The Heavenly Blanket & Earthly Pillow
A Creation Story
by Alashe Michael Oshoosi
© 1997 & 2015
All Rights Reserved, Reproduction in Any Form Is Prohibited
Except By the Written Permission of the Author
Because you probably were not born on this Road, before you heard about or
came to your first African socio-religious function--such as a religious dance and
ceremony, a “naming ceremony," a reading or a wedding, i.e., before your birth, you must now be reminded, there was God. And with God there were, in the beg- inning, Witnesses and Forces.
So for the purposes of simplicity, let me set forth an example of an African world
view concerning the Heavenly origins of Earthly causes and occurences that prec- eded your birth, and the births of your ancestors. In this way you shall know what happened before you came here to this website or to your first African religious event--and, thus, you will know what the world had been like into which countless times before, you had been re-born.
Co-existing with God for all prior eternity was the force of Disorganized Action,
sometimes known as chaos, "unpredictability," “disruption," or "entropy." With-
out humanly character, Disorganized Action was the incarnation of the tendency
in the universe for “things to fall apart." Even God’s best laid plans for cosmic or-
ganization could be disrupted by the whims of Disorganized Action. Indeed, God's only advantage over Disorganized Action was that God (who is neither male nor female, “good" nor “bad") possessed the power and goodness of Ashe; of Creativ- ity.
It was only for this reason that God was able to create and sustain creative ways for things to happen (and the emerging forms for them to happen in) and, thus, usually stayed at least a pace ahead of Disorganized Action's ability to disrupt and frustrate them. Creativity, like Disorganized Action, also had other names--praise names--such as "foresight,""organization,""order," "predictability," "knowledge," and "negentropy."
Using the action of Creativity'sAshe (vital power),God was able to make little bun- dles of its own "Godparts" and called them Deities.Of course, some of these Deit- ies were created before others.Among the first of them was Witness and his wife, Word.After a while both Witness and Disorganized Action agreed that it was God, after all, who was truly superior and had the best plan for Heavenly existence. And each of the Deities God had created also agreed (what else could they do)? Thus, it was God who spread out a Heaven in which they lived and communicated.
Because Witness saw from the beginning that which was created, he was able to
tell his wife, Word, all about it. She never forgot a thing. Word made oral libraries,
"directories and files," and marvelously organized them and made them available
to Witness whenever he wished to be reminded of how various events had trans-
pired in Heaven. He even told her, for example, that God's acts were so creative
that God caused small parts of Disorganized Action to be stripped off, made con-
siderably tamer, and let these parts reproduce themselves all over the place; that
is, all over Heaven and even in the dreams of the Deities. They would, neverthe- less be helpful to Deities and, later, to People, for coping with their father, Disor-
Disorganized Action's Many Children
These little parts, the children of Disorganized Action, would forever become
known as Tricksters. They could always be identified as such because they
would answer to that name. God had ordained them and, unlike the case with their father, Disorganized Action, there was at least some assurance that these children would not be so disruptive to the Deities' plans so long as the Deities spoke kindly to them, gave them little "treats," and always recognized them first; before doing anything, and at the completion of doing things. (By contrast, with Disorganized Action, one was always taking a chance and needed a hope that one's plans would not be disrupted). One day Witness told Word that he saw God take parts of Heaven, a few things in it, and energy packets called the Seeds of Growing Life, and cast them below to form what we now call Earth, the Living World.
And just as God had taken from Self little Godparts and made Deities, the citizens of Heaven, God also was to take some of Self and invest these little bundles with some of the Ashe of Creativity, and some of the stuff from which Destinies are made, and set them apart--stored in a Heavenly warehouse--until a day certain in the Living Future when they would be transported to and, finally, fashioned on, Earth. When combined with the Seeds of Growing Life, these little bundles of
Godparts would become genes and, eventually, People. ( But that's getting ahead of the story).
God Creates "Selected Heads."
God described the Deities as “Selected Heads" because they not only had lives, but also had great Creativity, Intelligence, and Specific Destinies. God simply des- cribed the little bundles of Godparts that were tucked away as "Heads" because they also contained Creativity, Intelligence, and Specific Destinies, but in much smaller amounts. Some say God sent Deities down to help decorate the Earth; and others say that God sent Special Animals down to do it. Probably both ver-
sions are correct. But what is surely true is that both Deities and Animals loved the Earth so much that they all wanted regularly to vacation there, and they did. In fact, many of the Animals decided to stay on Earth permanently.
