Oshun is an Orisha goddess associated with rivers and the marketplace. Medicines for fertility, wealth, love and intimacy are often attributed to her. Whilst generally harmonious and peace-loving she can be fiercely destructive when angered, thus certain forms of witchcraft fall under her providence. She is the patron of the town of Oshogbo in Nigeria and the wife of Shango in Yoruba mythology.
Brass and parrot feathers
on a velvet skin.
White cowrie shells
on black buttocks.
Her eyes sparkle in the forest,
like the sun on the river.
She is the wisdom of the forest
she is the wisdom of the river.
Where the doctor failed
she cures with cool water.
She cures the child
and does not charge the father.
She feeds the barren woman with honey
and her dry body swells up
like a juicy palm fruit.
Oh, how sweet
is the touch of child’s hand!
from Yoruba Poetry
Cambridge University Press, (1970)
compiled and edited by Ulli Beier