African Traditional Religion : Ogun

Discussion in 'African Traditional Religion Study Group' started by awo dino, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. awo dino

    awo dino Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Sep 11, 2009
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    carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te
    in florida for now
    OGUN (Ogu, Ogoun and Ogum)


    Ogun awo, Olumaki, alase ajuba
    Ogun ni jo ti ma lana lati ode
    Ogun oni're onile kangun-dangun ode Orun, egbe lehin
    Pa san bo pon ao lana to
    Imo kimo 'bora, egbe lehin a nle a benge logbe

    Ogun, chief of strength, owner of power, I salute you
    Ogun dances outside to the open road
    Ogun, owner of good fortune, owner of many houses in the realm of the ancestors, help those who journey
    Remove the obstructions from our path
    Wisdom of the warrior spirit, guide us on our spiritual journey with strength

    Homage to Ogun, the bleeding of the flesh wound
    Homage to Otarigidi, Ogun's Godmother
    Homage to Omobowu and Ewiri-Maje, Ogun's wives


    OGUN is primal energy. The word Ogun, with the appropriate tonal changes, can be translated to mean war, inheritance, medicine and perspiration. Ogun is that force of nature that keeps matter in motion. Once god gives a being life, it is Ogun who sustains that organism. Ogun is the sustainment of life. Without Ogun, the universe, as we know it, would not exist. He controls one quarter of the universe and although he cannot exist of himself, he is so important in the scheme of things, that all of the ORISHA are dependent on him for their existence. Ogun is one of the oldest of Orisa in the Yoruba pantheon. Ogun's symbol is the knife. It is because of this that a major contradiction arises. Ogun eats first, because the knife is the first thing to taste blood in any sacrifice. It is said that ESU/LEGBA must eat first, and in ritual feasts and bloodless offerings, he is presented his food first. However, in blood offerings it is Ogun, the only one allowed to take a life, who eats first, and it is because of him that the other Orisa can be fed blood. Although Ogun lives in iron, and one of his symbols is iron, his essence, energy, existed long before iron was created.
    Ogun is the father of metamorphosis, because with his great strength and with the aid of intense heat, he transforms carbon into diamonds, sandstone into marbles, and marble into gneiss. The cauldron is symbolic of a womb, a mine, the primordial abyss, and the tools which kept inside it are used by Ogun to fashion or shape whatever potential riches are inside.
    Ogun is the God of War, Energy and Metal. Ogun keeps matter in motion. Ogun is the sustainer of life. Ogun lives in the knife, and with it, clears a path for man. Ogun is the force within your computer. Ogun is technology. Ogun is the force of gravity, the force of attraction. Ogun represents the tools that shape man, bringing out a person's potential, enhancing one's life. Ogun controls life and death. Ogun is our heart beat and the final contraction during birth. Ogun is auto accidents and gun wounds. Ogun is the warrior, hunter and farmer. Ogun is the God of loyalty and life-long friendships. Ogun is the master of secrets, skills, crafts, professions and creations. In Cuba he is Saint Peter. In Brazil he is Saint George. Ogun clears obstacles that get in the way of spiritual growth.
    The main tools of Ogun are the anvil, which signifies the earth's ability to transform man. the shovel, which is used fir digging into one's potential;the machete, which is used to clear path's and to protect; The rake, which is used to gather and smooth rough area's of the self; the hoe, which is used to cultivate one's potential; The hammer, which is used to bend or shape one's faculties; and the pick, which is used to pierce or penetrate the hardened areas of the self. the implements are gifts of Ogun which he uses to help a person through life. Ogun's favorite animal is the dog. Ogun likes all dogs but his favorite is the black dog. He favors it because of its faithful and devoted, because of the way it hunts. The dog is known as man's best friend. Ogun represents all occupations in which cutting instruments are used. Ogun is called upon to remove the obstacles in our path. Ogun helped the divinities to survive in their initial settlement on earth and to effect harmony among themselves as they struggled with new and unforeseen circumstances. Ogun is the Orisa of barbers, doctors, butchers, etc., any occupation that uses knives or blades, or iron tools.

