provision of the Rights of Nature, in which it defended its own right to exist and maintain itself by attempting to prevent a government highway construction project from interfering with the river’s natural flow.

  1. In a groundbreaking ruling, the court ordered the project to be halted and demolished.
  2. Before European immigrants arrived in the 1800s, the tribes controlled, safeguarded, and relied on their “river of holy power,” which they had held and maintained for 700 years.
  3. On March 22, the globe will commemorate World Water Day 2021, with the subject “Valuing Water.” The day is observed every year on March 22 to draw attention to the significance of water and to increase awareness of global water governance challenges.
  4. As part of this effort, it is also necessary to ensure the preservation and dissemination of traditional indigenous knowledge in order to protect these natural riches.
  5. Water is the basis of all life, and ways to valuing it differ based on who uses it, what their history is, and what their viewpoints are.
  6. As a result, nowadays there are inequities in access to water resources, as well as unsustainable use of water supplies and violations of fundamental human rights.
  7. (Prepared by Léah KhayatDiego Jara, International Union for Conservation of Nature Environmental Law Centre, April 2021) The United Nations World Water Development Report 2021: Valuing Water is published by the United Nations.

Verschuuren B., Mallarach J-M., Bernbaum E., Spoon J., Brown S., Borde R., Brown J., Calamia M., Mitchell N., Infield M., and Lee E.

Nature has both a cultural and a spiritual significance.

32, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland, XVI + 88 pages.

Paris D.

Dehouve et al.

SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY SEVEN CENTURY S (2018h).

Marta Brunilda Rovere and Alejandro Iza are the editors of this publication (2007).

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Gland, Switzerland Alcides R.

Daza, Nelson Rodrguez-Valencia, Nelson Rodrguez-Valencia (2018).

Ancestral Practices and Ancient Swords: Part One Tecnológica información tecnológica, vol.

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13-24.

The Ngarrindjeri People of the Lower Lakes, Coorong, and Murray Mouth place a high value on the economic and cultural benefits of water. The River Consulting Group: Townsville, UNESCO (2021)Ibid. Ibid.

The Double Spiritual Nature of Lake Kariba

Environmental transformation interlaces with spiritual colonization in Jono Terry’s series They Still Owe Him a Boat, where the duality of a territory’s history is explored and critically put into question. On the 17th of May 1960, the Queen Mother officially opened the Lake Kariba dam wall. It was an engineering feat compared to the construction of the Great Pyramids of Giza. The white man in Africa conquering the seemingly wild Zambezi river and forever altering the landscape in our image. ‘Kariva’ was a local expression given to a stone lying alongside the gorge, the rock beneath the rapids, 350 miles downstream from Victoria Falls where it was believed NyamiNyami, the river deity with the body of a serpent and the head of a tiger fish, resided.

  1. The completion of the dam wall created the largest man-made lake in the world, produced the cheapest electricity in the world, and, in turn, separated NyamiNymai from his wife downstream.
  2. My interest in Lake Kariba has always centered around what I believe to be the spirituality of the land, for white Zimbabweans/Rhodesians the lake itself holds a sacred place, a playground where only the happiest of memories exist in a place made almost exclusively for us.
  3. Lake Kariba is where my father wants his ashes scattered, a sacrifice to NyamiNyami, becoming one with the land and finally answering the question of whether we belong.
  4. I have always been drawn to the duality of Lake Kariba.
  5. 60 years after its construction it remains a favourite place for many white Zimbabweans and continues to hold a prominent place in our national identity.
  6. Words and Pictures byJono Terry.
  7. His long-term photographic projects aim to both unpack and confront colonial history whilst offering insights into its continued legacy on contemporary African society.

He is strongly motivated by creating a dialogue about the past in order to decolonize the present. Find him onPHmuseumandInstagram. – This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

African religions

African religions, religious beliefs, and practices of the peoples of Africa are covered in this section of the site. It should be highlighted that any effort to make broad generalizations regarding the nature of “African religions” runs the danger of assuming incorrectly that there is uniformity across all African civilizations. In reality, Africa is a big continent with a great deal of geographical variance as well as a great deal of cultural diversity. Each of the more than 50 contemporary countries that occupy the continent has its own distinct history, and each in turn is made up of a diverse range of ethnic groups that speak a variety of languages and have their own set of customs and beliefs.

