Luo religion [along lake Nyanza (Victoria) in Kenya], Part III


pp. 97-110 Part III, Chapter 1 "God and Sacrifices"

pp. 98, 100, 108-109 high gods worshipped as supreme by various tribes in Kenya and in Tanganyika







Nyasaye, Were, Nyakalaga

Whisson, M. G. : Change and Challenge. Nairobi, 1964. p. 3



Kwot a nhial

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. : The Nuer Religion. Oxford, 1956. pp. 1-27




Middleton, J. : Lugbara Religion. London, 1964. p. 258




Ankermann, N. In :- Bertholet, A. & Lehmann, E. (eds.) : Lehrbuch der Religionsgeschichte. Tu:bingen, 1925. vol. I, p. 181

p. 98, fn. 18 "Among the Nilotic tribes in Uganda and Sudan (Acholi, Anuak, Dinka, Lango, Shilluk) ... the term juok or jok ... means god (supreme being), spirit, ghost".

pp. 99, 105 sun-deities worshipped as supreme by other tribes (than Luo) in Kenya and in Tanganyika








Hollis, A. C. : The Nandi. Oxford, 1969. p. 40




Orchardson, I. Q. (edited by A. T. Matson) : The Kipsigis. Nairobi, 1970. p. 20




Harjula, R.: "God and the Sun in Meru Thought". 1969.




Hauge, H.-E. : "Loa, the Sun–Deity of the Iraqw People." TEMENOS, vol. 7 (1971).

p. 99 Nandi : "Their word for god, Asista, is related to asis, meaning ‘the sun’ ". {cf. /<ASIS/ ‘juice’ (Strong’s 6071), /<ASaS/ ‘to squeeze’ (Strong’s 6072)?}

p. 100 "The Luo word for sun is chieng". {cf. Ibo /C^i/ ‘God’}


pp. 111-118 Part III, Chapter 2 "Spirits of the Dead"

pp. 112, 114, 117 ja-c^ien

p. 112

"Very often a jachien appears ... when people are asleep. The sleeper will see him in a dream, and hear him speaking to him. He may come to avenge a wrong he has been compelled to suffer during his life. The arrival of a jachien gives the person visited the feeling that he is being strangled."

p. 114

"Chieno means ‘to haunt’ ... and belief in the evilness of the dead and the same word chien (variously pronounced) are found among other Nilotic tribes, for instance among the Acholi, Dinka, Lango, and Nuer."

p. 117-8

"the deceased relatives, although they are invisible, often come back to their families to take part in the daily life and in family celebrations, and it is beyond question that the departed ones, as members of the same family or clan, also have the right to get their share of food."


pp. 119-120 Part III, Chapter 3 "Disease Spirits"

p. 119 dangerous or trouble-causing categories of spirits believed in by various tribes




Chagga & Kikuyu


Mbiti, J. S. : Akamba Stories. London, 1966. p. 16





Hauge 1971. p. 52

pp. 120-121 juogi (= /jok/ in other languages) spirit

p. 120

"Sometimes the medicine-man orders a white goat or white hen or a model boat to be given to the juogi. ... The animal or the boat is then considered to belong to the spirit, and it is forbidden to sell it. Any man who takes away the property of the spirit will then be possessed by the juogi, and he will never recover.

After having been possessed by the juogi (the ... state of possession is also called juogi) and after having been cured, the afflicted person is sometimes able to foretell the future. The juogi will then supply the person with necessary information about future events, and about diseases and which medicines are effective in each case. Thus the ‘spirit owner’ becomes .. ajuoga – a medicine-man."

p. 121

"hostile ghosts" : "The Lango medicine-man who deals with them is called abanwa, and he too acquires power over the ‘hostile ghosts’ after he has been possessed by one of them." (see Hayley 1947, p. 7)


pp. 121-124 Part III, Chapter 4 "Medicine-men"

p. 122 ja-c^ien kept by soothsayer within gourd {cf. <arabian jinn kept within lamp or within bottle}

"Sometimes the jachien enters a special gourd (called ajao in Luo), and thence gives the medicine-man the information he needs. ... This gourd contains a few seeds or small stones, and whenever the medicine-man wants to communicate with the jachien, he shakes the gourd violently so that it makes a loud noise, by which the jachien is attracted or awakened. The spirit enters him and talks to him from inside."

p. 123 ja-juok nocturnal dancers

"Some jajuoks run about naked at night ... . They perform wild dances and knock on the doors or walls of huts."

