Veneration of Mountain-spirits in Yoruba Traditional Religion: The Igbomina Example

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Langaa Research and Publishing CIG, Mankon, Bamenda


The mountaineering spree that is rife in Christian religious worship today is probably an African heritage of spirituality in religiosity. The height of this belief in most African churches today suggests firmly or tacitly that there is a strong connection between answerable prayers and mountaineering experiences. While some believe in ascending the physical mountains like Jesus did, some believe that one can make a mountain even of a valley like Daniel in the Lion's den or Jonah in the Whale's belly. In other words, wherever a Christian prays becomes his mountain, which could be anywhere, anytime; thus introducing a psychological dimension to the Ori-Oke phenomena. This paper does not attempt to research into the proliferation of Prayer Mountains all over, these days. Rather, it traces this to a general belief rooted in African worldview that every inanimate object, including hills and mountains, possesses spirits that could be beneficial or inimical to humanity. The paper adopts a historic-structural, systematic and analytical approach, with a combination of primary and secondary sources of data collection. Our findings reveal the tolerance of pluralism as one remarkable element of Yoruba religion. As such, one area of common ground between the indigenous and foreign religions, which is also one of the areas of continuity in African traditional beliefs, rooted in Afrel, is the veneration of mountain spirits. Our conclusion is that Christian religious worship has today, been greatly influenced by certain elements of the Yorùbá culture. One of such is the Ori-Oke phenomena in Christianity, which shares similar sacred creed with the Yoruba veneration of mountain-spirits. Examples would be largely drawn from among the Igbomina sub-group of the Yorùbás.



Igbomina, Mountain-spirit, veneration, Traditional Religion


Aboyeji, A. J. and Aboyeji, O. S. (2018): “Veneration of Mountain-spirits in Yoruba Traditional Religion: The Igbomina Example” Soede Nathanael Yaovi, Patric U. Nwosu, Akiti G. Alamu, Lemuel E. Odeh and A. Y. Mohammed (Eds.) Ori-Oke Spirituality and Social Change in Africa: Contemporary Perspectives , pp. 549-570 Langaa Research & Publishing CIG, Mankon, Bamenda, North West Region, Cameroon. Available online: