Animals are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, grow from a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development. Over 1.5 million living animal species have been described—of which around 1 million are insects—but it has been estimated there are over 7 million animal species in total. Animals range in length from 8.5 millionths of a metre to 33.6 metres and have complex interactions with each other and their environments, forming intricate food webs. The category includes humans, but in colloquial use the term animal refers only to non-human animals; the study of non-human animals is known as zoology. Most living animal species are in the Bilateria, a clade whose members have a bilaterally symmetric body plan; the Bilateria include the protostomes—in which many groups of invertebrates are found, such as nematodes and molluscs—and the deuterostomes, containing the echinoderms and chordates.
Life forms interpreted. Many modern animal phyla became established in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion which began around 542 million years ago. 6,331 groups of genes common to all living animals have been identified. Aristotle divided animals into those with those without. Carl Linnaeus created the first hierarchical biological classification for animals in 1758 with his Systema Naturae, which Jean-Baptiste Lamarck expanded into 14 phyla by 1809. In 1874, Ernst Haeckel divided the animal kingdom into the multicellular Metazoa and the Protozoa, single-celled organisms no longer considered animals. In modern times, the biological classification of animals relies on advanced techniques, such as molecular phylogenetics, which are effective at demonstrating the evolutionary relationships between animal taxa. Humans make use of many other animal species for food, including meat and eggs. Dogs have been used in hunting, while many aquatic animals are hunted for sport.
Non-human animals have appeared in art from the earliest times and are featured in mythology and religion. The word "animal" comes from the Latin animalis, having soul or living being; the biological definition includes all members of the kingdom Animalia. In colloquial usage, as a consequence of anthropocentrism, the term animal is sometimes used nonscientifically to refer only to non-human animals. Animals have several characteristics. Animals are eukaryotic and multicellular, unlike bacteria, which are prokaryotic, unlike protists, which are eukaryotic but unicellular. Unlike plants and algae, which produce their own nutrients animals are heterotrophic, feeding on organic material and digesting it internally. With few exceptions, animals breathe oxygen and respire aerobically. All animals are motile during at least part of their life cycle, but some animals, such as sponges, corals and barnacles become sessile; the blastula is a stage in embryonic development, unique to most animals, allowing cells to be differentiated into specialised tissues and organs.
All animals are composed of cells, surrounded by a characteristic extracellular matrix composed of collagen and elastic glycoproteins. During development, the animal extracellular matrix forms a flexible framework upon which cells can move about and be reorganised, making the formation of complex structures possible; this may be calcified, forming structures such as shells and spicules. In contrast, the cells of other multicellular organisms are held in place by cell walls, so develop by progressive growth. Animal cells uniquely possess the cell junctions called tight junctions, gap junctions, desmosomes. With few exceptions—in particular, the sponges and placozoans—animal bodies are differentiated into tissues; these include muscles, which enable locomotion, nerve tissues, which transmit signals and coordinate the body. There is an internal digestive chamber with either one opening or two openings. Nearly all animals make use of some form of sexual reproduction, they produce haploid gametes by meiosis.
These fuse to form zygotes, which develop via mitosis into a hollow sphere, called a blastula. In sponges, blastula larvae swim to a new location, attach to the seabed, develop into a new sponge. In most other groups, the blastula undergoes more complicated rearrangement, it first invaginates to form a gastrula with a digestive chamber and two separate germ layers, an external ectoderm and an internal endoderm. In most cases, a third germ layer, the mesoderm develops between them; these germ layers differentiate to form tissues and organs. Repeated instances of mating with a close relative during sexual reproduction leads to inbreeding depression within a population due to the increased prevalence of harmful recessive traits. Animals have evolved numerous mechanisms for avoiding close inbreeding. In some species, such as the splendid fairywren, females benefit by mating with multiple males, thus producing more offspring of higher genetic quality; some animals are capable of asexual reproduction, which results
Plants are multicellular, predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the kingdom Plantae. Plants were treated as one of two kingdoms including all living things that were not animals, all algae and fungi were treated as plants. However, all current definitions of Plantae exclude the fungi and some algae, as well as the prokaryotes. By one definition, plants form the clade Viridiplantae, a group that includes the flowering plants and other gymnosperms and their allies, liverworts and the green algae, but excludes the red and brown algae. Green plants obtain most of their energy from sunlight via photosynthesis by primary chloroplasts that are derived from endosymbiosis with cyanobacteria, their chloroplasts contain b, which gives them their green color. Some plants are parasitic or mycotrophic and have lost the ability to produce normal amounts of chlorophyll or to photosynthesize. Plants are characterized by sexual reproduction and alternation of generations, although asexual reproduction is common.
