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
Edward E. Andrews
Trees have served as important symbols and spaces in African traditional religion. Although the actual significance attached to trees differs from region to region, Africans could call on a shared spiritual vocabulary that gives trees a sacred and cosmic meaning. In fact, many African creation stories designate cosmic trees as the source of all human life. Because of this association with life, trees are also linked to fertility, regeneration, and even death. For example, one creation story from the Mbuti tells of how a tahu tree housed a chameleon. When the chameleon heard noises from within the tree, it knocked back on the bark. Suddenly ...