Monday, May 26, 2014

Oshun: West African Goddess

Gods and goddesses play significant roles in various mythologies because it is believed that they are powerful and omnipotent. For example, Oshun, a Yoruban (Nigeria) goddess, is responsible for wealth, romance, beauty and ardor. She is credited with being benevolent, kind-hearted and giving. At other times, she has a bad temper that is often kept in check. Unleashed it is said to be a source of great chaos and destruction.

Her love stories are many. Here are two:
·One of the more common stories about her involves her love for king-dancer Shango, the god of thunder and lightning. The day she met him a drum festival, she became his wife.
·Aj√©-Shaluga, a river spirit, fell in love with her one day when she went there to clean her dress. He offered money and gems he collected from the bottom of the river. She used his offering to set free her children.
·A representative of unseen motherly love, she was the only female of 16 Yoruban spirits sent to create the world. As such, she is also revered as "Yeye" - the great mother.

Oshun's presence is worshiped in various countries. In Brazil she is known as Osun or Oxum. In Cuba her name is also  Oshun Ibu Anya—patron of dancing and the Anya drums.
These stories and more, based upon the Yoruban mythology are folktales that reflect the basic beliefs of the Yoruban people and have been passed down from generation to generation.

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