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EVENTS

BLACK & WHITE, SYMBOLS, CONNOTATIONS & SIGNIFICANCE

Updated: Dec 31, 2023





My curiosity is toward life, people, culture, stories, concepts, symbolism, and iconography. As of now, for most of my paintings, we can observe that they are made using what I call the Silver Screen painting style. The Silver Screen is what some would call Black and white. However, I do not make my paintings to be viewed that way. I want people to see beyond the two basic components of the paintings and look at the greater picture. Through the lenses of Silver Screen painting, there is a great mosaic of colors flavors stories, and meaning and depth. For most paintings, what is exhibited, is what exists between those two basic components: the nuances, the textures, the shades of grey.


I find it compelling how the two colors draw so much controversy because of our social constructs, and the way we have been programmed to perceive the colors. And how the perceptions are crystalized in a way that we cannot detach from them. This is not a new conversation, the words, the connotations, and how they affect our psyche, our conscious and subconscious. It is in all we illustrate or communicate in any shape or form. The two colors are subject, in a figurative and literal way, to the complimentary or pejorative connotations. And there are a multitude of avenues to explore.


The experience that we carry within that color paradigm is tangible. It comes to my mind how profound the effect of colors is on the very fabric of our being. Therefore, we must be mindful of the spiritual, psychological, biological, sociological, linguistic, and scientific aspects of colors. For the matter of this topic, I Am speaking of Black and White, in trying to grasp how it translates as Art.






SPIRITUALITY ICONOGRAPHY


Concerning ancient Egypt, Richard H. Wilkinson points out the dual usage of colors. In one aspect, an icon (or object) can be portrayed just as it is in our natural realm. In another aspect, the same icon can be portrayed through its symbolic color which can be viewed as part of its nature, or how it is defined. A color can be tied to an object as a form of code to identify it. In different circumstances, color is simply there for decorative purposes and to create contrast. [P.110-111]


Speaking of Black and White, they are said to be used as symbolic opposites such as life and death. However, there are nuances to how the colors are symbolically defined. However, each one can have specific components and serve specific purposes. For example, of the many qualities that are attributed to mala beads, The Black beads absorb the energy of the room while the White beads dispel it. Where Black and White are mostly perceived as contrasting and dual, in a holistic approach, the joining of both can also signify completeness or a full circle such as the Yin and Yang. There is no such thing as a total Yin or a pure Yang. One cannot come without the other. Neither the Yin nor the Yang are good or bad, what really matters is the harmony between the two extremes.



Tai Chi Symbol


Maxence Layet speaks of the synergy of the opposites in his book “L’Énergie Secrète De L’Univers”. To articulate the principle of Yin and Yang, he asks the reader to imagine a mountain that is between sky and ground, illuminated by the sun. No matter the time of the day, there is a part of the mountain that is in the shade and the other part in the light. In Chinese, Yin and Yang is literally described as the shaded slope [Yin] and sunny slope [Yang] or in other words the shady side of the hill and the sunny side of the hill.


More in a nuanced way, the principle of Yin and Yang are said to be opposites that factually are two (2) essential variations of one (1) and the same energy. Two (2) sources of force in contrast to one another and complementary at the same time; tied together and inseparable. It is what exists between the two that governs the cosmos. It all translates as the Cycle of day/night, the negative and positive poles, inspiration and expiration, the calm after the storm, male and female, etc. The Yin nor the Yang are good or bad, what really matters is the harmony between the two extremes.




YIN

YANG

Contraction

Expansion

Shadow

Light

Earth

Sky

Immobilism

Movement

Feminine

Masculine

Passivity

Activity

Flexibility

Stiffness

Spirit

Body

Unconscious

Conscious

Heavy

Light

Low

High

Cold

Hot

Calm

Agitation

Lack

Excess

Yes

No

Moon

Sun

Water

Fire

Tiger

Dragon

Black

Red

North

South

Lead

Mercury

Even

Odd


In his book “Symbol & Magic In Egyptian Art”, Wilkinson shows how Black and White are defined or symbolized.




BLACK translates as Kem. It is the color of night and death. In fact, a black hole is sometimes used to signify death as well as the destruction of enemies. Where Black signifies death or even the underworld, it also signifies the concept of resurrection from the dead, furthermore, fertility and life. It is said that the color black as a symbol of fertility may find its root in the fertile black silt deposited by the Nile’s annual flooding. In the same breath, Osiris, god of the Nile and the underworld was portrayed as black. In his canine form, the mortuary god Anubis can also be portrayed with the color black. The Egyptian coffins of the Late Dynastic Period which may be tied to the underworld god, were often decorated with writings on a black ground. It seems that there is a relation between the color black and green which shows to have the same symbolic meanings. For example, the statues of the gods were most likely carved from Black or Green stones. The black stones seemed to be of significant value and were the material of choice for the magical healing statues during the Macedonian and Ptolemaic Periods. Black (kem) is the color of Egypt itself. Kemet, meaning the Black land, is the offspring of the rich dark soil of the Nile Valley. Black is one of the colors found in the cosmos or the heavens. It is commonly portrayed in Egyptian Art such as with Nut the goddess of the sky which swallows the sun at night and gives it birth at day.


WHITE translates as Hedj or Shesep. The term Hedj is also associated with the metal silver combined with gold to symbolize the moon and the sun. White symbolizes cleanliness, purity, and sacredness. There are sacred animals such as the white cow, the white baboon, the white ox, and the white hippopotamus. White is the garment of priesthood and is also part of the clothing of most Egyptians. The White Crown of Upper Egypt, as well as the emblematic value of the color in southern Egypt. The purest form of calcite is used for building materials, statues, sculptures, decorative objects, and mortuary practices. It said that White alabaster is used to produce ritual objects such as small bowls and vessels etc. In the Hermopolitan perspective, darkness, in its masculine and feminine aspects, takes the form of the deities Kek and Kauket which are part of the eight (8) primordial deities that come in four (4) pairs. P.16 The Complete Gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt


In one aspect we can observe the word Egypt in its native tongue Ha(t)-Ka-ptah, meaning “The temple of the soul of Ptah, at the heart of Memphite Theology, on the other hand, we have Kemet the Black Land. Ptah, The Creator/The Craftsman, is one of the oldest gods of the land.


In the spiritual tradition of the great land of Bharat, we have for example the Lord Krishna translated as the Black One. In the same breath, let me take some time to elaborate on Kali (Sanskrit) the Dark Mother. Finding its roots in the Dravidian language, Kali being the feminine of Kalah “Blue-Black or Black” or Kala “Time” in Sanskrit. Her three (3) eyes are symbolic of the past present and future. She is the Destroyer as she devours time. She is portrayed with four (4) arms, with a sword in one hand, the head of a slain demon in another hand, and with the other two, she is cheering the worshippers. The sword is the destroyer of false consciousness and the eight (8) bonds that bind mankind. She also can be seen with red eyes which symbolize her fiery energy and her ability to see beyond the ordinary realms of existence. It is also her all-pervading presence, her ability to perceive truth and her piercing gaze that can destroy ignorance and illusion. The blood splattered on Kali’s face and breasts symbolize her association with destruction and transformation. It represents the violent aspect of nature and the cyclical process of life, death, and rebirth. She wears a garland of skulls symbolic of the fifty (50) letters of the Sanskrit alphabet thus infinite knowledge. She also has two dead corps “Yoginis or Ganas” as earrings. Once more, it signifies the dual nature of life and death, creation and destruction that she ultimately transcends. They serve as a reminder of her ability to conquer and overcome evil. She also comes in the form of Durga where she safeguards the world from demons and restores balance. She is barely clothed; however, she wears a girdle made of dead men’s hands which symbolize work and liberation of the cycle of Karma. Her white teeth symbolize her inner purity, and her long red tongue sticks out of her mouth to symbolize her omnivorous nature, the indiscriminate enjoyment of all the flavors of the world. She stands with one foot on her thigh, and another on the breast of her husband Shiva. In some aspect, it illustrates how the power of Kali (Shakti), plays an important role in Shiva’s life. Kali stands firm, near the cremation grounds where the five (5) elements “Pancha Mahabhuta” are joined as all worldly attachments are absolved, so the cycle of birth and death. Just like the Fudo Myoo, her fierce aspect conceals profound meaning. Beyond appearance, Kali’s black complexion symbolizes her all-embracing and transcendental nature. All colors merge to black as it absorbs and dissolves them. In the Mahanivarna Tantra, we can read “Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her” Where black is defined as the total absence of color or light, hence it is the ultimate reality that transcends all forms. Her nude body is primeval, fundamental, and transparent like nature. She is free from illusory veils, beyond all Maya or false consciousness.


