West African Mythology - The African Pantheon
The area of West Africa contains many countries, some peaceable and a few troubled by civil conflict or corrupt politics. The listing of countries contains Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Each of these international locations is residence to a number of ethnic teams, and every group has its personal mythology.
The myths of these people are part of a dwelling faith and needs to be handled with respect by storytellers.
The supreme god of the Fon people of Benin is Nana Buluku. He is the daddy of the twins Lisa and Mawu, deities of the Sun and Moon. The creator god is Mawu. An support to Mawu was Aido-Hwedo, the good serpent energy, a primal pressure who assisted within the ordering of the cosmos. Above the earth, Aido-Hwedo had 3,500 coils, and the identical quantity under; collectively, they supported Mawu’s creation. Fa is the god of future, who supplied the private destiny for every human. A son of Mawu and Lisa is Gu, god of iron and conflict.
Other deities include Age, patron of hunters. Age is accountable for the wilderness, the uninhabited bush, and the animals therein. Legba is a trickster god of language and destiny, Minona is a goddess diviner, and Sogbo is the god of thunder, lightning, and ﬁre.
Other attention-grabbing characters of Fon conventional beliefs are Honsi and Honsu, a pair of legendary twins with magical powers, and Yehwe Zogbanu, the thirty-horned forestdwelling large.
The Bamileke and the Bangwa people acknowledge one supreme god referred to as Si. But they're extra probably to pray to ancestral spirits for assist or steerage. Si stays a somewhat distant ﬁgure.
The Eﬁokay of Cameroon and Nigeria
Abassi, or Obassi, is the Eﬁokay creator god. His spouse, Atai, introduced loss of life to humankind. Atai satisfied her husband to enable their human youngsters, one man and one lady, to stay on Earth. The youngsters weren't allowed to reproduce or work in order that they'd not overwhelm Abassi in energy and knowledge.
When the ﬁrst people broke these guidelines, Atai killed them each and induced strife, loss of life, and conflict between their youngsters. Abassi and Atai had been so disgusted that they withdrew from the affairs of their descendants.
Nyambe is the creator god of the Asante people. He planted the tree of life in his backyard then moved it to heaven when people failed to admire it.
Perhaps the perfect-identified being within the delusion and folklore of West Africa is Ananse (additionally spelled Anansi). He is the trickster spiderbeing of the Asante and different West African peoples, and a ﬁgure in Caribbean folklore. Dubiaku is a tradition hero of the Asante people and the one mortal to outwit loss of life. He is thought to the Asante people dwelling in Nigeria as effectively.
Wuni is the creator god of the Dagamba people. One delusion says that the people despatched a canine to Dagamba to inform him what a really exhausting life they led, however the canine received sidetracked by a juicy bone. So a goat was despatched, however its bleating was so difﬁcult to perceive that Wuni misunderstood and determined that life could be ended by loss of life.
The Ivory Coast
The supreme deity of the Akan is Nyame, who created all issues and from whom lesser gods derive their energy. Nyame just isn't worshiped straight however is approached by way of intermediaries. These lesser gods, referred to as abosom, could inhabit lakes, streams, rivers, or timber. Below them in standing are minor deities whose energy is invoked by way of amulets or charms worn for defense. The samanfo, or ancestral spirits, are crucial to the Akan people, because the ancestors are believed to defend their descendants.
Now predominantly Muslim, the Mande combine components of Islam with their conventional beliefs. The Mande creation delusion, for instance, describes the biblical account of creation, nevertheless it additionally contains the creation of two units of twins from seeds. These twins had been commanded to populate the earth and train their youngsters how to develop crops. The twins created music and prayed for rain. The Niger River is claimed to have been fashioned from the ensuing ﬂoods.
The majority of Mali’s inhabitants is Muslim, however some people nonetheless follow indigenous religions. Yo is a primeval world spirit within the perception system of the Bambara people. This trickster is made up of each female and male components. Yo allowed Pemba, the creator god, and Pemba’s brother, Faro, god of sky and water, to go to Earth.
Pemba is a vegetation deity, and Faro created humankind. Faro is a distant deity who visits Earth solely as soon as each 400 years. MussoKoroni is the Bambara goddess of dysfunction. She is the spouse of Pemba however dislikes him and prefers to wander, inflicting unhappiness and dysfunction wherever she goes.