In spite of this, long-term cultural contact, in various degrees ranging from trade to conquest, has forged some fundamental commonalities among religions within subregions, allowing for some generalizations to be made about the distinguishing characteristics of religions indigenous to Africa, which are discussed below.

Worldview anddivinity

There is no unique collection of religious ideas and practices that can be classified as being exclusively African in nature. Although differences in worldviews and ritual processes can be found across geographic and ethnic boundaries, it is possible to find parallels between them. As a general rule, African faiths think that there is an one creatorGod, who is the creator of a dynamic cosmos. In the myths of several African peoples, the Supreme Being retreated after setting the world in motion, and he continues to be distant from the problems of human existence.

  1. The myth, which can be found in various traditions across the continent, argues that, despite the fact that this withdrawal brought about toil, disease, and death, it emancipated mankind from the limits of God’s immediate authority and allowed them to flourish.
  2. Instead, prayers and sacrifices are directed at minor divinities, who act as messengers and conduits between the human and holy realms, respectively.
  3. Asante ceremonial life is dominated by the reverence of matrilineal ancestors, who are revered as the protectors of the moral order, and this is the most crucial component of their lives.
  4. Amma is considered to be the source of all creation.
  5. Olorun does not have any priests or cult groups, despite the fact that theorisha worship is active and ubiquitous.

When praying for anything, the Nuer people of South Sudan, as well as the Dinka, will only contact God after they have exhausted all other means of obtaining their needs met.

Ritualand religious specialists

African religiousness is not about adhering to a particular philosophy, but rather about promoting fecundity and preserving the community. African religions place a strong emphasis on keeping a healthy relationship with the heavenly forces, and their rituals aim to harness cosmic powers and channel them for the advantage of the people who practice them. As a way of negotiating responsible connections with other members of the community, with ancestors, with the spiritual forces of nature, and the gods through ritual, a person is said to be practicing responsible partnerships.

  • Shrines and altars are often not imposing or even permanent constructions, and might be as insignificant as a modest marker in a private courtyard or a little shrine in a church.
  • Most ceremonies in which blessings from the ancestors or divinities are sought begin with the loss of blood in ritual sacrifice, which is thought to unleash the vital force that maintains life.
  • The fact that one has died does not automatically qualify one as an ancestor.
  • Ancestors are believed to discipline individuals who ignore or violate the moral order by inflicting disease or misery on the errant offspring until reparation is achieved.
  • Tradition frequently denotes a shift in social status in addition as a transition between physiological stages of life (such as puberty or death) (as from child to adult).
  • Initiation also entails the progressive acquisition of knowledge about the nature of things as well as the application of sacrificial force.
  • The Sande introduce girls by instilling in them household skills and sexual decorum, as well as teaching them about the theological value of femininity and feminine authority.

For example, in many African religions, masks are a significant aspect of the ritual, and they frequently symbolize ancestors, culture heroes, gods, cosmic processes, or the order of the universe.

The neck coils serve a similar role to the halo in Western art, symbolizing the wearer as human in appearance but divine in essence, as in the case of Jesus Christ.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has a Yoruba cap mask for the Gelede masquerade that was made of wood and pigment between the 1930s and 1960s.

Jenny O’Donnell captured this image.

and Mrs.

Male circumcision is considered to be a more severe and risky procedure than surgical removal of the clitoris and sections of the labia minora; nonetheless, both kinds of genital mutilation are recognized as vital methods of defining gender in a culturally determined manner.

The operation is justified by cosmogonical myths as a reiteration of primal deeds that encouraged fecundity; the myths, in turn, establish the holy position of sex and reproduction.

The majority of the time, possession is intentionally sought after and is caused through the ritual preparation of the person.

Even though this practice is commonly restricted for religious professionals or priests, among the devotees of thevodun(“divinities”) inBeninany neophyte may be called upon to serve as a receptacle for the gods in certain circumstances.

In certain cultures, the spirits possess those who are possessed and ride them like horses, forcing them to submit to their will and obey their commands.

Having direct contact with the divinities is not always possible; in many cases, intermediaries between the human and divine worlds must be employed.

TheLobiofBurkina Fasocarve figures like these, which they refer to asbateba.

In addition to priests, other intermediates include anything from basic officiants at family altars to prophets, holy kings, and diviners as well as select priests who have been bestowed with powers that allow them to become more fully identified with the gods.

His saliva is the source of the life-giving dampness, and his foot must not come into direct contact with the ground, else the ground would dry out and become unusable.

The priests of theYorubathunder godShango (both male and female) also experience possession trances, and they carry staffs to symbolise their access to Shango’s power.

The trance itself, as well as the hidden quality of spiritual knowledge, is represented by the dark color of the staff.

The authority of a monarch is frequently drawn from the link of royalty with the natural forces of the world.

A ritual cleansing and washing is performed during this time, and it is believed that the water that runs from the king’s skin would bring the first rains to the land for the new season.

Ritual experts known as diviners are those who have learned how to discern the signs that transmit the intent of the gods.

Because they are thought to have the talent of clairvoyance, diviners have access to the kind of information that is normally reserved for spirits.

A person’s personalorishato is identified among the 401orisha, who, according to the Yoruba, “line the road leading to heaven,” and to whom he or she should turn for guidance, protection, and blessing.

Using a winnowing basket full of various things, the diviner attempts to anticipate the result of a disease and identify the sorcerer responsible by analyzing their ultimate placement together.

Witches are human beings who are believed to possess intermediating power; they are referred to be the “owners of the world” since their ability to intervene transcends that of the ancestors or the divinities, respectively.

The Yoruba’s Gelede ritual masquerades are one method of keeping witches under control.

Throughout Africa, disaster is finally explained as the result of witchcraft, and witches are frequently seen as agents of evil, even if they are completely oblivious of the harm they are bringing about.

Witch doctors and diviners are sought to give protective medicines and amulets, as well as to counteract the action of evil spirits brought about by witches.

Dimensions: 29.8 x 23.5 x 30.5 cm. Katie Chao captured this image. New York’s Brooklyn Museum hosted a Museum Expedition in 1922, which was funded by the Robert B Woodward Memorial Fund (see 22.227).

African Traditional Religion

It is possible to use the phrase “African Traditional Religion” in two different but complimentary ways. It broadly refers to any African religious ideas and practices that are regarded to be religious but are not Christian or Islamic in nature. As a technical word, it is also applied to a certain understanding of such beliefs and activities, one that seeks to demonstrate that they form a systematic whole, analogous to Christianity or any other “world religion.” In that respect, when G. Parrinder first the notion in 1954, and later expanded by Bolaji Idowu and John Mbiti, it was considered revolutionary and revolutionary (seeProponents of African Traditional Religion).

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Despite the fact that African Traditional Religion is now frequently taught in African colleges, its identity remains basically negative: it is an African belief that is not Christian or Islamic.

During the period following World War II, as European empires in Africa began to crumble, missionaries and African nationalists worked together to protect Africans and African culture from the stigma of primitivism and to assert their equal standing with Christianity, the West, and the contemporary world.

The validity of such broad generalizations has been called into question by researchers who argue that Africa is too heterogeneous to justify such conceptions.

The assertion of anthropologists and historians that the concept of religion itself has been defined in implicitly Christian terms, and that the collection of data to be treated as “religion” is dependent on an implicit Judeo-Christian template that frequently radically mistranslates and misrepresents African words and practices, has recently risen to the forefront of the debate (seeCriticism).

“Witchcraft,” “symbolism,” and “ancestor worship” are examples of such practices.

“Healing,” on the other hand, seems familiar and desirable, despite the fact that in actuality, what is referred to as “healing” is frequently incompatible with Western concepts of disease and medical treatment.

