Bamana (Bambara) of upper (western) Mali

[southern Bamana include the Buguni (Bougouni) and the Kene-dugu (Kene-dougou);

central Bamana, along the Niger river, include the Bele-dugu (Bele-dougou) & the Segu (Segou);

northern Bamana, along the Bani river, include the Bani-munitie (Bani-mounitie) & the Bani-nko]

p. 13 creation-myth known to the southern Bamana





God "created all things through his vibrating spirit known as yo, and

{In Dogon cosmology, "articles are said to be the product of the vibrations of primordial threads" (EAR p. 219b); primordial vibration is also the source of the universe in Solomon Islanders’ cosmologies}


through His index finger.

{cf. in Islam, the divine "finger that moveth"}


His first creation was fire ... . This fire formed Venus (sigi lolo), the buffalo star, also known as the star of circumcision. [p. 15b : "circumcision and excision ... operations when the star [Venus] is at its brightest."] ...

B3t3 "throws his phallus {should be "foreskin"} into the water" (HR, p. 89a) and "transformed himself into a bull {should be "buffalo"}" (HR, p. 91a).


The sky ... and the earth were then connected to one other by the banagolo tree that had seventeen branches.

{cf. the Ijo 17-fish cycle of years, the Yoruba cycle of 17 days, the Edo 17 divination-figures}


This tree is ... on earth today ... the bana tree (Ceiba pentandra). It is the ladder over which the ni component of the human soul ascends to heaven, while

{cf. Kemetian ascension of soul of the dead into heaven via a ladder}


the dya or double of the soul resides in the family altar.

{this is a Confucianist distinction, of the to heaven, the double to altar-tablet}


The ni may later come down from heaven and enter the womb of a pregnant female member of the family, thus reincarnating an ancestor."

{this is the usual belief throughout west Africa}


"mythic python" : "Its head is often depicted at the base of door locks."

{[Kemetian] <PP (Apophis) the aquatic-snake-god was beheaded}


"The bana tree connects to seven heavens ... by the rainbow.

{cf. Norse (et al.) rainbow-bridge to heaven}


The first heaven is that of scorpions and twins. ...

{cf. goddess Kampe, who was a "scorpion" (Nonnos : Dionusiaka 18:237 -- K)}


The seventh heaven is that of the white cock. His sounds ... descend through the other heavens to earth, picking up the powers of each heaven en route."

{descent through 7 heavens, acquiring a power in each en route, is a Gnostic theme}


"The first fire entered a stone ... . Thus, stone is the perpetual abode of the first fire.

{The Tablet of the 10 Commandments was inscribed with fiery writing}


The stone in which the first fire resided was in the middle of a lake."

{36,501st living divine stone, "daily moistening ... with the choicest nectar of the sky" (DRCh)}


Of the 4 bodily aspects of Pemba, which 4 were "derived from" the 4 fingernails {cf. 4-fingered comic-book personalities} of God,

{cf. the Maori fire-goddess Mahuike (known as Mafuike in Fakaofo – BB, pt. 2, p. 570) produced the 1st fire for use by humankind from her own fingernails (HMBF)}


the 1st was the "head"

{the "Stone Which the Builders Rejected hath become the HEAD of the corner" (1st Epistole of Petros 2:7; cf. Acts of the Apostoloi 4:11)}


The 4 are thus :



was the __ (sign)

which went to the __ (direction)

and became __ (bodily member)








[metallic] trident







"stomach or heart"



ae:ry bird’s beak



EAR = Encyclopedia of African Religions. 2008.

HR = Alison Roberts : Hathor Rising. 1995.

K =

DRCh = Dream of the Red Chamber (= Story of the Stone).

BB = Gerald Massey : Book of Beginnings.


pp. 14-17, 25 creation-myth known to the northern Bamana

p. 14a

"During the phase of creation, known as dali folo, the earth was devoid of living beings, and God manifested himself as a grain (kise) known as Pemba. A balanza tree (Acacia albida) grew from this seed, but ... all that remained was a long beam of wood, known as Pembe`le`. This wooden beam secreted mildew ... . Pembe`le` mixed this mildew with his own saliva to create a new being, a female, known as Mouso Koroni Koundye` (little old woman with a white head).

