Part 1: The people of Eden, Chapter 9: Religion and rituals of the Dogon

Part 1: The people of Eden, Chapter 9: Religion and rituals of the Dogon

Published July 18, 2009

Ireli, Dogon village …

The hogon

The hogon is the oldest man in the village

From the moment he was appointed hogon, he became the spiritual leader of the tribe and as such is subject to a particular lifestyle:
– He can not set foot naked-earth
– He must spend his day sitting in front of his house
– He no longer lives with her, or women
– It is served by a virgin
– He can not wash

The hogon is the priest of Lebe, the serpent-old man

Each night, goes to the Lebe hogon and licks her body, giving it the strength to live another day

Saliva Lebe is the strength of the moisture and the strength of the word

The hogon therefore should not wash or sweat, or it loses the power of Lebe

The day the hogon gets scared of the snake, he died


Dogon rituals are based on the transmission of the vital force necessary to balance the company, the hogon being the guardian of the greatest strength

The Dogon have no writing but signs which are intended to describe the genesis

Interpretation and transmission obligations to dignitaries and the totemic priests: the more a man knows the signs, the more it approaches the great knowledge

Society masks

Society masks, called Awa directs masked dances held during the various ceremonies

The company includes all men

The boys enter it after circumcision

Women are not allowed in this society, except those born in the year of sigui

The cult of Binu, society masks, representing the red cloth of the earth and men and dead animals

Any adult man can be a soothsayer, asking a friend to teach him the art

The soothsayers are the most popular high dignitaries of the society masks, hunters and healers

The totemic priests, the hogon and all those who celebrate and worship Amma Nommo, enemies of the jackal, can not approach the table of divination

All Dogon male or female, may apply to a seer to question the jackal providing the seeds that will attract the animal

The soothsayers have tables of education, twelve boxes, which they use to query the jackal

The cult of Binu is set in a sanctuary generally rectangular building with rounded corners and whose facade is flanked at its ends by two round towers slightly higher than the building

The door of the sanctuary is often less than a man standing high and blocked by large stones

On the roof above the door, up two depressions which is poured the boiled grain and the blood of sacrificed animals and between the two, a beam supports the hook clouds
The totemic priest keeps his equipment inside the building where he alone can enter, because nobody has to see the secret signs that are plotted

The facade is covered with black markings, white and red

Be careful, this place is sacred

This is the picture of the fox by which insiders can interpret the divine plan

The question is written on the sand

Language is mysterious and incomprehensible as it is the first word revealed to men

And the fox, the jackal of mythology, comes in the night to respond by asking her legs in some places

The cult of Lebe

The main religion is that of Lebe, the serpent-god, whose priest is the hogon

It is a ceremony in honor of Nommo

The altar for the celebration is in the hogon and contains a plot of land from the tomb of Lebe, carried away by the Dogon as they migrate

Other altars dedicated to the Nommo, can be divided into the village in a ginna on the village square, in the field of hogon or at the entrance of the village

the cult of Sigi

Sigi in the worship of the statue of the serpent is vested with the representation of the first spiritual death

Sigui ceremonies are held every sixty years

They take place over seven years

The next will be held in 2027

This is an important ritual of regeneration to commemorate the revelation of the spoken word to men, and the death and funeral of the first ancestor

Jean Rouch made many films in recent festivals between 1967 and 1974

Personal altars are in family homes

The altars are built with a raised stone covered with earth taken from a pond in memory of Nommo

This land is mixed with seeds or with data from an older altar

Each individual has two altars, altar of a head and body of an altar

The Dogon make sacrifices on the altar in order to increase their life force

When they die, their altars are destroyed personal

The funeral rite

The funeral rite takes place in three stages:

Upon the death, a funeral is held

The ancient dwellings of the Tellem in the cliff perched serve as cemetery

The body of the deceased is washed before being buried

His soul rest in the village

A few months later, funerals are held that allow family and friends to pay homage to the deceased

His soul then leaves the family home but continues to roam around

The third time is the dama

This ceremony is collective and involves all who died in previous years

The dama is held every 3 to 5 years

The souls are called to join the ancestors

During the ceremony, which lasts three days, the different masks are out and parade and dance in the village

This ceremony marks the end of mourning

The masks

The association masculine, awa, responsible for the initiation, also organizes the great ceremonies of dama hidden, or lifting of mourning, which commemorates the dead of two or three years

For this occasion they make two masks:

or the monkey house floors, worn by a dancer, mime the creation myth

the descent of the ark, Kanaga mask topped by a cross of Lorraine

Other masks are with: antelope, rabbit, buffalo, monkey, bird, hyena, lion, and masks, helmets with horns and muzzles

These masks are highlighted with colors red, black and white

For the vast Sigui ceremony held every sixty years, a mask-serpent which symbolizes

He who has a mask does not know his relatives

If he dances with his mask, it should not be recognized

Satimbe mask is surmounted by a female figure representing yasiguini

Yasiguini have sent the masks to Andoumboulou, first human beings created by God amma

The Andoumboulou carved the image of the satimbe yasiguini to honor and dedicate

Yasiguini sigui means woman, and is the only woman admitted to the society masks sigui is the only event for which all the masks dance

Almost 400 masks are used in the ceremony of dama

They consist of geometric shapes

From both sides of the nose are two eye pits arranged in a long rectangular depression

The sides of the mask can be decorated with triangular

The Dogon mask the best known is the Kanaga mask representing the bird of the same name

The triangular shape of the face is the jaw of the bird and the conical lower language

The mask is completed with the wings of Komondo, mythical bird

The two small figures on the top of the mask represent the first couple consider the Dogon ancestors

The cross refers to the creation myth

The upper part of the cross symbolizes the alien world, and the lower the earthly world

The line between the two parties is the union between the two worlds

During the ritual dance, the wearer of the mask looks down, dancing, directing the cross to the ground in order to establish a link between earth and sky

In the funeral rites, members of society awa dance with the masks on the roof of the house of death, to lead his soul, the nyama to his eternal rest, and also to defend the living from evil that they could do



money is the human predator
This entry was posted in Amma Nommo, Andoumboulou, binu, burkina-faso, dama, dogon, hogon, ireli, lebe, marcel griaule, masks, Nommo, Ogotemmêli, Satimbe mask, sigi, Tellem, Yasiguini. Bookmark the permalink.

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