    OGUN Oni' re ni je aj'a,
    OGUN ikola a je `gbin,
    OGUN gbena-gbena`oje igi ni i je!
    pa si'le ps s'oko.
    Laka aiye OGUN ko laso,
    moriwo l'aso OGUN.
    Ire kii se ile OGUN,
    emu lo ya mu ni'be.

    OGUN, the owner of Ire, eats dog,
    OGUN of circumcision, eats snail,
    OGUN of carvers, saps the juice of trees!
    He kills in the house and kills on the farm.
    He who covers the world, OGUN had no cloth,
    Palm frond is the cloth of OGUN.
    Ire is not the home of OGUN,
    he just stopped there to drink palm wine.

    Ogun has character, personality and status. He is not afraid to be himself. Like iron, he is rigid, self assured, and unyielding. Because he is untiring, deliberate and focused, he accomplishes all that he sets out to do. He is strength, but used creatively. Ogun is very creative. Children of Ogun, when trying to figure out how to accomplish something will always think of the physical first. They like to use their hands and their strength. Others marvel at the untiring energy of his children. Ogun sees and makes his own way. He is economy in action; no wasted motion, catch only what you are going to eat. Ogun is the champion of laborers everywhere, the first union boss.
    As the "owner of all iron," Ogun provides the tools which are essential to creating civilization. Ogun is evolutionary energy. He is technology. Like all the Orisa, Ogun has two opposing attributes which seem in conflict, but are actually two sides of the same coin (create and destroy).
    In another post, I told the story of Ogun killing an entire village, and his subsequent move to the bush. This story speaks to his capacity for destruction and unrestrained bloodlust. There is another itan that tells of how at the beginning of creation the Orisa came upon impenetrable brush. Ogun cut a path through the bush. This story speaks to Ogun as the mover of things, evolution, progress. We pray to Ogun to remove obstacles from our paths, both spiritual and material. It also speaks to his life as an outcast.

    Ojo Ogun
    Si lo, si lo, silo ni ma se aye
    Dugbe dugbe a gba ode oorun keke
    Ipe npe ju a si kun fe je
    Paranganda ni da fomo odo
    Abiri, abihun a simu Orisa
    Mo ri faaji re

    On the days when Ogun is angered
    There is always disaster in the world
    The world is full of dead people going to heaven
    The eyelashes are full of water
    Tears stream down the face
    A bludgeoning by Ogun causes a man’s downfall
    I see and hear, I fear and respect my Orisa
    I have seen your bloody merriment

    Ogun is stickler for justice. Children of Ogun feel the need for justice, and find it very difficult to ignore injustice. He is truth. In Yorubaland, Ogun’s symbol, iron, is used voluntarily in courts of law for the taking of oaths by witnesses to affirm that the truth will be told (like we do with the bible). No one who believes in Orisa, would dare lie after swearing to tell the truth on Ogun. When Ifa speaks of truth, it does not mean some idealistic vision of the way things should be. Ogun searches for the truth about the way things really exist in the world.

    Ogun nurtures and protects the oppressed. Ogun is an outcast and protects society’s outcasts. He makes sure that wealth is shared. He is looked to as a protector who will promptly respond to the appeals of the oppressed in there encounter with an unjust fate. He is looked to for protection within society, from injustice and without from outside enemies. However, Ogun’s hot temper makes him a dreaded figure. While he protects the innocent, the poor, victims of military attack, he inflicts pain on others; the deceitful, the rich who don’t share, and one’s enemies in warfare. Ogun is a solitary figure who lives alone in the forest. Ogun’s undergarments are red, signifying his furious nature, but on top of this he wears Mariwo, palm fronds. Palm fronds have supernatural connotations, and “soften” Ogun’s image. They symbolize cool, restrained behavior.

