African Mythology:

In African mythology Oshun is often called Yalorde (queen). She was given this title because of her beauty, kindness and open nature. Oshun has skin the color of cinnamon, radiant black eyes and silky black hair. She is the daughter of Yemaya, the goddess of all the waters, and is herself the goddess of fresh water: rivers, lakes and ponds. She has a palace under the water of a great river called Ile Tinibu. The people of her kingdom love her dearly because of the care she shows them.

Oshun is the equivalent of Venus or Aphrodite in African mythology. Like them she is called "the goddess of love". Like them she is the most beautiful of all the goddesses (though some say her mother Yemaya is more beautiful). However, there are some important differences. Venus and Aphrodite are rather vain and self-centered, they can be cruel and treacherous. Oshun is best known for her kindness, which in African mythology is considered the most important quality anyone can possess.

Once Yemaya threw a party to honor the Supreme Being and all the gods came except Oggun. He is the furious god of iron and war and very solitary. Yemaya sent messengers begging him to come because they could not perform the sacrifices without him. Oggun refused. Angry, Yemaya decided to go see Oggun herself. She would force him to attend and teach him a lesion he would never forget. Oshun stopped her mother saying that she would bring Oggun from the forest. All the gods were surprised. Oshun was the youngest and no one thought she could do it. At first Yemaya refused but Oshun insisted and finally was allowed to go. Thinking ahead Oshun took a jar of honey with her.

When Oshun reached the forest she could not find Oggun at first. She knew he was nearby because she could smell him. Eventually she found him hiding in a large tree. She told him that her mother needed him for the sacrifices but he ignored her. Realizing that he would never listen Oshun took some honey from the jar she carried and smeared it on his lips. When Oggun tasted the sweet honey he began to change. He relaxed and became more docile. Oshun sang to him and began to lead him out of the forest and back to her mother's party.

The other gods where amazed to see Oshun bring Oggun out of the forest. She gained everyone's respect that day, especially the respect of the Supreme Being. They said that Oshun was truly the greatest of them all. Without a fight she had brought the violent god of war out of the forest against his own will.

Click here to read about Yemaya, Oshun's mother in African mythology.

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