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  • gabrielbaye

The Practices of the Shaman in Nigeria

Back in my younger days, I had the privilege to live in Nigeria for six months. During this time I have studied the local spiritual practices and learned a lot from it! I'd like to share some knowledge about Shamans today!

Shamans are quite popular amongst the people of Nigeria. Notable people in the country pay regular homage to them, as well as the less obvious ones. As the representative of the gods and the custodian of shrines, they play a massive role in the spiritual development and protection of the community where they reside.

Not much is known about the secret practices of the shaman, especially at the aspect of communing with the gods, contacting the oracles and making divinations, and the secret fraternities they belong to, but their rhetoric act of casting spells is widely known. Most of their activities are performed using spells and other elements such as the local black soap, herbs, and so on. Their act of appeasing the gods on behalf of the people is quite remarkable.

Kids in my Shaman's Village
Kids in my Shaman's Village

Contacting the oracle or making divinations are the ways through which the shaman knows the right step to take to achieve their desired purpose—for instance, enthroning a king in any community (village, town, or city) in Nigeria is considered to be a strict traditional affair. As such, the first step is to invite the “official” shaman of the community who will make divinations to know the steps to be taken to select the king. After that, further consultations will be made that will reveal the path which the king’s reign will take. Enthronement ceremony in itself as a show of traditional belief and shaman practice.

Furthermore, when an individual visits the shaman for a specific need, without detailing the need for the shaman, he will make consultations that will reveal the purpose which the individual seeks and what would be done to meet such demand. In this regard, the shaman has met a lot of the needs of the people who consult them.

One of the most famous sites in Nigeria for the practice of the shaman is the Osun Osogbo Sacred Groove, south-western Nigeria. This site has become widely known as people all over the world gathers once a year for the Osun Osogbo Festival (a vibrant cultural/traditional event). It was named UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

The “official” shaman, also known as the chief priest, has a lot of followers, apprentice, and practitioners who adhere to the practices of worshipping the river goddess (Yeye Osun). The chief priest and his aides often preach that water taken from the river has healing powers, and as such, there is no need for any form of medication for healing once the water is taken. Countless healing occurrences have been recorded.

Underlining the massive crowd of tourists at the festival are a lot of people who attend the festival, hoping the river goddess will meet their needs. Mostly, they return the following year to testify to the power of the goddess in meeting their needs.

There are several other shrines scattered around the country. The shamans are known to be more powerful than each other as they operate at different levels in the spiritual realm. Also, while some were birthed into the practice, some learned it as a trade.

Following the prescription of the shaman strictly is quite effective. Foreigners are getting attracted to the practice, and some chief priests (shamans) have travelled around the world practicing the art.

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