What Does African Spirituality? (TOP 5 Tips)

African spirituality is a holistic concept that stemmed from the historical, cultural and religious heritage of Africa, and includes among others, folktales, beliefs, rituals and culture.

What are the 7 African spirits?

  • Seven African Powers. The seven African powers are spirits of the dead, these spirits were bought together through tribes that were brought to Cuba. The tribes from where the seven powers derive are Congo, Mandika, Yoruba, Calabari, Takua, Kissi and Arara.​. These African tribes were forced into slavery.

Why is spirituality important in Africa?

African spirituality simply acknowledges that beliefs and practices touch on and inform every facet of human life, and therefore African religion cannot be separated from the everyday or mundane. African spirituality is truly holistic.

What do African religions believe?

Traditional African religions generally believe in an afterlife, one or more Spirit worlds, and Ancestor worship is an important basic concept in mostly all African religions. Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.

What God do African believe in?

Worldview and divinity Generally speaking, African religions hold that there is one creator God, the maker of a dynamic universe. Myths of various African peoples relate that, after setting the world in motion, the Supreme Being withdrew, and he remains remote from the concerns of human life.

What are the beliefs of spirituality?

Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature.

What are the 7 African powers?

Another common initiation is the intitiation into the Seven African Powers ( Elegua, Obatala, Oggun, Chango, Yemaya, Oshun, and Orunmilla ). Devotees from Cuba often replace Orunmilla with Babalu-Aye. The Seven African Powers are consecrated into one eleke.

What happens when you have a spiritual awakening?

The spiritual awakening. You begin to clear certain things out of your life (habits, relationships, old belief systems) and invite new, more enriching things in. You may feel like something is missing, but you haven’t quite figured it out yet. During this phase, it’s common to feel lost, confused, and down.

What are some African rituals?

These seven tribal traditions are just a small part of what makes the people of Africa so spellbindingly colourful.

  • The courtship dance of the Wodaabe.
  • The lip plates of the Mursi.
  • The bull jumping of the Hamar.
  • The red ochre of the Himba.
  • The spitting of the Maasai.
  • The healing dance of the San.

What is the oldest religion?

The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

What is the first religion in Africa?

Christianity came first to the continent of Africa in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. Oral tradition says the first Muslims appeared while the prophet Mohammed was still alive (he died in 632). Thus both religions have been on the continent of Africa for over 1,300 years.

What is Africa made of?

The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), eight territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. Algeria is Africa’s largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population.

What is African culture?

455) defined African culture as: ‘ the sum total of shared attitudinal inclinations and capabilities, art, beliefs, moral codes and practices that characterise Africans.

What is a common belief in most African religions?

What is the most common belief in African religions? The most common belief is that there is a supreme high God that created the world, yet they focus on lesser entities because God is so important and too busy.

What are the 3 elements of spirituality?

The shamans, healers, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times, all continents, and all peoples, in their ageless wisdom, say that human spirituality is composed of three aspects: relationships, values, and life purpose.

What is a spiritual minded person?

Definition of spiritually-minded: having the mind set on spiritual things: filled with holy desires and purposes: spiritual.

What are the 3 main spiritual philosophies?

Modern spirituality

  • Transcendentalism and Unitarian Universalism.
  • Theosophy, anthroposophy, and the perennial philosophy.
  • Neo-Vedanta.
  • “Spiritual but not religious”
  • Judaism.
  • Christianity.
  • Islam.
  • Buddhism.

The spirituality of Africa

The big snowfall of 1978 is one of Jacob Olupona’s first recollections of the state of Massachusetts, when he was a graduate student at Boston University and nearly died in his apartment due to the cold. “I had it in me. It was then that I informed my father that I would be returning home,” he stated. But, after enduring the first snowstorm in a nation far apart from his own country of Nigeria, Olupona persevered and eventually received his Ph.D. Afterwards, he went on to perform some of the most important study on African religions that has been done in decades.

Having received his bachelor of arts degree in religious studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Olupona began his professional career in the field in 1975.

(1981) and a Ph.D.

