The Bantu beliefs are the system of beliefs and legends of the Bantu peoples of Africa. Although Bantu peoples account for several hundred different ethnic groups, there is a high degree of homogeneity in Bantu cultures and customs, just as in Bantu languages; the phrase "Bantu mythology" refers to the common, recurring themes that are found in all or most Bantu cultures. All Bantus traditionally believe in a supreme God; the nature of God is only vaguely defined, although he may be associated with the Sun, or the oldest of all ancestors, or have other specifications. Most names of God include the Bantu particle ng, related to the sky. In many traditions, in fact, God is supposed to live in the skies, much like in western mythologies and religions. There are several Bantu myths that are intended to explain, or that elaborate on, the distance between God and men, i.e. the sky and the earth. In many Bantu creation myths the sky and the earth used to be closer to each other, were separated by God because of some disturbance caused by men.
For example, there's a Bantu myth of God being disturbed by the pestles handled by women, that would hit His belly when raised up, another one where God is offended by the smoke of man-made fires. There are myths about men trying to climb up to God's place. God is never described as the Creator of all things, as in most Bantu mythologies the universe is eternal and has no beginning. Animals are a part of this eternal universe. While not its creator, God is intimately related to the universe. In traditional Bantu religions, God is high above the earth. All religious practices are intended to worship God; this traditional attitude of Bantu belief systems has been modified, to various degrees and in various ways, by the advent of Christianity, as the God of Christians and Muslims has been equated to the Bantu supreme God. Mungu has thus become a God that cares about humanity and that it makes sense to worship and pray to. While in Bantu mythology the universe and the animals are eternal, so that there are no creation myths about their origin, the opposite holds for mankind.
In many Bantu myths, the first man was born from a plant: for example, he came from a bamboo stem in Zulu, from a "Omumborombonga" tree in Herero mythology. Other traditions have the first men come out of a hole in the ground. People that live on cattle farming believe that men and cattle appeared on earth together, it can be noted that, as is the case with many mythologies, Bantu mythologies about the creation of man are limited to describing their own origins, rather than those of all of humanity. For example, most Bantu peoples that coexist with bushmen do not include these in their creation myths. Most Bantu cultures share a common myth about the origin of death. According to this myth, God sent the chameleon to announce to men; the chameleon went on his mission, but he walked and stopped along the way to eat. Some time after the chameleon had left, a lizard went to announce to men. Being much quicker than the chameleon, the lizard arrived first, thus establishing the mortal nature of man; as a consequence of this myth, both chameleons and lizards are considered bad omens in Bantu cultures.
Depending on local traditions, there are different explanations for the "double message" of the chameleon and lizard. In some cases, God sends both the chameleon and the lizard, with their respective omens, intentionally committing mankind's destiny to the outcome of their race. In some other cases, the lizard eavesdrops the orders God gives to the chameleon, chooses to bring the opposite message out of envy. In still other cultures, after having sent the chameleon, God changes his mind as a consequence of the bad behaviour of mankind. Missionaries have adapted the myth of the chameleon to evangelize Bantu Africans. In most African cultures, including Bantu cultures, veneration of the dead plays a prominent role; the spirits of the dead are believed to influence the world of the living. This spiritual existence is not considered eternal; as a consequence and heroes, who are celebrated by oral tradition, live for centuries, while the spirit of common people may vanish in the turn of a few generations.
