Category:African and African-Diasporic Ancestral Traditions
From Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers
Africa is a very large continent comprising a variety of ethnically distinct cultures, each with its own language, customs, clothing styles, and traditional African religion, but one commonality ties many of these cultures together -- the veneration of ancestors.
African and African-American Ancestral Traditions are diverse, and include spiritual contact with the dead, the making of libations and other offerings to the dead, and, in some regions, the creation of altar goods that house physical links to the dead, including reliquary figures such as Bwete and Nkisi Ndoki statuary.
Because many African Americans were forcibly relocated to regions where they had no physical access to the graves of their own lineal ancestors, new traditions became popular among Protestant Christian hoodoo and conjure practitioners in the United States, including working with the spirits of the non-ancestral dead in graveyards, the creation of small personal home altars to family ancestors, and membership in Spiritualist churches, where the practice of spirit mediumship is institutionalized.
Ancestors and Ancestor Altars
Working with one's family ancestors is a strong and ancient part of hoodoo and conjure practice and is a form of Spirit Work, a term that covers a broad range of altar work and prayer as well as magical spell casting in which root doctors may contact or seek the aid of Spirits and Spirit Guides. (Read More ...)
The Dead and the Graveyard
The spirits of the dead, either as spirit contacts within the Spiritualist Tradition or as embodied in their graveyard dirt, can be very helpful to rootworkers both in the performance of spiritual work as well as casting spells. (Read More ...)
Among the Congo people of Central Africa and in the Palo religion of the African Diaspora, Mariwanga (also called Centella Ndoki, Mama Wanga, or Yaya Kengue) is a fiery, female mpungo who rides on the winds and owns the cemetery. (Read More ...)
In the Congo, a Nkisi Ndoki is the physical manifestation of a tutelary spirit in the form of a human or animal, which typically contains and is empowered by the ashes of an ancestor's bones. (Read More ...)
Oya (Yansa, Yansan)
Psychometry is the practice of receiving information from physical objects about the people connected to those objects, regardless of whether they are currently living or dead. Some spirit mediums utilize the psychometry of personal objects to contact the spirits of the dead who once owned or handled the objects in question. (Read More ...)
Spiritualism centers around the belief that spirits of the dead are able to communicate with the living, whether via dreams or other signs, or through the assistance of a gifted spirit medium. Thus, Spiritualism is first and foremost a belief, and then, secondarily, a form of religion. (Read More ...)
- Religious Traditions
- Magical Traditions
- Divination, Fortune Telling, and Oracles
- Hoodoo, Conjure, Witchcraft, and Rootwork
- Working with Spirits