Olupona has written or edited more than half a dozen books on religion and African culture (including the recent “African Religions: A Very Short Introduction,” published by Oxford University Press), and her research has covered a wide range of topics, from the indigenous religions of Africa to the religious practices of Africans who have settled in America.

  • Olupona is the recipient of numerous prestigious academic honors and research fellowships, including the Reimar Lust Award for International and Cultural Exchange, which is considered one of Germany’s most prestigious academic honors.
  • Olupona will be able to study and conduct research in Germany for a year as a result of the scholarship; he will be on leave for this academic year (2015–16).
  • How would you characterize indigenous African religions?
  • OLUPONA: Indigenous African religions refer to the religious beliefs held by the African people prior to the arrival of Christian and Islamic missionaries and the colonization of the continent.
  • For example, the Yoruba religion has traditionally been based in southwestern Nigeria, the Zulu religion has historically been centered in southern Africa, and the Igbo religion has historically been centered in southwestern Nigeria.
  • Religion, on the other hand, is inextricably linked to all of these for many Africans.
  • No, traditional African spirituality does not constitute a sort of theocracy or religious tyranny in any way, shape, or form.

African spirituality is a holistic approach to life.

This imbalance in one’s social life can be related to a breakdown in one’s kinship and familial relationships, as well as to one’s relationship with one’s ancestors.

OLUPONA: The significance of ancestors in African cosmology has always been prominent, particularly in the context of the ancestors.

The custodian of these shrines may also suffer misfortune in the form of disease if these shrines are not properly maintained by their designated descendent.

GAZETTE: Are ancestors regarded deities in traditional African cosmology?

OLUPONA: Your inquiry brings to light an essential aspect of African spirituality: the concept of karma.

As opposed to certain varieties of Christianity or Islam, it does not adhere to a defined creed.

Some Africans think that their ancestors have power equivalent to that of deities, but others feel that they do not have such authority.

GAZETTE:Does it make a difference if we refer to African spirituality as polytheistic or monotheistic while attempting to comprehend it?

OLUPONA: Once again, it fails to take into account the wide variety of ways in which traditional African spirituality has conceived of deities, gods, and spirit beings in the past.

A supreme being known asOlorunorOlodumare exists in the Yoruba tradition, and this creator god of the universe is empowered by the variousorisa to create the earth and perform all of its related functions, including receiving the prayers and supplications of the Yoruba people, according to the Yoruba tradition.

  1. OLUPONA: It’s a mixed bag, to say the least.
  2. Consequently, the number of adherents to indigenous beliefs has decreased as Islam and Christianity have both proliferated and acquired influence over the African continent.
  3. Christianity is more prevalent in the southern hemisphere, whilst Islam is more prevalent in the northern hemisphere.
  4. Nonetheless, the number of Christians in Africa has increased from roughly 7 million in 1900 to more than 450 million now.
  5. Consider, however, that in 1900, the vast majority of Africans in sub-Saharan Africa were adherents of traditional African faiths.
  6. Also worth mentioning is that, although not claiming to be complete members of indigenous traditions, there are many proclaimed Christians and Muslims who participate in one or more forms of indigenous religious ceremonies and activities, regardless of their religious affiliation.
  7. The incredible triumph of Christianity and Islam on the African continent over the last 100 years has been remarkable, but it has come at the price of African traditional faiths, which is terrible.

“I had it in me.

Olupona, on the other hand, chose to stay and complete his Ph.D.

OLUPONA: Yes, it’s a mixed bag since indigenous African faiths have expanded and taken root all over the world, including in the United States and Europe, as a result of the African diaspora, which began with the slave trade in the 15th century and has continued to the present.

There is also a town named Oyotunji Village, which is located deep within the American Bible Belt in Beaufort County, South Carolina, and which practices a sort of African indigenous religion that is a combination of Yoruba and Ewe-Fon spiritual rituals.

When it comes to seeking spiritual assistance or succor, followers of African diaspora faiths have a wide range of options.

In addition, I should mention that there are hints of a resurgence of African traditional customs in various regions of the continent.

Ritual sacrifices and witchcraft beliefs are still prevalent in many cultures.

