The meaning and philosophical significance of Nyame Biribi Wo Soro
Nyame Biribi Wo Soro is an Akan expression which literaly translates to, “God, there is something in the heavens.” It is a symbol of hope and inspiration.
God lives in the heavens and, since he owns goodies, that is where they are to be found. This Adrinkra is a prayer to God to grant a wish. The Akans believe that God is in the heavens to hear prayers, bless his people, and watch over them. They also believe that he is there to ensure that his purposes are fulfilled on earth.
The writers at https://www.nps.gov/afbg/learn/historyculture/nyame-biribi-wo-soro.htm note the symbol’s resemblance to the symbol for infinity in math, with a diamond in the middle. Though it is unlikely that the math symbol was the inspiration for this Adinkra, the resemblance is intriguing.
The conception of God in the skies is not foreign to the inventors. They believe in a personal God who answers prayer. Further, the existence of stars in the sky is evident for all to see. It is therefore not far-fetched to conceive of the infinity symbol as representing the sky where God dwells and the diamond representing a star which denotes that wish the supplicant beseeches the benevolent sky-dweller to grant him. The longing for this precious gift inspires the hope and anticipation this symbol represents.
Misinterpretation of the symbol
This symbol has also been interpreted as “God is in the heavens” but that is not quite what the phrase “Nyame biribi wo soro means.” “God is in the heavens” would be translated “Nyame wo soro.” The “biribi” is the significant difference between the two. “Biribi” means “thing.” This symbol refers to a specific thing, perhaps something that has been requested in prayer, that the speaker looks forward to receiving. That is what the proverb that goes with this Adinkra says: “God, there is something in the heavens; please let me receive it” or “God, there is something in the heavens; please let it be delivered into my hands.”
The image of the symbol was taken from the Adinkra Icons Project.