Saint: Our Lady of Charity (La Caridad del Cobre), Cuba's patron Saint.
Day of the Week: Saturday. It is the day that lovers must act if they want their love returned.
Colors and Collars (Ilekes):
Coral and amber. The collar is strung with yellow and red beads. Amber and coral are to be used if the Santero has the money. The collar is made up of five amber beads followed by five coral beads. Then, one amber bead alternates with one coral bead five times. The pattern is repeated to obtain the desired length.
Neutered or female goat, white chickens, sheep, female calf, female pig, female rabbit. Oshun does not like any other type of bird. Her sacrifices should be made next to rivers or other sources of flowing sweet water.
Ochin-Ochin (spinach with shrimp) and pumpkins. Her fruit is the lucuma. All of her food should be liberally garnished with honey. Oshun drinks chamomille tea. The water for the tea, and all water used in a ceremony for Oshun, should be river water.
All offerings to Oshun must be extremely clean and well prepared. She will not enter a dirty house.
Rose, sunflowers, Indian lotus, morasun, alambrilla, frescura, cucaracha, hierba nina, arabito, mazorquilla, paraguita morada, hierba fina, ale and female ferns, creeping crowfoot, purslane, oranges and orange leaves, papaya, amber, anise seed and flower, peppergrass, marigold, sow thistle, river weeds, seaweed, white hamelias, plantain, vervain, lantana, purple grapes, maidenhair fern, rosemary, wild lettuce.
Copper is Oshun's metal and she is sometimes represented by a gourd crowned by festive feathers and filled with copper pennies. She also loves gold and her chief ornaments consist of a golden crown with five points. From the points, hang five rays, five spears or five arrows. Oshun also owns two oars, a bell, and five bracelets. She loves fans made of peacock feathers.
Oshun is now married to Chango. Her first husband was Orunmila.
Oshun was the most breathtaking, absolutely beautiful maiden in the region when she was a young girl. Hundreds of suitors would come seeking to marry her. But, the result would always be the same.
"marry me," gasped or shouted, or whispered the suitor.
And Oshun would turn her back and walk away from the young man. Their last sight of Oshun would be her exquisite hips swinging back and forth, disappearing into her mother's house.
More and more suitors showed up at Oshun's house. They brought mountains of gifts. Their horses trampled the garden. Finally, after seeing her rose bushes eaten by a camel, Oshun's mother rushed out of the house shouting, "That's enough!"
The serenaders stopped playing in mid chord. The duelists dropped their swords.
"You get out of my garden right now!" shouted Oshun's mother, "and don't come this way again."
A brave suitor spoke up. "We're in love with your daughter."
"That's right," said another. "We're here to win her hand."
"You're here making my life miserable," grumbled Oshun's mother. However, she realized that they were right in wooing her daughter, since she was the greatest beauty in the region.
"You're in the right," she told the surprised suitor. "But," she added, raising her voice to be heard by the crowd of suitors. "This madness has got to stop."
"But, we want to marry your daughter," they wailed.
"Quiet!" shouted Oshun's mother. "I have determined a fair way for all of you to compete for my daughter's hand without tearing around in my flowers and vegetables."
The crowd settled down.
"My daughter's name is secret. Only I know it. The one who finds out what her name is will have proven that he has the cunning to win my daughter's hand in marriage. His skill will melt my daughter's heart and will win my approval. He will be her husband."
Orunmila was in the crowd of suitors. He is the god of oracles and can see the future.
"This should be easy," he said to himself, concentrating.
But, no matter what he did or how many times he threw the coconuts or rattled the cowrie shells, Orunmila was unable to find out the name of the most beautiful girl in the region.
Orunmila's other attribute is wisdom. He knew when to call for help. He went out in search of Elegua and found the trickster Orisha. Even though he was only Orunmila's porter, Elegua had taught him all the sciences and secrets of divination.
"Elegua, old friend, you must help me," cried Orunmila, seizing Elegua by the shoulders.
"Do you need money?" asked Elegua.
"I'm in love and I need your help," said Orunmila.
"Even worse," said Elegua.
"Please help me find the name of the most beautiful girl in the region," pleaded Orunmila. "She has won the hearts of all the men, but I want her only for myself. I want her for my wife."
"And what do you need me for?" asked Elegua.
"Only you, Elegua, who is such a wily trickster can find out the secret of her name."
Elegua smiled modestly. "I'll try," he said.
He went directly to Oshun's mother's house. He stayed there for days. Some days, he disguised himself as an old man. Other days, he maintained his surveillance in the aspect of a small child. He spent days acting the fool in the local markets, hoping that a loose word would reveal the secret. Or, he pretended to be asleep in Oshun's doorway, the better to hear what went on inside.
