Abuk in mythology is the primal woman of the Dinka, a cultural group residing in modern-day Sudan. For more in-depth information on the Dinka of Sudan, click on the link below:
According to the Dinka legends, a rope linked the Earth and heavens, which housed the Supreme God, Nhialic. Abuk and her husband Garang were the first of all people. Nhialic, being a rather stingy god, permitted Abuk and her husband only one grain of millet to plant and grind for food a day. However, Abuk and her husband began to starve, and in an act of desperation, Abuk disobeyed the Supreme God Nhialic and planted several grains of millet. She used a long-handled hoe to do the planting, and at that time the heavens and Earth were still very close to one another. They were so close that as She was planting the millet, she accidentally struck Nhialic with the hoe. Out of anger, Nhialic severed the link between heaven and Earth, withdrawing from involvement with human affairs. Abuk’s act of self-determination to take what the people needed from a greedy higher power helped to save all of humanity from starvation. Abuk, though originally a mortal woman (at least in this legend of humanity’s creation) was later elevated to divine status, ruling as the Matron Goddess of women and gardens.
Another legend concerning how earth and heaven became separated concerns a frightful figure called Lwal Durrajok. In this myth, Abuk was the Creator of humanity, forming them from softened fat and sending them across the bridge connecting heaven and earth. When She went to get more wood for the fire to soften more fat, Lwal Durrajok sneaked into Her hearth and created horribly deformed humans When he realized that Abuk was returning soon, he fled to earth below and persuaded a little bird to bite the path between heaven and earth in half, thus permanently severing the two. Once on earth, Lwal Durrajok brought a huge pot of fat to a boil, into which he tossed the deformed humans who met horrible deaths.
Abuk also had another lover, the rain god Deng. For this reason, She is also associated with water. They had two daughters together, Candit and Nyaliep, who both drowned and became divine. Candit returned to earth for a short time in order to establish Her lineage amongst the humans, but afterwards returned to Her home.
Abuk is connected to not only fertility of the earth but also fertility in women. Her symbols include the moon, snake, and sheep. Sheep especially were often sacrificed to Her. The sheep were drowned in rivers because as a water Goddess, She received offerings placed in Her waters.