Love, Beauty, Intimacy, Freshwater, Osun River, Wealth, Diplomacy
|Member of the Orisha|
|Other names||Ochún, Oxúm|
|Venerated in||Yoruba religion, Dahomey mythology, Vodun, Santería, Candomblé, Haitian Vodou|
|Region||Nigeria, Benin, Latin America, Haiti, Cuba|
|Ethnic group||Yoruba people, Fon people|
Oshun (known as Ochún or Oxúm in Latin America) also spelled Ọṣun, is an orisha, a spirit, a deity, or a goddess that reflects one of the manifestations of God in the Ifá and Yoruba religions. She is one of the most popular and venerated orishas. Oshun is the deity of the river and fresh water, luxury and pleasure, sexuality and fertility, and beauty and love. She is connected to destiny and divination.
During the life of the mortal Oshun, she served as queen consort to King Shango of Oyo. Following her posthumous deification, she was admitted to the Yoruba pantheon as an aspect of a primordial divinity of the same name.
She is the patron saint of the Osun River in Nigeria, which bears her name. The river has its source in Ekiti State, in the west of Nigeria, and passes through the city of Oshogbo, where Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, the principal sanctuary of the deity, is located. Oshun is honored at the Osun-Osogbo Festival, a two-week-long annual festival that usually takes place in August, at the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove on the banks of the river.
Oshun is syncretized with Our Lady of Charity, patron saint of Cuba, and Our Lady of Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil. In Trinidad she is associated with St. Philomena and the Hindu deity Ganga Mai or Mother Ganges.
According to the Ifa Literary Corpus, Ọhṣun was the only female Irunmole (primordial spirit) sent to assist Shango to create the world by Olodumare. The other spirits that were sent began the work and ignored Ọhṣun. Ọhṣun went to her partner Shango for guidance. Although the female spirits were tempted to take matters into their own hands, they knew nothing can be done without masculine leadership. Anything they attempt to do without the male spiritual leadership would fail. Shango forced the other spirits hand to respect Oshun as they would him. Once Oshun saw the power that Shango possessed, she honored him and dedicated to serve as his wife. Through her loyalty, the Gods granted her the powers of a Goddess. 
While still a mortal, Oshun is said to have gone to a drum festival one day and to have fallen in love with Shango. Since that day, Shango has been married to Oba, Oya, and Oshun, though Oshun is said to be his favourite. Other stanzas in the Ifa Literary Corpus say that she was also married to Orunmila, who later became the Orisha of Wisdom and Divination.
It is also said that Oshun was the first woman to be referred to as an Iyalode.
Ceremonies and Ritual Colors
Oshun is the orisha of the river. Her devotees leave her offerings and perform ceremonies at bodies of fresh water such as rivers, streams and canals.
She is associated with the colours gold/deep yellow in most of the diaspora and in Nigeria, white, yellow and green. In Trinidad, she is associated with the colour pink.
The abèbè is the ritual object most associated with Ọṣun. The abèbè is a fan in circular form. In Afro-Brazilian religion, it is made of brass or gold, sometimes with a mirror in the center. The abèbè (or abebé in Portuguese) is used in the rituals of Candomblé, Xangô do Nordeste, Xambá, Batuque, and Omolokô.
Oxum (Ọṣun in Portuguese) is a female orixá adopted and worshiped in all Afro-Brazilian religions. She is the orixá of the fresh water of rivers and waterfalls; of wealth and prosperity; of love; and of beauty. Followers seek help for romantic problems from Oxum; the orixá is also responsible for marriage and other relationships. As the orixá of financial life, she is also called the "Lady of Gold". This referred to copper at one time for being the most valuable metal of the time. Oxum is worshiped at rivers and waterfalls, and more rarely, near mineral water sources. She is a symbol of sensitivity and is identified by weeping.
The qualities or manifestations of Oxum include:
- Oxum-Apará, who is syncretized by Saint Lucy (Santa Luiza)
- Oxum-Pandá (Iyepòndàá or Ipondá), the mother of Logunedé, a boy orixá. Both dance to the sound of the ijexá rhythm, which takes its name from its region of origin.
- Oxum-Kare, who wears red and yellow, the color of gold. Oxum-Karé is an older, authoritarian manifestation of Oxum who is warlike and aggressive. Oxum-Kare lives with Oxóssi (Ọ̀ṣọ́ọ̀sì); offerings to Oxum-Kare must also include an offering to Oxóssi.
In Candomblé Bantu Oxum is called Nkisi Ndandalunda, the Lady of Fertility and Moon. Hongolo and Kisimbi have similarities with Oxum, and the three are often confused.
In Candomblé Ketu Oxum is the deity of fresh water; the patron of gestation and fecundity; and receives the prayers of women who wish to have children and protect them during pregnancy. Oxum also protects small children until they begin to speak; she is affectionately called "Mamãe" ("Mama") by her devotees.
Plants associated with Oxum in Brazil are aromatic, sweet, an often yellow, reflecting the qualities of the Orixá. They include mints (Lamiacaea). Oxum is associated with the folha-de-dez-réis (Hydrocotyle cybelleta), a plant of the pennywort family. Many species are brilliant yellow, reflecting Oxum's association with gold and wealth. She is also associated with folha-da-fortuna, or Kalanchoe pinnata.
Osun (Ozun) (not orisha Oshun) is a major Orichá (manifestation of a god) in the Santería religion of the Caribbean (Cuba and Trinidad) brought over by West African slaves during the transatlantic slave trade. Traditionally, Osun is a to the other Orichás, and he protects the orí (head) of Santería practitioners. He is syncretized with Saint John the Baptist (Elijah, Ilesha, Ilungu) by the fact that out of vodun he came forth to know and accept Ethiopian Christianity and Jesus as one greater than he, hence the book of John. The same book that spurred a memorable apocalyptic movie entitled, "The Book of Eli". The Strong's Hebrew Concordance lists #7564 as "Rishah" meaning wickedness.
Violín for Ochun
A violín is a type of musical ceremony in Regla de Ocha performed for Ochún. It includes both European classical music and Cuban popular music.
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