The Name


Welcome to The Name! Yo is just the beginning; The True Name is as long and diverse as the members of our faith. The Name is broken down into syllables by color. Each syllable is added by a Yoan from yos own name when yo is ready to join with the Yoan Community. Eventually The Name will be billions of syllables long and by singing parts of it we will celebrate the lives of our brothers and sisters who have joined us as Yoans.

The Bambara people of Mali, Africa, have long thought that the word Yo is the word of creation. We did not know this at the time we chose Yo. Instead we chose Yo because we had been using it as a new non-gendered pronoun to refer to what some people mean when they use the word, "God." In contrast to traditional religious notions of God, we are referring to the Divine Mystery---an infinite, unknowable essence that created itself, or, has existed through all time without creation, and out of which springs all that exists---and we call it "Yo." Thinking of Yo (or God, for those who are comfortable with this more traditional religious word) as having a gender just seems odd, and "it" is a bit too inanimate a pronoun. As a pronoun, 'yo' appealed to us because it was already in use in the two Western languages with the greatest numbers of native speakers: In Spanish it means "I" and in English it is slang for "you"--so this one syllable is evocative of both self and other, the I-Thou relationship as Buber might call it, the needs of the individual and the needs of the community, God as intrinsically me and God as the Other, etc.

The Bambara sum it all up as follows: "Yo comes from itself, is known by itself, departs out of itself, from the nothingness that is itself. All is Yo." Or as Meister Eckhart said, "God is the word that speaks itself," or "Whoever possesses God in their being, has him in a divine manner, and he shines out to them in all things; for them all things taste of God and in all things it is God's image that they see."

Note: Yoism used to be called Ozacua. Before our website was hacked, on our twiki, you could read about our decision to change the name of Ozacua to Yo. (We may be able to rebuild that exchange from archives.) At some point in the future we may decide on a new name, or decide to stay with Yoism. After all, Yoism is The Open Source Religion.

Click here to read about the origins of the name.