¨Nature is not a place to visit, it is home.¨
From Skie Alexander's Your Goddess Yearbook
Dates for Inviting Her: September 11-17
This week the sun is in the zodiac sign Virgo, an earth sign astrologers connect with healing and plant-based medicine. Therefore we honor the Yoruba's cosmic herbalist, Aja, at this time.
Legends say Aja created yams, which are an important staple in the diet of the Nigerian people. Nigeria produces more yams than any other country.
This benevolent Yoruba orisha, or protector goddess, abides in the forests of West Africa where she cares for the animals and plants that live there. Known as the Lady of Forest Herbs, she's the divine environmentalist and a wise woman who understands the inner lives of all earth's creatures. In addition, Aja possesses healing powers and knows the secrets of herbal medicine, which she taught to her followers. According to folklore, if you want to meet Ajia you must allow yourself to get lost in the forest. If you're respectful, she'll share her plant magic with you.
The forest often appears in mythology as a symbol of a shamanic journey. You enter it to discover your inner truth and a world beyond the ordinary, mundane one you usually occupy. A shaman herself, Aja leads you into this hidden realm and puts you in touch with the primal wildness that lies within you. She may also teach you to shapeshift, to take on an animal form temporarily -at least in spirit- in order to gain that animal's powers and knowledge. Some stories say Aja whisks people away in the guise of the “wid wind” to another world and keeps them there for seven days or longer they return with special powers.
Although the best place to seek Aja is deep in the forest, you can also find her in any woodland, arboretum, or park. Listen for her voice in the wind as it rustles the leaves of the trees. Observe the plants that live there. Hug a tree or climb it.
Aja's connection with the earth and her ability to make plants grow
also links her with fertility and abundance, like the better-known goddess Demeter (September 18-24) and Gaia.
If you're interested in learning about herbalism or another plant-based therapy, ask Aja to take you on as her student. If you have an ailment that you'd like to treat with natural remedies, she'll guide you to the healing methods that can ease your distress. She can also show you how to concoct your own lotions, salves, etc. Aja serves as the patroness of gardeners, arborists, and organic farmers, as well as those who seek to live a"green" life. This earth goddess can teach you to coexist in harmony with the other life-forms on our planet and realize that you're connected with All That is. In the process, you'll be nourished in body, mind, and spirit.
HOW TO INVITE HER
Make this soothing herbal tea to ease a stomachache or improve digestion. You can drink it hot or cold. With this simple ritual, you invite the goddess to share her healing herbs and plant wisdom with you.
A pot or kettle
4 cups of water
Chamomile tea, teabag2 teaspoons of loose leaves or a tea bag
Green tea, 2 teaspoons of loose leaves or a teabag
Peppermint tea,2 teaspoons of loose leaves or a teabag
Fresh ginger, to taste, grated
Honey, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
A teacup or mug
1. In the pot or kettle,heat the water to boiling. While you're waiting for it to boil, ask Aja to join you and bless you with her healing power. You may want to say a prayer or incantation to her.
2. Pour a little of the hot water into the teapot and swirl it around to warm the pot.
3. Put the tea into the teapot, then pour in the rest of the hot water. Add fresh ginger, honey, and lemon juice to the tea and stir the mixture three times in a clockwise direction.
4. When it's as strong as you want it to be, strain out the tea leaves or remove the tea bags.
5. Pour some tea into the cup or mug if you plan to drink it hot. If you'd rather drink it cold, let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
6. Drink as much as you like and store the rest in the fridge for later. As you sip the tea, feel the goddess granting you her blessing of health.