Tag Archive: african mythology


Goddess Odudua

Art by Drew Flaherty

Art by Drew Flaherty

“Odudua’s themes are kinship, unity, devotion, creativity, community, love and fertility. Her symbols are black items. In the beginning, Odudua created the earth and its people. In Yoruban tradition, She presides over all matter of fertility, love and community. Her sacred color is black.

The African American festival of Kwanzaa celebrates family unity and the black culture. It is also a harvest festival whose name means ‘first fruits’. Every day of the celebration focuses on important themes, including Odudua’s harmony, determination, community responsibility, purpose, creativity and faith.

One lovely tradition easily adapted is that of candle lighting. Each day of the festival, light one red, green or black candle (the colors of Africa). Name the candle after one of Odudua’s attributes you wish to develop (try to choose the color that most closely corresponds to your goal). Igniting it gives energy and visual manifestation to that principle. Also try to keep one black candle lit (in a safe container) to honor the Goddess’s presence during this time.

To inspire Odudua’s peaceful love in your heart and life today, wear something black. This will absorb the negativity around you and put is to rest.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

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Patricia Monaghan said that this “primary mother Goddess of the Yoruba of Nigeria…is the great orisha (deity) of the earth as well as its creator.  Her name means ‘She who exists for Herself and to create others,’ and it was Her energy that caused the primal matter which later formed itself ionto this universe.  The spot where She descended from the sky onto the new earth is still pointed out in Yourbaland.  Oddudua is called Saint Claire in Santería” (p. 238).

On mythologydictionary.com, it states: “A creator-Goddess and war-Goddess of the Yoruba. Wife and sister (or, some, say, daughter) of Olodumare or Obatala. Mother of Aganju, Ogun and Yemoja. Some regard her as the founder of the Yoruba. In some accounts, Oduduwa is regarded as male, son of Lamurudu and brother of Obatala, marrying Aje and fathering Oranyan; in others She is female in which role Her father sent Her to earth to sow seeds and She became the wife of Orishako. In some references, called OduduwaOdudua or Odudua. [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Oddudua”.

Mythologydictionary.com, “Oduduwa“.

 

Suggested Links:

MXTODIS123. Reclaimingthedarkgoddess.blogspot.com, “Oduduwa“.

Goddess Tenga

“Tenga’s themes are balance, justice, morality and freedom. Her symbols are soil. Among the Mossi of Senegal, Tenga is a potent earth Goddess who presides over all matters of justice and morality. Today She joins our celebration by offering to right wrongs and restore the balance in any area of our life that’s gotten out of kilter.

Equal Opportunity Day commemorates Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the liberating energy it created for all people. Tenga had to be pleased by Mr. Lincoln’s efforts, and we should honor both him and this Goddess today by reconsidering any prejudices that cloud the way we look at other people or situations.

One way of doing this is through visualization. Hold a handful of soil as you mentally review the last week of your life and the way you handled certain individuals or circumstances. Consider: Did you go into a meeting with negativity, anticipating the worst? Did you overlook an opportunity, or close the door on a relationship because of a bad experience in the past?

These are the negative patterns that Tenga helps us to attack and transform with honest candidness (including being honest with yourself about shortcomings). You may not like what She shows you, but the results will be worth it.

Tenga improves your awareness of the Goddess in all things and all people.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Tenga is the Mossi Goddess of the earth. The Mossi people of West Africa believe that Tenga is not only responsible for the fertility of the land, but also for social order. She receives this authority from the dead who are buried in Her womb. Tenga is most often worshipped near old trees or springs, which both have roots deep within the earth. When a transgression has been committed, especially one which has caused blood to be shed on the earth, She must be appeased by sacrifice or She will withhold fertility from the land. Tenga’s name, which means ‘earth,’ is also seen as Napagha Tenga.” [1]

“Mother Nature” by Zonagirl

Now, to me, She bears a striking resemblance to the earth Goddess Asase Yaa of the Ashanti.

 

 

 

Sources:

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Tenga“.

 

Suggested Links:

Everyculture.com, “Mossi“.

Everyculture.com, “Mossi - Religion and Expressive Culture“.

Kramarae, Cheris & Dale Spender. Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women’s Issues and Knowledge, (p. 57).

MacK-Williams, Kibibi. Mossi, “Religion” (p. 36).

Skinner, Elliott Percival. The Mossi of the Upper Volta: The Political Development of the Sudanese People.

