Utubaa Dhibaayyuu:The waaqeffannaa concept of sacred pillar and center of libation

The expression Utubaa Dhibaayyuu literally refers to a sacred pillar or altar lodged on a sacred ritual ground and on the spot considered as a world centers and under which the Waaqeffannaa spiritual society pours and sprinkles the sacred spiritual libation intending to appease Waaqaa and honor sacred ancestors. Thus it is considered as the symbolic figure of celestial axis. It may be termed also as the cosmic world axis which the Waaqeffannaa spiritual society call Utubaa Gololee. They describes utubaa gololee as a connection with Ruudaa and the Dachee as celestial and / or geographic pole, expressing connections points between the Bishaan Gubbaa and Bishaan Godaa. The spot represent two important sacred concepts: the baha and bahaa. The term baha or bahaa itself is derived from the verb bahuu which literally refers to “to raise”, “to ascend”, “to begin”, “to spring”, ‘to jut’, ‘to sprout’, or ‘to germinate’, and ‘to exit’, or ‘to let out’. It is also refers to an act of bringing into existence.

The literal meaning of the term baha is ‘exit’, ‘outlet’, or ‘way out’. It refers to an opening that permits escape or release. It also represents the act of going out. In this context the term baha, therefore, is the place where something begins, where it springs into beings. Thus it stand for the sacred center at which the sacred celestial pillar sprout or issues forth. It also mean the sacred center of germination. Therefore the concept baha, in this context, represent the sacred center or spot of beginning, and the sacred center of all centers. It implies the sacred center of Walaabuu and the sacred center of spiritual horizon. The spot functions as the handhuuraa (navel) that is the world’s point of beginning- the baha. It is from this spot, baha, everything and all things emerge implying the sacred center or beginning of spiral repetition. It is a sacred orifice through which all and everything emerge. Due to this it also named as Qa’aa Gurraachaa (sacred pristine hole). Qa’aa gurraachaa refers to the sacred pristine opening through which the communication in the form of praise, prayer, worship ascend from creation to the Supreme Being and the blessing of Waaqaa descend to creation and disseminated to all. It is from this spot that sacred pillar, the pillar that connects the Bishaan Godaa to the Bishaan Gubbaa, arise.

Whereas the term bahaa as a noun literally stand for ‘sprout’, ‘ascent’, ‘raise’, ‘output’ or ‘seedling’. It stand for any new growth and beginning. In this sense the term bahaa stand for the sacred central pole (Utubaa Gololee) of the world; the axis that connect the Bishaan Godaa with the Bishaan Gubbaa; the axis that hold up the Bishaan Gubbaa into its place, that is in order and balance; the sacred axis around which nature makes spiral repetition (, or maraa). It represent the first primordial beingness that sprout out through the sacred Qa’aa Gurraachaa. It is a sacred pillar erected at a sacred center, at a center of Walaabuu or the connection between the bishaan gubbaa and bishaan godaa. It represents both the celestial pole and geographic pole. As the celestial and geographic pole it expresses a point of connection between Bishaan Gubbaa and Bishaan Godaa where all the line from all angle of walaabuu meet. At this point, travel and correspondence is made between the upper realm and the lower realm where communication from lower realm in the form of including prayer, praise, dalagaa, mo’ataa, jeekarsaa, dhibaayyuu, inter alia ascend to the upper one and blessing (eebbaa) in the form of including rain, sun, enlightenment, inter alia from upper realm descend to lower ones and disseminated to all. It is a pillar (Iddaa, cord) around which nature makes spiral repetition. Due to this the utubaa gololee (axis mundi) is considered as one of the most primal and universal elements of cosmic and human cosmology, that is the notions of a cosmic axis around which everything literally and metaphorically revolves. This pillar is a sacred eternal pole which never and ever broken, bended and thinned. For the pole to be broken, bended or twisted denotes catastrophe, symbolizing the end of the world, reversion of chaos, return of the state Bishaan hora Walaabuu, or return of salgii. This catastrophe symbolically represents consternation of the entire Walaabuu from Bishaan Godaa to Bishaan Gubbaa, wandering aimlessly for a time until they organize the atonement ritual of falannaa.

