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Occultism in Africa - Research Paper Example

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Running head: OCCULTISM IN AFRICA Occultism in Africa (name) (school) (date) Occultism in Africa Introduction Occultism easily evokes images and ideas of the mystical, the magical, and the strange. Its exact conceptualization encompasses a wide range of strange and often unexplainable practices and beliefs which border on spiritual as well as religious applications…
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Occultism in Africa
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Download file to see previous pages Initially, a general background of occultism shall be presented, followed by a brief discussion on the entry of occultism in Africa. The manifestation of occultism shall also be discussed, most especially on its various applications to general society Africa. Possible explanations on the practice of the occult in Africa shall also be explored. This essay shall end with concluding remarks and a summary of its significant points. This paper is being undertaken in order to carry out a specific assessment of how occultism manifests in Africa and whether or not it impacts on their society. Occultism, overview Occultism generally refers to the study of the occult and its related practices which may include magic, spiritualism, witchcraft, astrology, alchemy, and divination. Its interpretations are often apparent in various institutionalized religions including Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Satanism, and Wicca (Walker, 1980). Despite its seemingly negative and sinister reputation, occultism is rooted in religious ways of thinking and these roots date far back in history (Goodrick-Clark, 1985, p. 17). Occultism has also been considered in the light of Western esotericism with the renewed interest in the mysterious and the strange. For a while, alchemy was one of its applications which gained notoriety even with scientist Isaac Newton who was accused of applying occult ideas into science (Walker, 1980). These ideas were preserved by mystics and other unorthodox religions. It was said to be revived during the Nazi regime with the alleged observers wanting to understand and reconcile modern science and religion (Goodrick-Clarke, 1985). Its current applications have not gained widespread following and acceptance because its applications have not been fully explained by science. Occult in Africa Occultism in Africa is mostly of magic, mostly of the lower cult or known to be sympathetic; however the spiritual influence is seen in fetishism or what is known as the cult of the dead, juju or witchcraft, as well as the cult of the witch doctor (Spence, 2003, p. 6). Among the Bantu and the Zulu tribes, witchcraft was often practiced, but was kept secret because the results of the practice were often unfavorable or terrible. In order to track witches, a caste of witch-finders was established and their task was to seek out the witches which were mostly women (Spence, 2003). These women were known to be slightly hysterical and more intense than their other ‘normal’ female counterparts. More often than not, when any wrongdoing was discovered, these witches were rounded up and through some rituals were able to identify who the perpetrators were (Spence, 2003). In Central Africa, the occult was seen mostly through the cult of the dead and through fetishism (Spence, 2003). The cult of the dead includes practices and rituals which are practiced before and soon after a person’s death. This ritual is meant to ease the person’s passage into the afterlife, to arm him with the tools to make a successful passage into ‘other side.’ In instances of what they would consider demonic possession, a medicine man or fetish would be called in to perform rituals and administer medicinal herbs (Spence, 2003). These medicine men are actually aware, to some extent, that the person’s condition is not actually possession, but may be attributed to a disease, hence, they often use medicinal herbs ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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