Black Spirituality Religion : Olokun, Orisa of the Waters

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Sekhemu, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Olokun is the owner of all waters, his symbol is the seven seas. All riverine divinities in the Yoruba pantheon fall under his authority. As owner of the seas, all rivers by their movements pay tribute to him, the ocean, and deposit gold and other riches at his door.

    Olokun is the owner of the phenomenon of nature that covers 71 percent of the earth. He is the highest form of Orisa after Obatala, whom he concedes the right to rule out of respect for Obatala's wisdom age, and tact, and because Olofin decided that this was to be the order of things. This order is recounted in the tale of the competition between Olokun and Obatala. In this story, Olokun challenged Obatala to a contest to see who owned the finest garments. The winner of the contest would be declared the king of the Orisa and the ruler of the world. Obatala accepte the challenge and Olokun returned to his encampment. Obatala sent the chameleon agemo, to Olokun as a royal escort to the competition. When Olokun came out of his emcampment the chameleon had changed his colors to match Olokun's garments until Olokun finally conceded to Obatala on the grounds that if Obatala's messenger was so great, then Obatala must be even greater. This story shows how Obatala beat Olokun with wisdom, and won the title of first among equals and ruler of the world. It hints at the idea that the Yoruba recognize that although the ocean is larger, the land is more important, because that is where man lives. Olokun lost sovereingty on earth, which he respectfully relinquished to Obatala.

    The division of the earth into dry land and water can be also be related to the concept of the two half gourds, which are symbolic of the primary division of the universe. If we view the earth as a calabash which is divided, then Obatala (land) would rule the upper portion, and Olokun (the ocean) would rule the lower portion.

    As concept in nature, Olokun is the bottom two thirds of the ocean. All of the oceans and seas form and integrated unit and together may be properly called the World ocean. It is this idea of the ocean that Olokun rules. Olokun rules all the waters on Earth, including the domain of Yemoja, his mother. In scientific terms, Yemoja rules the top or euphotic layer of the ocean, which is, that part of the ocean in which light is able to penetrate, to permit the growth of green plants though the process of photosynthesis. Olokun is the bottom two-thirds or meso and bathopalagic levels of the ocean, in which plants are only able to grow through the process of chemosyntheis.

    At these levels in the ocean, there is a perpetual darkness, and photosynthesis does not occur. The temperature is cold (34 deg - 37 deg), there is extreme depth pressure, and animal life is limited to predators and scavengers who pray on whatever is available and falls from above. It is the land of the dead, where plants and animals, whose forms are distorted to accomodated the depth pressure and and lifestyles of these depths, take on monstrous shapes and sizes. It his here that the mythical monsters were born. This sea area is further represented by mountain ranges, plateaus, ridges, canyons, and crevices, which was until recently, unexplored territory. The advent of recent oceanographic research as permitted man to ascertain the type of terrain beneath the sea, but limited details of the life within. Today, the sea still remains something of a mystery.

    The Yoruba approached this mystery by labeling it in ral and philosophic terms as The Unknown. The proverb, " No one knows what lies at the bottom of the sea," is in itself a statement describing the depth of the oceans and by extention, all things unknown to man. Here lies the double mystery of Olokun. Implicit in the statement about the unknown is the idea that answers to questions about mankind, about nature, about the future itself, lie within the kingdom.

    The idea of the dark kingdom implies untold secrets, and Olokun can be called he keeper of secrets. As the Keeper of secrets, Olokun holds the keys to the mysteriesabout the history of the trans-atlantic passage, in which lies the ancestral link about the millions of captive Africans who were lost during the Maafa and who entered the kingdom of Olokun carrying cultural and ancestral links with them. During rituals performed in Olokun's honor, New World Yoruba give a basket full of all types of food to the sea.

    Scientist have discovered that at the bottom of the ocean, no erosion occurs and in fact, using the 1981 underwater excavation of the 16th century flagship the Mary Rose, it has been shown that certain artifacts have been fully preserved in the depths of the ocean. This example emphasizes Olokun's role as Keeper of Secrets and preserver of knowledge of the past.

