OSHUN

Oshun is the mythical and legendary Yoruba river goddess of the Oshun River. She is a water spirit and protector of children and consummate lover. She is small yet powerful. She is venerated not only in Nigeria but by millions of devotees around the world. Each year thousands of devotees gather at her sacred grove for the annual festival in Nigeria. She is an elegant deity who is known to have arms laced with brass bangles which make noise when she approaches.

 

In Yoruba cosmology as stated in the Holy Odu Ifa Scripture Ose Otura, we are told that she was the only female to accompany the powerful primordial spirits called Irunmole who descended to earth to make it habitable for human beings. The other spirits chose to exclude her from the activities because she was female. She then went to God to complain and was given her own power in the form of a little bird in a calabash which would allow her to do whatever she wanted. With the bird she spoiled the men’s works from a distance.

 

Puzzled at their new stroke of bad luck, they went to heaven to inquire with Ifa, the great oracle, the reason for their problems. Ifa told them that there was a woman whom they were not respecting who was now causing problems for them. They were told to go prostrate before the woman and from then on include her. Thus the equality and power of woman was established through the brave actions of Oshun. We greet her by saying Ore Yeye o! 

Click here to watch a documentary film on the international Oshun festival in Nigeria.