Odaa- the sycamore tree

Symbolism: the tree of life, knowledge, enlightenment, consciousness

The sacred trees and / or places are the symbol of peace and stability and are believed to be a link between Waaqaa and the people. Not all trees are considered as sacred trees. In ancient waaqeffannaa spiritual society, several types of trees appear in waaqeffannaa mythology and art, particularly the sycamore tree which they called odaa. Besides it is believed Waaqaa invoked spirits of dedication to big trees, rivers and big mountains and the areas where referred to as sacred.

The concept of odaa is to be found in the philosophy of ancient waaqeffannaa spiritual society. The waaqeffannaa spiritual society’s symbol for sacred tree is Odaa sycamore tree, the first tree of all trees which is brought forth with the first sacred Primordial Mound. The primeval sacred odaa sycamore tree grew out of the sacred primordial mound, where the branches are the passages, once thought to be ventilation shafts, reaching out and supporting the Upper Walaabuu and while its roots reached down into the water abyss of the lower Walaabuu (the underworld).
The primordial odaa, the shade of the primordial person, he who sat on the top of the primordial mound, which its trunk rose into the realm of the bishaan gubbaa through the tulluu gololee (dongoraa waaqaa or axis munde) which later symbolized by the horooroo (the imaginary line the link the center of the upper walaabuu to the center of lower walaabuu- the bound of heaven and earth). The odaa sycamore tree is considered as that which grows on the same axis, and it is along this axis that passage from one cosmic region to another was effected. And therefore, according to the waaqeffannaa spiritual society mythology, the primordial mound link ruudaa and dachee through the axis (dongoraa waaqaa, tulluu gololee- the bound of earth and heaven); it is the mounts of walaabuu, the connection between the upper and lower walaabuu. The symbolic tulluu ganamaa is a cosmic mountain, a symbolic image of the cosmos, the bound of heaven (ruudaaa) and earth (dachee).
The summit of the cosmic mountain is not only the highest point of earth. It is also the earth’s navel (handuuraa), the point at which the creation of humanity begins. This is conceptually attribute to gundoo, the symbolic representation of creation (life, time and space), where Waaqaa create the primordial person, Yaayyaa, and from him, proceeds from that navel on wards, so Waaqaa began to create the world from its navel onwards and from there it was spread out in different directions. And so humanity was created beginning from tulluu ganamaa and the walaabuu is conceived as spreading from a central points. And so man was formed at the navel of the earth in flesh where the bound of water above and water below is situated. Waaqaa creates the primordial khormaa (bull) and the primordial man at the center of the earth, on the mountain higher than all others.
According to the waaqeffannaa spiritual society, Yaayyaa was created at the center of the earth. And so the symbolism of the center of dachee is the primordial hill where the first man and bull (Khorma) brought forth under the shade of odaa sycamore tree, the tree of everything. The symbolism of mountain stands for the navel of creation where the creation and creator met. And then, the center, then, is pre-eminently the zone of the the sacred, the zone of absolute reality. The symbol of absolute reality such as odaa (the tree of shade of life and immortality), Yaayyaa, (the sacred primordial person), the tulluu ganamaa (the primordial mound) are also situated at a center. And therefore, when waaqaa created the walaabuu, he pegged it down (dhisu) and kept the qolloo up with an invisible pillar. This divine pillar (dongoraa waaqaa) is thought to pass through the center of the world and to link dachee and ruudaa. And so like its secular and sacred counterpart, the central pole of the round house and sacred galmaa- the holy house of the ayyaantuu, of the waaqeffannaa spiritual society, this cosmic pillar stands for the highest moral authority and the stem of the odaa sycamore tree extended to the heaven to link up both the dachee and ruudaa.

And so the roots stand for the unfinished subterranean passages and represent the deceased ancestors through which we live is their blessing. As well the trunk of the sacred Odaa sycamore tree represented the so called utubaa gololee (world pillar) or Axis Munde (literally ‘axis mound) around which the Ruudaa appeared to revolve. The utuba gololee (the world pillar) is the center of the primordial mound which connects the south pole of the lower walaabuu to the north pole of the upper walaabuu. And therefore, odaa sycamore tree represent the waaqeffannaa spiritual society’s genealogical tree and faculty of enlightenment under which the waaqeffanna spiritual socity sat to learn their past and plan their future.

