The following order can be recognized place to place and is fairly typical
- The Supreme being (Olodumare)
- The Chief Divinities or Gods
- The Ancestors
- The Spirits
- The Charms and Amulets
THE SUPREME GOD: This is recognized among all traditional believers all over the world, the supreme being is called or can be called different names depending on places to places and language variations. for example, yoruba as a case study, yoruba belief system called the supreme God as Olodumare or Olorun, Olorun means “Owner of the Sky“.
Every race of the world has a legend myth connecting God and the creation of origin of their race.
THE CHIEF DIVINITIES: These are next in rank to the supreme God, they are simply refer or regarded as the physical representatives of God in the world and are also called different names from place to place. Example: Obatala, Ifa, Osun, Ori, Sango, Ogun and so on. each of them have their own shrines, priest, cults, initiation ceremonies.
THE ANCESTORS: Every family has the belief that their ancestors survive as the living-dead among the family. Ancestral worship could be restricted to members of the affected families alone. Egungun is the best way to get connected to a dead ancestors and that is why you see each family having or can be trace back to a specific egungun name e.g Oya Arogunmola is an egungun that belongs to arogunmola family of Ota, Oloolu of Ibadan belonging to oloolu family and so on.
Control over the ancestral shrines or egungun cult passes from Great Grand Father to Father and to their son or the next elderly person in the family.
THE SPIRITS: It is a common belief that spirits exist and serve as agents of gods and divinities, spirit may live in trees, hills, rivers, stones, caves and grove. Example of spirits in human forms are Abiku, Emere or terrestrial spirits that are often referred to as witches or wizards. So category of spirits are regard as guardian spirit called ‘ORI’ and a sort of “angel” guards that can hinders welfare, fortune and destiny.
CHARMS and AMULETS: Traditional religion are characterized by the existence and uses of charms. These charms have magical or medicinal properties which can be invoked to achieve an end. Charms are said to be dominated by some supernatural mechanics, it can be used to influence favour rather than to force obedience or action. However charm can be used to command obedience. Magic in traditional religion is designed to trick and confuse members of the audience to believe what is done e.g. Turning a stick to snake.
Medicines are used in curing or preventing disease, it can be used to drive away evil spirits, medicines could be herbal medicine or ifa medicines called “Akose” ifa from Odu Ifa verses.