Osun,A prominent river goddess associated with purity, fertility, love and sensuality. Unique among other female orishas,(gods) and the most powerful and friendly among other orishas (gods). In African episomology, Osun is shown in one of the Osogbo adage as “OROKI ASALA” That is someone you can run to for a protection or solace.
Before becoming the water goddess, history analysed that Osun was the only female among the seventeen orishas (gods) sent by the Olodunare (The Supreme God) to populate the earth. Olodunare gave them the instruction to give Osun consideration in whatever they will do and make success in the world, unfortunately they refused and it resulted to their total failure, even the tasks giving to them by the Olodunare failed and this caused them to go back to Osun plead with her with a promise to allow her fulfil the task the Olodunare had earlier giving to her. She was able to assist them with the help of her healing water which she used to heal the land.

Another account said that Osun in getting to the world married four out of the gods sent with her by the Olodunare because of her barrenness, these are Obatala,Orunmila,Sango and Ogun,she eventually turned to water goddess after series of attempt to have children and later became a water goddess.
Another account recoded osun as the first wife of Sango but she was barren which caused Sango having many wives,Osun was frustrated by these wives and turned to water goddess out of frustration.
Interaction between Osun and human started from Osogbo about 600 years ago. Olutimehin,a powerful hunter located the river Osun during his hunting expedition,he pleaded with Osun to give him and his people a living,osun promised them to do so if they will worship her and follow her instructions which includes obligatory offerings, prayers and rituals. They complied and she granted their permission to build a city, with the promises of safety and provision.

This first encounter and fulfilment of the agreement made with Osun led to the osun festival being celebrated every year till date.
Osun ,gods of fertility is very important in Yoruba epistemology. Women who suffered from barrenness usually call on Osun for assistance, this is one of the promised she made with humanities that no barren woman look up to her for the fruits of womb that she will not have compassion on her.
Osun goddess has been a blessing to many homes by giving the barren children and helping mothers taking good care of their children, this is evidence in the worshippers songs of praise when paying homage to the goddess, they praise her as god of many children,god that takes care of children without setting firewoods. Worshippers and the devotees were always happy to bring their children to the goddess every year carrying different atonements to appease the spirit of the osun goddess to continue protecting their children from known and unknown enemies, they praised her with total belief in her as the only one that can shield the children giving to them.

Adedokun Adebola Feyikemi, Chief Museum Education Officer, National Museum Osogbo.

 

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