Central in Kumina's religious beliefs and practices is the possession by and communication with the "spirits". The rituals (Kumina plays) are used to connect the spirit and corporal worlds, with music (drumming and singing), language, dance, and ritual paraphernalia providing the tools for opening the channels of communication. One such channel is "spirit possession"; a term describing the temporary inhabiting of the living by a spirit, for the purpose of providing ancestral assistance and advice to solve everyday problems. Kumina practitioners share the Christian belief in one supreme, all-powerful God. They believe that all power given to the ancestors and later revealed to the living through possession, is done with the sanction and approval of "King Zaambi" or "Nzaambi Mpungu" - God Almighty.
Along with this belief in an all-powerful God is the juxtaposition of good and evil. In Kumina "Myal" (the good) and "Obeah" (the bad) are part of the spirits belief system. Both provide the living with solutions - advice, healing and protection. However, Myal is given greater stress because of its association with intervention and guidance/healing provided during possession by "Nkuyu" (ancestral spirits whose powers are "God" derived). Obeah on the other hand, is associated with the power derived from the manipulation of the "shadows" (the evil aspects of earthbound spirits) and objects empowered by them. Obeah is primarily called upon in situations of injury that are either man or spirit based. Hence Kumina practitioners will speak of 'catching Myal' (become possessed) and "using Obeah" (manipulation of the shadows).
For more information on Kongo Spirituality and its retention in the America's visit InquiceWeb .
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