Thanks for joining us for another Families’ Deity! We’re exploring deities that tie into families and family values, or who are important to the family unit or children in some way. This month, we are exploring another life-giving god, Osun
Who is Osun?
The Goddess Osun, also spelt Oshun, is an orisha (deity) of the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria.
Osun is the goddess of water, purity, fertility, and love. She is considered one of the most powerful orishas and not just goddess of the river, she is the river, the river Osun that was named after her.
In most of the stories about her she is seen as a saviour, a nurturer of humanity, a maintainer of spiritual balance and mother of sweet things. She is a central figure in the creation of humans and was one of the seventeen deities sent to Earth to create life. Osun was in fact the only female deity to be sent and after the sixteen male deities had failed to create life, they begged Osun to help them which she did and life was created on Earth.
Osun is described as very beautiful, but she could also be vengeful in causing floods or withholding water until she was appeased.
The city of Osogbo is sacred to her. Humans asked if they could build this city in her honour, and she agreed promising to protect them and provide for them if they worshipped her. This led to the Osun-Osogbo Festival which is practiced today and held every August in the Sacred Grove of Osun which is a forest near to the river and contains many shrines and artwork in Osuns honour. The scared grove is now recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Why is Osun one of our Family Deities?
Osun is important to women who are having trouble conceiving a baby, she is a concept of femininity and power of women, and she will often be sought in a drought. Worship of Osun has spread far including countries like Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and she has been incorporated into the religions of Santeria and Vodou.
She is included as a family deity because she is a goddess of life and love which is the embodiment of a family.
Sweet things are an ideal offering to Osun.
Osun is associated with rivers, water, the number 5, the colours yellow, white, gold and bronze, metals of gold and bronze, sweet things, and the peacock.