Oshosi - The Hunter

Learning about the Orishas:

In our continuing blog series of introductions to the Orishas, I would like to take a moment to stress the importance of learning about the mysteries of each Orisha as they all have so much to give if only we took the time to really learn about their energy and how to work with them. Traditionally, in the Yoruba culture, when a priest became initiated, they took on the role of learning and becoming the expert of that Orisha. A priest is initiated by crowing their guardian Orisha on their head which strengthen their affinity to the Orisha and are then able to explore the mysteries more easily.  When people wanted help from an Orisha, they would usually go to the priest of that Orisha who would advise them and facilitate the connection to that Orisha. The objective of this blog series is to empower you to get to know each Orisha so that you can interact with them yourself.  Keep in mind that these introductions only scratches the surface as there’s so much more to them.

You may have wondered why we turn to different Orishas for help when we have a guardian Orisha who resonates so closely with us. The answer is quite simply that sometimes what is required of us is not in our nature nor that of our guardian Orisha. Suppose that the problem you’re having requires you to be more aggressive in order to come to a resolution, but your introverted nature would prefer to avoid confrontation.  Or if the opposite situation was true, let’s say that it requires a calm, patience and a methodical approach but you are just too impulsive to pull it off. This would be the time to seek help from an Orisha whose energy better resonates with what is needed.

As you explore and learn about the Orishas, you’ll come to the realization that their energy falls into two categories.  On the one side of the spectrum you have the Orishas with cool energy, they include Obatala (Orisanla), Oshosi, Osain (Osanyin), Odùduwà, Yemoja, Olòkun, Oshun, Orunmila …, and they work by attraction and are serene, reflective, patient, nurturing and gentle. On the other side of the spectrum you have Orishas with hot energy and include Eshu, Ogun, Shango, Oyá, Shopona (Babalú-Ayé), Aggayú, Sigídí … they work by expansion and help overcome obstacles, they are passionate, creative, assertive, aggressive, excitable, and even temperamental. The Orishas complement each other beautifully to create a harmonious balance in our universe. There are many Orishas, but actually only a few Orishas are crown on someone’s head, while others are never crowned as they are too intense, however you can still work with them if you are careful and understand their nature (e.g. Sigídí, Shopona). Understanding cool/hot energy will help you select appropriate Ebbos (offerings) to complement their energy. Orishas within the hot spectrum would appreciate Ebbos that strengthen heat such as spicy food such as “atari pepper” or “peppercorn”, while those with cool energy would prefer Ebbos that have a cooling effect, such “shea butter” or strengthen attraction like “honey”.  Regardless of which Orisha you’re working with, we are always trying to balance cool/heat energy with our Ebbos in order to restore harmony and maintain balance in our lives. Note that even a hot Orisha would appreciate a little cooling now and then, for example we sprinkle cool water on Eshu to calm things down and we use oil to reduce friction. And vice-versa, Orishas with cool energy sometimes need a little spice, but not too much. On a quick observation, you may also notice that when we make an Ebbo, we’re also lighting a candle and including a glass of cool water, so the spectrum of heat/cool is always represented.

I encourage you to explore the Orisha world, ask questions, have discussions, share your experiences, interact with the Orishas and see what works for you, there is always something to be learned. Ashe!

Oshosi (Oxóssi, Ochosi, Oshoosi)

This blog article is dedicated to the Orisha Oshosi which I’m very fond of, a wonderfully unique and mysterious energy that is part of a ceremony called “The Warriors” (Spanish: “Gerreros”).  It is the next step in the Ifa path after getting “Elekes” (necklaces) and a personal Eshu. The warriors consist of Ogún and Oshosi, note that Ogún is a hot energy and Oshosi is a cool energy. They complement each other and work together to enhance their effectiveness. In conjunction with Eshu, they are our primary spiritual tools that we as Ifa followers use to create harmony and navigate the path of our destinies, overcome obstacles that impede our progress, and gain knowledge and wisdom to attract prosperity, love, good health, joy and peace to our lives.  Ogún and Oshosi usually share a three legged cauldron together which include various tools that they use.  You could also have a personal Oshosi that’s outside the cauldron as I have (shown on the right). I gave my Oshosi a golden antler, color beads (blue/amber), one amulet of a “bow and arrow” and one of a “bird holding an arrow” (reference to Pataki), he sits on a piece of forest wood slice.

Note that you do not need to be an initiated priest to have the warriors, and one of them may also actually be your guardian Orisha as well. The warriors are a very important step in the Ifa faith as they will propel you forward in your destiny.

