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Ogotemmeli - The reaper

Identifier

004918

Type of spiritual experience

Background

In Dogon society the people ritually enact the symbolism described here, thus this is both a literal description of what actual smiths in Dogon society do, but also a symbolic description of how the ‘creator’ gives us the tools for co-creation and on death [reaping] the grim reaper collects what is due to him – souls and results of co-creation and growth

A description of the experience

Conversations with Ogotommeli (An Introduction to Dogon Religious ideas) – Professor Marcel Griaule

His part is to forge the implements of cultivation, but never to use them with his own hand; the hoes that he makes are for the men of the seven families and it is for them in return to supply him with food.  So we see how, every year at harvest time, the smith leaves his forge and goes about the country to collect the grain from the plots which the implements of forging have worked.  He knows all the fields which owe him tribute; there is nothing he does not know about their growth and maturity

So it is that, when the sweating peasant opens up to the sunlight the soil which lay in the shade of the growing corn and reaps the last ear, he sees, seated at the edge of the field, watching him open mouthed – the smith.

The source of the experience

Ogotemmeli

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities