God in Seereer religion

Please cite this work as:

The Seereer Resource Centre, "God in Seereer religion" (2013), [in] The Seereer Resource Centre, URL: https://www.seereer.com/god-in-serer-religion

Seereer religion is polytheistic. There are multiple deities - for example :  Tiurakh (god of wealth), Takhar (god of justice or vengeance),[1] Kumba Njaay (proper, variation : Adna Kumba Njaay, earth goddess),[2] etc. These are however demi-gods. Below are the names the various Seereer groups use to refer to the supreme god and creator :


  • Roog (variations : Roog Seen, Rog or  Rooh following its pronunciation), meaning "sky" or "god of the heavens" in Seereer-Siin, used by the Seex people.[3][4] Roog is synonymous to Koox (see below).

  • Koox (variations : Koox Seen or Kooh following its pronunciation), meaning "god of rain and the heavens" in Saafi, used by the Cangin, in particular the Saafi people.

  • Kokh Kox (derived from Koox), used by the Noon people.[5]

  • Kopé Tiatie Cac (variation : Koh), meaning "god grandfather" in Ndut, used by the Ndut people.[5]

All these groups are ethnically Seereer and many of them adhere to the tenets of Seereer religion, but use their own language to refer to the supreme being. Roog is the creator of the universe and everything in it.[6] Among some Seereers, Roog is sometimes referred to as "the Master of the World.[6] He is the source of life and everything returns back to him.[6] He is "the point of departure and conclusion, the origin and the end".[7]


Place of worship and ideography


In Seereer religion, there is no House of Roog. The supreme deity is "everywhere and nowhere."[8] Roog has no body or remains and is not represented in an art form.[8] Although the Seereer people have several religious symbols or ideographs, there is no artistic representation of Roog. Among the Saafi people, there is an ideograph for Koox, however this ideograph merely focuses on the spiritual rather than Koox's physical form.


The Seereers pray to Roog through interceders (the pangool) because Roog is considered too high, but do not offer a direct animal sacrifice to Roog.[9] To show their reverence to the supreme being, the Seereers use words such as Roog Dangandeer Seen ("Roog the Omnipresent" or "the Omnipresent God"), Roog o Caaci’in Seen (Roog our ancestor), etc. This is how the Seereers evoke the name of the divine along with prayers.[10] 


Gender / Sex


Roog can either be a he, a she or an it. The use of colonial languages such as English and French place great limitations on the engendering of the divine and the almost universal use of the masculine form (he or god). However, these have no basis in Seereer religion. Roog can be any of these (heshe or it) or none at all. It also depends on the context in which Roog's name is evoked and which part of its nature (feminine or masculine) one is trying to appease. In the Seereer creation narrative, Roog created the universe using its female principle.[11]


References


[1] Kellog, Day Otis, and Smith, William Robertson, "The Encyclopedia Britannica: latest edition. A dictionary of arts, sciences and general literature", Volume 25, p 64, Werner (1902)

[2]  International African Institute, Environment Training Programme, "African environment, Volume 11, Issues 1-2", Environment Training Programme ( 2002), pp 104 & 117

[3]  Gravrand, "Pangool", p 176

[4]  Faye, Louis Diène, "Mort et Naissance le monde Sereer", Les Nouvelles Editions Africaines (1983), p 44, ISBN 2-7236-0868-9

[5]  Ndiaye, Ousmane Sémou, "Diversité et unicité sérères : l’exemple de la région de Thiès" [in] Éthiopiques, n° 54, vol. 7, 2e semestre 1991

[6]  Gravrand, "Pangool", p 183  (last retrieved : 13 July 2013)

[7]  Madiya, Clémentine Faïk-Nzuji, "Canadian Museum of Civilization", Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies, "International Centre for African Language, Literature and Tradition", (Louvain, Belgium), pp 27, 155, ISBN 0-660-15965-1

[8]  Thiaw, Issa laye, "Mythe de la création du monde selon les sages sereer", pp 45-50, 59-61 [in] "Enracinement et Ouverture" – "Plaidoyer pour le dialogue interreligieux", Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (23 and 24 June 2009), Dakar (last retrieved : 13 July 2013)

[9]  Kesteloot, Lilyan, "Introduction aux religions d'Afrique noire", s.n., 2007, p 50

[10]  Thiaw, Issa Laye, "La Religiosite de Seereer, Avant et pendant leur Islamisation" [in] Éthiopiques n° 54, Revue semestrielle de Culture Négro-Africaine, Nouvelle série, volume 7, 2e Semestre (1991) (last retrieved : 13 July 2013)
[11]  (Gravrand, Henry, "La civilisation sereer : Pangool") [in] Universität Frankfurt am Main, Frobenius-Institut, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kulturmorphologie, Frobenius Gesellschaft, "Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde", vols 43−44, F. Steiner (1997), pp 144-5, ISBN 3515028420

Bibliography

[1] Kellog, Day Otis, and Smith, William Robertson, "The Encyclopedia Britannica: latest edition. A dictionary of arts, sciences and general literature", Volume 25, Werner (1902)

[2]  International African Institute, Environment Training Programme, "African environment, Volume 11, Issues 1-2", Environment Training Programme ( 2002)

[3] 
Gravrand, Henry, "La Civilisation Sereer - Pangool", vol. 2. Les Nouvelles Editions Africaines du Sénégal(1990), ISBN 2-7236-1055-1

[4]  Faye, Louis Diène, "Mort et Naissance le monde Sereer", Les Nouvelles Editions Africaines (1983), p 44, ISBN 2-7236-0868-9

[5]  Ndiaye, Ousmane Sémou, "Diversité et unicité sérères : l’exemple de la région de Thiès" [in] Éthiopiques, n° 54, vol. 7, 2e semestre 1991  (last retrieved : 13 July 2013)

[6]  Madiya, Clémentine Faïk-Nzuji, "Canadian Museum of Civilization", Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies, "International Centre for African Language, Literature and Tradition", (Louvain, Belgium), pp 27, 155, ISBN 0-660-15965-1

[7]  Thiaw, Issa laye, "Mythe de la création du monde selon les sages sereer", pp 45-50, 59-61 [in] "Enracinement et Ouverture" – "Plaidoyer pour le dialogue interreligieux", Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (23 and 24 June 2009), Dakar (last retrieved : 13 July 2013 )

[8]  Kesteloot, Lilyan, "Introduction aux religions d'Afrique noire", s.n., 2007, p 50

[9]  Thiaw, Issa Laye, "La Religiosite de Seereer, Avant et pendant leur Islamisation" [in] Éthiopiques n° 54, Revue semestrielle de Culture Négro-Africaine, Nouvelle série, volume 7, 2e Semestre (1991) (last retrieved : 13 July 2013)
[10]  (Gravrand, Henry, "La civilisation sereer : Pangool") [in] Universität Frankfurt am Main, Frobenius-Institut, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kulturmorphologie, Frobenius Gesellschaft, "Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde", vols 43−44, F. Steiner (1997), pp 144-5, ISBN 3515028420