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Oshún Lures Ogún From the Forest

Though he worked in the city as the blacksmith of orishas and humanity, part of Ogún's heart always remained in the forest. As the years went by, Ogún began to tire of the city and the constant work he had to perform. Though he remembered having cursed himself before Obatalá to a life of hard labor, he began to feel he was powerful enough that none of the orishas had the strength to stop him from doing whatever he felt like doing. And what he wanted to do was to retreat to the forest and leave the the city Ilé Ifé and all his troubles behind. So one day, without warning, he merely disappeared into the forest.

It didn't take long for his absence to become noticed as virtually everything ground to a halt for want of a blacksmith to create the tools necessary for day to day life. One by one, all the orishas with the exception of Shangó went to Ogún to try to persuade him to return. None of them met with success. Even Yemayá his ex-wife, and Orunmila failed at their attempts to bring him back to Ilé Ifé to carry on his work. His response was simply to savagely chase them out of the forest. Meanwhile the orishas and the beginnings of humanity were beginning to starve.

One day a young orisha appeared before the heavenly court to ask if she might be allowed to try to bring Ogún back to civilization. This orisha was Oshún the youngest of the female orishas. The other orishas complained that she was far to young and that Ogún was far too dangerous for her to be allowed to go. Ogún might even kill her, judging by the taciturn mood he was in. But Oshún was not to be dissuaded from her task and she hinted that she might be more powerful than they thought and that she had her own ways of bringing the recalcitrant orisha back to the fold. At this, the heavenly court erupted, some complaining that this upstart didn't know what she was talking about, others merely laughed at the idea.

But Obatalá was listening carefully to all that was being said, and with a wave of his hand there was silence in the great halls. He said that as none of the other orishas had been successful in bring Ogún back to the city, it wouldn't hurt to let Oshún give it a try. He added with a knowing smile that perhaps Oshún did indeed have powers that the others hadn't considered. With that, Oshún turned and left the heavenl court and set herself upon her new task.

She advanced into the forest dancing, wearing only five scarves. When she saw that Ogún was near, she began to do her dance in earnest, always revealing a little and then hiding a little with her transparent scarves, all the while acting a as if she was unaware of Ogún's presence. Sure enough, he crept in closer for a better look, and Oshún responding by pulling back ever so slightly. When Ogún would sneak within range she would take some honey from her bottle and smear it on his lips. Soon Ogún was acting as if in a trance, but Oshún kept acting as if she didn't even notice him. She merely kept retreating slowly in the direction of the town, occasionally spreading more honey on Ogún's lips when it seemed her spell was in danger of wearing off.

Before he knew it, Ogún found himself in the very center of the city where he was surrounded by all the orishas who cheered him and the diminutive Oshún for returning. For Ogún it was a point of honor to remain, otherwise he would appear weak and easily fooled. And all learned that sweetness sometimes the most powerful weapon of all, and that indeed Oshún was much more powerful than she appeared and was to be respected.

Maferefún Oshún

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