The expression utubaa gololee is derived from two Oromo terms: utubaa and Gololee. The term gololee itself is derived from the verb gololuu (gololcha, golollee) literally refers to ‘to feed’, ‘to give food’, ‘to provide as food’, ‘to give’, ‘to eat’, or ‘to feast’; as an adjective it refers to ‘inexhaustible’, ‘unlimited’, ‘endless’, ‘limitless’, or ‘unending’ where the term utubaa refers to ‘pole’, ‘shaft’, ‘stick’, or ‘pillar’. The expression formed from the combination of these two words, utubaa gololee, stand for the limitless altar or pillar under which feast is being offered, pillar of feast, and unending pillar. It is a sacred primordial and limitless altar that connect the Bishaan Gubbaa with Bishaan Godaa. It is the primeval axis that rises up from the center of Bishaan Godaa to the center of Bishaan Gubbaa, the axis of the center of all centers. Therefore utubaa dhibaayyuu is the symbolic representation of utubaa gololee, the altar of feast of libation. Symbolically the spot represent the place where the Bishaan Gubbaa and Bishaan Godaa come closest and gains status as the center of centers, and the sacred of the sacred. Thus it is this sacred eternal cosmic altars that symbolically represented by utubaa dhibaayyuu (, altars of libation). It is derived from the two Oromo words: utubaa and dhibaayyuu where dhibaayyuu mean ‘libation’, or ‘offering’. Utubaa dhibaayyuu is, thus, pole of offering, pillar of libation and therefore, it literally stand for a wooden ceremonial pole erected as part of the dhibaayyuu ritual. It is a symbolic pillar of utubaa gololee. It symbolically represents the pillar or axis that connects Bishaan Godaa with Bishaan Gubbaa and holds up it and secures it in place and order. This is a sacred center where the first mound raised. And on this sacred mound, Yaayyaa, the first hermaphrodite entities of all kind brought forth from within. The spot is all encompassing sacred center symbolizing both Isaa and Isii. Due to this it is symbolized as Isii (, or feminine), as it relates to the center of the earth 1) because it is from that point (qa’aa gurraachaa) everything and all thing including nature emerged; and 2) because like umbilical cord it is the root of nature that provides nourishment to its progeny. This also mean this axis is seen as the umbilical cord which connects our mundane material realm to the higher strata of sacred power. It is also symbolized as Isaa (masculine) because 1) the communication from the bishaan gubbaa descended to the bishaan godaa (lower realm) through this sacred center symbolizing shaft of insemination; 2) the natural object symbolizing masculine involves a mountain, a column of qumbii smoke or gubaa smoke, stalk of sacred tree, pillar of sacred and profane hut, inter alia where communication from Bishaan Godaa ascend to Bishaan Gubbaa in the form of prayer, praise. This world center of sacredness, handhuuraa, for the waaqeffannaa spiritual society has a symbolic altar or space for prayer as the central axis termed utubaa dhibaayyuu, the symbolic altar of utubaa gololee. Therefore it is common to have symbolic altars forming the axis through smoke of qumbii and prayer to bring the center from Ruudaa.

Due to this everything arise from the center are associated with this sacredness. In waaqeffannaa, the symbolism of Utubaa gololee appears in spiritual and secular contexts as they believe everything has a center, that is to say a place that is sacred above all. Thus utubaa gololee is often associated with Tulluu, Galmaa, Yaayyaa, Odaa, Horooroo, and Siinqee. These symbol of sacred centers are a symbolic figure or altar of the primordial axis where praise and sacrifice is being offered for the creator and sacred ancestors and prayer is being recited; and thus it is the altar under which worship is being held. These altars including the sticks, primordial tulluu, odaa, and galmaa form the axis by sending a column of smoke of qumbii and prayer toward the Bishaan Gubbaa. Utubaa dhibaayyuu represent the union of Ruudaa and Dachee, and thus bridging the union of one being to another. Therefore, utubaa dhibaayyuu is a sacred altar erected at world center (handhuuraa) and considered as the axis of sacrificial offering, libation and prayer.

Tulluu (, or primordial mountain) among the waaqeffannaa spiritual society are considered as the symbolism of utubaa gololee and a sacred center where everything and all things emerged. The waaqeffannaa spiritual society considers natural body including mountains as a symbolic figure of this sacred primeval axis. As well they erect their shrines at the summit or base of this sacred mound due to its proximity to the Bishaan Gubbaa and sacredness of the spot. And due to this peculiar features, mountains carries spiritual insinuation. This is why in Irreecha Abraasaa they go to this sacred mound, and as to go into the mountain meant to dedicate oneself to a spiritual life. And thus galma qaalluu, the shrines of the Waaqeffannaa spiritual society, tend to be placed at elevated spot. This sacred center is considered as a sacred center above all. Sacred mountains are also considered as a staircase that leads to the Bishaan Gubbaa and to go into the mountain is to devote one to a higher life, often spoken as spiritual life. In antique waaqeffannaa, the high mountains, mount NamDur, where Yaayyaa, the primordial person, erupt and the baddaa sadeen Walaabuu symbolize the world planetary axis.

