MSR 2010 Lecture Notes, African Religions

MSR 2010 Lecture Notes, African Religions - Magic, Science...

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Magic, Science and Religion Spring 2010 Trost, April 13 West African Religion: Ancestors and Spirit Possession I. I.M. Lewis (Major work: Ecstatic Religion: Shamanism, Possession, and Psychiatry ), A. Difference between shamanism and possession: 1. Shamanism – spirit comes to/into person who wills it, voluntary 2. Possession may or may not be willful, may be involuntary 3. Shamans are respected, highly regarded; possessed are often the downtrodden B. Possession occurs in societies where it is desirable, in ancestor-based societies C. Belief is that spirits like to dance II. West Africa religious/cultural practice A. Goes back to Songhai (or Songhay) Empire, 15 th -16 th centuries and Dahomey (now Benin), 17 th century B. Orisha (ancient ancestors) and Loa (recent ancestors) 1. Pre-colonial West Africa, Orisha are embodiments of dynamic forces of life 2. Pantheon includes: a. Oya, goddess of death and changes, radical transformation b. Olokun, ruler of mysterious depth of consciousness
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MSR 2010 Lecture Notes, African Religions - Magic, Science...

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