What You Need To Know About Oshun: African Spirituality

According to most sacred stories or patakis, Oshún or Ochún is the youngest of all Orichás. While Olodumare was sitting back and contemplating his work after he finished creating the earth, he saw that something was amiss: love and sweetness, the two things which will make life worth living. He decided to create Oshún who was sent to the earth to cultivate these qualities in other people.

As the Orichá of love, Oshún’s sensual and seductive power portrays the feminine ideal. She is the one who rules over the rivers by nature. Originally, all of the earth’s waters belonged to Yemaya, the older sister or mother, in some stories, of Oshún. One day, while Ogun hotly pursues Oshún across the forests and fields, she accidentally fell into a river where whirlpools dragged her away. Oshún was then taken by Yemaya under her protection and was given the rivers to serve as her own kingdom. Since then, Oshún was in charge of the rivers and Yemaya took care of the oceans.

Oshún and Yemaya have a close relationship and they usually work together, particularly in issues concerning marriage, motherhood, and romance. Oshún is a sensual and seductive Oricha who ensures the conception of babies. She promotes fertility and inspires sensual love. When her job is finished, she will lose interest and hand the child over to her sister who is more maternal by nature.

Of all female Orichas, Oshún is said to be the most beautiful. She exudes all characteristics and traits associated with the fresh and flowing water. Oshún is sparking, lively, refreshing and vivacious. Everyone finds it hard to resist her graceful dancing, seductive laugh and her lips which taste like honey.

Oshún has a lush and womanly figure complimented with full hips suggesting fertility and eroticism. She loves perfumes, specifically sandalwood and vetiver, silks, mirrors and fans, all sorts of jewelry particularly amber and coral, brass and gold. Oshún also wears some golden bracelets which create seductive jingles with her every move and honey is her favorite treat. Sunflower is the flower she likes the most.

Despite being young and frivolous at times, Oshún is no doubt an extremely powerful Oricha. There are also instances wherein while the rest of the Orichas fail, Oshún still manages to triumph, often with the use of her sweetness and feminine wiles to defeat all her enemies.

Gold and yellow are her colors, and number 5 is her number and all multiples of 5. Saturday is her day o the week. She is being syncretized with Virgin of Caridad de Cobre, Cuba’s patroness. This is the reason why Oshún is dear to the hearts of Cubans. They celebrate her feast on the 8th of September as a major holiday. Her symbols are vulture and peacock.

Oshún helps with fertility problems and protects against diseases in lower stomach and intestines, as well as issues with female reproductive organs, blood-related conditions, and hemorrhages. Some people also call her Oshún Yalorde or queen.

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