Spirit Theory and Seven Books That Engage It

Ogbo Obodo figures for the cult of Nkpetime

Spirit theory has to do with those ideas used to account for or justify the activities of spirit, we could also identify it as a set of principles on which the practice of spirit is based. They are foundational frameworks which are set to guide or uphold spiritual practices or used to idealize and acknowledge the existence of spirit in whatever form.

With this post i will highlight (recommend) seven books across genres which i believe engaged spirit theory in one way or another, whether directly as a subject matter or indirectly embodied in stories and as godly expressions in poems.

If you are interested in spirit theory this post is for you and you should definitely check out the recommended books as soon as you can if you haven’t already. Let’s get to it!

Seven books that engage spirit theory listed in no particular order;

1. Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Patrice Somé

with this nonfiction book, Malidoma Somé engages spirit theory as a direct subject, he recounts his personal experiences of exile from as well as initiation into the ways of being of his people. It’s difficult not to think about the importance of rituals and spiritual responsibility each indigenous community holds, after reading this book.

2. Leopards of the Magical Dawn: Science and the Cosmological Foundations of Igbo Culture by Nze Chukwukadibia E. Nwafor

another nonfiction book where the author, Nze Chukwukadibia really gets into spirit theories and philosophies, he breaks down multiple cosmic principles as it applies to the ways of being and spirituality of Igbo peoples. This book is one of my faves and i reread it at least once a year.

3. The Famished Road by Ben Okri

a work of fiction where Ben Okri uses magic realism to weave in spiritual wonders and realities, this book is a madness really! it’s one of the few books that has left me in awe of not just the mind of the writer but their ability to hold those pages together. It tells stories through the eyes of a spirit child, an abiku, an ogbanje.

4. Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens: The Divine Feminine in the African Religious Traditions by Lilith Dorsey

the author of this nonfiction book engages spirit at a much appreciated level, as a reality that travels across borders and as an idea that persists against all odds. If you want to learn of Orishas, goddessess, and voodoo queens, their stories, life and influence, also of spells! then this is the book to read.

5. Content Warning: Everything by Akwaeke Emezi

if you want to see what it’s like for a godforce to recount human existence and weave in diefied comparisons with poems, then this poetry collection by Akwaeke Emezi is it!

6. After God is Dibia by John Anenechukwu Umeh

this nonfiction book is another one of my faves, it has two seperate volumes 1 & 2, which i reread at least once each year. The author gets into stories, accounts and framewroks which attest for the role of Dibias as masters of realities within our indigineous ways of being, in this case the Igbo society.

7. Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde

Finally, Vagabonds! Eloghosa Osunde weaves spirit theory into the worlds they build and bend with this work of fiction. A must read collection of stories for everyone interested in great storytelling if you ask me!

There we have it, that’s my list of recommendations for those interested in works across genres that engage spirit theory. Y’all know i like to make lists and recommend good stuff, so yes definitely expect more in different forms. My contact form remains open for questions and requests, as always.

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