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
Africans rely heavily on the use of symbols to communicate ideals and universal understanding of our connection to all living kingdoms. Africans believe that all life is one and a manifestation of the One Creator. Ancient Egyptians (Kemetians) stressed the divine in animal manifestations. Animals were featured in variation, such as the animal-headed human, the human-headed animal, as well as the combination of multiple animals in one form. Africans also believe that because the Creator positioned humans at the center of the universe, animals are designated as servants of human beings and, as such, are to be used by them as they deem fit. The African relationship with animals clearly demonstrates the African profound understanding of and connection to the natural world. This entry looks at animals in African ritual and mythology; it also explores the use of totems and the meaning of specific animal symbols in ancient Africa. Animals ...