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Mawu and the Man Who Tried to Enter Eternal Life without Dying


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(Anlo/Ghana)

Mawu (Adanuwoto, Se) is the supreme being. He is like the wind, revealing himself by what he does. His home is distant, in the sky. After death, the soul returns to its source, the supreme being. As Adanuwoto, he is a creator, a molder, giving form to a formless matter as a potter does. He first made the spiritual counterpart of the universe, and from this the material realm later evolved.

Death is the gateway to life beyond. Tsali, the deified ancestor of the Tsiame clan, was supernaturally powerful when he lived on the earth, so powerful that he sought to enter the life beyond without first dying. But he was turned back when he got to the bank of the river that separates the material world from the land of the dead. He came back and died before he was admitted into the society of those in the afterlife.

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