Amma is the sky god and the creator of the universe for the Dogon people. Nommo was the ﬁrst dwelling being created by Amma. Nommo multiplied himself into 4 units of twins. One twin rebelled in opposition to the others, inflicting unrest on the earth. To restore stability, Amma lower Nommo up and placed the items evenly world wide to steadiness it. Shrines to the ancestral spirits often known as Binu commemorate this occasion.
Lebe is the Dogon earth god, involved with the agricultural cycle. Tradition claims that Lebe visits the hogons, or monks, each night time as a serpent who licks their pores and skin to ﬁll them with renewed life pressure and purity.
Ogo is the trickster god, also referred to as the Pale Fox or Jackal. Ogo’s tough youngsters are Andumbulu and Yeban, the underworld spirits. Yasigi is the goddess of dancing, beer, and masks.
Nigeria is the house of a number of totally different ethnic teams. The tradition that's maybe most acquainted to the people of the United States is that of the Yoruba people. Many Yoruba had been introduced to the New World as slaves, they usually introduced their beliefs with them.
The Bura and Pabir Peoples
Hyel, or Hyel-Taku, is the supreme god of the Bura and Pabir people. He is worshipped not directly, by way of the haptu, or private gods. Some of these private gods belong to explicit clans, and there's no single haptu for a complete tribe.
The Ibo People
The supreme Ibo deity is Chuku, or Chukwu, from whom all good comes. Ala is his daughter, the earth goddess, mom of all issues and spirit of fertility.
Ekwu, goddess of the fireplace, is the ladies’s patron, and Aha Njoku is the goddess of yams, an essential crop for the Ibo people, and the patron of the ladies who take care of them. Lesser gods include Mbatuku, spirit of wealth, Agwo, who's all the time envious of others’ wealth, and Ikoro, the spirit of the drum.
The Yoruba People
Olorun is the ruler of the sky and father of the gods Obatala and Oduduwa (heaven and Earth). He is the deity of peace, concord, justice, and purity. Obatala is without doubt one of the most essential Yoruban gods. He created humankind and is the patron of the handicapped. Oduduwa created the earth. The world started as solely water, and Oduduwa threw soil onto the water. He despatched a rooster to scratch at it, which pushed it round and created the dry land.
Yemoja, who's variously described because the daughter of Olorun, Oduduwa, or Obatala, is the mom goddess of the dwelling ocean. She is the patron of delivery and is worshipped primarily by ladies. Her brother and husband is Aganju. When Orangun, their son, raped Yemoja, her physique burst open and ﬁfteen gods had been born, together with Sango.
Sango, the god of thunder and the ancestor of the Yoruba people, has three wives. The ﬁrst is Oya, who stole Sango’s secrets and techniques of magic; the second is Osun, the river goddess, who's Shango’s favourite; and the third is Oba, who was forged away by Shango to grow to be the turbulent Oba River. Osun, Sango’s favourite spouse, is the goddess of affection, pleasure, magnificence, and diplomacy. While she is beneficiant and type to humankind, Osun has a ﬁerce mood.
Sapanna is one other of Yemaja’s sons, an offended god who afﬂicts people with illness and insanity. Eshu is a trickster god to whom choices have to be made earlier than any magic ritual could also be carried out. He is the protector of vacationers and a trainer who makes use of methods to make his level. Olokun is the ocean deity, seen in each male
and feminine variations, who lives in an underwater palace and symbolizes deep knowledge. Olokun can be the patron of those that had been carried off within the slave commerce.
Aja is a forest goddess who teaches her followers the usage of medicinal herbs. Oya is the goddess of ﬁre and wind, a warrior deity whose anger causes hurricanes. She can be the patron of change and guardian of the gates of loss of life.
In addition to the deities, there are different beings in Yoruban mythology. The orishas are the guardian spirits and include Babalu-Aye, the spirit of therapeutic. Egbere all the time weeps and carries a mat. Whoever steals his mat will grow to be wealthy.
This sampling of the mythologies of West Africa offers storytellers a touch of the riches to be discovered by researching them extra completely.
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