We also have Shani, the lord of Saturn in Hindu astrology often portrayed with a dark complexion riding a chariot that moves slowly through the heavens. Shai is the giver of rewards and a dispenser of Justice. In the iconographic imagery, Shani is mounted on a vulture or a crow carrying multiple weapons, such as a sword, an ax, a trident, a bow, and two arrows. In the Mahanirvana Tantra’s Arthur Avalon version, we can read “Before the Beginning of things Thou didst exist in the form of a Darkness which is beyond both speech and mind and of thee by the creative desire of the Supreme Brahman was the entire universe born.” [4:25] – “I meditate upon the Deva Who is white as camphor, Whose eyes are large and beautiful like lotuses, the luster of Whose body is adorned with celestial raiments and jewels, Who holds His left hand the cup of nectar, and in the right a ball of Shuddi.” [8:168]


In the book “The Symbolism of Colour”, Ellen Conroy speaks on the prophecy that there will be one more incarnation of Vishnu, where he will carry the sword of justice and ride the white horse, like Christ in Revelation. This white horse was also used by the people of Bharat instead of the Ram. Airies or the Ram is the constellation in which the sun starts its yearly zodiacal journey. The ram or horse means the opener of new thought, the dawn of a new era. So, the significance of riding a white horse is the opener of a new thought, the dawn of a new era. The beginning of a new kingdom on earth of joy happiness and purity. In Islam as Muhammad [P.B.U.H.], in his Isra and Mi’raj journey, he rides on a white horse. Isra refers to the night journey and ascension, where the prophet [P.B.U.H.] moves from the Kaaba in Mecca to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. And he travels in the company of angel Gabriel, on a magical white horse known as Alborac or Al-Buraq which translates as lightning. Mi’raj refers to the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad [P.B.U.H.] with the white horse, through the seven heavens to be in the presence of Allah, the Creator.


Ancient Rome conveys the white horse as sacred to Jupiter. Once a year, the consul covered themselves in white robes and they toured the Capitol to worship Jupiter as the Sun-god. Buddha himself is said to be Born on a white elephant which signifies Divine Wisdom. In some of the Buddhist Zodiac, the elephant is synonymous with the Capricorn or the Goat. Unconscious the Capricorn sign governs from December 21st to January 19th, a period when all world-saviors are said to have been Born. Osiris as well as Zeus are symbolized as white bulls within mythological narratives. Thus, the bull serves as a powerful emblem of cosmic energy and creative force. Yasodhara sees in her dream a white bull with wide branching horns as Siddhartha Gautama Buddha is escaping from the palace. Where it has become a custom that black is the color of morning, in Japan, traditionally the color white has been used as the symbol of death. For example, It is interesting to observe that a bride would traditionally wear white to symbolize her as being dead to her parents. Now married, her new life begins and she finds a new family in her spouse. The druids of Wales wore white robes as a sign of their twenty (20) years of training where the wearer had labored much and conquered many things. The druid vows to this trilogy of principles: 1. To keep his word. 2. To Keep his secret. 3. To keep peace. [P.40-45]


“The Symbolism of Colour” speaks of black as a color, despite contemporary science’s view, saying that it is viewed both by the public and the ancients as such. For the ancients black is the color of mystery and the mysterious ways and wisdom of God. For example, it speaks of Egypt where Kneph, the Creative Mind was at some point portrayed as the ‘thrice unknown darkness surpassing all intellectual perception, focusing that the wisdom of God is truly beyond the grasp of mankind’s comprehension. The name Kneph is mentioned by Plutarch which is a form of Amun as the Creator God. Thus, The Creator God is Self-Generated and was central to the faith of the habitants of Thebes. One aspect of Amun is to be the concealed God or the invisible, mysterious form expressing his imperceptible nature. Henry Vaughan is mentioned when we read that “God a deep and dazzling darkness meaning that the mysteries of God are unfathomable but glorious.” Milton accurately symbolizes Black as the color of wisdom. It is the solemn and holy shade of the goddess whose saintly countenance is too radiant for mortal’s sight to fully comprehend. Hence, in our limited perception, it is veiled in black – an understated hue that portrays the composure and gravity of wisdom. Black symbolizes eternity: thus Night, the mother of all things, was sometimes portrayed in a starry veil, holding two kids – one white and the other black to symbolize time and eternity. Osiris and Horus are said to be either painted in white or black from specific circumstances, to show that they manifested themselves through time though they were eternal. Black also means Silence, to the things that must not be unveiled to everyone – the thoughts that lie too deep for tears – the innermost and most sacred experiences of life. It is articulated that this is not done in a selfish manner, on the contrary. It says in its own way: “Give everything you can; the heavens don’t care for the wisdom of meticulously calculated moderation or excess.” It means to say that certain things can only be felt or comprehended intimately by those who have gone through the journey. In ancient times, a black rose was commonly used as the symbol of the silence of an initiate. Certain things are not to be openly expressed. "How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” [2 Corinthians 12:4]. "And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." [Isaiah 45:3]. "And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him [God]." [Exodus 34:35]. It is said that the great covenant to every initiate is: “I will give thee the treasures of darkness.” So as the commonly known quote says, “If you would know more you must be more.” Till then there is a veil and a shield upon the face of all knowledge. This idea certainly meets with the veil of Isis.