    I pay homage to Ogun Lakaaye, a divinity worthy of worship
    Ogun, who had two very sharp cutlasses, sharp as fire
    He used one for clearing an area for making a farm in the forest
    The other he used to cut a path through the forest from one place to another
    The type of clothing that Ogun wore,
    On the day he made his descent from the hill to the plain,
    I know very well
    He wore a flame red coverlet over a blood red tunic

    Mariwo yeyeye Ogun aso; Alagba de o
    Swirling palm fronds are Ogun’s garment; The Honored One arrives

    Ogun as the god of iron is most interestingly seen in the elaborate ritual attending the establishment of a smelter. The smelter constitutes a shrine to Ogun, and its flames are sacred. In the powder that ignites the furnace, the smelters mark the Odu that incarnates Ogun – Ogunda Irete. Ogun’s Odu talks of victory, and success in the face of danger, which speak to the occupation of a smelter who strives to be victorious in creating quality iron, while playing with fire. The smelter straddles the furnace and sacrifices a rooster while chanting invocations, pours the blood over the Odu that was marked in the powder while igniting the furnace and chanting all the secret names of fire. He then spits what he has been chewing; ataare pepper and kolanut on the fire as further chants are said. The chewing of ataare pepper and kolanut activate or fortify “ofo ase” the power of the word. In the saliva of the smelter is his essence, connecting his ase with the Orisa. Through the smelter ritual, humans shape, control and change raw power into socially useful power, reliving the triumph and tragedy of Ogun.

    Iba Ogun, Oniporin Aye’
    Iba Ogun, Oniporin Orun
    Iba Agbaagba me ta iporin
    Igba iwa se
    Ogun da kete ni popo
    O rawo agada ibeje ibeje
    Ina giri giri ninu ada
    Oorun giri giri oke
    Ina sunsu ari je
    Oorun sunsu asun lolubo
    Ina giri giri inu ada
    Akuko rebe rebe Ogun fun o ree!
    Kirin o po!
    Kirin o jina
    Wonron, wonron, wonron!

    Homage to Ogun, the iron smelter of the world
    Homage to Ogun, the iron smelter of heaven
    Homage to the three patriarchs, iron smelters when existence began
    Ogun put on a big straw hat in an open place
    He spun the sword as a warning, as a warning!
    The blazing fire in the furnace
    The sun shining brightly above
    Fire cooks the yam so it is edible
    The sun cooks the yam so it wilts (rendering it inedible)
    Blazing fire in the furnace
    Here is the red-red rooster which Ogun presents to you!
    So let the iron be well-smelted
    Let the iron be well heated
    To ring well and long!

    Ogun’s sacred objects

    Ogun pot (iron cauldron)
    With seven tools (mentioned earlier)
    And Ogun stone
    Ogun’s ileke (bead necklace). Ogun’s ileke is a good example of how ideas and objects crossed over the Atlantic and were in many cases altered and then find there way back to Afrika and alter the original source. Ogun;s beads were red in Yorubaland, but became black and green in the Diaspora. Now, if you get his beads in Afrika, they are black and green.
    Extra altar items as one chooses:
    Three railroad ties
    Iron cutlass
    Slag from a blacksmith’s shop
    Bomb casing
    Any iron artifacts

    Ogun’s foods

    For offerings Ogun eats gin, rum, nuts, snail, cola nuts, orogbo, corn, roasted yam, and cooked beans with hot peppers. He loves palm oil and palm wine.
    Some of Ogun’s herbs ( used for cooling him down) are odundun and rinrin. In the Diaspora we also use purple basil, cana santa, pata de gallina, yerba de sangre, yerba mora, pegojo, hueso de gallo, adormidera, siempreviva, anamu, romerillo, amanza guapo, , palo manaju, ebano, quita maldicion, salvadera (you can translate to English using an online translator).
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  2. rasembi aunk

    rasembi aunk Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
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    What are the subtle and major differences in which Eshu removes obstacles and Ogun removing them?
  3. awo dino

    awo dino Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Sep 11, 2009
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    carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te
    in florida for now
    wazup brother rasembi aunk,
    I hope you're day is going well. Esu opens the door; he doesn't remove obstacles per se. Esu opens the door to your transformation. Ogun then helps you overcome obstacles that might stand in the way of your transformation. Such obstacles usually stem from your own resistance to change. In our everyday life, Ogun can be called upon to remove mundane obstacles as well. Esu opens the door, Osoosi points the way, Ogun removes obstacles. Sango provides the sack to "walk the plank." We aspire to Obatala; wisdom.


