Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ozain/Osain: African Orisha of the Forest, Magical and Medicinal Plants

Ozain/Osain: African Orisha of the Forest, Magical and Medicinal Plants

Osain (also known as Ozain or Osanyin) is the orisha of wild plants, healing and magic. He is a powerful wizard, master of all spell craft and is found out in the wild, untamed areas of nature. Without Osain, none of the ceremonies in the religion can happen; it is his magic that is used to conjure the shrines of the orishas. Osain is commonly understood to be Shango's godfather who taught him how to spit fire and throw lightning. Osain's magic is so powerful that no one can unravel his spells. Consequently he is petitioned for any purpose where unconquerable magic is required.

Osain is also the Orisha of the forest, he owns the Omiero, a holy liquid consisting of many herbs, the liquid through which all saints and ceremonies have to proceed. Ozain is the keeper and guardian of the herbs, and is a natural healer.

His shrine can take various forms including a beaded gourd that hangs from the ceiling, or an iron cauldron full of his mysteries. It is considered taboo for women to walk under his gourd shrine. Osain has no dedicated priests, but every follower of the orishas calls upon Osain when conjuring "omiero", the magical herbal elixir used for consecrations and initiations. Osain's ritual numbers are 7 and 21. His necklace is of mixed colour beads. Animal sacrifice is used to propitiate Osain within the African Traditional Religions. Sacrifices for Osain include: he-goats, rams, roosters, quails, pigeons, guinea hens and all hunted animals. Altar offerings for Osain include candles, and rum.

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