Re: [Gabon Discussion] Gabon 1 Peace Corps Volunteer remembered
- You could be right. Time will tell I suppose, but I personally don't
find religion to be an answer to anything! I am not even sure that
religion has ever saved anything either. All I see is destruction.
But let's not go there as I like to keep my "resident cynic" title
for a little while longer.
BTW, I am not sure as it never occurred to me to check this out when
I was in Gabon, but according to Wiki Bwiti is one of three official
religions of Gabon already. So maybe Mr. Samorini's prediction is
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "judkinsdale" <djudkins@...>
> Thank you for participating in this discussion. I feel all the
> comments from everyone has been very informative. I personally
> each and everyone.Integration.
> I would like to site a Mr. Gragio Samorini From his book
> In his book he talks about the Bwiti movement in Gabon. He saysthat
> the Bwitists consider themselves Christians.foot
> Owono Dibuga Louis Marie a foremost authority on the Bwiti
> movement, states that there is in Gabon a Iboga Youth Movement a
> that is acquainting the new generations to the Bwiti Creed. He alsoBwitists
> goes on to say, there is a need to unify the various cults and
> redefine the Bwiti rituals under a common plan; with the principle
> aim to obtain recognition of the Gabonese Government. He goes on to
> say, this would put the Bwitists on the level of Christianity and
> Going a few steps further is a Nengue Me Ndjoang Isidori, a
> Religious Leader presently a Magistrate in the Libreville Supremein
> Court. He goes on to say, "the Catholic Church speaks of God with
> Iboga you live God".
> So Amir, there is a movement that seems to be gaining some respect
> the Gabonese Government; rightly or wrongly only the future willprogresses
> tell. some people think that if the movement of the Bwiti
> in Gabon and elsewhere, This might become the great pure Africanperspective,
> Religion of Western Equatorial Africa so states Mr. Samorini.
> I personally think the chapter has not been written as to what will
> happen in Africa as to Bwiti. From an American Catholic
> I'm talking about me now, I would like to see it all play out. Ihave
> think the Bwiti holds value to the forests, the air, the water.
> everything that should be held precious in Gabon. We might just
> a government that pushes for a religion that will help save Gabonin
> - In email@example.com, "Amin F. Abari" <aminabari@>
> > Dale,
> > The taking of Iboga is only one part of Bwiti. The same way the
> > sacred use of cannabis is part of the Rastafarian religion. I
> > believe anyone from any religious background would be concerned
> > material things in the moment of their religious ritual. Does a
> > religious Gordon Gecko type really be concerned with material
> > when he is kneeling and praying in church? OK, bad example
> > Plus, in Bwiti unlike the Rastas for example who do the ganja all
> > time; you do not take iboga all the time. For most it is a once
> > life time experience. I think the only person that I met in
> > that had done it more than once was an elder / priest type manwho
> > conducted the Bwiti ceremonies almost every week where peoplewere
> > initiated, and he himself had done it only 3 or 4 times in a spanthe
> > 40 years. He did however mention young people he knew that would
> > partake more often but he considered them riffraff.
> > My last comment was a jab I made at the Gabonese politicians. I
> > don't know what they think. But I know that the one belief of
> > Bwiti practitioners I did find out about would serve allinformation
> > well. Living in Washington, D.C., as I do know sometimes it
> > like everyone is a Bwiti convert. :-)
> > Amin
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "judkinsdale" <djudkins@>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > -
> > > Amin,
> > > I found your last post to be troubling. Most of your
> > > understand. The troubling aspect of your post was the last part.
> > >
> > > Mr Abari, you stated that one of the beliefs that you found
> > asof
> > > you put it, was the poor, sick, feel part. I am not an expert
> > > Bwiti but surely this information could not come from theBwiti.
> > > What I have learned from the cult has everything to do withact
> > meeting
> > > people that died. Conversing with the dead. The hallucinogenic
> > > Iboga suspends the individual in a state beyond life.
> > >
> > > How can one in this state be so overly concerned with material
> > > things as you stated in your post. Perhaps you were alluding to
> > > people that practise Bwiti, not what they experienced in the
> > > itself.not
> > >
> > > One of the phenomenas of the people that practise Bwiti on
> > Saturday
> > > night go to the Catholic Church on Sunday.
> > >
> > > Perhaps what you described is what you think the Gabonese
> > Politician
> > > thinks.
> > >
> > > Dale
> > >
> > >
> > > -- In email@example.com, "Amin F. Abari"
> > > <aminabari@> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Dale,
> > > >
> > > > You right in the sense that if a person is religious and is
> > > > Christian then he or she would be more prone to otherthemselves
> > > > Bwiti being one of them.
> > > >
> > > > But the point I wanted to make was that it was not only the
> > > European
> > > > Christians that were against it but also some Fang
> > > > regardless of their religion or lack there of. Meaning theare
> > > > recognized that there were European influences in Bwiti that
> > > not
> > > > of their culture. Like any other people there are members of
> > > > Fang ethnicity that are Moslem for example and others that
> > > simplyhow
> > > > not religious at all. But they still recognize certain Fang
> > > > traditions as what they are: "traditions", and for better or
> > worse
> > > > they like to keep those traditions "pure". As an example of
> > > > people themselves being against Bwiti is the Mademoiselle
> > Movement
> > > in
> > > > the 1950s where the Fang formed an "anti-witchcraft" cult to
> > > and
> > > > end Bwiti by violent means and murder of those accused.