But the Deities did not believe this to be correct and, being what they were--cap- able of both nice and not-so-nice things--they soon started to eat the squatter Animals; believing that the little creatures needed an "attitude adjustment." Ev- eryone knew that, basically, the animals were Heavenly creatures reasoned the Deities. But they made the Animals so nervous that the Animals started to com- pete with and eat each other also.
Because they did this, that is, took the Law of Diet into their own hands, they also started to fight, to manipulate each other, to conflict, and to spoil things on this Earth--the very Living World that they had done so much to decorate beautifully in accord with the expert advice of Harmony. Harmony, on the original request of God, had esthetically, rhythmically, and lovingly sewn together the stars, the moons, and the celestial lights of Heaven, so her advice on the decoration and
design of the Earth was well respected in the work of the Deities; who, themsel- ves, were busy about laying out vacation resorts for their kind--e.g., Mountains, Hills, and Oceans--and painting the Sky with Rain and Rainbows.
The Deities continued to live, socialize and hunt on Earth whenever they came down to visit. Little Tricksters also came down and spread themselves out all
over the World. They were into everything, and there was no way to get them all back into Heaven. In order to keep these little Tricksters from playing with and maybe even spoiling their vacation plans, the Deities decided to use them as errand and messenger boys and girls. The little Tricksters were happy with this arrangement because in this way they could be given little treats and be called by name (recognized) before and at the end of every organized activity in which the Deities engaged. A similar practice had been occurring in Heaven from near the beginning of Memorial Time because God was especially pleased with the little Tricksters.
The Little Tricksters Saw Everything
Perhaps unknown to the Deities, because of their notices to and requests on the little Tricksters, the little fellows had seen every event, problem, lesson, solution, and experience the Deities experienced in Heaven and on Earth. And, because the Tricksters loved Witness and his wife, Word, so much, they agreed to tell Witness everything they saw on Earth from their perspectives and even agreed to carry Word on their backs(!) everywhere she wanted to go and speak. As you can see, because of the Tricksters, Witness, got to know how Deities functioned on Earth: what their opportunities and problems were, and what their rituals, offerings, sacrifices, and ceremonies were that they used to remove problems or to gain advantages.
The Deities themselves would often ask the little Tricksters to find out for them, from Witness, how other Deities solved problems and had good times in Heaven and on Earth. And, of course, for a small offering, the little Tricksters did consult with Witness, on their behalves, and transmitted the information accurately to them. Thus, Witness got to know all that was happening and that could happen in the lives of the inhabitants of or visitors to Earth. Moreover, because of their keen observation, their omnipresence, and their natural enjoyment of tricking Deities (inherited from their father Disorganized Action), the little Tricksters got to know all of the things on Earth that would not happen as planned as well.
Witness, his wife, Word, and the Trickster kids became very wise; and pretty well-off economically. The Deities often consulted them, with good results, when they listened carefully to their explanations and did what they were advised to do; which they did not always happen! For example, they were often told to make offerings, or to say special prayers, or to use special words, in order to do their ceremonies and rituals correctly, and to get favorable results. They were also told to build their shrines beautifully and to feed each other edible offerings, especial- ly the Ashe stuff which God had invested in all Living Things, and of which they were especially fond and energized.
Things were fairly eventful on Earth and in Heaven. For example, the Deities farmed and fished, feasted and fornicated, frolicked and fought; they produced children, and art, music and dance as well. In other words, they did all of the things that would be expected of lively beings and, occasionally, they even died and were reborn. In the course of their lives they often made errors in judgment and were sometimes chastised by God and made to oversee the ethics or "best practices" of certain Earthly phenomena, for eternity, in order to make them do the right things in the areas of their transgressions. (For example, if God was an- gered because a Deity kept an excessively messy house, the Deity could be sent- enced to be, forever, the Guardian of Cleanliness). *
Earthly Vacations for the Deities
Eventually, through the help of the Little Tricksters and Witness, the Deities became very skilled at learning how to retrieve the stories of Word and, thus, learned how their fellow Deities--of whom there were hundreds--solved prob-lems through prayers, offerings, and sacrifices. Word's Heavenly memory con-tained riddles, incantations, myths, songs, praise-names, folktales, proverbs, and methods to obtain the cooperation of other Deities or to stop the meddling of other Spirit Forces--some of whom, though they existed in the realm of the In-Between Zone (between Heaven and Earth), could still cause problems for the vacationers and dwellers on Earth.