Goddess Meme

 

“African Spirit Series II” by Ricardo Chávez-Méndez

“Meme’s themes are ghosts, joy, health, offerings, longevity and the harvest. Her symbols are beer and corn. The Ugandan creatrix of life, Meme was also the first woman of the region. In Her human form She taught shamans the art of healing, and She continues to be called upon to aid in all matters of health and well-being.

The Misisi Beer Festival in Uganda takes place right after the millet harvest, with a plethora of beer, plantain, bullock and chicken. Any of these foods can be added to your diet today in thankfulness for Meme’s providence.

Follow Ugandan custom and join with your family or friends. The eldest member of the gathering should pour a libation to the ground in Meme’s name and then offer the rest to those gathered. This mini-ritual ensures long life and unity for everyone. It also ensures a good harvest the next year (of a literal or figurative nature).

To inspire Meme’s health or request her aid in overcoming a specific fall malady, carry a corn kernel with you today, and consume corn during your dinner meal. Bless the corn beforehand to ingest this Goddess’s vitality.

Alternatively, take a small bowl of beer and place a finger into it. Channel your negativity and illness into the beer (visualize this as dark, muddy water leaving your body), then pour it out to disperse that negative energy and give it into the Goddess’s care.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

I couldn’t find anything at all at first on today’s Goddess.  I thought that Meme was perhaps another name for the Goddess Mawu at first, as She is described as a supreme deity and creatrix of the universe and life; or even Her daughter, Gbadu who was the first woman that Mawu had created…or even Nowa – an African shaman Goddess.  I finally did though come across Meme’s name while doing a search in Google Books.

“Mother Nature IV” by Anthony Burks

In African Mythology, A to Z, Meme is mentioned under an entry on about a god named Adroa.  “Adroa is a god of the Lugbara people of central Africa. Adroa has two aspects: one good and one evil. He is the creator of Heaven and Earth, and he appears to those about to die. His good and bad aspects are depicted as two half bodies: the evil one is short and coal black while his good aspect is tall and white.” [1]  “Adroa created the first man and woman – a pair of twins, Gborogboro [‘the person coming from the sky’] and Meme [‘the person who came alone’].  Meme gave birth to all the animals and then to another pair of male-female twins.  These first sets of twins were really not human; they had supernatrual powers and perform magical deeds.  After several generations of male-female miraculous twins, the hero-anscetors Jaki and Dribidu were born.  Their sons were said to be the founders of the present-day Lugbara clans” (Lynch & Roberts, p. 4).

 

 

 

Sources:

Lynch, Patricia Ann & Jeremy Roberts. African Mythology, A to Z, Adroa“.

Wikipedia, “Adroa“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Middleton, John. Lugbara Religion: Ritual and Authority Among an East African People.

Newuganda.com, “Lugbara People and Their Culture“.

Wikipedia, “Lugbara Mythology“.

Goddess Ichar-Tsirew

“Yemaya” (also titled “Water Goddess”) by Qahira Lynn

“Ichar-tsirew’s themes are unity, community, justice, spirituality, purification, home, peace and organization. Her symbols are water, orderly items and peace amulets.  In Ghana, this water Goddess flies into people’s lives, saturating them with peaceful intentions and tranquility, especially in the home. She reveals in good organization and any matters carried out in an orderly fashion.

Among the people of the Gold Coast, this festival, Odwira, is a time to honor their bonds as a nation and revel in the laws, beliefs and customs established in the early 1600′s (many of which are probably far older). One of the neat customs that can invoke Ichar-tsirew’s organized attributes is that of burying a bundle of branches. This puts away any unnecessary negativity and banishes old habits that somehow disrupt the orderly flow of your life.

When you find that the people in your living space have reached critical mass and you need to call a truce, Ichar-tsirew’s waters can help. Go through the house (or building, if the ‘war zone’ is in your office) before talking to anyone and sprinkle her peace in every nook possible (just a little us fine). As you go, repeat this incantation,

‘Negativity cease; by peace released!’

