Odinani comprises the traditional religious practices and cultural beliefs of the Igbo people of southern Nigeria. Odinani has monotheistic and panentheistic attributes, having a single God as the source of all things. Although a pantheon of spirits exists, these are lesser spirits prevalent in Odinani expressly serving as elements of Chineke, the supreme being or high god. Chineke is a compound word encompassing the concept of chí is the creator is a verb meaning'that' while ékè means create. Chineke therefore means the God that created all things; the concept of Chúkwú was propagated by the Aro-Igbo of Arochukwu in eastern Igboland who wielded much spiritual force over the eastern Niger Delta in the 18th century due to their operating of the Ibini Ukpabi oracle. Lesser spirits known as ágbàrà or álúsí operate below the high god Chineke and are parts of him divided by gender in his mind; these spirits represent natural forces. A concept of'the eye of sun or god' exists as a feminine solar deity which forms a part of the solar veneration among the Nri-Igbo in northern Igboland.
Alusi are mediated by dibia and other priests. Through áfà,'divination', the laws and demands of the alusi are communicated to the living. Alusi are venerated in community shrines around roadsides and forests while smaller shrines are located in the household for ancestral veneration. Deceased ancestors live in the spirit world. Below the alusi are minor and more general spirits known as mmúọ loosely defined by their perceived malevolent or benign natures; these minor spirits are sometimes considered the lost souls of the dead. The number of people practicing Igbo religion decreased drastically in the 20th century with the influx of Christian missionaries under the auspices of the British colonial government of Nigeria. In some cases Igbo traditional religion was syncretised with Christianity, but in many cases indigenous rites were demonised by Christian missionaries who pointed out the practice of human sacrifice and some other cultural practices that were illegal under the colonial government.
Earlier missionaries referred to many indigenous religious practices as juju. Igbo religion is most present today in harvest ceremonies such as new yam festival and masquerading traditions such as mmanwu and Ekpe. Remnants of Igbo religious rites spread among African descendants in the Caribbean and North America in era of the Atlantic slave trade. Igbo ọ́bị̀à was transferred to the former British Caribbean and Guyana as obeah and aspects of Igbo masquerading traditions can be found among the festivals of the Garifuna people and jonkonnu of the British Caribbean and North Carolina. Odinani in northern Igbo dialects is the compound of the words ọ̀ dị̀ + n + ànị̀. Other dialectal variants include odinala, omenala and omenani; the word odinani and all its variations is associated with the culture and customary laws of the Igbo people. Many of the laws and culture were counterparts with religion such as taboos and laws concerning sacred spaces like a deities sacred forest. Since customary law is recognised in Nigeria, many in Igbo society find themselves syncretising these beliefs with other beliefs and religions.
Odinani could loosely be described as a monotheistic and panentheistic faith with a strong central spiritual force at its head from which all things are believed to spring. Chukwu as the central deity is classed among the ndi mmuo,'invisible beings', an ontological category of beings which includes Ala the divine feminine earth force, chi the'personal deity', ndichie the ancestors, mmuo the minor spirits; the other ontological category consists of ndi mmadu,'visible beings', which include ánụ́ animals, ósísí plants, the final class ùrò which consists of elements and inanimate beings. Chukwu as the creator of everything visible and invisible and the source of lesser divinities is referred to as Chineke. Chukwu is genderless and is reached through various spiritual forces under the spirit class of Alusi who are incarnations of the high god. If an Arushi is assigned to an individual, it becomes a personal guardian god; the chi manifests as mmuo, as a persons spirit is earth bound it chooses sex and lifespan before incarnation in the human world.