Oshosi is the spirit of the hunter, one that is skillful and crafty, patient and methodical in its approach, and swiftly lethal once the opportunity presents itself to strike. Solitary in nature, the ultimate survivalist who quietly camouflages himself to blend with nature. He is the magician/shaman and seer who understands nature and bends it to his will. His stealth approach to track, stalk and study his prey enables him to use the prey’s very own nature to his advantage. The quality traits of the ultimate hunter include independently living off nature by foraging, trapping, and hunting, weathering storms, being comfortable alone with oneself, and patiently waiting until the right moment to strike. 

A good analogy to understand the nature of Oshosi as a warrior would be if there was an army, Oshosi would be the elite force that is sent out in a stealth mission for special operations, alike a sharp shooter, reconnaissance, or other covert mission. Or perhaps, the diplomat that goes out to negotiates a solution to protect your interests. He always works behind the scenes and is highly resourceful and aware, he is often invoked to scout an area to find the missing. Oshosi is highly ethical and known for his objectivity and are often called upon for help in legal matters such as lawsuits, and any other problems dealing with authority figures such as police, IRS, and government.

Oshosi defends and protects while still being gentle. For this reason, he is called to look after children, young people and the innocent to protect them from predators and bullies.  Oshosi gently nudges the young people in the right direction, watches over them from a distance, and swiftly come to their aid when needed. Having a small charm or pendant of a “bow and arrow” (symbol for Oshosi) for protection will strengthen that bond.

Oshosi is sensitive to injustices and will bring justice to those that have been wronged.  But I cautioned you that when asking Oshosi to intervene, that you are certain of what you’re asking as you may not always see the big picture or know about mitigating circumstances.  The following Pataki (story) illustrates this lesson.

Pataki:  (there many variations of this story, but they all convey the same principle)

Oshosi was the most skillful hunter who lived on earth, it is said that Eshu (the divine messenger) brought a message to Oshosi from Orunmila to find and trap a very rare bird that Orunmila wanted to give to Olodumare. Oshosi being such a skillful tracker was able to find the rare bird and brought it home with him in a cage and went to rest from the long journey.  During this time, Oshosi’s mother found the bird in the cage and thought Oshosi had caught it for dinner, so she proceeded to kill the bird, then went to the market to get spices to cook the bird.  When Oshosi woke up, he found the dead bird and was furious that someone would have kill the rare bird. But he knew he had to act quickly and went back to the forest to look for another bird so as to not disappoint the Orishas.  He searched and searched and fortunately was able to find another bird. Determined to not let it out of his sight this time, he went to see Eshu and told Eshu that he wanted to go see Orunmila in person and present the rare bird to Olodumare together, Eshu complied with Oshosi’s request.  Olodumare was very pleased by Oshosi’s skills and determination, in response, Olodumare gave Oshosi a crown to make him an Orisha at that very moment. Olodumare asked Oshosi what he was going to do with his new powers, Oshosi without hesitation said “I want justice, I want to shoot an arrow into the air and pierce the heart of the one who killed the first bird he had caught”. Olodumare asked Oshosi if he was absolutely certain that’s what he wanted, as an Orisha you now have to the power to do so.  Oshosi said yes and shot the arrow into the air.  When Oshosi returned home he found his arrow had pierced the heart of his mother. Oshosi was very distraught of what he had done and recognized his own impetuousness and bowed to protect the innocent and find the truth from then on.

The motto of the story is that justice can be blind and without mercy, so always consider mitigating circumstances. You should always have compassion when applying justice.

Children of Oshosi:

The children of Oshosi are clever and highly resourceful. They gain wisdom by exploring and trying new things on their own. When they are in tune with their inner self, they demonstrate a gentle disposition and inner strength. They can be very ethical and would do well in careers involving law and order, or any work that requires objectivity, fairness and impartiality (e.g. referee). Any field that requires diplomacy, research or exploration would also be a good choice. Their independent nature could lead them into many fields of work.


The “deer” is one of the animals that embodies or personifies the energy of Oshosi because of its gentle demeanor and alertness. They camouflage and blend into their environment, quietly foraging and moving about during the twilight hours. Their senses are very acute, hearing a twig snap a long distance away, and having a keen sense of smell to detect predators up wind. Oshosi teaches us the power of a gentle approach to solving problems.

The “bow and arrow” is the main symbol for Oshosi, it reflects his precise and swift approach.

The “handcuffs” and “fishing hook” are sometimes use, especially if you work in law and order.


The best time of day to make Ebbos (offerings) to Oshosi, is during the twilight hours of sunrise or sunset.

Colors:  Dark blue and Amber or Gold, also Indigo.

Number: 3 and 7

The number 7 and dark blue color may be a reference to Yemoja whom he is closed to.