Continue until the whole area is done. Now try reapproaching the people with whom tensions have been building and let the Goddess harness harmony.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Well, not too much information on this Goddess today.  From what I did find, Ichar-tsirew inhibits a large rounded rock on the beach in Cape Coast in Ghana ” about four hundreds yards to the east of the [Cape Coast] Castle.  She is black in colour, and of ordinary human shape and size.  No man may intrude on this rock or in its immediate neighborhood, and it is the place to which women resort to wash.  New-born children of either sex were formerly carried here to be given names; and when a girl was about to marry, she was taken to the rock, from thence to the husband’s home.  An offering of rum was poured into a hole in the rock, and a piece, or pieces, of white cloth laid upon it.  This was believed to promote peace in the household of the future wife, and also to guarantee a safe recovery from the dangers of maternity.  Ichar-tsirew carries a scourge in Her right hand, with which She drives away intrusive males” (Ellis, p. 45 – 46).

Ellis goes onto say that “when a girl arrives at the age of puberty, usually in the eleventh or twelfth year, she is taken to the water-side by others of her sex, and washed.  At the same time an offering, consisting of boiled yam, mashed and mixed with palm-oil, is scattered upon the banks of the stream by the members of her family, who call upon the local gods, and inform them that the child has reached a marriageable age.  In Cape Coast the girl is taken to the rock of the Goddess Ichar-tsirew, and there washed.  After the washing, a bracelet, consisting of one white bead, one black, and one gold, threaded on a white cord, is put on the girl’s wrist.  These three beads in conjunction are termed abbum, and their being taken into use is a sign to the Sassur that its protecting care is no longer required.  In the interior, on such occasions, girls are streaked white” (p. 234 – 235).

 

 

Sources:

Ellis, Alfred Burdon. The Tshi-Speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa.

Goddess Inna

“Inna’s themes are harvest, offering, protection, promises and justice. Her symbols are yams and harvested foods.  In Nigeria, Inna ensures an abundant yam harvest for the Yam Festival, as well as good crops for farmers who honor Her. During the summer months, She appears as a protectress who oversees our lands, homes, promises and all matters of justice. Oaths taken in Inna’s name are totally binding.

Around the end of June, nearly every group in Nigeria celebrates the New Yam Festival with offerings to the Goddess and a feast of yams. This is a sacred crop here and eating yams today will purify your body and spirit. If you can’t find yams, try sweet potatoes instead, sprinkling them with a little brown sugar to ensure sweet rewards for your diligent efforts. To get the wheels of justice turning a little faster, forego the sugar and eat the potatoes steaming hot (heat represents motivating energy).

People traditionally practice yam divination today. You can try this yourself using any potato. Cut it in half the long way, then toss the two sides in the air while praying for Inna’s insight. If one lands face up and the other face down, it is a good sign for your family or the entire community in which you live. The coming year will be filled with Inna’s abundance and equity. To increase the meaning in this system, draw two personally significant symbolsin the potao and see if either comes up!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

 

“Igbo Woman” by Arteyez

I could find no information on Inna other than that She is an African Goddess of Justice. [1]  I found one Goddess by the name of Aha-Njoku (also called the “Lady of Yams), worshipped by the Igbo people of Nigeria, who oversees the growth and harvesting of yams and the women who care for them. [2]  Perhaps a minor local deity or spirit?  Or Perhaps somehow related to Goddess Ala?

 

 

Sources:

Godfinder.org, “Inna“.

Wikipedia, “Ahia Njoku“.

“Oya” by Danilo Lejardi

“Egungun-Oya’s themes are destiny, death, ghosts, divination, foresight and truth. Her symbols are dance and fire.  The Yoruban Mother of the Dead and mistress of spiritual destinies, Egungun-Oya helps us peek into our own futures, being a Goddess of fate. Traditionally She is venerated through folk dances that show Her guiding spirits in the afterlife with the flames of truth in one hand.

As one might expect, the people of Nigeria honor the ancestors on this day, believing that they and Egungun-Oya control the fates of the living. It’s a common custom, therefor, to leave food and gifts for both the deceased and the Goddess today, hoping both will find pleasure in the offering. In your own home, put out pictures of loved ones who have passed on and light a candle in front of these today so that Egungun-Oya’s truth will fill your home. When you light the candle, observe its flame. If it burns out quickly without your assistance, this indicates that you should take care – you’re burning yourself out on too many projects. If it flames up brightly and steadily, anticipate health and longevity. An average-sized flame that burns blue indicates spiritual presences and a normal life span.

To keep any unwanted ghosts out of you house, put a light of any sort in the window, saying,

‘Egungun-Oya is your guide,
return to your sleep and there abide.’

