Oshun

Last updated

Ọ̀ṣun
Oshun
Love, Beauty, Intimacy, Freshwater, Osun River, Wealth, Diplomacy
Member of the Orisha
Oxun.jpg
Other namesOchún, Oxúm
Venerated in Yoruba religion, Dahomey mythology, Vodun, Santería, Candomblé, Haitian Vodou
Region Nigeria, Benin, Latin America, Haiti, Cuba
Ethnic group Yoruba people, Fon people
Personal information
Spouse Changó, Erinle
Shrine to Oshun in the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove Templo Osun3.jpg
Shrine to Oshun in the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove
Abebe, the ritual fan of Osun Abebe - Objeto ritual de Oxum MN 02.jpg
Abèbè, the ritual fan of Ọṣun

Ọṣun, is an Orisha, a spirit, a deity, or a goddess that reflects one of the manifestations of the Yorùbá Supreme Being in the Ifá oral tradition and Yoruba-based religions of West Africa. She is one of the most popular and venerated Orishas. Oshun is an important river deity among the Yorùbá people. She is the goddess of divinity, femininity, fertility, beauty and love. [1] [2] She is connected to destiny and divination. [3]

Contents

During the life of the mortal Osun, she served as queen consort to King Shango of Oyo. Following her posthumous deification, she was admitted to the Yoruba pantheon as an aspect of a primordial divinity of the same name.

She is the patron saint of the Osun River in Nigeria, which bears her name. The river has its source in Ekiti State, in the west of Nigeria, and passes through the city of Osogbo, where Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, the principal sanctuary of the deity, is located. [1] Osun is honored at the Osun-Osogbo Festival, a two-week-long annual festival that usually takes place in August, at the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove on the banks of the river. [4] [5]

Osun is one of the 401 Yoruba gods.

Primordial Osun

According to the Ifa Literary Corpus, Ọṣun was the only female Irunmole (primordial spirit) sent to assist Shango to create the world by Olodumare. The other spirits that were sent began the work and ignored Ọṣun. Ọṣun went to her partner Shango for guidance. Two versions of this story exist. One claims that female spirits were tempted to take matters into their own hands, but all of their creative attempts failed because they acted without male spiritual leadership. Another version, and this one more consistent with the beginning of the story, claims that the male spirits attempted to make the world without female influence, and this exclusion is what caused the world to fail. [6] The former version appears to reflect a patriarchal influence on orisha narratives that sprang up with the influence of Abrahamic religions, [7] while the second is more in line with traditional orisha beliefs, which revere feminine power. Both story versions end with Shango forcing the other spirits hand to respect Osun as they would him. Through her sacrifice, Olodumare, God granted her the powers of an Orisha. [8]

Mortal Osun

While still a mortal, Osun is said to have gone to a drum festival one day and to have fallen in love with Shango. Since that day, Shango has been married to Oba, Oya, and Osun, though the last mentioned is said to be his favourite. [9] Other stanzas in the Ifa Literary Corpus say that she was also married to Orunmila, who later became the Orisha of Wisdom and Divination.

It is also said that Osun was the first woman to be referred to as an Iyalode.

Ceremonies and Ritual Colors

Another picture of an Arugba at the Osun-Osogbo festival Arugba Olokun.jpg
Another picture of an Arugba at the Osun-Osogbo festival

Osun is the orisha of the river. Her devotees leave her offerings and perform ceremonies at bodies of fresh water such as rivers, streams and canals. She is associated with the colors white, yellow, gold, and sometimes coral.

Abẹ̀bẹ̀

The Abẹ̀bẹ̀ is the ritual object most associated with Ọṣun. The Abẹ̀bẹ̀ is a fan in circular form.

Brazil

Ọṣun is a female orishá adopted and worshiped in all Afro-Brazilian religions. She is the orishá of the fresh water of rivers and waterfalls; of wealth and prosperity; of love; and of beauty. Followers seek help for romantic problems from Osun; the orisha is also responsible for marriage and other relationships. As the orishá of financial life, she is also called the "Lady of Gold". This referred to copper at one time for being the most valuable metal of the time. Osun is worshiped at rivers and waterfalls, and more rarely, near mineral water sources. She is a symbol of sensitivity and is identified by weeping. [5]

Candomblé

In Candomblé Bantu, Osun is called Nkisi Ndandalunda, the Lady of Fertility and Moon. Hongolo and Kisimbi have similarities with Osun, and the three are often confused.

In Candomblé Ketu, Osun is the deity of fresh water; the patron of gestation and fecundity; and receives the prayers of women who wish to have children and protect them during pregnancy. Osun also protects small children until they begin to speak; she is affectionately called "Mamãe" ("Mama") by her devotees. [5]

Plants associated with Osun in Brazil are aromatic, sweet, and often yellow, reflecting the qualities of the Orisha. They include mints (Lamiacaea). Osun is associated with the folha-de-dez-réis (Hydrocotyle cybelleta), a plant of the pennywort family. Many species are brilliant yellow, reflecting Osun's association with gold and wealth. She is also associated with folha-da-fortuna, or Kalanchoe pinnata. [10]

Santeria

Iron chalice of Osun, one of Los Guerreros (the warriors) --) in Santeria religion. TAG Osun.jpg
Iron chalice of Osun, one of Los Guerreros (the warriors) --) in Santería religion.

