Oshun is the goddess of seduction, love, fertility and marriage. Learn the myths and rituals related to Oshun and how to invoke her presence in your life.
Oshun is the goddess of love and marriage, fertility, and gold in the Yoruba religion.
She is the goddess of the river waters and is considered to be the Aphrodite of Cuba and Africa. She is also known as Our Lady of Caridad del Cobre and is regarded as patroness of Cuba by her many devotees, who celebrate her feast day on September 8.
Because of her connection with marriage and motherhood, she is invoked during problems in childbirth and is said to rule the abdominal area.
Oshun is normally in a pleasant mood but can also bear a terrible wrath when provoked.
Myths about Oshun
In myth, she has fantastic love affairs with other deities, and her story is as tempestuous as her temper. She is also involved in a love triangle with one of her sisters, Oya, the keeper of cemeteries, and Chango, god of fire and thunder.
She carries the title of “Yalodde”, meaning “mother of nations”. She is a symbol of exile and independence, and signifies victory over the ruling government.
Oshun is regarded as the Aphrodite of the Yoruba pantheon because of her many love affairs and amazing powers of seduction. Her romantic saga is certainly extensive. She has been the lover of Oggun, patron of metals, Ochosi, the divine hunter, and Chango.
According to the myth, Oshun was the only orisha, or deity, to return Oggun to the world after he had ventured into the forest to escape the annoyances of mankind.
She entered the forest wearing a belt of five yellow handkerchiefs and carrying a gourd of honey. When she found Oggun, she dipped her finger in the honey and rubbed it on his lips.
She also pulled him in towards her by tying the five yellow handkerchiefs around his waist. Oggun was enchanted by Oshun’s beauty and seduction, so he naturally followed.
The color yellow, the number five, and honey are major elements involved in rituals devoted to Oshun, especially those meant to enchant or “sweeten” another individual.
It is said Oggun never lost his love for Oshun, although he was once married to her sister Yemaya.
In myth, Oggun and Chango are always battling for the affection of Oshun, although Oshun is really only in love with Chango. The reason given for this is that Chango is a symbol of passion and desire like Oshun, while Oggun symbolizes warfare.
According to legend, Oshun first met Chango at a tambor (drumming ritual) and has been in love with him ever since. She is also his sister, as they both sprung forth from the belly of Yemaya, the goddess of the sea.
The way she seduced him then was the same way she seduced Oggun. She took her gourd and spread some honey on Chango’s lips.
Like Oggun, Chango was enchanted by Oshun and they became lovers.
Chango had three wives, all of whom were river goddesses. His primary wife was Oya, so Oshun was jealous of her and gave her faulty advice as how to never lose him.
Oshun’s advice consisted of Oya cutting off her ears and cooking them in a soup which she would later serve to Chango. As Oshun had planned, this gesture did not work, and in fact drove Chango to the arms of Oshun instead.
It is said that Oya is Chango’s favorite concubine, and Oshun is always competing for his attention. The myths of Oshun read like romance novels, and there is no doubt she is the goddess of love and fertility in the pantheon.
Rituals Related to Oshun
Devotees of Oshun know that the color yellow is important in the worship of this goddess. The myth states that when Oshun was poor, she only had one dress which she washed in the river. She washed the dress to the extent that it turned yellow, so the color yellow was consequently attributed to her.
Copper is also important in worship, since it is said she loved copper jewelry. Devotees place copper pennies on her altar, usually five, when performing trabajos (spells).
Honey is probably one of the most common offerings for this goddess, especially because of its reoccurrence in the Oshun myths. Before offering the honey for Santeria rituals, however, one must always taste it in her presence, since in another legend one of her enemies tried to poison her with honey.
Image of Oshun
In order to perform any rituals which relate to Oshun, it is important that one first buy an image of her and set up an altar.
Beaded necklaces are common for use in Santeria rituals and in the worship of the orishas. Because Oshun’s color is yellow, the necklace is made up of yellow or amber-colored beads.
Since Oshun and Chango have an extensive history together, Chango gave Oshun permission to use his color in her necklace. It is thus common to use a necklace containing a series of five yellow beads alternating with one red bead.
Other attributes of Oshun include seashells, mirrors, fans, combs, coral, and gold.
Since it’s Halloween time, let’s not forget to mention Oshun’s fascination with pumpkins. Pumpkins are sacred to her, since she kept all her ingredients for magic spells in a pumpkin.
Another legend states she made the first lamp from a pumpkin. Certain trabajos, especially love spells, require the use of a pumpkin, but it is important that the practitioner never eat pumpkins, since it would be offensive to her.
Do you have any seasonal objects you use in spells or rituals? Do your full moon or menstruation rituals vary with the seasons?
Ikam is a freelance writer from South Florida. She received her Masters in Religious Studies in 2001, specializing in myth and ritual. She has worked with victims of crime and trauma and also has a Masters in Criminal Justice, which she got in 2008. Ikam is interested in spirituality, healing, health, and the paranormal. She loves writing about a wide variety of topics, including travel, entertainment, culture, and health. Ikam wants to be a part of the Cycle Harmony community in hopes she will help and inspire others to achieve their goals, as well as share ideas on women, spirituality, and healthy living.
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The Art of Seduction, by Robert Greene
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, by Gary Chapman