Jerusha Rhodes

Publication Date

Spring 1996


This paper is the product of three weeks of research on the practical, daily manifestations of traditional Ashanti religion. It briefly examines two major historical trends in the study of traditional religion: traveler's accounts/sensationalism and theoretical theology, which focuses on the cosmology and epistemology of traditional religion. It proposes that there is a vast and extremely important area which both of these trends overlook. This is the temporally and spatially contextualized practice of traditional religion. This lack in the field of religious study serves as the basis for justification of my study which focuses on the actual daily life of the okomfo' in Ghana in 1996, and how this life is different from the life of an average person. It explains the type of methodology used and this methodology's appropriateness to the study of the daily practice of traditional religion. It then presents a series of short stories, which plainly illustrate how everyday events are intertwined with the religion, and how Nana Asantowaa rationalizes her world. In conclusion, the paper challenges the clear distinction between the "sacred" and the "secular" and proposes a future study which would delve deeper into this aspect of practical traditional religion.