Osun is the goddess of the water, of love, life, and fertility. Osun comes to sweeten our lives with fresh water, love, and abundance in finances. She assists women in becoming more fertile, and helps us attain success in life.
Osun loves jewelry, gold, perfume, pumpkins, yellow flowers and honey. She always carries a mirror to reflect her beauty to the world and her children. She is the most beautiful Orisha and loves to dance and sing. Her laugh can be heard for miles, but be careful, she is tough when angered! It’s known that after some disputes with other lesser gods, Osun was transformed into what is now known as the Osun river. Therefore, the entire river is sacred. All fresh flowing water is sacred to Osun and she can be found in rivers, streams, and waterfalls around the world!
There is much history surrounding the Osun river and Osun grove in Osogbo. The grove gave Larooye, the founder of Osogbo, enough reasons to settle down very close to the river. After a drought drove his people from their previous settlement, Ipole-Omu, Larooye made a pact with Osun. Larooye promised Osun that the grove would always be kept sacred and protected and that she would be honored each year by all the townspeople in an extravagant celebration and festival. In turn, Osun would bless Osogbo with protection from enemies and prosperity throughout the ages.
It is no wonder, then, that war has never entered Osogbo. Even the Fulani war, that nearly turned all Yoruba nations upside down, was put to stop at Idi-Baba boundary point. It was there that Osun rose from the river and came out as a beautiful and irresistible lady to cook delicious food for the Fulani warriors. Little did they know it was a trick by Osun! All of the warriors ate the food and died before they could go into the town to war. The warlord, however, refused to eat and his life was spared. Osun intentionally let him go so that someone was alive to tell the story and remember that she, Osun, will let no force or war tear apart the town.
What is now known as the town of Osogbo , started from the beautiful Osun grove. As Osun continued to bless the founder and his people, making the women fertile and life sweet, the settlement was moved outside the sacred grove. Like the development of a child in its Mother’s womb, Osogbo sprang from the grove and became the blessed and beautiful town of today.
Since this major shift of the settlement, the grove has retained all its significance in the lives of its people. The role of Osun in the historical development of the community is still strongly acknowledged during the annual Osun-Osogbo festival. Even though new places of worship have been replicated within the newer settlement of Osogbo, the significance of the ancient ones within the grove remain honored, thus retaining an age-old tradition, and preserving the traditional Yoruba culture.