Summary: This book answers the innate human desire to know about the mysteries of existence and quest for spirituality through a careful, insightful, thought-provoking, and exciting examination of ritual processes by an Akan traditional ruler and scholar. The study focuses on the Akan in Ghana and uses them as a resource for examining the overall Akan conception of a holistic personality and spiritual development. Thus it is the first study of its kind to concentrate on speci ...show morefic developmental and religion-spiritual processes of an African people from the ancestral world to the mundane and back to the ancestral world.
From their beliefs in reincarnation, conception and birth, education, ethical existence, eldership, death and ancestorhood, to the worship of the ancestors, the Akan follow a sequence of culturally defined life stages. This paradigm is predicated on a theory of personality originating with God and the primordial Old Woman and her children, who constituted the original matrilineal community, the Ebusua.
Then, beginning with conception and parturition, paranormal capabilities of infants, and ending with the educational stage, children are ritually pronounced young adults. From simple rituals to complex tasks designed to stimulate intellectual development, children are morally and ethically equipped during the educational stage. As young adults or what the Akan call obra bo (ethical existence and generativity), they become morally and ethically responsible for their actions. The generative individual, however, is the person who leads an altruistically ethical life (obra pa), the prelude to eldership (Nana). Thus the attainment of eldership means that an adult had mastered the act of living and, upon death, becomes an ancestor, joining the eternal company of the Nananom Nsamanfo (Ancestors) and bequeathing to succeeding generations a name worthy of evocation and worship. But more than periodic utterances of ancestral names and offering of libations and prayers, ancestor worship is as theological, dogmatic, systematic, organized, and structured, with its own professional clergy as any other religion in the world. ...show less
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