Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Orisha Oshun & Hair Weaves

Edited by Azizi Powell

I came upon this story while searching the internet for other information about Yoruba (Nigeria) culture, and thought that it might be of interest to pancocojams visitors.

As background, Oshun is a Yoruba (Nigeria) river deity (orisha) whose color is honey yellow.

Note: Yoruba words that have the "sh" sound are almost always written in the United States with those letters. Thus "orisa", "Osun", "Sango", and "ase" are usually written as "orisha", "Oshun", "Shango", and "ashe (pronounced "ah-shay"). àṣẹ (ashe) means "power"; the spark of life.

Here's more information about Oshun from
Oshun, or the Yoruba religion, is an Orisha who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy. She is worshipped also in Brazilian Candomblé Ketu, with the name spelled Oxum...

According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun is the "unseen mother present at every gathering", because Oshun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction. Therefore, she is believed to be omnipresent and omnipotent. Her power is represented in another Yoruba proverb which reminds us that "no one is an enemy to water" and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun, as well as her followers.

Oshun is the force of harmony. Harmony which we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. She, according to the ancients, was the only female Irunmole amongst the original 16 sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as "Yeye" - the great mother of us all. When the male Irunmole attempted to subjegate Oshun due to her femaleness, she removed her divine energy (called ase by the Yoruba) from the project of creating the world and all subsequent efforts at creation were in vain. It was not until visiting with the Supreme Being, Olodumare, and begging for Oshun's pardon (as advised by Olodumare) that the world could continue to be created. But not before Oshun had given birth to a son. This son became Elegba, the great conduit of ase in the Universe, the eternal and infernal trickster.

Much more about Oshun can be found online, but that brief introduction leads me to this story gem that I found on Without further introduction, here's that story:

As I was talking to someone about Oshun this month, I was also made aware that Oshun is really an incredible orisha. Can you believe my homegirl Oshun is one of the first Orishas who wore a weave? Also the orisha of cosmetology!!! There are several patakis (stories) that speak about Oshun and her hair. One story states that Oshun was suffering the lost of her lost child, Idowu, and became ill. Because of this she started losing hair due to her malnutrition. However when Oshun started coming out of her depression, she wanted to disguise her sadness and look radiant for the next town event, that she grabbed indigo and dried grass and started to weave this into her scalp to give the appearance was real hair. Not only her hair looked good, but Oshun also used the natural berries and shea butter to create natural forms of cosmetics to apply to her skin so that when she arrived into the town, people would stop dead in their tracks to admire at how beautiful Oshun looked. So now when I see girls with their hair braided with synthetic hair I always think of Oshun, *hahaha* Maferefun Beyonce from "Destiny's Child."

(Hair) weave
"A hair weave is a very general term used to describe human or artificial hair used to alter one's natural hair appearance by adding additional hair to one's natural hair or by covering the natural hair altogether with human or synthetic hair pieces.

Some of the benefits of hair weaves are that they can lengthen hair, add volume and/or thickness to fine or thinning hair, add fashion colors to natural hair without the damage of chemicals, or change the user's appearance by adopting a different hair texture than that of their natural hair"

In the Yoruba language, "maferefun" means "praises to the spiritual energy of"

Click for information on traditional Yoruba religion.

Here's a video of Oshun:

Ochun Dance -- Marta Ruiz

Uploaded by afrocubaru on Nov 14, 2009

[Note that this video was taken in St Petersburg, Russia, which I find interesting because I didn't think that there were any Black people in Russia. I wrote that comment on that video's viewer comment thread, and another viewer malikhadad32 wrote that "Well it's not uncommon, the dancer is from Cuba, Cuba and Russia to this day still have many exchanges, economically, socially and not to mentioned culturally." Besides that, I have learned that there are indeed Black people in Russia.]

La Caridad Del Cobre / Ochun.mpg

R Diaz. Uploaded on Jul 15, 2011

Oshum es una de las deidades de la religión yoruba. En la santería sincretiza con la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, patrona de Cuba. También se la translitera como: Oxum o Ochun Oshun es la Orisha de las aguas dulces, de la sensualidad, la coquetería, la sexualidad femenina, el amor, la fertilidad. También se le pide por el hombre que uno desea para una relación seria y que uno quiere, como es una santa de renombre es llamada Iyalodde, en el lenguaje yoruba significa Reina. Es orishá mayor, dueña del amor, de la feminidad y del río. Su nombre significa sensualidad, amor, el romanticismo, la delicadeza, el dulzor, la felicidad, el agua, la serenidad, la luna y el oro, entre otras cosas. Oshum es mucho más. Ella es la culpable que dos hombres se maten uno al otro por ella. Se dice que Oshum es la hija más joven de Oloddumare. Es el símbolo de la coquetería, la gracia y la sexualidad femenina. Es mujer de Shangó de Inle y Orula, e intima amiga de Elegguá, quién la protege. Siempre acompaña a Yemayá. Asiste a las mujeres embarazadas y parturientas. Eternamente alegre, con el persistente tintineo de sus campanillas. Es capaz de resolver tanto, como de provocar riñas entre orichas y los hombres. Su ira no es comparable con la de ningún otro Orisha En Africa Oshún es la dueña del río que lleva su nombre así como también lo es en Cuba. En Cuba se la sincretiza con "La Caridad del Cobre".
Google translate from Spanish to English:
"Oshum is one of the deities of the Yoruba religion . In Santeria syncretized with the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, patroness of Cuba . It is also transliterated as or Oshun Oshun Oshun is the Orisha of freshwater , sensuality , flirtation , female sexuality , love , fertility . You are also asked by the man you want for a serious relationship and you want, as is a renowned holy Iyalodde is called in Yoruba language means Queen. It is more orishá , owner of love, femininity and the river. Its name means sensuality , love , romance , delicacy , sweetness , happiness , water , serenity , moon and gold, among other things. Oshum is much more. She's the blame that two men kill each other for it. It is said that Oshum is the youngest daughter of Oloddumare . It is the symbol of coquetry , grace and female sexuality. Shango is Inle woman and Orula , and intimate friend of Eleggua, who protects her. Always accompanies Yemaya. Assists pregnant women in labor. Eternally cheerful, persistent ringing of their bells . It is able to resolve both as to cause fights between orishas and men. His anger is not comparable to any other in Africa Orisha Oshun is the owner of the river that bears his name as well as it is in Cuba . In Cuba, the syncretized with " La Caridad del Cobre "


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