Series: Traditional Indigenous African Spirituality Part 4 Animism

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Continuing along with the series on Indigenous African Spirituality, we come to the ashe of the matter of spirituality. Animism. Need to catch up?

Part 1: Series: Traditional Indigenous African Spirituality Part 1

Part 2: Series: Traditional Indigenous African Spirituality Part 2

Part 3: Series: Traditional Indigenous African Spirituality Part 3

Animism is the belief that both animate and inanimate objects have a soul and a spirit. Basically it means that everything has a conscious.  Animism recognizes that the universe is alive with spirits and that humans are interrelated with them. Animism means breath, or soul. It is one of the oldest belief systems on the planet. As a belief it dates as far back as the paleolithic times. It came before any form of organized religion. Animism asserts that we are all infinitely connected to everything. All things have Spirit. The water, the trees, the frogs, the humans etc.. Man and nature are one. Animism and shamanism are closely related in that the shaman is the oracle for the animated and inanimate things of this world.. As a way to communicate with the Great Divine Spirit, shamans speak on behalf of spirits and places, or of things.

“Because of the often-malevolent nature of such spirits, as well as the various ills that can befall the individual soul or the community at large, the animist community almost always develops a system of spiritual technology—Shamanism. Shamanism refers to a range of traditional beliefs and practices that are united around a common method: the use and control of spirits. While shamanism is often seen as a healing tradition, in some societies, shamanic teachings also include the ability to inflict suffering on others. Shamans have been credited with the ability to heal illnesses, control the weather, curse enemies, divine the future, interpret dreams, and project themselves astrally (including the ability to travel to upper and lower spiritual worlds). Regardless, shamanism and animism are intimately inter-related: animism provides the religio-philosophical framework and shamanism provides the techniques and technology for controlling (or at least harnessing) these forces.”

*new world encyclopedia

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You won’t find a “holy book of animism” lol it doesn’t exist. Animism is an oral tradition which means that the beliefs and customs have been and continue to be passed on by story telling and experience rather than a written document to follow. There are no human deities to be worshiped. The soul is the main driving forces of life and health.

In Africa the animism tradition was spread tribe to tribe in this oral way. Not only from tribe to tribe, but throughout other parts of the world through merchants along trade routes through and around Africa.

Lots of West Africa is filled with traditional animists even though a large percent of the population are muslim. The number of cultures that have upheld animist beliefs is almost impossible to say, as the belief system has been held in its various iterations by innumerable cultures throughout history. While animism is present in tribal cultures of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, it is also subtly a part of the greater span of human consciousness

It is fair and quite accurate to say that animism is the bedrock of African Traditional Spirituality and Religion. Not only Africa, but the world.

I am excited to move this series along. The next couple installments will deal with Africa as a whole, and specifically with West Africa. The spiritual practices, and how certain beliefs have traveled throughout the diaspora. Be sure to check back soon.

If you have not already, this would be a great time to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on posts as they become available.

Lastly, I am excited to tell you that I have started a FB group named Triple Moon Alchemy Grimoire. It is an extension of this blog yes, but mainly about spells, incantations, and rituals. I invite you to visit and join. If you have any spells that you would like to contribute, feel free. TMA GRIMOIRE on FB

That’s it for now. Until next time. Blessed be. Ashe.

In Part 5 we will learn more about how animism influenced Africa and how religions began on the continent.

photo inset credit: creeinfo

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