I spent part of my day at Honey Run, a river that flows through Chico, California. I thought I’d hike upstream and take photographs as I went, but for some reason this one bend called to me and I spent time meditating there, photographing when I was done. The river is such unique creature, if I may call it that, a channel of water whose flow and speed change as often as our emotions. It has only one goal; to run to the sea.

There are many roads of Oshún, almost too many for any one person to keep all their names and attributes in his head. This is a partial list, and over the coming weeks I will investigate some of these in my blog.


The Roads of Oshún (a brief overview)


1. Oshún Ibú Agandara’s ashé comes from two odu: Okana Odí (1-7) and Merinlá Odí (14-7). She lives sitting in a chair, not on a shelf or pilón.


2. Oshún Ibú Aweyomi: This road of Oshún takes birth in the odu Ejioko Meji. She lives with Babaluaiye and Orunmila, and travels with them frequently.


3. Oshún Ibú Adessa: takes her ashé from a few odu: Irosun Unle (4-8), Unle Irosun (8-4), Okana Oché (1-5), and Odí Ejioko (7-2). The true odu of her birth is 4-8, although the ashé of the other odu is important to her as well. In Odí Ejioko, we learn that she was a skilled hunter. She hunted four legged animals such as antelope and deer.


4. Oshún Ibú Akuaró: known as the Cordoniz. There are a few odu in which this road is significant: Owani Meji (11-11), Odí Oché (7-5), Oché Odí (5-7) and Unle Oché (8-5). Owani Meji is the odu of her birth.


5. Oshún Ibú Añá was born in the odu Odí Unle (7-8). Her ashé also exists in the odu Ejila Unle (12-8) and Ofún Unle (10-8).


6. Oshún Ibú Aremú Kondiamo: This is the road of Oshún who accompanied Orúnmila when Obatalá’s elephant was stolen (8-1 and 8-10). Orúnmila killed it and Oshún quartered it.


7. Oshún Ibú Dokó was Orishaokó’s wife. She is also known as the patron of the sex-act. She represents the furrow of the earth into which seeds are sewn. It is said that the act of copulation with fertility is controlled by Oshún Ibú Dokó and her husband, Orishaokó. She was born in the odu Unle Okana (8-1).


8. Oshún Ibú Ikolé: This road of Oshún was born in the odu Irosun Unle (4-8), when the road known as Oshún Ibú Adessa flew to Olódumare to beg him to save the world. Her ashé is also important to the odu Unle Owani (8-11), and there are those who insist that is the odu of her birth.


9. Oshún Ibú Itumó/Itumú: This road of Oshún incarnates in the odu Ogbe Ogundá, 8-3. This road of Oshún likes to dress as a man. She is an Amazon who lives in the marshes with Érínlè and Babaluaiye. She is found in the odu Osá Oché (9-5), Oché Osá (5-9), and Ofún Osá (10-9). 5-5. From her crown dangle 14 implements. Oshún Itumú was Queen of Oshogbo. She is the Oshún that saved her city of Oshogbo from the slave traders.


10. Oshún Ibú Olólodí is probably the most important road of Oshún there is; therefore, her lore is vast. The Arara knew her as Atiti. She was born in the odu Unle Irosun (8-4); her marriage to Orúnmila is told in the odu Unle Ogundá (8-3); Oché Obara (5-6) tells of her sorrow and how Eshu Ayé healed her; Obara and Obara Meji (6 and 6-6) tell the stories of Elegede. Ejila Shebora (12) and Ejila Meji (12-12) are important to her story as well. She lost a daughter named Poroye in the odu Metanlá Meji (13-13). Also, because lava first came from the earth in the odu Irosun Obara (4-6), many say the epic battle between Oroiña and Oshún Ibú Olólodí was fought in that odu, and Oshún won thanks to the intervention of Boyuto.


11. Oshún Ibú Yemú: Ibú Iyumú, Yemmú, Gumí, and Bumú are other names for this road. Many get them confused as differing avatars of what is the same Oshún. So old is this road of Oshún that many say Ibú Yemú began this royal line of orisha; some, however, just say that she is old herself. No matter, for she is the mother and eldest of all Oshún’ she lives at the bottom of the river, alone. We find her in the mist of a waterfall and in the humidity of the air. She reports all that she sees to Olófin, and it is for this reason that many fear her. She also aids Olófin in punishing the evil doer. She was born in the odu 5-5 and is active in 3-5 and 15-15.


12. Oshún Idere Lekun lives in caves, and she dances where the waves of the ocean beat on the reefs. She is said to control the tambour. She takes a mask because her face is deformed. She is born in the odu 7-9.


13. Oshún Okuanda: This is the road of Oshún who freed Shangó when he was trapped by Oyá in the land of the dead, and later she was killed and thrown into the river. Her crown is finished with a cross that is left hanging over her face. I’m not sure the odu of her birth; however, she is found in the odu Osá Irosun (9-4) and Osá Oché (9-5).