Ozun is another major Orisha that is distinct from Osun, the latter whom is also called "Oshun" and "Ochún" in the Santería religion of the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico and Trinidad) brought over by Yoruba people during the transatlantic slave trade. While Ozun is a masculine Orisha associated with John the Baptist, Ochún is syncretized with Our Lady of Charity. [11]

Violín for Osun

A picture of an Arugba at the Osun-Osogbo festival Arugba Osun.jpg
A picture of an Arugba at the Osun-Osogbo festival

A violín is a type of musical ceremony in Regla de Ocha performed for Osún. It includes both European classical music and Cuban popular music. [12]

Related Research Articles

Shango Orisha, or deity in the Yoruba religion

Shango is an Orisha, a deity in Yoruba religion. Genealogically speaking, Shango is a royal ancestor of the Yoruba as he was the third Alaafin of the Oyo Kingdom prior to his posthumous deification. Shango has numerous manifestations, including Airá, Agodo, Afonja, Lubé, and Obomin. He is known for his powerful axe. He is considered to be one of the most powerful rulers that Yorubaland has ever produced.

Olokun

Olokun is an orisha spirit in Yoruba religion. Olokun is believed to be the parent of Aje, the orisha of great wealth and of the bottom of the ocean. Olokun is revered as the ruler of all bodies of water and for the authority over other water deities. Olokun is highly praised for their ability to give great wealth, health, and prosperity to their followers. Communities in both West Africa and the African diaspora view Olokun variously as female, male, or androgynous.

Ọbatala

Obatala or “Orisa Nla” is an orisha. He is believed, according to Yoruba cosmology, to be the Sky Father and the creator of human bodies, which were brought to life by the smooth breath of Olodumare. Obatala is the oldest of all orishas (imole). His principal wife is Yemaya according to understanding in Caribbean. However, in Yorubaland, particularly Ile-Ife, where he is believed to have lived, it is understood that he had 201 wives with his favourite consort being Yemowo.

Olodumare

Olodumare also known as Ọlọ́run (Almighty) is one of the manifestations of the Supreme Creator God in Yoruba religion. The name comes from the phrase "O ní odù mà rè" meaning "the owner of the source of creation that does not become empty," "or the All Sufficient"

Eshu

Èṣù is an Òrìṣà/Irúnmọlẹ̀ in the religion of the Yoruba people. Èṣù is a prominent primordial Divinity who descended from Ìkọ̀lé Ọ̀run, and the Chief Enforcer of natural and divine laws - he is the Deity in charge of law enforcement and orderliness. As the religion has spread around the world, the name of this Orisha has varied in different locations, but the beliefs remain similar.

Orisha Spirit that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God) in the Yoruba religious system

The orisa are spirits that play a key role in the Yoruba religion of West Africa and several religions of the African diaspora that derive from it, such as Cuban and Puerto Rican Santería and Brazilian Candomblé. The preferred spelling varies depending on the language in question; òrìṣà is the original spelling, coming from the Yoruba language; orishá or orichá in Spanish-speaking countries, and orixá in Portuguese.

Candomblé Ketu

Candomblé Ketu is the largest and most influential branch (nation) of Candomblé, a religion practiced in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The word Candomblé means "ritual dancing or gather in honor of gods" and Ketu is the name of the Ketu region of Benin. Its liturgical language, known as yorubá or Nagô, is a dialect of Yoruba. Candomblé Ketu developed in the early 19th century and gained great importance to Brazilian heritage in the 20th century.

Cowrie-shell divination refers to several distinct forms of divination using cowrie shells that are part of the rituals and religious beliefs of certain religions. Though best-documented in West Africa as well as in Afro-American religions, such as Santería, Candomblé, and Umbanda, cowrie-shell divination has also been recorded in India, East Africa, and other regions.

Yoruba religion Religion of the Yoruba people of Africa (Isese)

The Yoruba religion, or Isese, comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in present-day Southwestern Nigeria, which comprises Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, and Kwara as well as Lagos States, parts of Kogi state and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, commonly known as Yoruba land. It shares some parallels with the Vodun practiced by the neighboring Fon and Ewe peoples to the west and to the religion of the Edo people to the east. Yoruba religion is the basis for a number of religions in the New World, notably Santería, Umbanda, Trinidad Orisha, Haitian Vodou, and Candomblé. Yoruba religious beliefs are part of Itàn (history), the total complex of songs, histories, stories, and other cultural concepts which make up the Yoruba society.

Osun river

The Oṣun River is a river that flows southwards through central Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria into the Lagos Lagoon and the Atlantic Gulf of Guinea. It is one of the several rivers ascribed in local mythology to have been women who turned into flowing waters after some traumatic event frightened or angered them.

Babalú-Ayé Spirit strongly associated with infectious disease and healing in the Yoruba religion

Babalú-Aye, Oluaye, Ṣọpọna, or even Obaluaiye, is the orisha of healing in all its aspects, of the land, of respect for the elderly and protector of health. He is called whenever necessary to prevent infirmity.

