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African Healing


Explore the role the priests and healers play in health practices of African descendants ... Mix brain-of-tortoise with honey. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: African Healing

African Healing
  • Folk Healing

  • Review the beliefs of the fusion religions
  • Describe and discuss the core beliefs behind
    African Folk healing practices
  • Identify common rituals and healing practices of
    African American heritage
  • Explore the role the priests and healers play in
    health practices of African descendants

African Civilization Is Over 60,000 Years Old.
African Beliefs
  • All things in nature are related
  • Everything originated from the divine one
  • All creation is similar but each thing has a
    unique purpose
  • All matter was created for the define purpose
  • All persons must study them selves and find their
    divine purpose

Religious Heritage
  • Traditional (Native) African tribal beliefs
  • Animism
  • Catholicism - protestant
  • Muslim
  • Fusion Voodoo, Santeria,
  • Rastafarian (social/political)

African Native Nature Belief
  • Commonalities with other Nature systems
  • Many gods
  • Cycles of season
  • Cycles of life
  • Ancestor worship
  • Death as passage
  • Trial and error
  • Experience, history, five senses
  • Sprit world

Egyptian Nature Religion
  • Wholesome, nature bound.
  • According to the Heliopolitan tradition, the
    world began as a watery chaos called nun, from
    which the sun-god Atum emerged on a mound. By his
    own power he engendered the twin deities Shu
    (air) and Tefnut (moisture), who in turn bore Geb
    (earth) and nut (sky). Geb and nut finally
    produced Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. The
    nine gods so created formed the divine ennead
    (i.E. Company of nine) which in later texts was
    often regarded as a single divine entity.

Gods and Goddesses
  • Created to
  • Represent a quality or activity
  • Strength, Honesty, Compassion, Chastity, love
  • Protect an interest
  • City, family,
  • War, Health, Home, Weather
  • Different personalities, elements of the whole

African Tribal Gods
  • Altars and idols very important
  • Ancestors, spirits, qualities
  • Contain the message, spirit of the god
  • http//

An altar to Oxala/ObatalaThe God of creativity
and custom
In the altar, multiple white cloths communicate
Oxala's purity, honesty and peace. An immaculate
altar conveys the glory and purity of
Oxala/Obatala, god of creativity and custom.
Clean white cloths, flowers metals, and ceramic
tiles are evocations of his spotless reputation.
Before the altar is a bed in white linen where
devotees may knell and meditate before his
inspiring presence. The tin staffs (opaxoro) by
Clodomir Menezes da Silva signify the maturity
and wisdom of Oxalufan, among the eldest of
Obatala/Oxala's avatars. Source The Museum of
African Art593 Broadway, NY, NY 10012
Masks represent spirit/quality
  • Ashanti female
  • Don- Warrior
  • Mirth

Religion-beliefs, worship
  • Unified system of beliefs relative to sacred
  • There are forces more powerful than human
  • These higher powers must know and control
  • Intercession
  • Symbols establish moods and motivations for order

Magic- behavior to transform
  • The attempt to manipulate the forces of nature to
    obtain a specific result, (Whiteford and fried,
  • Effects a supernatural presser on nature to
    change the course of observed events.
  • Behavior

Magic vs. Superstition
  • Magic is based on the belief of unified
    connectedness of nature
  • Superstition is a false association with an event
  • It is found in animal models

Magic Vs. Religion
  • Magic does
  • Religion asks

Ritual Practice
  • Uses history, depends on correctness of ceremony
  • Elements
  • Symbols, colors, shapes

Magic Vs. Sorcery
  • Magic, healing, white
  • Sorcery, causing illness, black
  • Laws
  • Similarity, symbol
  • Contact, once touched always apart
  • Relics, healing blood

Egyptian Urban Religion
  • Imhotep Egyptian god of healing.
  • http//
  • Ebers papyrus 877 remedies.

African Healing Arts
  • Life's mysteries
  • Society is a part of nature
  • Society is separate from nature
  • All physical mental and spiritual phenomena are
    studied, understood and shared with the
  • The group is often necessary to healing

Illness Is the Result of a Break From God
  • Can be punishment
  • Suffering is part of life
  • Possession is evil
  • Exorcism
  • Prayer is a source of healing

African Illness
  • Both personal and impersonal
  • Evil sprit/magic
  • Nature model
  • Disharmony with nature, life
  • Disrespect to elders
  • Disrespect to spirit world, ancestors
  • Mind, body, spirit, nature imbalance
  • Must treat all for healing

Healing Practices
  • Return balance
  • Herbs, diet
  • Body work
  • Obtain results
  • Magic
  • Prayer

Healing Rituals Heal All Three Levels
  • Music, sound to awaken, get the attention of the
    spirits, drumming
  • Music to move the body

  • Prayer, chanting
  • Induce meditative state, harmonic
  • Give praise and thanks
  • Foods, herbs, potions
  • To return physical balance
  • As similar, red medicine blood treatment

A Miscellany of Healing Prescriptive's of the
Ancient Egyptians
  • Cure for diarrhea 1/8th cup figs and grapes,
    bread dough, pit corn, fresh earth, onion, and
  • Cure for indigestion crush a hog's tooth and put
    it inside of four sugar cakes. Eat for four days.
  • Cure for lesions of the skin after the scab has
    fallen off put on it scribe's excrement. Mix in
    fresh milk and apply as a poultice.

Cure for Burns
  • Create a mixture of milk of a woman who has borne
    a male child, gum, and, ram's hair. While
    administering this mixture say thy son Horus is
    burnt in the desert. Is there any water
    there?There is no water. I have water in my mouth
    and a Nile between my thighs. I have come to
    extinguish the fire.

Cure for Cataracts
  • Mix brain-of-tortoise with honey. Place on the
    eye and say there is a shouting in the southern
    sky in darkness, there is an uproar in the
    northern sky, the hall of pillars falls into the
    waters. The crew of the sun god bent their oars
    so that the heads at his side fall into the
    water, who leads hither what he finds? I lead
    forth what I find. I lead forth your heads. I
    lift up your necks. I fasten what has been cut
    from you in its place. I lead you forth to drive
    away the god of fevers and all possible deadly
    arts.Reference usedbrier, bob. Ancient
    Egyptian magic. Quill press new York, 1981.

Practitioners, Healers
  • One who removes illness
  • Spiritual, priest, priestess
  • Physical,
  • Herbalists, surgeon
  • Mid wives

Spiritual, Prayer Makers
  • Priests- trained,power in the title
  • Indirect healing of proximate cause
  • Pray for surgeons to have success in surgery
  • Shamans - born, power in the individual comes
    from god
  • Pray directly for healing
  • Act as a direct instrument of god

Voodoo Fusion Religion
  • Combined African nature, old testament theology
    and catholic theologies
  • African nature deities and ancestors represented
    by catholic saints
  • Mother nature creative force Mary mother of
  • Ritual practice, prayer, candles, smoke
  • Holy pilgrimage, possession

Vodun - Haitian
  • Ceremonies are conducted by priests (hougun) and
    priestess (mambo).
  • Songs and drumming honor the lwa.
  • Become possessed by them.
  • Communication occurs during possession.
  • Lwa, intermediaries between spirit world and
  • Represent major forces in the human world.
  • Earth,wind fire, air, water, as well as human
    values and sentiments.
  • http//

  • Rainbow and the Serpent
  • http//

Legba vever
  • Cross.
  • Crossroads, balance of haven/hell, body/soul,
    good /evil.
  • Royal serpents.
  • Dam bala and cosmic wife are creation fertility
    and flexibility of matter.