Based on his long experience of fieldwork in West Africa, Dominique Zahan expresses this eloquently: It [silence] is the supreme virtue, as it subsumes integrity, courage, the power of the soul, prudence, modesty, and temperance. The mouse crawls up to the upper chamber and eats some corn, thereby rearranging the bones. Through gestures, the diviner transforms his or her body to reflect the image of the client, and thus to reveal the client's problem in concrete terms.2. Holding or maintaining to a uniform doctrine is not the essence of indigenous African religions.Gazette: What will Africa lose if it loses its African indigenous worldview?JO: We would lose a worldview that has collectively sustained, enriched, and given meaning to a continent and numerous other societies for centuries through its epistemology, metaphysics, history, and practices.For instance, if we were to lose indigenous African religions in Africa, then diviners would disappear, and if diviners disappeared, we would not only lose an important spiritual specialist for many Africans, but also an institution that for centuries has been the repository of African history, wisdom, and knowledge. Africa: Civic Rights Were Eroded Across Africa in 2020 - Search An old African adage says: "The sky is large enough for birds to fly around without one having to bump into the other. Religion informs everything in traditional African society, including political art, marriage, health, diet, dress, economics, and death.This is not to say that indigenous African spirituality represents a form of theocracy or religious totalitarianism—not at all. Silence is not a "normal" condition for humans; we have to create silence by not doing what we usually do. Here, as so often in divination, we find male and female pairing and the suggestion of androgyny. Spiders are depicted in the royal arts of Cameroon kings because they are mediators between gods and men. I thought it looked like a spider's web and when I asked an attendant at the home, I was told that, yes, indeed, it was a web, to reflect Du Bois's extraordinary communication abilities. "For starters, the word "religion" is problematic for many Africans, because it suggests that religion is separate from the other aspects of one's culture, society, or environment. In several other West African cultures, including the Lobi and Batammaliba, we find further support for the importance of silence and its links to twinning. Not included in this total of "countries" and listed separately are: For instance, in a few years time, I pray that I will be participating in an age-grade festival—for men around 70 years of age—called Ero in my native Nigerian community in Ute, in Ondo state. Mothers have held rare protests in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere, demanding to know the fate of their children who originally were sent to Eritrea for military training. While chameleons are not, to my knowledge, directly employed in divination, they are frequently portrayed in their role as trusted messengers to the other world on iron shrine staffs outside diviner's shrines in West Africa. They do this by having Africans increasingly identify themselves as either Muslim or Christian, thus denying their unique African worldview that has always viewed—as evidenced in their creation myths—everything as unified and connected to the land, the place were one's clan, lineage, and people were cosmically birthed. In fact, the spider is the supreme tale-teller of all animals and, as Anansi, is also a wondrous trickster. At the same time, to underscore my emphasis on emic (i.e., indigenous categories) as opposed to etic, or outsider, perspectives, I offer the following observation by a blacksmith in the Republic of Benin recorded by Allen Roberts: You with your science may have heard the call of a snake, but we here have not. At that time, the area was occupied by many large Nguni communities and clans (also called the isizwe people or nation, or were called isibongo, referring to their clan or family name). Where did most of the slaves from Africa go? While my discussion here deals with creatures actually employed in divination systems, accenting the "silent" component must be seen as an argument from my own academic perspective. Ifa is an indispensable treasure trove of knowledge that can’t be duplicated elsewhere; much of its knowledge has been handed down from babalawo [Ifa priest/diviner] to babalawo for centuries. These are serious choices and none are without meaning. Africa 61 (3), 1991 DIVINERS, SEERS AND SPIRITS IN EASTERN AFRICA: TOWARDS AN HISTORICAL ANTHROPOLOGY David M. Anderson and Douglas H. Johnson INTRODUCTION Anthropologists and historians of eastern African societies have long shared a common interest in the description and analysis of African religions and beliefs. With such an array of divination systems, clearly one should be very cautious of any generalizations. Fluff. It is critical to stress that African divination systems are multisensory and variously utilize all forms of communication. A divination system is a standardized process deriving from a learned discipline based on an extensive body of knowledge. Fluff. Likewise, the tortoise is a frequent character in African folk tales and is considered one of the wisest of animals. (iv) They predict on future occurrences. The person who speaks only occasionally, slowly and cautiously, is the one to listen to, not the fast talker "talking anyhow" (as Nigerians phrase it). But one must be very cautious when interpreting these choices, because the representations are culturally determined and may or may not relate to "natural" observations, especially in ritual contexts. The award allows Olupona a year of study and research in Germany; he is on leave this year (2015–16).Much of Olupona's work is an attempt to provide a fuller understanding of the complexity and richness of African indigenous thought and practice by viewing it not as a foil or as a useful comparative to better understand Western religions, but as a system of thought and belief that should be valued and understood for its own ideas and contribution to global religions.Harvard Gazette: How would you define indigenous African religions?JO: Indigenous African religions refer to the indigenous or native religious beliefs of the African people before the Christian and Islamic colonization of Africa. I have long thought that this might reflect an understanding of spiritual entities as androgynous themselves (as opposed to mere humans of single sexes), and that such a posture would have value for the diviner when dealing with male and female clients.

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