Monday, November 9, 2009

Goddess of the Week

This is the first time Oshun has come up; She is originally an Orisha (Spirit or Goddess) of the Yorùbá people, who are mostly from the West African country of Nigeria (though more than a million live in Benin, also). She is the Deity of the Osun river in Nigeria (where Her name is usually spelled the same way, Osun), and like Yemaya, finds a place in many of the 'New World' religions of the African diaspora, such as Lukumi (aka Santería), where She is known as Oshun or Ochun, and Brazilian Candomblé, where She is Oxum.

She is a Deity of love and beauty who is also concerned with matters of riches and prosperity and abundance, as well as prediction and divination; the eldest of the Orishas, Obatala, taught Her the proper use of the cowrie shells, which knowledge She then passed on to humankind. She is charming, and beautiful, and on the young side, being a bit of a coquette, so I hear; and gold, orange, and yellow are Her colors, the colors of wealth, the muddy river, pumpkin seeds. Five is Her number.

She is called Oshun Yeye Kari, "the Mother of Sweetness," and sweet things like honey, oranges and perfume are offered to Her; as is the pumpkin, both for its orange color and the abundance of its seeds.

She is about both sweetness and healing; and She has a bit in common, it occurs to me, with Kamrusepas, that Goddess of the Hittites Who heals with honey and fruit and sweetness.

When I first picked this card it struck me as personally rather incongruous, because I would not say I feel life is very sweet right now; in fact much of my personal work lately has been about acknowledging and accepting a great deal of anger on my part. And then I thought about how my surroundings aren't exactly infused with sweetness at the present time either, and, well, I got a bit cynical, which is never good for helping one feel sweet.

And though of course these readings are not really for my benefit, it takes a bit to see through one's own filters, as ever; and so the question that came to me was how does one find sweetness when it is not around you? If your environment isn't sweet, then what?

The answer as always is to look within yourself. If they can't provide you with it, you can at least give it to yourself. You have to start there anyway.

So, this week, look to how you can be kinder, sweeter, to yourself, regardless of how bitter your circumstances might feel, and without discounting or invalidating your own anger or bitter feelings. It's not that dealing with anger is not important work, if that is where you are; rather that a break is much needed and can help you get perspective. Perhaps it might be good to put it down, for a little while.

This week think about how you treat yourself. Honey, we call our sweethearts--what if we took a week and used that name on ourselves? What difference would that make in how we looked at our actions, our thoughts, and how we treat ourselves? How can you treat yourself with sweetness?

I ask Oshun if She has anything to say to us, and She says:

Flow flow flow, slow and smooth, like gold, sweet sweet honey, sweet sweet water; let it all flow. Just let it, no pushing; it will find the way. Water always does. Let it carve out the path of least resistance and greatest beauty, the sweet sweet waters. Flow, flow, flow. Just let it be. It will find its way. You will find your way. Down, down, downhill to the Sea. All is well. All is golden and lush and sweet. See your face reflected in the setting sun, down, down, sunset reflected in the blue Sea. Let it be.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I like your idea of calling ourselves Honey. I think I'll start that right now.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

P.S. -- Halloween Knitty Kitty has arrived safe and sound! Thank you again so much! There's going to be a big party for him over at my blog this Thursday and you're invited!

Hecate said...

She's beautiful!

Beverly said...

Oshun, one of my fave goddesses. Yes, I will call myself Honey this week (maybe I'll use a French accent!) and flow, flow, flow with the inspiration of Oshun, Mother of Sweetness. Thank you for a wonderfully inspiring post!

Sugabelly said...

Um, Osun (correct spelling) is not a West African goddess she is a Yoruba goddess in the religion Ifa (this distinction is very important)

West Africa is made up of scores of religions and it is insulting to followers of OTHER West African faiths to imply that they worship Osun.

That's like telling a Christian they worship Ganesh. It won't go down well.

Thalia said...

Sugabelly, you're right; I had meant it to mean that 'Yoruba' was a West African people, not all the people of West Africa, but that's certainly not clear. Sorry for mangling that, and for not including Her role in Lukumi and Candomblé. (It was late and I was very tired, and just wanted to get the thing written, if that's any excuse. I really do know better.)

As for the spelling, the woman who posed for this told me 'Oshun' was the Spanish spelling. She was herself a follower of Santería, and so I assumed I would have to change it; but in recent research as far as I can tell that's one of the accepted spellings within Santería/Lukumi, so I'm a little confused. Which I suppose doesn't mean it isn't the Spanish one. (Other spellings in Lukumi/Santería are Ochun or Ochún.) Also I was assuming that because the model was a follower of Santería (her word) that the Oshun I drew would be specific to that branch of the family of religions.

So it's a little more complicated, though of course you'd have no way of knowing that from my lazily shorthanded post.

Thalia said...

There, fixed it. Hope that's more accurate now.