Ijaw (Nigeria)

When Woyengi created people, she asked them to name their destiny. Whatever they requested was granted, the downside being that no changes could be made. All must be forever content with their choices.

• Ogboinba’s sister sought to have many children.

• Ogboinba wished for magical powers.

Each got exactly what they asked for, no more, no less. Ogboinba could heal the sick, foretell the future and communicate with plants and animals. As she grew older, however, she began to long for children. Ogboinba decided to return to Woyengi and ask to be re-created so that she would be fertile and bear children, too.

She passed through seven kingdoms during her unspeakably arduous journey. Everyone she encountered warned that her quest would lead to death and disaster. Ogboinba, aware that she needed as much power as possible, stole different powers in each kingdom to add to her own. Yet even this added power was insufficient. Her request to change and expand her destiny was met with a reaction similar to that encountered by Oliver Twist when he dared ask for more.

To say the least, Woyengi was not sympathetic. Perceiving Ogboinba’s request as insubordination, Woyengi erupted in rage so frightening that brave, intrepid Ogboinba fled, magically jumping into the eyes of a pregnant woman, which is where she remains.

This Ijaw myth is a cautionary tale: wise, happy, content women choose motherhood, not magic. Ogboinba is goddess of second chances. Although she fled from Woyengi’s rage, as long as there are pregnant women on Earth, Ogboinba is present, too. She is traditionally invoked for fertility and for assistance acquiring magical skills. She is an ambivalent spirit: if you request help with fertility, simultaneously ask her to protect you and your children. Request that she be your guardian and your provider. Regardless of what you ask from her, if there are children or pregnant women in the home, request her blessings and protection specifically for them.


Build her an altar displaying her desires: magic tools and doll babies.




Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.