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Observations placeholder

Mircea Eliade - On rain, thunder and lightning



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative religion

The Tschwis, for instance, use the word Nyankupon – the name of their Supreme Being – to designate sky and rain; they say Nyankupon bom (strikes) for 'It is thundering';  Nyankupon aba (has come) for 'It is raining'.

The Ba-Ilas, Bantu tribes in the Kafu valley, believe in an omnipotent Supreme Being and creator who dwells in the sky, and whom they call Leza.  But in common speech the word 'Leza' also describes meteorological phenomena; 'Leza falls' means it is raining; 'Leza is angry', it thunders and so on.

The Suks call their Supreme Being Totorut, that is the Sky and also Ilat, the Rain.  Among the negroes properly so-called, Nyame also means the firmament (from the root Nyam, 'to shine').

For most of the Ewe peoples, Mawu is the name of the Supreme Being (the name comes from wu, 'to spread' or 'to cover); Mawu is also used to designate the firmament and the rain.  The blue of the sky is the veil Mawu uses to cover his face; the clouds are his clothes and ornaments; blue and white are his favourite colours (his priest may wear no other).  Light is the oil with which he anoints his body.  Mawu sends the rain and he is omniscient.

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps