Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo….
Kuna hadithi najua bout vile dis dunia inafloat in space on de mgongo wa kobe, na kila mara mtu husimulia hii hadithi inabadilika, sometime’s de change is in de voice of de storyteller, but in all the tellings, dis dunia neva leaves de kobe’s back.
I remember so many stories starting wid one of de sacred orders of pan-africanism, Kenyan style!
Sometings were jus’ like dat, (whether ulikuwa ocha, mjini, pwani au mlima za Elgon na Kilimanjaro), sometings we understood, were indigenus to de land, en stayed on de continent, within our tribes en clans, slums en bourgeoise hubs, the spaces between our ‘school’ & ‘holy’ days, tribes of neo-colonial patterns.
Hii hadithi is about growing up in de arteries of Nairobi – (Matatu) Route 44 & 45; surrounded by de hoods of Baba Dogo, Kariobangi, Zimmerman, Githurai, Mathare, en de lavishness of Garden Estate, Kiambu, Muthaiga,Runda, the army barracks…..
Na bado moyo wa Afreeka ni shambani kama mwezi wapasua wingu, wachimbuka, waleta anga……
kama ni ukweli, what is the right way nyumbani?
I give thanks for Tdot en dis renaissance groove we (been) in, nashukuru wahenga wa Kobe Island, for allowing me/we to walk pon dis land, nashukuru their guidance en protecshun. Nashukuru wahenga wangu ninaowajua, wale sijui, na wale wanaonijua deeper than I know myself, I give thanks munavyotubeba. Wa Mungu uwazi na wewe, ubarikiwe.
….De concepts presented here are by no means inclusive. They are merely de ones that [I, and] Tobe Melora Correal, as a student of [dis Bukusu, Swahili en] Yoruba tradishun making her [our] own journeys toward deeper understanding, feel are some of de most important. They are also among de fundamental metaphysical ideas that inform de core practices en daily experiences of practitioners around de world.
In de Yoruba (Bukusu en kiSwahili) cosmos, there is one Supreme Being – the source, the Almighty Owner of de entire universe, God – whose work on dis galaxy is carried out by one Creator, whose work on Earth is aided by 401 gods en goddesses. Both Source (Olorun/Were) en Creator (Olodumare/Gulu/Mungu) exist in de invisible realm (Ikole Orun), while de “helper” god/desse/s (the Orisa) exist as divine immortals on Earth (Ikole Aye).
De energies of Source flow into en join with de energies of de Creator, which combined flow through en join with de manifold energies of de Orisa, which then flow through all that exists in Creashun.
Chapter 1 In de beginning…..
Yoruba (en Bukusu) divinity actually begins before de mwanzo, with Olorun, de Supreme Being en Source of de entire universe. According to Yoruba teachings, Olorun is so profound an intelligence en mystery, such an intense force, that we can never fully understand what IT is or how IT organizes en runs de universe. Although often referred to by practitioners as Father and He, Olorun is neither male nor female. For de sake of simplicity en also because it feels comfortable for me personally, I often use de feminine pronoun when referring to Olorun.
Ukweli ni, Olorun is an infinitely divine force that is minimized by assigning it either/or/any gender. Indeed, Olorun’s composition en potency are beyond de capacity of de human body to experience consciously with our physical senses.
Although de Supreme Being is beyond our intellectual en physical grasp, Yoruba teachings maintain a fundamental oneness exists between God en creashun. For Yoruba en Bukusu practitioners, holiness resides within all tings of nature, both animate en inanimate. People who look at life through an either/or lens may have trouble with de concept of every single ting being at one with an indefinable entity that we cannot touch, see, hear, smell, taste, or fully explain.
How, they might ask, can someting be so elusive at de same time so integral to who en what we are? If we can neva physically experience or even describe Olorun, how can we find oneness with God here on Earth? How can we human beings live spiritually connected to de Supreme Being? How can we breathe God’s breath in every moment?
[Not only] The Yoruba [en Bukusu] path follows a both/and approach to living, which allows for en embraces all facets of any situation, even forces that appear to cancel out each other. Dis ability to see multiple sides of tings makes it possible for us to accept de idea that God is near us en far away. It enables us to acknowledge that although God is mo powahful than we can envision or articulate, God is in our breath, our blood, en every moment of our daily lives…….
For de Yoruba, Olodumare functions as the creative divine intelligence, birthing en sustaining all matter. S/he does so without error en allows only that which has met hir approval to manifest.
Olodumare, like Olorun, is often designated as male, but like Olorun, Olodumare also transcends gender. De tendency to refer to Olodumare en Olorun as male is de product of partriarchal thinking en cultural systems. Because Olodumare represents de sacred womb of Creashun – en because womben create new life through their wombs – I choose to use de feminine pronoun for dis hadithi.
Nonetheless, please remember that although feminizing de Creator is, in a basic sense, appropriate to dis hadithi, it is not metaphysically accurate. While Olodumare and Olorun encompass both feminine en masculine energies, neither is exclusively male or female.
Na pia, while it is entirely appropriate to refer to Olorun, Olodumare, and Orisa as God, Yoruba teachings are very clear that there is only one source, Olorun. Olodumare and Orisa perform functions as extensions of Olorun’s unchanging Essence. Their divine powahs derive from Olorun; without Hir they could not even exist….
It is precisely because Yoruba tradition recognizes de singular greatness of Olorun that de Orisa are so important to practitioners. We acknowledge ourselves as de children of Orisa, who are de watoto of de Creator, who is the child of Source, de Supreme Being. We understand that all pouring of divine maji – from Olorun to Olodumare, through de Orisa, en into Creashun – has endowed all maisha with de sacredness of de One Source. We realize that de Orisa are immediately responsible for filling our dunia en each of us wid Olorun’s magic.
Because we know dis about de Orisa, we revere them and we thank them. We pay speciall attention to them through our rituals en shrines, in private en in community, because our relationship with Orisa keeps us mindful of de powah, beauty, en presence of Olodumare. In loving Orisa, we acknowledge the flow of Olorun’s essence running through our lives.
For de Yoruba (en other traditions), de more intimately we know Orisa, de more intimately we know God…ase….
[revised excerpts from one of mi favourite books, zawadi kutoka mama wangu wa tatu] Finding Soul on The Path of Orisa by Tobe Melora Correal. mama ubarikiwe.