Reading the myths and stories connected to our divinity of the month, Abuk, there is a strong element that permeates me, and it is that of rebellion. Why is this element repeated in so many myths connected to the genesis of the world? At a certain point in history, the first man and the first woman rebel against their creator. I live in the Western world, and as a child I was permeated by Christian mythology. I only related to the element of rebellion as something negative or to be ashamed of, for example, in the story of Adam and Eve, who ate the apple of Knowledge persuaded into sin by the serpent. In the mythology of the Sudanese Dinka peoples, in a different part of the world, in a completely different culture, the rebellion of Abuk and Garang, the first human beings on earth, represents the beginning of a new history, of evolutionary determination and obstinacy. For Abuk, that which was offered by the God of heaven, only one grain of wheat a day, was not enough, and she decided to take more than what was given to her. Abuk also has a snake as a symbolic companion, but in her myth it represents her contact with nature, with life force and with knowledge.

As humans in this modern time, we also repeat this act of rebellion in our individual lives, when we feel that what our “creator,” that is our parents, gives to us is no longer enough. We feel that the world is very big, that there are things to discover, and that we can know so much more than what is offered to us in the garden that nourishes us at the beginning of our existence. All of a sudden we discover that our parents do not have all the answers, and they also have limitations that we did not see as children. This is often a painful and complex process of defining oneself. It is not easy to accept that our parents are not omnipotent, and therefore we need to have the courage to face life on our own. Mom and Dad cannot protect us forever. It is time to take up the sword and the shield – if possible, more symbolic ones than real ones – and get in the front lines. During adolescence, we experience the destabilizing oscillation between the desire to be protected and the passion to discover the new. The loss of protection is extreme in the story of Abuk, because as soon as she rebels, the god is offended and gives her nothing more. From the moment we leave our parents’ home, we have both greater freedom and greater responsibility. So, we must learn that these two aspects are inseparable.

The fact that a choice involves risks and costs, this is what makes it real. If this were not the case, it would not bring about the change that only a true choice allows. In our Western world, we are a little overprotected. Children often live with their parents even after adolescence, or they are financially supported by their family. Sometimes these conditions make it more difficult to become free adults who are capable of taking risks. If security comes to us from the outside for too long, we risk not being able to acquire the inner strength that allows us to challenge the world and really be ourselves. The wild nature inside us is flattened and we lose weight. Not physically, but on a human and spiritual level. We lose the weight that develops from the moment we take our lives into our own hands. I still remember the time before l left my family’s home. I felt within me that the life I had lived up to that moment had come to a conclusion, and I did not want to depend on my parents anymore. I was almost 18 years old, and I felt like an adult, ready to go to another city for university.

The fear of not succeeding, of not finding work in order to support myself, and then being forced to return home, this was strong and real, but it was no match for my desire to discover the world, to find my strength and to grow on my own. In the end, all my fears were useless. I immediately found both work and friends, and during my studies I discovered that my real needs are much more immaterial than material. What I was seeking was not defined by money, security or comfort. I always managed to support myself, and I had the help of my friends when I needed it. Most importantly, I discovered that I also had the ability to help others. All this would not have come about if I had stayed in the small town where I was born.

I am deeply grateful for everything my parents gave me. I have always felt that they gave me the best of themselves, but just like Abuk, for me, at a certain point, it was time to choose. I felt that it was a message from my deep feminine nature, a part that exists in every human being. It is a message to break free from a pre-existing system, to break free from a hierarchy that limits us, to want to continue growing. Succeeding in creating something more, something new, this is a process that can never be taken from granted. And when we are able to do it, this makes us divine.

Bertuccia Bietola