Celebration Day: October 25th


  • Trail mix (nuts and berries, dry fruits), wild honey
  • All fresh fruit
  • Yams, sweet potatoes
  • Wild game cooked dishes (pheasant, quail)

Liquor: Anisette, rum



Recommended link: Oshosi in Spiritual Tools

Love and Blessings! Javier Lujan {Babalawo Ifajuitan}


Eshu - and the trickster

Eshu (Èṣù, Elegba, Elegbara, Echú), the divine messenger of “GodOlodumare” and the Orishas. Eshu can bridge the spiritual world with the tangible world. It is said that Eshu is everywhere at any given moment, and waits at the crossroads between heaven and earth between the two worlds. He is the divine messenger that clears a path for you, brings you success, and provide you with wisdom and Ashé.

For Ifa followers, having a personal Eshu is one of the fundamental steps in their spiritual journey. Typically done after you’ve had a “life path reading”.  The reading would indicate which of the 256 Odu, or spiritual experience you’re having in this life.  This is why you will often hear that Eshu has many paths (Spanish: “caminos”), the paths actually correlates to the 256 Odu. Your personal Eshu is created in a way that would resonate with you and your life path. Your personal Eshu becomes your guardian, protector, and spiritual messenger. There are many variations in how they look, so don’t fret if yours looks different from others you’ve seen, Eshu is Eshu, no matter the size of how it’s adorned.

Eshu is often depicted with a single crimson parrot feather called “Ekodidé”. The feather stands prominently upright on the forehead, it represents “enlightenment, pure thought and intention, one that has no burdens weighting it down”.  The bright crimson color is a beacon for attracting “Ashé”. You might have seen newly Ifa initiates wearing an “Ekodidé” for days for this same reason, new initiates are told not to cover their heads while Ashé is being drawn into their crown.

As legend has it, each of the Orishas went to see “God - Olodumare” to present the many gifts they had for humanity. These gifts were carried on their heads for Olodumare to bless. Eshu on the advice of Orunmila, would not carry a burden on his head and went with just a single crimson parrot feather on his head.  Olodumare in turn bestowed Eshu the gift of Ashé to carry, and designated Eshu to be the divine messenger and communicator between heaven and earth; the divine mediator; the advocate for self-realization; one that has the power of thought and intention to create a new reality; the catalyst for change and movement; the one that could transcend boundaries and limitations of time and space.  It has been said that “Eshu throws a stone today and hits a bird yesterday”.

Your personal Eshu may also have a small blade sticking out, representing “protection” as well as “creating a path for you” alike a machete cutting through the dense rain forest undergrowth to walk through. Other common adornments include cowrie shells to represent a mouth and eyes and alternating beads of red and black, it may also include a few white beads.  It may be encased in a conch seashell, or a combination of clay, cement and resin, often made to resonate with your guardian Orisha as well (your guardian is also determined by divination).

For “Aleyos” (“the uninitiated”), the importance of having pure thoughts and good intentions are often given little importance. But once you embark on the Ifa path and get a personal Eshu, the importance of correct thinking becomes more apparent. With power comes responsibilities and one should note that Ashé is greatly diminished when our thoughts and actions lack good character. So it behooves you to always remember that “thoughts and intention have power, and Eshu can hear them”. If you want to manifest positive changes in your lives you must have pure thoughts and clear intentions. If your motivations are flawed in any way, it invites the trickster side of Eshu, one that has repercussions to help you adjust your character. It may manifest as simple mischief like losing your keys or being delayed, whatever it takes to get your attention.  You see, Eshu as your guide is also your spiritual teacher.  Some fear the trickster and they shouldn’t, there’s nothing to fear! Part of being on a spiritual journey is to learn from your mistakes, grow spiritually and develop your character.

Eshu play an important role in any Ifa work, in fact, your personal Eshu as your guide should always be by your side whenever you do a prayer, divination or Ebbos to the Orishas, because it is Eshu that will carry your thoughts, prayers and messages to heaven and come back with the Ashé. Eshu is always propitiated first before any other Ifa work to ensure success, then thanked last to complete your Ifa work. Remember that “everything begins and ends with Eshu”.

When you do seek guidance from Eshu, you should cusp your personal Eshu in your hands and bring it up to your forehead.  Pray and imagine your thoughts being transferred to Eshu.  The proximity of having Eshu that close to your forehead intensifies the connection.

Sprinkle water on Eshu and on the ground often to keep things cool and calm, say…

Omi Tutu (cool water to refresh)

Ana Tutu (my path is refreshed)

Tutu Ilê (refresh my home)

Tutu Eshu (refresh Eshu) - If your personal Eshu has a name, you can add it here.


It is said that Shango once asked Eshu why, being the divine messenger doesn’t Eshu speak straightforwardly and give people what they want. Eshu responded that his role as a teacher and guide is to open the door (“opportunity”), it’s up to the individual to walk through it, if they expects an answer or want something, I place it on their path to find, to do otherwise would rob them of the experience of self-realization, learning to think for themselves, the joy of discovering what they are capable of. I bring change to those who want it, and connection to the divine (“Ashé”) for those that seek it. Should people get everything they want? …No, not everything, it would be detrimental to their spiritual health to grant all their desires, they get rewarded for good character and get what they need so that they can continue on their life's journey.

