Oshun is the Yoruba Goddess of sweet water and fertility. This goddess even has a river named after her in Nigeria. She is known to be kind and benevolent but when angered she would just as easily flood the Earth or destroy crops with drought. However, her natural state is said to be one of generosity and abundance. As such she is sought after during times of drought or severe poverty.
This Goddess is said to be the cosmic force of water, moisture and attraction; these are also seen as feminine traits. She is also the model for the power of women in terms of having both great strength and loving kindness.
Oshun is considered protector of the poor, mother of all orphans and healer of the sick.
Associated Aspects: Water, Fertility, Rivers, Love, Sensuality, Creation, Prosperity, Song, Music, Dance, Agriculture, Mysticism, Beauty
Appearance: Oshun is depicted as a beautiful, feminine, young woman adorned in golden jewelry, brass bracelets and beads. She is seen holding a decorative mirror or an elaborate fan or beautiful pottery filled with sweet water. Oshun is sometimes depicted as a mermaid with a fish tail.
Personality: Charismatic, Benevolent, Generous, Has A Contagious Laugh.
Animal Associations: Peacocks , Parrots, Vultures, Fresh Water Fish, Reptiles That Come To The River.
Symbols: Rivers, Mirrors, Honey, Oshun Grove.
Creation Of the Earth: Oshun was one of 7 major Orishas (divine spirits) sent by her father, Obatala to revive and populate the earth. Of the major Orishas she was the youngest and only female. Yet when her brothers failed to bring life back to the Earth, Oshun brought powerful, sweet waters which revived the planet. She is also said to have brought agriculture, songs and divination using cowrie shells to her people.
The Osogbo settlers: The first interaction with Oshun is said to have been in Osogbo in Nigeria. The city is considered sacred and is protected by Oshun herself. The Osogbo settlers first encountered Oshun when they tried to settle in her forest without permission. She was generous enough to find them a new settlement just outside the forest and formed a good relationship with the people of Osogbo.
Today Osogbo still exists near the Oshun Sacred Grove, a forest that still contains several Shrines, artwork and a few palaces to Honor Oshun. The forest was been declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2005.
The Ibo-Oshun festival is still practiced today; every year Oshun devotees, usually Women dance for the Goddess and one of them is chosen as her favorite. Once chosen, the woman serves the people of her community as a healer and fertility advisor.
This is just a short summary of the mythology behind the Goddess, below are some resources for further reading.
‘Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You’ - by Anne Shen.