• Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Vimeo Social Icon

© 2020 Gathering Voices

  • GVHeritage Group

The beautiful Goddess Oshun

Oshun (also known as Ochun or Oxum in Latin America), is the Yoruba Goddess that rules over the sweet waters of the world, the brooks, streams and rivers, embodying love, fertility, beauty, and wealth.


Two songs that we recorded, Ide Were and River (which you can find on the Home page of this site), are in honour of the goddess Oshun, queen of the rivers.  Ide Were is a Yoruba chant from Africa dedicated to Oshun and the chant at the end of River is also a Yoruba chant asking Oshun to baptise them:

Wemile Oshun Oshun dede Alawede wimile Oshun Moolowo beleru yalode moyewede

Yoruba People

The Yoruba people are an African ethnic group found in southwestern Nigeria and Benin and a language spoken in West Africa. The Yoruba are one of the largest ethno-linguistic groups in sub-Saharan Africa.  Many of the Yoruba in West Africa live in the states of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo (Oyo had been a kingdom in its own right in the sixteenth century).  During the decline of the Oyo Empire a series of civil wars broke out, in which military captives were sold into the slave trade.  Most slaves that were exported as a result of the civil war were sent to Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Trinidad, taking with them their Yoruba religious beliefs and forming the Yoruba Diaspora.   The Yoruba are one of the ethnic groups in Africa whose cultural heritage and legacy are recognisable in the Americas despite the diasporic effects of slavery with various musical art forms popularised in Latin America, especially Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico are rooted in Yoruba music. Yoruba people believe in a pantheon of 401 gods, which are known in the traditional Yoruba religion. 

Orisha Oshun is an orisha - a spirit who reflects one of the manifestations of the supreme divinity (Eledumare, Olorun, Olofi) in Yoruba religion.  They rule over the forces of nature and the endeavors of humanity.  The orishas are often best understood by observing these forces of nature that they rule over.  For example, it is said that you can learn about Oshun and her children by watching the rivers and streams and observing that though she always heads toward her sister Yemaya (the Sea) she flows her own roundabout route.  By observing the babbling brook and the flash flood we also learn about her changeable moods.  It is said that Oshun once saved the world by luring Ogun (go of iron, war and labour - owner of all technology), out of the forests using her feminine charms and saved the world from drought by flying up to heaven (turning into a vulture).  Oshun is associated with the colours yellow and gold and the number 5 and is often represented in pictures as a peacock or vulture as they are hers.