Many people including myself when learning how to work with your personal Eshu, would eventually trip over the question of “free will” and won’t understand why some requests don’t work.  For example, if you were to tell Eshu to get you this person that you’re attracted to, that would certainly be a dicey request because you’re asking to impose “your will” on another person. The more appropriate request would be to ask Eshu to create an opportunity for you two to meet if it benefits you both …If there’s a spark, may you get the chance to learn more about each other …If compatible, may it lead into a friendship, and perhaps an intimate relationship if the two so choose. So when working with your personal Eshu, it comes down to learning to see the big picture, using good character to find the win-win situation.

Here’s another example, if you feel oppressed by someone’s actions, you could ask Eshu to shield you and open a door for you to find a way out of the oppressive situation, or you could ask Eshu to draw this person’s attention away from you. The one thing you would not do is to invite the trickster side to cause mischief and havoc in retaliation to this person life.

Eshu works in mysterious ways and will often take you out of your comfort zone, the reason may not be apparent at first, but if you trust him, it ultimately becomes clear. I received my personal Eshu (pictured at right) in 1983 at a time where I knew very little of the faith. I had only been given a life path reading as suggested by a dear friend, and was told that I needed “Elekes” (“beaded necklaces”) to protect my health and a personal Eshu to open up the life path that I was on. “What’s his name?” I asked… his name is Eshu Ayé and works closely with Olòkun, he will guide you now and take you to where you need to be, you need to trust him” I was told.

Very carefully I took him home wondering what I had gotten myself into. I placed Eshu on a corner of my room and gave him offerings as I was instructed and prayed for a better future. Within a week, I found myself out of work, the job I very much needed but made me miserable was gone. At the unemployment office I was advised that if I went back to school and got any training that would lead to job that I could still collect unemployment benefits so long as I didn’t miss a day of class, and would need to show proof of my attendance or would not get pay for the week. I only had enough money for the school application but everything fell into place, I was able to get assistance and a student loan, and was in a classroom shortly after. This is how I got started in my career in Information Technology.  It all happened so fast with many changes in my life coming afterwards, all for the better.  I knew Eshu was behind it all, even though I didn’t understand how at the time, I was happy that I had taken this leap of faith.

As a general rule, your personal Eshu should ONLY be handled by you and/or a priest (during a ritual sacrifice).  Of course, sometimes the unexpected happens and you just need to roll with it. Years ago, I used to take my Eshu to work with me, I had my own office at the time so I would discretely put him under my desk, out of sight.  One day, a co-worker came to see me needing some technical assistance, and went around my desk to show me something on my computer. In a blink of eye, he quietly reached under my desk and picked up my Eshu. “Oh, what’s this? this a sea shell?” he was blushing now “…why is it so sticky?” my Eshu was covered in honey, so yes, he was quite sticky that particular day. My embarrassed co-worker fearing he had violated some taboo, said to me “can you take it off my hands now please”. I calmly smiled and explained what it was and told him I was a Babalawo. As it turned out, his life was in crisis and was in badly need of a reading. So I gave him a reading later in the day and the spiritual guidance he needed. What apparently happened was that he got closed enough to Eshu that Eshu heard his thoughts and brought it to my attention. Eshu works in mysterious ways.

After that experience, I realized that I should get a travel-sized pocket Eshu.  They would stay together at home, but when I would go away, I could take my travel Eshu with me.  There was also the concern that my regular size Eshu could be confiscated at the airport.


The Trickster:

The renowned psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) talked about “the trickster” archetype found across many cultures and religions. While each “trickster” character is unique in their own way for each culture he said, there is a certain commonality across different cultures that suggest the threads of consciousness that connects all human beings, what he called the collective unconsciousness. A reminder that all human beings regardless of cultures and beliefs are bound together in some way.  Among the many cultures with a trickster archetype, the Yoruba have Eshu.

Eshu is loved and venerated, but often feared because of the trickster side. The trickster is the unruly, mischievous, provocative, chaotic and disruptive energy that disperses any form of order and organization, breaks with taboos and exposes human’s follies, but at the same time, inspiring some kind of change to occur. So the trickster side of Eshu should not be rebuked out of fear. It is ultimately necessary to have a counter-balance to “structure” in order to create something new. Where would we be if we couldn’t break barriers, tear down walls, revolt against oppression, destroy that which no longer serves a purpose and impede our success?

Our first reaction may be to vehemently resist change, but change is ultimately necessary to grow, especially when we become too rigid or get stuck in a particular way of thinking. The following “Pataki” illustrates this.