The Goddess will safely guide those spirits back to where they belong.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ancestor Spirits” by Willow Arlenea

“In Yoruba mythology, Egungun-oya is a Goddess of divination. ‘Egungun‘ refers to the collective spirits of the ancestral dead; the Orisha ‘Oya‘ is seen as the mother of the Egun.

In Egba and Egbado area, as well as many parts of Yorubaland, Odun Egungun festivals are held in communities to commemorate the ancestors. Egungun masquerade are performed during these annual or biennial ceremonies as well as during specific funeral rites throughout the year. The masquerade is a multifaceted ceremony which includes the making of offerings as well as the honoring of ancestors for past and future aid.

Egungun performances organized for funerary purposes mark the death of important individuals. In this context, the masks reflect a creative response to death as a time of crisis involving mourning and loss. Elaborate performances serve to commemorate the dead through the remembrance of their past life while simultaneously reinforcing the relationship between the living and the recently deceased ancestor.

Among the broad range of themes incorporated in the Egungun masks are representations of numerous societal and cultural stereotypes as well as acrobatic images in which dancers turn their clothing inside out, in part to suggest the power and distance of the ancestral world. Entertaining satirical masks depicting animals and humans are performed during the masquerade and often serve as a social commentary on the life of the community.” [1]

Here is a video highlighting some scenes from a Egungun festival held in the Oyortunji African Village (near Sheldon, South Carolina) from 2010.  This sacred festival is a type of Memorial Day in which the ancestors and deceased are collectively remembered…

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Egungun-oya“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Oya“.

French, Selina. Order of the White Moon, “Oya“.

Hargrow, Tirra. Goddess-Body-Mind-Spirit.com, “The Goddess of Transformation“.

Heathwitch. Order of the White Moon, “Oya: Lady of Storms“.

O., Bommie. MotherlandNigeria.com, “Festivals“.

Revel, Anita.  Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Oya“.

Strong, Laura. Mythic Arts, “Egungun: The Masked Ancestors of Yoruba“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Oya“.

Wikipedia, “Egungun“.

Wikipedia, “Oya“.

Goddess Mawu

“Mawu” by Sandra M. Stanton

“Mawu’s themes are creativity, Universal Law, passion, abundance, birth, and inspiration.  Her symbols are clay and the moon.  Mawu arrives on an elephant’s back, expectant with spring’s creative energy. Hers is a wise passion and a timely birth, being ruled by natural laws and universal order. In Africa, She is a lunar-aligned creatrix who made people from clay. As a mother figure, Mawu inspires the universe’s abundance and every dreamers imagination.

Rituals for Mawu rejoice in Her life-giving energy, often through lovemaking. In Africa, people take this seed generation literally and sow the fields, knowing that Mawu will make the land fertile. So get yourself a seedling today and bring it into the house to welcome Mawu and Her creative powers. Name the sprout after one of Mawu’s attributes that you want to cultivate. Each time you water or tend the plant, repeat its name and accept Mawu’s germinating energy into your spirit.

Alternatively, get some non-hardening clay and begin fashioning a symbol of what you need. Devote yourself to spending time on this over twenty-eight days (a lunar cycle), until it’s complete. Each time you work, say:

 ‘Mother Mawu, make me whole
Help me obtain my sacred goal.’

By the time this is finished, you should see the first signs of manifestation.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

In Dahomey mythology, Mawu, (pronounced MAH-woo) and sometimes alternatively spelled Mahu, is a West African Mother Earth creator Goddess associated with both the sun and moon.  She is the Goddess of the night, of joy, and of motherhood as well as the ruler of the world’s wisdom and knowledge.   She is the one who brings the cool nights to the hot African world. Sometimes She is seen as a moon Goddess, the twin sister-wife of the sun god Lisa (alternatively spelled Liza), but sometimes “She” is seen as one androgynous or hermaphroditic deity, Mawu-Lisa.  Mahu and Lisa are the children of Nana Buluku, and are the parents of Xevioso.   [1] [2] [3]

“Mawu and Lisa had fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, and they divided the responsibilities of the world among them. Mawu is also the Goddess of motherhood, since it was she that created the first humans out of clay, and she gives humans their souls.”  [4]

“Mawu” by Lisa Iris

“After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, She became concerned that it might be too heavy, so She asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky. When She asked Awe, a monkey She had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli – the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only She could give life and that She could also take it away.