There are about 320 thousand species of plants, of which the great majority, some 260–290 thousand, are seed plants. Green plants provide a substantial proportion of the world's molecular oxygen and are the basis of most of Earth's ecosystems on land. Plants that produce grain and vegetables form humankind's basic foods, have been domesticated for millennia. Plants have many cultural and other uses, as ornaments, building materials, writing material and, in great variety, they have been the source of medicines and psychoactive drugs; the scientific study of plants is known as a branch of biology. All living things were traditionally placed into one of two groups and animals; this classification may date from Aristotle, who made the distincton between plants, which do not move, animals, which are mobile to catch their food. Much when Linnaeus created the basis of the modern system of scientific classification, these two groups became the kingdoms Vegetabilia and Animalia. Since it has become clear that the plant kingdom as defined included several unrelated groups, the fungi and several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms.
However, these organisms are still considered plants in popular contexts. The term "plant" implies the possession of the following traits multicellularity, possession of cell walls containing cellulose and the ability to carry out photosynthesis with primary chloroplasts; when the name Plantae or plant is applied to a specific group of organisms or taxon, it refers to one of four concepts. From least to most inclusive, these four groupings are: Another way of looking at the relationships between the different groups that have been called "plants" is through a cladogram, which shows their evolutionary relationships; these are not yet settled, but one accepted relationship between the three groups described above is shown below. Those which have been called "plants" are in bold; the way in which the groups of green algae are combined and named varies between authors. Algae comprise several different groups of organisms which produce food by photosynthesis and thus have traditionally been included in the plant kingdom.
The seaweeds range from large multicellular algae to single-celled organisms and are classified into three groups, the green algae, red algae and brown algae. There is good evidence that the brown algae evolved independently from the others, from non-photosynthetic ancestors that formed endosymbiotic relationships with red algae rather than from cyanobacteria, they are no longer classified as plants as defined here; the Viridiplantae, the green plants – green algae and land plants – form a clade, a group consisting of all the descendants of a common ancestor. With a few exceptions, the green plants have the following features in common, they undergo closed mitosis without centrioles, have mitochondria with flat cristae. The chloroplasts of green plants are surrounded by two membranes, suggesting they originated directly from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. Two additional groups, the Rhodophyta and Glaucophyta have primary chloroplasts that appear to be derived directly from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria, although they differ from Viridiplantae in the pigments which are used in photosynthesis and so are different in colour.
These groups differ from green plants in that the storage polysaccharide is floridean starch and is stored in the cytoplasm rather than in the plastids. They appear to have had a common origin with Viridiplantae and the three groups form the clade Archaeplastida, whose name implies that their chloroplasts were derived from a single ancient endosymbiotic event; this is the broadest modern definition of the term'plant'. In contrast, most other algae not only have different pigments but have chloroplasts with three or four surrounding membranes, they are not close relatives of the Archaeplastida having acquired chloroplasts separately from ingested or symbiotic green and red algae. They are thus not included in the broadest modern definition of the plant kingdom, although they were in the past; the green plants or Viridiplantae were traditionally divided into the green algae (including
Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion practiced chiefly in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Practitioners are called "vodouists" or "servants of the spirits". Vodouists believe in unknowable Supreme Creator, Bondye. According to Vodouists, Bondye does not intercede in human affairs, thus they direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondye, called loa; every loa is responsible for a particular aspect of life, with the dynamic and changing personalities of each loa reflecting the many possibilities inherent to the aspects of life over which they preside. To navigate daily life, vodouists cultivate personal relationships with the loa through the presentation of offerings, the creation of personal altars and devotional objects, participation in elaborate ceremonies of music and spirit possession. Vodou originated in what is now Benin and developed in the French colonial empire in the 18th century among West African peoples who were enslaved, when African religious practice was suppressed, enslaved Africans were forced to convert to Christianity.