Chi is the personal spirit of a person ḿmúọ́, in Igbo culture it is this spirit which determines destiny. Hence the saying, onye kwe, Chi ya ekwe. Culturally, people are seen as the makers of their own destiny; the breath of life is in the heart, óbì. Chi refers to the day in contrast to the dark; the universal chi indirectly in charge of everything is Chukwu, the supreme being, beyond the limits of time and space. Chukwu's name is a compound of the words chí + úkwú. Chi is believed to be a spiritual connection between an individual and the high god and it dictates the trajectory of a person's spiritual journey on earth; each chi is in communion with and inseparable from the universal chi of all things. The high god, Chukwu, is believed to assign chi at the time of an individuals birth, it is a guardian spirit providing care, guardians
Umbanda is a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism and Indigenous American beliefs. Although some of its beliefs and most of its practices existed in the late 19th century in all Brazil, it is assumed that Umbanda originated in Niterói and surrounding areas in the early 20th century due to the work of a psychic, Zélio Fernandino de Moraes, who practiced Umbanda among the poor Afro-Brazilians slave descendants. Since Umbanda has spread across southern Brazil and neighboring countries like Argentina and Uruguay. Umbanda has each one with a different set of beliefs and practices; some common beliefs are the existence of a Supreme Creator known as Olodumare. Other common beliefs are the existence of deities called Orixás, most of them syncretized with Catholic saints that act as divine energy and forces of nature. Umbanda practitioners believe in a supreme creator god; the opposite side of the Umbanda, i.e. black magic – the practices that intended to cause evil doings, became known as Quimbanda.
Umbanda is juxtaposed with Quimbanda which now reclaims its identity as a separate religion and distinct from Umbanda. One hundred years after its establishment, Umbanda divided itself into several branches with different beliefs and practices; some of these branches are Umbanda d'Angola, Umbanda Jejê, Umbanda Ketu, Umbanda Esotérica. The three major beliefs claimed by Umbandists are: The Pantheon, the Spirits' World, the Reincarnation. Umbanda has one supreme god known as Olorum and many divine intermediary deities called Orixás. Orixàs and spirits are organized in a complex hierarchy of legions, sub-phalanges and protectors; the exact order of the hierarchy varies by region and practitioner, but a agreed upon structure are the Seven Lines, or Sete Linhas da Umbanda. The first line is the top associated with Oxalà, the bottom is always the Linha das Almas, or Line of Dead Souls; the other patrons associated with the lines are listed in 2-6 below. The lines are divided up further into a multitude of spiritual beings.
Main Orixás Oxalá Iemanjá Xangô Oxúm Ogúm Oxóssi Ibeji Omulu/Obaluayê Iansã Nanã Oxumaré Exu Most followers of Umbanda believe that there are three distinct levels of spirits. 1. Pure Spirits This level includes the spirits known as the angels, archangels and seraphim, spirits that reached spiritual perfection. 2. Good Spirits This level includes the spirits that possess mediums or initiates during the Umbanda ceremonies and act as Guias advising and helping the believers; these are the following spirits: Caboclos Those are spirits of deceased Indigenous Brazilians or Mestizos. They are knowledgeable about medical herbs prescribing inexpensive remedies to ill people, their speech is always based in truth and courage, are sought after in cases you need strength, counsel. When a caboclo speaks, you listen; when the medium incorporates a Caboclo, he/she, begins to walk around and the feature becomes more severe. They smoke cigars and drink a mix of herbs the mediums make. Preto Velho Those are spirits of old slaves who died enslaved.
They are wise and kind spirits that know all about suffering, compassion and hope. Some of them are considered to be from Angola and Congo, others are considered to be the old Yoruba priests that were first brought to Brazil, they often prescribe herbal remedies. The female counterpart of this spirit is the Preta Velha who demonstrates maternal compassion and concern. In the beginning of Umbanda, Preto Velho introduced himself as an old slave who died after being flogged for some unjust accusation, they are the most loved entities in Umbanda and is common to see a person consulting with the same preto velho year after year, develop a love for them. When the medium incorporates a Preto Velho, he can not stand straight, has difficulty walking, has to make consultations sitting down, they drink coffee and smoke pipes. Crianças/Erês Those are spirits of great evolution, appearing as children, to reveal the pure side of life, they are not children. They speak of hope; when they talk, they always intend to make you look at the bright side of things.
