How Was the World Created According To Yoruba Mythology?

At the beginning of time, the universe was divided into two regions, the sky and an endless stretch of water and marsh.

Many gods lived in the sky world, but only one cared about the vast stretch of water beneath.

His name was Obatala.

Obatala asked Olorun, ruler of the sky, if he could cover the water with land so people could live there.

Olorun supported the idea, but he doubted anyone could complete such a momentous task.

With Olorun’s permission, Obatala took a gold chain and hung it from the sky down to the water world.

But the chain wasn’t long enough to reach the water.

Obatala climbed down to the end of the chain, hearing the crash of waves through the dark, damp mist below him.

He took a snail shell filled with sand from his pack and poured it into the mist.

Next, he dropped a hen, which landed on the sand and began to kick it in all directions.

The sand turned into dry land.

In some places, the sand collected into piles and became mountains.

In other places, the sand sank and became valleys.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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