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Oshun (also known as Ochun, Oxum, or Osun) is the youngest of the orishas in the Yoruban religion and its diaspora in the Americas, and the queen of wealth, beauty, sex and love. She lives in the rivers of the world and is the younger sister of Yemaya. She is one of Shango's queens, and rules capriciously through him. She is a coquette, flirtatious, and also contains every experience that women have endured in life: joy, love, pain, betrayal, suffering, perseverance, strength, weakness, etc. She is one of the most beloved and one of the most feared orishas because, while she is very kind, she can be terribly vindictive when facing opposition. She always gets what she wants using her sweet honey, and if she can't, she'll turn bitterly sour. She is petitioned for help with love, sex, money, luck and fertility.

Oshun is typically depicted as a beautiful, young black woman wearing a yellow dress or a suggestive golden robe, carrying a pot of honey and a golden mirror. Her shrine is usually contained in a glazed ceramic pot filled with her mysteries, accompanied by 18 loose cowrie shells for diloggun, through which she speaks. The pot is topped with a brass crown indicating her rank as a queen. The roads or avatars of Oshun include: Ibú Ikolé, a powerful sorceress associated with the vulture; Ibú Akuaro, a poor destitute woman who has lost everything; Ibú Ololodí, the wife of Orunmila, who is as powerful a diviner as he; and Ibú Asedán, the owner of the sewing needle, who understands the nature of pain. Oshun's ritual number is 5. Her beaded necklaces vary by road or avatar but typically include yellow, amber, green, and honey-coloured beads, along with coral. Her garments are yellow or amber-coloured with gold trim. Animal sacrifice is used to petition Oshun within the African Traditional Religions. Sacrifices to Oshun include: castrated he-goats, hens, quails and guinea hens. Altar offerings for Oshun include honey, oranges, mandarins, pumpkins, and fine pastries. Watercress is one of her taboos.

In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria, in which African orishas are associated with Catholic Church saints, the representative of Oshun is Our Lady of Charity and her feast day is the 8th of September. In Haitian Voudoun, Oshun's closest equivalent lwa is Erzulie Freda. 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 Oshun when there are pending issues involving love, marriage, money, luck, blessing, healing, uncrossing or spirituality.


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