Yoruba Creation Myth, Obatala makes the journey from Orun (invisible realm) to aye (earth). Obatala drops sand on a planet covered with water and drops a hen on the sand to spread the solid ground surrounding the city of Ile Ife. Geologists identify Nigeria as one of the three oldest landmasses on the earth. It is a general rule of geology that the flatter the terrain the older the land, the higher the mountains the younger the land development. The rain forest surrounding Ile Ife is flat to the horizon in every direction.
This may seem like a simple and highly unlikely story. An exploration of the meaning of the symbolic language used in the Yoruba Creation myth illuminates a number of mysteries (awo) related to the creation process giving the story remarkable depth. Astrophysics (the study of the creation of the universe) has calculated the amount of matter needed to be present in the universe to have effectively generated the galaxies created by the “Big Bang” (the explosion giving birth to the visible universe).
For decades astrophysicists were perplexed by the observation that 90% of the physical matter expected to be present in the universe cannot be located. In the scientific world this was considered a big problem.
Astrophysics was provided a solution to the quandary by the science of quantum physics (the study of subatomic structure). Studies of the patterns created by colliding sub-atomic particles clearly showed the building blocks of physical matter appear and disappear under a variety of circumstances. Current scientific theory explains this phenomena by postulating the existence of a ten dimensional universe in and around the four dimensional (three physical dimensions + time) universe visible by human perception. According to quantum physics matter flows between these ten dimensions making the overwhelming mass created by the Big Bang invisible in the arena occupied by human life and visible by human perception. Ifa says Orun (the invisible realm) has seven dimensions. The number is different the concept is the same. To understand the concept of a multi-dimensional universe requires some understanding of the structure of matter. In the Western world matter was considered a solid grouping of atoms based on ideas developed by early Greek philosophers. Isaac Newton formalized this idea into a scientific theory.
In 1867 William Thompson rejected the Newtonian description of atoms as infinitesimally small hard bodies with physical mass. Thompson postulated the theory of the “vortex atom” which he described as a “whirlpool” of “aether”, meaning patterns of energy having no solid mass. Thompson’s vision is based on the premise that everything in the universe is a manifestation of the essential components of light. This became the foundation for Einstein’s theory of the conservation of matter, the idea that nothing in the universe is created or destroyed, simply transformed. In Ifa the idea of the conservation of matter is expressed in the single (I) and double (II) lines used to mark the verses of Odu (sacred scripture) used in Ifa divination. In Ifa the single lines symbolize light and the double lines symbolize dark. This is not a polarity between “good” and “evil”, it is a polarity between expansive ase called “light” or “radiation” and contractive ase called “matter”. The tendency in the Diaspora to associate darkness with “evil” is the result of a non – African, Christian theological influence. In Christian cosmology the earth is tainted by the fall and original sin. In Ifa cosmology the earth is the Mother of human evolution and the source of nourishment and compassion.
In 1873 James Clark Maxwell used the Thompson model of the atom to unite the available data on light and magnetism into an electromagnetic theory of light vibrations based on the premise that three-dimensional physical phenomena including human consciousness is dependant on higher dimensions of reality. He created a mathematical model of the universe based on the theory that light and gravity were untied as a single form of energy in the invisible fifth dimension (outside of time and space). He referred to this invisible energy source as “aether”. In Ifa this invisible energy source is called ase. Maxwell called the invisible fifth dimension hyper-dimensional space. In Ifa the invisible fifth dimension is called Orun. In a book titled “The Aether” published in 1876, Maxwell summarizes the implications of his theory.
Whether this vast homogeneous expanse of isotropic matter [the aether] is fitted not only to be a medium of physical Interaction between distant bodies, and to fulfill other physical functions of which, perhaps we have as yet no conception, but also as the authors of The Unseen Universe seem to suggest, to constitute the material organism of beings exercising functions of life and mind as high or higher than ours are at resent, is a question far transcending the limits of physical speculation . . .
In somewhat convoluted language Maxwell is suggesting that the condition of the visible physical universe is dependant on the influence of conscious beings existing in invisible dimensions of the universe.
Ifa calls these beings Orisa. He is also saying the invisible dimension is the source of all forms of consciousness. In Ifa cosmology (theory of the structure of the universe) the source or Spirit of consciousness is called Obatala. The idea of spiritual beings influencing the shape and development of the physical world is not popular in the Western scientific community. Once you introduce the idea of Spirit into the scientific equation you undermine the vision of being able to dominate and control Nature and this in turn demolishes the concept of privilege based on the belief in the intrinsic value of survival of the fittest. Maxwell’s theory was a threat to the entire Euro-centric worldview.
Maxwell passed away at an early age and one of his peers; Oliver Heaviside re-wrote all of his equations eliminating the references to a fifth dimensional reality. Current academic references to Maxwell’s work are based on Heaviside’s re-write and the original mathematical formula’s have largely been ignored and are extremely difficult to locate. Richard Hoagland in an article on his website (http:// http://www.enterprisemission .com/hyper1.html) summarizes the implications of Maxwell’s original theory. http://awofalokun.com/awo-falokun/obatala-ifa-myth-creation/