This myth is similar to the Yoruba story of Yemaja and Aganju, parents of the Orishas.” [5]

“Mawu” by Lisa Hunt

In another version of Her story I read,  “Mawu is said to have created all of the life on earth with Her husband, Liza, but after doing so, She worried that it might be too heavy…and so She called on the serpent Aido Hwedo for help. Legend has it that the serpent thus curled itself into a ball beneath the earth and pushed it up into the sky; Mawu then retired to the jungle realm of heaven and for awhile, all remained in peace and harmony.

But, before long, the people of the earth began to fight amongst each other….having forgotten that it was Mawu who had provided each of them with not only the world on which they lived, but also the essence of life, their souls.   To fight each other was to fight Mawu as well.  Mawu then sought aid from the monkey, Awe, who turned out to be an insolent braggart who boasted that he was just as powerful as She.  He boasted that he, too, could make life…and when the people of Earth heard this, they began to believe him.

To prove it, he chopped down a tree and carved on it all the features of a person, and when he was finished, he stepped back and said that he had created a person.  Mawu observed that wooden figure lying on the ground and remarked that the figured didn’t do anything and She challenged Awe to breathe life into it.  Awe then gulped a tremendous breath of air and blew it strongly, but the person continued to lie still and mute on the ground.  Once again he tried and this time, he blew so strongly that the wooden figure moved in the wind’s path, but it remained lifeless.  After two more attempts, he admitted that he had been defeated and hung his head in shame, acknowledging that only Mawu could make life; he said that he would return to the world below and tell everyone that he had been wrong.

But, Mawu knew he really didn’t mean it, that he was a charlatan, and once he returned to earth, he would only start boasting again.  So, She made him a bowl of porridge to eat before his long journey, and into this porridge She had put the seed of death.  And only after Awe had finished eating did he learn of the seed he had eaten and would carry back to earth the knowledge that She and no other is the giver and taker of life.” [6]

Sources:

Andarta, Boudicca. PaganPages.org, “Mawu“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Mawu“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Mawu“.

Wikipedia, “Mawu“.

Suggested Links:

Antoine Family Reunion. Antoine Family Reunion, “The Vodun Creation Story“.

Goddess. The Grateful Goddess, “Goddess of the Month ~ Mawu“. 

Iles, Susan. Susanneiles.com, “The Dragon & Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred“.

The Goddess Temple, Inc. Talk with the Goddess, “Goddess Mawu“.

Moon, Tora. The Goddess Speaks, “Mawu – Goddess of Creation (Dahomey of West Africa)“.

Solarlottery.com, “Mawu-Lisa the Creators: An African Tale“.

West African Diaspora Mami Wata Vodoun, “Exploits of the Gods“.

Goddess Asase Yaa

"Mother Nature" by Zonagirl

“Asase Yaa’s themes are death, truth, morality, fertility, and the harvest.  Her symbol is soil.  In West Africa, Asase Yaa means ‘old woman earth’. As such, She governs the soil’s fertility, and consequently, the harvest. This Goddess represents the earth’s womb, who gives us birth and to whom we all return at death. In life She presides over and motivates truth and virtue; upon death, She cares for and judges our spirits. Thursday is the traditional day for honoring Her in the sacred space.

Every two years in April, people in Nigeria honor the spirits of the dead in a special festival called the Awuru Odo Festival that resembles a huge, extended family reunion – which is exactly how we can commemorate Asase Yaa in our own lives. If you can’t assemble with your family because of distance, pull out photographs of loves ones and wrap them in something protective. Lay these down and sprinkle a little rich soil over them so that Asase Yaa’s presence (and, by extension, yours) can be with them this day, no matter where they may be.

To keep Asase Yaa’s honesty and scruples as an integral part of your life, take any seed and a little soil and warp them in cotton, saying:

 ‘Into your womb I place the seed of self
to be nurtured in goodness and grown in love.’