Religious practices of contemporary Vodou are descended from, related to, West African Vodun as practiced by the Fon and Ewe. Vodou incorporates elements and symbolism from other African peoples including the Yoruba and Kongo. In Haiti, some Catholics combine aspects of Catholicism with aspects of Vodou, a practice forbidden by the Church and denounced as diabolical by Haitian Protestants. Vodou is a Haitian Creole word that referred to only a small subset of Haitian rituals; the word derives from an Ayizo word referring to mysterious forces or powers that govern the world and the lives of those who reside within it, but a range of artistic forms that function in conjunction with these vodun energies. Two of the major speaking populations of Ayizo are the Ewe and the Fon—European slavers called both the Arada; these two peoples composed a sizable number of the early enslaved population in St. Dominique. In Haiti, practitioners use "Vodou" to refer to Haitian religion generically, but it is more common for practitioners to refer to themselves as those who "serve the spirits" by participating in ritual ceremonies called a "service to the loa" or an "African service".
These terms refer to the religion as a whole. Outside of Haiti, the term Vodou refers to the entirety of traditional Haitian religious practice. Written as vodun, it is first recorded in Doctrina Christiana, a 1658 document written by the King of Allada's ambassador to the court of Philip IV of Spain. In the following centuries, Vodou was taken up by non-Haitians as a generic descriptive term for traditional Haitian religion. There are many used orthographies for this word. Today, the spelling Vodou is the most accepted orthography in English. Other potential spellings include Vodoun and voodoo, with vau- or vou- prefix variants reflecting French orthography, a final -n reflecting the nasal vowel in West African or older, non-urbanized, Haitian Creole pronunciations; the spelling voodoo, once common, is now avoided by Haitian practitioners and scholars when referring to the Haitian religion. This is both to avoid confusion with Louisiana Voodoo, a related but distinct set of religious practices, as well as to separate Haitian Vodou from the negative connotations and misconceptions the term "voodoo" has acquired in popular culture.
Over the years and their supporters have called on various institutions including the Associated Press to redress this misrepresentation by adopting "Vodou" in reference to the Haitian religion. In October 2012, the Library of Congress decided to change their subject heading from "Voodooism" to Vodou in response to a petition by a group of scholars and practitioners in collaboration with KOSANBA, the scholarly association for the study of Haitian Vodou based at University of California Santa Barbara. Vodou is popularly described as not a religion, but rather an experience that ties body and soul together; the concept of tying that exists in Haitian religious culture is derived from the Congolese tradition of kanga, the practice of tying one's soul to something tangible. This "tying of soul" is evident in many Haitian Vodou practices. Vodouisants believe; when it came in contact with Roman Catholicism, the Supreme Creator was associated with the Christian God, the loa associated with the saints.
Since Bondye is considered unreachable, Vodouisants aim their prayers to lesser entities, the spirits known as loa, or mistè. The most notable lwa include Papa Legba, Erzulie Freda, Kouzin Zaka, The Marasa, divine twins considered to be the first children of Bondye; these lwa can be divided into 21 nations, which include the Petro, Rada and Nago. Each of the lwa is associated with a particular Roman Catholic saint. For example, Legba is associated with St. Anthony the Hermit, Damballa is associated with St. Patrick; the lwa fall into family groups who share a surname, such as Ogou, Azaka or Ghede. For instance, "Ezili" is a family, Ezili Danto and Ezili Freda are two individual spirits in that family; each family is associated with a specific aspect, for instance the
West African Vodun
Vodun is practiced by the Fon people of Benin, southern and central Togo. It is distinct from the various traditional African religions in the interiors of these countries and is the main source of religions with similar names found among the African diaspora in the Americas, such as Haitian Vodou. Vodun cosmology centers around the vodun spirits and other elements of divine essence that govern the Earth, a hierarchy that range in power from major deities governing the forces of nature and human society to the spirits of individual streams and rocks, as well as dozens of ethnic vodun, defenders of a certain clan, tribe, or nation; the vodun are the center of religious life. Adherents emphasize ancestor worship and hold that the spirits of the dead live side by side with the world of the living, each family of spirits having its own female priesthood, sometimes hereditary when it's from mother to blood daughter. Patterns of worship follow various dialects, practices and rituals; the divine Creator, called variously Mawu or Mahu, is a female being.