They are characterized as being pure and joyful. Most people make the mistake that, since the medium speaks funny, uses candies and ribbons in his head, that he is
Santería known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla de Ifá, or Lucumí, is an Afro-American religion of Yoruba origin that developed in Cuba among West African descendants. Santería is a Spanish word that means the "worship of saints". Santería is syncretized with Roman Catholicism, its sacred language is the Lucumí language, a remnant of Yoruba language, used in rituals but no longer spoken as a vernacular and not understood by practitioners. Santería is a system of beliefs that merges aspects of Yoruba religion brought to the New World by enslaved Yoruba people along with Christianity and the religions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in addition to Cuban Spiritism which developed from Allen Kardec Spiritism; the Yoruba people carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice, sacred drumming and dance. The need to preserve their traditions and belief systems in a hostile cultural environment prompted enslaved africans of various ethnic groups in Cuba, starting from as early as 1515, to merge their customs with aspects of Roman Catholicism.
This religious tradition evolved into. The colonial period from the standpoint of enslaved African people can be defined as a time of perseverance, their world changed. Tribal kings and their families, politicians and community leaders all were enslaved and taken to a foreign region of the world. Religious leaders, their relatives and their followers were no longer free people to worship as they saw fit. Colonial laws criminalized their religion, they were forced to become baptized and worship a god their ancestors had not known, surrounded by a pantheon of saints. The early concerns during this period seem to have necessitated a need for individual survival under harsh plantation conditions. A sense of hope was sustaining the internal essence of what today is called Santería, a misnomer for the Cuban expression of the Orisa faith. In the heart of their homeland, the Yoruba people had a complex social order, they were a sedentary hoe farming cultural group with specialized labor. Their religion, based on the worship of nature, was documented by their slave owners.
Santería, a pejorative term that characterizes deviant Catholic forms of worshiping saints, has become a common name for the religion. The term santero is used to describe a priest or priestess replacing the traditional term Olorisha as an extension of the deities; the orishas became known as the saints in image of the Catholic pantheon. In order to preserve and shield their traditional beliefs, the Lucumí people syncretized their Orichás with Catholic saints. Spanish colonial planters who saw the enslaved African people celebrating on saints' days did not know that they were performing rituals related to Orichás, assumed that they were showing more interest in Catholic saints than in the Christian God—hence the origin of the term Santería; the historical veiling of the relationship between Catholic saints and Orichás is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of santeros in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, are Roman Catholics, have been baptized, require initiates to be baptized in Roman Catholicism as well.
The spread of Santería beyond the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean, including to the United States, was catalyzed by the Cuban Revolution of 1959. In 1974, the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye became the first Santería church in the United States to become incorporated. Santería does not use a central creed for its religious practices; these rituals and ceremonies take place in what is known as a house-temple or casa de santos known as an ilé. Most ilés are in the homes of the initiated priestesses. Ilé shrines are built, by the priests and priestess, to the different orichás, which creates a space for worship, called an igbodu. In an igbodu there is a display of three distinct thrones that represent the seats of the queens and the deified warriors; each ilé is composed of those who seek guidance from the orishas, as well as those who are in the process of becoming priests. The many cabildos and casas that bridged the 19th and 20th centuries are fondly remembered by contemporary priests as the origins and strongholds of Cuban Lucumí culture and religion.
To become a Santero or Santera, the initiator must go through an intensive week-long initiation process in which the teaching of the ritual skills and moral behavior occurs informally and nonverbally. To begin with, the initiator goes through; the initiator's Padrino cleanses the head with special herbs and water. The Padrino rubs the water in a specific pattern of movements into the scalp of the head. However, if a person is entering Santería for the need of healing, they will undergo the rogación de la cabeza, in which coconut water and cotton are applied on the head to feed it. Once cleansed, there are four major initiation rituals that the initiator will have to undergo: obtaining the elekes, receiving Los Guerreros, making Ocha, Asiento; the first ritual is known as the acquisition of the beaded necklaces.
Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions. It is contrasted by the idea of polytheism, respectively; this can occur for many reasons, the latter scenario happens quite in areas where multiple religious traditions exist in proximity and function in the culture, or when a culture is conquered, the conquerors bring their religious beliefs with them, but do not succeed in eradicating the old beliefs or practices. Religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems frown on applying the label adherents who belong to "revealed" religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist approach; such adherents sometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth. By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true.
Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word "syncretism" as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system distort the original faith. The consequence, according to Keith Ferdinando, is a fatal compromise of the dominant religion's integrity. Non-exclusivist systems of belief, on the other hand, may feel quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own. In modern secular society, religious innovators sometimes create new religions syncretically as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity with the effect of offending the original religions in question; such religions, however, do maintain some appeal to a less exclusivist audience. Discussions of some of these blended religions appear in the individual sections below. Classical Athens was exclusive in matters of religion; the Decree of Diopeithes made the introduction of and belief in foreign gods a criminal offence and only Greeks were allowed to worship in Athenian temples and festivals as foreigners were considered impure.
On the other hand, Athens imported many foreign cults, including those of Cybele and the Thracian goddess Bendis, in some cases this involved a merging of identities: for example, who had traditionally been regarded as a mortal hero, began here and elsewhere in the Aegean world to be identified as a divine figure under the influence of Eastern counterparts like the Tyrian Melqart. Syncretism functioned as a feature of Hellenistic Ancient Greek religion, although only outside of Greece. Overall, Hellenistic culture in the age that followed Alexander the Great itself showed syncretist features blending of Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Egyptian elements within an Hellenic formula; the Egyptian god Amun developed as the Hellenized Zeus Ammon after Alexander the Great went into the desert to seek out his oracle at Siwa. Such identifications derive from interpretatio graeca, the Hellenic habit of identifying gods of disparate mythologies with their own; when the proto-Greeks first arrived in the Aegean and on the mainland of modern-day Greece early in the 2nd millennium BCE, they found localized nymphs and divinities connected with every important feature of the landscape: mountain, cave and spring all had their own locally venerated deity.
The countless epithets of the Olympian gods reflect their syncretic identification with these various figures. One defines "Zeus Molossos" as "the god identical to Zeus as worshipped by the Molossians at Dodona". Much of the arbitrary and trivial mythic fabling results from mythographers' attempts to explain these obscure epithets; the Romans, identifying themselves as common heirs to a similar civilization, identified Greek deities with similar figures in the Etruscan-Roman tradition, though without copying cult practices. Syncretic gods of the Hellenistic period found wide favor in Rome: Serapis and Mithras, for example. Cybele as worshipped in Rome represented a syncretic East Mediterranean goddess; the Romans imported the Greek god Dionysus into Rome, where he merged with the Latin mead god Liber, converted the Anatolian Sabazios into the Roman Sabazius. The degree of correspondence varied: Jupiter makes a better match for Zeus than the rural huntress Diana does for the feared Artemis. Ares does not quite match Mars.
The Romans physically imported the Anatolian goddess Cybele into Rome from her Anatolian cult-center Pessinos in the form of her original aniconic archaic stone idol. When the Romans encountered Celts and Germanic peoples, they mingled these peoples' gods with their own, creating Sulis Minerva, Apollo Sucellos and Mars Thingsus, among many others. In the Germania, the Roman historian Tacitus speaks of Germanic worshippers of Mercury. Romans were familiar with the concept of syncretism because from their earliest times they had experienced it with, among others, the Greeks; the Romans incorporated the Greek Apollo and Hercules into their religion. They did not look at the religious aspects that they adopted from other cultures to be different or less meaningful from religious aspects that were Roman in origin; the early Roman acceptance of other cultures religions into
Akan religion comprises the traditional beliefs and religious practices of the Akan people of Ghana and eastern Ivory Coast. Akan religion is referred to as Akom. Although most Akan people have identified as Christians since the early 20th century, Akan religion remains practiced by some, is syncretized with Christianity; the Akan have many subgroups, so the religion varies by region and subgroup. Similar to other traditional religions of West and Central Africa such as West African Vodun, Yoruba religion, or Odinani, Akan cosmology consists of a senior god who does not interact with humans and many gods who assist humans. Anansi the Spider is a folk hero, prominent in Ashanti folktales, where he is depicted as a trickster. In other aspects of Akan spirituality, Anansi is sometimes considered both a trickster and a deity associated with wisdom, responsible for creating the first inanimate humans, according to the scholar Anthony Ephirim-Donkor.. This is similar to Legba, both a trickster and a deity in West African Vodun.
