Tap into your sensual prowess with Oshun
Oshun is the African Yoruba goddess of love, fresh waters, joy, dance, and fertility. She is seen as the Divine Mother of all orphans. She is the most compassionate and loving of all the Yoruba goddesses, and her water element energy invites us to surrender our fears and dive into the women we are at our cores, at our roots. She is strong, yet gentle, and she loves and supports her devotees (often called her “children”) with the utmost passion. She often reveals herself to her followers in rivers or streams, and blesses them with feelings of overwhelming happiness and joy. Her first interaction with humanity was at the Osogbo River in Nigeria, which is still today a protected World Heritage site with many art pieces and shrines honoring here there. The water element energy of flow and transformation is what we will be focusing on this month, since April is often the month when we see rainfall across many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. This water cleanses and nurtures us, helping us heal emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Oshun awakens our sexual and sensual energy as well, reminding us where our power resides and comes from.
Oshun is an especially powerful goddess for many African, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and African-American women. With the African diaspora, Oshun’s legends and magic traveled alongside the Yoruba people to North and South America, where she is known and worshipped in other countries such as Brazil and Cuba. She accompanied those who believed in her across the waters of the Transatlantic slave trade, and brought comfort to them in times of extreme trauma and despair. She was channeled in dances rituals which developed out of slavery, such as the Brazilian samba. This concept of her literally journeying across the waters of the earth with her devotees is so powerful when looking at the energy she has to offer. She was a liberator for her people, a loving Mother who supported and helped them through a time of insurmountable pain and suffering.
Oshun was a joyful goddess, always dancing, swimming, and singing to celebrate the beauty of life. Some myths even paint her as a woman with a fish’s tail – or a mermaid. She definitely channels the energies of happiness, however, she was known for also possessing quite a strong temper, and when provoked, could take away life just as freely as she gave it. When she was angry with her devotees, Oshun might use her power over water to cause drought, or in some cases, destructive flooding.
Oshun and Passover
This month we work with uniting the energies of the high Holy Day of Passover with the liberation energy of Oshun. Passover is a holiday in the Jewish tradition that celebrates the houses of the Jews literally being “passed over” when the last of the plagues inflicted by God onto the Egyptians responsible for the enslavement of the Hebrews. The Jews were spared from this curse, freed from slavery, and embarked on their Exodus from Egypt. Oshun also help channel these energies of freedom and liberation from entrapment, from anything which may be enslaving you. Even in pagan tradition, Passover is celebrated with meditations and rituals focused on liberating yourself from whatever is entrapping you. It may be fear, anxiety, health concerns, or a work environment which makes you feel this way. I invite you this month to explore those areas where you may be feeling trapped, and to call on the combined energy of goddess Oshun and the Passover ritual to help free you from mental or physical constraints. This could be rooted in any restraint you have in your life. It could even be residual energy of entrapment lingering from a past life. The key to our work in Sanctum this month is finding a way to work critically and ritually with something that’s been holding you back. The Seder feast of Passover is celebrated with prayer and song. Oshun loves bright festivals which involve singing and dancing, and offerings of food. Feel free to invite Oshun into your Passover rituals. On Holy Days like Passover and Easter, it is important to work with their energy even if they come from a tradition you don’t normally follow. It is important to work ritually with the energy already in the field. Use this time to call upon transcendence, freedom, and liberation. Use it in a way that serves you with reverence. Think about transformation as a greater miraculous concept. Healing is transformation. Freedom is transformation. Right now it is important to work with what we already have, and shift our perspective on what abundance looks like in our lives. The key to prosperity is looking at what you have and showing gratitude for it.
Journal Prompts for Oshun:
Are there any areas where you feel trapped in your life? Do you feel the need to liberate yourself from something that may be holding you back or making you feel imprisoned?
Do you feel connected or disconnected to your sensuality or sexual energy lately? How do you feel this impact on your creativity or creative output at this time?
Where in life are you being called to release or let go? Are there any issues coming to you during this time about control and surrender?
Are there any activities or rituals you do which help activate your inherent sensuality? What are they, and how do they make you feel?
