Maasai mythology

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The Maasai people are an ethnic group living in Kenya and Tanzania.

Maasai deities


In the Maasai religion there are two great deities. The supreme being and creator is Enkai (also called Engai and Ngai) guardian over rain, fertility, the sun and love. Enkai is a single deity with a dual nature: Enkai Narok (Black God) is benevolent, and Enkai Nanyokie (Red God) is vengeful. In Maasai mythology Enkai was the one who gave the cattle to the Maasai people.


Olapa is the goddess of the moon, married to Enkai.


According to some sources Neiterkob/Naiteru-kop ("that which began the earth") may also be a reference to Enkai. Neiterkob is a minor deity, known as the mediator between God and man.

A battle

These great deities fought one day, and Olapa, being a short tempered woman, inflicted Enkai with a wound. To cover up his wound he took to shining so bright, that no one could look straight at him and see his shame. In revenge Enkai hit Olapa back and struck out one of her eyes. This can be seen today, when the moon is full.

History of Enkai

There are several different versions of the story of how Enkai came to be. They all have common details and ideas. The belief is that Enkai was once a human who owned all the cattle in the world. When the sky and earth split he sent all the cattle down from the sky along a long bark rope. The Maasai people received all these cattle. When a jealous group of hunters did not receive any cattle they cut the...
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