Followers of Akan religion believe in a supreme god. He does not interact with humans; the creator god takes on different names depending upon the region of worship, including Nyame, Brekyirihunuade, Odomankoma, Ɔbɔadeɛ and Anansi Kokuroku. It is said that the creator god is a part of a triune deity or triad, which consists of Nyame and Odomankoma; the Supreme Creator is an omnipotent sky father. His wife is Asase Yaa, considered second to God. Together they brought forth two children: Tano; the abosom, the lower deities or spirits, assist humans on earth. These are akin to orishas in Yoruba religion, the vodun in West African Vodun and its derivatives, the alusi in Odinani. Abosom receive their power from the creator god and are most connected to the world as it appears in its natural state. Priests serve individual act as mediators between the abosom and mankind. Many of those who believe in these traditions participate in daily prayer, which includes the pouring of libations as an offering to both the ancestors who are buried under the land and to the spirits who are everywhere.
The Nsamanfo are the ancestors. They are sometimes referred to as ghost. According to Long, Akan culture obliterated any other African customs and incoming non-Akan Africans had to submit to the culture of the majority Akan population in Jamaica, much like a foreigner learning migrating to a foreign country. Other than Ananse stories, Akan religion made a huge impact; the Akan pantheon of gods referred to. Enslaved Akan would praise Nyankopong. Bonsam was referred to as the god of evil. Kumfu was documented as Myal and only found in books, while the term Kumfu is still used by Jamaican Maroons; the priest of Kumfu was called a Kumfu-man. The Jamaican Maroon spirit-possession language, a creolized form of Akan, is used in religious ceremonies of some Jamaican Maroons. Kumfu evolved into a syncretic Christian sect. Kumfu followers gravitated to the American Revival of 1800 Seventh Day Adventist movement because it observed Saturday as god's day of rest; this was a shared aboriginal belief of the Akan people as this too was the day that the Akan god, Nyame rested after creating the earth.
Jamaicans that were aware of their Ashanti past while wanting to keep hidden, mixed their Kumfu spirituality with the American Adventists to create Jamaican Revival in 1860. Revival has two sects: 61 order. 60 order worships God and spirits of air or the heavens on a Saturday and considers itself to be the more'clean' sect. 61 order more deals with spirits of the earth. This division of Kumfu shows the dichotomy of Nyame and Asase Yaa's relationship, Nyame representing air and has his 60 order'; the Ashanti funerary/war colours: red and black have the same meaning in Revival of vengeance. Other Ashanti elements include the use of swords and rings as means to guard the spirit from spiritual attack; the Asantehene like the Mother Woman of Revival, has special two swords used to protect himself from witchcraft called an Akrafena or soul sword and a Bosomfena or spirit sword Winti is an Afro-Surinamese religion, derived from both Akom and Vodun with Vodun gods such as Loco, Ayizu and so on. Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion that combines Vodun with several other African religions in addition to influences from Catholicism.
