The African goddesses are ancient, powerful and still live on today in many cultures from Afrika to the Afrikan diaspora. For the Yorubá people of West Afrika, Oshun is the goddess of the rivers and sweet waters. She is one of the Seven Afrikan Powers, which are:
Eleggua, Obatala ,Yemaya, Oya, Oshun, Shango, and Ogun.
Goddess Oshun is celebrated in an annual festive pilgrimage in Nigeria, at the river Oshun in the south-western town of Oshogbo in the month of August. For a week, Oshun devotees -men, women and children- bring gifts, bathe in her nourishing waters and pay homage to her for a prosperous life.
Through slavery's middle passage, Oshun's strength and power lives on in present day as similar ritual celebrations are held in her honor in Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and other Caribbean islands.
Oshun is an Orisha who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, fertility, sensuality, marriage, wealth and diplomacy. She is worshipped also in Brazilian Candomblé Ketú, with the name spelled Oxúm. She should not be confused however, with a different Orisha of a similar name spelled "Osun" who is the protector of the Ori, our heads and inner souls.
Oshun is beneficent, generous and very kind. She does, however, have a horrific temper, one which she seldom ever loses but which causes untold destruction whenever she does. Oshun is said to have gone to a drum festival one day and to have fallen in love with the king-dancer Shango, Orisha of lightning and thunder. Since that day, Shango has been married to Oba, Oya, and Oshun, though Oshun is said to be his favorite wife.
In Cuban Yoruba/Lukumí (Santería), Oshun has been syncretized with Our Lady of Charity, Cuba's patroness. She is associated with the color yellow, brass metal, peacock feathers, mirrors, honey and anything of beauty. Her principal day of the week is Saturday and the number she is associated with is 5 and all its multiples.
Oshun has had many husbands. Different tales attribute husbands to her, including Shangó, Erinle, Oshosi, Orisha Oko, and Aje-Shaluga. She was also the sexual partner of Ogun. Her children include the Ibeji (twins), Idowu and Logune Ede.
Oshun is the "unseen mother present at every gathering". She is believed to be omnipresent and omnipotent. "No one is an enemy to water" and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun, as well as her followers.
Oshun is the force of harmony. Harmony which we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. She, according to the Ancients, was the only female Irunmole amongst the original 16, sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as "Yeyé" -the great mother of us all.
Oshun is known as Iyalode, "the explicitly female chief of market". She is also known as Laketi, "she who has ears", because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. When she possesses her followers, she dances, flirts and then weeps-because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could be.