Sunday, March 25, 2012

Iroko: The Serpent Oshumare Climbs the Tree of Orishas

This is what happens when you put your hands into too many mystical systems.

This is simply my attempt to place the orishas into the cosmic file cabinet of the Kabbalistic tree of life. I'm sure there are kabbalists and orisha worshippers who'd get sick of the idea, but this my personal belief. I study and practice both traditions on their own but sometimes I find it interesting to mix things up a bit, like making fusion food.



Olodumare is Kether, which is depicted here as the sun that gives life to the tree. His sphere is separate from the rest to illustrate that he can only be felt but not known. The 24 sun drops is an allusion to the pre-genesis story of the Philippine folk magic tradition ("lihim na karunungan"). It is implied here that Olorun, "owner of the heavens", is the sky itself.

Orunmila, who is "Igbakeji Olodumare" (second in command to Olodumare) occupies the second sphere. As the lord of wisdom it is only apt that he is "Chokmah", meaning understanding. In Hermeticism, the sphere of Chokmah corresponds the domain of the fixed stars. In Yoruba, the "Orun" in orunmila means "heaven".

Oya, "Ayaba Nikua", the queen of death, occupies the sphere of Binah, which is attributed to Saturn, the planet whose color is black, and whose domain is death and destruction.

For me, these three represent the cosmic triad of creation, maintenance and destruction.

Olofin, the lowest manifestation of Olodumare, represents the sphere of Daath. The abyss through which one shall pass to reach the domain of Olorun and Olodumare.

Shango, god king and lord of thunder, occupies the sphere of Chesed, ruled by the planet Jupiter, whose name comes from the Roman god king and lord of thunder.

Oggun, warrior god and lord of iron, occupies the sphere of Geburah, ruled by the planet Mars, whose name comes from the Roman god of war and iron.

Shango for me represents the force of inspiration, which comes to the psyche like a bolt of lightning. Whereas Oggun represents putting inspiration into action. Shango's fire gives shape to the iron of Oggun.

Obatala, the father of orishas, owner of the white cloth, occupies Tipareth, the center of the tree. Like the Sun to which this sphere corresponds, his radiance shines upon all as "Orishanla", lord of all orishas. Tipareth is also to the sphere of Yeheshuah (YHShVH) who, like Obatala, is a dying and rising god.

The beauteous Oshun is Netzach, attributed to Venus, whose domain is beauty and love. Her son, the trickster child Elegua, messenger of the gods, is Hod, attributed to Mercury, whose domain is wit and communication. Beauty and trickery for me are representative of the polarities of order and chaos.

Yemaya, the mother of orishas, sits below Obatala, in the sphere of Yesod. She is the foundation of the tree, where all the other branches sprung forth.

Buried in the earth itself is the root of the tree: Babalu-Aye, father and lord of the earth, occupying the sphere of Malkuth.

Oshumare, the rainbow serpent, is the kundalini serpent uncoiling through the rainbow of colors of the seven chakras as one journeys through the states of consciousness that each sphere represents - from the earthly and humble realm of Babalu-Aye in Malkuth to the ultimate and divine realm of Olodumare in Kether.

Basbasan Nawa!

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Greatly appreciated, well done, friend!

(however, I must point out that you have confused the spheres of binah & chokmah! ;) )

I also feel strongly about the association of Nana with Malkuth!

Murmur said...

Darn, you're right! I just corrected it.

Thank you for your comment!

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