senufo-girls-from-cote-divoire-ivory-coast-undergoing-sandongo-initiation-rituals

Senufo girls from Cote d`Ivoire (Ivory Coast) undergoing Sandongo initiation rituals.

Senufo girls from Cote d`Ivoire (Ivory Coast) undergoing Sandongo initiation rituals.




Throughout the twentieth century, sandogo associations in northern Côte d'Ivoire promoted the integrity of each matrilineage and trained some of its members in divination to encourage communication between humans and the spirit world.
SENUFO PEOPLE: WEST AFRICA`S ANCIENT ARTISTIC TRIBE WITH UNIQUE SECRET SOCIETIES FOR TRANSMISSION OF HISTORY,KNOWLEDGE AND TRADITIONS
Though divination, which is governed by the Sandogo society, is also an important part of Senufo religion, Sandogo is usually considered a women's society, men who are called to the profession and inherit through the matrilineal line are permitted to become diviners Diviners in the region continue to display wooden and brass figures during their consultations with men and women.



They also wear cast brass ornaments and prescribe them for their clients to encourage spiritual protection and healing.
Women (and rarely men) gained access to sandogo through their mother's families, the lineages the institution protects. The arts and practices of women's sandogo and its counterpart, the men's poro initiation association, underscore the importance of gender complementarity.
Divinatory spirits and sculptures created for them are often referred to as ndebele, madebele, and tugubele (sing.: ndeo, madeo, and tugu) in several Senufo dialects. People commonly link divinatory spirits with nature, namely water, trees, and uncultivated landscapes beyond town and city limits. They conceive of nature spirits as anthropomorphic beings with feet that point backwards, often invisible to the human eye.
According to these beliefs, nature spirits may assist people to maintain good health, achieve success, and develop satisfactory relationships with friends and family. Spirits can also be held accountable for people's illness or hardship, however, and are regarded with ambivalence. Hunters, farmers, and others who enter the wilderness or who otherwise come into contact with trees and natural water sources consider risks taken when they approach places where nature spirits are believed to reside. They rely on preemptive measures designed to appease spirits who may be offended when people track game, till the land, draw water, or otherwise invade spirit domains. Diviners similarly commission sculptures to appeal to capricious spirits and seek their goodwill. The diversity of divinatory arts attests to diviners' perceptions of nature spirits' unique preferences and artists' interpretations of them.

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