Examining The Wakandan Culture: History, Religion And Gods Of The Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman nailed it as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War and fans are desperately awaiting to see more of him in action. After the introduction of the Black Panther in the MCU and the new Black Panther movie on its way, I think it’s an appropriate time to get an awareness of Wakanda and its heritage…

Wakandan History

In the comics, Wakanda is a small nation in Africa. It was inhabited by a group of primitive tribes around 10,000 years ago. During this time, a Vibranium meteor fell in its vicinity. One of the tribes lead by a man named Bashenga investigated it, who believed this to be a gift from the Gods. The tribe decided to forge the metal into weapons, however the radiation it emitted mutated some of the tribesmen, altering their DNA and making them lose control. Bashenga prayed to the Gods to grant him the strength to defeat these ‘Demon Spirits’, thus becoming the first Black Panther. He closed the Vibranium mound from outsiders and formed the ‘Black Panther Cult’, whose duty was to guard it from intruders. The radiation also affected the flora there, creating the ‘Heart-Shaped Herb’ that grants its consumer with enhanced strength, agility, and perception.

Wakandan Religion

Wakandans’ religion can be classified as African primal-indigenous religion. The leader of the Panther cult is entitled as the ‘Black Panther’. He is the ruler of the country as well as the chief of its various tribes. A chosen Black Panther is also granted the use of the Heart-Shaped Herb.

Wakandan Gods

The people of Wakanda have ties to African Gods called the ‘Ennead’. They mainly worship the two deities Bast and Sekhmet. In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet is the Goddess of fire, war and medicine, whereas Bast is the Goddess of cats, protection, joy, music and family.

In the comics, Sekhmet has the alias ‘Lion God’. He is a fearsome warrior and owns Khopesh swords and a Totem-stick as his main weapon. Bast is one of the eldest of the Ennead and is known as the ‘Panther God’. Black Panthers believe that they’re connected to Bast and derive power from her support.

What Does This Mean For The MCU?

The upcoming Black Panther movie may show similar spirituality while explaining the origin of the Black Panther. With Doctor Strange and Iron Fist coming too, Marvel may be shifting its path from scientific experiments and technology to mysticism and magic. This means that we might get a lot of enchantment and supernatural in Phase 3 of the MCU.

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