Main CategoriesWestern Mysticism and PhilosophySyncretism and the Perennial Philosophy HarperCollins Concise Guide to World Religions, The

HarperCollins Concise Guide to World Religions, The

Product no.: 0-06-062151-6
This highly accessible resource distills Mircea Eliade's lifework of detailing and comparing humanity's entire religious heritage.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Including Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Judaism, Islam, Shinto, Shamanism, Taoism, South American religions, Baltic and Slavic religions, Confucianism, and the religions of Africa and Oceania, The HarperCollins Concise Guide to World Religions covers all kinds of religious figures, histories, sacred texts, mythologies and mystical techniques.

"At once a reference work to be returned to repeatedly and a book that can be read from cover to cover."       ~Huston Smith, The World's Religions


1.2.1 The religion of the Yoruba, practiced by over fifteen million people in Nigeria and the surrounding countries such as Bonin, is probably the largest African religion. Its inexhaustible subtleties have recently been explored by a relatively fair number of scholars.

At the beginning of the century the Yoruba community was still dominated by a secret brotherhood that nominated the highest representative of public power: the king. Before his nomination, the king was not aware of the proceedings, for he was not a member of the Ogboni brotherhood.

Being a member of this exclusive club means talking a secret language not understood by the uninitiated and practicing forms of hieratic and monumental art that have little in common with exoteric Yoruba art. Cloaked by the secret of initiation, the internal Ogboni cult remains mysterious. It is centered around Onile, the Great Mother Goddess of ile, that is, the elemental world in its chaotic state, before having been organized. The ile is opposed on the one hand to orun, heaven as an organizational principle, and on the other to aiye, the inhabited world, which stems from the intervention of orun in ile. Whereas everyone knows what the inhabitants of the orun look like, as well as the orisa, who are the object of exoteric cults, and likewise the deus otiosus Olorun, who has no cult, the presence of ile in Yoruba life is mysterious, troubling, and ambivalent.

The goddess Yemoja was fecundated by her own son Orungan, and the products of the incest were numerous gods and spirits. Yemoja was the mistress of the Yoruba witches, who took her as a role model because of her extraordinary, tortuous life story. Infertility, represented by the goddess Olokun, wife of Odudua, is likewise associated with witchcraft.

Author Eliade, Mircea
Coauthor Couliano, Ioan
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 301 pp.
Publisher HarperCollins 2000
Browse these categories as well: Syncretism and the Perennial Philosophy, Gods, Goddesses and Archetypes, Primitive and Derivative Religions, Indigenous Shamanism and Anthropology, Noteworthy Releases 2000

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