Ngun Lo Ki and the Rope from Heaven

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(Bari, Fajulu/Sudan)

God has a dual aspect: Ngun Lo Ki, God in the sky, associated with rain; and Ngun Lo Kak, God below the earth, concerned with earth and agriculture. The conception of Ngun is vague: he is armed with power, and like the moon, he comes and goes; as Ngun Lo Ki, he created men and keeps them alive, creating a hundred every month; as Ngun Lo Kak, he destroys them and they die, killing a hundred every month.

Man originally lived with God in the sky, and came down to earth by means of a rope, which was subsequently broken, severing the connection.

The rain chief, Fitia Lugor, has a holy stream called Kwe, to cross which is death. The rain chief operates by the manipulation and the washing of the sacred rain-stones after sacrifice. The stones are regarded as male and female, and in some cases seem to be old stone implements. He does not claim to make rain of himself; his ancestors were given their power and their rain-stones by God, and by the virtue of his ancestors he intercedes with God to send down the blessings of rain upon his people. Evil influences may bring the sun, scorching the crops; these it is his duty to combat. Sacred spears are also used for rainmaking. The power of the rainmaker descends in the male line, but not necessarily from father to son.

Subjects: Religion.

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