Oshun, also spelled, Osun, Oxun, Oshoun, Oxum, Ochun, Yeye is the West African Orisha Mother of Fresh water fish and birds.
The Yoruba goddess Oshun is also known as. Her name is synonymous with transformation.
She rules the rivers that sustain life. Her realm also contains the aspects of love, flirtation, sensuality, beauty and the arts. Her priestesses dance to the rhythms of the streams, rivers, lakes and waterfalls in which She rules, and that carry Her voice with the sound of the waters.
As a Yoruba Orisha She dwells within the sweet or fresh waters (as opposed to the salt waters of Her older sister Yemaya). Because of Her attributes in healing the sick, bringing fertility and prosperity, and answering the cries of the needy — Oshun is well loved by her devotees all over the world. During the
African Diaspora, when millions of Africans were transported to the Americas and the Caribbean Islands in the Atlantic slave trade, She went with Her people. Like them, She acquired new names: Oxum in Brazil, Ochun in Cuba, and Erzulie-Freda-Dahomey in Haiti. In the Brazilian religion of Candomblé, which retains close ties with the Yoruba religion, as well as in Cuban Santeriá, She is called Oxum. But everywhere She went She inspired sensuality, sexual attraction, love, fertility, and healing in Her devotees.
As a goddess of love, Oshun is depicted as a beautiful, charming and sensual young woman. In some tales She is said to be a mermaid, with a beautiful tail of a fish. She is also a goddess with great vanity and is often seen adorned with gold jewelry, mirrors, elaborate fans, brass bracelets and beautiful pottery filled with sweet water or shinny river stones or gems. In fact, Oshun loves all things that glitters and that are
Oshun is the river and she whispers to all living things, and animals naturally hear Her, without any effort at all. Her
favorite are birds like parrots, vultures and peacocks, but She also has command over fish, the water fowl,
and the reptiles that come to Her river banks. In fact, because we are all dawn to Her sweet water to drink
She is the medium that connects all worlds, from the largest animal, to the arid climate vegetable, the
smallest mineral, and we can not resist Her call. According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun is the “unseen
mother present at every gathering”, because, in Yoruba, Oshun is the cosmological forces of water,
moisture, and attraction. Therefore She is omnipresent and omnipotent. Yoruba scribes reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun , as
well as Her followers.
Oshun is forever honored in Nigeria with an annual ceremony called Ibo-Osun. A feast of yams begins in
the evening, then women dance for the goddess, hoping to be chosen as one of Her favorites. Those who
are selected are granted new names which include that of the goddess. Oshun is especially consulted by
those who wish to have children, for She encourages this womanly activity. When She rides or mounts
upon Her dancers (meaning possession by the lwa)they move with Oshun’s swimming motions, and sway
with the movement of the water. When She possesses Her followers She dances, flirts and then weeps-
because no one can love Her enough and the world is not as beautiful as She knows it could be. These
women then take new names in honor of Oshun and are thereafter becomes consult healers.
Oshun’s unique combination of beauty, love and courage, has empowered millions. Her dancing spirit and
bold selfless heart will energize and renew you. Oshun is the force of harmony. Harmony we see as beauty,
feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. Oshun’s unique combination of beauty, love and courage has
empowered millions. Like fresh water Her dancing spirit and bold selfless heart energizes and renews. Like
the other Orisha, Oshun has a number associated with Her which is the number 5. Her favorite colors are
gold, bass, yellow or amber. Offerings to Oshun include sweet things such as honey, mead, white wine,
oranges, sweets or pumpkins.
In Nigeria Osogbo is the venue of the annual Osun-Osogbo festival along the River Osun. The festival is
centered around the sacred grove of the river goddess Ọsun. Osogbo was founded around early 18th
century by hunters from a nearby village which was suffering from famine. The hunters decided to move a
few of their family members to the lower terraces of a nearby river, the river Osun. One of the hunters,
Larooye, became the first King of Osogbo, as one of the initial builders of the small settlement. Since then
Osogbo has increased in population largely due migration from other Yoruba towns and the movement to