African Religions and Philosophy Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

African Religions and Philosophy Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Coming of age rituals

African tribal people go through a series of rituals that demonstrate symbolically their transfer from childhood to adulthood, including symbolic representations of each person accepting an individual fate. For men this is especially true, since women have a natural sign of maturity in their first menstruation.

Marriage rituals

Marriage is a world-wide phenomenon it seems. In Africa, marriage is one of the most important religious moments in life, and they treat it that way with their rituals. The marriage represents the possibility of new life and the participation in tribal life. To refuse marriage is not usually an option for African people, and neither is divorce.

The involvement of spiritual forces

Another frequent symbolic religious practice is the involvement of spiritual forces through prayer and witchcraft. This is done as a symbolic representation that the tribe depends on the kindness of God to provide rain or not, to heal wounds and illnesses, and to cast away negative energy and invite in positive energy through kind, loving spirits.

Symbols of the occult

Each culture has symbolic objects that represent concepts of the occult. Obviously witchcraft would qualify, but also rain-dancing, omens, superstitions—all signified somehow in real objects, like ritual attire and symbolic tools for rituals.

The motif of remembrance and honor

African communities remember their dead for up to five generations, or at least until no one remains living who knew the person. This attempt to honor the dead is an honor system, and it means that people have legacies, even without written histories.

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