Part of my spiritual journey since deciding to step away from the christian church in 2013 has been to identify religious beliefs and practices that are more in line with my African descent. In my search, I’ve been fortunate enough to discover the African Spiritual Tradition of Yoruba which has felt more aligned with my African roots and my overall vibration than Christianity has ever felt. As I continue to study and learn more about this tradition I become more aware of the world around me and how I fit into the grand scheme of things.
More importantly, I learn more about why I am the way that I am and how I resemble deity’s and ancestors from times before. As opposed to feeling rejected by my community or like my natural way of being is somehow displeasing to my God, I now feel very much at peace with all of me. I’m now able to see beauty in certain characteristics that I was previously taught to identify as sinful, wrong or just unwelcome. No longer shaming myself into submission to an unnatural way of being, I find instead the freedom to confidently support a higher way of being which ultimately leads me towards the same goal of being my best self in all areas of life. So, I didn’t become less of a spiritual person just because I step away from my Christian church; it was actually quite the opposite. By liberating myself from the restrictions of studying only one religion I’ve discovered a deeper way to nurture my spirit and to implement discipline without shaming myself for being who I (naturally) am created to be.
Studying the stories of Oshun, the African Goddess of beauty, love, prosperity, order and fertility has given me a new-found appreciation for ME. In the Yoruba tradition, the goddess of OSHUN is represented as:
- A beautiful, charming and coquettish young woman, often with long flowing dreadlocks
- Someone with no sensual repressions and inhibitions
- A leader in her father’s house
- An independent woman
- A matrifocal and androgynous matriarch (sounds like most of the black women/mothers in my family).
- Passionate and hot-blooded woman
- Lover of many accomplished princes and gods
The OSHUNS of this world (who I identified most with) have rarely just been accepted as is. Today I always joke and say that there is no room at the table for a strong woman with sex appeal; it’s almost as if no one knows how to just enjoy her without feeling like they’re being tempted to do wrong. I’ve always been strong-willed and sensual in a lot of ways and its very rare that people (male and female) have supported this type of behavior. Over the years, I’ve directly and indirectly been encouraged to “be softer”, “be more submissive”, and as for my sensual side avoiding that whole Jezebel stereotype was almost required in most circles.
Today I choose to embrace the parts of me that I’d previously tried to cover up, remove or replace. Today I love myself first and I love myself better than anyone else could. Today I free myself from the idea that the way I was created is somehow wrong or sinful. Today I honor the OSHUN in me.
“It has been said that when OSHUN possesses her followers she dances, flirts and then weeps because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could possibly be. …
Offerings to Oshun could be in the form of songs, chanting, meditating on her name, devotion to her LOVE, and/or adherence with her compassionate laws.
Her manifestations of LOVE include being the source of all fresh waters, all warmth, all knowledge, all culture, all society, all motherhood, prosperity, fertility of the land and the water”.
LISTEN AND CHANT
[ From the Yoruba of Nigeria, dedicated to Oshun, the Goddess of Love. It speaks of a necklace as a symbol of initiation into love]
mantra from the above chant:
“Ide were were nita ochun; Ide were were
Ide were were nita ochun; Ide were were nita ya
Ocha kiniba, nita ochun; Cheke cheke (cheke)
Nita ya, Ide were were”
Ochun is the goddess of love,
chant which speaks about a necklace
which is a symbol of the initiation into