Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Koumen: Seventh Clearing — Second Sun

Seventh Clearing — Second Sun
—Table of Contents—

Indigo Flowers (source unknown)
Koumen said, “Greetings to the second sun from whose blue ray the indigo plant got its deep colour:
duguba, yirba, allamba, baaba, banamba[1]

Keep away from us anything that lacks harmony. Lame cows! stay afar… scabby sheep and weak goats with feeble legs, stay out of our sight. Do not make our eyelids blush. Do not make us believe that the second sun has been dislodged from the place where it is. Do not make us believe that we have strayed from the meadowland where the seven colours of the rainbow emanate from seven suns to which we give our adoration.

Silé wants to learn from Foroforondou, daughter of Mori-Mawɗo, about all the various breeds of cows, and everything which concerns the sheep and its cousin the goat.

Marula Fruit (source unknown)
I am Koumen who knows that the past comes back in different guises and how actions repeat themselves with different actors. In bygone days, I bumped into Buytorin the singer.[2] He was drunk with a brew made with the juice of the eedi fruit.[3]With the permission of Doundari, I whispered to him the virtue of conception.[4]

Indigo ray of the blue sun, I implore you: open the avenue to the third sun and may the horde of wild beasts stay down.

Silé is a descendant of Buytorin; he has only one ambition: to see the sacred cow which nourishes spirits which are pure with its blessed milk and whitens all that is white.

Lambs without horns, come! Cows with short horns, come! You who have long horns and bring joy to the shepherd, come, come! Come all together. Greetings to the bovine victim offered in sacrifice to serve as a stepping stone of the soul travelling across the spaces of the great beyond.[5]Silé has triumphed over his natural reflexes. His movements are regulated. Sleep has been set free from his eyes and drowsiness dispelled from his eyelids.”

[1] Assuming the incantation here is in the Bambara tongue, it could mean: “great village, great tree, great God, great grand-father, great kapok” The kapok tree can grow to a great height and has prominent roots. Indeed, the initiator in the Kaydara tale lived in the hollow of a kapok tree. Its flowers are not blue however, but red, white or pink. The white silky cotton fibre from its seed pods can be used to stuff pillows and mattresses. Its bark has some medicinal uses. But we speculate that its connection to blue is that the oil from its seeds could be used in the preparation of highly valued blue paint from the petals of indigo plants.
[2] Buytorin is the ancestor of those Fulɓe who observe their traditional religion and customs. They do not recognise or accept ʿUqbah ibn Nāfi as their ancestor. Buytorin is also considered the eldest son (among seven sons and five daughters) of the first terrestrial couple Kiikala and his wife Naagara (analogous to Adam and Eve in the Bible).
[3] The juice mbajalle or enɗam comes from the marula or eedi fruit (sing. eedere) (Sclerocarya Birrea Hochst) which is a light yellow plum. The urine that is produced on drinking this fermented beverage is considered sacred. Marula oil produced from the kernel of this fruit is used in cosmetics.
[4] Doundari is one of the attribute names of Guéno (God), Master of Koumen.
[5] When a cow dies a natural death, it is considered as sacrificed by Guéno who takes its living blood; when it is skinned, it does not bleed. The sacrifice of a cow is made by men to “draw near” to Guéno; the spirit of the victim becomes that of a future new-born in the family. In Macina, at the heart of present-day Mali, the sacrifice of cattle took place at the “people’s sanctuary” (dental), whose location is no longer known. The meat of the animal was blessed by pastors and shared among all the members present of the clans of the four Fulɓe family groupings.

A. Hampâté Bâ & G. Dieterlen (1961)

English Translation:

No comments:

Post a Comment