And besides, the odaa sycamore sacred tree carries special mystical significance and regarded as a manifestation of life as the shade of it was used as the residential place of the primordial being, the progenitor of beingness: Yaayyaa, Isaa and Isii. The stem of sycamore tree symbolizes the Yaayyaa, the branches Isii and the root Isaa. And therefore the odaa sacred tree branch also serve as an emblem of fecundity, immortality and divine blessings and seen as an attribute of ancestral wisdom. The sycamore tree is a Waaqaa given sacred tree which grow naturally in a marshy land and symbolize divine eternal procreation and fertility. The sacred trees (called the abdaarii, dakkii or qoloo trees) stand in harmony with roots, trunk, leaves and fruits. These trees are located on mountains and wet areas. People sit under qoloo trees and pray to Waaqa for rain; for protection from sickness and death, famine, snow, drought and failure of crops; for longevity, children, prosperity, and peace; and for protection from evil spirits and wild animals.

And so Odaa represent a shade where by the waaqeffannaa spiritual society gather together in crowd to worship their Creator (, or Uumaa), to make reconciliation, conduct rituals and formulate and amend seeraa (, or Laws). Odaa became one of the sacred sites because Odaa grows in the areas where there is abundant water as water is a source of life and fertility. Odaa remains wet even during long period of drought, and Odaa stand in harmony with its roots, trunk, Leaves and fruits. They used to convene prayer and worship rituals under the shade of such trees such as odaa (avariety of oak tree), birbirsaa (Podocarpus gracilior/falcatus), Qilxuu (ficus vasta), harbuu (ficus sur), somboo (ekeberigia capensi), Hoomii (pygeum africanum), Mi’eessaa (prunus Africana).

The waaqeffannaa spiritual society believe that Waaqaa is believed to have communicated with people through intermediaries called Ayaanaa (‘spirit’), which is the organizing principle. Hence, the sycamore tree of different kinds are regarded as an abode of spirit among the waaqeffannaa spiritual society and used to provide the waaqeffannaa spiritual society with ritual performances and praying site. Hence the reconciliations that is held under and around the sacred tree is considred as binding. The sacred objects and places are believed to have relations with the supernatural force. Sacred areas are believed to have spirits that acted between Waaqa and human being. Hence The Waaqeffannaa spiritual society regards the sacred tree as the abode of natural spirit, ayyaanaa where spirit of Waaqa is localized. And so for fear of retaliation, every socio-political and religious issue had to be conducted calmly and peacefully as well as based on truth. Under the shade Waaqa is believed to have witnessed the denial or agreement to be achieved.

The Waaqeffannaa spiritual society are not worshiping the natural objects but the Creator of the natural objects Waaqa; and honor the spirit that are believed to inhabit in the natural objects and that acted as intermediaries between human and the supernatural being. The waaqeffannaa spiritual society regard sacred items and places highly as Waaqa invoke spirits of dedication on such items and places. In these places prayers shall be conducted and sacrifice shall be performed. Sacrifices are offered for Waaqa for giving us rain, fertility, peace, and prosperity under the sycamore tree.
Owing to the long period of drought, only odaa tree and Horaa Walaabuu provided shade and life sustaining things to human. All people sought the support of Waaqaa and began rain making ritual under the shade of odaa tree of Lower Walaabuu. Because of the long time prayers, Waaqaa is said to have sent His agent Qaalluu from the upper walaabuu. Ayyaantuu as a prophet came with blessing of Waaqaa, and safuu to teach human being. The first Ayyaantuu who is believed to have been the eldest son of Waaqaa was seen with His all insignia under odaa tree at walaabuu. This is to mean Waaqa visited human being in the form of Qaalluu under odaa tree in prophet time. Once up on a time an old innocent man called Garraanticha Walaabuu is said to have received rules from Waaqaa in a cloud mist under odaa tree. The old man of walaabuu from then on becomes messager of Waaqaa who is believed to be heard the whisper of Waaqaa.

Hence the myth claims that since Odaa had been the tree under which Waaqa reestablished His relation and revealed the laws, odaa became a sacred tree of different purposes. And so Odaa is a tree under which Waaqaa re-communicated and made reconciliation with human being with his blessing. Therefore, odaa is the most sacred of all trees.

And therefore, odaa the great evergreen ficus sycamores tree of knowledge, of theology, of genealogy, of righteous. And so the odaa tree is a public space and sphere , a forum to make law (seeraa), proclamation, verse, amen, a forum to make, proclaim and, amend law (seeraa), verse; place where discussion, debate, dialogue, critique are being made. Odaa also refers to axis, faculty of discussion, communicative action, center of hammering out laws (seeraa); axis of genealogy/ genesis.