- Religion and Philosophy»
- African Religions
The Yoruba Cosmic Egg
Lucumi and Traditional Yoruba ArtClick thumbnail to view full-size
In my last article Spirtiualism-at-Home-The-Fundamental-Principle
s-of-Santeria, I linked Santeria to Spiritualism as a form of self developing
religious practice at home. The practice of Spiritualism(Espiritismo) is what I grew up knowing it as. Forms a base for linking Santeria to an African indigenous tradition called Yoruba Orisha(O-ree-sha) Worship. I also tried expressing spirituality as something
that we can all tap into, no matter what belief or spiritual affinity. And, how
we can mix multiple belief systems by way of a spiritual alter. This is because
our belief system can be a mixture of our ancestral cultural makeup; as in the melding of paternal and maternal backgrounds. For
example, having a Asian ancestral lineage from the mother's side and African
ancestral linage on the father's side. This can lead to one having Taoist,
Buddhist, even Hindu symbols on ones alter, along side African statues of
twins, earth & thunder entities, as well. I know that my last article was a
bit long, and I succeeded in cramping many different concepts into one page.
I'll try not to do that again. Yet, I felt the need in trying to express something
that most people can not believe they can feel or do. And that is to feel spirituality in multiple facets. Then comes the challenge of worshiping in multiple ways. Why not? go to a Buddist temple in the morning, praise the lord in a Christian church at noon. And, then do Hoodoo in the evening. I bet God would say "I gotaa hand it too this guy, he's every where."
At this time, I would like to clarify something. Santeria is a broad term for which it includes all Latin American indigenous traditions mixed with Christianity. In other words Hispanic paganism merged or copulated with Christianity. Hence, there is Mexican Santeria, Venezuelan Santeria, Cuban, Central American etc. The concepts that I write about have its foundations in Cuban Santeria or Yoruba Lucumi Tradition, as it is most correctly expressed. The Yoruba's are a west African tribe or nation, who's captured slaves arrived in Cuba mid 1800's. And, even though, there were other African indigenous people from other regions of Africa which also arrived. The Yoruba and their religious ideology of Orisha Worship and IFA(eefa), have been duly noted to be the most conceptually advanced and rich in ritual organization. It is recognized by this government as an organized religion. But, some places also classify it as a form of voodoo. Most people’s idea of voodoo, is witchcraft for spell casting, conjuring, and dark occult work; utilized for imposing ones will on others; in order to satisfy a selfish desire. This is not true of the Yoruba religious ideology, known as Ifa(eefa) and Ocha(O-sha). Oh yes, there are those which practice and allow themselves to be hired in this way; for they entered the religion with this idea, and never learned other wise. There are those that will not lend themselves to this form commercialization of the religion. The laws of conduct, social interaction and philosophical thought of the Yoruba, are expressed in their belief system called Ifa(eefa). Ifa is the system of divination utilized by the Babalawo, as handed to them by a divinity called Orunmila. A subsystem of Ifa is utilized by the Orisha priest & priestess called Meridilogun, which is divination by casting cowry shells. The Babalawo cast a chain called Opele for day to day divination. Yet, for a more in-depth divination, utilize the manipulation of palm nuts(Ikins) known as Adeles, in a ritual called Atefa. Ifa is a binary system, not unlike the computer speaks today. The myths or Yoruba stories or divinity interaction; religious ideology, rules of ritual practice; the understanding of man, nature, and his elements; are all expressed by Ifa. The Ifa systems and its teachings are geared at fighting or combating witchcraft, and evil spells. As a trained Babalawo, I engage in releasing, expunging, or expulsion of negative influences, that's damaging or haunting an individual or their environment. As I continue to gather thoughts and express what I have learned through years of practice, experience, and connection to Yoruba pantheon of divinities. I hope that folks can shed away fear, skepticism, and disrespect, of a belief system/religious practice, going back too before the flood.
Creation & recreation at workClick thumbnail to view full-size
Ashe the great force
Ashe, Will, Tao(the way), The
Force; Existence the will of life to not be denied. All things owe its respect
to it, the divine energy that could not be denied life is/as God. Ashe is the
Yoruba word for this force, that which is unexplainable. The Chinese call it
Tao the Way. In western thought I believe it is called Will. We all have innate
will, grace, gift, and are connected to that which is divine. That which is
divine began, with the big bang, the statement "Let there be Light"
from God in genesis, or the crashing of an asteroid with planet Tiamat, as
expressed by Zachariah Setchin in the book the 12th Planet, from his series the
Earth Chronicles. I'd like to share the Yoruba & Fon versions of the divine
will of God as manifest in the creation of our universe. And as you read, this version can be interpreted to express
the idea that Eve came before Adam. Hence, which came first the Chicken or the
Egg? As you read, be mindful, that this
theory is a simple explanation for something as complex as the creation of the
universe. The cosmic serpent, can be interpreted to be the magnetic field
between the planets and Sun which keeps us spinning and connected. Try to
associate the divinities with planetary forces, forces of nature, and the
powerful elements which bind all things in this wonderful universe, and us on
Earth. There is a hierarchy of angels in Heaven, and they are entrusted the stability
of the universe.
“Before there was day, before there was night, and before there was a Universe, All things lived in harmony in Olorun, The Cosmic Heavens,located in the realm of Ikode Orun.The Giant Egg that sat in the center of Nothingness. “
Similarly, In China there is the concept of Tao, the Way. As expressed by the immortal poems of Lao Tzu(25).
"Something there is, whose veiled creation was before the Earth or sky began to be; so silent, so aloof and so alone, it changes not, nor fails, but touches all; conceive it as the mother of the world. I do not know its name; A name for it is "Way"; Pressed for designation, I call it great.Great means outgoing, outgoing, far reaching, far reaching , return. The Way is great, the sky is great, the Earth is great, Man also is great.Within the realm these four our great. Man but stands for one of them. Man conforms to the Earth; The Earth conforms to the Sky;the sky conforms to the Way; the Way conforms to its own nature."
Poking Fun... I mentioned which came first the chicken or the egg above... because I found a side bar question which asked this... and the Yoruba's had an answer for it...
The Yoruba say that it is the chicken, because God created the Chicken, in order for it to lay the Egg......