Patience always has its rewards. After many days of patient waiting, Elegua, dozing in the doorway, heard an argument inside.
Oshun's mother, who was always very careful never to say her daughter's name aloud, was very angry. Oshun had knocked over a fresh pot of Omiero while trying out a new and exciting dance step.
"Oshun, look what you've done!" shouted the mother.
Elegua heard. "Oshun, Oshun," he said to himself, "That Oshun is going to cost you a daughter, dear lady. That Oshun will turn a daughter into a wife."
Elegua didn't waste any time in getting back to Orunmila's house.
"Well?" asked Orunmila anxiously.
"This has not been easy," said Elegua.
"What have you found out?"
"I had to spend weeks in the most uncomfortable positions," said Elegua.
"What is her name?"
"Weeks and weeks I spent wearing itchy beards and a small boy's body," said Elegua. "I'm all cramped.
"Please?" pleaded Orunmila.
"Her name is Oshun."
Orunmila ran to Oshun's house. He knocked on the door. she opened it.
"You are going to be my wife because now I know your name," he told her.
"What is this? What is this?" asked the mother, appearing behind Oshun.
"Your name is Oshun," said Orunmila, pointing his finger at her. "And now you are mine."
The two of them were married and were happy for some time but...
Men kept making offers and improper advances to Oshun, even now that she was a married woman. She paid no attention to any of them.
One day, at a party, she glanced at the drummer, who was able to pull heavenly rhythms out of his instrument. Oshun was smitten. She was transfixed by love. She kept looking at the handsome drummer and saying to herself, "He will be mine."
The miraculous drummer was none other than Chango.
"Chango, do you see her?" asked the other Orishas at the party. "Oshun, the most beautiful of all is trying to flirt with you."
"So?" asked Chango, concentrating on a specially difficult passage.
"Make love to her," said the Orishas. "She is beautiful and wants you."
Chango smiled at his friends and replied, "I have more women than I know what to do with. They throw themselves at me."
"Braggart," thought the other Orishas.
"Besides," said Chango, counterpointing his decision with the beat of the drums. "I'm not ready for any more complications right now."
That was what Chango said, but, who can resist Oshun's enchantments? Who can say no to her grace and her flirtatious ways? Who can let her walk away after seeing her hips swaying? Who can refuse the invitation of her moist fleshly lips?
Chango, the great womanizer, the great conqueror could not resist. He became interested in her. Oshun, for her part, became colder as Chango grew warmer. She wanted to teach him a lesson for having slighted her on their first meeting.
It became too much for Chango. He waited for Orunmila to leave his house one day, went to the door and knocked. When Oshun answered, Chango burst in.
"If you don't give me your love," said Chango, grabbing her arms, "I'll go off to war and never return."
Oshun's heart melted. "Don't go," she said. "I'll love you forever."
"Forever?" asked Chango, a little taken aback.
"I'll be with you all your life," said Chango. "I'll be your wife."
On that day, she left Orunmila's house and went to live with Chango. Their love produced the Ibeyi.
Oshun is the most beautiful Orisha. She is sexy, flirtatious and happy. As goddess of rivers, she loves to bathe naked in natural springs.
As Chango's wife, she is understanding of the difficulties in love and marriage. She also helps those with money problems, since she controls the purse strings in Chango's household. But, the petitioner should beware, Oshun can take money away as easily as she bestows it.
Oshun loves parties and celebrations. No one has ever seen her cry. When Oshun takes over the body of a believer during a "golpe de Santo", she laughs continuously and puts on the airs of a distinguished society lady. Her arrival is always greeted with the words, "yeye dari yeyeo'.
From: hereOshun is the Yoruban Orisha (deity) of the sweet or fresh waters (as opposed to the salt waters of Yemaya). She is widely loved, as She is known for healing the sick and bringing fertility and prosperity, and She especially watches over the poor and brings them what they need. As Orisha of love, Oshun is represented as a beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman. In some tales She is said to be a mermaid, with a fish's tail.
The Yoruba clans inhabit parts of western central Africa, in present-day Nigeria. Oshun is the goddess of the river of the same name, and She is especially worshipped in river-towns. During Her yearly festival, She is said to choose one or more women dancers to descend into (much like participants in Vodou ceremonies may be "mounted" or "possessed" by a lwa). These women then take new names in honor of Oshun and are thereafter consulted as healers.
