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Veve of Ogoun
Honored in
Yoruba religion, Dahomey mythology, Santería, Haitian Vodou, Candomblé, Folk Catholicism
Attributes Machete, rum, tobacco, sabre, iron, metal tools
Patronage War, soldiers, engineers, mechanics, smithing, crafts, strength, military housing, train tracks, hunting, fire, health, technology

Ogun or Ogoun (also spelled Oggun or Ogou; known as Ogún or Ogúm in Latin America) is an Orisha and Loa, who is a warrior and is seen as a powerful spirit of metal work.[1]

Mythical Ogun[edit]

In Yoruba mythology, Ogun is a primordial Orisha who first appeared as a hunter named Tobe Ode. He is said to be the first Orisha to descend to the realm of Ile Aiye, "Earth", to find suitable place for future human life. In commemoration of this, one of his praise names is Osin Imole or the "first of the primordial Orisha to come to Earth". He is celebrated in places like Ekiti, Oyo, and Ondo States. He is believed by his followers to have wo ile sun, to have disappeared into the earth's surface instead of dying, in a place named Ire-Ekiti. Throughout his earthly life, he is thought to have fought for the people of Ire thus is known also as Onire.

In Dahomey mythology, Gu is the vodun of war and patron deity of smiths and craftsmen. He was sent to earth to make it a nice place for people to live, and he has not yet finished this task.

In Santería and Palo, Ogún is syncretized with Saint Peter.

In Haitian Vodou, Ogoun is syncretized with St. Jacques Majeur (St. James the Greater) in his incarnation as Santiago Matamoros (St. James the Moorslayer).

In Candomblé, Ogúm is syncretized with Saint George or Saint Sebastian.[2]

In all his incarnations, Ogun is a fiery and martial entity. He can be aggressively masculine much like his brother Shango. He is also associated with blood, and so is often called on to heal diseases of the blood.


Ogun comes to mount people in various aspects of his character, and the people who venerate him are quite familiar with these aspects.

His possessions can sometimes be violent. Those mounted by him are known to wash their hands in flaming rum without suffering from it later. They dress up in green and black, wave a sabre or machete, chew a cigar, and demand rum in an old phrase Gren mwe fret, "my testicles are cold". Often, this rum is first poured on the ground, then lit and, finally, the fumes generated by this are allowed to pervade the peristyle. The sword, or much more commonly called the machete, is Ogun's weapon and he often does strange feats of poking himself with it, or even sticking the handle in the ground, then mounting the blade without piercing his skin.

Ogun is the lascivious Orisha; one that would take multiple enclosures to the battle-front; some filled to the brim with gunpowder; pockets full of miracles; allowances of wine and others sealed-tight in polished minerals.

King of Ire,
Orphan's shield,
Landlord of terraced hills.


  1. ^ Sandra T. Barnes (1997). Africa's Ogun: Old World and New (2 Sub edition ed.). Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-33251-6. Retrieved 10-04-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ Matthias Röhrig Assunção (2005). Capoeira: The History of an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art. London: Routledge. p. 39. ISBN 0-7146-5031-5. Retrieved 10-04-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]