Akan-Asona Avian-Feline associations and the Asona Red Snake
April 2010

This article will focus on the Akan-Asona clan bird, feline and reptile totems.

Although it has already been mentioned that the crow is one of the main 'tweneboa' (Akan/Twi word for 'totem' animal) of the Asona (The Akan Book chapter four), there is another important 'tweneboa' of the Asona clan, which is actually a 'negative totem' or one that is dreaded by the Akan people of the Asona clan. It is called the 'Asonawɔ', the 'red snake' of the Asona. There are at least two versions of the story of how this red snake became a 'dreaded totem' of the Asona clan of the Akan people. The first version comes from an Akan-Asante clan linguist called 'Okyeame Boateng' from Ejisu in the Asante region of present-day Ghana. This account was obtained by Gerard Pescheux in 1996 and was written in his book Le Royaume Asante (page 275 of chapter 6, "Les Clans Matrilineaires: Mmusua Kεse"). Below is the English translation:

"The great ancestor of Asona, Aso Boada, retained a large quantity of gold dust in a copper container. [On one occasion when she went] to withdraw a certain amount, she found a red snake (Asonawɔ) had placed itself around the container, preventing anyone from obtaining the gold. One day a crow arrived, grabbed the snake, and killed it. In remembrance of this service, the crow became the 'tweneboa' (totem animal) of this clan [Asona] and the red snake the clan taboo. If a clan member sees an Asonawɔ, it is considered bad omen such as the announcement of the impending death of a member of this clan"

In this story, obtained from Okyeame Boateng of Ejisu, we see a deep connection to the idea of Avian influence trumping reptilian influence. This can also be seen in the Akan Adinkra symbol 'Anoma-ne-ɔwɔ', which I wrote about in February 2010 in the article "Avian-Reptilian symbolism in Akan and other African Art and Spirituality". In this article, one sees a bird (a crow) "eating a serpent". Some more dots can be connected from this concept/glyph.

The second story concerning the 'Asonawɔ tweneboa' can be found in Anthony Ephirim-Donkor's book African Spirituality: On becoming ancestors (1997, p. 31) and it goes as follows:

"...One day the archetypical community discovered a pot full of gold, but coiled around the pot was a snake. Every one of the matrilineal families was afraid to retrieve the gold. But Asona [i.e. same as Aso Boadi of the first account] made a decision to retrieve the gold, telling her brother that she would rather retrieve the gold for her children and be bitten, than bequeath nothing to them at her old age. True, she was bitten and afterwards died, but not until she brought the gold to her children. Hence it is said of the Asona Ebusua [Asona clan] that they hustle for a cause [i.e. the proverb/saying "Asona, wɔ nnpir kwa!...which means "Asona clan members don't hustle for nothing!]"

One interpretation of these two versions of the same story is that this feline-avian clan (leopard, bush cat, crow and vulture totems) , the Akan-Asona, "slept with the devil" (Sirian-Reptilian Annunaki) in order to obtain "the gold" (i.e. knowledge). A similar account is given in the Christian bible of how Eve the wife of Adam was deceived by 'the serpent'. The serpent being referred to here is of course Ea/Enki and his bunch of Sirian-Reptilians who created the 'snake brotherhoods' in various parts of the world from since a long time ago.
Below is an account from chapter 6 ("Les Clans Matrilineaires: Mmusua Kεse") of Gerard Pescheux's book Le Royaume Asante which pertains to the Asona clan of the Akan people:

Adanse Kokobiante!                                                      [Kokobiante = Ku-ku-bia-nte, similar to Koroma-nte]
The home of the great clan of Asona
The people of Kuntunkununku                                  [ku-ntu-nku-nu-nku-- Bantu-Akan bird tribe]
They are the many 
Multitudinous legions!
Lineage of heaven's god                                               [Revelation!]
That feed on the meat supplied
By the white vulture                                                     [link to Sirian bird tribe]
The white-crested raven                                              [Another bird tribe link]
That says nothing disturbs him
Or else he would not be
Arrayed in white
Mourning his deceased mother                                    [Reference to two versions of story above about Asona/Aso Boadi]
Kokobiante is his domain
Asona! Horde Irrepressible!
Multitudinous legions!
Clan indestructible! 
Legions who never desert their cities
Red terrific serpent                                                           [Asonawɔ tweneboa. See chief's chair in photo below]
Completely the queen's progeny                                    [Revelation! Avian-Reptile matrilineal culture]
Lineage of heaven's god                                                   [Revelation!]
Before who no battalions stand
White-crested raven                                                          [See the photo on this page]
Feeding on the meat of his compeers
Oh the glittering beautiful crow!
With the forbidden flesh-not-edible
My forefathers come from
The great street in Akyem Abuakwa Kyebi                 [Head of Asona clan, in Okyeman. See photo of chief, below]
My people are noble
And live in affluence
Asona Werempeh-Akwa
Grandfather of Nana Wiafe Akenten
Innumerable as the sea sand
My symbol is the red snake                                               [Asonawɔ tweneboa]
Indeed, I am wonderful!


Kokobiante (Ku-ku-bia-nte) can be seen to mean ("bird-people-place-faction). How amazing! "Ku" refers to Ko/Ku, the bird tribe. This has already been touched upon in chapter four of The Akan Book. "Bia"/"Bea" refers to place in the Akan language, and "nte" is a suffix used among Akan people to refer to a section of the Akan. We have the Fante (Fa-nte) people and the Asante (Asa-nte) people. Adanse Kokobiante! Adanse was the place of beginning of many current day Akan people. The name Koromante is addressed in chapter three of The Akan Book, where I mentioned that Ko/Ku are root words in a number of Akan and Mande languages (at least) which are references to birds.

photo of Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin II
(photo of Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin II; Credit: www.okyeman.com)

The photo above is of the current chief of Akyem Abwakwa
in the Eastern region of Ghana. This is the 'Okyehene',
the head of Okyeman (the state of the Akyem people). It
can be said that he is seen as the 'head' of the Asona
(Crow) clan, just as the Asantehene is the head of the
Oyoko (falcon) clan and rules over Asanteman. The symbol
of Okyeman is of a leopard carrying a traditional stool
and resting under a tree. A traditional sword leans on
the leopard. The stool and the sword are symbols of power
and rulership. The leopard is actually representative
of the Okyehene himself (i.e. the traditional ruler).
The motto of Okyeman is "Susubribi!", which translates
(loosely) as "measure something!" We can see that the
traditional ruler wears the symbols of his office in
his cloth. The golden brown colour represents the colour
of the leopard and the stool, while the green comes
from the tree, the green folliage of the forest. The
Akyem people are forest dwellers.

One can also see the two Asonawɔ (red snakes) on each
side of the chief's throne, and facing each other. This
brings to mind two articles related to this one:

Avian-Reptilian Symbol - The Medical Cadeusus & the Ptah-Thoth group
Symbol of Sirian-Reptilian dark magicians

Adanse Kokobiante!