Oshun was taught divination with cowrie shells by Obatala, the first of the created gods, and then She brought the teaching to humans. She was at one time the wife of Shango, the storm god, as was Oya, the goddess of the winds and tempests. Oshun is also said to be the mother of the birds or fishes.
With the African diaspora, Oshun was brought to the Americas, and adopted into the pantheons that branched out of the African traditions. In the Brazilian religion of Candomblé, which retains close ties with the Yoruban religion, as well as in Cuban Santeriá, She is called Oxum. In Haitian Vodoun She is an inspiration for Erzulie or Ezili, also a goddess of water and love.
Oshun, like the other Orisha, has a number associated with Her--five; a color--yellow or amber; and a metal--gold or bronze. The peacock and the vulture are sacred to Her. Offerings to Oshun include sweet things such as honey, mead, white wine, oranges, sweets, or pumpkins, as well as perfume.
Oshun in a reading indicates sweetness and good cheer, beauty and flowing joy.
Alternate spellings: Oxun, Osun, Oshoun, Oxum, Ochun.
Titles: Oshun Ana, "Goddess of Luxury and Love"; Oshun Telargo, as the modest one; Oshun Yeye Moro, as the coquette; Oshun Yeye Kari, "Mother of Sweetness".
From: hereOshun is the orisha of love and happiness. She is the one that makes the spirit full of life and love. Oshun also known as Ochun, Iyalorde, and Oxum is also known for her aide in maternity alongside with her sister Yemaya. Oshun is seen as a fair skin bronzed color woman who has a body and a smile to die for. Oshun is always seen with her revealing dresses and cocky and flirtatious ways. In the house of the priest or priestess she lives in a yellow or gold looking tureen where her secrets are kept. Her metal is of gold and she is adorned with lots of it. She is one of the happiest orishas as that is one of the attributes that she beholds. She loves the finest things in life and sometimes she is never satisfied.
Oshun had many relationships with the male orishas. These included from Chango, Orula, Ogun, Inle, Agallu and Asojano (San Lazaro). With her sensual and sexual ways, Oshun would conquer any man or obstacle that laid in her way. This orisha is not or was not a whore, it is that Oshun loved to take what she wanted and if by having a relationship with a man was one of them, then she would get what she wanted. Oshun is the owner of the sweet river waters in which her sister Yemaya gave to her. She was watched over by the mighty orisha Nana Buruku when she was young. She shared a close connection with Ochanla and she was very close to Olofi.
Her father is the great Obatala. He raised her since she was a little girl. One small pataki I’m going to tell you is that one day Obatala would always sing a particular song to his little girl Oshun. Day and night he would sing her this song and one day Oshun left the house and never returned. Years passed along and the great Obatala who was still depressed about the lost of his daughter Oshun, was walking through the woods near the riverbank. He was walking and he overheard a voice singing this particular song that brought memories back to him. Obatala said that there was only one person who knew that song and it was his daughter Oshun. He glimpsed by the river water and saw a young beautiful woman singing “Sawani Ibo Eleri, Leriche Oka Di Pola” (ceremonial song) and he walked up to her and asked her where did she hear that song. Oshun told him that when she was young, her father would sing that song to her everyday and every night. Obatala with a tear told Oshun that he was Obatala, her father, the same orisha that taught her that song. They both hugged and cried and were never separated there after.
Oshun’s color is yellow now and when I say now I mean that is the color that represents her in this time life. When Oshun was first born she had on a white dress. This was the only dress that Oshun had and owned. But everyday Oshun would go to the river and wash her only white dress. After a while Oshun noticed that her white dress was starting to fade into a bright yellow. Oshun was amazed and happy that she had a yellow dress because none of the adult orishas owned or had anything with the color yellow. From that day forward, yellow became the primary color to the orisha Oshun.
Paths of Oshun
This path of Oshun is known as the vulture. Ibu Kole is the Oshun that reached the house of Olofi to tell him that the people on the lands were dying of thirst. With that said Olofi took off the punishment off the land and let rain fall again. This Oshun is said to be a very magical witch. She takes 5 little mortars where additional secrets are kept where her initiate can make powerful spells. Her colors are honey, coral, amber and onyx stone. She is adorned with feathers of a vulture. Her children must have a juiro where an Osain is kept that hangs over her to keep Ibu Kole in one spot and to make sure she is there in here tureen. When this Oshun comes down she dances like if she was a bird, swaying her arms up and down as if she was in flight.
