Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Creation Story and Cosmic World According to the Ewes

The Ewe Creation Story
According to the Ewe God is neither male nor female but but both. He is a timeless all powerful entity who isn’t bounded by the concepts of time and gender. He is eternal, so they call him Mawu, which literally means “without end”. God was ascribed the masculine gender only after the introduction of Western Religion. There are other spiritual entities that have gender ascribed to them and I will mention them as they come up in this writing. God is also Mawu Sogbo-Lisa a name that is believed to indicate his dual “gender”, Sogbo being the female aspect and Lisa being the male aspect. His various names will come up as we go on with this article. 

It is because God is both male and female that Ewe names are gender neutral. Most Ewe names describe an attribute of God or his relationship with mankind. The part of God that lives inside us, that is always with us is "Se", the name Selorm means "God loves me" but it's more than that. It's God who is always with me, by me, in me, loves me. 

The Creation of the World:
I can not particularly remember the order in which things were created but at some point in time, God created the world. According to Ewe beliefs, God created both the cosmic and physical world to interact at all time. There is no spiritual world without the physical world and there is no physical world with cosmic world.

Just like the Judea-Christian God, Mawu spoke and everything was made. However, there was no order to the things that were made so Mawu asked the Royal Python, a spiritual entity of order to set things as they were to be. The Royal Phython separated the land from the waters, set the plants on the land, fish in the sea and basically everything in the order that we know it today. The Royal Python also separated the cosmic world from the physical world so that even though they interact, their effect on each other is minimal. The physical world was called Xexɛmɛ.

After creation, the Royal wrapped itself around the Earth to preserve the order of thing so that they may never go into disorder ever again. The The rainbow is believed to be the python that holds everything together.

I remember as a child in Ho, someone once told me if you ever found the end of the rainbow, there’s a head of a snake waiting to swallow you.

God is called Mawu Kiti-Kata because he’s the eternal one who creates and destroys.

The Creation of Man:
The creation of man according to the Ewes is very similar to that of the Christian creation. This might be due to the fact that the Ewes are believed to have during migration, come though Ethiopia which has a long history of “Christianity”.

Man was created from clay. Unlike the Bible however, woman wasn’t created from the ribs of man but also from clay, at the same time as man.

According to the Ewes, all souls reside somewhere in spiritual plane called Bomɛ (sometimes called Amɛdzɔƒɛ, which means the origin of humans). Bomɛ is a place of blissful ignorance and innocence ruled by a female deity called Bomɛnɔ. When Mawu was done creating man and woman from clay, he took two souls from Bomɛnɔ and placed them in the clay models and they became living beings.

It believed that all knowledge and wisdom was created and put by God on Earth. It is man’s duty to seek knowledge while on Earth. One can not bring knowledge from the spiritual world to the physical world and besides, there is no knowledge or wisdom in Bomɛ. A fool is sometimes referred to as Bomɛtsila, which means, one who is still stuck in Bomɛ.

Another appellation given to God is “Mawu Adaŋutɔ wɔ asi kplɛ afɔ”, this means, “God of wisdom creator of arms and legs”.

The Afterlife:
The concept of hell, a place of eternal damnation is foreign to the Ewe beliefs. The Ewes believe in a place a bit like the Greek’s Hades, it is called Tsiɛƒɛ a place of rest. When one dies, depending on the kind of life they lived on Earth, the Kutsiami may or may not give them a ride to Tsiɛƒɛ. Those who are not given a ride will have their souls still wondering the Earth as ŋɔli (Ghost) until certain pacification rights are performed to put that soul at rest.


most of what I know about the Ewe creation story and cosmic world is based on things I’ve heard over a long period of time. So I can not remember and others I’m not too sure of. If there are any additions or corrections please leave them in the comment section below and I will look at them.

ɛ – e sound in bed
ɔ – o sound in bore
ŋ  this is a nasal sounding "Ng" that differs depending on the word it is in
ƒ – there is really no English way to pronounce this, closest is “ph” or “p”
Tsiɛƒɛ – Chi-er-pheh
Xexɛmɛ – Ewes pronounce X as H so this is pronounce – Hey-her-mer