She is an elder woman, a mother, gentle and forgiving. She is seen as the god who owns all other gods and if there is no temple made in her name, the people continue to pray to her in times of distress. In one tradition, she bore seven children. Sakpata: Vodun of the Earth, Xêvioso: Vodun of Thunder associated with Divine Justice, Agbe: Vodun of the Sea, Gû: Vodun of Iron and War, Agê: Vodun of Agriculture and Forests, Jo: Vodun of Air, Lêgba: Vodun of the Unpredictable; the Creator embodies a dual cosmogonic principle of which Mawu the moon and Lisa the sun are the female and male aspects portrayed as the twin children of the Creator. Lisa is the sun god who brings the day and the heat, strength and energy. Mawu, the moon goddess, provides the cool of the night, peace and rain. To give this in a summed aspect, a proverb says ` Mawu forgives. Legba is represented as a phallus or as a man with a prominent phallus. Known as the youngest son of Mawu, he is the chief of all Vodun divinities. Being old he is seen as wise, but when seen as a child he is one, rebellious.
It is only through contact with Legba that it becomes possible to contact the other gods, for he is the guardian at the door of the spirits. Dan, Mawu's androgynous son, is represented as a rainbow serpent, was to remain with her and act as a go-between with her other creations; as the mediator between the spirits and the living, Dan maintains balance, order and communication. Other popular Lwa, or spiritual entities include Azaka who rules over agriculture, Erzuli has domain over love, Ogoun, in charge of war and who stands on guard. All creation therefore contains the power of the divine; this is how medicines such as herbal remedies are understood, explains the ubiquitous use of mundane objects in religious ritual. Vodun talismans, called "fetishes", are objects such as statues or dried animal or human parts that are sold for their healing and spiritually rejuvenating properties, they are objects inhabited by spirits. The entities that inhabit a fetish are able to perform different tasks according to their stage of development.
Fetish objects are combined together in the construction of "shrines", used to call forth specific vodun and their associated powers. The Queen Mother is the first daughter of a matriarchal lineage of a family collective, she holds the right to lead the ceremonies incumbent to the clan: marriages and funerals. She is one of the most important members of community, she will lead the women of a village. They take part in the organisation and the running of markets and are responsible for their upkeep, vitally important because marketplaces are the focal points for gatherings and social centres in their communities. In the past when the men of the villages would go to war, the Queen Mothers would lead prayer ceremonies in which all the women attended every morning to ensure the safe return of their menfolk; the high priestess is the woman chosen by the oracle to care for the convent. Priestesses, like priests, receive a calling from an oracle, which may come at any moment during their lives, they will join their clan's convent to pursue spiritual instruction.
It is an oracle that will designate the future high priest and high priestess among the new recruits, establishing an order of succession within the convent. Only blood relatives were allowed in the family convent. In modern days, some of the rules have been changed, enabling non family members to enter what is described as the first circle of worship. Strangers are allowed to worship only the spirits of the standard pantheon. About 17% of the population of Benin, some 1.6 million people, follow Vodun. In addition, many of the 41.5% of the population that refer to themselves as "Christian" practice a syncretized religion, not dissimilar from Haitian Vodou or Brazilian Candomblé.
The Kingdom of Dahomey was an African kingdom that existed from about 1600 until 1894, when the last king, Béhanzin, was defeated by the French, the country was annexed into the French colonial empire. Dahomey developed on the Abomey Plateau amongst the Fon people in the early 17th century and became a regional power in the 18th century by conquering key cities on the Atlantic coast. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kingdom of Dahomey was a key regional state ending tributary status to the Oyo Empire; the Kingdom of Dahomey was an important regional power that had an organized domestic economy built on conquest and slave labor, significant international trade with Europeans, a centralized administration, taxation systems, an organized military. Notable in the kingdom were significant artwork, an all-female military unit called the Dahomey Amazons by European observers, the elaborate religious practices of Vodun with the large festival of the Annual Customs of Dahomey, they traded prisoners, which they captured during wars and raids, exchanged them with Europeans for goods such as knives, firearms and spirits.
The Kingdom of Dahomey was referred to by many different names and has been written in a variety of ways, including Danxome and Fon. The name Fon relates to the dominant ethnic and language group, the Fon people, of the royal families of the kingdom and is how the kingdom first became known to Europeans; the names Dahomey and Danhome all have a similar origin story, which historian Edna Bay says may be a false etymology. The story goes that Dakodonu, considered the second king in modern kings lists, was granted permission by the Gedevi chiefs, the local rulers, to settle in the Abomey plateau. Dakodonu requested additional land from a prominent chief named Dan to which the chief responded sarcastically "Should I open up my belly and build you a house in it?" For this insult, Dakodonu began the construction of his palace on the spot. The name of the kingdom was derived from the incident: Dan=chief dan, xo=Belly, me=Inside of; the Kingdom of Dahomey was established around 1600 by the Fon people who had settled in the area.
