Baluba mythology

The Baluba are one of the Bantu peoples of Central Africa. Their creation deity's name is Kabezya-Mpungu.

Creation myth of Kabezya-Mpungu

The Baluba creation story makes a connection between God's invisibility or unavailability, and the endowment of humans with a soul or divine component longing for God.

In the creation story, Kabezya-Mpungu decides to become invisible after creating the world and the first humans who did not yet have a heart. After balancing the rain, sun, moon, and darkness, he leaves. To replace the visible god, he sends the people Mutshima ("heart"), the life-giving or divine part of humans.

..I don't want that humans will see me any more. I return into myself and send Mutshima...Then Kabeza-Mpungu disappeared. Thereafter, the heart appeared, in a small, hand-sized vessel. The heart cried and turned towards Sun, Moon, Darkness and Rain: "Kabezya-Mpungu, our father, where is he!" "Father is gone, we don't know the way he went". "Oh how much I am longing to see him" the heart replied, "to talk to him. Since I cannot find him, I will enter into this man. So I will wander from generation to generation".[1]

Since then all humans have been endowed with Mutshima, the heart.

Notes

  1. ^ Cited according to the German version of the text from Carl Einstein's book. The German text reads: Ich will nicht, daß Menschen mich länger sehen. Ich kehre in mich zurück und sende Mutima...Darauf verschwand Kabezya-Mpungu. Es erschien darauf das Herz, in einem kleinen, handgroßen Gefäß. Das Herz schrie und wandte sich gen Sonne, Mond, Finsternis und Regen: "Kabezay-Mpungu, unser Vater, wo ist er!" "Vater ist fort, und wir kennen nicht den Weg, den er ging." "Gewaltig sehnte ich mich" erwiederte das Herz, "mit ihm zu sprechen. Da ich ihn nicht finden kann, trete ich in diesen Mann. So wandere ich von Geschlecht zu Geschlecht. For the English version of Charlotte and Wolf Leslau see external links.

References

  • Carl Einstein (Ed.) 1925: Afrikanische Märchen und Legenden; Rowohlt, 1925. Neuausgabe (1980) MEDUSA Verlag Wölk + Schmid, Berlin. (in German)
  • Charlotte Leslau, Wolf Leslau (Ed.): African Folk Tales; Mount Vernon, 1963, N.Y. : Peter Pauper Press

External links

Comparative mythology

Comparative mythology is the comparison of myths from different cultures in an attempt to identify shared themes and characteristics. Comparative mythology has served a variety of academic purposes. For example, scholars have used the relationships between different myths to trace the development of religions and cultures, to propose common origins for myths from different cultures, and to support various psychological theories.

Ilunga Mbili

Ilunga Mbili was a soldier and cultural hero of the Luba and Lunda people.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Traditional African religions

The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonising nature with the supernatural. According to Lugira, "it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. Other religions found in Africa have their origins in other parts of the world."

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