Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Katherine Olukemi Bankole
The African female divinity system, or sacred mother tradition, is one of the oldest God concepts in the world. In traditional African societies, national cosmologies focus on (a) a masculine God, (b) a feminine goddess, or (c) a masculine and feminine (androgynous) God. Goddesses perform the same functions as Gods. In traditional African societies, goddesses are omnipotent, omnipresent beings who control and influence the lives of mortal beings. In myth and cosmology, African goddesses are beyond human; they transcend man and woman, and thus their mysteries may not be completely understood by human beings. Throughout the continent of Africa and manifested in the African Diaspora, goddesses have traveled through time and space to express themselves in the contemporary moment. This entry looks at some of the general characteristics of goddesses and then reviews some specific examples from different parts of Africa and the Diaspora. The stories indicating how African goddesses ...