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African Myths

The earth is a very important element.......

According to many African myths, the creation of heaven precedes the creation of earth and man was created before the animals. The sun and the moon are given high status, even seen as gods in some cultures and because all African societies depend on rain, it is also held in high regard.

The earth is a very important element in the many myths. It is regarded by many as a mother goddess who rules all people and gives birth to new generations of all beings. It is believed that earth conceals life, protecting it from drought and reviving it when the rains come.

All creatures are earth and none can live without her. Even the elements come from the earth, yet the earth itself is seldom worshipped. She is regarded as a powerful spirit, ruling over life and death, moving mountains, forests and all when angered. It is said that animals understand and obey the earth but that man does not.

Some African peoples believe that the spirits live in the sky and control the rain, while others believe in water spirits that control the rivers, lakes and oceans. There also exist African myths of spirits that inhabit rocks, mountains and trees, such places are considered sacred.

Sculpture of Ori Olokun, "Head" - God of spiritual intuition

It can be good or evil....

In African mythology, Jok is the concept of the divine; it can be good or evil, one or many. Unlike Europeans, who believe spiritual beings must be separated, African mythology believes Jok is the unified spirit of all supernatural beings: God and the spirits, the gods, the holy ghost and beings from the otherworld.

African Religion believes in the existence of good and evil spirits and rituals play a very important part in African culture. Bad spirits are believed to cause misfortune and illness and many societies have spiritual professionals who communicate with ancestral spirits to protect against evil. Mediums enter into trance-like states, allowing a spirit to possess their body and use them to communicate or prophesy.

African religious practitioners undergo intense training and there are different roles of spiritual professionals including priests, rainmakers and healers, also known as diviners or herbalists.

Some African Religions even distinguish more than one spiritual essence residing within a person. In Nigeria, the Yoruba people believe that a person has at least three spiritual beings. Emi (meaning "breath"), is a vital force that keeps man alive. It resides in the heart and lungs and is fed by the wind. Ojiji is a shadow that follows its owner and awaits his return in heaven when he dies. The third being is Eleda, or spirit, which must be fed by sacrifices. These spiritual beings flee the body at the time of death and all await his return in heaven.

African Myths on Destiny

The Yoruba people also believe that a man's success or failure in life depends on the choices he made in heaven before his birth. Ori is the Yoruba god in heaven who supervises people's choices. Ori means "head" or "mind".

Even the gods themselves depend on Ori to direct their personal lives. Gods and men alike consult their sacred divination palm nuts daily in order to receive direction from Ori.

Click on the links below for detailed information on these topics relating specifically to Zimbabwe..


Click on the links below for detailed information on these topics relating specifically to Africa..

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