The utmost value of symbolism in ancient beliefs and artwork serves as a means for initiates to distinguish an artist’s true sight from the inner mysteries. Symbolic elements, such as broken pavement and almond-shaped aura, conveyed mystic truths rather than historical facts. Images portraying the elevation of Christ and the assumption of the Virgin used symbols like the sacred geometry form known as the “vesica piscis”, to express deep-seated truths concerning the elevation of the spirit and the soul. The architects, well versed in hidden truths, are the archetype ascetics of a secretive faith where cathedrals, churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues are fixed effigies testifying their comprehensive knowledge of these mysteries. It is in the eye of the beholder for the ordinary man only sees an edifice where the initiate sees the unfolding of worlds upon worlds. [P.46-49]


Vesica Piscis


In reading the book “Treasure of Darkness” by Thorkild Jacobsen, we can delve into the epic stories of Mesopotamia, the area of birth of the patriarch Abraham. There we can find many contrasts between light and dark illumination, brightness, night and day, or black in a descriptive sense, etc. On the Terms, we can read of evil powers: “They are gloomy, their shadow dark, no light in their bodies, ever they slink along covertly, walk not upright, from their claws drips bitter gall, their footprints are (full of) evil venom.” [P.12]. Dying Gods of Fertility – A Mother’s Memory of Birth, Day and Night: “I Am the mother who bore (him)! Woe to that day, that day, woe to that night! I am the lad’s mother! Woe to that day, that day, woe to that night! The day that dawned for the lad, my Damu, a day to be blotted out, that I would I could forget! Yon night that should never have let it go forth, when the brazen deputies entered before me, that day bereft me of the lad, … bereft me of the lad my Damu…” [P.64]. Individual Divine Figures – The power of the womb & the dark place: “Mother Nintur, the lady of form-giving, working in a dark place, the womb (lit. “heart”); to give birth to kings, to tie on the rightful tiara, to give birth to lords, to place the crown on (their) heads, is in her hands.” [P.107]. Individual Divine Figures – Nana’s Cosmic function & Lighting up the night: “… lamp appearing in the clear skies, Sin, ever-renewing himself, illuminating darkness, bringing about light for the myriad people.” Or as: “Nanna, great lord light shinning in the clear skies, wearing on (his) head a prince’s headdress, right god bringing forth day and night, establish the month, bringing the year to completion; who has entree to Enkur, who has the right decision-making at his father’s place, (he) who begot him, beloved son of Ninil, Ash-im-babbar.” [P.122]. Individual Divine FiguresHeaven/Light and Darkness: “On the firmament of heaven… you spread light, the darkness you illumine; upon your rising wait the Anunnaki gods with libations and petitions; upon your splendidly rising new light, full of loveliness, a goodly sight, waits for you in joy the great lady of kiur, Mother Ninlil.” [P.123]. Individual Divine Figures – Heavenly Light & Brightness as of Day: “The great queen of heaven, Inanna, I will hail! The only one, come forth on high, I will hail! The great queen of heaven Inanna, I will hail! The pure torch that flares in the sky, the heavenly light, shining bright like the day, the great queen of heaven, Inanna, I will hail. The holy one, the awesome queen of the Anunnaki, the one revered in heaven and earth, crowned with great horns, the oldest child of Suen, Inanna, I will hail! Of her majesty, of her greatness, of her exceeding dignity of her brilliant coming forth in the evening sky of her flaring in the sky – a pure torch – of her standing in the sky like the sun and the moon, known by all lands from south to north, of the greatness of the holy one of heaven to the day I will sing.” [P.138-139]. Rise Of Personal Religion – Darkness vs Day Light: “Today let me take my trespasses to you, snatch me from my foes, and when you have seen where I fell, take pity on me, When you have turned my dark stretches (of road) into daylight let me pass through your gate which releases from sin and wrongdoings, let me sing your praises, let me confess, (roaring) like a bull, my trespasses to you, and let me tell your greatness.”[P.154]. Here on the Epic of creation, we read brightness associated with joy: “Robust was his build, flashing the glance of his eyes, full-grown he came forth, mightiest from the first. Anu, his grandfather, saw him, rejoiced, and brightened, gladness filled his heart…” [P.172-173]. Allusions of days and night: “Angry, scheming, resting not day or night, they were bent on fighting, raged and prowled like lions gathered in council, they devised the strategy…” [P.173]. The Creation Epic – Darkness of silence: “Ea heard of this matter, lapsed into dark silence, wordless sat…” [P.174]. The Creation Epic – Darkness of the color of beer: “They chatted and sat down to the feast; breadstuff they ate, and drank dark beer. The sweet drink dispelled their fears, they sang for joy, drinking strong wine…” [P.175] The Creation Epic – Time, in relation to the moon and the sun: “He bade the moon come forth; entrusted night (to him); assigned to him adornment of the night to measure time; and every month, unfailingly, he marked off by a crown. When the new moon is rising over the land shine you with horns, six days to measure; the seventh day, as half (your) crown (appear) and (then) let periods of fifteen days be counterparts, two halves each month. As afterward, the sun gains on you on heavens foundations, wane step by step, reverse your growth!” [P.179]. Dark-Headed people – The Creation Epic: “Surpassing be his lordship, may he have no rival, may he perform the shepherdship over the dark-headed people, and may they speak of his ways, that they be not forgotten to the end of time. Let him establish large food portions for his fathers, let him see their upkeep, take care of their sanctuaries, let him cause incense to be smelt, have their cellas rejoice. Corresponding to what he has done in heaven, be done on earth! Let him assign dark-headed people to his worship, Let them heed his word, as if it were that of their tutelary goddess. Let food portions be brought to their (the people’s) gods and goddesses, may they not be forgotten, let them (i.e., the people) remember their gods, let them (the people) make their countries outstanding, build their throne-daises, And let individual gods be given as share to the dark-headed people. As for us, as many as we are called by name, he is our tutelary god.” [P.182-183]. On the Epic of Gilgamesh, we read of day and night: He who ever went through all hazards with me, Enkidu whom I love dearly, who ever went through all hazard with me, the fate of man has overtaken him. All day and night have I wept over him, and would not have him buried – as if my friend might yet rise up at my (loud) cries – for seven days and nights, until a maggot dropped from his nose. Since he is gone I can no comfort find, keep roaming like a hunter in the plains.” [P.203-204]. The Gilgamesh Epic – Darkness vs Daylight: “It is (so) much – after wandering and roaming around in the desert – to lie down to rest in the bowels of the earth? I have lain down to sleep full many a time all the(se) years! (No!) Let my eyes see the sun and let me sate myself with daylight! Is darkness far off? How much daylight is there? When may a dead man see the sun’s splendor?” [P.204]. The Gilgamesh Epic - Day and Night as to man’s journey: “Gilgamesh, whither are you roaming? Life, which you look for, you shall never find. (For) when the gods created man, they set death as share for man, and life snatched away in their own hands. You, Gilgamesh, fill your belly, day and night make merry, daily hold a festival, dance and make music day and night, and wear fresh clothes, and wash your head and bathe. Look at the child that holding your hand, and let your wife delight in your embrace. These things alone are concern of man.” [P.205]. Manifestations of Marduk: “Ninurta is Marduk of the hoe, Nergal is Marduk of the attack, Zababa is Marduk of the hand-to-hand fight, Enlil is Marduk of lordship and counsel, Nabium is Marduk of accounting, Sin is Marduk, the illuminator of the night, Shamash is Marduk of justice, Adad is Marduk of rains…” [P.235]



ABRAHAMIC TRADITION


When it comes to the Abrahamic traditions the two basic colors take their own meanings. It is nothing to say of the Bible’s Genesis (1:1-5) 1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2) And the earth was without form and void; darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4) And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.


Speaking of color symbolism, the Jewish Encyclopedia online summarizes the consensus to be that at times colors are symbolically used in the Bible, either through ritual as the construction of the Tabernacle and the priestly raiments; or apocalyptically, as in the visions of Zecharia and of Daniel; or as a literary device, in poetical diction. The apocalyptic symbolism is generally granted; however, it fails when tested in detail. Based on the psychological connection between the various color sensations and moods of feeling is found among most nations. However, the bond between a given color and the symbolized objects or moods is not fixed; therefore, creates room for contrasting significance. Black or dark color as in part of our mainstream folklore translates as mourning or affliction such as the color of sackcloth used for that purpose [Genesis 37:34, Job 1:20, Zecharia 6:6-8] in another case it is just descriptive. Then you have white which is commonly linked to purity and joy [Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:7, Daniel 7:9]. Note that the color white is used in sacred ceremonies that mark the threshold of a new beginning, such as a baby’s circumcision or a bride’s wedding. [Black/White garments – Mishnah Middot 5:4]


In the Jewish Encyclopedia, we can read that Color symbolism plays a significant role in Kabbalah, where each Sephirah is linked to one or more colors. It is important to note that one of the meanings of Sephirah is 'sparkling light.' In this context, if one wishes to energize the influence of a certain Sephirah, one must contemplate or clothe oneself in the color linked to that Sephirah. White signifies peace, mercy, and pity; black is, the latency of qualities. The Sephirah of Wisdom is said to denote the first step from black (latency) to the unfolding of color which is active energy in general.


