Oshun: the African Goddess of Love


Òsun, pronounced as Oshun is a major orisha as part of the Yoruba mythology and the patron of Cuba and also adored in the Afro-American cults. Oshún is the divinity of the river that runs in Nigeria. Òsun was the daughter of Nana Buruku, wife of Òrúnmílá (Orunla), Ògún, Òsoosi, and Aggayu, who was her real husband. Oshun was also the concubine of Shango. It is said that she lost her virginity to save her sister Oya.

Òsun had children with Oduduwa, Orunmila and Inle. With Oduduwa she had Olose (girl) with Orunmila had Paroye (girl) and with Inle had Ologun Ede (androgynous). Òsun is the one who takes care of the Ojubo, throne or place of worship of Oduduwa and Yewa. Òsun was called Iyalode, a title conferred to the one who occupies the most important place among all the women of the city.

The love of Òsun for the bronze, the most precious metal of the country Yorùbá in the old times, is mentioned in the greetings that are directed to her. In Cuba and Brazil, Òsun's followers wear yellow-gold glass bead necklaces and numerous bronze bracelets. The day of the week consecrated to her is Saturday and is greeted, as in Africa, by the expression Ore Yèyé O.

People make goats sacrifices although in Cuba it is customary to give goats goon Obuko Odan but it is not taboo to give chivas to Òsun and to offer a plate of mulukun, a mixture of onions, beans of beans, salt and shrimp. In Cuba people makes Òsínsín, a mixture of onions, tomatoes, capers, egg, salt and shrimp and of adum, corn flour mixed with honey of bees and sweet oil.

Her dance recalls the behavior of a vain and seductive woman who goes to the river to bathe adorned with necklaces. She waves her arms to make her bracelets flicker, and graciously contemplates herself with satisfaction in a mirror. The rhythm that accompanies her dances is called ijesá, name of a region of Africa, where the river Òsun flows.

Òsun raises her arms above her head to emphasize her charms. While dancing, she made voluptuous movements and asks men for sex with her hands outstretched and sudden movements of her hips. She asked for honey, showing her sweetness for sex and life. She imitated like rowing a small boat.

In Cuba, Oshun is the orisha of love, of marriage and motherhood. With religious syncretism Oshun is identified with the Patroness of Cuba, the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. Eternally cheerful, she announced her presence by the tinkling of bells, and by her five bracelets. She is also invoked to assist women in labor and love problems. Oshun, also called the African Venus had saved once alerting humanity to Olofin, so this powerful goddess is also referred to as the messenger of Olofin.

In addition to the preceding attributes, in Brazil's orishas of wealth, health, and life, the deity is syncretized in Bahia as Nostra Senhora das Candeias or Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, in southern Brazil as Nossa Senhora da Conceição. On the other hand in the center-east and southeast, she is associated sometimes with the name of Nossa Senhora or with Nossa Senhora Aparecida.