RELIGION

Postcard from Osun (1)

If the idle mind is the devil’s workshop, and the curious mind is the devil’s playground, my mind has been the devil’s playground since I was a teenager.

Things beyond my grasp entice me. The serpent dangles the apple before my eyes, and I never resist to take a bite. A little knowledge never hurt anyone. Or does it?

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, outdoor, nature and water
Cisi Eze, Conversing with Osun. Photo Credit: Stephen Eke.

Oya and Osun, two Yoruba deities have held my interest ever since 2015. Honestly, I have an affinity with Oya.

Image result for oya goddess
Oya, Lady of Storms. http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/oya-storms/Oya.html

Oya is an orisha of change, and if I dare add, revolutions. “Her name means ‘She Who Tore’ in Yoruba.  She can manifest as winds ranging from the gentlest breeze to the raging hurricane or cyclone. Oya is known as a fierce Warrior goddess and a strong Protectress of women, who call upon Her.  It is She who assists us with rapid inner and outer transformation. Oya, is about absolute change (especially for the good) and is not a slow or very patient energy.” I’m all about making changes, even when they seem not to be easy at first. Instead of complaining, I adjust situations to suit me.

Osun, on the other hand, seems to be the more “popular” goddess because different artists make reference to her. It could also be as a result of the fact that there is a festival, every August, in honour of her at Osogbo, Osun.

Some how, a friend of mine piqued my interest in Osun, and I decided to crawl around the internet to read more about her. Sadly, the more I read, the more I yearned – my online travails were not giving me what I wanted. Moreover, I want to centre my art around Osun and Oya.

Unable to deal with the lack of information, I decided to travel to Osogbo. I had to see for myself. I had to experience her.

Prior now, I have heard different negative connotations pertaining to African Traditional Worship. In art by Africans, this type of worship was painted as evil. We have accepted the religion of our progenitors was evil. I have flirted with different religions and so far, I feel Yoruba Religion gives a better view of god.

If we are to be honest with ourselves, or if we open our mind to consider the possibility, we’d accept that religion and science are saying the same thing, only differently. They both are trying to unravel energies and forces. The difference between the two is that where science works with theories arrived upon through rationalism and empiricism, religion works with dogma, without questioning veracity.

I believe in a force that caused the Big Bang. That force permeates everything. That force causes gravity, volcanoes, and earthquakes. It makes the sun rise in the east, and set in the west. Our ancestors could not explain this force and they attributed it to some beings, – intelligent being(s).

But this force, or forces, remained silent.

Humans, beings with a higher level of consciousness – or intellect-, projected themselves unto the silence. In doing so, they projected their human attributes unto these forces. This explains why gods have human tendencies! “God is a spirit.” Yet we have assigned genders and sexes to spirits, forces, energies.

The problem of “existentialism” was the driving force behind religion. Humans that lived before us wanted to understand where we come from, why we are here, where we go from here. Death of loved ones was another aspect they could not cope with. They could not accept death is the end. Humans decided to immortalise, deify some ancestors. In Greek mythology, Hercules became a god. In Yoruba mythology, Sango became a deity. (The Catholic Church, desperate to get more adherents, borrowed elements of pre-existing religions. This explains why they canonise people.)

Different people, in different cultures, created religion to understand the forces they could not explain. They projected themselves unto these forces and they created deities.

The human mind created deities! 

Our mind is so powerful that it can breathe abstract notions into life. Our well-channelled thoughts, through the ages, created “powerful” entities. I wager they would lose their potency the moment we stop thinking about them.

Prayer is powerful. Meditation is influential. During these exercises, we focus our mental energies, we direct our godlike abilities, to set things in motion. We are gods!

“Ye are gods.” – Psalm 82:6.

“Know thyself.” – Pythagoras.

“As above, so below.” – Hermes Trismegistus.

Stop searching without what is within.

Everything in nature has consciousness. This consciousness comes from a Supreme Consciousness – nous, according to Plato. But should we deify this consciousness?

Yoruba mythology says Olodumare, the Supreme Being, is genderless. This force brought about the universe, and has since been distant. In its place, deities “run around”. You might want to read more on Yoruba myth on your own. You would be fascinated!

Bearing this in mind, I invited Stephen Eke to join me on this trip to Osogbo. I imagined it would help with his writer’s block.

We planned to rendezvous at Ojota Park. On getting there, it turned out that we were the first passengers of the next Sienna. Were I alone, I would have been deflated. But Stephen is an amazing conversationalist. That was how we started talking about different soci0-political issues such as gender equality, religion, marriage, politics, to name a few.

Ojota and its annoying sounds faded to oblivion as I was engrossed with what he was telling me. I hung on to his words. Of course, there were few moments we did not agree on certain issues, but we found a common ground.

Just as we were talking about religion, a woman walked towards the Sienna. My hopes perked up. “Another passenger!” But looking at her hands, I saw different CDs.

“Brother and sister, this is my CD…” She was selling her gospel music CDs, and she wanted us to support her work.

“We are not Christians,” I stated, with my face straight.

(To be continued.)

REFERENCE

African American Wiccan Society

http://www.aawiccan.org/site/Oya.html

 

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