The dead communicate with the living in different ways. If they take any visible shape, it is that of some animal; the living, through clairvoyants and seers, may address the dead in order to receive advice or ask for favours. If a spirit takes offence in something done by a living person, he may cause illness or misfortun
Tambor de Mina
Tambor de Mina is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced in Brazilian states of Maranhão, Piauí, Pará and the Amazônia. Tambor means drum in Portuguese, refers to the importance of the rhythmic element to worship. Mina derives from the name São Jorge da Mina, now known as Elmina Castle, refers to a designation given to African slaves, although the name did not refer to slaves who had passed through the fortress/port of São Jorge da Mina itself, but rather to "different ethnicities over time and place". For example,'Mina-Popo' was the designation for people from Little Popo Akan speakers who had migrated from west of the Volta River, "Mina-Nago" and "Mina-Congo" were other designations sometimes found in Brazil. Slavery in Maranhão was concentrated in the Itapecuru Valley, the Baixada Maranhense, São Luís, the capital of the Brazilian state of Maranhao. Cotton and sugar cane plantations contributed to the development of larger cities. Colonial houses were built with slave labor with their unique design influenced by the harmony and choreography of songs originating from ancient Africa.
Tambor of Mina worships vodums, orixás, entities who are called gentis or caboclos. Voduns, gods of the fon or jeje people, deified human ancestors; some young voduns called toquém or toquenos fulfill the function of guides, helpers of the other voduns. Tobóssis are infantile feminine deities, considered daughters of voduns; the voduns are grouped in 5 families: Davice. Each family occupies a specific part of the house and has its own songs and activities. There are 15 tobossis in Casa das Minas; the title of Tói means that the title of Nochê means that vodum is a female. Avievodum is the Supreme God, Legba is not considered a messenger, being identified as an evil spirit by the Casa das Minas, although he plays an important role in other temples. Tambor de Mina is a mixture of Dahomey Religion, Yoruba Religion, Fanti-Ashanti, Agrono or Cambinda, Indigenous American and European traditions, it is said that the encantados are entities of people who did not die, but disappeared mysteriously, becoming invisible or turning into animals or plants, living in a magical kingdom called Encantaria.
The encantados are present in diverse Amazon beliefs and they are organized in families in the Tambor de Mina: Lençol. They are invoked in religious ceremonies and the priest or priestess goes into trance; because of this cultural richness and syncretism present in the cult, these elements coexist in a harmonious way, being impossible to separate popular Catholicism, local folklore and the Encantaria, the Cure or Pajelança from the Tambor de Mina. It is said that the pantheon of encantados shared by the two religions "navigate in the two waters", being the Tambor de Mina classified as "sea water line" and the Cura/Pajelança as "fresh water line". In the temples of Tambor de Mina it is common to hold feasts and parties of the popular culture of Maranhão that are sometimes requested by spiritual entities that like them, such as the Feast of the Divine Holy Spirit, Bumba-meu-boi, Tambor de Crioula and others. Terecô is the denomination of one of the Afro-Brazilian religions of the city of Codó in Maranhão and Teresina in Piauí, derived from Tambor de Mina.
There are two main models of Tambor de Mina in Maranhão: jeje and Nagô. The former seems to be the oldest and settled around the Casa Grande das Minas Jeje, better known as Casa das Minas, the oldest temple, which must have been founded in São Luís in the 1840s; the other, contemporary and which continues to this day, has settled around the Casa de Nagô. Casa das Minas and Casa de Nagô are located in the same neighbourhood; the Casa das Minas is unique, it does not have houses that are affiliated to it, therefore no other follow its style. It was founded by an African woman named Maria Jesuina, who came to Brazil as a slave and, according to Pierre Verger, was the Queen Nã Agontimé, Wife of King Agonglô of Dahomey and mother of King Guezô; the most famous priestess of the temple was Mother Andressa Maria, considered the last princess of Fon direct lineage that headed the Casa das Minas. She was born in 1854 and died in 1954, at the age of 100. In this house, the songs are in language jeje and only are worshipped deities called voduns, but although it does not have affiliated houses, the cult model of the Tambor de Mina is i
Native American religion
Native American religions are the spiritual practices of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. This article focuses on Native North Americans. Traditional Native American ceremonial ways can vary and are based on the differing histories and beliefs of individual tribes and bands. Early European explorers describe individual Native American tribes and small bands as each having their own religious practices. Theology may be monotheistic, henotheistic, shamanistic, pantheistic or any combination thereof, among others. Traditional beliefs are passed down in the forms of oral histories, stories and principles, rely on face to face teaching in one's family and community. From the 1600s, European Catholic and Protestant denominations sent missionaries to convert the tribes to Christianity; some of these conversions occurred through government and Christian church cooperative efforts that forcibly removed Native American children from their families into a Christian/state government-operated system of American Indian boarding schools where Native children were taught European Christian beliefs, the values of mainstream white culture, the English language.