p. 14b

Mouso Koroni eventually had sexual intercourse with the Pembe`le`, and in the process ... initiated human circumcision and excision. Then she engaged in the creative process, engendering vegetables, animals, and human beings, the latter then being immortal. Mouso Koroni then had intercourse with the cobra, and gave birth to Tyi Wara, a half-man, half-animal deity who taught men how to farm. However, her creativity was generally characterized by disorder ... and haste ... on the grounds that she wanted to people the earth with beings as rapidly as possible. {In Chinese cosmogony, the goddess Nu Gua (Nu Kua) was creating humans. "Since this process was too tedious and time-consuming, she dipped a rope into the mud and then swung it about her. Soon the earth around her was covered the lumps of mud. The handmade figurines became the wealthy and the noble; those that arose from the splashes of mud were the poor and the common." (NW)} Finally, Mouso Koroni planted the Pembe`le` in the ground, and he became a tree once again.

p. 15a

... Mouso Koroni ... is also the "mother of magic," ... and as such ... at the time of her creation, while God gave her the ni, he entrusted its double, the dya, to Faro."

p. 15b

The goddess "Nyale` gives strength to newborns and hastens the ripening of grain. She is the source of all human ideas, which have or will be given to man ... . She invented hair styling, jewelry, and instructed human beings ... to distinguish men from women in the era before speech was invented."


"In traveling throughout the world, Mouso Koroni was pursued by her husband, Pemba. During his pursuit of her, he created air, fire, water and earth, and sickness and death. ... she traveled west-south-east-north, while Faro, who was enlisted by Pemba to control her, traveled east, west, south, and north. ... she was reduced to starvation and misery. One day an old woman ... gave her a millet cake to eat. As she raised it to her mouth, a large black scorpion (dyonkomi) emerged and stung her. ... the blacksmiths ... attached a cord to the tail of the scorpion, tied it to her leg, and then ... both together." {cf. [Kemetian] scorpion-goddess SRQt (S); also cf. the "black scorpion" in AY, and in the biography of Sathya Sai Baba}

p. 16a

"The second phase of creation, called dali flani, was dominated by Faro (water hole) and Ndomadyiri (wood divinity). ... His [Faro’s] physical characteristics include a white feminine face, long, smooth black hair, black eyes, no external ears, a body surface covered by ... copper, and a webbed tail. {otter’s tail? the "copper" may = the gold guarded by the otter-god in Norse myth} Faro is androgynous {Barangao is a "goddess" (PhR)}, and ... gave birth to twins. ... he stole his white face from a lesser divinity, Te`liko, an albino, who is today ... whirlwinds. {stealing of deities’ faces in a common Kogi (of Colombia) theme} Faro lives in water, and is associated with thunder, lightening, rain, and rainbows. {cf. [Visayan] "Barangaw (Varangao) – A rainbow god." (DPhM2)} ... Faro was born of God’s vaporous breath, from a bubble {cf. [Visayan] "Barangaw (Varangao) – A bubble god." (DPhM1)} of his saliva while God was pronouncing the words of creation. ... God’s word, ... during this second phase of creation, ... was unintelligible to humans ... . This language of continuous sound {cf. Surat S`abda ‘Sound-Current’ in Radha-Svamin cosmology} began when Pemba ... cut her on the neck. She let out a continuous sound in response ... that became the only language ... .

It was Ndomadyiri, the divine blacksmith, ... who made this primordial word into useful language. He is what is left {should this be salt, remaining after the evaporation of sea-water or brine?} ... after the evaporation of water (Faro) due to the action of the wind (Nyale`).

p. 16b

... Ndomadyiri is the master of herbs and remedies, and a healer, characteristics of all blacksmiths. ...

Faro ... is on the crest of after a swollen river after a heavy rain, and within the swirling waters of a river, and in the vapor that rises above ponds early in the morning. He ... especially inhabits deep depressions in the Niger River called faro tyin. The swallow (nanale`kou) is Faro’s aerial messenger. ...

p. 17a

Faro is also associated with ... the indigenous tomato, ngoyo (Lycopersicum cerasiforme). Its grains are arranged in multiples of seven, a number denoting twins. The Bamana believe that this fruit, when eaten by women, ... promotes the birth of twins."


"The third phase of creation is that of the present, and is the stage when ... Ndomadyiri is omnipresent, stabilizing society through his supervision of its religious rites. ...

p. 17b

It is the fixation of the locks by iron nails to doors that recalls Ndomadyiri’s role in the legend of ... pyroengraved graphic signs in general of which he is the original author."

p. 25b, n. 1:52

"Ndomadyiri is the master of writing and teaching. He is the kala (to teach) tigui (chief). ... he was the first to create the graphic signs used by the Bamana."

