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
Transcendence and Communion
Transcendence and communion in African religion commonly refer to the ability for beings—God, the divinities, the ancestors, and humanity—to communicate and uphold relationships with one another across physical and spiritual boundaries. These concepts are most clearly expressed by the relational dynamics between Africans and their ancestors, as well as with the divinities. According to African religion, ancestors are the spirits of the deceased heroes, heroines, leaders, elders, and other members of the extended family. There are, however, certain requirements for becoming an ancestor. Indeed, an ancestor is a person who has experienced adulthood, marriage, and childrearing. She or he must also have died of natural causes, not from mishap, such as an accident, childbirth, or suicide. Death by means of an unclean disease, such as tuberculosis, epilepsy, or leprosy, would disqualify one from this honorable status. Furthermore, an individual must have exhibited an outstanding moral and sociopolitical life, and she ...