Natural Forces in Africa and their importance.
Throughout Afrika spirituality you will find the constant use of Natural elements in Nature. Nature is defined as in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. “Nature” can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. So by this definition everything we can see is nature. Afrikans have been observing nature since we first evolved into Homo sapiens sapiens. Through mythos and stories we have explained these scientific occurrences and named them in our indigenous tongues. The continent of Afrika has over 2,000 languages and a vast majority of people. The diversity of these people also comes with the diversity in spiritual systems. Examining these spiritual systems can prove troublesome if one does not erase all he has been taught from a unafrikan viewpoint. None of the monotheistic religions or other cultural practices seems to fit Afrikan culture. From my analysis of many spiritual systems in the Afrikan world I have found these important constants. The worship of the sun, other natural elements, and animals. Now by my earlier definition all of this can be classified as nature but lets give these three occurrences of life a more meticulous look.
The sun worship puts most people in the mines of ancient KMT. Few know that the west Afrikan practice of Vodun or Voodoo where solar worshippers as well. The Vodoo rites are derived from supernatural forces that proceed from the influence of the sun in the atmosphere. Symbolism of the sun in throughout the Vodun spiritual system. The Rada Ritual derives from the solar tradition that is found in west Afrika and KMT. During the Rada Ritual drums are presented to the sun before being played upon. The Ritual of Rada is translated to royal rite of the sun. The roof of the Voodun temple has a wooden centerpiece called the poteaumitan, which means solar support to all initiates. Even personifications of natural forces falsely called Gods like Legba and Mawu Lisa are associated with the sun.
The sun is frequently linked to supreme force or creator in Afrikan culture and many tribes see the sun as a manifestation of the divine because of its endless benevolence of these life-giving attributes. Other attributes of the sun that are associated with the supreme force are the omnipresence of the sun’s rays, its endurance, and its eternal nature. This close association between the supreme creator and the sun appears in several cultures throughout the Afirkan continent. Some examples are Where the name of the supreme force and the sun are the same: Ruwa among the Chagga of Tanzania, among the Ashanti, Kazooba and countless others. So we can see that solar worship is not exclusive to KMT but it is a constant staple in the practice of Afrikan spirituality.
Animals in Afrikan culture are looked at differently than in monotheistic religions. Afrikan people see animals as their brothers and sisters. Afrikans frequently associate their natural divine forces with animals. Whether it was Heru and the Hawk, Oludamare and the snake, Obatala and the elephant, or the Fish with Nomo. Afrikans not only understood the need for animals in the ecosystem but studied their attributes as they knew they were a part of nature and nature is existence it self. Through animals we learned more about ourselves and as we imitated these majestic creatures we realized our connection to them.
It is said in Yoruba traditions that every animal has Ase; Ase is like the spirit in this case. Humans also are credited with having Ase, so there is a connection between what we call humans and animals. Afrikan culture is riddled in symbolism and the animals were used as symbols to tell mythological stories. These stories were the cultures way of documenting truth events. Huge totems were built to honor the animal spirits and even names were associated with certain animal spirits in the Gambia. We thanked the animal for its spirit and wished its spirit to return to this plain in ceremonial fashion.
Natural forces are apart of the Afrikans spiritual identity. The term God is not Afrikan. We named none of our deities God. It is simply not in our language and as I have been told by a few priest of Afrikan systems “We don’t believe in no man in the sky”. From KMT to Nigeria all of the so-called Gods of the Afrikan pantheons are really just natural forces in nature with names. Example Set is the warrior energy that we no times need to fight, Ogun is the spirit of truth, war and technology, Tapu-Winti is the natural force of the universe, cosmos and air. Are these not real things that exist in nature? Is there really anything spooky about Afikan so called deities? In my scholarly opinion I would say no. Afrikan people observed the natural world and respected it enough to name the divine forces in nature so they could teach future generations and make a tradition of honoring those natural forces.
In conclusion, the worship of the Sun, Animals and Nature is an Afrikan tradition so learn to appreciate the natural forces around you. Watch nature and how beautifully it moves and adjust. Become immersed in Afrikan culture.
Secretes of Voodoo by Milo Rgaud
Encyclopedia of African Religion by Molefi Kete Asante
Empirical Research was used in the writing of this Article
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