Here latent influences of Akan beliefs can be seen in the incorporation of Anansi as one of the Lwa worshiped in the Haitian religion. He is depicted as maintaining the connection between the living and their deceased ancestors. Olson, James Stuart; the peoples of Africa: an ethnohistorical dictionary. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press. P. 18. ISBN 978-0-313-27918-8. Retrieved 18 April 2010. Sykes, Egerton. Who's who in non-classical mythology. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-26040-4. Retrieved 2010-05-24. Forde, Cyril Daryll, African Worlds: Studies in the Cosmological Ideas and Social Values of African Peoples
Macumba is a word that has a dual meaning. It can be used when describing a form of witchcraft. Before it was used for a single religion Macumba was used to categorize all religions who practiced or believed in animistic-syncretism during the 1800s. In the 1900s Macumba became a slang term among Brazilians who aren’t affiliated with these religions; the religions that are referred to under the umbrella term Macumba are Candomblé, Mesa Blanca. Although the word Macumba may be used among Afro-Brazilian religion praticioners to kindly refer to their practices, it is used as a pejorative and a racial slur by evangelical hate groups against these religions. Brazilian Macumba is the name, used to designate all Bantu religious practices in the Brazilian state of Bahia in the nineteenth century; these practices were organized in what is now called Umbanda and Omoloko. Macumba became common in parts of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina; this word is used by some people as a pejorative word meaning black magic.
The word macumba is used in Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, to refer to any ritual or religion of Afro-American origin, although its use by outsiders is derogatory and it is considered offensive, among its practitioners it is not seen negatively. Macumba is practiced in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. There appears to be a relationship with the concept of the Boto having shape-shifting abilities and while in the form of a human male having sexual relations with young women; this belief was noted in several Indigenous American villages along the Amazonas River, Rio Negro, Rio Japurá. Macumba is practiced throughout the Southern Cone. Many practitioners continue to practice their traditional religions but practice Macumba in violation of the tenets of their official religious affiliations but which their social environment appears to accept; some practitioners purport to use Macumba to inflict harm, financial failure, death, etc. on other people for various reasons. A Macumba spiritual leader will ask for a picture of the person on whom retribution is sought, with the name of the person written on the back of the picture.
This kind of practice is seen as sorcery or black magic. Out of all the religions grouped into Macumba only followers of Candomblé sacrifice animals during their rituals. Animals are sacrificed during Consultas. In Candomblé blood is a sacred and symbolic item and is used as as possible. Blood to these followers represents life pure essence and a bond that unites them all together as family. Giro on the other hand use palm tree oil in their rituals, this is because using blood has formed a negative stigma around Candomblé as many people associate animal sacrifice with savagery and see it as backwards; this dependence on blood and animal sacrifice has led to a loss of converts and a stigma to form around Candomblé and its followers. Since dendé is a similar hue to blood it works well as a replacement in many rituals that would require it; this allows followers of Giro to practice without fear of being stigmatized. Mesa Blanca on the other hand believes that blood and dendé can bring evil and misfortune on those who dare to use it in rituals.
Dendé for example is linked to aggressive spirits of slaves, as well as other evils that the group has shunned and removed from their practices. The movement away from these two mediums can be seen as a way to distance themselves from Afro-Brazilian religions and the Macumba itself. Honey is important to these religions as it represents the spirits of Native Indians, the use of honey can be for healing as well as reconciliation. Honey is an different color than blood and Dendé so it is not associated with the evils of first two liquids. Water is the final liquid and is the main symbol for most religions other than Candomblé. Water can be used to gaze into during consultas as it is believed looking into water can help attain wisdom or information. Water symbolizes life as it has the ability to heal but it can represent the ability to avoid death; the hierarchy of many of these religions is family based and can be seen by the addressing of leaders in Candomblé as "mother" and "father". Many leaders of these religions are female as a mother figure is needed.
Candomblé Umbanda Quimbanda Kelly E. Hayes, "Black Magic and the Academy: Macumba and Afro-Brazilian “Orthodoxies," History of Religions, 46,4, 283–315. “Macumba - Definition and Synonyms of Macumba in the English Dictionary.” English Dictionary, englishdictionary.education/en/macumba. Shapiro, Dolores J. “Blood, Oil and Water: Symbolism in Spirit Possession Sects in Northeastern Brazil.” Wiley, November 1995 "BBC - Religion: Candomblé". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-05-07. "Macumba Definition". Retrieved 2017-11-01. Shapiro, Dolores J.. "Blood, Oil and water". American Ethnologist. 22: 828–847. Doi:10.1525/ae.1995.22.4.02a00090