THE MATERNAL WOMB AS WORKSHOP OF THE DIVINE IN CLASSICAL AFRICAN THOUGHT
Earth,the feminine and maternal power,is also the receptacle of the universal power which comes from heaven through the intermediary of ji (water),yellen (light) and even dibi (darkness).
The Supreme Being in the Sudanese animist traditions created two fundamental principles which were inherent in all things:tyeeya (masculinity) and muesya (femininity).In West Africa,this principle of sexuality is applied to the members of the mineral,plant,and animal kingdoms.In this way,the sky is male,because in covering up the earth it fulfils its masculine function,while the earth is receptive,therefore feminine and maternal.Even today, "to cover up" in the Peul language means "to marry".The shape of an object determines its gender:all that is hollow symbolises the feminine ,while anything that projects outward represents the masculine.
Amadou Hampate Ba "Earth,Moon and Stars",excerpt from Aspects of African Civilisation by Amadou Hampate Ba in Parabola,Vol.xiv.no 3.Fall 1989.48-9.
SPACES OF BECOMING:
METAPHORS OF THE COSMOS IN CLASSICAL YORUBA THOUGHT AND
The Yoruba conceive of the cosmos as consisting of two distinct yet inseparable realms--aye (the visible, tangible world of the living) and orun (the invisible spiritual realms of the ancestors, gods, and spirits). Such a cosmic conception is visualized either a spherical gourd, whose upper and lower hemispheres fit tightly together, or as a divination tray with a raised figurated border enclosing a flat central surface--Henry Drewal, John Pemberton, and Rowland Abiodun, "The Yoruba World," Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, p. 14.