African lunar deities

Just like with all natives from different countries and continents, the Moon also plays an important role amongst African peoples in myths and stories. In this respect, we have already mentioned other peoples, for example the Native American Indians in America, the Inuit in the far north or the Aborigines in Australia.

There is the moon goddess Mawu of the Ewe and Fon tribes from Benin, a small country in West Africa. She is the wife of Lisa, the sun god and they unite during a lunar eclipse, when the Sun-Earth-Moon are aligned (just like during a full moon). Mawu and Lisa stem from the primordial mother Nana Buluku, who is considered the creator of the world.

Also in West Africa, in the ethnic group Dogon in Mali, the creator god Amma brought the Sun and the Moon into being. Hence, the Dogon developed a model of the world, which reminds of the deeper connections of creation by means of geometric symbols.

In the southwestern part of Africa, it is the deity of ancestors Kalunga, who is connected to the Moon and also with the creation of man.

In North Africa as well, especially in the ancient Egyptian culture with its lunar deity Toth, the Moon is rooted deeply in connection with magic, science and wisdom. Toth is also the god of time and rose to the sky after his work on Earth, where he turned into the Moon. The interpretation of the waning moon is very interesting in this case: it is explained that a demon gorged on Toth, who therefore lost his round shape, slowly turned into a crescent and eventually disappeared altogether at the new moon. Thereupon he returned, meaning that he conquered the demon and turned into the full moon again … a continuous cycle.

These old myths touch profound truths within us. Even though, we may chuckle over them with our scientifically oriented world view, they remain a part of the inexplicable truths that make up our existence.

Everyone who knows more African myths about the Moon and is able to tell us more, please use the comment section underneath this article. We are happy about every entry!

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  • I had the great pleasure of living among the Kpelle people of Liberia for three years and loved that their word for the full moon was “egg” because two days before and two days after the full moon, the moon resembles an egg … it starts as an egg, blossoms and then returns to an egg … quite awesome. The word as I recall was “ngalo”.

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