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Category:African and African-Diasporic Ancestral Traditions

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The skull of an African man
The skull of an African man

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.

In the African Diaspora of the New World, the dead are venerated in similar ways, although the African practices may be mingled with those of other cultures.

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.

A Congolese nkisi ndoki mangaaka statue representing a powerful ancestor who, as a tribal leader, can be called upon to help maintain justice in legal, court case, and property dispute issues
A Congolese nkisi ndoki mangaaka statue representing a powerful ancestor who, as a tribal leader, can be called upon to help maintain justice in legal, court case, and property dispute issues
African American ancestor altars often take the form of a wall-array of photographs; this is one of the most characteristic African Diasporic ancestral traditions in the hoodoo and conjure community
African American ancestor altars often take the form of a wall-array of photographs; this is one of the most characteristic African Diasporic ancestral traditions in the hoodoo and conjure community
This studio photograph of an African American woman was taken in Atlanta, Georgia, circa 1900; the name of this ancestress has been lost and her portrait resides in the Library of Congress; a psychometrist may be able to tell her story, and a medium may be able to contact her in spirit
This studio photograph of an African American woman was taken in Atlanta, Georgia, circa 1900; the name of this ancestress has been lost and her portrait resides in the Library of Congress; a psychometrist may be able to tell her story, and a medium may be able to contact her in spirit

Contents

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 ...)

Bwete

Among the Mahongwe people of Western and Central Africa the veneration of ancestors is called the Bwiti Cult; reliquary statues that represent Bwete are important within the religion. (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 ...)

Mariwanga

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 ...)

Mediumship

Mediumship is a form of divination or spiritual consultation in which the medium or psychic reader transmits messages from spirits, most often the spirits of the dead. (Read More ...)

Nkisi Ndoki

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)

Among the Yoruba people of West Africa and in the Lukumi and Santeria religions of the African Diaspora, Oya is the orisha who owns the cemetery. (Read More ...)

Psychometry

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

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 ...)

See Also

AIRR Readers & Rootworkers Who Perform This Work for Clients

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The Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers (AIRR) is here to help you find gifted, sincere, and honest spiritual guidance, successful counseling, and professional magical spell casting and ritual conjuration. Every independent member of AIRR has been certified for psychic ability, magical skill, and ethical reliability. Every AIRR psychic, reader, seer, diviner, scryer, root doctor, and spiritual practitioner has completed a year-long program of training in conjure, hoodoo, witchcraft, rootwork, making mojo hands, and casting powerful magick spells. All of our psychics have served the public professionally for a minimum of two years -- and in many cases, significantly longer. Certified AIRR Readers & Rootworkers who will perform this type of work to help you find love, money, protection, and luck are listed below.
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