Deep Meaning of Kongo Cosmogram

“Kiatezua Lubanzadio Luyaluka has a PhD (honors) degree from Trinity Graduate School of Apologetics and Theology, Kerala, India. He is currently the director of the Institut des Sciences Animiques (Kinshasa, DRC), a research and initiatory center focusing on African spirituality and epistemology. His publications center on a defense of African spirituality and epistemology.

Dr Kiatezua Lubanzadio Luyaluka 
Ph.D. (hon.) en Théologie (Apologétique)
Directeur Général
de l’Institut des Sciences Animiques
Centre de recherche en: spiritualité et philosophie afrocentriques.
www .

The Deep Meaning of the Kongo Cosmogram

Kiatezua Lubanzadio Luyaluka Ph.D. (Hon.)
The knowledge of the kôngo cosmogram is something for which we owe much to the Congo Scholar Kimbwandende KiaBunseki Fu-kiau. He provided us with the first deeper introduction to the kôngo initiatory culture through his book titled Kôngo ye Nza ya kun’zungidila.[i] The kôngo initiates were always bound by an oath to silence; hence it was a great privilege that they happened to open their heart to the young kôngo researcher that Fu-kiau was during the sixties.
To speak of the dikênga, the kôngo cosmogram or the kôngo cross, one must know that all that the initiate were taught in the forest were not always hidden to the public. They usually spoke openly of the teachings of the initiatory schools through proverbs and songs whose deep meaning was know of them alone.
One of the proverbs the kôngo initiates used to recall the teachings of the ancestral academies is: “Mahûnga ma ntu a nkayi, mêso mona, makutu wa, nânga ngângu zakukôndua.” Literally translated this proverb says: the horn of the gazelle, your hears hear, your eyes see, unless you lack intelligence. Its esoteric meaning, the most important, was known only by the initiates.
To reach to the meaning of the central element of kôngo semiology as imbedded in this proverb, one must ask himself: why does the proverb speak of the gazelle and not of any other horned animal? The particular thing with the horn of the gazelle is the spiral that surrounds it; this spiral is the key symbol of the kôngo spiritual culture, indeed, it is the summary of the teaching of the Bukôngo, the kôngo religion.
When a kôngo old man is asked about the origin of the universe, his usual answer is: “Nzâmbi wa lâmba luku, tôngo beto bântu.” (God prepared the fufu and we men are the condiment.) Though this answer may seam meaningless and naive to many people, it includes the symbol of the spiral that the fufu makes in the pot while it ascends and descends as it is maneuvered with the spatula. The spiral is the cosmological symbol of the Bukôngo. 
The spiral indicates the origin and destiny of the mankind: men come from the heavens where they go back through cycles of life. To emphasis this the Bukôngo uses two words to translate the concept of life: zingu and kimoya. Literally zingu means a spire. When a man dies, it is a zingu (a spire or a cycle) which ends; since the kimoya (the consciousness of being alive) is eternal, the man is translated in the beyond to begin another zingu; thus the spiral symbolizes the eternity of life.
The other meaning of the spiral to which Fu-kiau introduces us is the concept of the Verb, the Kimahungu, or the divine completeness of being. The Kimahungu is the presence of the divinity in man and around man. This is a central notion of the soteriological doctrine of the Bukôngo. The term Kimahungu, according to Fu-kiau, comes from the verb hûnga. This kôngoverb alludes to the spiraling action of the wind (hûnga).  The verb hûnga refers also to the act of assembling things by surrounding them with both hands.
Thus Fu-kiau depicts the Kimahûngu as assembling the male and the female elements as the divine completeness of being. In the Bukôngo man is composed of a male (right) part and a female (left) part; Fukiau explains this arrangement of body parts, by stating: “[They] are intended to bring together the male and female characteristics to constitute an all “mûntu walunga” (the complete man).”[ii]
It must be remembered that when the wind whirls (hûnga) all the leaves that are within its base are carried by its movement upward; this indicates also a fundamental teaching of the Bukôngo: the universal nature of salvation. All will be saved; if man doesn’t accept and abide by the salvific truth, he will be forced to salvation by suffering.
The kôngo culture had three initiatory schools: the sacerdotal academy represented by the Kimpasi, the civil academy represented by the Lemba, and the martial academy represented by the Kinkimba. The concept of the Kimahungu had an equivalent in all three schools as the divine completeness of man.
