AN ARTICLE ON THE TOPIC “WITCHCRAFT” (IFOT) IN ANNANG ONTOLOGY
The controversy surrounding witchcrafty till today is unresolved in Africa. There have been many different conception of witch crafty; this controversy is a result of sorcery and mysticism involved in it. In most African society, the term witchcraft magic, sorcery, are used in interchangeably. This is because of the believe that without the powers of the witchcraft, the sorcerer or magician enchanter etc. cannot function to a greater capacity beyond the physical realm of matter.
AFRICAN NOTION OF WITCHCRAFT
Accordingly, Kittredge, described a witch as a one who can do or seem to do strange things beyond the known power of art and ordinary nature. Alland argued that witches are human with supernatural powers, they may be born with these power or learn them through initiations.
In African society the understanding of the term witchcraft is linked to the conception of man as a composite of body and soul. The soul of man again is divided into two;
- That is, the one that animates the human frame, shapes or structure, and the ferocious bush soul.
- The bush soul can be transformed into anything such as air, cat, snake , dog etc.
With this when a witch is on a given assignment, whether good or bad, he/she sends out the bush soul which has the capacity of floating invisibly through the town till it gets to a place where the deed has to be done and immediately the deed is accomplished he/she returns home to its owner, (Umotong, 2018) because of this subjective ability, witchcraft is seen as a force that cannot act on its own without a human possessor. Udondata write:
Witchcraft itself is seen as a force and does not differentiate between good and bad. It is the person who is involved with this force who manipulates it towards desired ends.
Hence, without an agent or a person to put this into work, witchcraft in itself should be an inactive and meaningless.
TYPES OF WITCHCRAFT
There are diverse kinds of witchcraft in African society, because not all witchcraft came from the same source. And it cannot be said that every witchcraft perform the same function. However according to Talbot… there are suppose to be seven different kinds of witchcraft, and they are as follows;
- White Witchcraft: This particular kinds of witchcraft is indeed supposed by to save human life. It enhances life and by implication makes life more meaningful.
- Black Witchcraft: This is oppose to white witchcraft, while white seek to save life, the black seek to destroy life. It aims nothing better for humanly, it brings about an evil end to human.
- Crab Witchcraft: This is the kind of witchcraft that ‘charms’ others, it is a creature that charms and can make man unmovable.
- Day Light Witchcraft: It is practice in broad day light, and is done in the human flesh. It is done in pretence to make the person unaware of the harm he/she is about to face. The victim is mostly unaware due to pretence.
- Money Making Witchcraft: This kind of witchcraft is for the aim of money making. It involves the sacrifice of human for the sole aim of money making. It is believed that the souls of those killed goes about casting spells on people and fetching their killer money.
- Porcupine Witchcraft: This is regarded as the great diviner with possession of great charms.
- Eye Witchcraft: This kind of witchcraft can be own or possess naturally with initiation. It is inherent in the person, this kind of witchcraft can attend meeting of other witchcraft without been notice.
ARGUMENT AGAINST WITCHCRAFT
To give a critic and evaluation will bring to an argument against witchcraft. This argument is given by Princewill Udoh.
- Argument Base on Mind and Body Relationship: In a critical analysis on the notion (witchcraft) we notice the composition between mind and body. First, according to Rene Descartes the mind (soul) in non-spatial (does not occupy space), non extended, has no weight, shape, size, density. The body as matter is the complete opposite of the soul. How then do two things of different attribute relate?How do we say that the body manifest and manipulate the soul and hence makes the soul act as a force? What is the nexus between the body and the mental force and vice versa?
African Philosophy using the Witchcraft (ifot) makes use of the idea of the Cartesian INTERACTIONISM which is expose to many critics… how will two things with different features interact? ( if at all they interact),
Scientifically or biologically, the pineal gland is sandwiched between the cerebrum and the cerebellum halves of the brain, it is no way near the atlas vertebra bone which is the point were the spinal cord joins the brain.
To trace it theologically using occasionalism according to Nicholas Malebranche and Geulinix who maintain that God link the soul and the body. The question still is… how realistic is it for God (all good) to link the soul and the body in an occasion of efficiently causing witchcraft? Can witchcraft be justified in occasionalism context?
The idealistic theory of witchcraft can also be punctured using David Hume when we said…
Whenever I enter into what I called ‘soul’
I do not encounter any Substance except a bundle of impression…(45)
No wonder Gilbert Ryle said… looking for a soul in the body is like looking for a ghost in a machine…. So in summary we cannot really say that the body manipulate the soul to act as force in Annang Witchcraft Nation.
- Argument Based on Causality: When we say that whatever begins to exist… must have a cause of existence… in African conception of witchcraft the already existed witchcraft cause the existence of the new once.. now to operate in this manner will ask a question like; What is the ULTIMATE cause of witchcraft? Does it has any physical or spiritual agency? How do we know when someone is intrinsically born with it? And what is its natural cause? Can witchcraft be physically apprehended? Now considering all this will help in this excursus… with the critical evaluation of the above one can rightly say that there is no witchcraft.
- Argument Based on Diversity of Purpose: This argument is directed towards the diverse objective of witchcraft…now looking at the various kinds of witchcraft… we have seen diverse functions, now the question is …. What is the general aim of the so call witchcraft? Looking at the function played by the black and the White witchcraft can we generally or philosophically place them in same family? What is the UNITY in the DIVERSITY of purpose…with this controversy can we say there is such a thing a witchcraft? Can witches be physically apprehended? Can we justify this taking cognizance of the ancient Greek notion of appearance and reality? Are we not sometimes deceived by appearance of sight? Is our sight not sometimes influence by our reasoning and thought?
Finally, I will conclude by saying witchcraft is a shade of ignorance.
HOW WITCHCRAFT IS ACQUIRED
Just like plethora classes of witchcraft… there are also plethora ways whereby a novice can acquire the spirit of witchcraft initiation can be done either by close relative (family members) who in one way or the other are in possession of the witchcraft spirit… just like any association cannot function without a constitution and principles so as is the witchcraft. In some witchcraft it is constitutional to bring a kin to replace you and it is seen in CONTINUUM and such witchcraft can be tern transmitted witchcraft.
Witchcraft is seen as a force mostly in African society… this force is manipulated and programmed to aid towards an aim…witchcraft can also be intrinsically gotten that is from birth it the composition of body and soul.
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Leture Note, of Umotong Iniobong, Given of the 21st, of July, 2018, in Akwa Ibom State University, to the Department of Philosophy.