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Some African diasporans are returning to the continent in order to reconnect with their ancestral customs, and they are encouraging and mobilizing the local African communities in order to recover this history for the African continent.

OLUPONA: Yes, and one of the reasons for the popularity of African-tradition religion in the diaspora is due to the diverse nature of the religion.

While Islam and Christianity have shown a strong reluctance to accept traditional African religious ideas or practices, indigenous African faiths have always made room for those who hold other religious views or practices.

This suggests that the traditional African practitioner who created the amulet believes in the efficacy of other faiths and religions; there is no conflict in his mind between his traditional African spirituality and another faith, according to this interpretation.

He sees the “other faith” as a spiritual complement to his own spiritual practice of creating powerful amulets, and even as a means of increasing spiritual potency.

It all comes down to achieving actual outcomes.

OLUPONA: One of the primary reasons for this is because indigenous African spiritual beliefs are not constrained by a written book, as are the beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, among other religions and cultures.

The core of indigenous African religions is not the practice of adhering to or maintaining an unified ideology.

Example: If indigenous African religions were to disappear in Africa, diviners would also vanish, and if diviners disappeared, we would not only lose an important spiritual specialist for many Africans, but we would also lose an institution that has served as a repository of African history, wisdom, and knowledge for centuries.

  • Each and every day, the Yoruba diviners, for example, review Ifa, an immense literary body of material spanning science, medicine, cosmology, and metaphysics that they draw on to supplement their own extensive indigenous knowledge.
  • The loss of Africa’s diviners would mean the loss of one of the continent’s most important custodians and sources of African history and culture.
  • GAZETTE:What else would we lose if we lost traditional African Religions?
  • These initiation rituals are already not as common in Africa as they were only 50 years ago, yet age-grade initiations have always helped young Africans feel connected to their community and their past.
  • In lieu of these traditional African ways of defining oneself, Christianity and Islam are gradually creating a social identity in Africa that cuts across these indigenous African religious and social identities.
  • Foreign religions simply don’t have that same connection to the African continent.
  • OLUPONA:I was raised in Africa during the 1960s, when the Yoruba community never asked you to chose between your personal faith and your collective African identity.

GAZETTE:How can you do that?

Everywhere he went in southwestern Nigeria, he never opposed or spoke out against African culture — including initiation rites, festivals, and traditional Yoruba dress — as long as it didn’t directly conflict with Christianity.

For example, I hope that in a few years, I will be able to participate in an age-grade festival called Ero in my native Nigerian community of Ute, which is located in the state of Ondo.

I will not pray to Anorisa, but I will express my appreciation for the importance of my relationship with other people in my age group.

In addition, I participate in and honor the king’s festivals and ceremonies in my hometown as well as other locations where I live and conduct field research.

Perhaps this explains why I am not ordained as an Anglican priest.

“The sky is big enough for birds to fly around without bumping into each other,” according to an ancient African proverb.

in social anthropology from Oxford University. He has done extensive study and writing on a wide range of religious communities, including the Hare Krishnas, Zoroastrians, Shakers, and the Old Order Amish, among others. Abridged and clarified versions of this interview have been provided.

How some Black Americans are finding solace in African spirituality

Porsche Little, an aborisha who is studying the Ifá and Lucum traditions, in his house in Brooklyn, New York, in July of the year 2020. Porsche Little provided the image. Because of the epidemic and the demonstrations, practitioners of African faiths are embracing the sense of solidarity and emancipation that their traditions can bring about via their practices. By July 31, 2020, 8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time Porsche Little, a Brooklyn-based artist, diviner, and aborisha — or someone who serves the Orisha, a group of spirits central to the Yoruba and other African Diaspora religions — reports that she has seen a significant increase in requests for divinations and readings throughout the pandemic.

According to her, “There is so much happening right now in the globe to everyone, and I know for a fact that it is all occurring for a reason.” A lot of individuals are cooped up in their homes, unable to make sense of their circumstances, and that is exactly what I am here to help with.” Little adds that when she counsels individuals in her neighborhood these days, they expressly ask her to talk about the difficulties that have arisen as a result of the turbulent times we are currently experiencing.

