emberleo: A dark-haired woman weaving strands of light (dreaming)
Ember ([personal profile] emberleo) wrote2013-03-26 01:05 pm

A Dream Pataki

I dreamt this yesterday (Monday) morning:

I had to ford a slow-moving but very cold river that was about 4 feet deep, in my car. It was the kind of river that is near the sea, because the waves would periodically flood the car, so I couldn't stay dry. Finally I had to turn my car into a little boat and get out and kick-paddle to push us to the other shore.

On the other shore was a strange house full of wanderers, where I could rest for a bit. Once I was well-rested, I found myself in a bazaar, talking to an older woman with dark hair and caramel skin. I picked up a gorgeously-illustrated picture book, and looked at a picture of a beautiful older African man. The style of the painting was a sort of splotchy watercolor. I grinned and turned the picture around to show the woman. "This reminds me of Obatala!" I said, pleased, but not expecting her to know what I meant. She replied that it was Orunla.

She started to tell me the story, which was indeed about an Orixa. I wasn't quite sure of the name.
"Wait, you mean Oxala?" I asked.
"You're not LISTENING!" she replied sharply.
I was abashed, and apologized, explaining that I WAS listening, but I knew different names for the Orixa and wanted to make sure I understood her story correctly. She grumbled and told me to read the book myself, then.
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The book told the story of the first two Orixa, with Oludumare: a Man and a Woman, made to be immortal, to keep Oludumare company, and guard the world. Oludumare had created a world full of wondrous things that moved in cycles of life, creation, and death. The Man and Woman at first were occupied learning about all of the many things in Oludumare's world. They loved each other as husband and wife do.

One day, Oludumare came to the Man and said "She wants to die."

The Woman had made her case, that if she could not create, she had no reason for existence. She wanted very much to create children, as all the plants and animals do. Everything else in all of Oludumare's creation was part of the beautiful cycle, why not her?

Oludumare admonished that they had been created to be immortal and thus did not need children to carry on their traditions in their absence.
"Then let me die," she replied.

But the Man did not want her to die, and did not himself want to die. He loved the Woman and wanted her to stay with him. Oludumare was firm.

"You must help her die."
"You can't want me to kill her?!"
"Go out into the world and learn all there is to know of death."

Reluctantly, the Man did as he was told. At first he was angry with Oludumare, then resigned. Finally he began to see the beauty of the cycle that the Woman had perceived. As it moved before him and swirled around him in its mysterious glory, the Man understood the value of death in the cycle.

He returned to the hall where the Woman and Oludumare were waiting, his garments stained with blood, with mud, with salt water and sweat, with all the substances of creation and death marking his garments.

"I understand," he said.
Oludumare smiled. The Woman was relieved.
"Then I may die now?" She asked. And it was so.

That the Man would not be lonely, Oludumare made another Woman. She was able to die, and able to create, both these things built into her being from the first. The Man, too, was given the possibility to die. He, too, could create now, his journey having initiated him into the mysteries of the cycle.

They soon had children, who became part of the cycle themselves. They multiplied, and spread across the world, and each in time took up guardianship of different aspects of Oludumare's creation.

Oludumare was never lonely again.
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I closed the book, and brought it back to the woman. I told her I MUST own the book, and asked its price. She was reluctant, as though she was obliged to let me have the story, but didn't believe I deserved it, and thus didn't want to sell me the book. I was in tears - it was the most beautiful story I had ever heard, and I could see myself the mysteries of the cycle moving through the artwork, the beauty of Death moving through the cycle. She relented, selling me the book for some strange fee I no longer remember. Not coins, certainly, but perhaps bites of bread, and a snippet of my hair, or somesuch.

I woke up not being sure if the story was about Obatala or Orunla, and knowing no name for the first Woman.

I thought the story was about Obatala until just now, when I looked up Orunla and saw that Orunla (Orunmila) was the first Orixa, who got to watch Oludumare create all things, and that's how He knows all fates. So I think yes, this story IS about Orunla, and I was given a gift of it, that the one sent to give it to me didn't really feel I deserved, but she was under orders of some kind.

Edit Note:
Although I must admit what I looked up after the story contradicts all the stories I knew before, where Obatala was the first Orixa under Oludumare, and Orunla was Obatala's youngest son, who spent most of his time growing up buried to the neck under the tree Iroko.... Have I got wires crossed, or is this just a place where mythology has multiple answers?

-E-

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