[Breakingthesilence] Oshun Fought for Equality

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Mer 14 Juil 11:02:36 CEST 2004

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Contribution to Gender reader

Oshun Fought for Equality

Central to Yoruba culture are 256 stories of Ifa which arrange a mythology
for educational, spiritual and divinational reasons. This is one of those

Long ago when movement between heaven and earth was very easy, Olodumare
sent 400 male primordial spirits, and 1 female primordial spirits, Oshun
to Earth to make it suitable for human habitation. After a successful
journey to Earth, the male primordial spirits set about the task which
they had all been appointed to do. They excluded Oshun. They never asked
for opinion in their discussions and refused her request to participate
in what they were doing.

For aw hile everything went smoothly for the male primordial spirits.
Then it dawned on Oshun that she needed to change the situation. Convinced
that she had a good point, Oshun took her complaint to Olodumare. When
she reached heaven she explained how her male colleagues had left her
out of the decision making process and that she felt that she was not
part of the group preparing Earth for habitation. When Oshun finished
her story, Olodumare gave her the special power of Ase, a universal energy
which facilitates magic.. With this Oshun could achieve whatever she

With this newly acquired power, Oshun returned to Earth. She felt secure
in herself and was determined to demand due respect from the male primordial
spirits. As usual the male primordial spirits continued to do the tasks
set by Olodumare without regard to Oshun. However they were in for a
big surprise. Suddenly everything around them went chaotic. Nothing they
did worked anymore. Nothing worked properly because Oshun was at work
with her secret insurmountable power. Oshun was busy thwarting the effiorts
of the male primordial spirits as they worked to develop the Earth. The
crops they planted failed, the roads they had previously constructed
fell apart and all their efforts to rebuild them came to nothing. Actually
everything went haywire for the male primordial spirits. Eventually they
realized that the problems they were having needed an urgent solution
and they went back to Olodumare to tell him what was happening.

They left for heaven without even telling Oshun. They did not invite
her, or even tell her about their problems. When they got to heaven,
they told Olodumare about all their problems and complained that they
had been given an impossible task. “What about the only woman amongst
you? Did you include her in your deliberations? Did you ever seek out
her opinions? Did you seek her advice? Did you treat her as an equal?”
No, the male primordial spirits replied and Olodumare told them to return
to Earth and ask Oshun for her forgiveness and then get on with their

When they got back to Earth they apologized to Oshun and asked her for
forgiveness. Then they returned to their tasks, carrying on from where
they had left off. Miraculously things started to work properly and they
praised the spirits. Surprised and happy that they were able to correct
their inadvertent mistakes they chanted in unison:

We give our reverence to Oshun, the unseen Mother ever present at all
gatherings and meetings. We give our reverence to Oshun.
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