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'The Creator Made Us with Different Qualities'

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Shigidi

Shigidi, or Shugudu, is deified nightmare. The name appears to mean “something short and bulky,” and the god, or demon, is represented by a broad and short head, made of clay, or, more commonly, by a thick, blunted cone of clay, which is ornamented with cowries, and is no doubt emblematic of the head.

Shigidi is an evil god, and enables man to gratify his hate in secret and without risk to himself. When a man wishes to revenge himself upon another he, offers a sacrifice to Shigidi, who thereupon proceeds at night to the house of the person indicated and kills him. His mode of procedure is to squat upon the breast of his victim and “press out his breath;” but it often happens that the tutelary deity of the sufferer comes to the rescue and wakes him, uponwhich Sbigidi leaps off, falls upon the earthen floor, and disappears, for he only has power over man dur ing sleep. This superstition still lingers among the negroes of the Bahamas of Yoruba descent, who talk of being “hagged,” and believe that nightmare is caused by a demon that crouches upon the breast of the sleeper. The word nightmare is itself a survival from a similar belief once held by ourselves, mare being the Anglo-Saxon mære, elf or goblin.

The person -who employs Shigidi, and sends him out to kill, must remain awake till the god returns, for if he were to fall asleep Shigidi would at that moment turn back, and the mission would fail. Shigidi either travels on the wind, or raises a wind to waft him along; on this point opinions differ. The first symptom of being attacked by Shigidi, is a feeling of heat and oppression at the pit of the stomach, “like hot, boiled rice,” said a native. If a man experiences this when he is falling asleep, it behoves him to get up at once and seek the protection of the god he usually serves.

Houses and enclosed yards can be placed under the guardianship of Shigidi. In order to do this a hole is dug in the earth and a fowl, sheep, or, in ancient times with exceptional cases, a human victim was slaughtered, so that the blood drains into the hole, and is then buried. A short, conical mound of red earth is next built over the spot, and an earthen saucer placed on the summit to receive occasional sacrifices. When a site has thus been placed under the protection of Shigidi, he kills, in his typical manner, those who injure the buildings, or who trespass there with bad intentions.

Yoruba Fokelore

Moremi

A NOBLEMAN of Ile-Ife had a beautiful and virtuous wife named Moremi, and a handsome young son, Ela.

The country of the Ifes was at that time subject to fierce raids by a tribe called the Igbos, who were of such an uncanny appearance in battle that the Ifes thought them not human, but a visitation sent by the gods in punishment for some evil. In vain did they offer sacrifices to the gods; the raids of these strange beings continued, and the land was thrown into a state of pamc.

Now the heroic Moremi, desiring to bring an end to this condition of affairs, resolved to let herself be captured during one of the raids, so that she might be p. 15 carried as a prisoner to the land of the Igbos and learn all their secrets.

Bidding farewell to her husband and her little son, she went to a certain stream and promised the god of the stream that, if her attempt was successful, she would offer to him the richest sacrifice she could afford.

As she had planned, she was captured by the Igbos and carried away to their capital as a prisoner. On account of her beauty she was given to the King of the Igbos as a slave; and on account of her intelligence and noble heart she soon gained the respect of all and rose to a position of importance.

Before she had been in the country very long, she had learnt all the secrets of her enemies. She found that they were not gods but ordinary men. On going into battle they wore strange mantles of grass and bamboo fibre, and this accounted for their unnatural appearance. She also learned that because of these mantles of dry grass, they were much afraid of fire, and that if the Ifes were to rush among p. 16them with lighted torches, they would quickly be defeated. As soon as it was possible, she escaped from the palace and from the territory of the Igbos and returned to her own people. Her tidings were joyfully received at Ile-Ife, and shortly afterwards the Igbos were utterly defeated by the trick Moremi had suggested.

Moremi now went to the stream and made a great sacrifice of sheep, fowls, and bullocks; but the god of the stream was not satisfied and demanded the life of her son.

Sorrowing, Moremi was forced to consent, and sacrificed the handsome boy Ela. The Ifes wept to see this sad spectacle, and they promised to be her sons and daughters for ever, to make up for her loss.

But lo! Ela as he lay upon the ground was only half dead, and when the people had departed, he recovered consciousness and sprang up. Making a rope of grass, he climbed up to heaven, and it is certain that he will some day return to reap the benefits of his mother’s noble sacrifice.

Ifa Related

The Story of Biague

There was an Awo called Biague who had a son named Adiatoto, Biague had taught this son his only
secret. A method to cast Obi (coconut)

In the house of Biague, there lived several other children, They obeyed Biague, he feed and clothed
them. But only Adiatoto the smallest was his son. All lived as brothers. One day Biague died, and the
adoptive children conspired against Adiatoto, and robbed him of all his belongings. Adiatoto
experienced much difficulty.

After a time, the king of the town, Oba-Rey, wanted to find out who owned the lands that had belonged to Biague.

He ordered his men to find this out. Many came forward and made a claim on the lands, including the
adoptive brothers but no one could pass the test, and prove ownership.

Adiatoto heard the news that the king’s men had been asking about him.
When they appeared before him, they asked him to show the secret that proved the lands had been
passed on to him. he said: “The lands belong to me, I will go to the plaza in front of the wall and from
there I will throw coconuts in the method my Father showed me.The coconuts will fall facing up
which is the proof that is needed. Thus is was, and the King gave Adiatoto all the lands and
belongings that had been taken from him

The coconuts (obi), have a limited role in divination
This role is limited to questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no
It should not be used to ask other more complex subjects.
The message given by consulting the Obi depends on which pieces fall facing up, and which face down.

Alafia, the four pieces with the white mass upwards. Definitely an affirmative

Eyeife, two pieces with white mass upwards and two with the crust, this is the most firm response

Otagua, Three pieces with white mass upwards and one with the crust. Some consider this to be an affirmative response. Some others view it as questionable, requiring another throw to rectify.

Ocana, Three pieces with crust upwards and one with the white mass,

Ocanasorde, Four crusts, a definite negative, and requires more question to isolate and problems that need immediate attention.

 
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