Caribbean Culture; Revival Zion

Topics: Holy Spirit, Afro-American religion, Spirit Pages: 10 (1608 words) Published: March 19, 2014
CRB 502 - Revival Zion; An Afro-Christian Religion in Jamaica. Guano, Emanuela. Anthropos Institute, 1994.

Introduction – Afro-Jamaican Religious Variety

Afro-Jamaican religions based on a spectrum from a European to African end. Based also on how Christianized the religion is
Kumina:
Perceived on the “African” end of the spectrum
Also defined as least Christianized.
Secretive cult in rural areas of St. Thomas and St. Catherines Traits shared with other Afro-American religions:
Ceremonial drums
Sacrifice of animals (usually a goat)
Spirit possession
Syncretism occurring with Kumina and Revival Zion
Revival Zion:
Result of a syncretism between Baptism and an Afro-Creole religion called “Myal” From Baptism, Revival Zion took the literal approach to the doctrine Added elements from Myal such as spirit possession, emphasis on drumming/dancing, and offerings/sacrifices to spirits Revivalists call themselves Christians

Worship the God of the bible, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost
Kumina spirits occasionally manifest at Revival Zion services Pocomania/Pukumina:
“Out” group definition
No religious group now would define themselves as Poco
Fallen angels
Seemingly disappeared now
Used to be considered a negative double to Revival Zion

From Myal to Revival Zion – A Historical Outline

Christianity spread in Jamaica beginning of the 18th century African based religions filled in the gaps where Christianity was not enforced slaves working plantations Jamaican Blacks blended many traditions into a Creole system that were articulated into Myal and Obeah Obeah:

“The entity within witches”
Not actually such a form of witchcraft, but an emphasis on ritual manipulations of ointments, powders, and other substances

Myal:
Religion to counter-act the Obeah-men
A set of healing practices

Myal and Obeah:
Constructed on the idea that humans have two souls;
A duppy and a shadow
After death, the duppy returns to Africa
The Shadow at risk of being manipulated by Obeah spirits for evil purposes Both served as resistance to white slave masters

1781: Myal rituals banned
Went underground until 1840’s
1754: First Christian missionaries started preaching activity in Jamaica Early 1860’s: Great Revival took place in Jamaica
Known as Revival Zion
Mingling of Myal, Christianity, and Afro-Creole religion
Also, opposition of Christianity of the whites (slavery)
Revival Pastor Alexander Bedward
Leader of the Bedwardite movement
Strong anti-white protest

Religion and Social Status:

Atheism uncommon
Membership in a church important social marker
Orthodox Church = prestigious/upper class
Catholic Church = upper class
Methodists = Light-skinned/middle class
Emotionalism and emphasis on spiritual inspiration = lower class (i.e., Revival Zion) Looked at as Poco; able to possess magical powers
Pentecostalism = lower class
Competitive with Revivalism
Less tradition-oriented

Pastors and Their Communities:

Revivalists work as street vendors, domestic helpers, and many unemployed Many Revivalist churches teach how to read and write
Also teach domestic skills (i.e., cooking)
Organize social and leisure activities
Revival churches form a tight community
Uniform:
Turban, or a fancy dress and small hat

The Doctrine

1. Revivalists base their moral code and the way the conduct themselves and their lives on the Bible quite heavily and literally. 2. It is seen and treated with high regard -- it’s read, memorized, preached and sung. 3. It is also seen as dangerous, with the ability to destroy a person. 4. The idea is that the Bible is all powerful and knowing -- it can solve your problems whether it be practical or spiritual. 5. They focus on spiritual power and magical knowledge.

The Spirit

6. Holy Ghost: “an impersonal power that manifests itself to the humans by possessing the through spirits defined as “messengers”. 7. The spirits are organized into different categories:

The...
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