The Grove was bordered by the villages, kuntu, Abonku, mankessim, Abaka, Asokwa, Asaafa and Eminsano. The Mfantse States of Abora, Gomoa, Edwumako, Anyan, Nkusukum, and Ekumfi took the most active part in the worship of Nananom. Nananom was accounted the greatest fetish of the Mfantse people for consultation. Resort to it was made at all times of tribal difficulty and this naturally resulted in the establishment of a powerful school of priests.
It was held as an Oracle and able to give supernatural guidance to men stumbling in the darkness of imperfect knowledge. Nananom was expected to speak audibly when consulted. This the priest always provided, and "talking god", became the national god.
But there was a more sinister aspect at Nananom. Black magic was introduced into the worship, and in the darkness of moonless nights strange manifestation were reputed to occur. A vast spy system was introduced by the priests, through which a mass of information about all sorts of people was collected which might be useful to the priests when working the Oracle. Thus when jealous men and women came seeking proof of their suspicions, the Oracle spoke with such intimate details that the seekers without doubt believed had been obtained through the supernatural powers of Nananom. There were some people who offended the powerful priests. These were seized and taken to Okurududu Akwa a small pool and drowned, others were conveyed to a hill side and burnt alive.
In the grove there's a large stone which became the landmark of the burial place of the three chiefs- Ɔson, Oburmankoma and Ɔdapagyan, under whose leadership Mfantses migrated from Tekyiman and settled in Mankessim. The stone was the seat of the Oracle. On the stone there are grooves by which the priests measured the gold dust which the guilty paid.
The guilty who were able to pay the fine were washed and bathed in a nearby pool known as "Atsindu". After one's needs had been fulfilled, he had to pay "Osua" which would be £2:0 6d to the priests at the seat of Nananom. After this he'll be purified by being seated on the stones in Atsindu pond and Baptised by one of the priests. From Atsindu he would be led to the drinking saloon to bid the man who led him to the seat of Nananom farewell. The guilty who couldn't pay the fine were burnt alive at a particular place south-east and about fifty yards away from Nananom stone. Others with serious cases were dragged on their back on the ground. They were tortured till they reached Akwa, a pool north-east, and about one mile away from the court of the Grove. They were drowned for crocodiles to feed on them.
Nananom had a drinking saloon where the priests sat over the drinks they received from the men who visited the Grove. It was under a candle wood tree known as ɔkanto in Akan. The saloon was a very popular place for the priests. It was by the side of the highway which linked the interior and the coast ; from mankessim to Assays. The tree has survived till today. The priest had dug a hole into which a big, locally made pot was put. They then covered the pit and a bottle was fixed at the top to allow liquids to flow into the big pot.
This saloon was always occupied by a team of priests. Whenever a wine seller passed by, the priests called him and said "Nananom want to drink from your bottle". The seller might have thought that only a cupful of wine would be okay. But they will direct him to the buried bottle. Not knowing that under the bottle-head was a big pot, the wine seller would stoop over the bottle-head saying "taste my wine, Nananom, and guide my family ". The man might pour and pour till the small bottle head would drink the had bought from mankessim. When the priests saw the that the man's bottle was emptied, they would seize it and break it, because he couldn't give Nananom sufficient wine by filling their bottles. The man would continue his journey empty handed and if unlucky would be flogged to death. Individuals who passed by the Grove were caught and killed. If a man crossed the road with a wife or a child accompanying and following him, he would he would suddenly hear the companion crying in the Bush but no longer following. When he asked from the gods of Nananom, he would be told that the companion had been caught by Nananom's kite and that he shouldn't have his wife or child following him when travelling.
To consult the Oracle, an appointment had to be madebupon payment of knocking fee to the priests. On the meeting day, one had to give a bottle of wine to the priests at the Nananom saloon for permission to see the high priests for consultation.
In the Grove up in the woods, bridges were erected in the trees on which the priests walked and hid in the sacred place. When a man or animal was to the gods, the priests in the trees, and on the tray or bridge above the grove lowered ropes which were tied around the neck and usedbto pull offering into the woods. No offender could discern and to return to the report at Asaafa, Suprudu, and Obidan in the Ekumfi state
There was a blood pot at the Nananom made of Odum wood. It was used to perform rituals as required by the then pressing situations such as outbreak of epidemic, drought season et al. The acquisition of blood was never a problem to them because killing people was never a problem.
HAVE A NICE DAY AND WE'LL CONTINUE WITH THE FALL OF THE GROVE SOON.
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