African myths: Earth.
by, 20th January 2011 at 10:11 AM (557 Views)
any African peoples regard the earth as a female deity, a mother-goddess who rules all people and is the mother of all creatures. The earth lives and gives birth to ever new generations of beings. She will make the grass grow when heaven gives her rain and if there is no rain, she withdraws into her own depths, waiting for better times to come. Many regions of Africa have to endure a dry season when nothing grows and death reigns. As soon as the new rains, life begins miraculously. Grass sprouts, flowers open and the frogs croak, creeping out of the earth who hid them. Thus the earth conceals life, protects it against desiccation and revives it as soon as better times arrive. Without the gifts of the earth no one lives. Many African peoples believe that the ancestors live in the earth, in houses very similar to the ones they had here, on the surface of the earth. They also own cattle and goats there. Indeed there is a Zulu myth in which people go in search of the milk-lake under the earth, from where the milk is absorbed by the grassroots so that the cows and goats have milk from the earth. Where else could the milk come from? Our own flesh is earth; even the name Adam means 'earth'. All creatures are earth. Fire too, lives in the earth, which sometimes spits it out when in anger. Fire comes out of wood, so it, too, must come from the earth. Wind too, it is believed, comes out of caves in the earth. Thus all four elements come out of the earth. Yet, the earth is seldom worshipped; the libations which are poured down during numerous ceremonies are more addressed to the ancestors than to the earth as a whole. Nevertheless, the earth has a very powerful spirit which rules over our life and death. Sometimes, when she is perturbed, she moves, forests and mountains and all. Unlike man, the animals understand their mother and obey her, although sometimes she will have to punish a disobedient creature.
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