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Ancestor Spirits: Egungun-Oya


In Yoruba mythology OYA is the great mother of the spirits of the dead, which are collectively called the Egungun. In many parts of Yorubaland (Africa) Egungun festivals honor the dead with invocations, offerings and masquerade dances.

In this painting a priestess of Oya prepares for a ritual in the autumn woods. She is calling forth her ancestors, evoking their wisdom and guidance. Egungun-oya is the goddess of divination. She is invoked to see across the veil. Similarly, in the northern lands, on Halloween it is believed that the veil between the worlds is most thin, and those who have passed over can give us guidance. The Ancestors who have gone before knew how to live a balanced, harmonious life in tune with the laws of nature. The priestess seeks their wisdom.


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