Oshun is the Yorùbá Orisha (Deity) of the sweet or fresh waters (as opposed to the salt waters of Yemaya). She is widely loved, as She is known for healing the sick and bringing fertility and prosperity, and She especially watches over the poor and brings them what they need. As Orisha of love, Oshun is represented as a beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman. In some tales She is said to be a mermaid, with a fish's tail.
The Yorùbá clans inhabit parts of western central Africa, in
present-day Nigeria. Oshun is the Goddess of the river of the same name,
and She is especially worshipped in river-towns. During Her yearly
festival, She is said to choose one or more women dancers to descend
into (much like participants in Vodou ceremonies may be "mounted" or
"possessed" by a Lwa). These women then take new names in honor of Oshun
and are thereafter consulted as healers.
Oshun was taught
divination with cowrie shells by Obatala, the first of the created
Orishas, and then She brought the teaching to humans. She was at one
time the wife of Shango, the Orisha of storms, as was Oya, the Orisha of
the winds and tempests. Oshun is also said to be the mother of the
birds or fishes.
With the African diaspora, Oshun was brought
to the Americas, and adopted into the pantheons that branched out of the
African traditions. In the Brazilian religion of Candomblé, which
retains close ties with the Yorùbá religion, as well as in Cuban
Santeriá, She is called Oxum. In Haitian Vodou She is an inspiration for
Erzulie or Ezili, also a Deity of water and love.
the other Orishas, has a number associated with Her—five; a color—yellow
or amber; and a metal—gold or bronze. The peacock and the vulture are
sacred to Her. Offerings to Oshun include sweet things such as honey,
mead, white wine, oranges, sweets, or pumpkins, as well as perfume.
Oshun in a reading indicates sweetness and good cheer, beauty and flowing joy.
Alternate spellings: Oxun, Osun, Oshoun, Oxum, Ochun.
Titles: Oshun Ana, of luxury and love; Oshun Telargo, as the modest
one; Oshun Yeye Moro, as the coquette; Oshun Yeye Kari, "Mother of
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