Category:Working Within the African and African-Diasporic Tradition
From Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers
Africa is a vast continent and has given rise to many religious traditions, each with its own pantheon. Most of the African religions also embrace traditions of divination as well as magical traditions.
Three African pantheons well-known in the Americas are the orishas of the Yoruban religion and its diaspora, the lwa (also known as loa) of the Voodoo or Vodoun religion of the Ewe and Fon people of West Africa, and the kimpungulu (also known as mpungos) of the BaKongo or Congo people. These religions are initiatic, meaning that not all ceremonies are open to the public, although many of them are. They are also known for their continuation of indigenous African religious practices, such as contact with the dead, drumming, trance possession by spirits and deities, and animal sacrifice.
African-Diasporic religions which developed during the era of slavery in nations where Catholicism was the official religion have historically, to a greater or lesser extent, embraced an informal syncretism between the African pantheons and locally popular Catholic Church Saints and Catholic Folk Saints. Even among Americans of African diasporic descent who have converted to Protestant Christianity, the beliefs associated with African traditions of ancestor veneration exist in distinctly African-American forms.
In addition to these forms of worship, the 20th and 21st centuries have seen the rise of new African-Diasporic religions, such as Pan-Africanism and Rasta (including the Nyahbinghi Order, the Bobo Ashanti, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel), revived ancient African religions such as Kemetism and Kemetic Orthodoxy, and new syncretic African-Diasporic religions, such as Gnostic Vodoun and Kemetic Wicca -- each of which draws upon African spiritual beliefs, folk customs, and ecclesiastical traditions. Because there is a such wide variety of African, African Diasporic, and African-derived religions and magical traditions to choose among, clients to whom it is important to work with an initiated member of a specific African or African Diasporic religion should ask any practitioner or priest they approach for lineage and initiatic information, which, within these traditions, is generally freely given.
As with the modern Pagan and Neo-Pagan Tradition, some sectors of African and African Diasporic religion are emerging from or actively discarding the blurred and blended multi-cultural influences that they incorporated during centuries of Christian hegemony, while other sectors of African and African Diasporic religion willingly accept the intermixture of Christian traditions within their practices.
Hoodoo root doctors and spell casters who practice within the African and African-Diasporic Tradition may or may not be initiates or adherents to a single African-derived religion or may practice in two or more of the African religions, with or without multi-cultural influences from Christianity or other religions. Some adherents petition their own tutelary deity or spirit on behalf of all of their clients, while others work with a variety of African deities, powers, ancestors and spirits on behalf of their clients, directing their petitions and prayers to the deity or spirit who pertains most directly to the individual client's situation, condition, or needs.
Lukumi, Lucumi, Santeria, Worship of Orishas
The Orishas are the gods and goddesses the Yoruba people of West Africa, located around the modern nations of Nigeria and Benin. The word "orisha" comes from the Yoruban language meaning "selected heads". These are the selected oldest children of the creator deity Olodumare. Worship of the Orishas spread across the globe when the Yoruban people were taken from Africa as part of the slave trade. Orisha worshippers petition all of the orishas as part of their religious practice, but are usually dedicated or initiated to one specific tutelary orisha. Rootworkers who petition the Orishas on behalf of their clients typically use divine or read with either the Obi or Diloggun to determine the best rootwork for their clients. (Read More ...)
Kimpungulu are the primary deities of the African Congo religion and its diaspora]] in the Americas. The singular form of kimpungulu is mpungo or mpungu, and in the Americas, where few devotees speak proper kikongo, and plurals are usually designated by the addition of a final letter "s", a novel back-formation of the plural has been coined, so these gods and goddesses are more familiarly known as the mpungos. (Read More ...)
Voodoo, Vudu, Vodoun, Vodun
Members of the African traditional Voodoo religion of southeastern Ghana, southern and central Togo, and southern and central Benin, and their descendants in Americas recognize the existence of a benevolent but remote creator deity known as Bondye. While Bondye created all, he cannot be bothered with daily human concerns and so it is to his children that the Voodooisants turn to with their prayers and devotions. The children of Bondye are the lwa, the spirits who are responsible for different aspects of daily life. Cultivation of relationships with the lwa is established through prayer, devotion, offerings, possession, and ceremonies. (Read More ...)
The netjeru, or pantheon of Kemetic deities, are those honored in the North African religion of ancient Egypt and in 20th century forms of Kemetic Neo-Paganism, including reconstructionist and orthodox denominations. Consisting of sixty or more entities -- many of whom began as local gods -- the religion grew from being primarily animistic and nature-centered in pre-dynastic times to becoming a theocracy at the center of which stood pharaohs, or kings - rulers who embodied an earthly manifestation of divine power.(Read More ...)
Petitioning African and African-Diasporic Ancestors
Africa is a very large continent comprising a variety of cultures and religions, but one commonality ties many of these cultures together, namely the veneration of ancestors. African and African-Diasporic Ancestral Traditions are diverse, and include the creation of reliquary figures such as Bwete and Nkisi Ndoki and membership in Spiritualist churches (Read More ...)
Petitioning Catholic Church Saints
Due a history of slavery, transportation, and colonization, African Diasporic religions mare often syncretized with elements of Roman Catholicism. Within the Catholic Church, holy beings called saints may be designated as a patron or patroness of particular causes or professions, or be invoked against specific illnesses or disasters. Among syncretic nominal Catholics, some saints are associated in popular worship with the Kimpungulu of Palo, the lwa of Voodoo, and the orishas of Santeria or Lukumi. (Read More ...)
Working with Catholic Folk Saints
Folks saints are spirits who have not been canonized as saintly by the Roman Catholic Church, but whose existence, legends, and assistance are well known to spiritual workers who come from Catholic traditions. Popular Catholic folk saints include Santisima Muerte (Holy Death), Jesus Malverde, Maximon (San Simon-Judas), Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez, and the Intranquil Spirit. Some folk Catholic practitioners may also venerate and petition Deities from other religions, such as the Orishas of Santeria and Lukumi, the Kimpungulu of Palo Monte, Buddha or Kwan Yin. (Read More ...)
Membership in African and African Diasporic Religions
Some African and African Diasporic lineages hold public services in which the clergy interact both with deities and with the laity. Membership in African and African Diasporic houses of worship requires initiatic rites of passage including ceremonies and/or oath-taking in a specific creed.