Goddess Nzambi  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Nzambi Image
"NZAMBI" IS THE EARTH MOTHER GODDESS WHO IS FOUND IN ALMOST EVERY CULTURE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF THE CONGO. IT WAS SHE WHO MADE THE EARTH AND SKY. SHE, WHO IS BOTH MALE AND FEMALE IN ONE. NZAMBI IS THE GIVER OF BOTH GREAT GENEROSITY AND OF PUNISHING FAMINE... DEPENDING ON WHETHER OR NOT SHE FEELS SOMEONE IS WORTHY. IT IS SAID THAT ONE OF HER FAVORITE TRICKS IS TO TAKE ON THE GUISE OF AN OLD BEGGAR WOMAN AND GO FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, BEGGING FOR SOMETHING TO EAT. THOSE WHO GIVE HER THEIR SCRAPS ARE SAID TO RECEIVE A ONLY A SMALL TOKEN OF MONEY IN THE NEAR FUTURE, WHILE THOSE WHO BRING HER INSIDE AND PROVIDE HER A MEAL BY THE FIRE, ARE REWARDED WITH GREAT WEALTH. AND, THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO TURN HER AWAY ARE SENT NOTHING BUT FAMINE AND POVERTY; SHE TAKES AWAY WHAT THEY REFUSED TO SHARE.

NZAMBI'S LESSONS EMPHASIZE THE RULE OF HOSPITALITY, OF EXTENDING THE RESOURCES OF THE FAMILY CIRCLE UNTIL THE WORLD OUTSIDE. THE GIVER MUST NOT HAVE A SECRET AGENDA OR OBLIGATION, AND THE RECIPIENT MUST ACCEPT THE GIFT QUIETLY, WITHOUT CRITICISM OR OVERT SHOW. IN ONE OF HER LEGENDS, SHE IS APPROACHED BY A CRAB. HE HAS NO LIMBS AND ASKS HER FOR LEGS. SHE GRANTS HIM A PAIR, BUT HE WANTS ANOTHER...AND ANOTHER. FINALLY, AFTER HE SPORTS MORE LEGS THAN MOST OTHER CREATURES, HE ASKS FOR A HEAD AS WELL. NZAMBI AGREES, BUT SAYS THAT HE WILL RECEIVE HIS HEAD IN A FEW DAYS.

THE CRAB INVITES EVERYONE TO BE PRESENT AT THE RECEIVING OF HIS HEAD...WHICH HE HAS TURNED INTO A HUGE CEREMONY. WHEN NZAMBI ARRIVES, SHE FINDS HIM STRUTTING ARROGANTLY, MOVING SIDEWAYS INSTEAD OF FORWARDS SO AS TO SHOW OFF ALL OF HIS EXTRA LEGS. SHE BECOMES SO DISGUSTED WITH HIS ARROGANCE AND PRIDE, THAT SHE INFORMS HIM THAT SHE WILL NOT BE GIVING HIM A HEAD AFTER ALL; INSTEAD, SHE SENTENCES HIM TO SCUTTLE SIDEWAYS FOREVER. CRAB IS SO HUMILIATED THAT HE HIDES UNDER A ROCK...WHICH HAS WHAT HE HAS DONE EVER SINCE.

NZAMBI'S LESSON IS MORE THAN ONE OF DISAPPROVAL OF PRIDE; SHE IS ANGRY THAT CRAB HAS FLOUTED THE GREATEST TENET OF THE GIVER-RECIPIENT RELATIONSHIP...THE LION'S SHARE OF THE ATTENTION MUST GO TO THE GIVER.

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This entry was posted on 24 February 2010 at Wednesday, February 24, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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