ochanilele (ochanilele) wrote,

When Heaven and Earth Separated (from the odu Okana)


The release date for my next book, Teachings of the Santeria Gods, keeps getting closer; August 15 is only 7 months away. Once again I'm going back through some of the deleted material, putting it up here for my readers' enjoyment.

Remember: these stories are in what I consider "second draft" format. They are not finished, but still they're good. And if these stories are that good . . . just imagine the treasures my next book holds.


When Heaven and Earth Separated

Just as water and land lay side-by-side, so, at one time, Orún (the sky) and Ayé (Earth) were only an arm’s reach away from each other, with only a small space between them so animals and humans could walk. And because they were so close, they were the best of friends; with nothing to do and nowhere to go, they would spend their days hunting, and whenever one of the two killed game, without thinking, he would share half his kill with the other.

            Always, Orún took the head, and Ayé took the lower half; it was the custom, and was done without thinking.

            For many centuries, this is how things were.

            Yet it came to pass that the earth thought itself greater than the sky; even though the sky loomed heavy and large upon her surface, and she depended on his the life-giving rains for sustenance, she was tired of being the one below. She sought to be the one on top.

            The day came when the two hunted, and earth killed a jutía. In defiance, she offered Orún the lower half.

            “I always get the head!” said Orún.

            “And I am tired of getting the butt,” said Ayé.

            “But I am the head; I am the crown. I am the sky, and I am the one always on top. Give me the head.”

            In defiance, the earth refused; she held the head tightly while holding out the lower half for her friend.

            In anger, Orún gathered himself up and split away from the earth. He removed himself to a place far beyond the highest mountain, where earth could no longer see him.

            And that was fine with her. It is for this reason that even now, the sky remains beyond the reach of humans.

            Yet Orún was not done with his punishment. Bit-by-bit, the earth’s waters dried up under the sun, and as the vapors rose, Orún locked them up in his arms. He refused to let the water fall back to earth, and a great drought came to the land.

            The oceans receded; the rivers dried up; plants and trees withered and all living creatures thirsted and starved.

            Humans screamed at the earth, “Foolish woman – you are killing us. Make amends to the sky! Kill another jutía, and send him the head!”

            Ayé was saddened by the mortal revolt; and without another thought, hunted until she found a jutía. She removed its head, and put it in the talons of a great bird. “Take this to my old friend, Orún. Tell him he has made his point. He is the head, and I will always be the world below.”

            That day, the bird flew into the skies and delivered the ebó to Orún. Satisfied that the earth learned its place in the scheme of things, he released the waters he had been holding back, and rain returned to the earth.

            The schism between heaven and earth, however, remained; and sky has never again touched the earth since the day Ayé refused to give Orún his due.

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