Yoruba Myths

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CUP Archive, Oct 2, 1980 - History - 82 pages
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This collection of myths - some of them simple, strong pieces of narrative, others mysterious, poetic and often amusing - illustrate the religion and thought of the West African Yoruba People. Interspersed with drawings by Georgina Beier of Yoruba motifs and collected and translated by authors and artists long-familiar with Yoruba culture, the myths are compiled and introduced here by Ulli Beier, who himself holds two Yoruba chieftaincy titles. Some are creation myths: these explain the division of the original God into the many orisha, or gods, and the development of their various functions. In the folk- or trickster-tales the orisha often assume different personalities whose actions and their consequences reveal the Yoruba wisdom and customs. This book makes the myths of an orally transmitted religion available as literature to Nigerian school children, who are often unfamiliar with their traditional mythology. It will also strengthen English interest in original African literature.
 

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It is unfortunate that another heritage of salvation has not received the merit it is due. This Yoruba myths can indeed guide us through the darkness and misconceptions of modern time; thereby harmonizing us with nature and divinity, wherein lies respect for humans and the surrounding living and nonliving resources around us. Indeed it is the true antidote for resource conservation, spiritual awakening, internal love and happiness among but a few lost natural birth-right. 

Contents

The Moon
3
Choosing a fate
4
Orishanla
6
The creation of land
7
Obatala and Oduduwa
9
Oranmiyan
10
How Obatala lost the Calabash of good character
13
Obatala the creator
14
Obatala and the witches
15
Oranmiyan and the foundation of Old Oyo
18
Oranmiyan establishes dynasties in Benin and Oyo
19
Shango
20
Shango and his brothers
23
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About the author (1980)

Beier has been the director of research institutes in Nigeria and New Guinea.

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