Religion has been defined as a "propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man," which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and human life. Humans are believed to have evolved through three states of beliefs.
For thousands of years before religion was known, man believed in the principles of magic, and strove to put them into practice in his daily life.
In the book Africa Origins of the Major Western Religions, Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan writes:
Paganism, Voodooism, Witchcraft, Fetishism, Black Magic, Obyah, and Oledamare are just a mere sampling of the many names relegated to a few of the righteously sacred religions of solely traditional indigenous African origin. Approximately 750,000 B.C.E., and possibly before this date, the indigenous African people, the so-called Bantus, Bushmen, Pygmies, Hottentots, Negroes, and others bearing such labels of inferiority, have been honoring a 'superior force' or being prior to the recording of history.
The "twa" (referred to as pygmies), recorded as being the first inhabitants of the world, had the earliest mode of worship recognizable in propitiation of the superhuman power.
What then is the foundation of African Spirituality? Our ancestors believed that man must place the utmost importance in the quest to "know thyself," as the deification of man was highly regarded. The Egyptians (Africans) taught that the soul of man, if liberated from the body, could become God-like. According to this concept, they also held that man would be among the Gods in his lifetime on earth and attain what was called the "Beautific Vision," (changed to "saints" in Christendom).
In Africa spirituality, the name ascribed to God, depended mainly on where in Egypt (Africa) a person lived. Those living in Thebes referred to God as "Ra," in Memphis as "Amon or Amen," and in Nubia as "Ptah." African spirituality was simply a holistic approach to life, possessing no one train of thought to dominate the mind. African spirituality was based on the Osirian doctrine and the principles of Maat. In brief, the central principle of Maat is that the Gods serve humanity as humanity serves the Gods. Maat is divine harmony. It is built upon, and reflection of understanding the celestial realm.