Here are some common colors linked to the Sephirah:


1. Keter (Crown): White or Clear

2. Chokhmah (Wisdom): Grey or Silver

3. Binah (Understanding): Black or Dark Blue

4. Chesed (Kindness): Blue

5. Gevurah (Severity): Red

6. Tiferet (Beauty): Yellow or Gold

7. Netzach (Eternity): Green

8. Hod (Glory): Orange

9. Yesod (Foundation): Purple

10. Malkhut (Kingdom): Indigo or Brown


In the same breath, the Jewish Encyclopedia elaborates on the Degrees of White, Degrees of Lightness, and Degrees of Darkness. When it comes to the Degrees of White, it says that white or glowing white is usually articulated in the bible in the name of “Laban” the father-in-law of Jacob who is speaking of the color of sheep or goats. ”I will pass through all thy flock today, removing from thence all the brown (Black in some versions) cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and shall be my hire…” [Genesis 30:32-37]. Then we have the whiteness of teeth whiter than milk [Genesis 49:12], the whiteness of manna and coriander-seed-white. “And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” [Exodus 16:31]. Manna is the heavenly substance mentioned in the bible, given by the Creator to the Israelites during their travels in the desert for 40 years following the Exodus and before the conquest of Canaan. According to the book of Exodus, manna is described as a fine, flake-like substance that appeared on the ground after the dew evaporated. It is white in color, tastes like honey wafers, and looks like small coriander seeds. The Israelites were instructed to gather approximately two quarts of manna per people each day except for the day of Sabbath when they were to gather a double portion. The manna did not spoil overnight except on the Sabbath. We can observe three (3) references to manna in the Qur’an. 1) [Surah Al-Baquarah 2:57] “And We made the clouds to give shade over you and We sent to you manna and quails. Eat of the good things that We have given you. And they did Us no harm, but they wronged their own souls.” 2) [Suran Al-A’raf 7:160] “And We divided them into twelve tribes, as nations. And We revealed to Moses when his people asked him for water: March on to the rock with your staff; so out flowed from it twelve springs. Each tribe knew its drinking place. And We made the clouds to give shade over them and We sent to them manna and quails. Eat of the good things We have given you. And they did not do Us any harm, but they wronged their own souls.” 3) [Surah Taha 20:80-81] “O Children of Israel, We truly delivered you from your enemy, and made a covenant with you on the blessed side of the mountain, and sent to you the manna and the quails.” “Eat of the good things We have provided for you, and do not exceed the limits in that respect, so that My wrath comes upon you; and he on whom My wrath comes, he perishes indeed.” Other than that, we have whiteness of leprous hair [Leviticus 13:3-4,10], of garments [Ecclesiastes 9:8], and horses [Zechariah 1:8; 6:3,6]. Some shades of white are snow white [Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 5:27; Psalms 68:14; Isaiah 1:18], and dull white [Leviticus 13:39]. The noun “loben” translates as whiteness [Ecclesiasticus 43:18, Sirach 43:18]. The moon's account of its pale light is called “lebanah”. The Aramaic terms corresponding to “laban” are “hawar”, used for the face becoming pale with shame [Isaiah 29:22], and hiwwar meaning white, applied to a snow-white garment [Daniel 7:9]. The white color may be as white as snow, as the calcimining in the Temple, as wool, as the cuticle of the egg speaking of the color of the leprous spots, as pearl [Babylonian Talmud - Yoma 75a], or as the wood below the bark [Chullin 47b]. The color of the stone “Yahalom”, probably milky opal, is white [Numbers 2:7]. “Libbun” [whitening] is used of wool [Bava. Kamma. 93b]. “Libben” means “to bleach cloth” [Jerusalem Talmud Berakhot 9:1, 13c], “to glaze tiles” [Beitizah 4:7], “to heat to a white, heat iron instruments” [Mishnah Avodah Zarah 5:12]. “Hilbin” signifies “to grow white”, used of hair [Negaim 1:6]; “to whiten the wing of a raven” [Canticles. R. 5:11]; “to cause paleness of face through shame” [Babylonian Talmud Pirkei Avot 3:11.]. Hence, “labnunit” meaning whiteness, [Negaim 4:4], and the by-form “labnut” [Leviticus. R. 14]. The verb “kasaf”, in various forms, is used to indicate paleness of countenance caused by shame or fright [compare Jastrow, “Dict.” s.v.]. The word is perhaps connected with “kesef” [silver]. Notice also “lawkan”, “lakan” = the Greek λευκόν [Albino, or white-spotted in the face, Ber. 58b]. to express the idea of the hair becoming grayish white through old age, the root “sib” is used [1 Samuel 12:2; Job 15:10], whence the derivative “sebah” meaning “gray hair” [Genesis 42:38; 44:29, 31; Deuteronomy 32:25; Hos. 7:9; Proverbs 20:29], or the “hoary hair” of old age [Isaiah 46:4]. In Aramaic the roots “hawar”, “kesaf” and “sib” are used in the same senses as in Hebrew; add to which “kitman” [ash-gray, Targum To Zechariah 6:3, 7].


Degreed of Lightness

Here we explore the various Hebrew and Aramaic terms related to brightness, clarity, and color, particularly in biblical contexts. The term “Zak” meaning clear or pure, translates in the bible as the whiteness of the complexion [Lamentation 4:7]. Other terms such as “zahob” meaning glistening like gold just as the golden tint of hair [Leviticus 13:30,32,36]. The hof’al participle “muzhab”, to pure gold or brass/Bronze [Ezra 8:27]; “zah” [glowing, glistening], to the glow of a healthy complexion [Canticles 5:10]; similarly, with the additional idea of whiteness, in Lamentation. 4:7; to the clearness of a dry, hot atmosphere [Isaiah 18:4]; and to a dry, hot wind [Jeremiah 4:11]; and “zahor” "ẓaḥor" [light reddish; "white"], to the color of the ass [Judges 5:10]. The term "Bahaḳ" [be glistening white] is used in the later Hebrew to denote the color of the human skin in a diseased condition [Leviticus. 8:39]; "hibhiḳ" [to glisten], is used for jewels [Gen. 31:11]; idem [be bright], of the countenance; "hizhib" [become golden-hued], of a dove's plumage [Chullin 22b]; "hiẓhib" [to become glistening], of the metallic color of the dove's plumage [Chullin 1b], an earlier stage of coloration of plumage than the preceding hizhib; "ẓihub," of the getting of such color ibidem; "hiẓhil" [become bright], of the countenance [Gen. 97:1]; "hiẓhir" [make bright], of the skin [Leviticus. 5:3]. Aramaic: "barir" meaning “pure” = "zak" [Lamentation. 4:7]; "ẓehal" = Hebr. "hiẓhil" [Pesiḳ. R. l.c.]; "ẓehir" [bright] and "ẓihara" [brightness], use of the surface of the peeled grain, and of a clear, translucent liquid "faẓiaḥ" [clear] = Hebr. "ẓaḥ" [Targ. to Isaiah. 18:4], and [speckled] = Hebr. "bared" [Zechariah. 6:3].


