RS101 – World Religions – Prof. Stewart
Mid-Term Study Guide
Lecture / Book
Roles of African spiritual leaders (shaman, sorcerer, priest, etc.)
Shaman/ prophets- helps people uncover their destiny.
Sorcerer- witch doctor, vodou, someone that use magic
Priest- In some societies, there are intermediaries between individuals or whole communities and specific deities.
Variously called Dibia,
, etc., the priest usually presides at the altar of a particular deity.
Yoruba creation beliefs- A long time ago, Olurun lowered a chain from the sky down to the Earth, which at that time
was all water. He sent Obatala (either his son or a lesser god) down to Earth with a chicken, some dirt and a palm
nut. Obatala used the chicken to spread dirt until there was dry land. Obatala planted the seed and started the first
kingdom, Ile-Ife. He was the kingdom's first ruler and all of Yoruba are his descendants.
oral traditions, on the other hand, tell that Odùduwà was the son of the supreme god
and was sent by him from heaven to create the earth. (Another version of this myth ascribes these episodes to
, casting Oodua, as an usurper). Descending from the heavens via a chain let down to
, Obatala brought
with him a cockerale, a pigen, and a calabash full of dirt. After throwing the soil upon the waters, he set the
cockerale and pigion on the pile of dirt who, in turn, scratched and scattered it around to create the rest of dry land
that became the Earth's surface.
Odùduwà subsequently became one of the first kings of Ife, and then sent his sons out with crowns to rule over all of
the other Yorùbá kingdoms, which is why all royal Yorùbá lineages claim direct descent from Odùduwà and refer to
the Ooni of Ife as first among equals (popularly rendered in the Latin phrase
primus inter pares
Ile Ife continues to be considered the spiritual capital of the Yoruba
Paths to liberation- In Hinduism,
(self-realization) is the key to obtaining Moksha. The Hindu is one
who practices karma and
, knowing that God is unlimited and exists in many different forms, both personal
There are believed to be four
(paths) for the attainment of Moksha. These are: working
for the Supreme (
), realizing the Supreme (
), meditating on the Supreme (
serving the Supreme in loving devotion (
). Different schools of
place varying emphasis on
one path or other, some of the most famous being the
practices developed in
. Today, the
two major schools of thought are