October 27, 2022

Afro-Scope—The Magazine

(Directed By Harry Agina)



This is Afro-Scope, the telescope that beams on the African continent. The purpose is InterCultural Exchange between Africa and the rest of the world. We are beaming today on divination in Africa. Afro-Scope is a Magazine project, with various categories or forms of InfoTaining (informing while entertaining) presentations. They are all focused on Africa, the African Culture, the African peoples, and their diverse sub-cultures. Our categories include “AfroCultural Dramas” that inform you about African traditions. We have written narrative and audio-visual “AfroCultural Documentaries.” We also have the “AfroCultural Entertainment” category with various forms of African traditional dances and other performances. Our “AfroCultural Festivals” category title is self-explanatory.

Our “AfroCultural Titbits” with information in narrative form is the category where today’s divination presentation belongs. I am Harry Agina, the director of the magazine. I will give you two things today. One is a global overview on divinity. Then I have a video of a sample divination in one African perspective for you. This is in line with my regular commentaries on traditional religions and spirituality in Africa. But I am not the star of this show; our practicing traditionalist, Huxley Aniesona, is the star of the day. So, my commentary must wait until after the following audio-visual presentation by the young Huxley. He is our diviner today, and he brings you a brief practical introduction of divination, the African way. His version is from the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. Without further ado, here is Huxley Aniesona:

You know, of course, that Huxley is not in his appropriate spiritual divination mood in that video. He has only walked us through the basic process, without all the preambles and rituals that go with a full session in a practicing situation. When you catch Huxley in the right spiritual mood, it is not as simple as he has demonstrated.

I must apologize for the amateur quality of the presentation, which was done with a telephone camera, obviously. I am Harry Agina, and I thank you for visiting Afro-Scope.

Now, I will briefly give you an overview of the spiritual concept called divinity, and divination. I will start by stating the known, which is the fact that divination is not peculiar to Africa or the Africans. If it was an African thing, it probably won’t even have an English name in the first place. It does exist in some stories in the Christian bible. It is the practice of determining the hidden significance or cause of some events or phenomena. Sometimes, foretelling the future is part of it, through various natural and psychological means, and other techniques.

Essentially, divinity is akin to séance in basic ways, particularly in the sense that they are both about communicating with the spirit world. Marked differences between them are in the process or method of the spiritual communication, the purpose, and the achievements of the communication. A séance is a meeting during which people attempt to make contact and conversate with the dead through a human medium. The medium has the spiritual capacity to summon the spirits of dead persons for the conversation. The purpose is mostly to reveal knowledge or information from the dead persons. For instance, the spirit of the dead may reveal that he/she was murdered, and by who.

On the other hand, divination is the art or practice that seeks to foretell future events, in addition to discovering past hidden knowledge. This is done by the interpretation of omens, or/and by the aid of supernatural powers. A diviner tries to determine the hidden significances or causes of events. Unlike séance, however, divinity is not just about communicating with the spirits of just any dead persons. It is about communicating with the smaller gods of Africa. They are the spirits of African ancestors who are revered for their righteousness, and their powers to intercede to the Almighty God on behalf of the people. Furthermore, a diviner is a form of healer because he or she seeks the powers of the gods to remedy afflictions.

So, yes, both divination and séance use mediums. These are persons who have the spiritual capacity to connect the living with the spirit world. In a séance, the medium simply brokers a meeting and conversation with the spirits. And in divination, the medium goes further to seek the spirits to intervene on behalf of humans, to mitigate or correct a given anomaly or affliction. I underline the word ‘intervene’ to underscore my consistent point about the good African traditional religions. The point is the fact that good African diviners do not claim that the “spirits of our forefathers” who they call upon have the ultimate powers. No sir, no ma’am! They recognize that the powers ultimately come from the Almighty God, and they always declare so. They only request the smaller gods to intervene on behalf of humanity, to the Almighty God. I have addressed this in various ways in my past treatises on the general religion subject. My most recent is my series that is titled, “On The Legitimacy of The African Traditional Religions.” If you missed the 5-part series, the link is at the end of this for you.

If I said it once, I said it a gazillion times that I recognize the fact that bad smaller gods do exist, too, in Africa and everywhere else in the world. All or most Christians believe that the Almighty God does allow Satan to possess some powers. And Satan has his legion of bad witches and wizards who do evil. What I advocate against is the claim, especially by Christians, that all smaller gods of Africa are evil. This is my cue to bring in the ignorant position of some Christians against divination in Africa, and in other cultures of the world for that matter. One of the reference points of Christians is Leviticus chapter 19, verse 26. It says, ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.

