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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: africa



The second-largest continent, Africa has a wide variety of lands, flora and fauna, and people. The population lives in everything from vast, modern cities to very primitive conditions. Composed of 53 independent countries, many scientists believe the human race began here.

At its northeastern point is Egypt. Its capitol, Cairo, is the content’s most populous city with a population of over 9.2 million. Egyptian culture goes back thousands of years and heavily influenced Judaism (founded circa 2000 BCE) and, to a lesser extent, Christianity. Its amazing, advanced civilization so long ago fascinated occultists, especially those of the late 19th century such as members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, AMORC, and Aleister Crowley, and they adopted what they believed were Egyptian concepts and rituals.

Africans came to the American colonies, probably as indentured servants (agreeing to work for a certain period in exchange for passage, room, and board), but by the early 18th century, this evolved into true slavery and existed until the end of the American Civil War in 1865. During this period, millions were transported by force from West Africa. Initially, they were forbidden religion, but they secretly kept their own religions that were marked by a Supreme Being and creator, lesser spiritual entities, and the ability to appeal to them for help. Later, they were indoctrinated into Christianity, but many blended their own faiths with the Christian, equating spiritual powers with Christian saints.

This blended system is the source of such faiths as Voudou (spelled in a variety of ways), Santeria, Hoodoo, Palo Mayombe, Umbanda, Candomble, and others. Because the slaves often stopped off or ended in Haiti, Cuba, etc., these magic-religious faiths are also known as Afro-Caribbean religions.

Donald Michael Kraig

Also See: African


African American Tarot Review
Summary: Although actually more focused on African myth and lore rather than African American contributions to civilization, this deck is a wonderful introduction to both explorations as well as being close enough to the RWS tradition as to be ...
Relevance:  100 % 100%

The traditional folk magic of African-American culture, also known as conjure magic and rootwork. (The origin of the word "hoodoo" itself is uncertain, although it may derive from a West African source.) Hoodoo is to occultism what the blues are to ...
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The Work of the Medsen Fey - the Leaf Doctors of Haiti
Loulou Prince is the medsen fey (leaf doctor/herbalist and shaman) for a Haitian community of around 1,500 people who live in the vicinity of Jacmel, a small town close to the border with the Dominican Republic. In his daily practice, he deals with ...
Relevance:  27 % 27%

Enduring Beyond Oppression - The Truth About Vodou
Vodou is a religion born in slavery, which blends together a number of traditional African beliefs with elements from other faiths, notably Catholicism, the religion of the slave-owners, with which it has always been an uncomfortable bed-fellow. It ...
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Vodou - An African Shamanic Tradition
At first sight, shamanism and Vodou - what Hollywood has introduced into the popular imagination as "voodoo" - seem to have little in common. The former seems based on peaceful co-existence with nature and the elements, while the latter, in so far ...
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Santería is an Afro-Caribbean religion that comes to us from Cuba and to this day it is practiced worldwide. Its original form, called Ifa, is an ancient Yoruba religion that comes from West-Africa and is declared by UNESCO as one of the ...
Relevance:  20 % 20%

Corto Maltese Tarot Review
Summary: The famous artwork of comic book luminary Hugo Pratt provides magnificent impressionistic watercolors. As an art deck it is a wonderful collection yielding feelings of travel, adventure, and romance in distant lands a century ago. The ...
Relevance:  7 % 7%

The Message from Stone: Stone & Rock Divination
The lessons of quantum physics and its new kid on the block, holographic theory, are that all things are connected through the energy that infuses the universe and all it contains. According to scientists, 90% of the universe is unknown - meaning ...
Relevance:  3 % 3%

The Future of Druidism
As long as there are people who remember their Celtic heritage and its contributions to modern culture and civilization, and the legends, folk-tales and myths of the Celtic peoples, there will be those who dream about the ancient Celtic magic, about ...
Relevance:  3 % 3%

The Sensual Wicca TarotReview
Summary: A brilliant attempt to present the Tarot, Wicca, and the Wiccan aspects of sexuality that doesn’t quite succeed due to limitations of format and skill. Still, at times this deck soars above the limitations and is filled with brilliance and ...
Relevance:  3 % 3%

Stress and anxiety affect us on all levels. Be it the body's pounding heart, the rapid pace of breath, overwhelming feelings, racing thoughts, or a disconnection from our deeper beliefs, stress weaves its way into all levels of our experience. Yoga Therapy teaches us to understand how to address our stress on all layers of being. Ancient yogis... read this article
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