Saturday, June 28, 2014

Of ancient Malawi's creation myth and Nyangu….the goddess (mizimu)

gods of Egypt photo from Anthropology
Museum Education website
Many ancient civilizations (Greek, Norse, Roman, etc.) have an extensive mythological story that has an explanation for just about everything that goes on in the world. From the reasons why the seasons change to why humans feel emotion, mythology allowed ancient people to be at peace with the way things are.
In Egyptian mythology, the world  started out as a chaos of churning water, known as Nu or Nun.
“Out of Nu came Atum, the lord of Heliopolis. He stood on a single mound he created called ben-ben and this is where the temple of Heliopolis was built.
“The creation of ben-ben brought light into the world and Atum became known as Atum-Ra. Ra, the sun god that rises in the east and dies in the west. Ra then created the gods Shu (the air) and Tefnut (the moisture) through asexual reproduction. Together, Shu and Tefnut produced Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky).
“Geb and Nut conceived Osiris, Isis, Nephthys, and Seth (or Set). After conceiving, Geb and Nut were separated by their father, Shu.
“Now the sky is high above, while the earth is way below with air in the middle. Many ancient drawings of this show Geb the earth laying down with Nut the sky arched over him with Shu the air holding her up. Ra the sun is usually traveling along Nut’s body,” reads the 2013 Great Discoveries in Archaeology website at http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp264-ss13/2013/02/28/the-gods-of-egypt/.
Now  this blog is not posting to debate whether the ancient Egypt belief was right or wrong or to endorse any beliefs but just to document things posted online and some ancient Malawi oral stories never documented before.
Ancient 4 winds of Sapitwa symbol drawn with ufa woyera
(refined maize flour) to represent North, South,
West and East and the very bright Sirius star
Similar to some elements of the ancient Egypt creation myth in ancient Sapitwa mythology everything began with water and there was a spirit (mizimu) kingdom in the water led by the Dziwe la Nkhalamba elderly spirit and 7 others mainly Tomasi Bona of the North Wind, Tagoneka Mbona of the West, Chandion Goneka of the South and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East.
Another was Mbewula who has never been human but is said to have mounted from one of M’manga Mudzi anthill hill mounds somewhere in Mulanje near the mountain.
It’s not easy to get to the mound as some vines or something grab your hands and feet and trip you over so one has to be patient and untie themselves from the mess and make sure they don’t touch any buffalo bean (Chitedze) which causes extreme itching of the body.
This anthill locally known as chulu represented the triangular mountain above and all the water bodies underneath. Another spirit or should we say of ancient Malawi was a goddess named the first Nyangu who is different from the many in Malawi’s history including Mbona’s mother Nyangu.
She stands with very bright presence, her veil covering her knotted black hair as her wide eyes stare blankly at those who visit her and seek guidance.
Her name is Nyangu, the goddess of the mythical Sapitwa from the beginning of time and not any of the ones who have lived on earth including Mbona’s mother Nyangu.  Her colour is blue like the deep ocean and her origins, a sad mythical story about goddesses locally known as mizimu (spirits).
Sometimes she sits under the shade of a fig tree locally known as mkuyu to breastfed her baby.  The woman is dark-skinned with very smooth skin that makes her face look like she dipped it in a jar of cocoa-butter and milk further go oral stories.
Her black eye-lashes stand out together with her eyebrows which seem well drawn and her uncombed hair forms tidy knots but her hair is not necessarily dread-locked.
Also standing out on her beautiful face are beauty spots on her cheek. Her brown almond shaped eyes also stand out and piercing as if searching a person’s soul.
Rare ancient M’manga Mudzi anthill tree
However, the strange thing with this woman is that whenever people see her she’s holding a small baby even when its months later….the baby does not seem to grow.
An elderly man suddenly calls out to her “makewana” (mother of the child) and she greets him politely but does not remove her eyes of her baby whom she sometimes carries on her back.
She wanders from place to place like a lost and mad person ever since she lost her husband, the elderly spirit of Dziwe la Nkhalamba. Her symbol is similar to one of the ancient Malawi female winged spirits known as Sungamwana (Keep the child).
The others are Tomasi Bona (world in one’s hands), Tagoneka Mbona (put to sleep Mbona), Chandiona Goneka (It’s seen me, put to sleep), Nthanda mwana wa mwezi (Child of the moon, Sirius), Dziwe Ntambawana (Witchcraft pool) and Ife Zonse (All of us).
In ancient teachings these 7 pulled each other to create energy viewed as light like that of lightning which today will probably be called electricity. Now in physics there are two types of electric charges…positive and negative.
Positive and negative of an Electric Charge photo from tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_charge
“Positively charged substances are repelled from other positively charged substances, but attracted to negatively charged substances; negatively charged substances are repelled from negative and attracted to positive. An object will be negatively charged if it has an excess of electrons, and will otherwise be positively charged or uncharged.
“The SI derived unit of electric charge is the coulomb (C), although in electrical engineering it is also common to use the ampere-hour (Ah), and in chemistry it is common to use the elementary charge (e) as a unit. The symbol Q is often used to denote charge.
“The early knowledge of how charged substances interact is now called classical electrodynamics, and is still very accurate if quantum effects do not need to be considered,” partly reads http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_charge
And another physics website states the fact that the light bulb lights and remains lit is evidence that charge is flowing through the light bulb filament and that an electric circuit has been established.
