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
There are two types of oceans found among the religious beliefs and practices of many African peoples. The first is the physical ocean, which is composed of water, and the second is the primordial ocean, the boundless abyss of substance from which material existence originates. Accounts of this primordial ocean are frequently found in the creation stories and myths, whereas accounts of the physical ocean are found in more common rituals and practices and reflect people's proximity to and experience with the physical ocean. Those people close to the ocean tend to perceive the ocean as a deity with specific attributes. In many cultures, these two oceans are fused into a single cosmology. The water of the physical ocean is one of the primary elements of life. This water is likened to life-giving and life-sustaining blood, fluids of the womb, and semen. Water cleanses, purifies, and nourishes. Water as an ...