The goal is the wellbeing of those who find

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The goal is the wellbeing of those who find themselves in the forest to not die of lightning, inorder to maintain the family and the vital force, and therefore harmony. This is a petitionand a warning for the controllers of the thunderstorm, as well as to the ancestors in positionof communicating directly with the Supreme Being. Another prayer that is recorded comesfrom the Meru in Kenya and illuminates life in a prayer for the wellbeing of the homestead,the community, and beyond:‘Kirinyaga…, owner of all things, I pray to Thee, give me what I need, because I am suffering, andalso my children, and all the things that are in this country of mine. I beg Thee, the good one, forlife, healthy people with no disease. May they bear healthy children. And also to women whosuffer because they are barren, open the way by which they may see children. Give goats, cattle,food, honey. And also the trouble of the other land that I do not know, remove.’170The focus of this prayer is what is needed for the recovering of harmony in the community.The Meru are petitioning for health and food, which is needed for a successful transmittanceof the vital force. The focus of the one uttering the prayer is the children, born and not yetborn. Even when there is clear distress, the one praying is asking that barren women shouldbe able to bear children. This in itself shows the importance of what will occupy the nextpart of this chapter; the vital force. The main goal is to make the situation healthy in orderfor the vital force to be preserved. Most common starting points for prayers are petitioning,thanksgiving and memorialising, which are all important in order to not only upholdharmony in the community of the living, but also to uphold harmony in the community thatinvolves the ancestors and spirits. Recognising the efforts and work of the ancestors andspirits further include these beings into the community, and they will in turn assist inaffirming life and harmony. However, when one is asking something of the ancestors orspirits it is usually linked to protection from evil in whatever form, and the flourishing oflife. If these prayers are heard, thanksgiving is in order.171168Magesa 1997: 196‐198.169Ekeke 2011: 10‐11.170Magesa 1997: 197‐198.171Ibid: 199.
474.1.3 SPECIALISTSThe medicine‐doctor represents a position in the community whose sole purpose is toprotect or restore the vital force. As underlined by Magesa, the workings of the medicine‐doctor show the ‘…interconnectedness of, and interdependence between, humanity and therest of creation.’172The medicine‐doctor symbolises the ‘…hopes of society: hopes of goodhealth, protection and security from evil forces, prosperity and good fortune, and ritualcleansing when harm or impurities have been contracted.’173They make use of the whole ofnature in their work to protect, restore or prevent. Harmony in the community is notrestricted to harmony among persons but it also includes nature. All that surrounds thecommunity is relevant and important, and a balanced relationship with nature will also help

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Term
Spring
Professor
OKOTH GIFT
Tags
African traditional religion, African Traditional Religion

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