Being native from Cuba where the sound of the drums are heard acclaiming to the Gods and the singing of souls worshiping Cachita known as Oshun in the Afro-Cuban culture make me decided to compare the foundation of Africans mythology vs. Greeks mythology. Once we have opportunity to dive into both civilizations we can find out that we are all the source of the same creation. Also that no matter where we came from, or where we travel the final destination of every human being is to return to the original place of departure. We can be African, Greeks, Romans, or from any other part of the world but through history and mythologies we can find the link that we are partakers of the same source.
As we look into the Yoruba tribe, we can see how Africans called Olorun the architect of nature and the creator of humans’ souls. He is also the maker of lesser spirits which are intermediaries between humans and Olorun. The Creator is both Almighty and Omniscient. He is considered the King Who Dwells in the Heavens and it is known as the Impartial Judge who controls the destiny of gods and humans. He gives each person what he or she deserves. The Olorun presence, or concept of his authenticity, is above and beyond the realms of Nature; therefore, he is known as immortal and holly. It is recognized among Yoruba tribe that Olorun is perfect in Wisdom, Strength, and Justice. He is known to exist in sacredness beyond the realm of moral weakness and the likelihood of transgression.
In the Yoruba tribe of West Africa, we found the myth of creation containing similar elements to the Greeks one. The myth tells of a Yoruba Creator named Olorun and only the heaven and the oceans were in existence. Olorun the Creator reigned in the Heavens, and the goddess Olokun governed the Oceans. Then Obatala one of the Orishas pondering about the creation went to Olorun requesting permission to create land for all living being to dwell.
The Creator gave him permission; however, Obatala also requested advice from Orunmila, God of Prophecy and first-born of Olorun. Orunmila’ s advice to Obatala was to use an elongated chain to go down to the oceans, and to carry inside a sack palm nuts, iron, a snail’s shell filled with sand, and a Golden Egg. The Gods gave a farewell to Obatala, which commenced to climb down the heavens. Seven days later he grabbed the end of the chain, but he stills had some distance to go. Then, he heard the voice of Orunmila advising him to pour the elements of the bag that were spread to form out of the oceans a vast land. While, he was hanging in the chain his heart was beating so strong that the egg cracked, and the spirits of all the Orishas flew out of the egg into the earth in a bird called Sankofa.
Obatala jumped from the chain and choose to live in earth; however, he became bored and decided to create humans out of clay that he digs out of the earth, which Olorun blows life into them. One day he got tired of creating humans decided to make wine from a nearby palm tree and got drunk. Then he created a group of imperfect humans due to his drunken state. When Obatala realized what he had done, he swore to never drink again, and to become the protector of these particular humans by giving them a special status. Obatala became focus in building more things for humanity.
Many Gods were happy with Obatala’s creation, except for Olokun the ruler of the Ocean and all below the sky. She was upset because Obatala never consulted her in his proceeding of creating the earth and living creatures in areas that were usurped from her kingdom. So, the story states that one day when Obatala was visiting the sky Olokun called upon the great waves of her vast oceans and sent them to rise across the land. Many people were drawn and few people flew to the highest land invoking God Eshu and asking from him to intercede for them. Eshu demanded from the people to make sacrifices in the name of Obatala and himself in order for him to deliver their burden to Orunmila. When Orunmila heard the news, he climbed down to the earth, and cast many spells which triggered the flood waters to retreat, and the dry African land reappear. Then the great flood was ended.
As we look in the Greek mythology, we find some correlation between African beliefs and Greeks. The above paragraphs show how Africans narrate their creation. The paragraphs below will show how the Greeks relate their conception, and from there we can draw our own conclusions.
Greek Mythology shows that the beginning was Chaos, then Nyx = Night appeared as a black bird who laid a golden egg. For many years Nyx seated on the egg waiting for life to start to stir in the egg, until the day that Eros the God of Love was born from it. The shelf broke in two parts and Eros called the Sky = Uranus, and the Earth = Gia. The Sky and the Earth fall in love and from them many generations were born; including twelve of the Titans. Later on, Uranus and Gaia children become afraid of the power of their children. Then Cronus the ruling titan in an effort to protect his life started to swallow his infant children. But his wife Rhea unhappy at the loss of her children hid their youngest child named Zeus and gave Cronus a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he swallowed thinking it was his son.