In one “Pataki” (story), two farmers happily lived next to each other, being close friends they had agreed they would never argue with each other.  One day Eshu wore a big hat that was white on the right side and black on the left side.  He walked pass them, right between the farmers to get their attention, the farmers noticed the hat and commented on it, and soon found themselves arguing about the color, “it is black!”, “no, it is white!” Eshu laughing in amusement returned sometime later to show them that they were both wrong! The hat was inside out and the hat was actually red. Eshu was teaching them a lesson because they were too complacent and rigid.


The children of Eshu:

Children of Eshu are exuberant and happy-go-lucky, when well-adjusted, they go about life as if they didn’t have care in the world. They can be spontaneous and can quickly change direction when something new draws their attention.  They are at their best when they can do things their own way.  Intuition and intellect is high and should cultivate it. They have a good sense of humor and can make a lot of friends.

The children of Eshu have an entrepreneur streak in them that would serve them well if they choose to work for themselves.  Being independent is important to them as they don’t like too much structure. They gravitate to careers in communications, teaching, research, and exploration.


Celebration Day:

While any day of the week is fine to work with Eshu, at the Ifa Foundation we work with Eshu on Saturdays. It is recommended that you bond with Eshu on a regular basis by making small offerings and prayers.

June 13th in an Eshu celebration day.


Caring for your Eshu

Ideally, Eshu should be near your front door, close to floor in a corner. So that it not only protects your home, but so that you make a visual/mental connection whenever you pass by him. It can be placed directly on the floor or if you like, or some type of terra cotta saucer.

Only handle Eshu when you are in a good frame of mind, not when you’re angry, upset, intoxicated, or uncleaned in any way.

Some people like to give Eshu toys and other objects.  My suggestion if you do, is to keep it small, about the size of 3 Lego blocks or a matchbox car, glass marbles are a good choice assuming you don’t have little kids that may put them in their mouths.  My recommendation is to give him a “charm bracelet” where you could add charms that represent important aspects of your life. This will strengthen your connection to Eshu and to what is happening in your life.

If you give Eshu “coins”, clean the coins first with salt water and sage smoke to remove other people’s energies.  It’s better to use new uncirculated coins, after you clean them, carry the coins in your pocket for 3 days to infuse your energy before offering it to Eshu (always in multiples of 3).

Colors:  Red and Black

Red represents “energy” - the zest for life; our drive to survive and thrive.

Black represents “grounding” – being here now; protection; our connection with the earth.

Number: 3 - I believe that the number 3 is a reference to time as in "Past", "Present", & "Future".

Multiples of 3, and 21.

Offerings to Eshu:

Keys, colorful glass marbles, toy cars, coins, whistles, ball, toy soldiers, colorful Lego blocks, feathers, animal figurines.

Liquor: rum; anisette; whiskey; vodka.

Oil: olive oil; palm oil; coconut oil.


Black coffee

Sweets: honey; wrapped candies; popcorn; sugar cookies; caramel; gingerbread cookies; coconut cookies.

Fruits: coconuts; plums; bananas; apples; white grapes

Spices: peppercorn.

Eshu Names:

Your personal Eshu may have been given a name when created, but if he doesn’t, you could certainly give him a name if you like since it’s your personal Eshu. You would choose a name that resonates with you and your life path, then through divination you would ascertain that the name is accepted.

Partial list of Eshu names:

Eshu Aláròyé (Laroye) - companion of Oshún, at home along the river’s edge, likes the sound of running water and children playing.

Eshu Ayé – companion to Olòkun, at home along the ocean surf where the waves break.

Eshu Echenike – companion to Osain.

Eshu Alaguana – companion to Ogun.

Eshu Afra – companion to Babalú Ayé.

Eshu Olona – companion to travelers.

Eshu Ayeru – companion to Babalawos.


Love and Blessings!  Javier Lujan {Babalawo Ifajuitan}


Yemoja-Olokun & story of creation

It is a widely held belief by scientists that life began in the ocean roughly 3.8 billion years ago in thermal vents on the ancient seafloor bed which were created by the separation of tectonic plates. Even today, these hot vents continue to sustain an ecosystem in the dark depths of the ocean. Some scientists speculated about the possibility that it could also have started in tide pools and hot springs formed by the tectonic plate movements.  What makes these scientific findings interesting from our point of view, is the correlation of science and the Ifa beliefs of creation passed down through generations in the form of “Patakis” (Ifa stories or myths).

There are many versions of the story of creation in the Ifa myths, suffice to say that you can choose one that resonates with you, this is my adaptation of the story.  But first, for the benefit of people new to Ifa, and to put the story into context, I want to say something about the Orishas mentioned in the story.

Yemoja (Yemonja, Yemaya) - the name is derived from the Yoruba words “Yeye” or “ìyá” (mother), “ômô” (child) and “eja” (fish) so literally translates to “mother whose children are fish”.