“A circuit is simply a closed loop through which charges can continuously move. To demonstrate that charges are not only moving through the light bulb filament but also through the wires connecting the battery pack and the light bulb, a variation on the above activity is made.
“A compass is placed beneath the wire at any location such that its needle is placed in alignment with the wire. Once the final connection is made to the battery pack, the light bulb lights and the compass needle deflects,” further readshttp://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/circuits/Lesson-2/What-is-an-Electric-Circuit
Now the ancient elderly spirit of Dziwe la Nkhalamba whom the ancestors tried to invoke by calling out the name of a male organ chose the first Nyangu to be his wife.
He’s also associated with Thunder and Lightning and rains which had a positive and negative charge.
The sky is filled with electric charge. In a calm sky, the positive and negative charges are evenly interspersed thoughout the atmosphere –http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/tstorm/lightning_formation.html&edu=high
Online sources confirm that inside a thunderstorm, electric charge is spread out differently. A thunderstorm consists of ice crystals and hailstones.
“The ice crystals have a positive charge, while the hailstones have a negative charge. The positively charged ice crystals are pushed to the top of the thunderstorm cloud by an updraft. Meanwhile, the heavy negatively charged hailstones are pushed to the bottom of the thunderstorm by its downdraft.
“Thus, the thunderstorm’s positive and negative charges are separated into two levels: the positive charge at the top and the negative charge at the bottom,” partly reads http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/tstorm/lightning_formation.html&edu=high
The ancestors of this land including Mbona somehow knew this and he would point his two-edged knife/sword locally known as kandalanga to the North to symbolize hot winds and rains from Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God).
llustration of Mbona as a boy pointing his kandalanga
 to the North for rains taken from
the Ulendo series Chichewa for Standard 8 book
 Their union which consisted of his the positive energy and hers the negative created what they believed was light in the same way they believed in 4 positive male “spirits” and 3 negative female ones creating the sacred number of 7 spirits which they claim pull each other to create light.
The elderly spirit of Dziwe la Nkhalamba whom this blog cannot mention by name since these days it is considered swearing or cursing deeply loved this Nyangu and did everything to make her happy.
But besides her being intimate with two other spirits mainly Mbewula and Mbona, she also aborted the babies she conceived with the elder spirit of Dziwe la Nkhalamba just like the demon known as Dziwe Ntambamwana who appears in red and publicly shows her forbidden fruit go oral stories.
This is why Sapitwa healers are against abortion arguing that one can kill the body but not the mizimu (spirit or soul). They also claim the elderly spirit in myths has been born again of women of the Nyangu blood by implanting itself in their wombs.
Red wine photo from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_wine
The same is said of the Sapitwa version of Mbona on how his mother conceived him just like in other stories in Africa and Asia. This blog is only repeating what healers say and not endorsing any views.
Now Nyangu’s spirit is said to be an elderly woman who walks using a cane with a serpent head but like other spirits she is also believed to appear in the form of a young woman.
She is expected to be born again but as a good person who “keeps her babies” like the Sungawana female spirit.
You see this first Nyangu was into kukhwima (charms to make one spiritually strong) rituals and she also practiced what is online known as “sacred prostitution”.
Sacred prostitution or temple prostitution or “religious” prostitution is defined online as a “sexual ritual or activity” performed in the context of religious worship be it a fertility rite or divine marriage (hieros gamos).
Scholars have long considered such practices to be customary in the ancient world; however, more recent scholarship has cast doubts on this picture, based on doubts about the reliability of ancient sources further reads http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_prostitute
Isis depicted with outstretched wings
(wall painting, c. 1360 BCE) 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis
In ancient times in what is today called Pagan, some men were said to be cleansed and rise “spiritually” by intimate relations with the ‘sacred prostitute’ representing the goddess as a way of imitating the relationship between the two elder spirits of a positive and negative charge.
Elsewhere there have different goddesses dealing with fertility and sexual love in history included Inanna in Sumer whom some internet sources attribute to Ishtar in the Assyrian and Babylonian language and Astarte in Phoenicia and Ashtoreth in others.
Other sources say she was known as Aphrodite in Greece and Venus in Rome and that the name Ishtar and Astarte meant “the Star” which refers to the brightest star also known as the Morning Star and in ancient Malawi that was Nthanda mwana wa mwezi (the child of the moon) with nthanda referring to Sirius which resembled an ancient African cross when it twinkled brightly at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.
To be continued once more information is made available.
African waistbeads photo from the Internet

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Took this picture of children in Milange, Mozambique admiring visiting Malawian children

Tracing footsteps to lead me home

Greetings from the Warm Heart Africa, Malawi.

I'm a Malawian journalist who grew up in many countries including South Africa, Belgium, then West Germany, UK, Washington DC and New York in the US and I love New York.

Trying to come up with the production of my life and by compiling some of my 1000 poems into a book called ‘Tracing Footsteps’ to lead me Home with excellent photography.

I also plan to film award winning documentaries based on the history of this ancient land called Malawi and the mysteries of Sapitwa and the Sirius star.

.....watch this space.


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