I’ve been reading into pre-Islamic Somali beliefs and mythology which fascinates me. Here is some of the information I came across.
Somalis before the arrival of Islam (7th century) through trade, believed in Waaq (sky god) and till this day there are a lot of terms and words in Somali language, culture, folklore and fables that have words that relate to this ancient religion e.g. “barwaaqo” (God’s rain). There are also Somali towns and cities that relate to this religion such as the town of Caabudwaaq (literally meaning “worship waaq), Ceel-waaq (well of Waaq). In Oromo culture, Waaq or Waaqo denotes the single god of the early pre-Abrahamic, monotheistic faith believed to have been adhered to by Cushitic groups. This belief system still somewhat exists in some Oromo societies.
Somali mythology dates to pre-Islamic times and includes belief in jinn, supernatural spirits, and ghouls treacherous shape-changing spirits, who are said to inhabit significant features of the landscape, including wells, crossroads, and burial grounds. Also extremely important is astrology, which is thought to provide divinations of the days ahead; some Somalis believe that the appearance of certain stars, constellations, and eclipses can presage everything from the coming of rain to a massacre.
Somalis also had a strange assumption of the universe and the cause of natural disasters along with that. They believed: The equilibrium of the Universe in Somali mythology was tied with the love between a Bull and a Cow. The Universe was said to balance itself on the horns of a bull, a beast forever staring at the cow tied to a pole in front of him. Whenever his love turned her eyes away from the Bull, it would result in a physical shift that caused natural disasters on Earth. Religious temples dating from antiquity known as Taalo were the centers where important ceremonies.
Eebo (God) is the Somali word for God and was synonymously used for the ancient Cushitic Sky God Waq in Somali and Waaqa in oromo. According to Somali Legend Eebo lived in the Heavens and whenever the nomads successfully prayed for rain it was known as Barwaaqo (God’s rain)
The Ayaanle(Angels) in Ancient Somalia or Ayaana in Oromo were known as the good spirits and acted as mediators between God and humans. They were said to be bringers of luck and blessings.
Huur (Reaper) was the messenger of Death and had the form of a large bird. The deity was akin to Horus of ancient Egypt and played a similar role in Somali society.
Nidar (Punisher) was the righter of wrong. He was considered the champion of those that were exploited by their fellow humans. The deity has survived in modern Somalia as a popular saying; Nidar Ba Ku Heli ("Nidar will find and punish you”)