Finding an explanation for the causes of ill-health and other misfortunes has been and
continues to agitate the human mind. Among the Dagomba of the Northern Region of
Ghana, consulting diviners for virtually every situation, good or bad, makes diviners
’critical actors in the health-seeking behaviour of the people. This study explored the
significance of divination in the health-seeking behaviour among the Dagomba.
Specifically, the study was guided by the following objectives:
(i) To describe the practice of divination and how it affects health decision-making;
(ii) To examine reasons why a sick Dagomba will shop for the services of both a
diviner and an orthodox medical practitioner;
(iii)To examine gender relations and its consequences in the practices of divination;
(iv)To describe the circumstances under which divination is employed.
The study design was descriptive and qualitative methods of data collection were
employed. In-depth interviews were held with thirteen diviners, nine health professionals,
three patients of diviners, and the chief diviner and chief custodian of Dagbon culture.
Thirteen focus group discussions were held with men and women groups. Observations
were also used to complement the data collected. Both the IDIs and FGDs were recorded
and transcribed into English language. Themes were developed based on key issues
resulting from the data. The data was analysed using NVIVO 10 software. The findings of
the study are that:
Divination was used to distinguish between illnesses of supernatural origin and
illnesses described as normal or natural so that appropriate therapy could be sought
Patients and their relatives sometimes combined diviner and modern services at the
same time. This is premised on the belief that some illnesses have both spiritual
and physical aspects and as such they need both therapeutic regimen.
Women were not permitted to consult diviners because of patriarchy and the
alleged nature of woman. However, generally, women were also not permitted to
practice divination for fear of being branded witches.
Various types of divination practices were identified among the Dagomba. These
included soothsaying; sand-reading; occultism; and clairvoyance
In addition the study revealed that agents such as witchcraft, old customs, ancestral
spirits and nature spirits were responsible for the causes of most illnesses..
In conclusion, this study has documented the role divination plays in the daily life of
the Dagomba. The study also articulates the importance of diviners in the health-seeking
behaviour of the Dagomba and calls for consideration of the role of divination and diviners
in the entire health architecture of the Dagomba.
Edu, F (2021). Reading The Mind Of The Spirits: Divination And Health seeking Behavior Among The Dagomba In The Northern Region Of Ghana. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/reading-the-mind-of-the-spirits-divination-and-health-seeking-behavior-among-the-dagomba-in-the-northern-region-of-ghana
Frontiers, Edu. "Reading The Mind Of The Spirits: Divination And Health seeking Behavior Among The Dagomba In The Northern Region Of Ghana" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 26 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/reading-the-mind-of-the-spirits-divination-and-health-seeking-behavior-among-the-dagomba-in-the-northern-region-of-ghana . Accessed 13 May. 2021.
Frontiers, Edu. "Reading The Mind Of The Spirits: Divination And Health seeking Behavior Among The Dagomba In The Northern Region Of Ghana". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 26 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/reading-the-mind-of-the-spirits-divination-and-health-seeking-behavior-among-the-dagomba-in-the-northern-region-of-ghana >.
Frontiers, Edu. "Reading The Mind Of The Spirits: Divination And Health seeking Behavior Among The Dagomba In The Northern Region Of Ghana" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 13, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/reading-the-mind-of-the-spirits-divination-and-health-seeking-behavior-among-the-dagomba-in-the-northern-region-of-ghana