The Bukôngo, the Kongo religion, includes the notion of n’kisi (power or spirit).

As spirit, n’kisi becomes in plural bakisi. As power, n’kisi becomes in plural min’kisi. Thus, in both cases, the highest n’kisi is God, Nzâmbi Ampûngu Tulêndo.

The Bukôngo includes the divine and the human practices of African traditional religion (ATR). The divine practice was the preserve of the Kimpasi (the Kongo academy of divine mystery). The human practice, including the civil and the martial, had as epitomes the Lêmba and the Kinkîmba initiatory academies.

Bittremieux gives us the following classification of the spirits in Kinkîmba:

1. The Most High, Nzâmbi Ampûngu Tulêndo. The words N’kisi and Mpûngu being synonymous.

2. The Bikînda, the celestial manifestations of Most High as Divine Spirit.

3. The Bakisi, the temporal manifestations of the Bikînda.

The notion of n’kisi is equivalent to the Igbo notion of chi. Both allude to power and spirit. Like in Bukôngo, the highest chi is the Most High, Chi-Ukwu = Chukwu. However, the Supreme Being must be differentiated from the creator, Chineke (Mbûmba Lowa in Bukôngo).

Thus, one can surmise that the religion of the Igbos included in its original form the divine and human practices.

Among the Yorubas, the notion of n’kisi is the equivalent of the notion of ase. However, this notion becomes an ambivalent one (positive and negative powers). This shows that we are now in the human practice of ATR.

Among the Fons of Benin, the ambivalent power is named aze. It however should not be confused with witchcraft, as it is sadly the case. The Vodun is a human practice of ATR including the civil component (like the Lêmba) and martial one (like the Kinkîmba). The use of witchcraft should be, like in Bukôngo, an EXCEPTION in case of war.

The Black people will get a good picture of ATR as they study it from the point of view of Bukôngo whose theology is equivalent to that of ancient Kemet (where were found also the divine, civil, and martial initiations).

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