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Olokun

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Olokun
Olokun

Olokun (also known as Olocun or Olokum) is the mysterious and titanic orisha of the oceanic abyss in the Yoruban religion and its diaspora in the Americas. There is great debate about the gender of Olokun; some consider Olokun male, others consider Olokun female, but in the truest sense, Olokun can be considered androgynous or transcending beyond gender. His name is a contraction of the Yoruba "Olo Okun" meaning "owner of the ocean". Olokun was not given life by the creator god Olodumare like most of the other orishas. His power was so great that he emerged out of the primordial oceans by the power of his own will. Olokun is often depicted as a powerful and jealous orisha who considers the earth his rightful domain. Legend recounts Olokun sending tidal waves in an attempt to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. Humanity's cries for help against Olokun's waves were answered when Obatala chained Olokun to the ocean floor. One legend recounts the orisha Yemaya arising from Olokun's chained body at the bottom of the ocean in redemption for Olokun's actions. Olokun is a deeply spiritual and mystical orisha whose energy is intertwined with Egun (spirits of the dead). He connects us to the realms of psychism and mediumship as well as wealth and financial stability.

Olokun is depicted as a man or woman with a fish tail often wearing or carrying a mask wearing dark navy blue with accents of 9 different colors. Olokun fights his enemies with sea quakes, tidal waves and typhoons. His shrine is contained either in a glazed blue and white ceramic pot or a sealed terra-cotta pot decorated with shells, that is filled with his mysteries, tools and cowries. Olokun does not have different roads or avatars like other orishas. His ritual number is 9. His beaded necklace varies according to spiritual lineage but typically utilizes dark blue, milky white, green and coral beads. While Yemaya and Olokun do have a close relationship they are not the same orisha and it is important to distinguish one from the other. Animal sacrifice is used to petition Olokun within the African Traditional Religions. Sacrifices to Olokun include: roosters, ducks, pigeons and guinea hens. Altar offerings for Olokun include cooked yams, grains, melons, and molasses.

In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria, in which African orishas are associated with Catholic Church saints, there is no saint associated with Olokun. In Haitian Vodoun, Olokun is worshipped as Met Agwe, the admiral of the seas. Hoodoo pyschic readers, spirit workers and root doctors who are adherents of the Yoruban and Yoruban-Diasporic Religions who petition the orishas on behalf of clients may work with Olokun when financial stability, spiritual evolution and psychism are at issue.

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