There is a proverb of the Kimpasi area which says: “Malungila mwana, mahasuka ka mwana ko.” The exoteric meaning of this proverb is: he who answers a call of an elder is a son, he who disobeys is not a son.” In reality if that meaning were the right one the proverb would read: “N’tumami mwana, n’kolami ka mwana ko.
The esoteric meaning of this proverb is that he who is conscious of the divine completeness (malungila, from the verb lunga, to be complete) of his being is a son of God; the non-initiated is not conscious of this divine nature so he hismahasuka (the incomplete). This proverb shows that the concept of the Verb in the Kimpasi is the Kimalungila. It is symbolized by the circular bracelet (n’lûngu) that the initiate wears on his hand. The n’lungu (the fact of being complete) shows that the spiral is summarized as the circle, its plane representation.
The spiral and the circle, as the symbols of the Verb, are also seen in the Kinkimba, the kôngo martial academy, as the concept of Thafu-maluangu (the complete nature of man). In the animal realm the Verb is represented in this school by the python. The prime-minister of the Loango was named Ma-Mboma-Tchiluângu.[iii] Joseph Kimfoko Mandoungou says that this name implies:  “The acquisition by this character of the Ntchiama (rainbow) whose animal incarnation is the python (mboma) extending its magical protection on all that it surrounds.”[iv]
Thus we learn that the spiraling python is the symbol of the Verb as a protective power. The Verb in the Kinkimba is symbolized also by the rainbow, which in the mind of the kôngo people is a python whose head and tail are in the sea (kalunga); moreover the rainbow is comprised of bright (male) arc followed by a dim (female) one , both arcs form the unity alluded by Mahungu.
In his book titled les Maîtres de la brousse[v], Réné Garliet speaks of the Kimahungu as the “elder son of the heaven and the earth”. He explains that this concept of the completeness of being in seen as the concept of the Komo among the Mandés and of the Do among the Senufo.
This presence of the Kimahûngu among other African ethnics shows that the spiral is not only the central symbol of the Bukôngo, but also the central symbol of the African traditional religion. Before the beginning of the Buiti, the divine initiation of the Songye of the Democratic republic of Congo, a pestle was fixed on the ground and it was surrounded by a spiral.
The kôngo cosmogram is the ultimate summarized form of the spiral. In his book titled Four Moments of the Sun, Farris Thompson, quoted by Derric “Rau Khu” Moore, says of the kôngo cosmogram that it “is coded as a cross, a quartered circle or diamond, a seashell spiral, or a special cross with a solar emblem in each extremity” (the emphasis is ours).[vi]
The kôngo cosmogram is the central symbol of the Bukôngo. It alludes to the heavenly origin and destiny of man, to the immortality of soul and the eternity of life, as well as to universal salvation, at last it represents the Verb as the divine completeness of being. The kôngo cosmogram is the summary of the teachings of the Bukôngo.
The origin of the spiral as the central symbol of the Bukôngo comes from the ancient Egypt. The Egyptian initiatory tradition reports that Thoth had a vision in which he saw himself occupying the sidereal center of a series of seven concentric globes symbolizing the seven heavens. Its was then revealed to him that souls come from the enlightened area located above the seventh heaven, and come down from heaven and go back by a spiral movement symbolizing life cycles.[vii]
As a dynamic teaching, the Bukôngo is today the only religion in the world to be endowed with a systematic theodicy which can be found in our article about the theocentric cosmology of the big-bang.[viii] The import of this scientific theodicy is that it proves logically the teachings of the kôngo cosmogram and it allows us today to demonstrate the validity of the holistic African scientific paradigm as providing a simple, exhaustive, and mathematically proven theory of everything; a theory which explains the movements and stability of astronomical bodies and subatomic ones.
[i] Fukiau, A., Kôngo ye Nza ya kun’zungidila, Léopoldville, 1969.
[ii] Fukiau, ibidem., p. 112.
[iii] The Kikongo word mboma designates the python. Mamboma, Ngamboma, Nkuamboma, etc., are terms which in the Kongo tradition designate an army commander.
[iv] Kimfoko Madoungou, J., le Guide du musée, Pointe-Noire, 1985.
[v] René Garliet , les Maitres de la brousse, Grue Couronnée, Kinshasa, 1976, p. 41.
[vi] Moore, D, What is Kamata?
[vii] Schuré, E., les Grands initiés, Perrin, Paris, 1970, pp. 153-162.
[viii] Luyaluka, K. L., “Religion and Science Conversion Possibility:Towards the Formulation of a Systematic Theodicy of African Traditional Religion and its Reinterpretation of Empirical Cosmology”, in The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.7, no.7, December 2014.
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