Taba Tolo

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 Definition of

– The Tonu of the Taba Tolo

Separation and Reunification of the Male and Female Aspects

(As seen on the cover of The Meaning of Blackness)


I.M. Nur

 The stylized symbol used on the cover of The Meaning of Blackness is one that comes from the Dogon people of West Afrika. They call it "the tonu of the taba tolo." Dogon cosmological lore regarding this symbol establishes a celestial interrelationship between the sun and the star Sirius. It exemplifies how even distant members of the universe can be intimately interrelated and interconnected.

On the level of hu+man social interelationships, the taba tolo also has profound meaning. For instance, it represents the primordial separation of the male principle from the female principle, referred to as the separation of the ‘divine twins.’ It is because of this differentiation of man that the male and female personalities were able to distinguish themselves. Yet, in response to the separation, the taba tolo also symbolizes man’s ongoing quest for reunification of the ‘twins,’ as the male and female halves perpetually seek to experience the sexual, spiritual energy she/he once shared with itself. This is why, on the hu+man plane of existence, we symbolically and socially combine ourselves through gender coupling. During this psycho-spiritual drama, females and males find it instinctively important, even compelling, to simulate this urge for sexual reunification through the union we call marriage. Once the two genders sexually consummate their union, an act to reproduce themselves, they symbolically act to perpetuate the 're-union' throughout the species.

Although all formed beings retain all aspects of their primal, corporeal, and sexual spiritual energy (i.e., the spirit energy of both genders), at conception this energy becomes polarized into one predominant gender type, either semale or female. This selection further unfolds as the evolving baby develops within its mother’s womb; and as it is surrounded by a polarized sexual energy field. This is what ultimately determines the baby's external gender. Then, once born, the new hu+man subsequently embarks on a quest to find its complementry twin-half.

Through marriage, the Dogon believe the two separate parts (the twins) come together in hopes of re-experiencing what they refer to as the original "twin placenta." They teach that as we couple or marry, a reunification of our sexual energy symbolically takes place. In this way, we spiritually transform, unite or become one in nature, and that we are motivated by a divine imparative. According to Dogon cosmology, this process is part of the natural or ‘divine plan of Amma,’ which is their name for the Divine Creative Force that controls creation through the forces or principles of nature. Moreover, when the two (woman and seman) are reunited, they are again protected in the womb of the cosmic womb or "Amma’s Egg," one you can think of as the cosmic placenta. Given this line of interpretation, it's no wonder to many people the taba tolo resembles a fetus in a woman’s womb. Also, as a symbol representing Amma’s original plan, a plan that effects all aspects of creation, all activity takes place within the womb or shell of "Amma’s Egg." Thus, the sun and Sirius ceremonially represent the (se)male and female twin halves. Although these two entities' existences are so different and so far apart, they are nonetheless attracted to one another by an enduring, ever-present, and omni-directional divine or cosmic force.

Still, one can also view the taba tolo even more esoterically as representing the original thought that was projected into the primal waters of pre-creation. Most of us today call this now manifested form of thought, the universe, a term that itself breaks down to mean One Word (uni+verse). By extension, this UniVerse also represents that one seminal word the ancients referred to as Ma’at--Truth, Justice, and Righteousness. To the ancient Kemetians (Egyptians), Ma’at possesses that cosmic sound (meaning), whose energy resonates throughout creation. Thus projected, this sound ensures harmonious balance between all principles and all beings; and, when imbalance appears, it can only exist for ‘a season’ before order is restored. Like Ma’at, the taba tolo represents perpetual order and the imperative for right-justice (righteousness) to unfold throughout creation. It is a faculty that is always there to reunify or rejoin all separated parts of creation.

Finally, the inscription nuk penti tet located at the lower edge of the symbol on the book, is from the ancient Kemetic language. It translates to mean: "I am the heir of the house of the Lord." As it suggests, that as we become One with the Will of the Creator, we thereby become worthy heirs to administer over that which the Creator has created--the Uni-verse, or the Enduring Word -- Truth.

Hetepu (Peace be with you)

(Reference: THE PALE FOX: Pages 117 and 278-280.)

(c) Copyright 2003 by Anu World Publications and I.M. Nur - Revised 2005.


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