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Divination in sub-Saharan Africa

John Pemberton: Divination in sub-Saharan Africa

Fascinating reading on a range of ancient, living forms of divination – and clear insights, too, into what divination is all about. This is from the first page:

Whatever the form, all divinatory practices reveal the human quest for a larger context of meaning, a means by which to understand and respond to the many faces of suffering and uncertainty. Inherent in all these practices is the assumption—or faith—”that the world order in its totality is, could, and should be a meaningful ‘cosmos.'”

And this from the last:

Through words, gestures, sounds, and artifacts, divination rites arrest the conventional sense of time and place, providing for a moment another realm of experience, a world dense with meaning, perhaps more real than that in which one has been pursuing his or her daily life.

Remarkable how much here sounds very familiar.

2 responses to Divination in sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Louis

    Very interesting link indeed!

    Ifa is an extremely difficult form of divination that requires quite a bit of cosmological knowledge. I can see the connection.


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