Naropa University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality


Elements of African Ritual



CSP 750 Number of credit units: 1


Instructor: Luisah Teish        Instructor’s contact telephone number: 510-595-1471


Email address: [email protected]


Class Schedule: Fall 2004 Semester, December 4-5   Saturday 9am-6:30pm; Sunday 9am-1pm


Course Description: Descendants of West Africa provide the basic elements of today’s African spirituality in Europe, Brazil, Haiti and the United States. The course will open the door for participants to these ancient traditions and spiritual practices.


This course begins with an overview of the Spiritual Cultures of the West African Diaspora (Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, and New Orleans specifically). Students will become familiar with concepts of Ache, Ori, Egun, and Ifa/Orisha, the four most important Elements of the Spiritual Culture and its rituals.

Students will learn how to design personal rituals based on practices such as altar building, spiritual cleansing, and the creation of appropriate offerings. Styles of prayer include praise poetry, art, music, and dance.


Course Objectives: To familiarize the student with the history, mythology and ritual practices of the African Diaspora; and to enable the student to create similar rituals for use in their respective communities.


Course Requirements: Instructor’s criteria, evaluation and grading of students. Indicate in Please note: Art-as-Meditation courses are graded on a Pass/Fail basis.  Grading criteria percentage (%) is weighted for each aspect of the student’s learning process:

25%   Attendance

            75%  Participation in class discussions/activities


Outline of class themes and activities:

- Introductions and opening ritual

- Overview

- Concept of Ache

- Slide show of Diaspora practices. The Concept of Ori.

- The Concept of Egun. Ritual cleansing of the head. Dance.

- The Concept of Ifa/Orisha. The Art of Creating Personal Rituals


Course Readings will be provided by instructor


Recommended Readings: Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals by Luisah Teish HarperSanFrancisco 1985.


Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Some



Naropa University-Oakland will provide accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.  To request an accommodation, or to discuss any learning needs you may have, contact the Dean of Students, (510) 835-4827 ext 15.