Carry this token with you to keep Asase Yaa close by.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Asase Yaa (pronounced ‘ah-sah-see-yah’, and means ‘mother earth’) “is the earth Goddess of fertility of the Ashanti people of Ghana. She is the wife of Nyame the sky god. She gave birth to two sons, Bea and Tano. However, in their folklore She is also the mother of Anansi the trickster god. Asase Yaa is very powerful, though no temples are dedicated to Her, instead She is worshipped in the fields.” [1]

“Asase Yaa is the Goddess who is  recognized as a source of truth; Her followers show Her respect with a day of rest from tilling the soil on Thursdays. In fact, She is a daily part of life for the Guyanese  who still practice the old spiritual traditions.  Before a farmer begins to till the ground, he must ask for Her permission.  Farmers sacrificed roosters to ensure good harvest.  She is the old woman of the Earth who is personified as the mother of humanity who supplies Her children with life and embraces them again at death.” [2]

 ASSOCIATIONS:

FAVORED PEOPLE: anyone who has worked in a field
ANIMAL: goat
PLANET: Jupiter
ELEMENT: earth
NUMBER: 8
DAY: Thursday
ORIGIN: Ashanti

I just thought this was cool –  Asase Yaa, a provider of global foods for festivals with vegan and vegetarian options in Minneapolis, MN.  I love this quote on her site, 

When you cook, you need to be on your best mental behavior and think about how people will feel eating your food. You want to share that spiritual energy and hope that people will receive if from the meal”- Petrina (Creator/Owner of Asase Yaa)

Sources:

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Asase Yaa“.

Wikipedia, “Asase Ya”.

Suggested Links:

Moon, Tora.  The Goddess Speaks, “Message from Asase Yaa – Goddess of Agriculture and Harvest“.

Romero, Frances. TIME Specials, “Top 10 Earth Goddesses“.


Goddess Mujaji

"African Genesis" by Margot Procknow

“Mujaji’s themes are balance, restoration, weather, cleansing and fertility.  Her symbols are rainwater. Mujaji is an African rain Goddess who exudes gently with fertility, or fiercely with cleansing, depending on the need. Her power and presence is so impressive that it led H. Rider Haggard to write the novel She, based on Her cult.

To purify any area and ready it for ritual, sprinkle rainwater as you move clockwise, saying:

 ‘Mujaji, flow through me
Mujaji, cleanse me
Mujaji, rain lightly here on all I love and hold dear.’

To expel unproductive emotions (represented by the sky’s tears), do the same thing, but move counter clockwise – this is the traditional direction of banishing.

If it does rain gently today, it is a sign of blessing. Go out and skip, dance, or sing in the rain (think Gene Kelly with a magical twist). This will renew your spirit and lift any dark clouds overshadowing your heart.

Africans observe the Masquerade as a time to reinstate symmetry in the world and in themselves. They wear elaborate costumes to appease the divine, praying for the necessary rainfall to ensure rich soil, and consequently an abundant harvest. To adapt this, pray to Mujaji to enrich the soil of your soul so that come the fall, you  can harvest Her productive nature.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Mujaji is a rain Goddess of the Lovedu people in South Africa.  She sent drought to Her people’s enemies but caused rain to fall on Her people.  “The Goddess Mujaji seldom appeared to human beings.  She is said to reside in the Drakensberg Mountains.  In times past, She was propitiated with sacrifices of cattle.  She also ruled over purification and cleansed Her worshippers in preparation for ritual, and the people danced as an offering to Her.” [1]

"Mother of the Garden of Modjadji" by Lisa Iris

“The Rain Queens of the Lovedu bore Her name, whose incarnations they were.  These women, highly regarded for political prowess as well as military might, kept their people safe, first from the Zulu and later from the European Boers.  A weather Goddess, Mujaji controlled storms and floods; those who worshipped Her were rewarded with gentle rain that made gardens flourish” (Monaghan, 2009, p. 18).

Makobo Modjadji VI, the Rain Queen who led South Africa's Balobedu people, died aged only 27 on June 12, 2005. Currently there is no ruling Rain Queen.

“The original Mujaji, sometimes called Mujaji I, lived in isolation and was considered both wise and immortal.  She mated with Her father, Mugodo, and gave birth to Mujaji II, who succeeded her mother as queen.  During the reign of Mujaji II and her daughter Mujaji III, the Lovedu homeland was invaded by Europeans and Zulus.  Although the Europeans conquered the Lovedu, the tribe and its beliefs survived.  These two queens were were followed by Mujaji IV.  According to the Lovedu, Mujaji IV continues to oversee the supply of rainfall and the cycle of seasons in their land.  People make offerings to Mujaji and perform dances to please her.  A rain doctor assists by seeking the cause of any droughts and performing rituals to remove obstacles that block rainmaking powers.” [2]

Sources:

Auset, Brandi. The Goddess Guide: Exploring the Attributes and Correspondences fo the Divine Feminine, “Mujaji“.

