(Art by Thalia Took)
Ayida-Weddo, also known as Aida Wedo or Aido Quedo or Rainbow Serpent is the Vodou goddess of sweet waters, serpents, fertility and rainbows. She is represented by the rainbow python.
Ayida-Weddo is a benevolent and sweet goddess, she is worshiped in parts of the Caribbean and in Benin. She represents continuity, strength, integration and wholeness.
Ayida-Weddo rules over fire, water, wind and the rainbow. She is also associated with wisdom. She protects creation.
Ayida-Weddo is the wife, or feminine aspect of Damballa-Wedo, the Sky God. Together, they both represent the principles of birth and creation.
Dhegdheer, also known as Lady Dhegdheer is a very famous character in Somali oral history. Her name, Dhegdheer means ‘the one with the long ear’. She had long ears that enhance her hearing enabling her to hear sounds from far away. When Dhegdheer sleeps, she folds her long ears.
Dhegdheer is known to eat children who move about at night.
Bayajida is the legendary hero of Hausa tradition said to be the son of the king of Baghdad. According to tradition, Bayajida left Baghdad and wandered about till he reached the Kanem-Bornu empire, in Northern Nigeria. In Kanem-Bornu, he found favour with the ruling king and married the king’s daughter, Magira. However as Bayajida’s fame, power and wealth grew his father-in-law became jealous and decided to kill him. Upon learning of this, Bayajida and Magira fled Kanem-Bornu and settled in Hadeija where he left Magira and continued travelling. Bayajida then reached another town where talented blacksmiths forged a sword for him.
With his newly forged sword, Bayajida travelled to the town of Daura which was ruled by a Queen called Daurama. There, an elderly woman agreed to let him stay in her house however when Bayajida requested a drink of water, the woman told him that there was none. She explained that the town had just one well, in which a great snake called Sarki lived. The snake was evil and only let villagers take water from the well on certain days.
Bayajida decided to confront the snake so he went to the well, and managed to kill the snake with his sword. Bayajida cut off the snake’s head and left its body by the well. He then drew some water from the well and returned to the elderly woman’s house with the snake’s head in his sack.
News spread quickly of the snake’s death, when it Queen Daurama she declared that she would give half her land to whoever killed the snake. Several people came forth claiming that they had killed the snake, but no one was able to produce its head. Finally, the woman had hosted Bayajida came forward and told Queen Daurama about her unusual guest. The Queen summoned Bayajida, in the Queen’s presence he revealed that he was the person behind the snake’s death by showing her the snake’s head.
When Queen Daurama offered Bayajida half her land, he refused and instead asked the Queen to marry him. She accepted, and they lived a long, happy life together. Their son, Bawo, ruled Daura after their death while Bawo’s six sons became the founders and rulers of six of the seven Hausa states. The son of Bayajida by his first wife, Magira, founded and ruled the seventh Hausa state.
The well that the snake is said to have resided still stands today in Daura.
Just thought I’d share this story dealing with aspects of Oya and Ogun from the second edition of African Mythology A to Z by Patricia Ann Lynch and Jeremy Roberts
…One aspect of Oya was as Red Buffalo Woman. In Yoruba culture, there was a strong association between the buffalo and the goddess, in part because a buffalo’s horns are shaped like a crescent Moon, another symbol associated with female deities. The buffalo was a symbol of female reproduction and was therefore linked to the goddess’s power to restore and renew.
Marrying Red Buffalo Woman was the goal of the god Ogun, Chief of Hunters. Each night he went hunting, searching for her. One night, as he lay on his tree platform, a buffalo cow came walking toward
his hiding place. She paused next to a termite mound and, as Chief of Hunters watched in amazement, began to remove her hide. As she did so, she changed into a beautiful woman. She then hid her buffalo
hide in the termite mound and walked off toward the village market.
Chief of Hunters removed the hidden hide and brought it to his home. Then he went to the market where, by trickery, he induced Red Buffalo
Woman to go to his home. When she returned to the termite mound later that night, she discovered that her hide was missing. She concluded that Chief of Hunters must have seen her transforming herself and taken the hide, so she returned to his home and confronted him. He told her that he would give back the hide only if she married him.
She agreed, but she made him promise that he would never tell his other wives who she really was. Years passed, and Chief of Hunters kept his promise despite the curiosity of his other wives. One night, though, his wives got him drunk on wine and tricked him into betraying the newest wife’s secret. When they taunted Red Buffalo
Woman for being an animal, she donned her hide and transformed herself into a buffalo again. Then she killed each of the other wives.
She spared Chief of Hunters when he praised her and reminded her how he had cared for her. Before Red Buffalo Woman left, she told Chief of Hunters that he could call on her for help if he used her true name—Oya.