Olòkun (the name is derived from the Yoruba word “Olohun” (owner) and “òkun” (sea/ocean) so literally translates to “owner of the oceans”)

Yemoja-Olòkun are discussed together as they have a symbiotic relationship, forever linked together. The essence of Yemoja is felt in all large bodies of water including the great lakes and the vast oceans and as deep as sunlight can reach.  The essence of Olòkun and its’ great mysteries are beyond the reach of sunlight, it lies in the dark depths of the oceans which humans with all the advancements in technology, still know very little about.

Obatala (Orisanla) – the name is derived from the Yoruba words “Oba” (master/king/lord/leader), “ala” (whiteness/purity), translating to “master of purity” or “king of the white cloth”.

Odùduwà (Odudua, Oduas) – the name is derived from the Yoruba words “Olohun” (owner), “dudu” (black/dark), the word “odu” also means womb so literally translates to “the dark womb”.

The energies of Obatala and Odùduwà complement each other as each have influence over the mind. Obatala is said to rule over the conscious mind while Odùduwà is said to rule over the subconscious mind. "Light / Dark", "Expansion / Contraction".

Eshu (Esu, Elegua, Elegba, Elegbara, Echú), the messenger of God - Olodumare and the Orishas. Eshu can bridge the spiritual world with the tangible world. It is said that Eshu is everywhere at any given moment, waits at the crossroads between heaven and earth.  Known as “the trickster” because it grant us “free will”, the freedom to make choices, for better or for worse. The trick is making the right choices as Eshu not only facilitates life lessons, but rewards us from the spirit world. Eshu is the creator of opportunities and can remove obstacles from your path.


The story of creation:

As the legend goes, Yemoja-Olòkun and its’ watery world were alone in the cosmos for a very long time incubating the life that was to come into the world. God, Olodumare (Olorun, Olofi) sent Obatala, the “divine sculptor” along with Odùduwà to shape the world. They were guided by Eshu who creates opportunities for life.  

They descended from heaven in a beam of light resembling a golden chain as bright as the sun. Obatala brought the "Igba Iwa" ("calabash of existence"), it contained fertile soil (“Ashe” - life-giving energy), a palm seed, and a mythical five-toed rooster to scratch the earth, spread the soil and bury the seed of life.  As the earth broke open (tectonic plates), other Orishas joined in to help the new world. The seed grew into an enormous tree.

When it came time for humans to be created, Obatala molded them from mud and clay. It was at this time that “sap” (palm wine – also known as “strong white mimbo”) started to come out of the palm tree. Palm wine is highly intoxicating and Obatala drank from it, falling asleep. This allowed, Odùduwà who rules the subconscious mind to then impart wisdom and instincts, the connection to the divine. Nothing is by chance in Olodumare’s plan.  The symbolism is that the conscious mind as represented by Obatala need to go to sleep in order to reach the subconscious mind as represented by Odùduwà.

Yemoja has many children as well as devotees, she is the quintessential mother, loving and nurturing, she embodies “family”. Olòkun brings you stability (inner strength) and prosperity, supporting and enriching your life in so many ways.

The number “7” is significant and associated with Yemoja-Olòkun, perhaps a reference to the moon and the lunar cycle where each moon phase last a little over 7 days.  The combined gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun causes the rise and fall of the tides.  Or perhaps the number “7” is a reference to the 7 major tectonic plates (African; Pacific; North American; South American; Eurasian; Antarctic), or the 7 Seas (Arctic Ocean; North Atlantic Ocean; South Atlantic Ocean; Indian Ocean; North Pacific Ocean; South Pacific Ocean; Antarctic Ocean).


Offerings to Yemoja-Olòkun

  • Fruit: pomegranate, watermelon, cantaloupe, melon, mangos, coconut, pineapples, papayas, grapes, pears, bananas, cramberries
  • Vegetables: yams, seaweed (e.g. wakame, dulse, nori, sea grapes)
  • White wine
  • Sweets: Molasses; rice cakes
  • Shells: cowries; abalone; various conch shells; nautilus shells; triton/trumpet shells
  • Gemstones:  turquoise; lapis lazuli; coral; mother of pearl; moonstone; clear crystals.
  • Metal: Silver
  • Flowers: large flowers (e.g. blue hibiscus, orchids), hydrangeas, blue and white flowers
  • Colors: deep blue, white, turquoise
  • Scent: sandalwood, lilac, verbena, tea rose


Celebration days: 

  • September 7th (Northern hemisphere)
  • February 2nd (Southern hemisphere)
  • Eve of Summer Solstice (around June 20-22nd)
  • Full moon days

Love and Blessings!  Javier Lujan {Babalawo Ifajuitan}


Oshun and the 5 Senses

Oshun (Osun, Ochún) is one of the most venerated Orishas. Every August since the year 1370, the 12-day “Osun Oshogbo festival” is held in south-west Nigeria to honor the river goddess where tens of thousands of devotees participate in the celebration culminating in a procession to the sacred grove. The procession follows the calabash carrier called “Arugba” as she carries the many offerings to Oshun. Devotees are cleansed and blessed during the festival by the healing waters of the grove. September 8th and 12th are days celebrated in the Americas, with the 12th being the traditional day for Ifa followers.