"Similar night-dancing medicine-men" in other tribes in East Africa :






Hayley 1947, p. 30


south of the Luo

LeVine, R. A. : "Witchcraft and Sorcery in a Gusii Community". In :- Middleton & Winter 1963. pp. 225-6


central Tanganyika

Beidelman, T. O. : "Witchcraft in Ukaguru". In :- Middleton & Winter 1963. p. 62



Buxton, J. : "Mandari Witchcraft". In :- Middleton & Winter 1963. p. 100


pp. 125-134 Part III, Chapter 5 "Magic"

pp. 127-133 harmful sorcery

p. 127

"the head of a bird (often a woodpecker) ... buried in the ground outside the enemy’s home. ... It appears that anyone can use the head of the woodpecker ... and achieve the desired result, but other objects generally have to be provided by a medicine-man, who has first prepared them. It is clear that these buried objects are believed to possess a sort of power".

p. 128

"magic power only occurs in association with ... supernatural beings (spirits, demons, gods, etc.) or ... the power depends on the will of these beings, and does not automatically act.

p. 129

... supernatural beings ... may be the source of such power in inanimate objects as well."

p. 130

"Roscoe, writing [The Northern Bantu. Cambridge, 1915. p. 285] about the Luo, states that it is possible to harm an enemy by throwing a spear through his shadow."

p. 131

Lango (see :- Hayley 1947, p. 32) : "if a man wants to harm a person, he can do so by pointing a finger at the person and thinking hard that he wants to kill him."


Luo : "When a jachien is to be expelled from a patient, ... a jadil is fetched. ... the medicine-man produces horns containing buru. He places one of these horns on the grave of the deceased who is believed to be the tormenting spirit and another below the ceiling of the hut belonging to the person who is being haunted."

p. 132

to protect against cattle-rustlers : "Chiefs possessing large herds of cattle take the precaution to keep a large supply of powerful medicine over the gateway leading into the kraal" – "the powerful medicine consists of a bundle of grass bought from a jabilo".

p. 133

"Roscoe states [The Northern Bantu. Cambridge, 1915. p. 286] that the Kavirondo [= Luo (p. 127)] often rub the patient with a plant, which is then buried under the surface of a thoroughfare, and the next person who steps over it catches the disease."


pp. 137-138 (Part IV, Chapter 5) "Medicine-men and Their Magic"

p. 138 terms for ‘magic power’ used by various East African tribes










pp. 139-145 (Part V) "Bibliography"

other books on religions of East African tribes :

T. T. S. Hayley : The Anatomy of the Lango Religion and Groups. Cambridge, 1947.

J. Middleton & H. E. Winter : Witchcraft and Sorcery in East Africa. London, 1963.

B. Millroth : Lyuba : traditional religion of the Sukuma. STUDIA ETHNOGRAPHICA UPSALIENSIA, vol. 22 (1965).

O. p’Bitek : Religion of the Central Luo. Nairobi, 1971.

B. Johnsen : The Iraqw Religion. "In preparation" {this was not published under that author’s name}


Hans-Egil Hauge : Luo Religion and Folklore. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo, 1974.

books later authored by Hans-Egil Hauge were :

Maasai Religion and Folklore. Nairobi, Kenya : City Print. Works, 1979.

Iraqw Religion and Folklore. Fjellhamar, Norway : World Folklore Society, 1981.

Turkana Religion and Folklore. Stockholm : Universitet Stockholm, 1986.