Obeah Essay, Research Paper



Obeah is one of the more unknown and obscure African traditions of sorcery. It is

said to be traditionally started in west and north Africa by slaves. Soon moving it on to

Jamaica and Trinidad- Tobago. It is assumed that the Ashanti and the Dahomeyeans are

the carriers of the wisdom of Obeah. (Kalafou 1) Obeah or Obi is it self a word shrouded

and obscured in secrecy. The most understandable meaning of the word can be translated

into ? occult power? meaning a powerful engine used to empower spells for witchcraft as

well, as other forms for practical magic and communications with the Gods. (Shepard 1)

Shepard, Leslie. ?Different Religions of the World.? She believes that Obeah is a good

religion that can be used to help people in different ways.

The Obeah it self is best seen as a multi-different source of extreme

power. In a way the Obeah-men are the True Chaos-magicians since they can use any

system they want and fuel it with the power of Obeah, without the danger of disrespect

for the Gods.(Shepard 2)

Main Idea

Obeah, a folk religion of African origin, incorporates beliefs and practices

of all the immigrant groups. Obeah practitioners may be Afro-Guyanese or Indo-

Guyanese, and members of all the ethnic groups consult them for help with problems

concerning health, work, domestic life, and romance. Some villagers wear charms or use

other folk practices to protect themselves from harm.( Austin 1)

Austin, Cline. ?Obeah and Amerindian Practices.? Austin proves the theory of showing

people the two differences between Obeah and Amerindian practices.

Obeah is close to witchcraft as well, but it also includes many elements

you will recognize in shamanism. This is the very core of Obeah, the shamanistic

techniques that are used at initial stage of obtaining knowledge, is formally known as

Voudon. The impulse of Obeah is the witchcraft- part.(Kalafou 2)

Kalafou, Azoth. ?Obeah-Afro-Shamanistik Witchcraft.? Azoth explains Obeah the full

truth, he tells the religion as it truthfully is.


In Obeah related to Orisha-worship you can become an Obeah-man or Obi-man.

This signifies that your pathway is particularly dark and evil. Usually the Obi-men sooner

or later will move to secluded places and perform dark forms of magic, mainly connected

to the dead. The Orisha of the Obi-men are called Bones. Bones is the King of Death and

has many features in common with Ghuede of the voudon pantheon. Another deity of

great importance is Oduda, which means ?The Black One.? She is the principle balancing

and most of all ? complementing Bones. The spirit known in the outer world as Anima

Sola is also of great importance. (Kalfou 2)

Orisha worship in Trnidad has two main fractions. ?Spiritual Orisha? which are

very christian in its practical way. They also avoid blood ? offerings. The other one

?Baptist Orisha? is a more pure and ancient line of Orisha-transmission who accept

Blood-offerings and function very much like Orisha-worship you will meet elsewhere in

the world. Still Voudon is perhaps the closest ?brother? to ?Baptist Orisha.?(Kalafou 3)


Obeah can be viewed as, ?A Tower of Power?, an enormous vault of intelligent

power , you can communicate with mainly by using dices and candles consecrated in a

special and secret way. That is why the Obi inhabitants have no problem in blending it

with another tradition. In fact Obeah does need some materials to work with and to

empower. (Kalafou 2)

Obeah practice is very similar to vouden. But there are some differences, for

instance Satan is personified in this tradition as all the princes of Hell are. The different

grimoires are frequently used by the Obeah-men, like Grimorium Verum and Goethia as

well. In Obeah they consider the Book of Moses to be of great importance. Since they see

Moses as the snake-charmer and among the greatest of magicians.

Moral Code

The way the Obeah-man is a crooked one but a path that leads to attainment of

self. Much of this is shrouded in secrecy and it is still and will be for a long time. This is

only a taste for the truthful eyes of wisdom to get even wiser, (Kalafou 3)

The Obeah men believe that if you respect the Gods that the truth shall be your

light. The Obeah has always helped them out, and although they know that people thing

bad of their religion, they could care less. They believe what they have seen, and they

believe the truth in Obeah.(Guiley 2) Guiley, Rosemary. ?Harpes Encyclopedia of

Mystical and Paranormal Experience.? Rosemary describes Obeah as a religion that

people believe in, she simply states what Obeah is about.

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