Yoruba Gods and Goddesses even today attract ordinary people and scientists. The contribution of Yoruba culture to the history of Nigerians is unique and has a lot of exciting facts to offer you. Keep reading to get acquainted with Yoruba mythology – the most enigmatic phenomenon of Yoruba people culture.
The Yoruba people today are very religious and liberal in their religious beliefs. Yoruba is one of the most religiously diverse ethnic groups in Africa. Many of them can be found in different types of Christian denominations and many others are Muslims. But the most widespread are practitioners of the traditional Yoruba religion.
The history of Yoruba religion starts off with the Stone Age. It was also influenced by the spread of agriculture from the Middle East around 600 BC. Initially, their Gods represented different elements of nature, such as rivers, storms, and forests. With the agriculture spread, metallurgy and modernisation, the Yoruba Gods appearance became more anthropomorphic. The religion of Yoruba includes traditional religious and spiritual concepts, Yoruba mythology and practices of the people of Yoruba.
So who exactly is God for Yoruba people? The Yoruba call Him Olódùmarè. The Supreme Deity of the Yoruba, Olodumare lives in the sky. Olodumare is a distant God, and when it comes to everyday prayers, things are often handled by protectors called Orishas.
Orishas are intercessors between the world of humanity and divine. There are also several types of Orishas. You can find Yoruba Gods family tree below.
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List of Yoruba Gods and Goddesses
Each Orisha in Yoruba religion represents particular ideas, objects or natural phenomena. The Orishas make appearances at religious celebrations through the believers' possession trance. The religion also emphasises continual feeding and supplication to the deities or Orishas. When one is possessed by an Orisha, one speaks and behaves as though one were that Orisha.
The number of Orishas according to various sources reaches 40. We'd like to introduce you to the most known ones more detailed.
- Oludumare - the Supreme Creator;
- Ọlọ́run - the ruler of the Heavens;
- Olofi - the conduit between Orún (Heaven) and Ayé (Earth);
- Nana Buluku - androgynous Supreme Creator.
- Aja - forest, the animals, and herbal healing;
- Aje – wealth;
- Ayao – air;
- Egungun-oya – divination;
- Mawu - the sun and moon;
- Ọbà - first wife of Shango and Orisha of domesticity and marriage;
- Olókun - patron Orisha of the descendants of Africans who were carried away during the Atlantic Slave Trade or Middle Passage;
- Ọ̀ṣun - presides over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy;
- Ọya - Orisha of the Niger River; represents wind, lightning, fertility, fire, and magic;
- Yemọja - a mother Goddess; patron deity of women, and the Ogun river.
- Aganjú - volcanoes, the wilderness, and rivers;
- Babalú Ayé - the Earth; strongly associated with infectious disease and healing;
- Erinlẹ̀ - medicine, healing, and comfort, physician to the Gods;
- Èṣù - trickster, psychopomp, Orisha of crossroads, duality, beginnings, travelers, fertility, and death;
- Ibeji - twin Orisha of vitality and youth;
- Kokou - a violent warrior Orisha;
- Ọbàtálá - creator of human bodies; represents light, spiritual purity, and moral uprightness;
- Oduduwa - Orisha of humans;
- Ògún - presides over iron, fire, hunting, politics, and war;
- Oko - Orisha of agriculture;
- Osanyin - the forest;
- Oṣùmàrè - rainbow serpent associated with creation and procreation;
- Ọ̀ṣọ́ọ̀sì - Orisha of the hunt and forest;
- Ṣàngó, also Shango - Orisha of thunder and lightning.
Like we've mentioned before, Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in the world. Religion is the main component of the nations' culture. Without preserving culture, it is impossible to preserve the nation. Hope you have found our post useful.
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