The Olokun god Mythology In Ondo State Nigeria

Olokun is regarded as the Orisha (god) of the Ocean. Its representation is of the seas at their most frightening moments. It is also the secret of the deepest depths. Olokun is a humanoid, androgynous and a fish. Olokun also has a violent, mysterious and compulsive nature.

The name Olokun means god of the Ocean (Oló: lord, Okún: Ocean). However, in reality, Olokun is the owner of all waters. His daughters, Olona and Olosa (water nymphs), represent springs, ponds, rapids, lagoons, rivers, streams, marine extensions and water from rain.

Olokun represents the riches of the seas and health. Olokun is spouse to Elusú (sand), and Ajé Salugá (money and marine shells).  He is also married to Olosá (lagoons), Ikokó (aquatic plant life), and Osara (subterranean lakes). Subsequently, he became the spouse to Boromú (marine currents), Borosia (water spouts), Yembo (calmed seas) and Agganá (rain).

An account believes that Obatalá chained Olokun to the bottom of the ocean. This was because he attempted to kill humanity with the great flood. Olokun is Father/Mother to Yemayá.

A Different Story

Another story states that Olokun had eleven daughters some of which included Osupa, Olosa, Olona and the preferred one, Agana Erí. Olosa and Olona where the most beautiful and were mermaids. They could change into fish-women or just women, while their step-sister Agana Eri, daughter of Olokun and Yewá was deformed. She was missing a breast and one of her hips was higher the other.

Because of this, she grew envious of her pretty sisters and allied herself with some fishermen to capture the mermaids. The mermaids had a charm that Orunmila had given them; they had the power of shape-shifting, so they could shapeshift whenever they wanted. On a day of a full moon, Agana Eri told the fishermen where to find them. She told them the right time and told them of the charms around their necks which they were to remove from their necks, thus, preventing them from shape-shifting forever. And so it was. With an immense net, the fishermen trapped the sisters. Olokun, upon learning of this, created a quake that produced a great wave and was able to rescue his children and drown their captors.

So…

Her sisters lost their shapeshifting charms. This meant the sisters had to be mermaids forever.  Olokun learned from Orunmila of what Agana Eri had done and cursed her:

Because of your treachery, you shall remain tied to the ocean floor and will only surface as the ocean foam, a condition given you by Orunmila, when Ogun and Osanyin whilst fighting over you, left you deformed. You are my preferred child and I do not abandon you, but because of your hypocrisy, you will always hold in one hand a mask, and because of your ill will in the other, you will hold a serpent.

Myths are a very important element in Nigeria. In fact, before the advent of Western religion, the common Nigerian had their belief in a particular deity. This is, to state nonetheless, that there are still a number of people who worship several gods till date. Some of these mythical gods have migrated along with the people into different parts of the world. Of course, there are presently people in other countries that worship similar gods.

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