Oshun is the Orisha of freshwaters including lakes, rivers, and streams. Water is essential to all living things, a human being cannot live without water for more than 5 days. She is associated with pure joy, love, prosperity and all the sweetness that life can bring.  She is kind and compassionate and known for her healing qualities.

To know Oshun, we need to understand how Oshun manifest herself through “sensuality” where life is experienced through the five senses, “touch”, “taste”, “smell”, “sight”, and “hearing”.  The number “5” is particularly significant in regards to Oshun, probably because of the reference to the five senses. Oshun teaches us that to really experience the joys of life, we need to allow ourselves to experience it through our senses. Our upbringing, values and society norms are sometimes a hindrance to our natural expressions as we become so conditioned to act a certain way to fit in, contrary to how we may actually feel. Look to Oshun to help you be yourself and enjoy life.

When we excite the 5 senses, we become passionate, creative and innovative, whether it be in our work, hobbies or other interests. The emotions triggered by the senses engulf our every mood, and our moods can change dramatically from moment to moment as our senses experience different stimuli, that is the nature of Oshun, forever changing like the flow of the river and on the move like a bee going from flower to flower.

She is known as the Orisha of fertility and women who wants to get pregnant or are having a difficult pregnancy will turn to Oshun for help. In our bodies, the energy of Oshun is felt in our abdomen region. The abdomen area also includes our digestive system, sexual organs, stomach, intestines, bladder, prostrate, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas, pelvis, and lower back. Oshun is known for her healing qualities and answers pleas for help, in particular to the afflicted abdomen area.

Sexuality is important manifestation of Oshun energy as it involves all five of our senses, it fulfills our desire for passion, feelings, pleasure, and intimacy. Oshun can help you with your intimate relationship issues, whether they involve expressions of sexuality, emotions or communications.

The children of Oshun are particularly sensitive to the experiences of the senses and will gravitate towards careers in the arts, theater, music, and dance. As well as culinary, fashion and any field that calls on creativity and innovation. It is because of this sensitivity that the Oshun children tend to respond in a way that’s more emotional and intuitive rather than logical and practical. That’s not to say its better or worse, rather an observation to understand diversity. Oshun children who are in touch with their feelings are happiest when they can be themselves and not have to conform, and this is the key to creativity and innovation. Children of Oshun should be careful with overindulgence of the senses.

Offerings to Oshun that represent the five senses:


  • Textiles (bright, soft and colorful): Silk scarf; chiffon; chenille; charmeuse.
  • Feathers:  peacock (peacocks and vultures are sacred to Oshun); parrot feathers.
  • Shells: cowrie; abalone.
  • Gemstones: amber; citrine; tiger’s eye; carnelian; orange agate.
  • Polished river stones.
  • Beautiful Pottery.
  • Gourds.


  • Greens: watercress (grows by the river’s edge); water chestnut (another aquatic plant); lettuce.
  • Sweets: honey (always taste it first); cinnamon sticks; marmalade (a preserve made from citrus fruit like oranges); pastries (especially with cinnamon or lemon icing); carrot cake.
  • Fruits: oranges; lemons; nectarines; persimmons; kumquats; mandarins; peaches; apricots; pineapple; coconut; cranberries; dry fruits.
  • Vegetables: yams; sweet potatoes; pumpkin; yellow squash; carrots.
  • Liquor: sweet vermouth; white and muscatel wine (sweet); Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur); rum
  • Cooked foods: polenta; wild rice; yellow rice; fresh water shrimp (honey garlic shrimp dish).


  • Herbs: basil; parsley; mint; lemon balm; lavender; thyme; chamomile.
  • Flowers/Plants: yellow roses (take out the thorns); lilac; jasmine.
  • Incense; scented candles; perfume.


  • Reflective objects: hand-held mirrors; jewels.
  • Metals: gold; copper.
  • Flowers: water lilies; sunflowers.
  • Colors: orange; yellow; amber (yellow-orange); chartreuse (yellow-green); peacock blue.
  • Beautiful hand-craft art: fans; combs; drawings and paintings.


  • Musical instruments:
    • Bell (use the bell in your Oshun altar to call her, also take it to the river and ring the bell at the water’s edge).
    • Bata drums.
    • Bongos.
    • “Agogo” (percussion instrument - small bell made of two metal cones).
    • “Sekere” (gourd surrounded by a net of beads).
    • “Seere” (gourd rattle use to call on the Orishas).
  • Music: she loves music, singing and dance!
  • Small fountain (sound of running water); nature sounds.