This Oshun is said to be a great warrior. She wears pants when she goes to war. She rides on a horse and she uses a sword in battle. Ibu Ololodi is also the wife of Orula and she is his preferred apetevi. Her enemies can never defeat her. She protects her children to the up most. She takes the table of Ifa with the ekueles and the irofa. You can put iron implements to her. The owl is her messenger and she is invoked with a copper cow bell. Ololodi also takes a needle and thread as she is seen sewing on her off times at the bottom of the river. She is the mother of Aporoye and Oloshe. This Oshun takes everything double due to a pact she did with Boyuto. If you give her a mirror another one should be placed to her. If you give her one bottle of perfume there has to be another. She is the protector of the home. When this Oshun comes down she is very repugnant and she speaks very stern to her followers. Her colors are honey, coral with touches of green and yellow to represent the marriage she had with Orula.
Ibu Akuaro is the Oshun that lives where the river and the ocean meet. She is said to live and reign there. She loves the corodniz (cornish hen) and they are here messengers. It is said that with the feathers of the corodniz, you must sew her a net that lives on her. This is due to a story where she was running from Chango and a group of corodniz covered her completely so Chango would not find her. She takes a cane which is covered with the feathers of the corodniz as well and is consecrated where the river and ocean meet. Her colors are a pale yellow, coral, onyx, green and white. When Ibu Akuaro comes down she is seen to be shaken, imitating the corodniz.
She is one of the oldest Oshun. She lives at the bottom of the river sewing as she knows the craft to sew beautiful cloths. She doesn’t like to be bothered that much as she sits in her rocking chair at the bottom. When she is bothered she comes out from the bottom of the river and she fights. She as well as Ibu Ololodi is called with a copper cow bell. This path of Oshun is hardly to come down.
This Oshun is very young and she loves to dance. She is said to be where ever the Aña (sacred drum) is playing. She dances all day and all night until the Aña stops playing. At her tureen you must have 3 little drums that represent the Aña at her feet. She is always dancing in front of the drums holding her breast and laughing. A child of this particular orisha is said to always be partying and dancing and whenever they step into a ceremonial drumming, if they are a horse of the orisha, Ibu Aña will make her presence. Her colors are honey, yellow, coral, onyx and red. When she comes down she is always dancing and may take the time out to speak to her followers.
Ibu Ileke Oñi
This Oshun is a fighter and she gets what she wants. When she is determined she gets her results. This Oshun walks with a walking stick and she is always seen near the river banks covering her body with her honey. If she is not near the river you can see her next to a pariso tree. She walks with a net that’s tied around her waste. This Oshun has 4 necklaces that she wears. One is made of the peonia seeds, other is made of all coral, another of all onyx stones and a bead of honey and yellow beads.
This path of Oshun is said to reside in the lagoons. She is always dressed in pants and a shirt like a man. She is very tall and she is always seen with Inle and Asojano.
Ibu Aremu Kondano
This Oshun is said to be the first Oshun that ever came down from Olofi’s castle to the earth. She is dressed all in white and her color is off white with coral with just a touch of yellow and green. She is said to have helped Orula out is certain occasions. She is very mysterious.
This path of Oshun is said to be also a warrior. She rides a horse as well as Ibu Ololdi when she is at war. This Oshun is seen with a sword in one hand riding to battle. Her sacrificial foods must be offered with a ring or gold oar through its nose. Her color is honey, yellow, red and onyx.
This is Oshun is known to be a queen. She is seen with all her fine dresses and jewelry. She doesn’t like anything dirty or messy around her. Her sacrificial foods are sacrificed on top of a yellow plate that sits next to her.
This Oshun loves to debate and argue. She is a rare Oshun and is always seen by the river sands combing her hair with her coral comb. She loves to cook and she loves to fan herself with her fan made of African grey tail feathers and bells.
This is the daughter of Ibu Aña. She lives on the beach and river sands on top of all types of money. She does not like to give money as it is all for her.
This also is a rare Oshun. She is the boss of the Iyalordes. She loves to go out at night never during the day. She is said to be riding the river in a boat listening and answering her petitioners.
Ibu Idere Lekun
This Oshun lives in the caves alongside the sea where the waves enter and hit the rocks of the caves. Where they turn into rivers and travel on the inside of mountains. She has a deformed face and she is seen playing a small drum made out of bamboo.
This is an orisha that maintained and positioned the riches of Oshun on earth. When Oshun was spending her money like crazy she found herself without any money. Ibu Aye reaffirmed her money and showed her the right way to maintain and control it. This is a orisha that is received on its own. Her color is honey, onyx and her necklace is made the same with 5 shells intertwined in between.
This is said to be the lost child of Oshun. Where Iroko took him from her for the promises that she owed Iroko. He is the third child that Oshun had after the twins. He is received on its own and is said to watch over the riches of his mother Oshun. He lives in a yellow tureen where his secrets are kept with a doll of a boy dressed in yellow. His original bead is yellow with red stripes on them, gold and coral.
