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Yo, the Creative Spirit


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(Bambara/Mali)

The creative spirit, Yo, begets three beings, named Faro, Pemba, and Teliko. Faro, the first of the three, is the master of the Word. He creates seven heavens, corresponding to the seven parts of the earth, which he fertilizes with life-giving rain. Teliko, the spirit of the air, gives life to creatures and conceives aquatic twins, ancestors of the fishermen, the first men. After whirling in space for seven years, Pemba creates the earth, with its mountains and valleys. Mixing dust with his saliva, Pemba creates a woman, Musokoroni, and after breathing into her a soul and a double, he makes her his wife. The animals and plants are the products of this marriage.

Men are immortal, becoming seven-year-old children again each time they reach the age of fifty-nine. They live unclothed, have no physiological needs, and neither speak nor work. Insane with jealousy, Musokoroni attacks directly at the root of the evil. Roaming the land, she mutilates the sexual organs of both men and women, instituting the obligation of circumcision and excision. From then on, misfortunes, sickness, and death befall humanity—the golden age is over. Untamable, dirtying the earth with her impure touch, Musokoroni redeems herself, before dying, by teaching man to keep him from hunger the techniques of agriculture. See also: Amma, Faro, Pemba.

Subjects: Religion.


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