During these trying times, with a horrifying epidemic, a historic race reckoning, an existential crisis posed by climate change, and a government that fails to address any of these issues, some Black people are turning to African and Black Diaspora traditions for comfort, community, healing, and liberation from oppression and exploitation.

The experience helped Akissi Britton, an assistant professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University and a Lucumi priestess for 36 years, “see this time in a broader context.” Having been dispersed from our ancestral homelands hundreds of years ago, the Black Diaspora has experienced centuries of struggle, resistance, and pleasure.

A similar argument can be made for African and Black Diasporic spirituality, such as the Yoruba, Lucumi, and Santera traditions; many practitioners of these religions provide a different type of healing, one that differs from traditionally Westernized versions, which tend to emphasize individualism and independence.

  1. The majority of these traditions are based on the Orisha (also known as Orisa in the Yoruba language or Orixá in Latin America), a collection of spirits from the Yoruba religion that give direction and protection.
  2. People who seek out practitioners like Little are searching for advice, which may be obtained through rituals that conjure the Orisha, such as baths or offerings, as well as through the reading of tarot cards, which Little offers on occasion.
  3. The Afro-Cuban Lucuma religion, which is derived from the Yoruba tradition, provided Brittons with a full sense of self, according to her.
  4. “I am not divided from myself.” “When my sense of self is considerably larger and more related to other things, I don’t feel as alienated,” says the author.
  5. As a result, Britton has sought counseling for herself, and she claims that it is complementary to her spiritual practice.
  6. Afro-Boricua artist and community activist Jo, a former student of Britton’s, claims that the Lucuma religion provided her with healing after a traumatic connection with both race and religion as a youngster.
  7. Despite this, she was always captivated to the beauty of the intricate cultural customs practiced by the Boricua people.
  8. It wasn’t until she discovered power and healing in Lucumi that she decided to entirely forsake Christianity and religion altogether.
  9. According to her, she has always felt “protected” in some strange manner.

Although I was an adult, I found myself being drawn back to the same natural practices that I had previously believed in as a child. I was able to reconnect with the voices and knowings that I had been ignoring for so long. And it had a profound impact on my life.”

The liberation in connecting with African spirituality

Healers who practice African spirituality frequently find that healing manifests itself in the form of emancipation and resistance. Given the centuries-long attempts by European slave owners, colonizers, and neo-colonialists to repress and denigrate these religions, the importance of these traditions is heightened even further. And now, at a moment when America’s racial core has been thrust into the spotlight, finding consolation in this link feels particularly relevant. When slavery was practiced, Christians were used to legitimize the atrocious institution.

Despite the fact that European colonists and slave holders worked in areas such as Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, and Trinidad, Britton claims that they aimed to eradicate the humanity and autonomy of enslaved Africans everywhere.

Other enslaved Africans, however, used their indigenous faiths to fuse with Christianity as a method of resistance, resulting in traditions like as Santera, Vodun, and Hoodoo that are still practiced today.

In fact, some practitioners associate Orishas with Catholic saints — for example, Eleguá, the Orisha of roads and paths, corresponds with Saint Anthony, the patron saint of travelers and misplaced items — while others believed that the Catholic component should be eliminated entirely because European influences were incompatible with the goals of decolonization and independence.

“Their ingenuity, their creativity, and their brilliance allowed them to maintain certain practices from home while masking them in the practices that Europeans insisted upon,” Britton writes.

that in and of itself is a liberation activity,” according to the author.

In the words of Britton, “Africans and their descendants resisted the attempts of European slave holders and colonialists to dictate their complete humanity.” “This provided them with a very powerful feeling of identity, inspiration, and spiritual grounding that was liberating in the sense that it allowed them to think and comprehend themselves in ways that were distinct from what the mainstream models taught them to.” In honoring Orisha and her ancestors, adds Little, who is now studying the Ifá and Lucum traditions, she is able to connect with her past, which predates enslavement and colonization.

