Winti Introduction

Winti Photograph - Winti by Aad NicolaasWinti

Winti is the traditional Surinamese religion that resulted from different elements of the religious beliefs of the Africans that were enslaved and brought to Suriname from different West-African tribes. Similar religious developments can be seen elsewhere in the Caribbean and South-America (for example, Brazil’s Candomblé, Cuba’s Santería, Haiti’s Voodoo, Trinidad and Tobago’s Orisa).

Winti literally means “wind”. The wind representing the omnipresence of the gods and spirits. However, the term Winti is used to refer to the religion in general, as well as possession by spirits in particular.

The foundation of Winti is found in the belief in a creator called Anana Keduaman Keduampon (Anana for short) and the belief in gods of the four pantheons (Earth, Wood (also Fire), Water, Air), other spirits, and the veneration of the ancestors. Another belief is that followers can get possessed by a Winti – gods, spirits, and ancestors, alike.

Winti may further be described as:

“…an Afro American religion, within which the belief in personified supernatural beings occupies a central position. These personified supernatural beings can take possession of a human person, switch off their consciousness, as it were, and thereby reveal things concerning the past, present and future as well as cause and/or heal illnesses of a supernatural nature.” (C. Wooding, Winti: een Afro Amerikaanse godsdienst in Suriname (Meppel: 1972).)

Another Winti expert (H.J.M. Stephen, Winti, Afro-Surinaamse religie en magische rituelen in Suriname en Nederland, 1983) describes Winti as:

“…primarily a religion, which means that respect for the divine, worship and prayer are central. In addition, it has a strong magical aspect, which often has been emphasized too one-sidedly and unfairly. Magic involves the influence of earthly events by supernatural means.”

In Winti it is believed that a human being has three spiritual aspects, the Djodjo, Kra and Jorka. Through these aspects human beings are integrated into the supernatural world. The Djodjo are the supernatural parents who protect their children and may be higher or lower gods. They received the pure soul, the Kra, from Anana and give that to a child. The Kra and Djodjo determine your reason and mentality, while the biological parents provide blood and semen for the physical body. Jorka, the other spiritual part, absorbs the life experiences. After the death of the physical body, the Kra goes back to the Djodjo and the Jorka goes to the realm of the dead.

Source: (edited)




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