African Traditional Religion : Osanyin

awo dino

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2009
in florida for now
carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te

Osanyin food:
Osanyin eats all plants, gin and water
obi abata (kola nut)
oyin (honey)
eyin (egg)
black chickens, pigeons and goats.

Ataare seeds (7 or 9)) and obi abata should be chewed and sprayed on Osanyin.
Rub the contents of an egg on Osanyin.
Honey may also be rubbed on Osanyin.
You can throw obi abata for status of feeding.

Sacred implements:
Osanyin pot, of course
Opa Osun
Agogo bell
Osanyin carving or doll.
Osanyin is also the patron of beads. He came into this world covered in dazzling beads. The multi-colored beads of his ileke are representative of all the leaves in the forest. In addition, he also has an ileke which is shared with Orunmila, which are yellow and green. In a relevant Itan it is said that: At the beginning, divination priests and herbalists (they work together) went to Ifa, the oracle. Ifa gave them strands of alternating green and yellow beads, saying, "This is your sign." These beads stand for Ewe Ifa, the leaf of divination.

Oriki Osanyin
Iba Osanyin
Praise to the owner of herbal medicine
Iba oni ewe
praise to the owner of leaves
Angberri, ewe gbogbo kiki oogun
The supernatural one, one-who-turns-all-leaves-into-medicine
Agbenigi, oromodie abidi sonso,
One who is versed in the use of roots, one who has a sharp, pointed tail like that of a chick,
Esinsin abedo kinnikinni,
One who has a liver as crystal clear as a fly's
koogo egboro irin,
One who is as powerful as an iron rod,
Akepe nigba oran ko sunwon, tiotio tin, ogba aso okunrun ta giegie,
One whom people appeal to when things are bad, the extremely slender one who, in curing, snatches the clothes of illness and staggers.
Okùnrin gbogbó, dá nkan dá nkan.
The powerful one who commits crimes.
Elésè kan tí ó lé elésè méjì sáré.
The one - legged man who puts two - legged men to flight.
Àròni já sí kòtò dì oògun máyà.
Aroni, who jumps into a pit with charms tied on his chest.

Oriki Osanyin

Spirit Osanyin,
forest sprite of the Gods
Dance bell of power
messenger of heaven
bows down for father
evil penis with blade to cut
evil vagina, medicine rubbed
visible and invisible
body of palm tree, bearing
thorns from the beginning
one-legged man running faster
than two-legged men
evil forest, who knows no master,
O, forest who collects the debts
of men.

Spirit Osanyin,
forest sprite of the Gods
Dance bell of power

Osanyin's name is linked with the sound of the agogo gong (dance bell of power), which is linked with a leaf, agogo igun (vulture's beak), used to turn away evil. the sound of the agogo communicates immediate aural pleasure to Aje’ (the witches) better referred to as awon iya wa (the mothers), “Iyaami” (our mother, Spirit Bird)or “eleiye”(owners of birds) - calming there destructive powers. In Odu Ogbe'Fun, it is prescribed for anyone "born" of this sign, to hang chimes by their beds for basically the same reason.

messenger of heaven
Like Esu, he dances on one leg, and links this world to the other.

evil penis with blade to cut
evil vagina, medicine rubbed
Osanyin can cure sickness of a sexual nature.

body of palm tree, bearing
thorns from the beginning
he is powerful and not to be messed with.

one-legged man running faster
than two-legged men

Here we get into the story of how Osanyin was crippled. There was once a talented diviner who couldn't find work. Worried about feeding his family, he went to Osanyin, who, because of his extraordinary talents had gained wide fame. Osanyin was hogging all the work. The diviner pleaded with Osanyin to share some work, but Osanyin told him to take a hike. On the way home, diviner ran into Esu, who asked him why the sad face. The diviner told Esu what had happened, so Esu caused Osanyin's house to collapse on top of him. From then on, Osanyin has needed a diviner to collect his leaves for him. He further suffered (the loss of voice) when he arrogantly refused to follow Orunmila's advice (authority).
The “moral of the story,” is that Osanyin admitted and learned from his mistakes, redeemed himself (iwa pele), let go of ego and was re-born (the whole point of initiation). So now he is stronger than before (one-legged man running faster than two-legged men).

O, forest who collects the debts of men
This last line refers to the fact that we must ask permission and pay tribute when we enter the forest to collect foliage. "Evil forest" simply reminds us that the forest can be a dangerous place.

