Many people, both Nigerians and foreigners, have probably heard about the popular Osun-Osogbo Festival and may have attended the event, yet have little or no knowledge about the principal act celebrated during the festivity: the Oshun goddess.
The goddess is a deity that has been in existence for ages, with her adherents giving her undiluted adoration while there is also the constant flock to the river in her name by people desirous of solutions to their challenges.
So, who is the Oshun goddess and why is she venerated?
Who is the Oshun goddess?
Oshun, often spelt as Osun, is a Yoruba orisha (deity) venerated in South-West Nigeria. In the Yoruba religion, Oshun is referred to as the river orisha or goddess and is frequently connected to water, chastity, fertility, love, and sensuality. She is regarded as one of the most potent orishas and, like other deities, is endowed with human traits like vanity, envy, and spite.
Regarding Oshun and her role as a Yoruba divinity, there are several myths. Oshun is typically portrayed as humanity’s guardian, saviour, or nurturer in most tales. She has also been referred to as the mother of lovely things or the keeper of spiritual equilibrium. According to one belief, Oshun was instrumental in the genesis of humans.
The Yoruba people believe that Olodumare, who is regarded as the Supreme God, sent the orishas to populate the earth. The only female deity was Oshun, one of the original 17 deities sent to earth. All of the other male gods who attempted to resurrect and inhabit the earth were said to be unsuccessful. When they discovered they could not finish the mission Olodumare had assigned them, they tried to persuade Oshun to help them.
Oshun reportedly concurred and released her strong, lovely waters, giving the earth, humanity, and other animals new life. According to Yoruba tradition, Oshun, the goddess of life and fertility, would not have acted if humans did not exist.
According to Yoruba historical myth, Oshun was the wife of the thunder deity, Ṣàngó, during her earthly sojourn. Because of her beauty and sensuality, Olodumare is said to frequently refer to her as his favourite orisha. Oshun is portrayed as the goddess who not only grants life but also takes it, in yet another Yoruba tale.
Another Yoruba tale explains that when enraged, Oshun may flood the earth or withhold her waters, destroying crops and resulting in severe droughts. She becomes enraged with her followers and sends down rain, nearly flooding the world. Yet, once she has been appeased, Oshun saves the earth from destruction by calling back the waters.
Symbol of Oshun goddess
The Oshun goddess is related to fertility, wealth, and healing as the Orisha of fresh and delicious waters, such as rivers. She is said to bring prosperity and health to the sick and the destitute, as well as protect the rivers. She stands for beauty, marriage, harmony, ecstasy, passion, and pregnancy as the Orisha or goddess of love.
Oshun is also frequently represented as a young lady who is flirtatious, endearing, and coquettish. She typically wears golden clothing and jewellery and has a pot of honey around her waist. She is occasionally shown as a mermaid or a woman with a fishtail to reflect her position as a water goddess. She is occasionally depicted to be holding a mirror, while simultaneously taking in her attractiveness.
Her favourite foods are said to be honey, cinnamon, sunflowers, and oranges, and her traditional sacred birds are peacocks and vultures. Her colours are gold and amber.
Myth/story of the Oshun goddess
The Oshun goddess was one of 17 deities who were sent to earth by Olodumare, the Supreme or Lead God, according to the genesis tale. She was the only one of the 17 goddesses that could start populating the world, and she was also the only one who was female. When other deities realised that only Oshun can fertilise and populate the earth, her male counterparts started approaching her for assistance. At first, they tried to compete to complete the task given to them by Olodumare.
According to legend, the first encounter between Oshun and humans was at Osogbo (Oshogbo) in present-day Osun State, Nigeria. It is thought that the water goddess zealously guards that city, which is regarded as sacred. Oshun is said to have granted the people who flocked to her river permission to construct the city and made a pledge to take care of them, keep them safe, and answer their prayers if they worshipped her as required by performing the necessary prayers, sacrifices, and other ceremonies.
The Oshun festival, still observed by the Yoruba people today, was born out of that initial meeting between the Osogbo and Oshun people. Every year in August, followers of the Yoruba religious tradition and others visit the Oshun River to offer sacrifices, pay respects, and ask for a variety of things such as wealth, children, and better health.
Women in West African societies value Oshun particularly. Oshun is linked to ideas of femininity and the power of women, and she is frequently consulted by those who want children but may experience infertility. She is also well sought-after when there is a drought or extreme poverty.
Oshun is a significant figure outside of Africa and is highly revered as Oxum in Brazil and Ochun in Cuba, probably due to the effects of the transatlantic slave trade and the spread of Yoruba culture.
Oshun goddess’ twin
It was rumoured that the goddess got pregnant for Ṣàngó, the thunder deity, and gave birth to twins whom she named Taiwo and Kehinde
Oshun goddess’ number
Oshun is associated with the number five.
How to ask Oshun for help
Oshun is the ideal deity to call for assistance because she is the goddess of ardour, sweetness, and love. Before her portrait, place sweet honey of love/Oshun candle on your makeshift altar. Place a honey dish in front of it. Five days should be spent lighting the candle, putting it out whenever you need to leave it unattended and then lighting it again when you are back home.
Tell Oshun your desires aloud as the flame burns. Ask her to give you the passion, love, and happiness you want.