Tag Archive: igbo


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 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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