Once Zeus reached manhood with the help of his mother he tricked his father in vomiting all the children. Then he gathered all the children and started a war against their father Cronus. After many years of war, the younger generation won. Then Zeus sketched lots with his brothers Poseidon and Hades. In the draw Zeus became the supreme God ruler of the Sky and other Gods. Zeus weapon is a thunderbolt which he throws at those who annoy him and to punish those that lie or break oaths. Zeus demanded from the titans to begin to furnish Gaia with life and Uranus with stars. Then he realizes that the Earth was lacking humans and animals and called his sons Prometheus and Epimetheus. Zeus demand from them to go to Earth to create men and animals and to share the gift among them.
Prometheus began to create men with the same image and likeness as the gods, meanwhile Epimetheus worked in the making of the animals and at the same time he gave them all the gifts that were granted by Zeus. Eventually, Epimetheus finished his work earlier than Prometheus and used all the gifts. So, when Prometheus finished making the men and went to grant them gift, he was informed by Epimetheus of his unwisely used of all of them. Then Prometheus concerned with the issue at hand decided to give fire to man. He knew that only the gods were ones who have access to it, but when the Sun God rose in the East and into the word he went there took some fire and carried it back to men. He advises them how to use fire and then left.
When Zeus discovered what Prometheus did, he became furious and chained his son to a mountain where the vultures peck out of his liver for all the eternity. He also devised a plan of retribution for mankind by using Pandora, a woman of great beauty to whom each of the God gave gifts. Zeus’ gifts were curiosity, and a box which he ordered her never to open. Then he gave Pandora to Epimetheus as wife. Pandora and Epimetheus were happy except for Pandora’s intense longing to open the box. She knew that the gods and goddesses gave her so many glorious gifts, so she imagined that the one in the box would be magnificent. So, one day when Epimetheus was gone she decided to open the box. Out of the box soared all the dreads which plague our world; such as: hurt, illness, jealousy, gluttony, distrusts, etc Upon hearing Pandora’s cries Epimetheus ran home and secured the lid shut, but all the evils deeds had already escaped. During that night the couple heard a voice coming from the box saying release me I am hope. Epimetheus and Pandora free the voice and let her bring hope to humankind.
It is known that Greece and Africa started to contact each other as early as in the Bronze Age with the Minoans who trade in Egypt. The Homeric poems written in the 8th century BCE cites Greeks contact with Africans. The legendary Africa appears as a secluded and enigmatic place. Its people may look different with their relationship to the gods based in tribal traditions, but after diving into the Greeks & Africans mythologies, we discover similarities in their goddess and creation. The planetary link among those two civilizations and masonry can be distinguished with two distinct kinds of symbols: The mythical and the material, but these are so thoroughly united in object and design that is impossible to appreciate the one without an investigation of the other.
The diversity of their Gods & Goddess is many but some of them can be easily identified among both cultures. For example: Olorun is the African sky god who represents the firmament, but if we look into the Greeks God Zeus, known by Roman as Jupiter; both of them also represent the firmament. The Goddess of Love known as Aphrodite by Greeks is the African Orisha called Oshun. Both are associated with water, purity, fertility, love and sensuality. Olokun, the Ocean Orisha of the Yoruba people lives in a palace under the sea. His counterpart is called Poseidon, which is known to be the oldest Greek divinity of the waters. So, if we keep searching we will see that many point of coincidence among both cultures, but as creatures of this world we can also see similarities of these mythologies linked to biblical passages.
Comparing the Africans myth to the biblical flood, one might offer an examination of why the floods occur: the Yoruba account, a goddess’ whimsical destruction versus the biblical, a god that demands moral behavior. In masonry we can view connotation to this myth under the RAM degree. As for the Greek Mythology the opening of Pandora’s Box resembles the Biblical moment when God said to Adam and Eve to eat fruit from all the trees but one, and hope is the resemblance of Jesus’s sacrificing his life for men salvation… In the 1st degree of masonry silence and observation are keys for improvements. In the 2nd degree we focus in the liberal arts as the way to get enlighten. So if we read the V.S.L. we can find that Mesopotamia the land where Abraham was born is called today Iraq. So, Iraq has become the place where we can perceive the most notable features of Egyptians, Africans, Greeks or any other God mythologies in the world, which is the drive for power and dominance.
For the writer Masonry could be the tool to men salvations because in some ways shows that there are vital basics questions within each culture such as: who we are, where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. As we look into mythologies, we can see that all of them teach that any important things require much effort and the cooperation of others. The lessons for the human being is that not matter how hard we try, we are not perfect. Therefore, we should be responsible for the well-being of anything we create.