Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 4th. 2017 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
February 10th. 2017 ...
Understanding the Unseen
Kitchen Magic and Memories
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
The Evolution of Thought Forms
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Magic in Sentences
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 14151
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,352
Times Read: 3,926
RSS Views: 39,867
Author: Crick [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: October 17th. 2010
Times Viewed: 3,926
One thing that is notable about Neo Paganism is the habit of looking primarily towards their European roots when it comes to the mystical arts. By following such narrow parameters, one is depriving themselves of a wealth of information in regards to the mystical arts and the experiences that such a varied discipline offers. This practice is utilized in particular when looking at various forms of divination. For instance Tarot and Runes are generally the two most recognized forms of divination within the Neo Pagan community. It could be argued that Tarot originally had Arabic roots (the Arabic game of Tarok) , however it has since taken on a decidedly European slant. However there are literally hundreds of other forms of divination, some of which are found in non-European roots. For instance in Africa one can find the roots of Geomancy (khatt al-raml) (a form of divination that I personally teach) as well as Hakata, of which this article is about.
In general Hakata are pieces of bone, ivory or wood that is used by Shona (or Karanga as they were once known as) witch doctors for divination. These witch doctors are known singularly as N'ganga ngombo and Banganga in the plural. They are used to divine such issues such as the source of illness or personal misfortune. As with many forms of divination there is also a subset of specialists within the Hakata form of divination who were known as Nganga kiluba. These specialists are the ones who expose liars and thieves, using male and female figurines along with a pot of clay as instruments of detection.
However, moving on, the Hakata (akata, or ditaola) dice consists of a series of four small tablets, made of wood, ivory, or bone. Each hakata has a distinct design motif, which is inscribed on one side. They are distinguished from one another by their individual name and features. Two of the Hakata have notches at the bottom; these are considered the junior tablets, the male, which is commonly called "Lumwe", has one notch. The female, which is called "Ntakwala", has two notches.
The remaining two, or senior tablets, are marked as either female, which is called "Kwame" and is marked by the incised picture of an eye or a house on the upper side. Or as the male, which is called "Chilume" and is marked by the picture of an axe or a spear. The Hakata are cast upon the ground by the witch doctor who then interprets their meaning. There are sixteen possible throws, each of which has a name and a range of interpretations.
Hakata are generally handmade by each individual diviner. This lends to some variations among the tablets, but a typical set consists of a zigzag border on the front side of each tablet, thus marking it as the front of the dice. The N'ganga uses one of two methods of divination. The first involves spirit possession. Any statements made by the inquisitor are considered to be from the spirits inhabiting their bodies at the time of the throwing of the hakata dice. The N'ganga achieves this spiritual connection by way of a trance like state. This trance state is in turn induced by “bishimba” which is a powerful tonic imbibed by the diviner. The ingredients of a bishimba consist of animal, mineral and plant materials and vary in concoction from one N'ganga to another.
The second method is when the spirits speak through the hakata dice themselves. When the Hakata are cast, the ones that fall face up form a configuration that are then interpreted into positive or negative answers to the questions presented by the N'ganga. The origins of Hakata are as varied as are those who practice this form of divination and so one will have to decide for themselves as to which school of thought one wishes to adhere to. For instance a four-tablet form of divination was recorded in 1616 CE in a report associated with the famous trial in which Father Gonçalo da Silveira (the first Christian missionary to the Shona royal court) was sentenced to death by the Mutapa (king) in 1561 CE.
There is another school of thought that suggests that Hakata is a sophisticated form of the Tsonga form of divination, which is also known as Hakata (except that it is interpreted as nutshell oracle) . The nutshell oracle consists of four unmarked and unnamed nutshells whose interpretations are subject to the whim of the diviner. And of course there are those who clamor for an Arabic connection. This view comes about from examining the Arabic root “hqq” (translated as “truth”, “speaking the truth”) , which when pronounced produces the sound Hakat.
One can see the associations attributed to both words in regards to divination or soothsaying if you will. There are of course other schools of thought in relation to the origins of Hakata that I will leave to you the reader to research. As pagans of whatever path, our ultimate goal should be to achieve the highest level of spiritual growth that we can aspire to. This goal is accomplished by the accumulation and at times the application of such knowledge as it pertains to the mystical arts.
As pagans in general and as a witch in particular (speaking from my own comfort zone and not elevating one path over another) we would do well to realize that there are in fact many avenues by which to arrive at our personal spiritual goals. I am fully aware that Neo paganism is in a state of transition in which it seeks to define itself as a mystical/magical discipline. One has to only look at the many different groups out there, each vying for validity over all of the others who are engaged in a similar free for all. And thus we have the numerous approaches that one finds in these days and times in regards to the umbrella under which neo paganism exists.
Yet by reinventing the wheel if you will slows down and hinders such a transition. By being willing to look around the world, often outside your comfort zone, such as ones European roots, you may come to realize that there are vast resources of knowledge just waiting to be utilized.
Many forms of paganism or another has been around since the beginning of time. It did not begin in the 1950’s. And so perhaps it would serve the Neo pagan community well to place less emphasis on the validity of this group or that and more on actually learning that which has been waiting for us for centuries. At any rate, Hakata is but one more form of divination to add to the popularity list.
This article represents my personal opinions and is not intended to be a conclusive review of the subject matter at hand. Your opinion may well vary from my own…
Location: Manheim, Pennsylvania
Author's Profile: To learn more about Crick - Click HERE
Other Articles: Crick has posted 74 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Crick... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).