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Ifa - African Gods Speak
The Oracle of the Yoruba in Nigeria
Reihe: Ethnologie / Anthropology
Bd. 5, 1996, 280 S., 30.90 EUR, 30.90 CHF, br., ISBN 3-8258-2813-1
The texts of this book are a collection of legends, stories, incantations and prayers, secretly guarded by the oracle-priests, the babalawo. These texts are treating with wisdom all events and problems which occur in the daily life of the Yoruba. The babalawo ask the oracle for solution of problems, treatment of sickness, repairing of misfortune or advice for the future. The stories give the answer of the gods to the questioner. The babalawo uses a special system of convex and concave signs which is explained in this book to interpret the stories. The book offers more than seventy-one stories and hundred-twenty incantations which are used by the priests. The texts present a large knowledge about the mentality of the Yoruba and reflect the magnific ethical background of an old and great African religious tradition - before its partial destruction by the confrontation between the African und European civilisations.
About the author:
Dr. Christoph Staewen, born in 1926, a German medical doctor, is specialist of psychiatry, neurology and psychotherapy. In 1963 he began to study in Western Nigeria, amongst the people of Yoruba, the conditions of uprooting of these Africans caused by the increasing confrontation with the technical civilisation of the "White Man", and provoking more and more reactions of anxiety and deformations of behaviour. In Nigeria he received texts of the famous, secret Ifa-oracle. Later he worked for more than six years as all-round-doctor for Africans in Niger, Congo-Brazzaville and Tschad, where he continued his research on African psychology.