It’s been a while since I wrote an Oriki and considering the last two Oriki’s I wrote were about Sango: God of Thunder and Ogun: God of War, I thought it was time to give a goddess the spotlight. Today’s Oriki is Oriki Aje: Praise Poetry for the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. Before I share the Oriki Aje, here’s a little about Aje.
One of the beauties of the Yoruba language is that several words would have the same exact spelling but would be pronounced differently and have different meanings. When a Yoruba person (or someone who can read Yoruba) sees the letters A J E, the first thing that comes to mind is Ah-Jeh, meaning witch. However, A J E can also be pronounced as Ah-Jay. Ah-Jay is an Orisa, a goddess. She’s the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity.
Aj-jeh which is translated as witch is so much more than the western interpretation of witchcraft. Ah-jeh loosely translates to ‘we answer’. It is said that all women are witches because all women are mothers and no mother will hear her child’s call and not answer. Ah-jehs signify the duality of a mother: loving and strict at the same time. Anyhoos, this post is not about Ah-jehs but about Ah-jay.
Yoruba history of creation is very convoluted and I am still trying to get my head around it. That’s one of the reasons why I write these posts; so that we have more documented entries of our oral history. Apparently, Aje is the daughter of Olokun, god of the ocean (think Poseidon). So like other water Orisas, eg Osun, her colours include white.
Whilst searching for links to corroborate what I once heard that Aje is the daughter of Olokun, I came across a post that said that Aje is Olokun. Confusing right? I know! At least both agree that Aje is a water Orisa. Apparently, Yemoja is another name for Olokun.
If one doesn’t work, one doesn’t earn money. It is said that Aje gives one the opportunity to earn money. Yorubas have a greeting for every situation. For instance, if people are just sitting down and relaxing, your greeting to them would be eku joko, meaning greetings for sitting. If someone is working, you would say eku ise, meaning greetings for your work. The same thing too, if you see a business person or trader, for instance, you would greet, eku oro aje, meaning greetings over Aje’s matter. You could also ask, se Aje wa? Meaning hope Aje is around? That’s a loose direct translation but to translate into English properly, that question is asking if there have been sales or opportunities to make money.
Without much ado, here’s the Oriki Aje: Praise Poetry for the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity
Aje is usually praise this way in the morning:
Aje Karo o
Aje oniso booji
Eni ti eru ati omo n fi ojojumo wa kiri
Iwo ni labomon ti bori aye
Aje Iwo lajiki
Aje Iwo lajige
Aje Iwo lajipe
Iwo lani ra opolo aran aso oba ti kona yanranyanran
Aje agba orisha je ki ni lowo maje ki ni e lorun
Aje fi Ile MI se ibugbe, fi odede MI se ibura, aje o jire loni oo
Aje good morning
Aje you are the owner of sea
One who has shelter
Aje you are the ones who people seek solace under your shield or umbrella
You are the ones who promote younger person to the position of elders
You make old look younger
You are the force and power that rule the world
Aje is you that every human being around every day they wake up
Aje is you we wake up to greet
Aje is you we wake up to praise
Aje is you we wake up to call upon
Aje it is through you we acquired beaded jewelries and golden jewelries
Aje it is through you we acquired expensive clothes
Aje you are the the elderly of all orisha
Aje let me have you in form of money in my pocket not in form of debt on my name
If you look at the translation, it seems that Aje is thought to be the owner of the sea ie Olokun. It seems that what I heard about Aje being Olokun’s daughter is incorrect. I guess Aje also being called Yemoja is like calling a Tiger Ekun and Ogidan.
Oji ni kutukutu mokun ola dani
Olomo siju pee wole Aye loruko IFA
Eni ti o ba siju rere re wo nii lowo
IFA kio siju rere re woo mi ki nlowo…
He who robes the child to befit the child
He who robes the child with the utmost of care
The one who wakes early in the morning, holding the robes of prosperity
The one who looks after the Earth is the name of IFA
Whoever you look to with your eye of compassion is blessed with prosperity
IFA, please look at me with compassion and let me be blessed with riches…
IFA, please look at us with your compassion and let us be blessed with riches! Ase Ase Ase O!