La plante alan et le culte des ancêtres chez les Fang du Gabon

The alan plant and the ancestor cult among the Fangs of Gabon” – During the past centuries, the Fang, a Bantu-speaking ethnic group of the Western Equatorial Africa, used the hallucinogenic plant alan (Alchornea floribunda) in their Byeri initiatory ceremonies. Byeri was a cult of ancestors that involved the conservation and worship of the ancestors’ skulls. Despite the assertions that this cult has disappeared, it continues to be practised by today’s younger Fang members in a modified, simplified form, as a way of reviving traditional values. This article brings together the few ethnographical data on the Byeri – a cult kept secret – including the data collected by the author during his research in Gabon.