Degrees of Darkness

The usual term in the Bible to express the idea of darkness is "shaḥor" meaning “black”. It is used of the dark hair in a leprous scall [Leviticus 13:31, 37], of a sunburnt skin [Job 30:30; Canticles 1:5], and of dark horses [Zechariah. 6:2]. The diminutive form "sheḥarḥor" is applied to a swarthy complexion [Canticles 1:6]. When it is desired to express a particular shade of dark, another substantive is added for a closer definition, as "oven-black" [Lamentation. 5:10], and "raven-black," of hair [Canticles 5:11]. "Ḥum" [literally, "hot,", then "dark," "brown"] is used for the wool of sheep [Genesis 30:32 and passim]. "Ḳadar," meaning primarily "to overpower," then "to be sad, gloomy, dirty, or dark" [compare the explanation of "shaḥuf," below], is applied to the turbid state of water [Job 6:16], to a sad countenance [Jeremaiah. 8:21], to mourning garments, to the gates of a mourning city [Jeremaiah. 14: 2], and to the sky [ib. iv. 28]. The hif'il of the same verb is used in a causative sense, e.g., "make dark" the heavens [Ezekiel 32:7-8], "cause sadness" [Jeremiah 31:15]. The hitpa'el of this verb means "to become dark" with clouds of the sky [I Kings 8:45]. The noun "ḳadrut" signifies "blackness" [Isaiah 1:3]; and the adverb "ḳedorannit," "wrapped in mourning" [Malachi 3:14]."Ḥashak" [to be dark], a word generally employed to signify the darkness of approaching night [Isaiah. v. 30; Job 18:6], is also used of the eyes becoming dim [Lamentation. 5:17] or blind [Psalms. 69:24], and of a black complexion [Lamentation. 4:8]. Hence the terms "ḥoshek" meaning darkness, "ḥaklili" [Gen. 49:12], and "ḥaklilut." [Proverbs. 23:29] refers to the darkly lustrous or inflamed appearance of the eyes. The second, as used in [Genesis. 49:12], refers to the sparkling luster of dark-red wine, comparing the beauty of Judah's eyes therewith; the third [Proverbs. 23:29] is descriptive of the inflamed eyes due to protracted night sessions over the wine cup at the wineshops [see Jastrow, "Proc. Soc. of Biblical Exegesis," 11:128]. "Kimrir" [Job 3:5], originally "casting down," "oppression," seems to mean "blackness" [compare "shaḥuf," below].


Then it is said that in the later Hebrew "shaḥor" is frequently more nearly defined as "ink-black" [Niddah 2:7], or "black as the sediment of ink" ibidem, like black wax, pitch, grapes, olives ibidem, "mouse-gray" [Pesachim. 10b:6], or as black as a negro or Cushite [Mishnah Sukkah 3:6]. In Numbers 2:7, the term "shaḥor" is applied to "bareḳet," probably taken here as sardonyx, and described as consisting of one-third white, one-third black, and one-third red; to "sappir," black like stibium [i.e., metallic grayish blue [?]; to "leshem" and to "shebo," probably gray amethyst, said to be mixed black and white. The "shoham"—here the deep sea-green beryl—is said to be "shaḥor'ad meod" (very dark). Hence, "shaḥrurit" = the Aramaic "shaḥrurita" [blackness, darkness, Ta'anit 23a:12; Bava Ḳamma 20b:11; Bava Metiza. 117b:2] and the by-form "sheḥarḥrut" [Canticles 1:6]. "Sḥeḥamtit" (brownish), of the color of grain [Bava Batra. 5:6], is sometimes contracted to "shamtit" [Yerushalmi Ma'aser Sheni 4:54d]. Aramaic: "sheḥum," "sheḥim," literally "warm," "hot," = the Hebrew "ḥum" (brown, Targ. O. to Gen. 30:32)."Shaḥuf" or "ṭaḥuf" as gray or dark, a term which is used of sheep's wool [Chullin. 11:2, 136b), goes back to "saḥaf" meaning cast down. The variation in the first consonant points to a differentiation of an original "thakhaf." (On the development of meaning from the idea of overpowering, casting down, oppressing, to that of darkness, compare "ḳadar," above, and Levias, "Babyl. Aram. Gram." p. 210, note 6). "Piḥem meaning to blacken, soil, denominative of "peḥam" or coal, is used of soot, the sun, and other things. The passive of this may be used in the pu'al and nitpa'el (compare Jastrow, "Dict." s.v.). The verb "shetak" is used to designate "rust-colored" or "bronze" [Ta'an. 8a]. Aramaic: "ukkam," originally signifies "oppressed," then "black" (compare Levias, l.c.); "leḥush," literally "glowing," then "brown" “black lamb” "I will pass through all thy flock today, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. “So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: everyone that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.” “And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.” “And he removed that day the goats that were ringstraked and spotted and all the goats that were speckled and spotted, and everyone that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.” [Targum Yerushalmi. to Genesis. 30:32, 33, 35]; "ḥalid" (rust-colored [?]); compare [Targum Job 11:17 Ms.; Marcus Jastrow Dictionary]. "Ḳewaḥ" or "ḳaḥaḥ" (deep black) is applied to horses [Targum. to Zechariah 1:8].


In Islam, depending on what is the subject, in the Qur'an the use of colors is descriptive. It is a question of nuances, of symbiosis as well as opposition. We talk, among other things, of the opposition between clarity-light and obscurity-gloom and the various colors. We thus evoke day and night, the colors manifesting naturally in the light. Black and White are among the colors that are mentioned the most in the Qur’an where both carry negative connotations from time to time. Now, the colors that seem to have been more suitable for men's clothing are Black and White. The significance of color in the Noble Qur'an is clearly summarized by Muna A. Al-Shawi in her article in the Arab World English Journal. White is the second stated color and in the Qur’an, it is mentioned twelve times. The connotations are:


1. The light, sunshine, time of dawn and morning.

2. The color of the faces of Paradise’s people.

3. Some diseases, such as the eyes go“dark” because of grief.

4. When Moses' hand turns white as a sign of a miracle.

5. The color of the drink in Paradise.


Black is the third color mentioned in the Qur’an 8 times in 7 verses with the following connotations:

1. The darkness of the night.

2. The color of the faces of people in the fire.

3. Anguish, worry, and, sadness.

4. The dryness and destruction.

5. The color of some mountains.

In the Qur’an, we read: “Surely your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, and He is established on the Throne of Power. He makes the night cover the day, which it pursues incessantly. And He created the sun and the moon and the stars, made subservient by His command. Surely His is the creation and the command. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the worlds!” [Al-A’raf 7:54] Also, “…Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall [Surah Al Baqarah 2:187]. I find the surah [Al-Imran 3:106] compelling for the meanings scholars may tie to it. “On the Day when some faces will turn white, and some faces will turn black. As for those whose faces turn black, [to them will be said], ‘Did you disbelieve after your belief? Then taste the punishment for what you used to reject.” We can also read on surah [Al-Zuma 39:60] “And on the Day of Resurrection, you will see those who lied about Allah [with] their face blackened. Is there not in Hell a residence for the arrogant?” Those who construe those two surahs, literally claim that on the day of judgment, people’s faces will physically change as their spiritual state or their deeds in the worldly life. However, others view it metaphorically, grasping the change of color as a symbolic representation of the spiritual and moral condition of each people. Therefore “White faces” may symbolize those who are righteous and will be granted blessings and forgiveness, while “black faces” may symbolize those who are sinful disbelievers and will face punishment. Then we can read other surahs such as [Al-Hijr 15:26-29] “And surely, We created man of sounding clay, of black mud fashioned into shape. And the jinn, We created before of intensely hot fire. And when your Lord said to the angels: I am going to create a mortal of sounding clay, of black mud fashioned into shape. So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down making submission to him. I have to say that beyond black and white, the Qur’an puts the emphasis on diversity as part of creation [Surah Al-Rum 30:22] “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors. Surely there are signs in this for the learned.” In surah [Fatir 35:27-28], we read “Do you not see that Allah sends down from the clouds water, then brings forth with it fruits of different kinds (or colors). And in the mountains, there are streaks, white and red, of different colors, and some intensely black. And of people and animals and cattle there are different colors likewise. Only those of His servants’ fear Allah who possess knowledge.".