This forcible conversion and suppression of Indigenous languages and cultures continued through the 1970s. As part of the US government's suppression of traditional Indigenous religions, most ceremonial ways were banned for over 80 years by a series of US Federal laws that banned traditional sweat lodge and sun dance ceremonies, among others; this government persecution and prosecution continued until 1978 with the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Some non-Native anthropologists estimate membership in traditional Native American religions in the 21st century to be about 9000 people. Since Native Americans practicing traditional ceremonies do not have public organizations or membership rolls, these "members" estimates are substantially lower than the actual numbers of people who participate in traditional ceremonies. Native American spiritual leaders note that these academic estimates underestimate the numbers of participants because a century of US Federal government persecution and prosecutions of traditional ceremonies caused believers to practice their religions in secrecy.
Many adherents of traditional spiritual ways attend Christian services, at least some of the time, which can affect statistics. Since the 80 years of those prior legal persecutions ended with AIRFA, some sacred sites in the United States are now protected areas under law; the Earth Lodge Religion was founded in northern California and southern Oregon tribes such as the Wintun. It spread to tribes such as the Achomawi and Siletz, to name a few, it was known as the "Warm House Dance" among the Pomo. It predicted occurrences similar to those predicted by the Ghost Dance, such as the return of ancestors or the world's end; the Earth Lodge Religion impacted the religious practice, the Dream Dance, belonging to the Klamath and the Modoc. "Ghost Dance" is a general term that encompasses different religious revitalization movements in the Western United States. In 1870, a Ghost Dance was founded by the Paiute prophet Wodziwob, in 1889–1890, a Ghost Dance Religion was founded by Wovoka, a Northern Paiute.
The Ghost Dance was meant to serve as a connection with traditional ways of life and to honor the dead while predicting their resurrection. In December 1888, thought to be the son of the medicine man Tavibo, fell sick with a fever during an eclipse of the sun, which occurred on January 1, 1889. Upon his recovery, he claimed that he had visited the spirit world and the Supreme Being and predicted that the world would soon end be restored to a pure aboriginal state in the presence of the Messiah. All Native Americans would inherit this world, including those who were dead, in order to live eternally without suffering. In order to reach this reality, Wovoka stated that all Native Americans should live and shun the ways of whites, he called for meditation, prayer and dancing as an alternative to mourning the dead, for they would soon resurrect. Wovoka's followers saw him as a form of the messiah and he became known as the "Red Man's Christ." Tavibo had participated in the Ghost Dance of 1870 and had a similar vision of the Great Spirit of Earth removing all white men, of an earthquake removing all human beings.
Tavibo's vision concluded that Native Americans would return to live in a restored environment and that only believers in his revelations would be resurrected. This religion spread to many tribes on reservations in the West, including the Shoshone, Arapaho and Sioux. In fact, some bands of Lakota and Dakota were so desperate for hope during wartime that they strengthened their militancy after making a pilgrimage to Nevada in 1889–1890, they provided their own understanding to the Ghost Dance which included the prediction that the white people would disappear. A Ghost Dance gathering at Wounded Knee in December 1890 was invaded by the Seventh Cavalry, who massacred unarmed Lakota and Dakota people; the earliest Ghost Dance influenced religions such as the Earth Lodge, Bole-Maru Religion, the Dream Dance. The Caddo Nation still practices the Ghost Dance today. Known as Tschida, the Indian Shaker Religion was influenced by the Waashat Religion and founded by John Slocum, a Squaxin Island member.
