Goddess Goodness: Oshun

Goddess Oshun

Our April goddess is Oshun, ithe African Yoruba goddess of love, fresh waters, and fertility. She is a Divine Mother goddess, very connected to her own sensuality and sexuality. She is the most compassionate and loving of all the Yoruba goddesses, and seen as the savior of humanity. Oshun is a healer as well as a nurturer who cares for the sick, poor, and anyone in need of her kind and loving energy. She is one of the most powerful orishas, who are similar to angels, and retains some aspects of human nature as well.

One myth from the Yoruba tradition details her position in the Divine scheme of all creation; this myth tells of how the orishas were sent by Olodumare, the supreme deity, to populate the Earth. Oshun was the only female orisha out of the seventeen sent. The other orishas were all male, and were not able to populate the Earth on their own. Of course this required some help from Oshun! When the male orisha asked for her help, Oshun agreed, and used her power over the waters on Earth to bring all life to the land, humanity, plants, and animals. If she would not have beseeched the orisha, there would be no life on Earth. Other myths describe the sending of Oshun to the world in order to bring a missing sense of sweetness and love to the Earth.

However, when angered, Oshun can take away life just as freely as she gives it. Water has both a restorative and a destructive nature, and so Oshun would use her power to withhold water from the land, causing drought. In one myth, Oshun is infuriated by the people, and sends down torrential rain, almost causing a devastating flood. Yet once calmed, Oshun saved Earth by stopping the rainfall.

Legends tell of the first interaction between Oshun and humanity taking place in Osogbo, Nigeria. The city is still considered sacred, and it is believed that Oshun is the protector of it. She is said to have blessed the creation of the city, vowing to take care of, protect, and grant the wishes of those within Osogbo who worshipped her with offerings, prayers, and rituals. There is a festival devoted to Oshun, still practiced today by the Yoruba people. Every year, those who worship the Divine Mother goddess go to the Oshun river to honor her and ask for her blessings in terms of prosperity, health, and happiness. Osogbo is also home to the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, a beautiful protected UNESCO Heritage site in the wilderness, with many shrines and beautiful artwork dedicated to her.

Oshun is sacred to many African women. She is called upon by those wishing to start a family, and she she is very connected to feminine power. She is also called upon in times of strife and drought. With the African diaspora, Oshun’s legends and magic traveled with the Yoruba people to North and South America, where she is known as Oxum in Brazil and Ochún in Cuba.


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