When it comes to Light, we have the surah [An-Nur 24:35] “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His Light is like a niche within which a lamp, the lamp is within a glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His Light whom he wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.” For Darkness, we can read the surah [Al-Baqarah 2:257] “Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into the light. And those who disbelieve – their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darkness. Those are the companions of the fire; they will abide eternally therein.” In Surah [Al-An’am 6:1] “Praise be to Allah, who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light. Yet those who disbelieve set up equals to their Lord.”



BANTU COSMOGONY


In the Book titled “Une Bible Noire – Cosmogonie Bantu” collected by Tiarko Fourche and Henri Morlighem we are transported to a paradigm that gives us new insight. It is surprising what alternative is brought to us in comparison to the more common spiritual concepts known in the Western hemisphere. The concept of Black/White and Dark/Light is fashioned in its way. Where the contrast between the basic colors or shades is expressed in negative/positive connotations, the sens evolves as we get into the language of the book. The color black vis-à-vis white is such as low/high, earth/sky, female/male, younger/elder, weak/strong, choleric/peaceful, death/life, etc. Now, the question can be raised as to whether the meanings are figurative or literal, and how they evolve and vary in context.



The Scheme Of The Division Of The Universe


Thus, We can read of the Creator named Maweeja Nnangila:

“He created, therefore, first, and in this way, in twin pairs:


-        Energy and Breath.

-        Water and Fire.

-        Sky of the Summit and Earth.

-        Light and Darkness.

-        The two Great Luminaries (the Sun and the Moon), and the Stars.


*Energy and Breath, Water and Fire, Light and Darkness of the Sky of the Summit are things that existed in Maweeja Nnangila, and he caused them to emanate from his own person.” [P.37].

 

"On the other hand, Maweeja Nnangila created in two twin pairs, the elders of the four Colors, which are:


-        Zezeze, elder of white, elder of this twin pair and male, and his younger sister and female Yinuyinu, elder of black.


-        Tetete, elder of red, elder of this twin pair and male, and his younger sister and female Bidibidi, elder of the Ambiguous color.


-        White has the quality of male and strong Life.


-        Black has the quality of female and weak Death. Red has the quality of male and strong death.


-        Ambiguous has the quality of female and weak Life."


"It is only later, when Maweeja Nnangila banished the Earth from the Summit Sky, thus creating two other Great Places among All-Things, that these four colors specified these places, and the four kinds of Elements and Stars attached to them.


This is why some say: Maweeja Nnangila created four Energies and four Winds, four Waters and four Fires, four Lights and four Darknesses, and four kinds of Suns, Moons, and Stars. While initially, he had created only one kind: the one detached in the Summit Sky, and the others, in their respective places, are the images.


As Maweeja Nnangila created the Younger things or Creatures using the Elements, these Colors, subsequently, specified (definitely or occasionally) All-Things created and all their details.


Their qualities appear to the initiated based on the appearance and mode of action of the things to which they belong. To the uninitiated, they manifest in visible colors, for example: those of rocks and soils, animals, body fluids, etc...

Similarly, initially, Maweeja Nnangila created All-Things in goodness, in even numerical order, distributing equitably his profane science and secret science."


*Notes 11 and 12 explain that some untranslatable words belong to the specialized vocabulary of initiates. They qualify prefigurations of colors, "alchemical" colors. This concept of "colors of creation" is reminiscent of the Hindu conception of the seven rays that, according to esoteric doctrine, have successively tinted the creation. The connection is all the more striking as the word with a very general sense, "Dikolo" (plural: Makolo), which here means "color," is translated as "row," "line," or "ray," with a nuance suggesting order. On the other hand, "l'équivoque," which does not exactly translate to gray but refers to all non-clear colors, will itself be subdivided into four shades, making a total of seven colors: white, black, red, undecided, whitish, blackish, and reddish. Note that in everyday language, the term "Noirs" clearly designates only the four colors. "Black" is used for dark blue, and "red" or "black" for violet depending on its nuances. The term "équivoque" or its subdivisions qualify the other colors. Many locals use "black" for dark green and "red" for bright green. We doubt whether the question of racial color blindness has been studied. "Bidibidi" can be translated as equivocal, undecided, or in-between, and would approximately support the translation of "gray" in this context. [P.42-43] 


"He spread Light among all creatures to warm and stimulate them; he spread Night among all creatures so that they could rest after the toils of the day." [P.50]


"The Archer never tires of stringing his bow and shooting arrows; similarly, Maweeja Nnangila never tires of creating. It is said of his creative power:


Countless beings eventually proceed from a single egg: thus the multitude of All-Things arises from One Single.


See that when Maweeja Nnangila created the Giant animals and the Spirits of the Sky Summit, he first created the largest among them, then the others, down to the smallest in multitude.


When he created the Stars, he first created the largest among them, then the others, down to the smallest in multitudes.


In the principle, he created the Stars, creating only two great places, the Sky Summit and the Earth, with one kind of Stars, Energy and Breath, Water and Fire, Light and Darkness."[P.71]


"The Sky Summit is White, the Earth is Black, the depth of the Earth is Red, and the Banana Village is of an Indecisive color." Indeed, while creating these four Great Places and having separated the Earth from the Sky Summit, Maweeja Nnangila simultaneously created, in two twin pairs, four Colors as images of the primordial Colors of creation. These Colors manifested as follows:


-        White, the elder and male twin, with strong Life, like the zeezeeze it mirrors.

-        Black, the younger and female twin, with weak Death, like the inuinu it mirrors.

-        Red, the elder and male twin of the second pair, with strong Death, like the teeteete it mirrors.

-        Indecisive, the younger and female twin of this second pair, with weak Life, like the Équivoque it mirrors.

-        The number of these four Colors was raised to seven by creating, in two twin pairs, four varieties of Indecisive:

-        Indecisive-White or Whitish, the elder and male twin, with the quality of White but weaker.

-        Indecisive-Black or Blackish, the younger and female twin, with the quality of Black but weaker.

-        Indecisive-Red or Reddish, the elder and male twin, with the quality of Red but weaker.

-        Indecisive-Indecisive, which is the very Indecisive, the younger and female twin.


As mentioned, these Colors were spread among All-Things and all the details of these Things. These Colors, whether visible to the profane or only perceptible to the initiated, manifest the qualities they confer.