A final word, Oshun is my guardian Orisha and I love her. She has taught me to follow my own path and be myself, brought me prosperity and joy. Get to know her as well as your guardian Orisha. You can learn a lot about yourself from learning about your guardian Orisha.

Love and Blessings!  Javier Lujan {Babalawo Ifajuitan}


What are you thinking?

What are you thinking? … Did you know that the average person has over 60,000 thoughts a day? That's one thought per second for every waking hour!  Most thoughts go by so quickly that we’re not even aware of them, but that’s our brain working hard in the background. Amazing! right? …If that surprises you, consider this, we go over the same thoughts, ideas, and memories, over and over again. In fact, the majority of our thoughts are the same thoughts we had yesterday and the day before. What’s troubling about that is that for the average person, 60-70% of those thoughts are negative.

Why does it matter? ...Thoughts are like the architectural blueprint of your life, your thoughts affect all the important aspects of your life, your finances, love, health, career, and so on. So, if the majority of your thoughts are negative, what kind of life are you creating for yourself?  Is it any wonder we have so much turmoil in our lives?

Consider for a moment all the spiritual work that we do to keep our lives running smoothly, and the “Ebbos” (offerings) to fix the troubles we get into. How about we also take a look at the root cause of our problems and recognize that much of the trouble is a direct result of our negative thoughts.

Is there some reality show going on in your head?  We spend a great deal of our time thinking about some dramas, rehashing past situations that still haunt us, we play it over and over again like a TV rerun, maybe we’re hoping for a different outcome, maybe we’re trying to figure out if we could have handled it differently. If we’re not living in the past, we’re imagining and worrying about the future. If that’s not enough to occupy our minds, we make up fantasies to entertain us (by the way, in your fantasy, are you the superhero that saves the day of the victim that needs rescuing? :-) The point is that we’re not living in the present moment, we’re not mindful of what’s happening right now.

Why do we have so many negative thoughts? Part of the reason is that we are bombarded by negative images all day long. We may not realize it, but it has a subconscious effect on us. In many households, the TV goes “on” the moment we wake up and stays “on” (even if no one is watching) until it’s time to retire for the night,. TV is no longer a happy place to escape to, there’s 24/7 news, politics, crime shows, reality shows, court dramas. What passes as entertainment is not the same as it was twenty years ago. Have you noticed how violent the video games that kids play have gotten? You can’t even escape negative images in social media, I recently saw an extremely cruel and inhumane act on a beautiful dog that someone posted on social media, I inadvertently saw it, then couldn’t get that image out of my head all day. We encounter negativity all day long, from interactions with people, gossip, conflicts and disturbing events happening all around us.

Of course you can occasionally enjoy an exciting thriller, violent movie or your favorite drama series, reality shows, and yes, even judge Judy. It all comes down to moderation and whether you can remain detached from it so that those negative images don’t affect your well-being. You’ll need to recognize this in yourself, no one but yourself can do this.  It’s like junk food, if you eat it every day, it will catch up with you. The question to ask yourself, how much is too much before you feel the negative effects.

Practice Mindfulness… This is the act of becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them, there’s no right or wrong, just an acknowledgment of the thoughts.  Mindfulness brings your awareness to the present moment. It gives your mind direction and purpose, you are telling your mind, be here now! When you notice a negative thought, acknowledge it, and then let it go, no need to further analyze it. Here’s a simple exercise, when you’re eating your lunch, be mindful of the taste, the texture, the smell, and the colors of the food you’re eating. Tell your mind to be aware of the sensations. The exercise brings your mind to the here and now. Do this with other activities in your daily life. The objective is to train your mind to spend more time in the present, and less time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Give your “mind” something meaningful and positive to think about. For example, you could learn something new, it could be something as simple as learning a new word every day to improve your vocabulary. It could be a hobby or other activity to keep your mind in the present moment.  The idea is to crowd out all those negative thoughts with more positive ones. Myself, I take ballroom dance classes and practice piano, love to read and learn new things.

Give yourself a mental vacation, pick a day where you will NOT watch TV unless it’s something positive, no news, crime or dramas shows. No social media or phones, disconnect from the world for a little while, use the free time to read, meditate, listen to music, play with your kids and/or your pets, take a leisurely nature walk to unwind. The goal of your mental vacation is to reduce your exposure to negativity to put you in a better frame of mind.

Finally, I leave you with one more thought to think about, I mean, what’s one more thought when you already have 60,000.  “Remember, thoughts have power, be aware of them as they are the blueprint of your life, make them positive, loving and peaceful”.

Love and Blessings!  Javier Lujan {Babalawo Ifajuitan}