Abuk – Dinka (Sudan) – The primordial, or first, woman, who was elevated to divine status; patron goddess of women and gardens. Abuk presided over women’s activities, especially the cultivation of millet. Her emblem was a small snake. In the beginning, a rope linked Earth and the heavens, home of the Supreme God, Nhialic. (See also link between heaven and Earth.) Nhialic permitted Abuk and her husband, Garang (the first man), to plant and grind just one grain of millet a day for food. One day Abuk felt especially hungry, so she planted several millet grains. She used a long-handled hoe to do the planting. At that time the sky was very close to Earth, and Abuk accidentally struck Nhialic with her hoe. This angered the god so much that he severed the rope between Earth and the heavens and withdrew from involvement with human affairs. Because of this, people had to work hard for their food, and illness and death came into the world. (See also death, origin of.) In some traditions, Abuk was the mother of Deng, a rain and fertility god and the intermediary between humans and the Supreme God.
The Dinka are pastoralists from Southern Sudan. Their indigenous religion is monotheistic: a single Creator formed Earth and all its inhabitants, including spirits who communicate via voluntary possession.
Abuk is the first woman, created alongside her male counterpart, Garang. She is simultaneously an Eve-like figure, the primordial ancestress and a goddess with dominion over the yin aspects of life:
water and its distribution, women and anything to do with them, fertility and what grows, whether these are babies in the womb or fruits of the garden.
Abuk presides over what are traditional Dinka women’s activities: growing millet and brewing millet beer. Her son Deng is a sky deity with dominion over rain, storms, and fertility, similar in scope to Ba’al, Zeus, or Shango. Abuk remains the most popular name given to Dinka girls.
Petition: For success in your endeavors, abundance, safety, and good health
Animal: Snake, especially small grey snakes. (She may manifest in this form; it may be used to represent her on an altar or in ritual.)
Beer, ideally home-brewed; millet; fruits, vegetables, and herbs from your garden
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Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.