Usually, what the vacationing and resident Deities, Plants, and Animals wanted was "good fortune." For example, they wanted children, marriage, money, defeat of an enemy, and a long life. Of course, they also wished to avoid "bad fortune" like losses, poverty, fights, illness or death, or lack of love, bad marriages, and few children. Most important, they learned that the only things that their fellow Deities (as well as the Tricksters and Witness) wanted in exchange for good advice were natural things that could be gathered from the Earth: e.g., parts of plants, shells, beads, pieces of bones, foods. Of course, if the wisdom required, or the help of other Deities and Spirit Forces sought, was of importance in solving an extreme problem, they might even demand from each other some of the Ashe stuff God had invested in all living things.
Things could have gone on forever in this fashion, but at one point in primordial history, God decided that it would be better for the Earth if the Deities played a
less active role on it. In their vacationing and squatting oftentimes they failed the few simple expectations God had of them. For example, they engaged in excesses of many kinds. Sometimes they defiled Nature, i.e., left the face of the Earth un- clean, and sometimes they failed to be productive, to be reproductive, or to leave behind good children.
God, who had so many things to do other than pay daily attention of the affairs of Earth, asked them to retire to their favorite resorts on Earth or to come back to Heaven and stay there permanently. God thought that the Earth would be better served if it were populated mainly by Animals and Plants and those little bundles of Godparts (people) that had been stored earlier in the Heavenly warehouse.
So, as God ordered, most of the Deities either went to their resorts on Earth e.g., back into the mountains, the rivers, the seas, the forests, or the air or returned outright to Heaven. The Animals and Plants, mostly remained on Earth. And most of the Mystical Spirit Forces preferred to remain in limbo, in the In-Bet- ween Zone connecting Heaven and Earth, though some of them stayed on Earth as Nature Spirits. The Nature Spirits and the Mystical Spirit Forces saw it as their jobs to observe the goings-on on Earth and to insure that no Beings on Earth would ever return to Heaven in an impure state (and all Plants, Animals, Deities, Spirits, and People would periodically, ideally, have to return to Heaven for rein- carnation, for more Ashe, and for new Destinies) .
God Prepares to Instruct Earth's New Inhabitants
God asked a few of the Deities--who now sparingly travelled to Earth--to gather some of the Soul of the Earth and receive from Him, once back in Heaven, the lit- tle bundles of Godparts (which God called Heads), to combine them, and to give them shapes and body parts that, based on their experience, would be useful on Earth. The Deities did a pretty good job of fashioning People, although they did make some mistakes. A few of the People were crippled, or had no color, or vir- tually no brains; but, alas, all of them were complicated. When one thinks of it, look at all that they had in them(!) They had some Godpart, some Ashe, some Creativity, some Destiny and now, thanks to the Deities, they even had Soul.
Indeed, they had nice shapes and body parts and they left Shadows when walking under the Sun which proved that, unlike the Mystical Spirit Forces, bona fide res- idents of the Earth and would spend at least half of their time here and, in alter- nation, an equal time in Heaven. But still something was missing (they weren't moving; they weren't creating!). When all the People were assembled, God per- formed the first and last act of grace: the infusion of the Ashe of Breath into them to make them and all their children Living Beings. And this is how people came to get "time shares" on the Earth and enjoy a tour--in the Marketplace of Experience where--they could trade and shop to their hearts' content.
For the First and Last Time God Spoke Directly to the People
As God's final act of intervention at this time, God gathered all of the People on a
Mountain Top and gave them a great speech. Listening also were the Deities and
the various kinds of Spirit Forces, Animals, and Plants.
