The Life Histories of Some <i>Ohen</i>s

Gore Charles

in Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780748633166
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652983 | DOI:
The Life Histories of Some Ohens

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This chapter cites a number of biographies of various priests, a sample of those related in conversation with the author and chosen partly to demonstrate the diversity of individuals engaged in this profession. The biographies present salient events selected by the priest as pertinent to his or her situation at the time of the interviews. They are a means of exploring local ideas and practices relevant to these urban shrines, and to understanding local ideas of personhood and possession by the deities which are worshipped at them. In this way, the making of meaning by individuals participating in these institutions can be understood. A further dimension is provided by the many networks of ohens in Benin City, who participate in the round of annual festivals that commemorate the first induction of the celebrating ohen into a formal relationship with his or her deities.

Keywords: biographies of priests; urban shrines; personhood; Benin City; deities

Chapter.  15522 words. 

Subjects: African Studies

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