In order to become an initiated priestess, she has been pursuing a path that is primarily centered on immersing oneself in community and following the guidance of others, something that may seem like coming home for many Black women and girls.

However, as a result of the persecution that people in the Black Diaspora have endured, there is still a stigma attached to African spirituality today.

I am aware that some members of my own family consider these activities to be bad or hazardous.

Little believes that we should question those deeply ingrained beliefs and the origins of those beliefs, particularly as they relate to Christianity and other religions that are closely associated with “conquest, murder, homophobia, sexism, and slavery, amongst so many other forms of violence,” according to Little.

In her words, “people need to decolonize their own brains and then figure out what works the best for themselves.” After growing up in a religious environment that included Christianity, Islam, and other African religions, Ruqaiyyah Beatty has chosen to become a practitioner of Ifá, a Yoruba religion and divination method.

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As she explains, “I was able to connect with Nigeria; it provided me with a worldwide network of spirituality and heavenly direction; it provided me with family; it provided me with love; and I was able to develop and sustain a tremendous connection with God.” Britton advises individuals interested in becoming connected with African spiritual traditions to conduct extensive research beforehand.

She also believes that entering these places from a place of respect, seeking mentoring and responsibility, and most importantly, from a sense of belonging, is essential.

According to Britton, the best approach to avoid disinformation is to take things easy, do your homework, and talk to as many people as possible.

“I simply want people to be aware that, while there is a greater power at work, they should realize that they have power as well.

“I want us all to start using our intuitions and questioning everything as a group,” says the author. Nylah Burton is a writer located in Denver, Colorado. She speaks on topics such as mental health, social justice, and identity. You can keep up with her on Twitter.

African spirituality offers Black believers ‘decolonized’ Christianity

— The Royal National Society (RNS) When the clock strikes 11:11 on a recent Sunday morning, The Proverbial Experience is only getting started. In the words of the Rev.Lyvonne Proverbs Briggs, the originator of this weekly spiritual meeting on Instagram, “Greetings my loves!” “Does anyone have a hallelujah in their spirit?” says the MC. As the crowd begins to connect, Briggs, who is calling from her home in New Orleans, greets each individual by name as prerecorded gospel music plays in the background.

RELATED: Don’t denigrate African spirituality if you’re a black Christian.

Briggs smokes Palo Santo, which translates as “holy wood,” as well as sage.

Following the calling of each name, water is spilled and sealed with an exclamatoryashe, an amen from the Yoruba language of Nigeria that literally translates as “and thus it is.” A graduate of Yale Divinity School and Columbia Theological Seminary, Briggs describes her African-centered type of spirituality as “Christian adjacent.” Various divination traditions, including as astrology and tarot, are freely included into the composition of her work, and she makes frequent allusions to African deities such as Oshun, Obatala, and Orisha in her sermons.

  • The Proverbial Experience is being streamed live on social media by the Rev.
  • Screenshot “I am not your mother’s pastor,” I say.
  • I now have a responsibility and an obligation to communicate our ancient wisdom and Indigenous spiritual practices in a way that is totally interwoven with who I am now that I have decolonized my religion,” says the author.
  • Many were reared in Baptist, Pentecostal, or AME traditions, but have since left the church and are embarking on a spiritual pilgrimage around Africa, as described by one author.

During a lecture soon after the presidential election, she reminded her congregation of “The Proverbial Kin” that “the thread that connects us together is a quest, a revolution, and a struggle for liberty, justice, restoration, and wholeness.” The practice of African-centered meditation, she explains, “allows you to recognize how deeply ingrained it has become in your being.” “At this point, African-descended people have had enough of attempting to conform to a system that was designed to destroy us.