The name comes from the shaking and twitching motions used by the participants to brush off their sins. The religion combines Christianity with traditional Indian teachings; this religion i
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.
Loa are the spirits of Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo. They are referred to as "mystères" and "the invisibles" and are intermediaries between Bondye —the Supreme Creator, distant from the world—and humanity. Unlike saints or angels, they are not prayed to, they are served, they are each distinct beings with their own personal likes and dislikes, distinct sacred rhythms, dances, ritual symbols, special modes of service. Contrary to popular belief, the loa are not deities of themselves; the word loa comes from the French les lois. The enslaved Fon and Ewe in Haiti and Louisiana syncretized the loa with the Catholic saints—vodoun altars will display images of Catholic saints. For example, Papa Legba is syncretized with Saint Lazarus of Bethany. Syncretism works the other way in Haitian Vodou and many Catholic saints have become loa in their own right, most notably Philomena, the archangel Michael, Jude the Apostle, John the Baptist. In a ritual the loa are called down by the houngan, mambo, or the bokor and the caplata to take part in the service, receive offerings, grant requests.
The loa arrive in the peristyle by mounting a horse in Creole referred as "Chwal"—who is said to be "ridden". This can be quite a violent occurrence as the participant can flail about or convulse before falling to the ground, but some loa, such as Ayizan, will mount their "horses" quietly. Certain loa display distinctive behavior by which they can be recognized, specific phrases, specific actions; as soon as a loa is recognized, the symbols appropriate to them will be given to them. For example, Erzulie Freda will be given a glass of pink champagne, she is sprinkled with her perfumes, fine gifts of food will be presented to her or she puts on her jewelry. Once the loa have arrived, been served, given help or advice, they leave the peristyle. Certain loa can become obstinate, for example the Guédé are notorious for wanting just one more smoke, or one more drink, but it is the job of the houngan or mambo to keep the spirits in line while ensuring they are adequately provided for. There are many families or "nanchons" of loa: Rada, Nago and Ghede, among others.
The Rada loa are older, as many of these spirits come from Africa and the kingdom of Dahomey. The Rada Loa are water spirits and many of the Rada loa are served with a water; the Rada are "Cool" in the sense. They include Legba, Ayizan, Damballa Wedo and Ayida-Weddo, Maîtresse Mambo Erzulie Fréda Dahomey, La Sirène, Agwé. Many of these spirits are served with white; the Petro loa are the more fiery aggressive and warlike loa, are associated with Haiti and the New World. They include Ezili Dantor and Met Kalfu, their traditional colour is red. Originating from the Congo region, these loa include the many Simbi loa, it includes Marinette, a fierce and much feared female loa. Originating from Yorubaland, this nation includes many of the Ogoun loa; the Guédé are the spirits of the dead. They are traditionally led by the Barons, Maman Brigitte; the Ghede as a family are loud, sexual, a lot of fun. As those who have lived they have nothing to fear, will display how far past consequence and feeling they are when they come through in a service—eating glass, raw chillis, anointing their sensitive areas with chilli rum, for example.
Their traditional colours are purple. Alusi Dahomean religion Haitian mythology Nkisi Orisha Paquet congo Winti Webster list of loa
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
Afro-American religion are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas in various nations of Latin America, the Caribbean, the southern United States. They derive from traditional African religions with some influence from other religious traditions, notably Christianity. Afro-American religions involve veneration of the dead, include a creator deity along with a pantheon of divine spirits such as the Orisha, Loa and Alusi, among others. In addition to the religious syncretism of these various African traditions, many incorporate elements of Folk Catholicism, Native American religion, Spiritism and European folklore. Espiritismo Hoodoo Kélé Puerto Rican Vudú or Sanse Rastafarianism, Jamaica Santo Daime Tambor de Mina Quimbois. Xangô de Recife Xangô do Nordeste Black theology Roots and Rooted