The sun rises, reaches its peak, sets, disappears and resurfaces. The Bantu peoples noticed this movement and drew from it maxims, lessons and symbols. The famous Kongo Cross is a classic representation of what some call “The 4 moments of the sun”. Some even argue that this symbology and these notions would have facilitated the incorporation of Christian elements into the worldview of these ethnic groups.
Let us look at the Cross of Congo, which illustrates the cover of this article. There is a line that cuts it in the middle. This line interests us a lot. It's Kalunga. Kalunga is known as the border between the world of the living and the dead ( mpemba - from which the name pemba, the white chalk derives). However, it is more than that. Itis the sea, a great river, it is the god of the dead and it is the supreme god himself. Note that the sun rises in / from Kalunga and dies in Kalunga. Kalunga, for some, is the original dynamism, the primordial fiery force that starts everything and is mirrored in two worlds.
When the sun is in the world of the living, it is night in the world of the dead. However, when the sun "dies", there is day and under the water, where they "live", the light awakens them . Thus, this is why many believe that during the night in the world of the living, the spirits of the dead are more active and that would explain one of the reasons why dreams are a channel of communication with the deceased par excellence.
In the new world, Kalunga takes on new shapes. In Cuba, for example, in the cult known as Palo Monte , it becomes something like the mass of the dead, the dead itself, the world of the dead and is an absolutely central element of this spirituality. In Brazil's macumbas, Calunga turns into two: big and small; sea and cemetery. However, it never loses its frontier characteristic, it never deviates from the idea of death.
Meditating on the movement of the sun is imperative for us to understand the thinking of the Bantu . As we have already discussed extensively here, the Bantu have a strong influence on Haitian Vodou , so, even if it is not obvious at first, this meditation will help us to understand Vodou as well. It is evident that the parallel with human life is inevitable, but there is more that can be extracted from it.
I remember that we discussed water in a recent text. At that moment, I said that the Lwas are manifested in watery ways - rivers, seas, streams, fountains, etc. The connection with Kalunga clarifies this issue better. Although there is more to this relationship between the Lwas and the water, for sure.
It is interesting to note that Kalunga is also or was an igneous force. A watery fire or some kind of flaming water. This infuses the water, full of fluidity, with the dynamism and creative expansion of fire - making this Kalunga a force of creation and also of reorganizing things.
In Vodou , the Lwas are divided into two large groups: rada and petwo - and these are associated, respectively, with water and fire. This dichotomy is structuring in Vodou and Kalunga is the cradle of it. Thinking about how Luc de Heusch treats various stories of the Bantus and comes to the conclusion that there is in them a primordial recreation of the dry and rainy season, it is not difficult to think that we will find the movements of the earth there, in complement to the movements of the sun