Ajé Shalunga or Cobo is the orisha of prosperity and abundance. He is used to help bring money and prosperity into ones life if there are worthy and right for it. His secrets are kept in a small sopera or vessel and his secrets are slightly born in a different way as to the other orishas. Same chants and sacrificial foods, but certain things change when he is born that cant be discussed here. He is also born with multiple coins from all parts of the world. It is said that when he is born, depending on the sign that he comes with, he will live next to a certain orisha in which he will bring prosperity to you. Only if your worthy! Don’t think by receiving him you are going to win the lottery or anything. Only if Olofi says your worthy for that. But health is also another form of prosperity and that he can bring to you. He has no specific color but his chain is made of different shells and coins.
This is an orisha that is said to have been the cook of Oshun. She taught Oshun how to cook all sorts of sweets and foods for her town. She is an orisha that is received and her tureen is kept either with the other orishas or live near or in the kitchen. Alongside her secrets, one puts a wooden spoon and fork to her with different bags of dried foods.
From: hereOchún - santo of love and beauty
In the same way as Changó is often characterised as a model for many Cuban men, many Cuban women would like to be just as beautiful and seductive as Ochún.
Ochún rules over rivers and lakes.
She is considered the santo of beauty and vanity, and therefore loves standing in front of a mirror. Ochún is also the santo of female sensuality and love and, perhaps most important, of fertility.
Catholic saint and day of celebration
Ochún's status in Cuba is also reflected in the Catholic saint she is associated with, namely Caridad de Cobre, who is Cuba's own patron saint. She is celebrated on 12 September.
As ruler of fresh water and rivers, this is also where she lives. In her followers' homes you will find her in a yellow tureen on the altar.
The food Ochún prefers is as sweet and seductive as she is. She loves honey and yellow cakes, eggs and pumpkins which all symbolise women's belly and therefore also fertility. With regard to drinks, she prefers champagne, but will also drink both beer and brown rum. The sunflower is no doubt the flower most often sold by Havana's florists. If you have problems with your sweetheart or want one, it will often help to sacrifice a sunflower to Ochún.
Personality traits of initiates of Ochún
As their mother, the initiates of Ochún are both social, fond of parties, sensual and flirtatious. "That girl must be a daughter of Ochún, the way she is flirting!" Children of Ochún are fond of jewellery and can easily be considered vain. You will often find them looking into a mirror.
Ochún's colour is yellow like the sunflower many Cubans offer her in the name of love. Her necklace is made up of a series of six light yellow and six dark yellow beads.
From: hereAlso see:Originally the Yoruba goddess of the river named for her, Oshun's emblem is the brass bracelet worn by her worshipers, and a pottery dish filled with white stones from a river's bed. In her African homeland, Oshun mated with the god Chango, with whom she had human children. Their descendents, who still live along her waters, are forbidden to eat snails or beans, or to drink beer made from sorghum.
Oshun is still honored in Nigeria with an annual ceremony called Ibo-Osun. A feast of yams begins the evening, then women dance for the goddess, hoping to be chosen as one of her favorites. Those who are selected are granted new names which include that of the goddess: Osun Leye, "gift of Oshun," or Osun Tola, "treasure of Oshun." Once selected in this way, the woman serves her community as advisor, particularly assisting with family problems and illnesses. Oshun is especially consulted by those who wish to have children, for she encourages this womanly activity.
Oshun is the primary divinity of Oshogbo, an African orisha religion, where she is honored with brass objects, as well as jewels and yellow copper. Her chief festival there celebrates the arrival of the ancestral family on the banks of Oshun's river. While bathing, one of the princesses apparently drowned, but reappeared soon after attired in gorgeous garments which, she said, Oshun had given her. The alliance with the river goddess has continued to this day.
In the African diaspora, Oshun gained new names and titles: Oxum in Brazil; Ochun in Cuba; Erzulie-Freda-Dahomey in Haiti. When she possesses dancers, their movements are those of a woman who loves to swim, who makes her arm braclets jangle, and who admires herself in a mirror. Her appearance is greeted with welcoming shouts of "Ore Yeye o!" In Brazilian Macumba, Oshun is goddess of waters; she is depicted wearing jewels, holding a mirror, and wafting a fan. Altars to her hold copper braceelts and fans, as well as dishes of Omuluku (onions, beans and salt). She rules love, beauty and flirtation. In Santeria, Oshun is revered as "Our Lady of La Caridad," patron of the island of Cuba.