  1. If we want to be genuinely free and emancipated, we must incorporate our religion and spirituality (as practiced by our forefathers and foremothers).” Alicia Hudson, 37, is one of the viewers who listens in to The Proverbial Experience.
  2. She is now a resident of Brooklyn, New York, and no longer attends church, but she still has a passion for the Book of Psalms and finds inspiration in the sermons of T.D.
  3. However, in recent years, she has begun to incorporate African spiritual and cultural practices into her daily routine.
  4. Hudson has created an ancestral shrine in her house, which includes photographs of her grandparents as well as the names of her great-grandparents.
  5. Hudson provides fresh flowers, water, and coffee on a daily basis to his customers.
  6. “I’ve discovered that our ancestors are in close proximity to us in the spirit realm,” she says.
  7. Her words expressed her gratitude for the process, which she described as “wonderful” and “a part of our rehabilitation.” Incorporation of Christian beliefs into African religious systems is not a new phenomenon.

Darnise Martin is a fictional character created by author Darnise Martin.

She cites the Rev.

Melva Sampson, a theologian at Wake Forest University, as further sources.

During the time of slavery, any divergence from the Christian faith of the slaveholder was prohibited and regarded as unlawful.

The importance of acknowledging and veneration of Black ancestors, according to Martin, cannot be overstated.

They were the ones that were punished as a result of their actions.

“We are the hope and dream of a slave,” says the author.

Hudson has stated that she is unable to communicate her new religious beliefs with her family.

“What I’ve been doing on my own is reconnecting with my culture and learning about the many ways in which we worship God,” I explain.

“The most important thing right now is to let go of whatever negativity that has been associated with it,” she stated.

Fulei Ngangmuta, thank you for your time and consideration.

“I grew up with Black preachers who were also guys,” Blair recalled his upbringing.

As a child, Fulei Ngangmuta, who moved from Cameroon with her Christian parents, remarked, “A lot of us still have churchy vernacular.” “It’s likely that the majority of us will not identify as Christians.

‘The whole point of it was to claim all of these bits of myself that had been suppressed or that had been avoided talking about because they were considered taboo,’ she explained.

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.

  • 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.
  • Instead, prayers and sacrifices are directed at minor divinities, who act as messengers and conduits between the human and holy realms, respectively.
  • 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.
  • Amma is considered to be the source of all creation.
  • 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.

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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 concealed nature of spiritual understanding, is represented by the black 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).

Black women embrace the spiritual realm

Afros. Saris. Sphinxes. Rainbows. True’s latest tarot deck and companion guidebook, “True Heart Intuitive Tarot,” was launched earlier this month and features a distinctively multicultural bent, including drawings like the one above. True, who is best known for her parts in the 1996 cult classic “The Craft” and the 2002 sitcom “HalfHalf,” has been studying tarot for much of her life and wanted her guide to represent the variety of her New York City hometown. True’s tarot cards, which were created by Toronto-based artist Stephanie Singleton, are notable for their representation of all people.

  1. “I wanted it to be representative of the world we live in,” True said.
  2. Today, they are widely used for divination, and their symbolism reflects life’s lessons as well as its difficulties.
  3. True’s collection, which includes both personal essays and card readings, has already garnered praise from fans who have stated that it is their first time purchasing a metaphysical product by a Black person.
  4. In addition to her legendary part in “The Craft,” Rachel True has used tarot to heal herself and to assist others in their recovery journeys as well.

These artists are a part of a cultural movement among Black people who are embracing the mystical and “the dark” in their work: Pew Research Center reports that the number of Black people who identify as spiritual but not religious has increased from 19 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2017, approximately the same percentage of Americans overall who now identify in this manner.

  • Besides writing on tarot, they’ve also published works on such topics as witchcraft, astrology, and the Black gothic, all of which connect these traditions to their own cultural and aesthetic past.
  • Chireau, a professor and chair of the religion department at Swarthmore College and author of the 2003 book “Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition,” the desire to heal is the primary reason these practices appeal to Black women.
  • Almost every Black woman I know who is active in any of these traditions believes that the ultimate goal of their labor is to heal – not only their physical bodies, but also their spiritual souls.
  • A reference to the significant media exposure largely white feminist witches received in 2017 for their continuous spell to “bind” Trump — utilizing a portrait of him, the Tower tarot card, a candle and other props — until his departure from the White House in January of this year.
  • It’s not surprising that Black women’s present interest in mysticism may have more to do with healing themselves and their communities than with the current occupant of the White House, given that they were never a focal point of these movements.
  • Having grown up with Jung’s “Man and His Symbols” and Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil,” as well as the tarot, she credits her exposure to these works for helping her to find her footing as an adult.
  • As a practitioner of the Jungian school of tarot, my interpretations frequently lead you down the path of self-examination, since if there is one thing I know, it is that I am unable to control the actions of others.
  • That is one of the reasons why I enjoy tarot.” True is enthusiastic about tarot, but she does not consider it to be a practice of the occult, a phrase she believes has bad connotations because it is associated with witchcraft.

