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Pebbles and Deities

Pa Divination among the Ngas, Mupun and Mwaghavul in Nigeria

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Umar Habila Dadem Danfulani

Among the Ngas, Mupun and Mwaghavul, divination is an important agent of mediation between the spirit and human realms. This study examines Pa divination among these three little-known Chadic-speaking ethnic groups on the Jos Plateau in central Nigeria. It is a phenomenological and anthropological work which focuses on the role of pebbles and deities as main symbols. In addition, it provides an analysis of general classifications of divination, with special emphasis on divination with sixteen basic figures to which Pa belongs. In a comparative study of Pa patterns, the author discusses the mythology, taxonomy, theology and ritual framework of this system. He develops a phenomenology of Pa and places it within the wider perspective of African divination systems. Among other things, the study provides insights into the role of binary opposition modes, oracular speech, gender relations, colour symbolism, animal imageries and hermeneutics in divination.
Contents: This study explores the role of divination among some little-known ethnic groups on the Jos Plateau in central Nigeria. In a phenomenological and anthropological perspective, the author examines the mythology, taxonomy, theology and ritual framework of their divination. He also discusses divination and studies of divination in general, particularly in the context of Africa.