Akan Gods of Ashanti

Earth MotherAshanti Gods

The Akan are a people from Ghana and Ivory Coast. Their number is estimated at around 20 million people in both countries. They are divided in several subgroups. There are the Asante (Ashanti), Akwamu, Akyem, Akuapem, Denkyira, Abron, Aowin, Ahanta, Anyi and Baule, among others.
The Ashanti, located in central Ghana, is the largest tribe of the region. It is the major indigenous of the Akans (Ashanti and Fanti) of Ghana. The Ashanti people were always fierce fighters. They emerged as the dominant power in 1670. It conquered other areas, declaring a monopoly on the routes to the coasts. Kumasi, the capital, became the practical urban centre with services and facilities. Until the British capture over the capital Kumasi in 1874.

Aberewa: Primordial woman (see Asase Ya)

Abosom (-): the Gods, “the children of Nyame”, that assist humans on earth. They are akin to Orisha in Yoruba religion, the Vodun in West African Vodun and its derivatives, and the Alusi in Odinani. Abosom receive their power from the Creator Cod and are most often connected to the world as it appears in its natural state. Some of the most famous gods are associated with lakes, rivers, rocks, mountains and forests. These Spirits of nature are of three categories: state Gods, family or clan Gods, and Gods of the medicine man. The continued featuring of a particular god largely depends upon the ability of that Abosom to function to the satisfaction of supplicants. The Akan esteem the Supreme Being and the ancestors far above the Abosom and amulets. Attitudes to the latter vary from healthy respect to sneering contempt and rejection. The Akan never confuse the identity of Onyame and the identity of the Abosom. The Abosom can be discarded whereas Onyame cannot. Before Muslims and Christians arrived in West African, the Akan were assured of supremacy of the One Whom a modern theologian calls “the incomprehensible term of human transcendence, thus seeming monotheist and not polytheist. Priests serve individual Abosom and act as mediators between the Abosom and mankind.

Akwaba, Akuaba (f): Goddess of fertility and welcome. Symbols of her are placed over doors, and are given to maidens when they come of age, to welcome them into the next stage of life, that of mother.

Akaberekyerefo, Adutofo, and Abayifo (-): charmers, enchanters and sorcerers, and witches. Men and women who manipulate the spirit force for evil purposes. Beware the discarnate spirits of deceased human beings, which are fraudulently promoted by unscrupulous and/or ignorant priests and priestesses as Deities – as Abosom, Alusi, Orisha, Vodoun Lwa. Such spirits will also fraudulently promote themselves as Deities. The spirits are used to cause trouble – after an initial period of ‘luck’ – and force victims to sacrifice (more) money or else, to rid of the negative influence.

Ámoásu and Ámoáwia: the God of rain and God of sun shine. Amo-asu meaning “the one who gives rain”. Ámo-áwia meaning “the one who makes the sun shine”.

Anansi, Agya Anansi: spider trickster God. Anansi or Ananse is Akan meaning “spider”. One of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. He is also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy; and in the Southern United States he has evolved into Aunt Nancy. He is a spider, but often acts and appears as a man. The story of Anansi is akin to the tricksters Coyote, Raven or Iktomi found in many Native American cultures. The Anansi tales are believed to have originated in the Ashanti people in Ghana. Through the African diaspora this spread to the West Indies, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. On Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria. Anansi Kokuroku means “the great designer” or “the great spider”.

Anyame: the Gods, distinct from Nyame, the God of Gods.

Asase Ya, Aisata (f): Asase Ya (Asase Efua) is the Earth goddess of fertility. Asase Yaa is very powerful, though no temples are dedicated to her, instead she is worshipped in the fields. Her favoured people are workers in the fields and planet Jupiter is her symbol. She is the wife of Nyame, the Sky deity who created the universe. As Aisata, some consider her the wife of Ososo – comparable to Ausar of Kemet, thus she is compared to Auset (Isis) of Kemet. She gave birth to the two children, Bea (Bia) and Tano. She is also the mother of Anansi, the trickster, and divine stepmother of the sacred high chiefs.

Brekyirihunuade, Oboade, Okokroko (m): Supreme Creator God Nyame takes on various names depending upon the region of worship. Brekyiri-hunuade means “He who knows and sees everything”. The Creator God is also called Otweidiampon, Okokroko, Awurade. Tetekwafraámoàá meaning “the one who has always been there and who will never change”. There are no priests that serve him directly, and people believe that they may make direct contact with him. His wife is Asase Ya.

Koromanti: Creator God (or else brother or son of Nyame)

Kente Cloth

Nsamanade: Kingdom of the Dead.

Nsamanfo: The ancestors. Survival of humans and their community is dependent upon the help given by the ancestors and the divinities.

Nyame, Onyame, Onyankopon, Otweidiampon: Creator God of the Sky. Nyankopon, “the Supreme Being who alone is great”. The Supreme Creator god is a part of a triune deity or triad, which consists of Nyame, Nyankopon and Odomankoma. Nyame is also callen Nyamen to show alignment with many other African Gods, specifically the Kemetic God Amen/Amun. His name is also similar to Nyambe, Nzambe, Zamba, Nyumbi, Nzame, and Zambi – as found all over Africa. All these names are Amon/Imana’s names, the unique God of Africa. Otwøé-adua-àmpõn meaning “the one who is like a tree, if you lean against him you’ll never fall”.

Odomankoma, Odo-amankoma, Oduamafoa: Creater God Nyame as “infinite inventor”. For Nyame, the Akan also use the name Nyankopong – the being which gave birth to the universe. In Caribbean Vodou some consider Odomankoma to be the brother or son of Nyame. Also, Otuámafoáõ meaning “the powerful one”.

Ososo (m): God of paradise, male counterpart of Asiata (Asase Ya). Comparable to Ausar (Osiris) who was the personification of God’s good, the commander of the tribunal of the dead, in charge of sending the defunct in heaven or in hell according to his deeds on earth.

Twe, Bosomtwe: water Spirit, son of Nyame.


Sources: lisapoyakama.org, akan.org, wikipedia, odwirafo.com and others

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