Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happens when the banks don't even want to exp...":
Glad to hear that.
This may not be the point of this blog at all, but if you've a mind to, I'd love to read posts which explain your faith a little.
Of course its appropriate, I just get railed on everytime I bring it up.
Yoruba Cosmology...it's the root of Voodoo, Santeria, Macumba, Candomble, etc.
The first thing you have to understand about YC is that its not a written tradition. Its an oral tenet which means there is no Yoruba Bible, or written laws. That's a little hard for most Western cultures to grasp, but this oral tradition has been passed down successfully through at least as many generations as Christianity.
The tenet of YC is called Ashe.
What is Ashe? I can't define it because its infinite. But I can talk around it and my favorite way to describe it is to reference the second law of thermodynamics: Everything moves from a state of order to chaos....entropy. Start there, but a more simple explanation would be movement....everything is moving.
There's a difference between hearing those words and understanding those words....or becoming more aware of those words.
I was explaining this to a young, bombastic, Christian girl one night who replied, "That's what you believe...well that's stupid...it's obvious everything is moving." To which I replied, "Thank you....in other words you're telling me what I believe is true." I didn't bother asking her to explain that whole trinity thing, where 1 is 3 and 3 is 1.
Christians and the Western mind have a hard time grasping the concept because they've been brought up to worship order, not chaos. They've been taught to believe in a static, motionless, singularity.
As a Christian, or Jew or Muslim (children of Yahweh), when you go to worship your "No God but God" you go to a stone edifice and recite prayers and passages which haven't changed for 100's of years. The whole point is to strive for order.
You practice Voodoo wherever you are...because Ashe is all around you and it's certainly not static. To write the tenet in a book would be futile.
That's not to say that Christianity and YC are mutually exclusive, in fact in most of the diaspora religions, the two have been acculturated. How did they reconcile the paradox of the two tenets? Well, it is a thing of beauty but suffice to say its a manifestation of why New Orleans is the only American city to celebrate death....somewhere in the mindset of this city lies your answer, but I wouldn't suggest you search too hard, hence you'll never find it. A paradox isn't meant to be reconciled, if you don't believe me read the definition.
The awareness of Ashe is called Itutu and the color which is associated with it is always blue. The closest translation of Itutu would be a kind of "mystical coolness". You can have a little Itutu or you can have a lot. A good Western philosophy which matches this awareness would be "Shit happens." There are things in life you can control and things in life you can't control. If you spend your life fretting over those things you can't control, you will be a most miserable person. If you live your life calm and centered, like the eye in the hurricane, you live with Itutu...or the Blues.
The gods in the YC pantheon are called Orisha (plural and singular tense). One of the things about the Orisha which differs drastically from Western dogma is that the Orisha are not a vertical hierarchy, it's more horizontal. All of the Orisha depend on each other to maintain balance, and while there is "an Orisha on high", Oludamare, he is completely dependent upon the other Orisha as they are him. It's a very symbiotic interplay between the Yoruba gods, somewhat like the Greek pantheon, but Oludamare is not supreme in the magnitude that Zeus was an overlord.
Most of the Orisha were actually human at one point and because of some act of Itutu, they became deified. In relation to archetypes, each Orisha's ascension represents some...parable, if you will....of the human experience.
For example, Oshun, the goddess of the river and fertility...young, beautiful, nubile....became deified when she saved the world from a drought. All the other Orisha used their power in an attempt to pacify Oludumare and bring rain, yet not even the strongest of them, Chango, Ogun, Olifi, etc. could bring balance back to the world and end the drought. Oshun asked if she could try and she was scoffed at by the Orisha. She was unyielding in her determination and finally the Orisha capitulated and gave her a shot. She was then transformed into a beautiful peacock so she could reach the heavens in her attempt to pacify Oludamare.
She took off and flew directly towards the sun, the only way to get to Oludamare. As she approached the sun, the intense heat began to burn off her feathers, but she refused to stop. The sun became so intense that it burned her entire body and she became a horrible, ugly , burnt vulture....but she kept going. Oludamare, was so moved at her unyielding intent, he began to cry and the rains began to fall from the heavens thus ending the drought. For this act, she was deified.
A graphic representation of Oshun. Her color is always yellow and she draws her power from the river. I actually think New Orleans is her city, incidentally.
Oshun was unwavering in the face of chaos...even total destruction. Her intent was so strong, that she was willing to sacrifice her beauty and body to achieve her goal and restore balance to her community...that's Itutu...fearless in the face of chaos or destruction.
Ogun, the god of iron, technology, weapons, etc., was deified for committing suicide out of angst. So there are some really interesting twists in these archetypes which you don't normally see in Western culture.
There is a wonderful story of Oshun and Ogun, in which Oshun mesmerizes Ogun with her beauty and draws him back into the working world after he decides to hide out in the forest. Ogun is always at odds with himself, being a master of technology but having a Luddite heart. This is an animated film based on that story (but warning, this is only half the story and I can't find a conclusion):
The introduction of Catholicism to YC was a total boon...they now had all these wonderful stories of Saints to blend within their existing framework. Its important to understand that YC is not an exclusive religion...you don't have to choose to believe in Ashe....you are subject to it regardless of whether or not you're aware of it.
The most interesting thing to me about YC is how much the tenet has influenced American culture without us even knowing it. I've touched on a lot of those things in past posts, but if I went out on limb (and I seem to be more than willing to do that as of late) I could say that what made America's culture distinct, particularly music, was the diaspora influence of Yoruba Cosmology.
If we look at the history of American music and move backwards from Hip-Hop to Rock and Roll to Blues, and then even further back to the African slaves farming the Mississippi Delta...YC is there. Because it is an oral tradition, early African Americans didn't need books to pass on the tenet...they simply sang their tradition.
Ever wonder why "the Blues" is called the blues? Remember what the color associated with Itutu is?
There were, of course, many physical ritualistic aspects which survived as well.
Ever see a white tire buried half way in someone's front yard in the Southern states?
Ever see bottles hanging from trees?
If you go into some African American barber shops in the Deep South the barber will scoop up a customer's hair trimmings and give them back in an envelope before they leave. The Yoruba tenet believes that actual body matter like hair, or fingernails, (even feces) can be used against them to create spells. That's one reason why barbers hold such significance in the African American culture...some people believe they are trusting their lives with them every time they get their hair cut.
So overall, if you ask me what I believe in....I would say the second law of thermodynamics, or what Stephen Hawkings called the "The First Arrow of Time." To me, the Yoruba tenet and its archetypes help me stay aware of that belief.