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Yoruba Creation Myth

The Yoruba people of Nigeria have a rich and captivating mythology that encompasses a wide range of stories and beliefs. One of the most intriguing aspects of Yoruba mythology is their creation myth, which offers a unique perspective on the birth of the universe. In this blog article, we will delve into the enchanting Yoruba creation myth, re-telling the ancient tale that has been passed down through generations.

The Birth of the Universe

The supreme being and divine creator, Olodumare, according to Yoruba mythology, created the universe. In the beginning, there was only water and darkness. Olodumare, residing in the sky, decided to bring forth the earth and all its wonders.

Olodumare used a chain to lower a small piece of earth from the sky into the vast expanse of water below. This marked the beginning of the creation process, as the earth floated on the water’s surface. Olodumare then sent a chameleon to assess the condition of the earth.

The chameleon, known for its ability to adapt and change, explored the earth and reported back to Olodumare. The chameleon explained that the earth was excessively wet and needed to be dried out. Taking this into consideration, Olodumare decided to take action.

To dry out the earth, Olodumare dispatched a bird to peck at the earth’s surface. The bird tirelessly pecked at the earth, shaping it into hills and valleys. As the bird worked, the earth gradually dried, becoming a habitable place.

In Yoruba’s creation myth, the chameleon plays a significant role, symbolizing adaptability and wisdom. According to the myth, Olodumare, the supreme deity, tasked the Chameleon with a crucial mission to determine which of the creatures on Earth possessed the necessary qualities to carry the divine breath of life. The chameleon embarked on a journey, carefully observing and assessing each animal’s characteristics. Its ability to change colors and blend into its surroundings allowed it to remain unbiased and objective in its evaluation. Eventually, the Chameleon returned to Olodumare and recommended the human beings, highlighting their potential for growth, intelligence, and resilience. This decision shaped the destiny of humanity, emphasizing the Chameleon’s vital role as a discerning judge and a symbol of adaptability, wisdom, and the power to recognize and appreciate the unique qualities of all living beings.

The Creation of Life

Once the earth was ready, Olodumare proceeded to create the first humans. Olodumare formed a man and a woman out of clay and breathed life into them. These humans were bestowed with the power to procreate, ensuring the continuity of life on earth.

In addition to humans, Olodumare created a variety of beings to populate the earth. Animals, spirits, and deities were brought forth to maintain balance and harmony within the world. Each being had its own unique purpose and role to play in the grand tapestry of creation.

The Significance of the Yoruba Creation Myth

The Yoruba creation myth holds great significance for the Yoruba people. It explains their origins and provides a framework for understanding the world around them. The myth emphasizes the power of creation, the importance of balance, and the interconnectedness of all living beings.

The Yoruba creation myth also highlights the role of Olodumare as the supreme being and divine creator. Olodumare is revered as the ultimate source of life and the one who brings order to the universe.

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