> > > the
> > > > Mademoiselle Movement was brought to an end by other clear-
> > > > Fang and the Europeans.
> > > >
> > > > My comment on Bwiti existing in the government was not in
> > relation
> > > to
> > > > a threat to the Fang Traditions. I was just commenting on
> > in
> > > > my view Bwiti became more popular in Gabon. I believe that
> > > M'ba
> > > > had not dabbled in Bwiti and had not given it legitimacy and
> > > > effectively endorsing it by bringing it into the government
> > > it
> > > > still persists, we would not be talking about it today.
> > > >
> > > > BTW, many people who know about Bwiti and have dabbled in it
> > > of
> > > > just the Iboga experience. My experience of talking to many
> > > Gabonese
> > > > and non-Gabonese on the subject showed that few really knew
> > > anything
> > > > more than that. Most can not tell you what the tenet of
> > > > this "religion" is. If they feel cornered by questions they
> > > > invariably tell you it can not be explained and that you have
> > > > experience it by taking Iboga and "meeting god".
> > > >
> > > > But one of beliefs that I managed to find out about was this:
> > > >
> > > > If you are poor, sick, or feel in anyway disadvantaged and
> > seeperson
> > > > someone rich, healthy or better off than you, then that
> > hasmeans
> > > > stolen your health, or money, or whatever it might be you
> > > It
> > > > is your responsibility to take back what is yours by any
> > > > available to you!
> > > >
> > > > As you can imagine this attitude works well in the circles of
> > > > Gabonese politics.
> > > >
> > > > Amin
- In following up on the recommendation by Amin to read Dr. Chike
Aniakor's book "Fang", I also purchased the book by Louis Perrois
also labeled "Fang" and published in 2006. Highly recommended to
those interested in ancient Gabon. It also has an excellent
bibliography and photo sections.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Amin F. Abari"
> It has been interesting to read all the stories and anecdotes going
> back and forth in the past couple of weeks or so.
> However, one thing got my attention in Mr. LeBlanc's last post and
> his reference to Bwiti and comparing it to the "modern" religions
> the West.animism.
> There seems to be a big misconception among many people (mostly
> westerners - but even younger Gabonese) that Bwiti is an old
> indigenous religion of the region, but this is not so - especially
> the Fang version of Bwiti which is the one mostly practiced in
> Gabon. Bwiti is essentially a 20th century "religion" that is an
> amalgamation of Christianity, Fang traditional religion, and
> The first of the Bwiti churches began around 1910 and the colonial
> authorities and Christian missionaries tried to stop them by
> imprisoning followers and even executing some. The local Christian
> ministers and priests had Bwiti churches burned as they saw them a
> dangerous cult which was twisting Christianity. Also at the onset
> and even today, many Fang themselves, who were not necessary
> Christian themselves were and are against Bwiti as they saw it as a
> threat to Fang tradition due the Christian elements and influences.
> Bwiti only got popular and known more widely in Gabon after World
> II when it was allowed to develop openly, and when Leon M'ba whohis
> later became the first president of Gabon, was put in prison for
> role and participation in a Bwiti ceremony during which a woman wasstill
> He eventually brought the Bwiti to the statehouse and today it
> exists in Gabon at highest levels of the government.name
> For more information on the Fang you can look up a book by that
> by Dr. Chike Aniakor and edited by Dr. George Bond who was theUniversity.
> Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia
> It is small book designed for students and has some basic butProtestant
> interesting information.
> --- In email@example.com, Tom LeBlanc
> <tom_leblanc_chico@> wrote:
> > Dale,
> > Thank you very much for your kind words.
> > FYI, the Protestants weren't too keen on Bwiti either. In fact, I
> probably only got away with doing it because the American
> Pastor (Silva, I believe?) at the time I got initiated justhappened
> to be taking his annual leave. When he got back the following year,medivacced.
> he told the two volunteers who replaced me not to even think about
> getting initiated. Otherwise he'd see to it that they were
> > Eating the iboga was definitely a very harsh experience. But I'm
> convinced that it allowed me to approach the brink of death without
> really dying. Actually, I think that it was a combination of the
> iboga and the various elements of the ritual that allowed me to
> the out-of-body experience and then return to this world. Frankly,it
> was blissful.of
> > It's a pity that Bwiti isn't recognized for what it really is--a
> religious sect. The only difference between the "modern" religions
> the West and the indigenous religion of Bwiti is that the formerthrough
> require faith whereas the latter actually shows you the real thing.
> > Still, it's probably a lot easier to have faith than to go
> a Bwiti initiation. A few days after word got out that I had beenWhat
> initiated, the police came by to scold and warn my initiators
> saying, "It's all right to initiate Africans, but not Europeans.
> were you thinking? What would you have done if he had died? Youwould
> have been in big trouble and we would have thrown you in jail for
> life. Don't do it again."
> > Tom