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African Supernatural Storytelling

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The C16 word "Spells" (OE, story, message) had its parent concept dating to remote antiquity as part of Primitive Africans' Magic imparted to the Supernatural realm. Those Spells were said to be activated by the invocation of Spirits, by chanting, by ritual, or by the use of magical tools and ingredients. Professing to promote health in realms more broad than medicine, Magic advanced under the disguise of a higher, holier, and more powerful system. Also, its seductive presentation was so overwhelming as to allow it to be accepted into religion. Out of this setting “Storytelling” arose, utilizing a glob interweave of Superstitions, Magic, Astrology, Subjective Science, Philosophy, and Medicine to perfect concepts of Mythology and Religion. Aspects which sustained interest in storytelling included the essential aspect of a Spell being the Habit of Expectation to which one has confidence--whether positive or negative. The positive ones were called a Blessing if the Spell was attributed to improving health or to attracting good things into ones life. Bad ones were called a Curse or Hex, particularly if they forced people to go against their will. But oddly, the Bad had a personal bearing on an individual, often stimulating Awe and Fascination. Either way, Primitive Africans put the good and bad in the form of Myths--referring to religious, superstitious, supernatural, and sacred stories which explain the unknowable (e.g. how the sky and earth separated). Myths also embraced Legends (stories combining fact and fiction, as when real people encounter Supernatural creatures) intended to enable listeners to design simple "Metaphysical Notions" about complex things.

In other words, anything about which a notion (half formed idea) could be formed around a meaning related to the Un-seeable, led to the creation of "handles" called Symbols and Images. Obviously, the notion would have no relation to Matter and no proper location in time and space. For example, one might have a notion of a good spirit in the Supernatural realm possessing an amorphous form and no features. Creatively, people fashioned concepts beyond boundaries of words' ordinary usages in such forms as Metaphors, Similes, Allegories, Personifications, and other Figures of Communication (FOC). This enabled thinking in Symbols and Images--all embraced under Mythology--each having the intention of being entertaining and perhaps by-passing thought in order for it to be "Heart-felt." Such patterns of thinking were not intended to be acceptable to logic, to rational thinking, or to science--and they surely were not. Several African Tradition beginnings sprang out of this to become African ways of life. Naturally, the first was Religion because of spotlighting for constant recognition the dimension of the mystery of Being. As a result, that awakened their consciousness to the powers of its own sustaining source. To ensure consistency, these awakenings were influenced by a given magical Spell + assuming certain objects or things + ways of doing by always complying with the command or warnings expressed in words. Since "Spell Words" were always associated with a set of actions, customs and regulations were established to serve as laws. Everyone was bound to obey them because each member was reared to see him/herself as a subordinate unit dependent on the interest, beliefs, and “life” of the whole village.

Meanwhile, people's Esoteric Thinking (discerning the subtle in the obvious), by using "Metaphysical Notions," is what gave rise to the core ideas inside African Allegories and Fables. Their messages validated and supported the specific moral order associated with the establishment of common sense. For instance, much of Ancient Africans' Mythology was devised to stress practical ways to have good behaviors toward and good relationships with each other. Typically, the people's Myths narrated a sacred history (because Myth stories are about the work of Supernatural beings). Thus, Myths elicited "awe" concerning the power present in the now believed-in one universal High God. This helped guide them in the common sense principles of morality--as in personal good character, honorable customs, and similar aspects pertaining to that of a divine nature. From these (among others) the people were clear about something occurring very near to magical influences because of their experiencing "Supernormal" benefits. In the process, their detailed research into Supernatural beliefs were expanding so as to eventually embrace the Spiritual.


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