The Spear Masters of the Dinka Tribe

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The Spear Masters of the Dinka Tribe of the upper Nile are a hereditary priesthood, and according to mythology, their presence is reinforced by political and religious ideals.

The Spear Masters of the Dinka Tribe of the upper Nile are a hereditary priesthood, and according to mythology, their presence is reinforced by political and religious ideals.

There are several legends of the origins of these spear using masters, one in which includes a lion and a man dancing. The lion demands a bracelet that the man is wearing and he refuses. In return, the lion bits off his thumb in order to claim what he thinks belongs to him and the man dies during the confrontation. The man leaves behind a wife and daughter with no son. The daughter weeps at the river and the spirits ask her why she cries. She states she has no son, and in return, the river asks her to lift her skirt so that she may feel the waves brush up against her womb. “She is given a spear, a symbol which depicts a male child, and a fish for food and is told to return home.” The woman is able to give birth to Aiwel, a male child with a full set of teeth, a sign of sacred authority.

As a baby, Aiwel is cunning and mischievous, playing tricks while his mother is away. On one occasion, the mother comes back and all of the milk has disappeared. She immediately blames her daughter, who feverishly denies the claim. The mother pretends to hide in the home, and to her surprise, Aiwel gets up and walks to the gourd of milk and drinks. She bursts into the room and clearly sees that Aiwel has been stealing the milk. She attempts to accuse him of the act; however he stated that if she told anyone, she would die. She did not keep the secret, and just as predicted, she did die. The power of the spear master was alive in Aiwel as he used the power of words to make something come true.

Aiwel was no longer able to live with his family so he journeyed to the river where he grew up with his spiritual father. When he became a man, he made his way back to the village with an ox of many colors called Longar. He raised cattle and worked his land. A drought came and the villagers had to find other means to survive, taking their cattle to lands that were plentiful in grass and water. However, their cattle continued to die as Aiwel’s cattle were continuing to flourish and grow plump. Eager to find out what Aiwel was doing to keep his herd healthy, the young men of the village spied on him. Aiwel knew this,

and as the men told others about the secret, they all died. Aiwel attempted to help the villagers, even urging the elders to leave their lands, promising to take them to the promise land. They refused, as Aiwel suspected they would, and as he made his journey by himself he noticed the villagers behind him. He created obstacles in their path, even standing on the other side of a river while the others crossed. He used his fishing spear to kill all men that tried to cross. A man called Agothyathik saw all of this and decided to plan a diversion. While a villager held out a bones large enough to be a human skull, Aiwel attempted to puncture it with his spear.

At the same time, Agothyathik came behind him and they fought until Aiwel grew tired and gave up. He told the people to come over, even though they remained quite frightened, and he gave them war spears and fishing spears. The men that did cross were formed into a clan called the spear masters. The men that came after were a clan of war spear masters. They were left to rule the country, however if in need of assistance during trouble, Aiwel would return.

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Lauren Axelrod

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