Temne


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Temne

(dreams)

The Temne, a people inhabiting Sierra Leone and the Guinea Coast of West Africa, are characterized by a high degree of cultural diversity arising from invading, migrant, and neighboring peoples, which has resulted in considerable heterogeneity in different areas of Temneland and in a cultural overlap with other ethnic identities. The only two features not shared with other peoples are the highly elaborate nature of Temne cosmological ideas and the large repertoire of techniques used by Temne diviners.

In the Temne cosmological vision, four worlds are distinguished: the visible world inhabited by human beings, the world inhabited by the spirits, the world inhabited by the ancestors, and the world inhabited by witches. The last three worlds are regarded as towns that surround ordinary people, although they are invisible. Only certain people, possessing two ordinary eyes and two invisible eyes, can penetrate the darkness of the invisible worlds. Among these people are the diviners, who are present in every village, where they use more than thirty different divinatory techniques to mediate between the inhabitants of the four cosmos.

An alternative means of mediation is through dreams, by which knowledge is transmitted from the ancestors and from the other invisible worlds to ordinary people. For the Temne, dreams represent a crucial source of knowledge and are as important as waking perceptions, although they are distinguished from them. Among this people, the vision and the knowledge of diviners are attributed to accomplishment in dreaming, through which the diviners become experts on the dreams of their clients, who renounce their interpretation of reality in the face of divinatory authority.

According to Rosalind Shaw’s 1992 study of Temne divination, the abilities of Temne diviners are revealed in an initiatory dream representing the context in which a contractual relationship with a patron spirit is established. Subsequent encounters with this and other spirits occur in the dream town of Ro-mere, a destination often described as something of an attainment, as dreaming is not considered to be a universal phenomenon. In diviners’ dreams, ordinary people are passively acted upon by spirits and ancestors, as their victims or as recipients of their revelations.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(55.) The governments' case file states that John Akar's mother was from Rotifunk in the Moyamba district and that she was a Temne woman.
The two largest groups are the Mende, who occupy the southern half of the country in an east-west belt and the second largest group is the Temne of the Northern Province.7 Both these groups had been dominant players in the political life before and since independence and political leaders from both the groups had often appealed to their kith and kin for support.
As one Temne Christian man said:" I want to give testimony to the Muslims.
English is the official language, and Krio is spoken by most, along with tribal languages such as Temne and Mende.
(17) The Carriacou musician, choreographer, and playwright Winston Fleary explained that lesbianism is most common among entrepreneurial women of the Ibo and Temne nations on the island because they resent and resist male interference with their financial affairs, and in their lives more generally (interview in Carriacou, June 3, 2013).
(2) In 1829, the British created the Sierra Leone Police Corps with white officers, while NCOs and constables were drawn from the Krio population and the Mende and Temne tribes.
Bondo Societies are organised by ethnic groups, and are run by older women--referred to as in Temne or Majo in Mende, or generally as Sowei.
Let nobody interpret what we set out to do as a contest between North v South or between Temne v Mende.
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