The Story of the World

Inspired by Yoruba Myths of Creation

JAN 02

Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi

(It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten)

In the beginning, there was only Sky above and Water below. The Orishas lived in the Sky, the chief-god Olorun ruling what was above, and the goddess Olokun ruling what was below.

Obatala, one of Olorun’s many sons and daughters, was bored and asked his father’s permission to create dry land for all living beings to inhabit. Olorun agreed, and Obatala sought advice from Orunmila, Olorun’s eldest son and god of prophecy.

Orunmila told him that he needed a gold chain long enough to reach the world below, a snail shell filled with sand, a white hen, a black cat, a palm nut, and a bag to carry everything. All the other Orishas gave Obatala the gold they had, and Orunmila provided the other items and the bag.

Obatala hung the chain in a corner of the Sky and began his descent. He climbed down for seven days and seven nights until he reached the end of the chain.


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