In forming a path to the Metaphysical, Primitive Africans initiated such things as the Planes of existence they invented + each plane's contents + Magic + Religion + Figures of Communication and of Recognition (Images) + the Spiritual-Supernatural + Myths. In the beginning, Primitive African Shaman believed in a Material world adjacent to a superior Supernatural world which sometimes enters to affect the Material world. They believed their role was to contact the Supernatural realm so as to either pacify disruptive Spirit forces or to call upon the aid of the cooperative Spirit forces affecting the Material world. As orchestrating Performers (i.e. Ritual Specialists) while inside a state of Trance, their methods included using Spells (things said), Rituals (things done), and expressing intense emotional desires to stimulate compatible vibrations. Since early times, “Trance” (Greek, ecstasies—standing outside of ones mind or throwing the mind out of ones Selfhood) has been an integral part of rituals throughout Africa. It was induced with meditations to stimulate their emotions into an ecstatic intensity to allow them to move between the worlds. Shaman resorted to Ecstatic Quests for access to a Supernatural world (realms outside laws of Nature as the human mind knows them to be). Once access had been obtained, the procedure was to answer questions or to seek help, to heal, to divine, and to prophecy. Some called them Mystics because they were convinced it was possible to establish direct contact with the divine, apart from the senses or of intellect. However, Shaman differ from Mystics in that they do not seek higher states of consciousness as an end in themselves but only as a medium in which to perform their duties.
Meanwhile, as early African concepts about the Unseen Realms evolved, a most brilliant one concerned Cosmic multiple planes of existence. Their religious Ontology (studies of the nature of “Being”) had God as the ultimate explanation of the genesis and sustenance of both humans and all real things (the Unreal is man-made, not God-made). Above the sky, they said, was the world of the one universal high God. Just below the "heavens" was the Sublime ('below the lintel' of the sky's door'), having the Sky's highest concentration of the Spiritual Elements. A realm below the Sublime but above the Material was a mixture of revealed things, termed the Astral Plane as well as a human-made realm of devised things called the Supernatural Plane. In this mixture were believed to be the good Spirits (presumed to be responsible for their good luck) and deceased Ancestors of living humans--while just below were the evil gods and Spirits. In between was the home of Superhuman and Supernormal Beings as well as the Spirits of men who died a long time ago. Then, in the Seeable part of the Tangible (Earth, Material, Objective, Physical) world were humans, animals, plants, and non-biological life (Mbiti, p. 20; Ashby, African Origins, p. 191; Wiredu, p. 329; Gyekye, p. 196).
Specifically, this means the Metaphysical Planes of African Tradition include the Spiritual, Subjective, and a host within the Astral (e.g. the Astral Heaven--not "The" Heaven--the Sublime, and a Purgatory). By contrast, the Physical Planes include the Unbounded Tangible (e.g. thoughts), the Partially Bounded Tangible (e.g. heat), and the Concrete or completely Bounded Tangible (e.g. Tree)--each represents a unique degree of vibratory energy--but not Matter (which is merely a very low form of vibratory energy--even the finest form of Matter). Still, every plane manifests in the same point of space at the same time. Different meanings can be given to different segments of the Cosmic Ladder. From the top down there is increasing diversity in all that is in "The Heavens" (the Seed). At an Earth World level there are individual differences in people concerning a given thing but not at higher levels. For example, a beautiful thing to one person may be ugly to another or “one man’s meat is another man’s poison." The Laws on each level differ and yet there is an order embracing "uniqueness and sameness." For example, at a Sublime level and higher a beautiful thing viewed by the same people can be experienced by all as being harmonious and unified. People standing on "ground level" will have a multitude of opinions. If these opinions concern beauty, some may say it is about the fulfillment and comfort of daily living; some say it is being able to make choices; some say it is about freedom (however they define being "free").
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