The foundational king for Dahomey is considered to be Houegbadja, who built the Royal Palaces of Abomey and began raiding and taking over towns outside of the Abomey plateau. King Agaja, Houegbadja's grandson, came to the throne in 1708 and began significant expansion of the Kingdom of Dahomey; this expansion was made possible by the superior military force of King Agaja's Dahomey. In contrast to surrounding regions, Dahomey employed a professional standing army numbering around ten thousand. What the Dahomey lacked in numbers, they made up for in superior arms. In 1724, Agaja conquered Allada, the origin for the royal family according to oral tradition, in 1727 he conquered Whydah; this increased size of the kingdom along the Atlantic coast, increased power made Dahomey into a regional power. The result was near constant warfare with the main regional state, the Oyo Empire, from 1728 until 1740; the warfare with the Oyo empire resulted in Dahomey assuming a tributary status to the Oyo empire.
Tegbesu spelled as Tegbessou, was King of Dahomey, in present-day Benin, from 1740 until 1774. Tegbesu was not the oldest son of King Agaja, but was selected following his father's death after winning a succession struggle with a brother. King Agaja had expanded the Kingdom of Dahomey during his reign, notably conquering Whydah in 1727; this increased both domestic dissent and regional opposition. Tegbessou ruled over Dahomey at a point where it needed to increase its legitimacy over those who it had conquered; as a result, Tegbesu is credited with a number of administrative changes in the kingdom in order to establish the legitimacy of the kingdom. The slave trade increased during Tegbessou's reign and began to provide the largest part of the income for the king. In addition, Tegbesu's rule is the one with the first significant kpojito or mother of the leopard with Hwanjile in that role; the kpojito became a prominently important person in Dahomey royalty. Hwanjile, in particular, is said to have changed the religious practices of Dahomey by creating two new deities and more tying worship to that of the king.
According to one oral tradition, as part of the tribute owed by Dahomey to Oyo, Agaja had to give to Oyo one of his sons. The story claims that only Hwanjile, of all of Agaja's wives, was willing to allow her son to go to Oyo; this act of sacrifice, according to the oral tradition made Tegbesu, was favored by Agaja. Agaja told Tegbesu that he was the future king, but his brother Zinga was still the official heir; the kingdom fought Second Franco-Dahomean War with France. The kingdom was reduced and made a French protectorate in 1894. In 1904 the area became part of French Dahomey. In 1958 French Dahomey became the self-governing colony called the Republic of Dahomey and gained full independence in 1960, it was renamed in 1991 the Republic of Benin. The Dahomey kingship exists as a ceremonial role to this day. Early writings, predominantly written by European slave traders presented the kingdom as an absolute monarchy led by a despotic king. However, these depictions were deployed as arguments by different sides in the slave trade debates in the United Kingdom, as such were exaggerations.
Humans are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina. Together with chimpanzees and orangutans, they are part of the family Hominidae. A terrestrial animal, humans are characterized by their erect bipedal locomotion. Early hominins—particularly the australopithecines, whose brains and anatomy are in many ways more similar to ancestral non-human apes—are less referred to as "human" than hominins of the genus Homo. Several of these hominins used fire, occupied much of Eurasia, gave rise to anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa about 315,000 years ago. Humans began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago, in several waves of migration, they ventured out of Africa and populated most of the world; the spread of the large and increasing population of humans has profoundly affected much of the biosphere and millions of species worldwide. Advantages that explain this evolutionary success include a larger brain with a well-developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable advanced abstract reasoning, problem solving and culture through social learning.
Humans use tools better than any other animal. Humans uniquely use such systems of symbolic communication as language and art to express themselves and exchange ideas, organize themselves into purposeful groups. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families and kinship networks to political states. Social interactions between humans have established an wide variety of values, social norms, rituals, which together undergird human society. Curiosity and the human desire to understand and influence the environment and to explain and manipulate phenomena have motivated humanity's development of science, mythology, religion and numerous other fields of knowledge. Though most of human existence has been sustained by hunting and gathering in band societies many human societies transitioned to sedentary agriculture some 10,000 years ago, domesticating plants and animals, thus enabling the growth of civilization; these human societies subsequently expanded, establishing various forms of government and culture around the world, unifying people within regions to form states and empires.