Monaghan, Patricia. Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Mujaji“.

Myth Encyclopedia, “Mujaji“.

Stella. Goddesses and Gods, “Goddess Mujaji“.

Suggested Links:

Boddy-Evans, Alistair.  About.com: African History, “The Lovedu Rain Queen“.

Rain Queens of Africa, “Modjadji, The Rain Queen“.

Rain Queens of Africa, “The Rain Queen and the Lobedu: A North Sotho Tribe“.

The Suppressed Histories Archives: real women, global vision, “African Warrior Women“.

Wikipedia, “Rain Queen“.

Goddess Ala

“Ala’s themes are luck, harvest, joy, cleansing, death and cycles.  Her symbols are yams and the crescent moon.  This West African earth-Goddess represents the full cycle of earth’s seasons from birth to death, gently reminding us that spring is transitory – so enjoy it now! Serious crimes are an abhorrence to Ala, and the spirits of the dead go to Her womb to find rest. Votive candles are a suitable offering for this Goddess figure.

When you get up this morning, light any candle to welcome both Ala and spring. If possible, include yams in your dinner meal to internalize the joy and good fortune Ala brings with the warmer weather. Bless your yams by putting your hands (palms down) over them, focusing on your goals, and saying:

‘Ala, be welcome
In this your sacred food, place the energy of happiness,
luck and protection for the months ahead. So be it.’

The people of Ghana believe in celebrating the new year over thirteen days instead of one. During this time they dance to banish evil, honor their dead ancestors, encourage serendipity, and petition Ala for a good harvest season. Ala’s shrines and other sacred places are bathed on the last day of festivities to  wash away the old, along with bad memories. For us this equates to dusting off our altars, bathing any god or Goddess images we have, and generally cleansing away old energies so Ala can refresh us.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

"Ala" by saiaii

Ala (also known as AniAnaAle, and Ali in varying Igbo dialects) is the Earth Mother Goddess; female Alusi (deity) of the earth, morality, death, and fertility in Odinani. She is the most important Alusi in the Igbo pantheon. The Igbo people of Nigeria call Her the mother of all things, but She is both the fertile earth and the empty field after the harvest. She is present at the beginning of the cycle of life, making children grow in their mother’s womb, and She is there at the end of the cycle, to receive the souls of the dead into Her own womb.  Her name literally translates to ‘Ground’ in the Igbo language, denoting Her powers over the earth and Her status as the ground itself. Ala is considered the highest Alusi in the Igbo pantheon and was the first Alusi, daughter of Chukwu, the supreme god. Ala’s husband is Amadioha, the sky god.

As the Goddess of morality, Ala is involved in judging human actions and is in charge of Igbo law and customs known as ‘Omenala‘. Taboos and crimes among Igbo communities that are against the standard of Ala are called nsọ Ala. Army ants, who serve the Goddess, attack those who break such rules.  But first, they appear in nightmares so that the wrongdoer might rectify his behavior.  All ground is considered ‘Holy land’ as it is Ala herself. With human fertility, Ala is credited for the productivity of land. Ala’s messenger and living agent on earth is the python (Igbo: éké), it is and animal especially revered in many Igbo communities. [1][2]

 

 

 

“Ala’s shrine is at the center of a village, people offer sacrifices at planting, first fruits, and harvest.  In the Owerri region, building called Mbari honor the Goddess.  They are never occupied, the ritual of building being more important than the structure.  The square Mbari are filled with painted figures of Ala, who balances a child on Her knees while she brandishes a sword and is surrounded by the images of other gods and animals.  Due to poverty and war, Mbari are built less frequently and are smaller than in the past.” [3]

 

 

Please visit Sisters in Celebration to read a beautiful earth healing ritual to Ala.

 

 

 

Sources:

37thState Blog, “Ala – Igbo Earth Mother Goddess“.

Monaghan, Patricia.  Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, “Ala“.

Wikipedia, “Ala (Odinani)“.

 

Suggested Links:

Freya. Goddess School, “Ala“.

Goddess-Guide.com, “Fertility Goddesses and Goddesses of Pregnancy and Childbirth“.

Wise. Odinani: The Sacred Arts & Sciences of the Igbo People, “Honoring Your Ancestors“.

 

 

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