[NB] “A Most Extraordinary Myth”

I just thought I would share this story. It is a thing of beauty, packed tight:

“But in Oturupon Meji Maupoil stumbled upon a most extraordinary myth: Orunmila, beset with melancholia, consulted Ifa for himself. How to renew his zest? He was told to bring a sacrifice to his mother, upon whom all joy in his life depended. She was far away. It was Eshu who volunteered to go find her. When he got there he told the woman that her son was dead and that he would lead her back to perform the funeral if she would give him a certain he-goat, which had been entrusted to her care by Oduduwa—life itself. Reluctantly she agreed to give the animal up. Eshu-Elegba promptly slaughtered it, and the blood that flowed forth, covering Eshu’s body, was fire. Having at that time none of his own, Eshu took he-goat’s indestructible head and placed it in a jar turned upside down upon his shoulders. And worn by Eshu, that jar was discovered to contain the sun. (To the king of death Orunmila’s mother gave a ripe fruit; this became his head.)”—Judith Gleason, A Recitation of Ifa (149; emphasis Gleason’s)

The different levels, Orunmila’s life, the world of his mother, the solar system, and the way in which a message passes from one to the other according to a strict rule of distortion, in which the intentions get crossed, rituals transformed, and worlds born. There is more than a little of the demiurge in this Eshu, no?

At no point in this myth is the confusion resolved, either. It remains an unresolved tension as to whether this is Eshu lying to one or the other of them, or whether what Eshu is telling people is precisely true at the level he is currently operating at.

Note, too, that Eshu procures the sacrifice by telling the mother that her son is dead.

This is another bit in that magnificently gnostic and Dahomean aesthetic that seems to criss-cross so well with the gnostic imaginary of Philip K. Dick.

Also, it totally makes it sound like Eshu is running around in a spacesuit, his helmet containing a luminescent floating goat head. Which is just cool.

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2 thoughts on “[NB] “A Most Extraordinary Myth”

  1. Pingback: [NB] Side(real) Eye, Fallen Angels, Epochal Astrology | Disrupt & Repair

  2. Pingback: The shoddy house on the edge of time: Sefer Yetzirah, the astrological take | Disrupt & Repair

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