“We MUST read this!”, my best friend wrote to me on WhatsApp a year ago, while on holiday in Zanzibar. My friend had attached a copy of The Great Cosmic Mother by Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor. I asked her where she got the copy from. She happily explained she had met three really lovely women and one of them, Roukia, had kindly shared The Great Cosmic Mother with her. “This is exactly the kind of people I want to get to know!”, I wrote back to her, and my friend made sure Roukia and I connected. I started reading The Great Cosmic Mother and Roukia later invited me to a group chat. All this new knowledge and interactions made me start looking for a goddess network here in Sweden. This is how and why I got in contact with Nauð Vanarot and the Digitala årscirkeln (Digital Circle of the Year)
— Roukia, I’m very thankful for you sharing your knowledge and network. You introduced me to the feminine creative energy and specifically African goddesses. How do they inspire you?
— The oceans, the lakes, the forest and nature have always been key elements in African tradition and spiritualism. I don’t call it religion or beliefs but rather sustaining energies. The sustaining, recycling and infinite energies of Mother Nature and the Cosmic Mother. The feminine energy we all come from. The real source of who we are. Our ancestors knew this, and that’s why I’m sharing the book and the knowledge of The Great Cosmic Mother with people. Spiritually, I’m of the ancient mama spirit Goddess NYA’Bingi order. NYA is the feminine entity, translated to woman. Bingi means infinite, abundance, all, diversity. It is the order of my lineage and of the people in this region, Kigezi in Uganda and adjacent region Rwanda, Congo, Tanzania.
NYA’Bingi used fire, water, earth and air against colonialists. Roukia tells me that the most recently Nyabinghi or NYA’Bingi, was referred to a queen in the history of Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. She immigrated from Rwanda to Uganda, creating the anti-colonial movement between 1910 and 1930. Her original name was Muhumuza, which means the one who brings peace. Later she was named after the spirit which she performed under, NYA’Bingi. She used the elements fire, water, earth and air to wage war against the colonialists.
NYA’Bingi has also influenced the Rastafari movement in Jamaica. The term NYA’Bingi was introduced in the 1930s via a local news article. This article about NYA’Bingi made such an impact that the first Rastafari organisation was named after her. Today NYA’Bingi is name of the drum gatherings of Rastafari people to celebrate and commemorate key dates significant to Rastafari throughout the year. Roukia explains further that it was through Rastafari she was introduced to her lineage and spiritual order by the Shashemane Elders, after a fatal accident in London that almost got her left knee amputated.
— How have this impacted your life?
— My personal healing process started twenty-one years ago. Up till then, I had been a successful management consultant for many years. My mind was mostly occupied with and consumed by my career and education. And as you know where the mind goes, the body follows. It was a huge struggle for me to leave my job at the top of my career, but a certain life event took place that triggered and kick-started my healing process. I just sat by the ocean and let myself be healed. The ocean and water have always been key elements of my healing process. I have worked with the West African ocean goddess Yemanya as well as the goddess Oshun, the sweet water goddess of lakes and rivers.
— You have a beautiful healing retreat centre in Uganda called the Fig Tree Sanctuary and Healing Village. How did this retreat village come about?
— It was as part of my spiritual growth and finding myself through my Royal Priestess lineage, Omusigi Omukungu. It was important for me to return to Mama Nature and the forest. The Fig Tree Sanctuary and Healing Village is situated by Lake Bunyony, “Place of many little birds”, south-western Uganda. It’s easier than you think to live a low impact life and in harmony with nature and the environment and Mama Earth.
Nothing is more calming than clear, cascading, bubbling water that gently settles in your very own garden pond. At this village we aim to use nature and the forest as the natural healing place. The forest and nature we believe is our temple, our foundation, thus The FIG Tree Sanctuary and Healing Village. With the vision of returning our earth back to harmony through heritage, matriarchal and goddess driven, where people live in balance with nature, with respect to all living beings in all forms. The village is also a workaway for volunteers.
We welcome you all to come and visit us at Lake Bunyony in Uganda!
For more information, please visit
Facebook:The FIG TREE Sanctuary and Healing Village