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Koulotiolo Voids the Superhuman Condition


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(Senufo/Côte d'Ivoire, Mali)

Koulotiolo was the creator god. Genesis was in two stages, the first devoted to basic infrastructure, the second marked by the presence of men.

On the first day, Koulotiolo was born out of nothing, and with his divine words erected his celestial home. He lighted the sun in order to illuminate the day and created the moon and the stars to illuminate the night. On the second day, Koulotiolo let a part of the firmament fall, creating the earth and raising the mountains. On the third day, he sent rain to the earth and made the rivers run. He created the first man on the fifth day. A kind of superman who was called Wouloto, he was tall, white, naked, and mortal, but he possessed a soul called Pil. He drank only water, symbol of life. From the sixth day, the earth was populated with animals and the running rivers were filled with fish. These creatures did not yet know material want and, not knowing murder either, lived in peace. The seventh day there were many changes: trees began to bear fruit and animals to reproduce. Wouloto, for the first time feeling the pangs of hunger, tasted the fruit, became a vegetarian, and from then on was subjected to physiological laws, at the same time losing his superhuman condition. Beginning on the following day, in order to satisfy his instincts, Wouloto, tired of looking far for his food, discovered the usefulness of agriculture, invented the hoe, and became a farmer. His tools, which were first made of wood, were later made of stone and finally of iron. A great tree called seritegue provided Wouloto with fibers for making his clothing. In certain myths, the idea of a couple composed of two partners of distinct sex is replaced by the notion of an androgynal single person or double. The ninth day marked the awakening of the sexual instinct. Feeling lonely, Wouloto asked the creator to give him a female companion. She was called Woulono; she was as white as her husband, whom she aided in the fields and with whom she went to drink at the river when the sun went down. In order to understand each other, the two partners of this first couple for the first time used a language. Finally, on the tenth day, the married couple built themselves a house with lumps of earth and thatch, to shield themselves around their hearth from inclement weather. The woman invented the first pot to transport water from the drinking trough. Thus, the first household was founded and the first stage of creation was completed. But a good deal of work remained to be done. In this phase, events were influenced by a female being, Katieleo, a direct emanation of the original male force, Koulotiolo. On the eleventh day, a historical period opened that evolved and continues up to our time. Having mastered the principal handicrafts—hunting, stock breeding, fishing, pottery making, basket weaving—the primordial couple gave birth in the course of time to numerous children. Among these children of different colors and languages was a boy from whom later descended all the African people. Unfortunately, these children did not understand each other. As soon as they became adults, they dispersed to all corners of the world.

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Subjects: Religion.


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