Our April theme: Beltane
Beltane is a fire element holiday, and so contrasts with Oshun’s water element energy. However, both Oshun and Beltane are deeply connected to sexual energy, and this is where we can draw the parallel between these two April energies for our work this month. As you may know, Beltane is one of my favorite Celtic holidays; it honors fertility, abundance, sex, the union of male and female energies, and the growth of everything beautiful on Earth. It is a joyous and raucous holiday celebrated with feasting, dancing, and fires. And it is a sexy holiday, right down to the ritual way in which Beltane fires are usually lit – by striking two pieces of wood together, rubbing and grinding, until sparks fly.
Beltane also honors one of the seasonal points at which the veil between the realms is at its thinnest. At this time in the Southern Hemisphere, it is approaching Samhain. The spirit world is drawing ever nearer to us, and so this in turn becomes a good time to do any ritual or magical work with ancestral spirits. Beltane focuses on honoring your personal growth, the abundance in nature, and your sexual energy. Growth, power, maturity, sexiness, wisdom, unlimited potential – these are the fruits of Beltane.
May 1st is Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere, and on this day we honor the ancient story, the archetypal love myth that precedes all others in history. Beltane means bright fire, and in Pagan traditions it represents the Divine Union of the God and Goddess and their eternal embrace, which leads to the goddess becoming pregnant and her child being born. Ancient legends tell of the two lovers, separated all winter long, and their reunion on Beltane. This feast day is celebrated with wild festivities that include dances around multi-colored maypoles, symbolizing the feminine sheath which encases the male phallus. This is a vibrant time full of joyous energy, and Oshun helps to inspire and tend to our sexual energies which we really feel come alive at this time.
During this time it is important to invite color into your sacred space. You could invoke the goddess Oshun with shades of yellow, gold, and amber. She absolutely adores altars made to her with beautiful colors and gems. Crafting is also an important part of Beltane festivities and could involve you creating your own maypole.
Dance rituals are especially powerful at this time and connect to both the goddess Oshun and the rites of Beltane. Oshun hugely influenced the rise of samba in Brazil, and so now might be a good time to take up that dance class you’ve always been curious about. Dance is also a form of prayer and devotion in many Eastern traditions, and can be used in ancient temple rituals to awaken the goddess within, and in turn spark energies of sexual empowerment.
Beltane is also a good time to perform rituals and ceremonies to attract your twin flame. Oshun makes a great companion when working with this energy, as she is very connected to magical rituals surrounding love, fertility, and attraction. In fact, her main lover was Shango, the orisha associated with thunder, lightning, justice, dance, and fire. So we see fire and water come together in their relationship, as well. To honor the duality of fiery Beltane and watery Oshun, light a candle near a body of water, if you are able to. When your ritual or meditation is complete, use the water from your source to extinguish the flame.
Sanctum Beltane Ritual | April 12, 2016 – 5 P.M. PST http://www.spreecast.com/events/sanctum-beltane-ritual
Beltane Ritual as a portal for life
Beltane is one of two portal holidays in the Wheel of the Year; Samhain is the other. This is a time when the veil between our world and the spirit world becomes thin, opening up powerful possibility for us to make contact with our guides and elders who have passed on. This is a potent time for shamanic journeywork, channeling, divination, and spirit communication. However, as opposed to Samhain, when the veil brings us closer to the cycle of death (winter), Beltane is when the veil brings us closer to the cycle of life (summer). This is a beautiful duality which exists in nature, for life cannot exist without death. As we take this time to celebrate the life cycle, and energies of fertility, sex, and abundant possibility, I offer you a simple ritual you can do to open this portal of life.
Around the night of April 30-May 1, take a green or white candle, and at sundown, light it. Open a circle, and invite your ancestors and guides to come closer – but not before asking that only positive spirits who have resolved their karma reveal themselves to you. Call upon their wisdom for your growth cycle; perhaps you may want to ask them which crops you should tend more closely and more carefully during this time. Take note of the energies and guidance you receive in your ceremony. Give thanks to your spiritual protectors and close your circle. You may leave your candle burning for as long as you wish.
Should you wish to extend and lengthen this ritual, consider leaving offerings beneath a sacred tree in your yard or neighborhood while the circle is open or immediately after it is closed.