History of the Lady Deities… Oshun & Yemaya; the ancient Orishas of Love 

Oxun is fertility & love; she is fresh water.  Kissed by the golden nurturing of the sun, she is also beautiful and kind.


Oshun es agua Fresca y ternura, ella mantiene todo el poder de sensualidad y femeninidad en el mundo.

The Yoruba religion’s holy stories or patakís reveal Ochún (Oshún) as the youngest of all the Orichás. Olodumare (the supreme being) created earth, and all its gods, he created the trees and the flowers and the fruits and the animals.  Then Olodumare sat back to examine his work. 

In that instant, He sensed something essential  was missing.  He knew it was sweetness and love, the two things that make life worth living. He created Ochún and sent her to earth to cultivate those qualities in others. Ochún is the Orichá of love, her seductive and sensual power encapsulates the feminine ideal.

In nature, Oshun rules over rivers.  Olodumare had originally deemed all the waters on earth belonged to Yemayá, who is Ochún’s older sister ( in some stories, her mother).
But one day when Ogún was hotly pursuing Ochún across the fields and forests, the young Orichá fell into the river and was dragged away by whirlpools. Yemayá took Ochún under her protection, and gave the rivers to her so she could have her own kingdom. From that point on, the rivers belonged to Ochún and the ocean to Yemayá.

Yemayá and Ochún have a close relationship and often work together, especially in issues related to romance, marriage, and motherhood. Yemayá is a mature, motherly type who watches over children and protects babies in the womb. Ochún is the seductive and sensual Orichá who makes sure babies are conceived. She inspires sexual love and promotes fertility. Once her job is done, she usually loses interest and hands over the child rearing to her more maternal sister.

Oshun is the goddess of the sweet waters and the protective deity of the River Oshun in Nigeria. Alongside this river is a sacred grove, probably the last in Yoruba Culture, dedicated to Oshun.

The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove is a dense forest on the outskirts of Osogbo town, western Nigeria. Sacred Groved were often found in areas where the Yoruba lived, and every town had one.  These sacred groves as time passed were either abandoned or they shrank in size, apart from the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove. This sacred grove boasts 40 shrines, plus 2 palaces, as well as many sculptures and works of arts. Because of it’s sacred status, the Osun-Osongbo Sacred Grove was inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2005. 

Legend has it, that villages from a nearby area were in search of water, and decided to settle along the river near the present town of Osogbo. These new settlers did not know this land belonged to Oshun. One day, the community was preparing the ground for the planting season, a tree fell into the river, and a voice emerged from the river lamenting: “You have destroyed my dyeing pots.” The village was filled with fear so they wanted nothing more but to appease the goddess. They were successful in their undertaking, Oshun advised the community to settle in the upper part of the river, for humans and spirits could not live together. The villagers complied with Oshun’s command, and the former settlement became the Osun-Osongbo Sacred Grove.

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