In a same vein, she does not identify as a witch, despite the fact that she played Rochelle, one of Hollywood’s most renowned African American witches, in “The Craft.” The sequel to that picture, “The Craft: Legacy,” premiered this week and is expected to introduce a new audience to the original 1996 film as well as the sequel.

In spite of the fact that she was raised by a Black Catholic mother and a white Jewish father, Spalter says she can’t recall ever not feeling like a witch, adding, “I was always the crazy kid.” She attributes this to her fascination with nature.

She eventually ended herself working at Enchantments, New York City’s oldest occult shop, and authored a book on her experience and the fundamentals of witchcraft, ” Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession,” which was published in 2018.

According to author Biv DeVoe, Spalter’s book not only demystifies witchcraft, but it also sends the message that one can be a practicing pagan using common household ingredients such as salt, lemon, and olive oil—a stark contrast to the Instagram witch aesthetic, which features altars adorned with expensive crystals, feathers, and stones that receive thousands of likes on a daily basis.

Some of the reasons why people of color are hesitant to identify as witches, according to Spalter, include the belief that a witch must have a specific appearance, a photo-ready altar, and a strong connection to Celtic traditions.

Others may not be completely aware of their family’s involvement with such religious rituals because of a lack of awareness.

“As far as my personal knowledge is concerned,” she stated.

These days, Chireau isn’t seeing as many scientific works about these practices as she is seeing a slew of how-to books written by Black women about diverse mystical practices, including anything from folk magic to astrology to tarot.

African Americans have historically intertwined components of Indigenous African spirituality with Christian traditions, resulting in a religious blend that has become a tradition in Black communities around the world.

In fact, we had no prior knowledge of African religions, which is where it all began, after all.

Those who professed these religions were frequently depicted as “awful, pagan, idol-worshipping heathens who happen to be Black, and so you can explain enslaving them,” according to the media.

Her experiences as an African-American women’s astrologer have been marred by reductive or unfavorable preconceptions, such as being referred to as Miss Cleo, after the late spokeswoman for a psychic telephone hotline.

‘Black Sun Signs: An African-American Guide to the Zodiac’, written by Thelma Balfour and published in 1996, was one of the last astrological texts written by a Black woman to attract major notice in the United States.

Schaun Champion is a professional wrestler.

“I had never seen anything like it before on the market,” said Woods, who has been practicing astrology for over a decade and broadcasts a podcast on the topic.

In her 2019 book “Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul,” Leila Taylor argues that the American gothic tradition is one that is heavily influenced by African American culture.

“The novel ‘Beloved,’ written by Toni Morrison, is a gothic novel; it is a ghost story, it is a haunted house story,” Taylor explained.

Additionally, the same can be said for ‘Strange Fruit.” It’s such a beautiful song, with the combination of the sweet and fresh scent of magnolias, followed by horror — this kind of grotesque imagery, the smell of burning flesh.

Courtesy Leila Taylor is a fictional character created by Leila Taylor.

Across racial groups, however, Taylor has noticed a pronounced fascination with witchcraft and the occult.

But the attraction to darkness, Taylor said, is also rooted in healing trauma.

For the horror movie star True, tarot has been that safe space.

“For Black people, let’s think about a time not that long ago where we really didn’t like to go to doctors, and we certainly didn’t go to therapists,” True said.

“So that old woman in the neighborhood who could tell you something about yourself — she was the therapist, right? That’s been a long tradition in Black American history, so I believe some of the old ways are in tandem with what people believe now.” FollowNBCBLKonFacebook,TwitterandInstagram.

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