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Spirit of the Mother of Death

We fear death and we fear the darkness as we fear adversity and depression. The darkness holds the unspoken and mysterious and man is generally scared of the unknown. Who knows what will happen it we indulge the unknown and the darkness? In Ifá metaphysics darkness is born in the olódù given the name Òyèkúnméjì, which is an elision of O yeye iku, which means ‘Spirit of the Mother of Death’ – but what is death f it is not the end of something – a promise of a new beginning? By daring the darkness, to dare yourself to enter a new cycle is begun and if your life at this point is not what you want it to be, Òyèkúnméjì, brings a promise of change. She is the darkness following the flash of light. She is the space of contemplation and promise after the break of light. Baba Awo Falokun says that she is the invisible dimension, the aye akamara, the very Source of Creation, the womb from whence Nature ‘red in claw and tooth’ sprang forth in the words of Robert Graves and Robert Cochrane. Icons of fiery goddesses, such as Kali Ma and her ten Mahavidyas, are all born from the silence of the darkness. She is the wisdom of the pole and point that stretches out in the landscape and makes divination possible. Mankind approaches with fear, mankind prostates in fear of Her. Not because of what she is, but because of what we are. Mankind are shifting and not stable. We are mediating between the questions of the passions and the answers of reason. The okàn (heart) and orí (conscious mind) will be in a constant dialogue if we let them. We can do divine hermeneutics. In the wonderful translation of Dr. Karenga of one of this Odús many verses we can read:

Constantly shifting is a boat on water
And so are human beings.
This was the teaching of Ifá for Ona Ishokan
Who was a child of the king of Oyo
One who is brave
Should not assume the voice of the timid
And one who is timid
Should not talk like one who is brave
The king does not allow us to make war on a
Town of woman
So that we may go with them
Let us conduct ourselves with gentleness
So that we may pass peacefully,
And so that our children can stretch forth
Their hands fully

On us in burial

What the verse tells us is that we should use the silence of contemplation Òyèkúnméjì gives us to allow us to know our selves. It is a death to false ideas and ideals towards recognition of who we truly are. It even comes with an admonition of conducting ourselves with gentleness, in other words being through to our selves – which always has an effect of bestowing kindness on our surroundings – so our children can bless our memory and by taking our name in their mouth feel a healthy pride. If we act in such ways that we secure a good name in death we have acted good.
Òyèkúnméjì is also the root cause of the condition we known as depression, a condition clearly referred to by the multiple meanings given to the word ‘dudu’ meaning ‘dark’ or ‘black’ in Yorúbá. But the challenge lies in not falling in love with ones depression or dark moods but use this condition to grasp our potential. Dark moods brings us towards the edges of our being, it is a condition where we feel alive because death is so close. It is the fire of protection rising within; this fire tells us that we are mud and clay (leaving out the fire of the soul). It is the cold fire of the black holes that tell us to break through and not be like a boat on shifting waters, but realizing yourself. This is the Spirit of the Mother of Death, beware so you do not mistake Her spirit for being Death itself….

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