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Jok and the Man Who Fell from the Sky


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(Lango/Uganda)

Jok, the supreme being, is like moving air; he is omnipresent, like the wind, but is never seen, though his presence may be felt in whirlwinds or eddies of air, in rocks and hills, in springs and pools of water, and he is especially connected with rainmaking. He is an indivisible entity permeating the whole universe. Any inexplicable or mystifying occurrences are attributed to the presence of Jok. The failure of the rains, destruction caused by hail, lightning, and locusts, are believed to be manifestations of his power. Jok is the creator of the world and of man, the dispenser of death, and the decisive force in determining the period of a man's existence. He is responsible for all births. Rich harvests are sent by him, as are the rains that ensure a good harvest and the dry season favorable to hunting. Jok, accessible to the prayers of the people, punishes neglect and those who doubt him. The spirits of the departed become eventually merged in Jok, all the long departed merging into one preexisting deity called Jok, a plurality of spirits unified in the person of a single godhead, a spiritual force composed of innumerable spirits, any one of which may be temporarily detached without diminishing the oneness of the force. Jok created the two worlds contained in the Lango cosmology together with their inhabitants. He set the stars between the upper and the nether worlds and so ordained the Milky Way as to arrange for the two diverse seasons necessary for man's life and happiness.

In April and May, 1918 there was a terrible drought. That same year, a man had fallen from the sky, descending near the river Moroto, bringing with him a bag of money, a leg of a cow, and four soldiers. He spoke Lango without any accent. He said that, although he had come from a place where there are many cattle and great wealth, he would consent to live here on earth. Orweny of Bata, a powerful man of god, asked him about the drought; having come from the realm of Jok, he would surely have information. The stranger told him that the drought had resulted because a certain spirit had committed adultery with another, then refused to pay compensation. For that reason, the wronged spirit had stopped the rain. Toward the end of May, Orweny, using his enchantments, was able to achieve the punishment of the erring spirit along with the payment of compensation. Rain fell in June. See also: Polo.

Subjects: Religion.


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