NW =

S =

AY = Paramahamsa Yogananda : The Autobiography of a Yogi.

PhR =

DPhM1 =

DPhM2 =

pp. 19-20 magical fetishes; religious practitioners

p. 19a

"Sirikounw are magical fetishes composed of animal horns, hair, hide, and cotton threads. Often carried in leather bags or suspended from a belt, they ... can ... be used for divination."

p. 20a

"Boliw are magical objects that ... are created in a variety of forms including ... human-like figures, and cows. ... As power objects, boliw are used as agents ... to promote general social welfare".

"Completing the circle of protection ... are dassiriw (village protector spirits), which

p. 20b

reside in ... trees, animals, or unusual rock formations. ... Women ... who have difficulty in becoming pregnant often petition dassiriw ... . In many villages, the dassiri is a baobab or acacia tree surrounded by a brush enclosure."


"Among the Bamana, ... types of practitioners ... include

furatiguiw (herbalists),

nya bouinw (diviners and spirit mediums),

basitiguiw (diviners),

somaw (spirit mediums)".

pp. 22, 26 graphic signs (pictographs)

p. 22b

"Dieterlen and Cisse’ [Les Fondements de la socie’te’ d’initiation du Komo. Paris : Mouton & Co, 1970.] documented 266 Komo signs ... . These signs constitute doni dyu, the foundation of all knowledge. They represent God’s thoughts, and retrace the creation of both the visible and invisible universe. ... They are usually curvilinear in character compared to the publicly displayed signs on locks that most often consist of ... angular configurations."

p. 26a, n. 1:67

"For an overview of graphic signs among the Bamana, Bozo, Dogon, and Keita, see Griaule, Marcel and Dieterlen, Germaine. Signes graphiques Soudanais. Paris : Hermann et Cie, 1951. The great planks (walaw) of the Komo carry the ti baw or great signs, also known as the mother signs. ... The karaw (door mat) planks of the Kore` society also bear pyroengraved and painted graphic signs used to teach and impart wisdom to initiates."

p. 22b

"The Bamana use geometricized designs on bokolanfini (mud cloth). ... However, their meanings are quite different."

p. 26b, n. 1:77

"For a fuller discussion of bokolanfini (bogolanfini), see Aherne, Tavey D. Nakunte Diarra. Bogolanfini Artist of the Beledougou. Bloomington : Indiana University Art Museum, 1992".

pp. 32, 53 word & silence

p. 32a

"The Bamana believe that the first spoken word was kon (door), and that is have enormous power ... . ... Thus, silence and secrecy are important intellectual doors ... . They are doors to inner thoughts ... . ... Doors also represent tranquillity because of their association with the concept of silence. For the Bamana, silence is the key to peace of mind ... . The Bamana give emphasis to this belief through the use of several aphorisms such as ...

p. 32b

"Silence has a tranquil mind, speech an agitated one." ... the Bamana say that silence represents perfection in communication ... . ... Silence emphasizes words that have just been spoken and those that follow. ... Those who punctuate their speech with silence also carefully chose their words.

p. 53b, n. 2:52

"One of the ways the Bamana try to silence the bitter words ... is to prepare a paste-like concoction from the bark of seven caicedrat trees (Khaya se’ne’galensis) known in Bamanan-kan as as dala. The resulting bitter paste is then ... inserted into the holes of the horizontal beam of the ... lock".

pp. 44, 52 sexual symbolism of locks

p. 44b

"parts of locks" : "The vertical beam is called mother (ba), while the horizontal one is known as father (fa). The posterior cavity in the vertical beam through which the bolt slides is called naga (lower abdomen). The superior border of this cavity through which the locking pins pass is called soroyoro (find, place). This is a euphemism for vagina used by men to indicate possession of a woman for the purpose of coital pleasure. ... Thus, the insertion of the key symbolizes insemination and impregnation."

p. 52b, n. 2:48

The lock’s "key teeth were traditionally two in number, and ... they represent the bifurcated penile glans of the lizard Agama agama, known in Bamanan-kan as as basa."

p. 44b

"among the Samake` group of Bamana in the Cercle of Bougouni, ... the vertical beam represented the wife, the horizontal one the husband, and the fixation of the lock by nails, consummation of the marriage. ... the wife ordered the vertical beam from the blacksmith while the husband did the same for the horizontal one."

Pascal James Imperato : Legends, Sorcerers, and Enchanted Lizards. Africana Publishing Co, New York, 2001.