High priestesses are few and far between, white ones in Africa even more so. When Diane Esguerra hears of a mysterious Austrian woman worshipping the Ifa river goddess Oshun in Nigeria, her curiosity is aroused. It is the start of an extraordinary friendship that sustains Diane through the death of her son and leads to a quest to take part in Oshun rituals. Prevented by Boko Haram from returning to Nigeria, she finds herself at Ifa shrines in Florida amid vultures, snakes, goats’ heads, machetes, a hurricane and a cigar-smoking god. Her quest steps up a gear when Beyonce channels Oshun at the Grammys and the goddess goes global. Mystifying, harrowing and funny, The Oshun Diaries explores the lure of Africa, the life of a remarkable woman and the appeal of the goddess as a symbol of female empowerment.
The Oshun Diaries is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
I must admit that I’d never heard of the IFA religion before, but this was the main thing that drew me to this book as I always love learning new things.
This book is a fascinating insight into a different culture and religion as viewed by a outsider. Through her we learn all about the beliefs, customs and rituals of the IFA religion which was very interesting. The author actually participates in some which I found particularly interesting as it showed her gut reactions to something that was obviously completely out of her comfort zone. I liked how honest she was about her feelings and that she joins in things despite feeling awkward or a bit embarrassed about doing so.
The two main characters, Adunni and Vassa, that the author follows through her experience were very interesting to read about. They are two white, Western women who are thoroughly involved in an African religion and I enjoyed learning about their experience of this. They are very keen to embrace this new religion but are aware that their presence might taint things for others. I wish the author has told us a bit more about their background as Adunni’s past in nazi Germany seemed especially intriguing.
I thought this book was very well written and thoroughly absorbing read which I raced through in a few days as I wanted to learn more. I felt it was part memoir, part adventure and I loved reading about the author’s adventures in Nigeria, a country that seemed beautiful but slightly dangerous. I would definitely be interested in reading more from her in the future.
Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.
About The Author:
Diane Esguerra is a writer, a psychotherapist and a traveller. For a number of years she worked as a performance artist in Britain, Europe and the United States. She has written for both theatre and television and is the recipient of a Time Out Theatre Award and a Geneva-Europe Television Award. She is the author of Junkie Buddha: A Journey of Discovery in Peru and The Oshun Diaries: Encounters with an African Goddess. She lives in Surrey, England.