Campaign of the Month: February 2017
The Orisha goddess of love and sexual freedom
Clever Oshun is one of the jewels of the Orisha, a goddess of incredible beauty and vibrant life who leaves ripples behind her wherever she goes. She represents joy, love and sexuality unfettered and free, and is as happily wanton with her favors as she is with the good fortune and joy she grants to her followers. Oshun is love as some gods are warriors, and few in her pantheon are able to resist her charms as a result. She is also goddess of the waters, specifically the mighty rivers that bring lush life to the landscape behind them, and is as flexible and fluid as her watery domain.
Oshun and the Orisha
When the world was first created, Oshun was one of the first gods to descend to it, along with sixteen others. They immediately moved to settle the place they found and built a strong village for themselves, but they ignored Oshun and built nothing for her, believing that since she was a woman she would be useless to them. Because all the gods were leaving Oshun out, however, they were struck with grave misfortune and nothing they attempted to do was successful. They tried to call upon all the other gods for help, but they would not ask Oshun for help, because they were prideful and did not believe she could do anything. Finally, they went to Olodumare himself to ask for help, and when he asked them what was wrong explained that nothing they were trying to do was successful on earth. Olodumare then asked them where their seventeenth member was, and when they admitted that they had snubbed Oshun informed them that everything they did was doomed to fail until they appeased her. Shamefaced, the gods returned to Oshun, who magnanimously agreed to help them once they had convinced her they were sorry.
Oshun and Orunmila
Olodumare once summoned all the gods to attend him in heaven, but on their way several of the gods were waylaid by a group of evil and cannibalistic witches, who started to kill and eat them as they pursued them through the forest. Orunmila was about to be caught when he ran into Oshun, who promised to hide him and save his life. Thinking quickly, she hid him inside a drum and cooked a goat, handing out the goat’s meat to the cannibals so that they would think they were consuming him. Orunmila was so grateful to her that he married her, and created for her a simplified divination system like his own to be used by her worshipers.
Oshun and Death
It happened that a devout king was lying on his deathbed, with Iku, the god of death, hovering at its foot to take him. His people were desperate to save him and consulted an oracle to learn how Iku could be driven away, and they were told to make a great sacrifice to Oshun and beg her to intercede. Oshun, touched by their concern for their leader, accepted the sacrifice and went to the king’s house, where she ordered Iku to leave. He refused, and when she would not stop asking him began to make lewd suggestions to her. Oshun was not frightened, however, and came right up close to caress him, confounding the other god. As she did so, she found his talismans of power and stole them from him, and, powerless and ashamed, Iku was forced to agree to leave before she would return them. From then on, it was understood that Oshun alone had the power to cheat death.
Oshun and Ogun
When Ogun was living in the forest alone, the other gods repeatedly tried to encourage him to come out and stay with them, but he constantly refused, living like a wild man. Oshun was intrigued by his strength and mysterious refusal to come live with them, so she smeared herself all over with delicious honey and went into the forest to find him. She searched and searched until she was sure he was watching her, and then began to perform a sensual dance, which so mesmerized Ogun that he forgot he was hiding and came out to see it. She continued her performance, hypnotizing him with her beauty, and slowly danced back toward the home of the gods, feeding him honey all the time. When they had reached the edge of the forest, the other gods seized him and brought him out with them, and from then on Oshun acted as Ogun’s wife and convinced him to lend his skill with iron to god and man alike.
Oshun and Oba
Oshun had married the volatile Shango and charmed him with her beauty and grace, but his obvious preference for her angered his other wives, who became jealous and unhappy. Oba, the senior of the wives, came to Oshun to ask her how she held Shango’s interest so well; knowing that Oba would replace her if she could, Oshun lied, telling her that she had long ago cut off part of her ear and dried it, and that she sprinkled a bit of the ear into Shango’s food as a love charm. Oba rushed home at once to make Shango a pot of stew and sliced off her entire ear to put into it, thinking that giving so much more would make him love her far more than Oshun, but when Shango saw the ear he believed she was trying to poison him and chased her out of his house with his axe. Oba turned into a river to escape him, and Oshun kept her position as favored wife.
Oshun and Shapona
Shapona, one of the gods, was a renowned lecher who loved women of all shapes and sizes. When Orunmila pronounced in a divination that no one should have sex during that day for it would be an insult against Olodumare, he paid no mind and slept with one of his concubines. At once he contracted a terrible disease and was covered in running sores; the other gods attempted to convince Olodumare to let him live, but he refused and the god died of his infection. Oshun, however, was upset that other gods were putting restrictions on sex that she had not approved, so she went to Orunmila and persuaded him to smear a batch of magical honey she had made on the walls of Olodumare’s palace. Once Olodumare tasted it, he was overcome by how delicious it was and begged her for more, but she refused to grant him any unless he brought Shapona back to life. Olodumare at once resurrected the god of plagues, and Oshun was satisfied and granted him her honey.
Oshun and Oya
Because Oshun was Shango’s favorite wife, Oya was terribly jealous and attempted to force him to pay attention only to her. Waiting until Oshun was not home, she summoned up a horde of ghosts, knowing that Shango could not abide the dead, and bade them surround the house so that he could not leave. Shango remained trapped until Oshun, realizing that her husband had not come to see her in some time, came to visit him; when he explained his plight, she went outside and began to flirt outrageously with the leader of the dead horde, offering him rum, honey and her own body to entice him away. The ghost promptly abandoned his post, and Shango was able to slip away while Oshun distracted him.
Oshun and Aje Shaluga
When Shango killed himself, Oshun fell into despair and destitution, for she had no one to care for her family and missed her husband terribly. The river god Aje Shaluga saw her weeping at the shore and was enchanted by her beauty; he immediately bathed her in soothing waters and offered her the glowing gems from his riverbed so that she could afford to feed her children. She was so grateful to him that she married him, and even after Shango’s return Aje Shaluga remained steadfastly in love with her and denied her nothing.