Notes 63-64: Originally, everything was "white," in the image of the sky summit. "zeeezeeze," "inuinu," "teeteete" are ideophones for white, black, and red. [P.93-94]


"He created:


The White Waters, which are male and of strong Life: Brain Fluid, Mother's Milk, and male and female Seeds.


The Black Waters, which are female and of weak Death: male and female secretions.


The Red Waters, which are male and of strong Death: Blood, Bile, and Menstrual Fluid.


The Waters of an Indecisive Color, which are female and of weak Life: Tears, urine, saliva, Lung Fluid, and some say, "grilled" sperm.


Since the Earth was banished from the Sky Summit, each of these Waters, depending on individuals or occasions, can remain in its Color or take one of the other three. The same applies to the organs to which they belong.


However, it is said that originally, All-Things created by Maweeja Nnangila were White, in the image of the Sky Summit."


Note 76: For example, a peaceful faith is white; choleric, is black; malefic, red, etc. Fertilizing seed is white; less fertile, indecisive; less fertile, black; sterile, red; etc. [P.100]


"These last three powers, which Maweeja Nnangila obscured, weakening the Spirit of Man when he transformed it, are powers belonging to the Good Spirits of the Summit Sky and to the good Spirits of deceased humans. The Evil Spirits also have them, but they lack the power to exercise them for good."


"For the Double-Whole of Man in that era, made of these three parts, some say, devoid of a Ghost, others say, was of white color; animated by the white Energy of that time, and by the White Breath of Maweeja Nnangila." [P.104]


"So that there was only one Energy and one Breath, one Water and one Fire, one Light and only Darkness, one Sun, one Moon, and only Stars."


"The Water and Fire that formed them were good; the Energy that animated them was good; the Light and Darkness that alternated among them were good; the Earthly kind of Stars merged into a single appearance, that of the Stars of the Summit Sky." [P.109]


"And they plunge into the place called the 'Depth of the Earth,' the third Great Western Place, which Maweeja Nnangila creates at this moment as the abode for all those he wants to punish forever, through the dizzying descent of the Milky Way." [P.119]


"They are called 'tributes of White foods,' the non-bloody offerings."


"For example, the cultivators offer various seeds, the firstfruits of their crops, and dough made from the first flour, or dried eels from women's small fishing, to the good spirits of deceased cultivators, to make their crops and small fishing favorable, and ward off famine. This is one of the types of offerings of White foods." [P.132]


"Know also that the nightly Sleep is the image of this Death and of our individual Death. That our awakening every morning, when the Rooster wakes at dawn all the animals and all men, is the image of this resurrection and of our Reincarnation."


It is also in the image and imitation of that Evening of Death, where creatures went back to sleep from their sleep of Death, and of that Dawn of Resurrection, when they rose again, that the initiates proceed during the ceremony in which they make the new initiates or the new seers and mediums communicate with the Spirits of their deceased peers so that they may transmit to them their knowledge and secret powers.


In the evening, they make them enter the Pit where they fall asleep in the sleep of Death, perceiving the Doubles of these Spirits and receiving their teachings.


At the dawn of the next day, they awaken them from this sleep, comparable to Death, no longer profane but with open eyes, due to their Resurrection to the new Life and the new Light that enlightens them." [P.137]


"He placed his two Great Luminaries there to illuminate the Animals and Humans: the Sun during the day and the Moon during the night.


According to the orders, the Sun falls asleep every evening, enclosing itself in its cocoon. And every morning, it wakes up at dawn, at the crowing of the rooster, resembling the Resurrection of the creatures when the Elder Spirit, son of Cyame, resurrecting himself, raised the Rooster to wake up the Sun and all creatures.


According to the orders, the Moon falls asleep for three days at the end of each of its lunar phases; then it wakes up in the evening, illuminating the night for twenty-seven to twenty-eight days.


These two Great Luminaries are also the Responders of the "Occult Power," the invisible Master of the lodges of initiates, for he is the representative of Maweeja Nnangila on Earth, and Maweeja has the Sun and the Moon as his invisible Responders from the Sky Summit.


It is in this image that two great torches, representing the Sun and the Moon, illuminate from the right and the left, at the center of the Secret Place of the lodges, the living and speaking effigy of the "Occult Power"; and the highest dignitary among the lodge initiates wears the image of the Sun on the forehead and the image of the Moon on the nape of the neck as insignia." [P.149]


Note 100 [P.134]: It will be seen later that this 'Occult Power' (Bwadi among the Baluba), the invisible Master of the lodges of the initiates, is a simulacrum of magical operation, inspired by the Spirit of a deceased ancestor, a high dignitary in his lodge.


"So, Energy, Wind, Fire, Light, and Darkness followed the Earth with Water, and they remained henceforth attached to the Earth.


They manifested on Earth, detached from Energy, Breath, Fire, Light, and Darkness—invisible to the profane—from the Sky Summit. The terrestrial form of Breath is called Wind, and the terrestrial form of Darkness is called Night." [P.150]


"By separating the Earth and the Things of the Earth from the Sky Summit, Maweeja Nnangila metamorphosed them.


When they were united with the Sky Summit, they were like it, of the White color, the eldest, male, strong, and of great life—this is the color of things absolutely good, which never die.


From the day they were banished, the Earth and the Things of the Earth became Black in color.


Therefore, it is said: the Earth, Energy, Wind, Water, Fire, Light, Night, and the Stars of the Earth are Black.


This color signifies the fundamental quality that the Earth and the Things of the Earth have taken since then.


The Black color is the younger of the White color. It is female, weak, and of small death.[P.151]


"This is how, for example, the initiates of the High Science of the Kingdom, who are the representatives of Maweeja Nangila on Earth, and the things that belong to them or correspond to them, are White. – That the initiates of the Magic of Overwhelming and malicious magicians, who are the representatives of the Evil Spirit Kavidividye, and the things that belong to them or correspond to them, are Red. – And that everything on Earth that belongs to or corresponds to the Good Spirits of the deceased is Indeterminate." [P.152]


"This is how the Spirit of Man has weakened and darkened. Like the river at the same time." [P.155]

 

"At the Upstream is where all the Stars awaken and appear.


As they reach the middle of the Sky, they follow the Upstream path along with the celestial river of Water that carries them along, until the Crossroads of the Milky Way.


When the Sun wakes up and rises Upstream at Dawn, all creatures on Earth, animals and humans, wake up to Life.


When the moon first appears in the sky, Upstream, the Doubles of the Departed wake up and manifest their activity."


Note 120: "Milky Way, "Massangu aa njila wa museesu" (crossroads of the paths of the great road). Wake route, "Njila wa mulanjilanji". The locals place this crossroads at the point where it divides into its two branches, the one leading "up," to the Summit Sky, is supposed to exit, invisibly, beyond the visible or "intermediate" sky." [P.173]


"The sunset, downstream, is the moment when the Night darkens all things on Earth, and when all creatures of the Earth, animals and humans, weaken, falling asleep in the sleep of Death."


"When the Moon disappears from the Sky, downstream, at the end of each lunar cycle, the Doubles of the deceased fall asleep and remain inactive. At this moment, charms become ineffective; the elderly lose their vigor, and women lose their fertility." [P.174]


"Maweeja Nnangila thus distributed and arranged all the Spirits and All-Things into four Great Places, which are:


-        In the order of their creation:

The Summit Sky, and the Earth, its younger twin.

The Depth of the Earth, and the Banana Village, its younger twin.

 

-        In the order (descending) of their pre-eminence:

The Summit Sky, White in color, the best.

The Banana Village, with an Indecisive color.