God said: "...Of all my creations, you are the most blessed. You have two abodes: one an Earthly Marketplace and the other a Heavenly Home. For about eighty years you shall dwell on one and then for eighty years or so you shall dwell in the other. Ideally, for the span of four Earthly generations you shall repeat this cycle-- each time arriving in a better and even more Loving Family and in more Beauti-ful Earthly surroundings.
"Inspired by Harmony, you shall respect the lives of your fellow Plants and Anim- als and the sensitivities of Earth's Mystic and Natural Forces. Before your Soul returns to Earth, on each occasion I shall take you to the warehouse where Heads are kept. Each Head will have some Ashe, some Creativity, some intelligence. And each Head will exist simultaneously in five forms: an Ideal Self (which will remain in Heaven each time you pass through), a Character, and a three-part Destiny. These latter four parts, Character and three-part Destiny will accompany you to Earth.
"You must know, also, that the three parts of your Destiny are very weighty, but the choice of Destinies, for any of your Earthly incarnations, will be left en- tirely up to you. Some Heads, with their Ashe, Intelligence, Creativity, Ideal Self, Character, and Destinies, are above average in quality, but most are average and below average and will have to make many sacrifices when on Earth to be successful. The three parts of your Destiny are: ( 1 ) those Unchangeable Things that you arrive into (e.g., your sex, your Family, your epoch); (2) the Resources and Conditions of life that will be available to you; and (3) the Series of Events, Choices, and Experiences--your Life Story--which will confront you in that incar- nation.
"Once your Soul chooses a Head and is re-born into an Earthly Family, it is expected that you will use your Character to fulfill, as well as possible, your chosen Destiny. Within certain limits, it will be routinely possible to modify the second and third parts of your Destiny (your Resources and Life Story); it will prove much harder, however, to modify your Character, although that too can be done. At the time in Heaven that your Soul chooses your Head (and the kinds of Destinies contained in it) there will be present Witness, his wife,Word, and many assembled Deities who will be watching you, listening to your pledges, and watching the kinds of sacrifices you are willing to make in order to insure that things go well for you and your Head on Earth.
"Whether or not you become aware of it, a Guardian Deity will protect you and, during your lifetime, perhaps--through your family heritage and your Initiation-- give "birth" to your divine knowledge about your Destiny. Your parent Deities will also favor you--because they are most like you or because they are the ones you will most need-- and will have a special relationship to you once your Head comes to Earth. They will "rule" your Head, especially one of them. Since they too love the Earth, and wish to be there, they will want you to help keep the memory of them alive and well-respected on Earth. You will serve them in this way. In return, your Mother and your Father Deities will also serve you in the following respects.
"Use the correct methods to call on them (and feed them), they will be available to advise you of your Destiny and clarify any questions or choices you should make at times when your Head's Ashe, Intelligence, or Creativity are weaken- ing. However, once you become aware of them, if you fail to honor them, they have ways to make you feel very much like they felt when their characters failed and ways to make you personally learn the lessons of reverence and sacrif- ice that were necessary for them to learn in order for them to enhance their Ashe.
"They can show you how to strengthen your Head with the right Plant Medicines; they can actually intervene in the operations of other People's Heads so as to make Events go smoothly for you; and they can foresee what kinds of problems lay on your current Road. Sing to them, Dance for them, maintain their Altars (their "Faces") nearby,and help others who also serve them. Additionally, Witness- Harmony, and the Trickster Children will have shown the Knowledgeable among you how to divine to the Deities and to your fore-parents, that is, how to ask them questions in order to know, for your benefit, in which one of Word's librar- ies is contained the Experience you or others might to endure and master at any given time.
"Recall that when the Deities were on Earth, they had done everything you could possibly think of, and have encountered every pleasure and problem you are like- ly to encounter. Since they can see the Future and know the Past, their advice and actions are very powerful; steeped in Ashe. And, for your edification, most of the Deities have left behind, hovering near the Earth (or in it), their own Spirit-Doubles.
"Your Deity Spirit-Doubles may actually come personally to visit you if you are lucky enough to Dance and Sing to them just right. When they come, your Body will take care of itself for a while, and your Head will be totally engaged with the Spirit Double, with what it wants, and with what it has to say. These "possessions" are blessed moments.