The rapid advancement of scientific and medical understanding in the 19th and 20th centuries permitted the development of fuel-driven technologies and increased lifespans, causing the human population to rise exponentially. The global human population was estimated to be near 7.7 billion in 2015. In common usage, the word "human" refers to the only extant species of the genus Homo—anatomically and behaviorally modern Homo sapiens. In scientific terms, the meanings of "hominid" and "hominin" have changed during the recent decades with advances in the discovery and study of the fossil ancestors of modern humans; the clear boundary between humans and apes has blurred, resulting in now acknowledging the hominids as encompassing multiple species, Homo and close relatives since the split from chimpanzees as the only hominins. There is a distinction between anatomically modern humans and Archaic Homo sapiens, the earliest fossil members of the species; the English adjective human is a Middle English loanword from Old French humain from Latin hūmānus, the adjective form of homō "man."
The word's use as a noun dates to the 16th century. The native English term man can refer to the species as well as to human males, or individuals of either sex; the species binomial "Homo sapiens" was coined by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae. The generic name "Homo" is a learned 18th-century derivation from Latin homō "man," "earthly being"; the species-name "sapiens" means "wise" or "sapient". Note that the Latin word homo refers to humans of either gender, that "sapiens" is the singular form; the genus Homo evolved and diverged from other hominins in Africa, after the human clade split from the chimpanzee lineage of the hominids branch of the primates. Modern humans, defined as the species Homo sapiens or to the single extant subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, proceeded to colonize all the continents and larger islands, arriving in Eurasia 125,000–60,000 years ago, Australia around 40,000 years ago, the Americas around 15,000 years ago, remote islands such as Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand between the years 300 and 1280.
The closest living relatives of humans are gorillas. With the sequencing of the human and chimpanzee genomes, current estimates of similarity between human and chimpanzee DNA sequences range between 95% and 99%. By using the technique called a molecular clock which estimates the time required for the number of divergent mutations to accumulate between two lineages, the approximate date for the split between lineages can be calculated; the gibbons and orangutans were the first groups to split from the line leading to the h
Nana Buluku known as Nana Buruku, Nana Buku or Nanan-bouclou, is the female Supreme Being in the West African traditional religion of the Fon people and the Ewe people. She is the most influential deity in West African theology, one shared by many ethnic groups other than the Fon people, albeit with variations. For example, she is called the Nana Bukuu among the Yoruba people and the Olisabuluwa among Igbo people but described differently, with some worshipping her, while some do not worship her and worship the gods originating from her. In Dahomey mythology, Nana Buluku is the mother Supreme Creator who gave birth to the moon spirit Mawu, the sun spirit Lisa and all of the Universe. After giving birth to these, she retired and left the matters of the world to Mawu-Lisa, according to the Fon mythology, she is the primary creator, Mawu-Lisa the secondary creator and the theology based on these is called Vodun, Voodoo or Vodoun. The Vodoun religion of the Fon people has four overlapping elements: public gods, personal or private gods, ancestral spirits, magic or charms.
In this traditional religion of West Africa, creation starts with a female Supreme Being called Nana Buluku, who gave birth to the Mawu and created the universe. After giving birth, the mother Supreme retired, left everything to Mawu-Lisa deities and inert universe. Mawu-Lisa created numerous minor imperfect deities. In Fon belief, the feminine deity Mawu had to work with trickster Legba and the snake Aido Hwedo to create living beings, a method of creation that imbued the good, the bad and a destiny for every creature including human beings. Only by appeasing lesser deities and Legba, in Fon theology, can one change that destiny; this appeasing requires rituals and offerings to the lesser gods and ancestral spirits, who are believed to have ability to do favors to human beings. As millions of West Africans were captured and enslaved during the colonial era shipped across the Atlantic to work on sugarcane and tobacco plantations, they brought with them their religious ideas, including those about Nana Buluku.
She is celebrated as Nanã in Candomblé Jejé and Tambor de Mina and as Nana Burukú in Candomblé Ketu, where she is pictured as a old woman, older than creation itself. She is found in French and British West Indies in particular, such as among the African-heritage communities of French Guiana, Guyana, Trinidad, Martinique and other Caribbean islands. Charles Spencer King."Nature's Ancient Religion" ISBN 978-1-4404-1733-7 Charles Spencer King, "IFA Y Los Orishas: La Religion Antigua De LA Naturaleza" ISBN 1-4610-2898-1 The Children of Dahomey at the Wayback Machine