In most religious traditions, water is basic to physical and spiritual life, symbolizing purification, rebirth, and fertility as it is an element common to many accounts of the creation of the world and its inhabitants. It may be underground, may surround the Earth, or may be deep, dark, and chaotic—a lifeless, mysterious abyss from which life emerges. In some accounts, the creator remains independent; in others, the creator is part of the waters. Water may even be the tangible representation of the divine. It may signify nothingness, contain some substance from which the Earth, heaven or life is created, or have spontaneous life-generating power of its own. Water plays a central role in many religions and beliefs around the world as Source of life, it represents (re)birth. Water unceasingly changes content, shapes and transforms itself. It is thus a model out of which everything can be born. Water, consequently, becomes a symbol of fertility that can be found in all the myths and all the religions. Beings and things are born of water. And thus, waters are considered as sacred.
Sacred waters are characterized by tangible topographical land formations such as rivers, lakes, springs and oceans.These organic bodies of water have attained religious significance not from the modern alteration or blessing, but were sanctified through mythological or historical figures. Among the waaqeffannaa spiritual society, Water is the reservoir of all the possibilities of existence and it’s preceded every form and supports every creation. And so water connotes the concept that water is in everybody and everything as well everything is in water. And therefore, live exist in water and originate within water. Literally from our worldly entrance in a burst of amniotic sac to the ritual washing of the dead, water flows through human lives, scribing a line between sacred and profane, life and death. In another say from the amniotic fluid we swim in before birth to the cleansing power of waterfalls, rivers, oceans, fountains, and our own tears, semen; from baptismal fonts to the healing pools of hot springs and natural grottoes, water contains a unique spiritual energy. And so Water is a source of fertility and abundance.
Water tends to be a central element in the creation accounts of the waaqeffannaa spiritual society with mythological, cosmological and theological myths. And so to the waaqeffannaa spiritual society water is the fundamental element from which life arises. As well, Bishaan (, or Water) is a primordial element which underlays creation myths and stories around the world. Therefore, Malkaa (, or river) symbolism corresponds to the creative powers of Waaqaa, and symbolize fertility and rebirth. There are four mythical concepts that the symbolism of water stand for: 1) the waaqeffannaa creation story recounts that before the voice of the creator and the light of the sun was placed on the face of Walaabuu, water was already on walaabuu and walaabuu was nothing but the water; and soWaaqaa create the primordial water to begin its miracle of creating the walaabuu. And all beings arose from the fusion of Hora (salty, sweet, hot spring, the bubbling or charming) water where the spirit of Waaqaa stirred within this body of Hora walaabuu and Waaqaa creates a firmament (qolloo) in the midst of the water to divide the primordial water into the Water Above and the Water Below; 2) In waqeffannaa water divinity is also associated with the separation of the primordial things or entities into a complementary opposite as Isaa and Isii. Yaayyaa, the primordial person went down from the top of a primordial mount to drink the water at the bottom of the Hill. And while Yaayyaa was drinking water from a stream at the bottom of that sacred hill, Waaqaa separate Yaayyaa into two equal entities making it Isaa and Isii. And so the water of river is sacred because Yaayyaa, the primodial man, was separated into two equal entities or complementary opposite at glance through the divine will, word and sound of Waaqaa while he was sat to drink water from a stream after being descended from the primordial sacred mound; and 3) after separation of Yaayyaa into two equal entity as Isaa and Isii, both Isaa and Isii lived separately for a while on either side of the sacred stream of Hora Walaabuu. As Waaqaa want His miracle work on the face of earth, one up on a time Isaa descended to the valley under the mount GaNamaa of the West and saw Isii on the other side of the stream. When he looked at her, Splendid is Isii, glorious her trappings and its colours are of black, red and white. And Isaa looked at her for awhile and