There are a number of traditional African methods for building an African Dagara Fire Shrine.
Why build a shrine?
A shrine is a sacred place and by building a shrine, we establish a sacred space for prayer, spiritual awakening, and spiritual union with the ancestors. Building a shrine is not weird, instead it shows a willingness to connect to something greater than yourself.
Dagara fire shrines are always built in the Southern part of the house made from natural materials. You can simply use a table and place photos of past away family members, shells, coins, jewelry, favorite objects, and other personal effects of the deceased.
The most important element of a Dagara fire shrine is fire, which must be kept burning at all times under watchful eyes. Fire shrines are built for protection and fire symbolizes the deep burning love, support and warmth of the ancestors.
Shrines throughout Africa
In the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria great altars were constructed to commemorate the passing of royal ancestors.
The Dogon people of Mali in western Africa use figures of dogs celebrate the memory of a brilliant dog that discovered a watering hole during the search for their current homelands.
|Burkina Faso Lobi peoples Bateba figures|
Guinea Baga peoples elek figures represent the family lineage. They were placed upon the family shrines, normally in the house where the eldest member of the lineage lived. Offerings were made in hopes of assuring protection from malevolent forces.
Among Mistogo peoples of Gabon, guarded by wooden figures, the skulls and bones of honored ancestors are kept as reliquaries on shrines that commemorate the lineage.
Burkina Faso Lobi peoples Bateba figures are recognized as living beings, which are placed on the shrines of supernatural spirits and are able to communicate with one another and to fight off evil.