The iron beak of the bird (igun-vulture) and agogo bells of the Opa Osun have deep meaning. Again, the herb "vulture's beak," which drives away ajogun, witches and disease; and the bells and the bell like cones of the Opa Osun represent leaves; a magically healing leaf of iron, which brings us to another story of how bells protect (in addition to their sound pleasing the mothers). All the Orisa were afraid of the power of the mothers. They begged Orunmila to protect them since it is remembered that Esu found out the mother's secrets and told Orunmila. So, Orunmila consulted Ifa and made the prescribed offering (this is the medicine inserted in the cones of the opa osun): the leaves of ojushaju, oyoyo, aanu, and agogo igun, some honey, a parrot feather, ofun and camwood.
the oyoyo leaf certifies that the witches are pleased (yonu); ojushaju that they respect (shaju) him; aanu that they will take pity (shaanu) on him; and agogo igun so that everything he asks for by means of a bell (agogo) shall be obtained. If you are familiar with Pierre Verger's book on herbs (available at, you will recognize the structure of how the names of the herbs have meanings that also relate to their purpose, and the playful play on words. If you know the Odu that incarnates the Opa Osun, then you can activate the ase of the herbs by simply putting it together. For example, after you summon Osanyin and state your intent, you would start with an herb, say, oyoyo, pray over it saying, ewe oyoyo, oyoyo'nu may you please the witches or whatever. In Lucumi, obi kola, eru, tushe and osun (camwood) are placed within the Opa Osun. There is a deep connection between the Opa Osun and the mind or Ori of the initiate. Some have these materials rubbed into small incisions in the top of the head at initiation.

Like Orunmila, Osanyin has the power, through his staff (opa), to neutralize the ajogun and the Aje’. There are different types of staffs. Opa Osun are Osanyin staffs, but are called Ifa staffs because Awo have them. As mentioned earlier, there is a strong connection between Osanyin and Orunmila and also to Ogun, for the Opa Osun is made out of iron. Ogun lives in the forest, hence his connection to Osanyin. Again, Osanyin's herbs have the power to neutralize the Ajogun (negative forces), but it was Orunmila, with the help of Esu, who actually confronted the Eleiye. The single bird above the other birds on the staff relates to the Itan of when the Eleiye surrounded Orunmila. It is the triumph of the mind over the forces of illness and destruction.

There is another story that explains why, when a babalawo reeives an opa Osun, a **** is offered. First, some of the tail feathers are plucked to get the **** to sound out, then it is quickly killed and offered to the staff. Once, three warrior deities, Ogun, Osoosi and Ija went to Iku (death) and told him to kill Orunmila because they suspected he wanted to steal their wives. Orunmila, in fear, went to another diviner who told him to offer a **** to iku. Orunmila, whose ebo skills at the time were not so good, plucked some feathers off the ****'s tail. The **** cried, "koo, kooo, kooo!" When death heard the suffering cries, he was pleased and went away. So, if one offers a **** to the Osun, death will be sent away. The Awo touches the head of the **** to the heads of all present and then mounts it atop the head of the bird on the staff. This can be done during the Itefa ceremony or afterward. The Osun staff represents the power of the Awo to conquer death. It is placed in front of his house. In this way, we see that, as with the yellow and green beaded ileke, Orunmila and Osanyin are together.

The following chant comes from Okanran Oturupon, the Odu that invokes or incarnates Osanyin.

Igbe kakaka
Irele kakaka
Parakun awusa ni nt' aja l'enu
ewe omo ajija
oogun omo ajisa
ewe o

gentle, easy lift
walnut shell cuts the dog's mouth
herb that must be cut early morning
oogun (charm, medicine) that must be cast early mornings
I hail you, herbs (Osanyin)

Now you proceed with whatever it is that you summoned Osanyin for. Additionally, or another way, is to mark Osanyin's Odu - Okanran Oturupon – on your tray in irosun powder, and chant the verses from said Odu.

May Odumare, through Osanyin, bless you with ire. Ase.

awo dino

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2009
in florida for now
carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te
Being that Osanyin is the Orisa of herbal medicine, I will post this here.

The following Herbs most commonly associated with the major Orishas in Santeria. The Herbs are listed in Spanish because that is they are known in botanicas. Botanicas specialize in the herbs of Santeria, most of which they sell fresh. You can translate them to English with an online translator.

Eleggua: grama de caballo, lengua de vaca, espartillo, abre camino, pastillo, yerba fina, hedionda, itamo real, meloncillo, albahaca, pata de gallina, llamao.

Oggun: cana santa, pata de gallina, yerba de sangre, yerba mora, pegojo, hueso de gallo, adormidera, siempreviva, anamu, romerillo, amanza guapo, albahaca morada, palo manaju, ebano, quita maldicion, salvadera.

Chango y Aganyu: beldo punzo, moco de pavo, zarzaparrilla, paraiso, alamo, jobo, almacigo, granada, mamey, rompe zaraguey, ruda.

