By James A. Noel (auth.)
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Additional resources for Black Religion and the Imagination of Matter in the Atlantic World
Cavazzi did note that when preparing to make such a charm and give it efficacy, the priest would first sacrifice to the soul of the first person to make the charm. Apparently the soul of this “inventor of the art” provided the otherworldly power that made it possible for the entity to be captured. 31 Christianity was assimilated through this cultural notion. Nkisi became a term that was applied to anything that was sacred. The church became the house of nkisi, the bible was the book of nkisi, the priest the nganga (religious expert) of nkisi.
It is the magic that produces the cargo and we have been deprived of that. The West, at least since the publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, has relegated the cargo not to the religious sphere but to economics. Was this a slight of hand trick,—as Karl Marx thought—whereby the West hides its own idolatry from itself? Long wrote: I think that the revolution in anthropology and in all the human sciences arises around the issue of the cargo cults because this phenomenon points not only to an acentric and seemingly anomic situation in other cultures but equally to an acentric and anomic situation in the sciences of humankind.
Kimpa demanded a The Age of Discovery 33 thorough Africanization of Christianity and claimed that the Holy Family hailed from Mbanza Kongo—the Kingdom’s capitol—and was black. Kimpa’s career gives us a glimpse into the syncreticism in black religion on the African side of the Atlantic. The religiously based royal ideology was called nkisi. Nkisi was under girded by three important cults: ancestor worship centered at the royal cemetery grove; ancestor spirits served by the Mani Kabunga (the name of the clergy assigned to worship the territorial spirits from the village level on up); the worship of royal charms or nkisi.
Black Religion and the Imagination of Matter in the Atlantic World by James A. Noel (auth.)