Aganju Deity in several religions

Aganju is an Orisha. He is syncretized with Saint Christopher in the Cuban religion known as Santería. In Yoruba language, Aginju means a wilderness, inhospitable habitat or impenetrable locale.

Elegua

Elegua is an Orisha, a deity of roads in the religions of Santería, Umbanda, Quimbanda, and Candomblé. He is syncretized with Saint Michael, Saint Anthony of Padua, or Holy Infant of Atocha.

Ọbà is the Orisha of the River Oba whose source lays near Igbon where her worship originates. During the wars of the 19th century, her centers of worship moved to the more secure town Ogbomosho. She is traditionally identified as the senior wife of Shango. Oba was tricked by Oya or Oshun into cutting off her ear and trying to feed it to Shango. She is syncretized with Saint Catherine of Siena.

Santería African diasporic religion that developed in Cuba during the late 19th century

Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha, Regla Lucumí, or Lucumí, is an African diasporic religion that developed in Cuba during the late 19th century. It arose through a process of syncretism between the traditional Yoruba religion of West Africa, the Roman Catholic form of Christianity, and Spiritism. There is no central authority in control of Santería and much diversity exists among practitioners, who are known as creyentes ("believers").

Susanne Wenger Austrian-Nigerian artist (1915-2009)

Chief Susanne Wenger MFR, also known as Adunni Olorisha, was an Austrian-Nigerian artist, illustrator and comics artist, who resided in Nigeria. Her main focus was the Yoruba culture and she was successful in building an artist cooperative in Osogbo. She partnered with local artists in Osogbo to redevelop and redecorate the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove with sculptures and carvings depicting the various activities of the Orishas.

Oko (orisha)

Okó, also known in Brazil as Ocô, is an Orisha. In Nigeria and the Benin Republic, he is a strong hunter & farming deity as well as a fighter against sorcery. He is associated with the annual new harvest of the white African yam. Among the deities, he is considered a close friend of Oosa Ogiyan and Shango, as well as at one time husband of Oya and Yemoja. Bees are considered the messengers of Oko.

Iyalawo is a term in the Yoruba language that literally means Mother of Mysteries or Mother of Wisdom. Some adherents use the term "Mamalawo," which is a partially African diaspora version of the Yoruba term, Iyaláwo and Yeyelawo are two more versions of mother of mysteries. Ìyánífá is a Yoruba word that can be translated as Mother (Ìyá) has or of () Ifá or Mother in Ifá.

Yemanjá is a major water spirit from the Yoruba religion. She is the mother of all Orishas. She is an orisha, in this case patron spirit of rivers, particularly the Ogun River in Nigeria; and oceans in Cuban and Brazilian orisa religions. She is often syncretized with either Our Lady of Regla in the Afro-Cuban diaspora or various other Virgin Mary figures of the Catholic Church, a practice that emerged during the era of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Yemanjá is motherly and strongly protective, and cares deeply for all her children, comforting them and cleansing them of sorrow. She is said to be able to cure infertility in women, and cowrie shells represent her wealth. She does not easily lose her temper, but when angered she can be quite destructive and violent, as the flood waters of turbulent rivers.

References

  1. 1 2 Murrell, Nathaniel Samuel (2009). Afro-Caribbean Religions: An Introduction to Their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions. Temple University Press. ISBN   9781439901755.
  2. Coleman, Monica A. (2006). "African American Religion and Gender". In Pinn, Anthony B. (ed.). African American Religious Cultures. p. 501. ISBN   9781576074701.
  3. Monaghan, Monaghan (2014). Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. New World Library. p. 15. ISBN   9781608682188.
  4. Martine, Ife. "A Yoruba Festival Tradition Continues: 50 Incredible Photos Celebrating The River Goddess Oshun". OkayAfrica.com. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 Lopes, Nei (2004). Enciclopédia brasileira da diáspora africana. São Paulo, SP: Selo Negro Edições. p. 505. ISBN   8587478214.
  6. Elibuibon, Yemi (2013). Invisible Powers of the Metaphysical World: A Peep into the world of Witches. Ancient Philosophy Institute. p. 110. LCCN 2009351910.
  7. Kumari, Ayele. "Demystifying Iyami". Www.Ayelekumari.com. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  8. Kumari, Ayele (2013). Iyanifa: Women of Wisdom. uSA: maat Group. p. 40. ISBN   978-1500492892.
  9. Matory, J. Lorand (2005). Sex and the Empire That Is No More: Gender and the Politics of Metaphor in Oyo Yoruba Religion. Berghahn Books. ISBN   9781571813077 . Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  10. Alexiades, Miguel (2009). Mobility and migration in indigenous Amazonia : contemporary ethnoecological perspectives. New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN   9781845455637.
  11. Olupọna, Jacob O. K, and Terry Rey. Òrìşà Devotion As World Religion: The Globalization of Yorùbá Religious Culture. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008. Print, pg.395.
  12. A VIOLIN FOR OCHÚN-WITH REGGAETON! By Johnny Frías. Cuba Counterpoints, Nov 2016

Further reading