Are found to abound through several major branches of African Spirituality. Within the last 100 years in Africa, indigenous religion has declined under the influence of colonialism, due to western culture and proselytizing by Islam and Christianity. In the African Diaspora, mainly in America, African derived belief systems are in a state of impressive growth. For the most part African spiritual traditions in the Americas derived from two or three major cultures in ancestral Africa,
Included are the Egyptian culture although relatively no African based religions today consider themselves derivative of the religion of Ancient Egypt. There are still those in the pagan community who follow traditions traceable back to the God and Mysteries of Ancient Egypt. These include: Thelema, Golden Dawn, many other Pagan Traditions. Egyptian Hieroglyphs have been used as in divination since ancient times. Both to stand for a Birth sign, Egyptian Calendar Zodiac, and as symbols for divination and interpretation like those of the Tarot.
Religions of Kongo, Xango, Shango, farther south in Africa in the Congo, Zaire and Angola, the Bantu and other cultures supply the background for another strand of spirituality known in the New World mainly Brazil and Cuba as Xango (Shango), Quimbanda, Kongo, Palo Monte, Palo Mayombe, Umbanda and many other names. There are similarities and differences between the Kongo and Yoruba faith systems and, to some extent, each has influenced the other.
The religion of Santeria, Lukumi, Macumba evolved mainly in Cuba, where attempts at suppression have failed. It is now found throughout the Americas, especially in large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York City. Except, perhaps, for the ritual sacrifice of animals, Santeria probably differs little from other Ifa and Kongo derived traditions; except that , like Voudon, it has been greatly influenced by Roman Catholic traditions.
Voudun was actively suppressed during colonial times. "Many priests were either killed or imprisoned", which forced some of the Dahomeans to form Vodou Orders and to create underground societies, to continue the veneration of their ancestors, and the worship of their powerful gods and ancestral spirits.
Voudun has been freely practiced in Benin since a democratic government was installed in 1989. Vodun was formally recognized as Benin's official religion in February 1996. It is also followed by most of the adults in Haiti. It can be found in many of the large cities in North America, particularly in the American South. Other religions: Macumba, Candomble, Umbanda and Santeria, bear many similarities to Vodun.
Following Yoruba traditional belief includes a the God Olorun, who is remote and unknowable. He authorized a lesser God Obatala to create the earth and all life forms. A battle between the two Gods led to Obatala's temporary banishment.
Vodun, is a religion based on spiritualism. But; like Christianity, has many traditions. Each group follows a different spiritual path and worships a slightly different pantheon of spirits, called Loa; which word means "mystery" in the Yoruba language.
There are hundreds of minor spirits. Those which originated from Dahomey are called Rada; those who were added later are often sorcerers or deceased leaders in the new world; and are called Petro. These spirits are seen as both harmful and helpful. But are controlled by magic and sorcery. The spirits also guide many types of divination found in Vodun. Animal sacrifice is a method of consecrating food for consumption by followers of Vodun, their gods and ancestors.
Orisa Worship: Ifa Religion, are the terms most common to all the religious and ritual traditions based on the religion of the Yoruba culture of Nigeria, Benin and neighboring areas. These religions are known in the new world under a lot of different names Yoruba faith, Orisha worship, Ifa religion. They are different religions. The major faith found among the Yoruba people is called Ifa. It is also a name for God, known also as Olorun or Olodumare.
The Yorùbá religion is monotheistic. Òrìsà is the Yorùbá name given to the forces of nature. These forces are not "gods" as such, but are Orishas "emissaries of Olorun" in Ifa. They are sometimes incorrectly referred to as deities. They serve much the same function as the Saints in Catholic worship.
The IFA Religions have extensive forms and patterns they use for Divination. Both to achieve spiritual enlightenment and to conduct their Daily lives.
Ashanti, Adrinka is a typical tribal belief and ritual preserved and passed on to enrich modern life. Although there are many such traditions, the Ashanti is a significant example of traditional African Tribal Culture and beliefs that are still retained after merging with western religion.
The Ashanti culture on the Ivory Coast of Africa has used a richly evocative set of symbols to display history, for divining, and as a part of their art and culture. The symbols were used on adornments and in ancient times, woven into cloths for the preparation of funereal and celebration garments.
Many of these Symbols: called Adrinka, are used today in African fabrics for both their colour and beauty and for the luck or magic inherent the symbol itself. This is a selection of stylized images from this culture representing key ingredients of human existence, much like the Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
From hundreds of symbols from various African cultures the ones selected the most commonly used symbols that have universal recognition. This smaller selection are those specifically used as Talismans and work best for divining.
Click Nsoroma, the star symbol, to go to ADRINKA AFRICAN ROOTS!