Presentation on theme: "PRE-AXIAL RELIGIONS INDIDIGENOUS RELIGIONS AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION AN EXAMPLE."— Presentation transcript:
PRE-AXIAL RELIGIONS INDIDIGENOUS RELIGIONS AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION AN EXAMPLE
AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION OVERARCHING COSMOLOGY – The world is peopled by beings both spiritual and physical which exert pressure on each other. – There is a unifying life force in the universe that is age related. Older are more powerful. – Central values are Life, Harmony, Fertility and Prosperity HIERARCHY OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS – God Creator – creates and then becomes remote – All knowing; righteous God who is distant from day to day life. – Ancestor par excellence Myths of the origins of life – Rope to Heaven and reincarnation » Hyena and sparrow relate to cattle and millet » Young woman and marriage giving birth » Conclusion is that individuals die but the group will continue on Myths of trickster intermediaries human and the gods and demons – Eshu is an intermediary god who controls the other gods and demons relationship to humans » If not properly acknowledged he can cause confusion and conflict by trickery among humans » Two colored hat and the arguments of humans » He is seen as an mtundu » Explains the confusion of life and presence of suffering. Myths of Divination and ritual – Orunmila had 8 sons – Youngest refuses to honor him as is traditon of son to father – Father breaks the staff of the son and leaves for heaven never to return » Results are disaster: pregnant women don’t deliver, barren women remain barren, sick remained sick, rivers dried up, men became sterile. – Children beg him to return but instead of returning he grants them the ritual palm nuts used in divination that can bring prosperity and fertility.
– Spirits (gods and demons) Nature spirits – Spirits of the air » More powerful » Source of possession » Unseen and most feared – Spirits of the earth » Reside in objects of nature: mountains, oceans, rocks or trees etc. Human spirits – Long dead » Good - the founders of the clan who originated the clan or ethnic group and are seen as having given its names » Ghosts - who are the long dead who have been forgotten, spirits of children who passed away without initiation, without children of their own or those who died and did not receive proper burial. – Living dead (Ancestors) » They are linked together with one another and to the elders presently living with the group. » Protectors of Society and therefore its most feared critics » Maintain the social norms » Remembered » Prayed to through invocations and sacrifice including household shrines Sacrifice involves eating with them » Nourished
CENTRALITY OF DEATH IN WORLD OF PROSPERITY, FERTILITY AND HARMONY – Death came about by accident – No one just dies – Elaborate rituals of burial – Centrality of Ancestors – Normal four generation life cycle. Cycle of life – Birth and naming (partial reincarnation) Absolutely essential (mokamona tradition) – Puberty and rites of passage Period of training and separation Circumcision Age set – Marriage, regeneration and adulthood Between Families bound by brides wealth Fulfilled with birth of child – Elderhood Govern the clan Imbued with power Ritual life of clan – Ancestral life. remembered
Religious Practitioners and Practices – Practitioners: Diviners – Physical and psychological problems – Ultimate cause versus proximate cause – Process of “seeing” – Removal of the source by, cutting, sucking etc. Herbalists Prophets – Act on own initiatives to divine call – Often lead religious movements and religious change – Majimaji revolt died Elders – Practices Animal Sacrifice Healing rituals – Examination of life – Identify and confess their bad feelings and misdeeds – Sacrifice for forgiveness Reconciliation rituals – Involves families – Sacrifice as payment for the wronged – A sign of peace Daily prayers amulets Shrines
Evil and Witchcraft – Suffering caused by Ancestors or gods is temporary and meant as a corrective. – Suffering caused by evil forces maims or kills their victims undeserved and socially destructive jealousy as primary source – Witch Anti-social person Someone who is morose or disagreeable Shifty-eyed or staring person Potentially anyone could be a witch Work at night Can change themselves into animals, hyenas, owls, or fly unseen