"I, God, warn you, however, that I shall give you each only a few notes to sing, so use each one carefully.
"Finally, it is time that you understand Time itself or, more precisely, themselves. Just as Head is the one Deity whom you will never be without, Time is the Deity whose eye you can never escape for, like the Trickster Children, Time is every- where. Understanding your obligations to Time will not be easy because there is, to start, the Mother of Time and the Father of Time, and Time--which can never be "saved"--is always short.
"The Mother of Time is concerned with the progress of your Life, of your Family, and of your People. Since you will start as a Baby, you will be headed into the
Living Future.That is, next you will be a young Child, then an Adolescent, a young
Adult, a mature Adult, an Elder, and then when you die, an Ancestor.
"This is the direction of the Living Future, and since it is the special concern of the Mother of Time, the women among you will exercise special influence on its shap-ing and nurturance.The Living Future is the exuberance of life: the morality of the individual, the nurturance of the individual, and the integrity of the local ecology.
"There is also the Father of Time, whose special concern is the Memorial Future. He is concerned about what lay ahead, or down the Road, in the direction that the Ancestors are going. He wants to make sure that they are well equipped and purified to return to Heaven, and that the conditions of Earth (its moral controls, standards, families, and ecology) are such that the Ancestors will not leave with heavy hearts nor return to it in Chaos--the Earth as modified by Disorganized Ac- tion. The Fathers also want to assure that the Spirit Forces and Mystic Forces find the Ancestors' journey to Heaven acceptable.
"In other words, just as there is a Future on Earth for the Living--with the younger children arriving further into that future than the present ones--there is also a future for those headed into the past; those Ancestors who will have temporarily left you and your Families behind. Among them, the ones who died first will be further down the Road into that Future than the ones who have died recently. It is mainly for men to be concerned with the satisfaction of the Ancestors and knowing what they want in terms of Family morality, Family sustenance, and the integrity of the neighboring ecology.
"Though these two Futures appear to be in opposite directions, this is only an Ear- thly illusion. In reality, they are but Twin Arrows headed in different directions on the same Circle of Reincarnation. The Mother of Time and the Father of Time are happily and eternally married and dynamically balanced. Wherever Father pred- ominates, Mother will be represented also, and wherever Mother predominates, Father's voice, too, shall, be heard.
"My advice to you is the same as my advice to the Deities who preceded you here. Do not engage in excesses, do not defile Nature, be productive, be reproductive, and leave behind good children. If you do these things, you will have the greatest
chance of fulfilling your Destinies and not leave before your appointed time (to languish, until that time, in the In-Between Zone or, worse yet, on the Earth itself. It is important for you to set a good example and to discipline your Children They must show love and kindness to each other and special acts of daily respect for their Elders.
"Their characters must be perfected as nearly as possible so that, when needed, their Ashe, Creativity, and Intelligence will help them modify their Destinies in the most desired directions. It is most important to leave behind good Children, for someday when you return to your Family on Earth--if I permit you to return to Earth--these Children will be your parents, or grandparents, or great-grandpar-
ents. But as you guide your Children, respect them, for the youngest leaves of the Tree grow closest to God. It will be no surprise to you, then, why the Elders and the grandchildren will have a special Love for each other --one has recently been where the other is about to go. Also, be kind to your Children (for, after all, they get to choose your nursing home!).
"There will be among you the Deities, the Ancestors, the Knowing and the Un- knowing. Serve the Deities, Respect the Ancestors, Listen to the Knowing and, with all your Heart, embrace the Unknowing.
"Your Ancestral and Deity Ashe will be passed down and around through the cycles of your Family, for in all that I have designed (just as I may be represented on Earth as The Rock of Eternity), the Family is the bedrock of your Cosmic Cycles and your Religious Experience. You may reproduce your own Children, you may reproduce by helping others with their Children, or you may reproduce Families of the Knowing, my Priestly Ministers on Earth. In any event, I enjoin you once again to be reproductive.
“May the Earth serve as your Pillow, and the Heavens as your Blanket, Forever.”
AND WITH THESE ACTS AND WITNESSES, WORDS, AND FORCES PRESENT,
GOD FIRST SPOKE TO THE PEOPLE.