In the waaqeffannaa spiritual society, houses are laid out in the form of a circular contour towards all directions surrounding a central fountain that evokes a primordial sacred pillar that arise from primordial tulluu to the Bishaan Gubbaa. Thus every sacred and profane hut of the waaqeffannaa spiritual society is a sacred mountain, thus becoming a center. Due to this the symbolism of the pillar in waaqeffannaa spiritual society’s profane and sacred hut or house derives from the symbolic field of the Tulluu Ganamaa and the central pole/pillar of their hut is derived from the celestial pole which connects the Bishaan Godaa with Bishaan Gubbaa. The pillar passes through the center including the top midpoint of the superstructure and thus termed there as Guutuu Manaa, and for Guutuu Manaa having a capstone at the endpoint which point out to the Bishaan Gubbaa. Thus at the center, equidistance from all directions and angle, there is a rising pillar which supports the superstructure. In waaqeffannaa, the circular sacred structure, galmaa, with central pole, utubaa, operates as a symbolic obelisk of Utubaa Gololee (, or axis mundi) with a fixed reference to at least 30 compass points, the waaggaa symbolizing the concept of “Urjii or Biiftuu qara soddomaa (Star or Sun of Thirty Rays)”. Therefore, in the center of the waaqeffannaa spiritual society’s hut, there are sacred pillar which hold up the superstructure of the hut in place and order. The waaqeffannaa spiritual society symbolically represents this sacred primeval pillar mainly with the pillar of their house, both profane and sacred hut.

This implies the symbolism for their residential and sacred hut is of that of center, as they erect the pillar, a symbolic altar of the primeval axis. And also the symbolism of their residential hut is the same as of the galmaa. The symbolic pillar erected in the center of the waaqeffannaa spiritual society’s hut is derived from the utubaa gololee (axis mundi). The waaqeffannaa spiritual society’s sacred temple, the galmaa building itself, is so arranged and ordered that it raises the mind and heart to sacred upper realm and spiritual things. And thus in any archaic and contemporary dwelling among the waaqeffannaa spiritual society, the central pillar or pole does in fact serve as a means of communication with the Bishaan Gubbaa including the divine being and the sacred ancestors. This is why the waaqeffannaa spiritual society does hold the sacred ritual of libation, dhibaayyuu, under this sacred altar of their hut.

The physical body including human physical form, Yaayyaa- the primordial person and Odaa sycamore tree also carries the symbol of the Axis mundi (utubaa gololee). Yaayyaa, the primordial human physical form expresses the symbol of utubaa gololee. As he rises up from the center of the primordial mound, erupting from within the primordial mound and sat on the top of this mound, he merged and aligned with the concept of axis, and considered as a pillar between Ruudaa and Dachee. Thus human body is considered as the symbolic pillar of world center which connect the upper realm with the lower realm. In addition, among the waaqeffannaa spiritual society sacred plants often serve as symbol of utubaa gololee. The symbol of sacred tree particularly the Odaa sycamore tree provides an axis (utubaa) symbol that unites the Upper Realm with the Lower Realm where Bishaan Gubbaa (branches), Bishaan Godaa (roots) and the utubaa or axis (trunk). In waaqeffannaa spirituality fig tree is considered sacred and is called Odaa sycamore tree and it is considered as the abode of the spirit of Waaqaa Gurraacha-Tokkicha-Haqaa implying the center of sacredness. It represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever expanding branches and ever greenery leaves. In antique, the qaalluu of the waaqeffannaa sat under the shade of Odaa tree on the night to attain spiritual enlightenment. As a result this sacred tree is considered as the faculty of knowledge; the shade of enlightenment, hut of blessing, the abode of natural spirit and the sacred shade of spirituality. And thus it is taken as the sacred center of all center.

Therefore Utubaa Dhibaayyuu is the symbolic altar erected at the center of the universe under which sacred conversation between the upper real and the lower realm is established.