The Spiritual Process At Nogokpo Shrine: Volta Region
In Ghana here The Volta region well known is known for having spiritual encounters with the gods. Mostly in cases where a person is either seeking justice for an event , intervention for the poor or healing the sick through what we call spiritual check up. A regent of Nogokpo, Torgbui Agbodzalu Amuzu, explains that gods of the land do not kill unjustly or harm innocent people but rather the gods punish unrepentant people whose families pay the ultimate sacrifice of death or get to permanently stay at the shrine
Many have heard stories about the mighty town Nogokpo and its attribution. But most people don’t really know about the place or how its looks like. And the big question is how a typical healing process done?
Join me as I take you through the process.
DIVINATION THROUGH THE AFA ORACLE.
In healing, the gods work through the Torgbui or priest at the shrine.The cause of an illness and the cure are told to the Priest by the gods through a process of divination.
What is divination?
In simple terms Divination is a process of contacting the supernatural beings to reveal something that is hidden, or something that will happen in the future.
The priest may choose to use the water-gazing type of divination’, where the Torgbui/priest /healer ‘gazes’ into a body of water until he is able to see the spirits and communicate with them.
Another form of divination which is mostly practiced by most shrine’s here in Volta is to work though a human medium in trance, or possession.
During this process the Priest through incantation invite the gods through possession of a person as a means to communicate with the gods.
An Amagasie is a person, chosen by the gods, who when possessed is told revelations by the gods and spirits to tell to the Priest. At the Nogokpo shrine, the Amagashi is told things that will help the Priest heal the sick person especially herbs and sacrifices and is given information about the future.
A person might be chosen to be an Amagashi either because he has offended the gods or because the gods just love him/her.
Once one is chosen he would go through a rituals and training to be called one. This individuals have certain special rules and regulations that the operate with. Several offerings are made, and they are confined in a shrine for sixteen days.
This period of confinement at the Nogokpo shrine is a time for the gods to teach the trainee. At the end of the confinement, the final rites would be performed. The possession that occurs to an Amagashi is spontaneous; it does not need to be a structured ritual or event to bring it on but rather the gods choose the person when they want to communicate with the priest.
THE AFA ORACLE.
Afa is a means to learn things that are unknown from the gods. The Priest sings or chants to invoke the gods, and then, using a bag of charms and four strands of beads, will ask the gods questions and be given answers.
To be able to receive the answers one must understand the language of AFA. And to do this one must go through extensive training.
Bead is used when asking about a woman, and a Cowries shell is used when asking about a man.
The answers to the questions and the information from the gods is revealed through the beaded strands. By mechanisms known only to those performing the actions thus the priest or Torgbui.
The Afa oracle is thus like a language or code; the Priest insists that reading it is like reading the stars and producing a horoscope.
When I asked my uncle about it he stated the study of Afa is like the study of astrology.
Afa can work like the following: the patient (or anyone who wants to find out information), will whisper to a piece of money what it is that he wants to know. He then places the money on the mat with the charms and beads. At the Nogokpo shrine, the Priest will say the rite, moving the charms around and picking the beads up. This is done to invoke the spirit and then receive the answers.
The Priest then records what he has learned in a code. The Afa can tell if a patient is going to survive. It can tell someone things that he should or should not eat; foods that could result in illness or dissatisfaction. It can be asked if one should or should not travel on a particular day.
These are a few of the questions that can be asked of Afa besides those specifically about illness.
For example, cancer can be caused either by natural processes or from bewitchment or “juju.”. Afa will tell the Priest which is the cause and what should be done to cure it. This are the processes that it takes for healing and inquiries about illnesses to be healed at the shrine in Volta region.
The people of Volta Region, Ghana are very kind and interesting people to be with. They love to serve and build positive relationship with other people. That’s why I encourage you to feel free to visit any part of our region.
We are harmless about our “juju” notion people have about us. They are traditons handed over to our fathers in healing and security for themselves but not for wrong doings.
If you have been with a voltarian before you know they are very special and fun loving people. The Nogokpo shrine is no place for havoc.
Many sick people have visited shrines in the Volta region and were healed. The choice for survival remains yours as the alternative to the shrine is the hospital. Herbal medicine is the biggest gift of survival the shrine relies on. But the consultation into the cause and type of herb to be used remains a communication between the gods, Amegashie and the priest.
And also remember religion and belief is a choice. The idea that the Nogokpo shrine or people of Volta have powers and use it to destroy other individuals while making their lives better has been debunked several times.