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Ochun

Oshun (pronounced [ɔʃún]) is a spirit-goddess (Orisha) who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She is worshipped also in Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, with the name spelled Oxum.



Oshun is beneficient and generous, and very kind. She does, however, have a horrific temper, though it is difficult to anger her. She is married to Chango, the god of thunder, and is his favorite wife because of her excellent cooking skills. One of his other wives, Oba, was her rival. They are the goddesses of the Ọṣun and Oba rivers, which meet in a turbulent place with difficult rapids.

In Santería, Oshun (sometimes spelled Ochún or Ochun) is an Orisha of love, maternity and marriage. She has been syncretized with the Catholic Saint: Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), Cuba’s patron saint.

She is associated with the color yellow, metals gold and copper, peacock feathers, mirrors, and anything of beauty, her favorable day of the week is Saturday and the number she is associated with is five. In one story, she had to become a prostitute to feed her children and the other Orishas removed her children from her home. Oshun went insane from grief and wore the same white dress every day; it eventually turned yellow.

According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because Oshun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction. Therefore she is omnipresent and omnipotent. Her power is represented in another Yoruba scripture which 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 the force of harmony. Harmony we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. Osun according to the ancients was the only female Irunmole amongst the 401 sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as “YeYe Cari yamori yeyeo” – the sweet mother of us all.

When the male Irunmole attempted to subjegate Oshun due to her femaleness she removed her divine energy, called ashe by the Yoruba, from the project of creating the world and all subsequent efforts at creation were in vain.

It was not until visiting with the Supreme Being, Olodumare, and begging Oshun pardon under the advice of Olodumare that the world could continue to be created. But not until Oshun had given birth to a son. This son became Elegua, the great conduit of ashe in the Universe and also the eternal and trickster.

Oshun is known as Ya-lorde- the mother of things outside the home, due to her business acumen. She is also known as Laketi, she who has ears, because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. 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.

Yoruba Fokelore

Yoruba use of Plants

The use of herbs and plants, called ewe in Yoruba, is of great importance. Herbs are picked for medicinal, and the spiritual powers they possess.The population can usually obtain herbs either by private practice or from the marketplace in town. In the Americas and the Caribbeans, Osain based practitioners are also directed to use herbs as medicine. Here the priest, as well as devotees alike gather herbs for medicine, baths, and religious artifacts. Because of the wide-spread practice of Osain in the New World, Nigerians and people from other African countries have begun to set up herbal businesses in increasing numbers. More and more indigenous herbs are now being made accessible to devotees here in the Americas. It is said that ewe (herbs) are for the “healing of Nations” and many health food stores provide them in powder, leaf, and capsule form. Adherents to the traditional practices of Osain are usually advised to use herbs as medicine before going to Western allopathic drugs for healing. There are many books written on the subject of herbology.

Therefore, researching the possibilities of herbal use is recommended. It is best that novices seek out divination before attempting to get and prepare herbal formulas. It is also advisable to rely on priests and qualified herbalists to begin the healing process before getting involved with the properties and powers of herbs yourself.

Ifa Related

Orunmila

Orunmila is an Irunmola and deity of destiny and prophecy. He is recognized as “ibi keji Olodumare” (second only to Olodumare (God)) and “eleri ipin” (witness to creation).

Orunmila is also referred to as Ifá (“ee-FAH”), the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom and the highest form of divination practice among the Yoruba people. In present-day Cuba, Orunmila is known as Orula, Orunla and Orumila.

Orunmila is not Ifa, but he is the one who leads the priesthood of Ifa and it was Orunmila who carried Ifa (the wisdom of Olodumare) to Earth. Priests of Ifa are called babalawo (the father of secrets)

Olodumare sent Orunmila to Earth with Oduduwa to complete the creation and organization of the world, to make it habitable for humans.

A woman will not be allowed to divine using the tools of IFA. Throughout Cuba and some of the other New world countries, Orula can be received by individuals regardless of gender. For men, the procedure is called to receive “Mano de Orula” and for women, it is called to receive “Kofa de Orula”. The same procedure exist in Yoruba land, with esentaye (birthing rites), Isefa (adolesants rites) and Itefa coming of age. Worshippers of the traditional religious philosophy of the Yoruba people all receive one hand of Ifa (called Isefa) regardless of which Orisa they may worship or be an Orisa Priest, it is that same Isefa that will direct all followers to the right path and their individual destines in life.

The title Iyanifa is in suspect since it is not used by either the Cuban or most of the West African practitioners of IFA.

Among West Africans, Orunmila is recognized as a primordial Irunmole that was present both at the beginning of Creation and then again amongst them as a prophet that taught an advanced form of spiritual knowledge and ethics, during visits to earth in physical form or through his disciples.
 
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