Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Goddess of the Week

Speaking of dark Goddesses, this week's Goddess pick is Oya, the powerful Yorùbá Orisha (roughly Goddess) of destruction, violent storms, and change. She is described as a warrior Goddess around Whom whirlwinds swirl, Who can call forth the lightning; She carries a saber or machete, which She uses to clear new paths, and a fly-whisk as emblem of royalty, for She is considered a Queen. She is an excellent horsewoman and rides into battle ahead of Her husband Sàngó, bringing Her storm winds.

She is one of the three wives of Sàngó (with Oba and Osun), and is associated with the Niger River. Purple, maroon and dark red are Her colors, and nine is Her number, as the Niger River is traditionally said to have nine tributaries.

As Goddess of destruction and change Oya destroys the old to make way for the new; and unsurprisingly She is also associated with the dead, and, like Maman Brigitte in the Vodou tradition, is guardian of cemeteries. She watches over the threshold between life and death, and is a psychopomp, or a Deity Who guides the souls of the dead to the Underworld.

Oya brings rapid, sometimes violent, change, and Her tempestuous moods are legendary (much like Yemaya, Who is sometimes said to be Her mother). For all that She can bring chaos and destruction, however, Her methods are firmly in service to truth; though whether that truth is easy or difficult to accept is not Her concern.

Though the general theme of the death of the old to make way for the new is certainly appropriate at this time of year in the North, I'd say this card this week brings it a bit, well, closer to home. Destruction and change, perhaps unexpected or sudden is the theme of the week. I don't know what advice to give, except to try to ride it out, and to remember that what is cleared away has been so to make way for truth of some kind. I imagine it will get worse before it gets better, though.

On the other hand, it promises (threatens?) to be exciting. Perhaps the best advice would be to see if you can't align yourself with these forces of change, rather than being their hapless victim. Easier said than done, I know.

So I ask Oya, with respect, what if anything She has to say to us this week:

She is all flashing eyes and brightness, lightning flickering behind Her. Her voice is low and throaty, strong and vibrant, holding life and death at the same time, layered upon each other. She says:

Die that you may live.

She is gone.

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