My Kakishi moment

Source: Art and Oracle

In December of 2016 I tapped out in the auction of a very reasonably priced ‘kakishi’ divination piece (Merton Simpson estate). It’s been three years and it may be time to let this one go. The piece is shown below.

I found a more recent picture (and more expensive listing) of another similar item.

The kakishi is used in a form of Luba divination called kashekesheke. It is about six inches high, with an open body for the insertion of the fingers of client and diviner.

“Kashekesheke is performed by both diviner and client. The kakishi is placed on a woven mat. The suppliant addresses the question to the kakishi and the diviner and client insert their forefingers into the body space of the prepared kakishi. The kakishi moves in various patterns, which signify ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘no answer’.

This form of Luba divination is relatively simple and used for personal crisis or when facing uncertainty regarding a future course of action. The divination process provided the ritual context for the creation of small and often exquisitely carved friction devices.”

2 Responses to My Kakishi moment

  1. Ed Jones says:

    As with ‘kashekesheke’, the Luba custom of ‘bavidye’ is clearly linked to ancient Hebrew traditions.

    It is said, in order to gain access to the powerful spirit-world, female spirit-mediums must be used to intercede on behalf of humans to win or regain favor becaue only a woman’ body can endure this (women alone are believed to be strong enough to hold the spirit of a king.)

    Henceforth, I think your overview about ‘kashekesheke’ applies to a non-royal form of divination.
    There’s so much more to this..

    Indeed, ‘Kashekesheke’, involves a sculpted-wooden figure that is analyzed in response to questions in which a diviner and a client pose to the spirit.
    Yet, women ‘kashekesheke-diviners’ have no need for any special preparation to serve in this capacity. On the other hand, male practitioners must undergo ‘lusalo’, which involves the insertion of medicinal substances into the surface of the skin of the hand where the sculpted figure makes contact.

    And, you know, I honestly don’t understand the term “friction oracle..”
    Is that yet another redacted and false synonym (explanation), as with so many of the late 18th and early 19th C.E black-and-white photos in circulation? For me, little doubt exists the ‘kashekesheke-diviner-client’s hands” photo with are staged and rather dubious.

    Be well.

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