stayed amazed and delighted by the splendor of Isii. Isaa wanted isii to take to his side. And then Isaa cut a shoot of straight creeping plant, peeled off the covering, from its skin he made a sacred towing ropes, sabataa; and from the stem he made the sacred sticks, the siiqee and the Horooroo. Isaa take this great towing ropes and throw one end of this great towing ropes after being tie on one of the sacred stick, siiqee, and told her to tie the rope around her belly and hold on to the stick. He too tie the other end of the rope to his belly and hold the other remaining stick to tow her towards himself holding the stick and the rope. And he did it as slowly Isii moves across the river. The portals of the water are shallow wide, and Isaa guide Isii through the gloom and perils of the water, pilots of the river are the sacred rope, sacred sticks and Isaa, and without them not Isii herself could pass through unscathed; and 4) In the second phase of Waaqa’s creation maraa, Waaqaa blessed both Isaa and Isii to make a scared reunion so that Waaqaa shall continue his creation miracle through Isaa and Isii copulation. And Waaqaa brought forth the fetus in the sacred water (of amniotic sac), from the water of isaa containing the seed of Isaa and mate with the seed of Isii in a sacred chamber of Isii, the womb (gada-meessaa, saaba). And so we are created within the warmth and protection of water within the womb of Isii and so it symbolize rebirth. And so from the beginning in a mother’s womb the fetus floats in amniotic fluid, Bishaan Horaa. And so the stream or river has acquired sacredness through connection with these significant or miraculous events.
And then on among the waaqeffannaa spiritual society Malkaa is considered as one of the religious sites of waaqeffannaa spiritual society spirituality. And so Malkaa is the sign of fertility and prosperity where Waaqa bless Nadhoo and Horoom saying ‘Horoom’, meaning:
Be fertile and prosperious
May your descendent own this walaabuu!
(Dhallii keessan walaabuu haa dhuunfattu)!
And also Water is associated with cleansing and purification of body and spirit. Water cleans the body, and by extension purifies it, and these two main qualities confer a highly symbolic – even sacred – status to water. Water, as the cosmological wheel, is the medicine which brings cleansing, reconciliation, purification, and peacemaking. So malka (Lake or river) is the ideal place to offer holy ritual for it provides an opportunity to be cleansed, of energies that are determinantal to manifesting one’s purpose. A water ritual can also open our soul to healing and living as peaceful beings. Water is therefore a key element in ceremonies and religious rites.
To the waaqeffannaa Spiritual society sacred water is never neutral and passive, except the Black Water (Gurraacha Walaabuu) in the primordial time before Waaqaa mudded it by adding the things of creation to it. Once the Supreme Creator muddled the primordial black water and changes its color to Booruu and it is considered to have powers and capacities to transform to life and and create holiness.
To the waaqeffannaa spiritual society all water is sacred, especially rivers (Malkaa), spring (Horaa) and Lakes (Haroo), though there are selected water sources that have special ritual significance. They do held annual sacred ritual of irreechaa (thanksgiving) on the shore or bank of the sacred water. Among them there are six notable sacred lakes (haroo) in the heart of the waaqeffannaa spiritual society’s Holy Land which they name it the Jahaan Haroo Waaqayyoo (the six sacred lakes of Waaqayyoo), namely Haroo Arsadii, Haroo Bishooftuu, Haroo Babbo Gayyaa, Haroo Calalaqa. Of these six sacred lakes only one of these sacred lakes has ritual significace on the annual thanksgiving ritual, the Irreechaa where pilgrims from all over the nation come together to participate on the thanksgiving ritual held annually on Haroo Arsadii. In the sacred water ritual, such as Irreecha malkaa, there are no distinctions between participating individuals or groups whether they have different belief system or not, as all sins fall away, and the place is considered as the site of peace and reconciliation. All individuals from all walks of life can attend and participate on this holy ritual. As these sacred lakes of Waaqaa are in the heart of the Holy Land, the sacred Lakes of Waaqayyoo is the most important Lakes in Waaqeffannaa. For centuries, pilgrims have traveled long distances to get involved themselves in this holy land to attend the annual Irreechaa ritual as Pilgrimage is very important to the waaqeffannaa spiritual society.