Osun (pronounced O-SHUN) Is the Yoruba divinity of love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She literally is the personification of beauty and sexuality. As the guardian of Oshogbo, Which she retains, to this very day, she holds a unique place in the pantheon of Yoruba orisa. Yoruba mythology tells how the town of Oshogbo was founded and survived due to the protection of Osun. The Oshogbo is the last and Largest Orisha grove still standing in Yoruba land (Now known as Nigeria) today.
Importance in Yoruba culture
According to Yoruba elders versed in ifa, Osun is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because Osun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction. Therefore, she is believed to be omnipresent and omnipotent. Her power is represented in another Yoruba proverb which reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Osun, as well as her followers.
Osun is the force of harmony. Harmony which we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. She, according to the ancients, was the only female Irunmole amongst the original 16 sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as “Yeye” - the great mother of us all. When the male Irunmole attempted to subjegate Osun due to her femaleness, she removed her divine energy (called ase by the Yoruba) from the project of creating the world and all subsequent efforts at creation were in vain. It was not until visiting with the Supreme Being, Olodumare, and begging for Osun’s pardon (as advised by Olodumare) that the world could continue to be created. But not before Osun had given birth to a son. This son became Esu/Elegba, the great conduit of ase in the Universe, the eternal and infernal trickster.
Osun is known as Iyalode, the “(explicitly female) chief of the market.” She is also known as Laketi, she who has ears, because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. When she possesses her followers, she dances, flirts and then weeps- because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could be.
Osun, for all her beauty, sexuality, and wealth, arouses distrust in many Western women. For Osun men, who reflect her energy, the path is somewhat easier. In one sense, the very power of her movement for quintessential femininity could be seen as an impediment to the movement for women’s equality. Not only is this not true, but (seriously) Osun would never give up her dominance and settle for equality! Osun is an energy force focused on the present and intimately connected and comfortable with all sensual pleasures. If you were forced to give a one-word description of the energy quality of Osun and her children, it would be sensuous.
In Yoruba mythology contains reference after reference to the beauty of Osun, but beauty is often culturally or societally defined. Her children can be short or tall, skinny or fat, young or old, fair or dark, but they will all have a tangible sensuality that often transcends the current standard of beauty or attractiveness. Those in touch with that energy, regardless of their body style, carry themselves and behave in a manner befitting the most beautiful movie stars. If you have ever been at a party where an overweight man or woman, for example, acts as if he or she were the most handsome or beautiful creature there, walks about exuding charm and the absolute confidence that you will be smitten by those charms, you have been in the presence of a child of Osun totally in touch with his or her orisa energy. That energy, that sensuality, is the core and essence of Osun and her children.
This sensuality is not a casual or hedonistic energy. It helps Osun and her children accomplish the single most important task in the life of Ifa devotees: conceiving and bearing children. The magical moment of conception is made more probable when both participants reach full sexual expression.
Osun’s sensuality epitomizes the powerful, sexual female that Ifa extols. It is through this transcendent sexuality that conception can take place and our Ori called from heaven to share its next journey with the newly created fetus. In the philosophy of Ifa, children are the greatest single blessing that people can achieve. Though Osun is more than just a conceiver and deliverer of babies, it is this one aspect that places her in a position of prominence in the lives of her children and of all Ifa devotees. And though all orisa can help women who are having trouble conceiving, Osun more than any other is capable of giving children to the childless.
The sensuality of Osun also offers us an opportunity for transcendence, a chance to be open to the world of spiritual energy through orgasm. During orgasm we experience pure feeling, and afterward we are better able to cope with our routine responsibilities. That, in great measure, is what the world of spiritual energy is all about—it replenishes our energy.
It might seem that, because of her obvious and overwhelming femininity, Osun would have no male devotees. But that’s not true. There are many male omo Osun. For all her abounding femininity, Osun does carry a male energy component, who is known as Ikoodi Osun.
He is the messenger of the male sexual energy necessary to complete the act of conception. Male omo Osun represent the same sexual and sensual intensity in male form that daughters of Osun represent in female form. To put it simply, male Osuns are usually quite sensual and are uniquely aware of and responsive to female sensual needs and desires. The true male lover, as opposed to the performer, will likely be a child of Osun.
Osuns Sensual energy
The sensual energy of Osun is not limited to sex or conception; this same sense of total involvement is what provides Osun’s children with the road map to wealth and love. Ifa understands that money is a necessity for fully exploring and appreciating the beauty and spiritual This sensuality is not a casual or hedonistic energy. It helps Osun and her children accomplish the single most important task in the life of Ifa devotees: conceiving and bearing children. The magical moment of conception is made more probable when both participants reach full sexual expression.
