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Ogotemmeli - On bad seed



Type of Spiritual Experience


The Dogon ritually grow grain which is virtually inedible in a ritual enactment of a myth where ‘bad seed’ is created – souls and functions that are not good.  In effect they use a ritual to remember spiritual realities.  The 'bad seed' is a necessity, for the strategy of contrast tio succeed.

A description of the experience

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

The grain was hard and very small yielding very little nourishment in return for a great deal of labour.  It was said that women would seek divorce to avoid the labour of preparing it

‘But why was it put in the granary which came down to earth?’

‘It was there for the evil word.  It was the evil Word’

The baneful element had to have a place in the new world system.  Ogotommeli meant that since the evil word had been uttered more than once, it could not cease to exist or be left out of the world order and nothing could better represent it than the Digitaria

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps