The Cult of the Divinities continued
When the awareness of the Deity first came upon man, he became aware at the same time that there was about Him an atmosphere in which a peculiar property resided, an atmosphere different in quality from that of the natural world in which he lived his commonplace life. His natural instinct warned him that between these two worlds, the world of the supernatural and his own natural world, there was a sharply defined spiritual line of demarcation which could not be crossed except with due and adequate precautions. Something happened at some time in his experience and this put him on his guard by letting him know in terms which could not be mistaken that he could trespass wantonly beyond this demarcation only at his own peril.1
At the same time, however, there was an irresistible urge laid upon him to make contact with the supernatural world because his very life depended upon it. There was something inevitable and compulsive about the demand. Thus he discovered to his bewilderment that he must approach that which by nature he felt himself inadequate to approach, and so came up against the formidable situation which Rudolf Otto describes as the mysterium tremendum et fascinans2--that which bewilders, terrifies, frightens, spells danger, but yet attracts and invites with a "beckoning" which is tantamount to absolute demand. The Yoruba have the saying: Ibití o + ̊ká bá p' e + ̩bu sí, ibę + ̀ ni onje + ̩ rę + ̀ mã ba a-- "Wherever the cobra lies in wait, there its prey will reach it". We often see a proof of that when a squirrel approaches the lair of a cobra. As soon as it approaches near enough, the awareness of a terrible presence is communicated to it; and as soon as that registers, the squirrel immediately utters shrieks of vexation, fear, and agony, shrieks which____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Olaodaumarae:God in Yoruba Belief. Contributors: E. BȨlaji Idowu - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1963. Page number: 129.
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