The sensual energy of Osun is not limited to sex or conception; this same sense of total involvement is what provides Osun’s children with the road map to wealth and love. Ifa understands that money is a necessity for fully exploring and appreciating the beauty and spiritual prayers to even hope for her forgiveness. Her children have much the same trait. They are easily offended, and once genuinely injured, they will cross you off their list forever.
Osun both loves her children and provides them with the finest of everything: beautiful clothing, fine food, vintage wine, and colorful jewelry. Their love of fine things has a certain down side as well. Osun men and women must be careful not to overindulge, as extra weight or portliness is always a risk. Osun is intimately acquainted with and adept at witchcraft. Her children have an almost instinctive ability to work freely in this area as well. Those in touch with their energy will find themselves drawn toward spells and ebos designed to strongly influence the behavior of others. With all the natural allure and sensuality of Osun, witchcraft seems almost superfluous.
Those who cannot handle flirtatious behavior had better find a mate other than an omo Osun. Though it is not imperative for Osuns to act out the flirtations, they do thrive on constant admiration and attention. In Ifa mythology Osun was originally married to Orunmila but was attracted to and married Sango. In so doing she left Orunmila and took Sango away from his original wife, Oya. It was said Sango built her a glorious brass palace where she bore him the blessing of twins. Since that time brass has been the special metal most associated with Osun. Her children should wear brass bracelets to help connect with her energy. In the same context, children of Osun will seldom get along with children of Oya. In the visceral recesses of time, the injury and hurt felt by Sango’s loyal wife Oya at losing him to Osun has not diminished or faded away. It is an undercurrent that almost invariably will strain any relationship between these two powerful orisa.
Children of Osun (People who Osun is the Orisha of the their head /Basically people born with predominantly Osun energy)
Osun’s heightened sense of life creates a number of idiosyncratic traits in her children. One of the most perplexing to me is what can be called the “vote syndrome.” Osun’s children, perhaps because of their sensitivity about how other people view them, will invariably ask a host of people their opinion about something the omo Osun is considering doing. They may ask four or five or twenty people the same question,
“What do you think about … ?” After they have completed their poll, they will do whatever they want or feel is right regardless of the opinions the others expressed. Why then take the vote? Only Osun and her children can answer that question. Osuns favor bright colors, music, dance, and excitement. An omo Osun, tired from the everyday workplace, will find her energy replenished by going out and having a good time. While other orisa seek peace or seclusion as a means of recharging, Osuns can play or dance into the wee hours of the night and awaken refreshed the next morning. For those living with or loving an Osun, understanding this is extremely important. If you try and fetter Osuns you will not only drain their energy, you will create a situation they will eventually leave.
In the workplace as well, Osuns need excitement or, at the very least, people contact. To place an Osun in a cubicle running a computer for forty hours a week would be the equivalent of an emotional death sentence. When Osuns do not understand this energy or attempt to exist in an inappropriate atmosphere, they become emotionally stressed and physically ill. The worlds of fashion, cosmetics, acting, photography, television, public relations, hairdressing, or modeling are environments in which omo Osun would thrive and grow Children of Osun will love her waters and find themselves able to fill up with her inexhaustible energy by swimming, sailing, or even soaking in a perfumed bath.
In Africa her followers wear necklaces of brass beads and favor the color yellow. The peacock is symbolic of her beauty and bearing, and five peacock feathers adorn the thrones of Osun. Mirrors and fans, along with shells and brass combs, are among the symbols that cater to and help connect her children with her. Fish are her divine messengers, and the catfish is of particular importance as an ebo or offering. It is believed that the tentacles on each side of the catfish mouth are charged with energy similar to that of the orisa. Honey, both as a symbol for sexuality and for her appetite for it, is a regular offering to Osun. Her children will often go to the water’s edge and slowly pour honey into the lake or stream while asking Osun for the favor they seek.
Osun Oshogbo Sacred Grove
The Osun-Osogbo or Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove is a sacred forest along the banks of the Oshun River just outside the city of Osogbo,Osun State, Nigeria.
The Osun-Osogbo Grove is among the last of the sacred forests which usually adjoined the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanization. Every year Osun-Osgogbo festival is celebrated, Osun- worshippers come from all walks of life to celebrate this day.
In recognition of its global significance and its cultural value, the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
Carried to the new world during the middle passage by descendants of West African diasporic faiths like Santería/Lukumi ( In the Caribbean) and Candomblé (In brazil) this divinity developed in the Americas. In Cuban Santería, Oshun (sometimes spelled Ochún or Ochun) is an Orisha of love, maternity and marriage. She has been syncretized with Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), Cuba’s patroness. In Cuban Lukumi tradition, Oshun has many roads, or manifestations. In Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, She is worshipped with the name spelled Oxum.