But, you see, too many Christians tend, too much, to think simplistically like zombies on whatever they read in the bible, and whatever their pastors say. They are boxed into that mindset by being overly hung on interpretations of the scripture as presented by few individuals in the distant past. Those interpretations were passed down from generation to generation in the Christian world. Sadly, they were made to be sacrosanct, and Christians are not even supposed to discuss the possibility that they are not perfect. Questioning them is said to be blasphemous. One of my regular references on this topic is the historical fact that, until just few centuries ago, Christians were not even allowed to touch the bible. If you were caught with one, you were dead—murdered by the order of the pope! They didn’t want anyone but select top members of the clergy to read the bible. They didn’t want open-minded progressive intellectuals to interpret the bible differently from what the authority wanted the masses to believe. This is a historical fact!

Anyway, so, yes, Leviticus 19:26 does forbid divination. But there are many other “Do not do…” commands to Moses for the children of Israel in the Book of Leviticus, from verse 27 to verse 37. Indeed, before verse 26, the verses that catch my attention for my purpose here are 23 to 25, thus: 23“When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden. It must not be eaten. 24In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.”

It’s time for me, as usual, to go on my little philosophical tangent, to establish my interest in verses 23 to 25. My argument is based on a few issues. One of them is that we must consider the word change’ in our dynamic world! Change is the only constant in our evolving world. Differences in time or period, and the circumstances of the different times, must be considered in arguments. What happened long before the birth of Christ does not have to remain the same today, thousands of years later! And, to crown my argument, I also have my relevant academic position about the Holy Bible, thus: All the contents of the Christian Holy Bible are not necessarily correct statements or the will of God and Christ.

I have pursued this argument in various ways in the past. It is based on known human errors and mischief in the compilation of the Books of the bible. My commentary on this is also in the series that I have referenced above, with the link below. I do have a historical proof, featuring the transcribers of the original codices of the “Fifty Books of Constantine.” Constantine’s transcribers did confess that the translation from the original Greek codices to other languages could not possibly be perfect. Th reason is crosslinguistic ambiguities and errors. Pope Francis recently agreed with me on this matter of errors in the bible, through some comments. This has come several years after I established my position. For instance, the pope disagrees with a line in “Our Lord’s Prayer,” which says, “Do not lead us into temptation.” Neither the pope, nor I claim that God’s words are not true; that would be blasphemy indeed! What we say is that human errors and mischief happened in the process of transcribing Gods words from the original codices.

But let’s even assume that the purported command of God to Moses to avoid divination is correct as I pursue my argument differently. Changes must continue to happen in our evolving world. I have quoted verses 23 to 25 of Leviticus above for this reason. I put it to you that the same Christians who argue against divination based on Leviticus are selective in what contents of the bible to obey. Umm huh, they do! Otherwise, show me a contemporary Christian who has ever obeyed Leviticus chapter 19, verse 23! How many of us acquire a piece of land today and allow the edible fruits in the trees thereon to go to waste for four years before consuming them. We don’t ever remember Leviticus 19:23 when we eat our fruits on our new land. This is just one example of convenient selective application of the contents of the bible by Christians. We conveniently justify or overlook the contents that suit us, and we condemn others in our holier-than-thou mode.

My point is that we no longer follow verse 23 of Leviticus because the time and the circumstances for the command have changed. This does not in any way suggest that I am challenging the commands of God. I am only being philosophical enough to say that He gave the commands according to the circumstances of the given time. Addressing the various circumstances is a matter for another discourse. Meanwhile, I maintain that Christians should unshackle their minds from the mentality of sacrosanct doctrines and beliefs. Some of the tenets that were passed down to us from thousands of years ago may not be correct. Furthermore, some that were correct those thousands of years ago may no longer be correct today. Changes in circumstances and changes in time and culture often demand changes in belief system!

Besides, Christians do believe in God and Christ, and we also admit that smaller gods exist in the forms of angels and saints who do good. So, I always ask; what is so difficult to accept that there are angels and saints who are African? Why can’t we accept that they cater for the Africans as intercessors, just as Mary intercedes for the Catholics, huh, huh, huh???


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