Segbo and the Children with Wands

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(Fon/Benin) Segbo (Dada Segbo, Da Segbo)

was king of the gods, early ruler of the world of men, the supreme soul.

In ancient times, a man and a woman came down from the sky in the rain, the first family on the earth. They wore long skirts, and carried a wand and a calabash. The rain continued for seventeen days. They did not speak during this time, except to repeat, “Segbo,” the name of the one who sent them to the earth. Seven days later, another man and woman descended from the sky, wearing Lisa's beads. They came to teach the worship of Mawu and Lisa, and when they had sacrificed to those creator gods, it rained again, and other people came down from the sky with the rain. When the ceremony was over, they returned to the sky. After other such rituals, and after establishing shrines to the gods, the couple wearing Lisa's beads returned to the sky, leaving behind them the beads and a daughter. She gave birth to a son and a daughter, each with a small wand in hand that grew as they grew. Seven years passed, and their parents returned to the sky. The children, always with the wands and therefore never lost, grew up and continued to teach the worship of the sky gods.

The first pair who came from the sky had a chameleon with them, sent by Lisa to protect them. To shield the people against the enemies who might refuse to accept their teaching about the gods, the smooth skin of the chameleon reflected what occurred behind their backs: when the enemy came from behind, that was reflected in the skin of the chameleon, who was sacred to the god, Lisa. See also: Lisa, Mawu, Mawu-Lisa.

Subjects: Religion.

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