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Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City$
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Charles Gore

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633166

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633166.001.0001

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Priests and Shrines

Priests and Shrines

(p.47) 3 Priests and Shrines
Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City

Gore Charles

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the institution of urban contemporary cult shrines in Benin City, introducing the forms of organisation and strategies used by shrine priests and considering some of the ideas and practices that are integral to this institution. The word ohen is used in the Edo language to describe a priest who worships on behalf of a community or as a Christian minister. The achievement of the privileged relationship to a deity confers power upon the ohen, influence in the spirit world through the intervention of that deity, and thus the ability to shape the outcome of events in agbon (the material world). In some circumstances, it is possible for ohen to acquire shrines through the direct intervention of the deity. In these cases, the deity usually takes the individual to its spiritual domain, often for lengthy periods of time, to be instructed in the required rites.

Keywords:   cult shrines, Benin City, shrine priests, Edo kingdom, spirit world, material world

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