    Olokun is also the keeper of secrets of divination. He has an important relationship with diviners, and although he permits the diviner to view some secrets, he even obscures and hides certain secrets from them. He is said to even confound the wisdom of Orunmila on certain levels by darkening the answers to questions. Olokun embodies the principle that there are certain things which are unkowable, and this acts as a check on man's possible arrogance. He is representative of tha part of reality that every religious doctrine depicts as the void, the realm of nothingness , and oblivion. It is the possible monstrous fate hidden amidst the darkness that serves as the ultimate check and balance on mankind's activities. Olokun holds the secret to the past, the present, and the future, and he allows us to use some of those secrets to enrich our lives through divination.

    Out of many dwelling places, water is the primary residence of spiritis, both human and otherwise. Olokun plast host to the spirits and, in a sense, Olokun's domain can be thought of as a spiritual waiting room where the spirits of the dead wait to be reborn. This idea coincides with the physical characteristics of the ocean; it is perpetually cold and dark, and represents a ripe climate for the suspended animation of spirit.

    Olokun is said to give children, and women who are barren go to him. In and agrarian society, children are symbolic of wealth. Olokun is associated with giving wealth in the form of children, in the form of health, and in the form of abundant possessions. As a result of this, Olokun's devotees are mostly women who pray to Olokun for children, for health and for wealth. He is considered to be the holder of vast untapped riches which the rivers deposit, in the form of gold and other minerals, into his coffers

    Olokun is associated with the unknown, the unknowable, and the unreachable. He is a world within a world. As natural phenomena that occurs on dry land, are represented in the ocean, including rivers, volcanoes, earthquakes, streams, mountain ranges, valleys, and plateaus. without his waters there would be no world as we know it. He is associated with Orisa Oro Ina (fierce fire at the core of the earth), and, in certain Orisa houses in Cuba, is associated with Olokun (o) sa (Olokun's lagoon) a female Orisa wjp acts as his consort.

    Olokun is symbolized by the mudfish which burrows into the mud curing the dry season and is an amphibian which is unique in that it lives in water, hops along over dry land, and certain species even climb the bottom branches of trees and build nests. The mudfish is symbolic of Olokun's ability to rule both in the water and on land, and also is symbolic of mankind's ascent from the muddy bottomof the sea onto dry land and into the trees. In Benin, the mudfish is represented as the legs of the king, who is said to be the representative of Olokun on the land.

    Olokun is also symbolized by red coral, which is colony of tiny animals joined together by the skeletons of their dead ancestors. As coral grows, reefs are formed which purify the water, provide shelter for other sea animals, and encourage growth of wild life communities beneath the sea. Olokun is representative of civilization beneath the sea, which nourish and enrich us by stimulating the production of foodstuffs, jewelry and other useful materials. He is depicted wearing a gown and crown of coral, having mudfish legsl, and holding a crocodile in each hand. Olokun is said to live in a palace under the sea with merhumans and fish attending to his every whim. In Benin and Yorubaland, the orthodox view is that Olokun is a male Orisa even though there are traditions in Yorubaland that depict the Orisa as female. Both traditions have come to cuban and the united states.

    Iya maa bi inu

    Ebi a maa ki ti O loro sun
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank you, elder brother....
     
  3. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Modupe O Dear brotha.

    I posted this thread to draw attention to the fact that many of our ancestors languish at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. It is contingent upon All traditional African religious practitioners to remember them, and more importantly make offering to them so they can find peace and solice.

    I don't have to tell you that the common narrative in respect to healing, and spiritiual evolution within the context and scope of Traditional African Religions are Egun. There can be no true transformation unless our Egun are propitiated. This is no less true in Africa or the diaspora.

    ase o

    Ire Olokun
     
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ase...

    Iba e gbogbo egun.... Ase...

    Tuhwi
     
  5. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ire Gbogbo Egun

    Ase O
     
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