General Overviews

A thriving scholarly industry exists in the field of African Traditional Religion, but there is a significant disconnect between contributions that celebrate a generalized African Traditional Religion and contributions that describe specific religions and aspects of religion on the basis of ethnographic and archival research. First, the generalizations are based on what are perceived to be negative depictions of African culture: it is argued that African beliefs and practices have been misunderstood and unfairly condemned, that Africans are everywhere but always deeply spiritual people, and that their religious beliefs or religions are comparable to religions found anywhere else in the world.

They grapple with epistemological concerns such as “On what evidence basis can an individual or group be claimed to “believe” in anything?” and “On what evidentiary basis can an individual or group be stated to “believe” in anything?” There is limited exchange of ideas between the two points of view, but the texts recommended in this section highlight some of the distinctions between the two perspectives.

The website of Chidi Denis Isizoh has links to a range of articles on traditional religion and its relationships with Christianity and Islam, as well as Ejizu’s summary of traditional religion (Emergent Key Issues in the Study of African Traditional Religions).

Religion-related papers are published in periodicals such as the London-based Africa, the Paris-based Cahiers d’Études Africaines, and the Leiden-based Journal of Religion in Africa, all of which reflect the most up-to-date thinking on the subject.

The severe arguments presented in Criticismabout the definition of religion, the faults caused by intercultural translation, and the degree of outside influence on purportedly timeless “traditional religion,” on the other hand, are not addressed in any of this literature.

  • Africa. Academic papers on many elements of African history and culture, including religion (African Traditional Religion), are published in the renowned publication of the International African Institute (IAI). Africa south of the Sahara is referred to as Sub-Saharan Africa. Thomas D. Blakely and Walter E. A. van Beek edited this collection of sources that ranged from professional to popular in nature. Blakely, Thomas D., Walter E. A. van Beek, and Dennis L. Thomson edited this collection of sources from professional to popular in nature. Religion is very important in Africa. Heinemann Publishing Company, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1994. A wide-ranging symposium featuring contributions from leading experts in the subject will be held. It is important to note that, in contrast to Olupona’s previous collections (Olupona and Nyang 1993, Olupona 2000), this one does not presuppose or explore “African spirituality.” One of the three parts, Cahiers d’Études Africaines, is devoted to the issue of “religion and its translatability,” which is a topic and a problem that both missionaries and anthropologists are concerned with. The journal publishes essays in both French and English on all elements of African culture, with a strong emphasis on intellectual approaches that are essentially French in nature
  • Emergent Key Issues in the Study of African Traditional Religions. Christopher Ejizu has authored a historical study and criticism of the subject, as well as a discussion of the key challenges and conflicts linked with it. According to the assessment, most of the material on African Traditional Religion is written in a defensive tone in response to out-of-date research that are no longer taken seriously. In addition to the primary website African Traditional Religions, which is maintained by Chidi Denis Isizoh, the Journal of Religion in Africa is a valuable resource for further reading. Scholarly papers on Islam, as well as writings on Christian and non-Christian religious diasporas, are available here. The book African Spirituality: Forms, Meanings, and Expressions (Olupona, Jacob K., ed.) is a good resource for gaining insights into modern scholarly topics and methods. Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 2000. Olupona defines African spirituality as “expressing the link between the human being and the divine being” via myth and ritual, according to Olupona (p. xvi). Leading academics discuss a wide range of themes and religious practices, including Islam and 3rd-century North African Christianity, although seldom contesting the idea of spirituality itself
  • Olupona, Jakob K., and Sulayman S. Nyang, eds., Religion and Spirituality in the Ancient World. Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti is a collection of essays published in honor of John S. Mbiti. The publisher is Mouton de Gruyter, and the year is 1993. Religion is conceived of as a phenomenon sui generis, and “the transcendent” is universally recognized. Religions are presented in isolation from their cultural and historical contexts in this collection, which is representative of the “religio-phenomenological” approach to comparative religion, theology, and philosophy. Two chapters are devoted to Islam in Africa.

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