The Earth, draped in Black. The Depths of the Earth, tainted in Red, (the worst)."


...


"The Summit Sky is the Grand Place Above.


Invisible to the uninitiated, as is the Upstream Path of the Milky Way that leads to it.


This Path branches off not exactly at the Milky Way Crossroads, but very close to it, at the entrance of the Upward Path.


The Summit Sky and its Upward Path are of White hue, their brilliance surpassing all that is bright.


The Summit Sky is the eldest of all Grand Places. It dominates them by its seniority.


Hermaphroditic but male in relation to the Earth, it holds the preeminent strength of male entities.


This strength is manifested through its Life, a quality of its White color. Its Life surpasses all other lives in force; everything belonging to the Summit Sky never dies but lives forever.


Hence, the goodness of its White color is superior to all other goodness. Its elements and stars, invisible to the uninitiated, are excellent, immortal, of a perfect White color.


It is the realm of Maweeja Nnangila, its Grand Lord; the residence of the Good Spirits of the Summit Sky and the Giant Animals, their Responders, all invisible to the uninitiated, excellent, immortal, and of a perfect White color, as they have only Spirit bodies. And all the other things of the Summit Sky, sharing the same nature. These invisible Spirits and Animals are numerous. " [P.176-177]



"The Earth is the Great Place Down Below.


The Lower Path that leads to it is visible to all eyes. It departs from the Crossroads of the Milky Way and heads downwards, toward the constellation "The Four Places of the Earth" (Southern Cross).


The Earth and its Lower Path are of a Black color."


...


"Similarly, it is said that the Elements and the Celestial Bodies of the Earth are black. By this, it is meant that the Life they confer is subject to Death, but not to final Death.


The Sun of the Earth dazzles the eyes, the Moon of the Earth illuminates our Nights. Their brightness and light fade in comparison to those of the two Great Luminaries of the Summit Sky, which eclipse them; that's why they are said to be black.


Know also that the Earth and everything belonging to the Earth is originally black, but black is not the only color that exists on Earth. "


" Each of the other Grand Places has its defined and unchanging color, while on Earth, we see things that are (symbolically or actually) white, red, indecisive, or that transiently take on one of these other colors."


"Indeed, all colors come together on Earth because these things have been or can be influenced by those of the other Grand Places. Thus, on Earth, what is influenced by the Summit Sky is White; what is influenced by the Good Spirits of the deceased is Indecisive. You also see the four varieties of the Indecisive."


" It also means that the Earth itself is divided, in its height, into four Places. These Places each have their (relative) color, although the entire earth is fundamentally Black. They are:


-        The Earth from Above, or Intermediate Sky, borne by the Water from above the Earth, is of a white color. It is the residence of the Earth's Stars, its Sun, its Moon, and its Stars.

 

-        The Earth of Men, or the Surface Earth, is of a black color. It is where living men, living animals, plants, stones, and all things of this Earth dwell.

 

-        The Earth of Graves, a shallow, clayey land of an undecided color, where the spirits of men temporarily stay after their death, near their corpses.


The Earth of the Lower, a very deep land opposed to the Earth of Men, covered by the reservoir of the Earth's Lower Water, of a red color. A tough and very bad land, also called "Abyss of Below" and "Bad Red Earth," located in the direction of the Earth's Depth, often confused by the laymen with the latter."


" Maweeja Nnangila created four kinds of humans, Humans of four Colors.


Later on, the spirits of the deceased revealed to initiates that these four kinds of humans had come together in two sectors: the Whites had joined the Reds, and the Blacks with the Indecisive. Since that day, the Earth is represented by two sectors of ten circles each." [P.181-183]


That's why some say that the depth of the Earth is Darkness, and the Stars are "Black."" [P.185]


"Know that all the Spirits of the Summit Sky are Good Spirits, of White color, with faculties and powers that are Grand Pair and go by twelve or multiples of twelve." [P.204]


" When these Spirits belonged to the Summit Sky, they were animated by the Energy of that Sky, which is absolutely White. From the moment they were cast down, they were animated by that of the Depth of the Earth, which is absolutely Red and of Great Death, just like everything that reveals this Bad Grand Place, which is Red Light and Darkness." [P.210]


" The Great Luminaries, images of the Sun and the Moon, are located respectively in front and behind Occult Power, and surrounded by places called "Night."" [P.228]


" FIRE: There are 4 Fires, of two kinds, White and Black:

1.      The Fire of the Profanes, White Fire, from Trees or Stones

2.      The Fire of Magicians and Lightning Casters (Black)

3.     The Fire of the Trees-of-Nothing

4.     The Fire of Water and Water-Rock."


EARTH: There are 4 Earths:

1.      The Red Earth of Ndingga Clay: name of a red earth

2.      The Earth of the Great Rock (at the heart of the Earth or life of the Earth)

3.      The White Earth of Kaolin and Clay

4.      The Black Earth."

[P.241-242]



POPOL VUH


The Popol Vuh is the Quiché Mayan book of creation known to be the most important text of the native languages of the Americas. In his definitive Edition, Dennis Tedlock translates this epic text with additional commentaries and explanations. This book puts another piece to the puzzle of connotations and significance. In his preface, Tedlock writes that “the Popul Vuh tells the story of the emergence of light in the darkness, from primordial glimmers to brilliant dawns, and from rainstorms as black as night to days so clear the very ends of the earth can be seen…” [P. 15]






We can observe through the book how the two contrasting or complementary tones are expressed in the Popul Vuh, and how once more the language shapes the perception of the world.

 

“Grandmother of Day, Grandmother of Light” among those who are called the midmost seers as the Maker, and Modeler fashioned them. [P. 69]


“…The earth was blackened because of this; the black rainstorm began, rain all day and rain all night. Into their houses came the animals, small and great.


“Every day, every day,

In the dark, in the dawn, forever,

r-r-rip, r-r-rip,

r-r-rub, r-r-rub,

right in our faces, because of you.” [P. 72]

 

“This was when there was a dawn on the face of the earth, there was no sun, But there was one who magnified himself; Seven Macaw is his name. The sky-earth was already there, but the face of the sun-moon was clouded over. Even so, it is said that his light provided a sign for the people who were flooded. He was like a person of genius in his being.


“I am great. My place is now higher than that of a human design. I am their sun and I am their light, I am also their months.


“So be it: my light is great. I am the walkway and I am the foothold of the people, because my eyes are of metal. My teeth just glitter with jewels, and turquoise as well; they stand out blue with stones like the face of the sky.

 

“And this nose of mine shines white into the distance like the moon. Since my nest I metal, it lights up the face of the earth. When I come forth before my nest, I am like the sun and moon for those who are born in the light, begotten in the light. It must be so because my face reaches into the distance, “ says Seven Macaw. [P.73-74]


“And they came to Crossroads, but here they were defeated at the Crossroads:

Red Road was one and Black Road another.

White Road was one and Yellow Road another.

There were four roads, and Black Road spoke:


“I am the one you are taking. I am the lord’s road,” said the road…”[P. 95]

 

“…After that, they came to the Dark House, a house with darkness alone inside.


“This ball of theirs is just a spherical knife. White Dagger is the name of the ball, the ball of Xibalba.”


“…When these were brought to One and Seven Hunahpu they were they were cowering, here in the dark. When the bearer of their torch and cigars were burning.” [P. 96]


“This is the first one: the Dark House, with darkness alone inside.” [P. 97]

 

“…But they knew about the roads of Xibalba: Black Road, White Road, Red Road, Green Road.” [P. 116]

 

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