Obatala: bledo de clavo, sauco, campana, algodon, aguinaldo blanco, higuerete, almendro, guanabana, jugua blanca, malva.

Yemaya/Olokun y Ochun: malva te, lechuga, lechuguilla, yerba anil, verbena, prodigiosa, helecho, floe de aqua, berro, yerba buena, albahaca morada, guama, guasima, boto de oro, yerba de la nina, colonia, marilope, panetela, huevo de gallo, guacamaya, yerba mora, diez de dia, palo canela.

Oya: yerba garro, baria, mazorquilla, yuca, ciruela, palo caja, cabo de hacha, caimitillo, caimito, flamboyan, geranio, guara, maravilla.

Babalu-Aye / Nana bukken: Cundiamor, zalgazo, zazafran, alacrancillo, escoba, apasote, pinon botijo, caisimon, tapa camino, salvia.

The herbal baths called despojos are said to have the special ashe of the various Orishas. The combination of herbs brings about the "chemical reaction" necessary to improve an individual's life. Santeros believe that the herbs are divided into two groups, the sweet and the bitter. These denomination do not have anything to do with taste, but with spiritual vibrations. Sweet herbs are used for attracting ire - good luck, love, money, and prosperity. Bitter herbs are used to dispel ibi - evil and negative energies. Sweet and Bitter herbs should not be mixed, as they nullify each other's vibrations. Following is a small list of sweet herbs and bitter herbs.

Sweet Herbs: Bitter Herbs:

manzanilla rompezaraquey
colonia abre camino
yerba buena apasote
mejorana anamu
yerba luisa escoba amarga
altamisa jobo
maravilla alamo
berro tartago
albahaca ruda
salvia arrasa con todo
siempreviva yerba bruja
menta hedionda
verbena cortadera
mirto pata de gallina
prodigiosa espartilla
boton de oro lengua de vaca
paraiso romerillo
llamao zarzaparrilla
quita maldicion

Any combination of 3, 5, 7, or 9 bitter herbs boiled in several quarts of water make an excellent bath to destroy evil. At least three baths should be taken (on three consecutive nights). It is advisable to add some holy water to each bath every night after the herbal decoction has been boiled, strain and cooled. santeros recommend lighting a white candle in honor of the person's guardian angel after taking the bath.

Sweet herbs should only be used after the bitter herbs, again 3, 5, 7, or 9 herbs are recommended, and an equal number of baths, although in some instances only one bath is necessary. The sweet baths are also prepared with holy water, and santeros recommend the addition of honey, cinnamon, and some perfume - either the person's favorite fragrance or Locion Pompeya or Kolonia 1800, the staple perfumes of santeria. It is always better to consult a santero to determine which are the best baths for each person, as there are some people who do not need the bitter herbs and others who should avoid the sweet herbs until their bodies are thoroughly cleansed of negative vibrations. Following are some of the specific baths of the most popular Orishas.

Elegua: Escoba amargo, guairo, altamisa, canutillo, blanco, yerba buena, cimmarrona, abrajo
(this powerful bath combines both bitter and sweet herbs to underline Elegua's dual force).

Obatala: cascarilla, campana blanca, algodon, white flowers (no thorns), anon guanabana, prodigiosa, higuereta blanca, bledo blanco, colonia, verdolaga, yagruma, paraiso, vergonzoza, jaguey, caracolillo blanco.

Chango: Pinon, almacigo, ponasi, tres marias, algodon, alamo, ruda, apasote, peonia, granada.

Oggun: Salvadera, Amanza guapo, yerba quimbisa, pata de gallina, malva cochinera.

Aganyu: Iroko (ceiba), algarrobo, lino de monte, guairo, santo jaguey.

Babalu-Aye y Nana Bukken: Pata de gallina, escoba amarga, yerba sangre, guano real, cordovan, guira, malva te, albahaca morada, cundiamor.

Yemaya / Olokun: Canutillo blanco, lechuguin, mejorana, altamisa, mazorquilla, floe de aqua, malanguilla, yerba buena.

Ochun: Sauco amarillo, boton de oro, girasol, guacamaya, guano del rio, paraiso, ciruela, canitel, helecho, caracolillo.

Oya: Malanguilla, caimito, llagruma, hoja de palo ramon, algarrobo de mar, higuereta morada, cordovan, flamboyan, maravilla.

awo dino

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2009
in florida for now
carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te
the columns of sweet and bitter herbs got stuck together. Let me try again.

Sweet Herbs:
yerba buena
yerba luisa
boton de oro

Bitter Herbs:
abre camino
escoba amarga
arrasa con todo
yerba bruja
pata de gallina
lengua de vaca
quita maldicion

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