  4. AntiAlice88

    AntiAlice88 Well-Known Member MEMBER

    May 20, 2009
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    I had tears in my eyes reading this post!

    Thank you for being so thorough Awo Dino in the info you provide on the orishas, and Ogun in particular. That said, can you offer any information or stories about Ogun and Oya's relationship? I would like to know the meaning of the dynamic of their forces coming together, because their relationship has always fascinated me..

    Peace. Thanks again.
  5. truetothecause

    truetothecause Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Feb 26, 2007
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    In the fantasy of Afreekan Unity
    Greetings Awo dino!

    I too Thank You for this information. I helps me overstand myself better as I AM....Abena, Omo Ogun!

    It is interesting to me that having come forth on Tuesday and in the Akan tradition, this means also being a "Warrior Spirit". Having had a reading done by a Babalawo, it was revealed that I am Daughter of Ogun. It's no wonder I AM that I AM and that others seem to fear me, run away adn ask me to sorta 'temper my self'...tone down so tho speak.

    I have such an energy and passionate fiyah for JUSTICE and HEALING self. I work daily assisting others in seeing themselves clearly so they can 'walk the talk' they speak of..aiding them in clearing a path to do so. I just call it ..."cleaning up the ish" in their lives....

    Also, on my trip to Ghana this summer, I had occasion to participate in several Spiritual ceremonies...Abosoms I think they were/are called. During one, the priestess had a sword and allowed us who participated to hold it. When it was my turn, I don't know what happened yet, I know they had to fight to get it back from me. Before I left Ghana, I made sure to purchase one for myself.:em2300:

    My great niece who is 6 y.o. visited the house this past weekend. She saw my sword and I had to fight to get it from her. Mayhap SHE is also Omo Ogun!

    anywho...I just heard so much on myself in this post so thanks again for sharing!

  6. awo dino

    awo dino Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Sep 11, 2009
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    carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te
    in florida for now
    Hey we gonna have to start an omo Ogun club! I thank y'all for your kind words. I am humbled that i was able to create a reaction in you. ase. I am also omo Ogun, of course.
    Growing up, I always was the guy who stood up for justice. If one of my buddies started a fight, I would let them get there butts kicked if they were wrong. I fought alot, always standing up for the underdog. It was misgiuded Ogun energy. Children of Ogun are usually called upon a lot for help, but don't receive much in return. The trick for omo Ogun is to channel that incessant energy into creative pursuits. I always did everything physical possible. Football, boxing, framing (carpentry). Now, although my organs are in very good shape, my joints, etc. are messed up. Misguided Ogun energy.

    I wish someone would have told me why I was this way; would have saved me a lot of problems. So that's the point here. When children are born (in Yoruba tradition), there is a ritual in which it is divined under which Orisa they are living this life. In this way, the parents can better understand their children and help them understand themselves.

  7. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jul 9, 2003
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    new jersey
    alaafia dino

    modupe o

    when I made priesthood I was crowned by Ogun and reading this thread was an honor and joy.

    ire ogun

    sekhemu omo ogun
  8. awo dino

    awo dino Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Sep 11, 2009
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    carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te
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    looks like we have another member!:em2300:
  9. awo dino

    awo dino Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Sep 11, 2009
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    carpenter, anthropologist, teacher. Right now I te
    in florida for now
    sister AntiAlice, I will post some info on Oya and Ogun's relationship when i get some time. haven't forgotten your request.


  10. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jul 9, 2003
    Likes Received:
    new jersey
    Oya and Ogun

    There are several patakis surrounding Oya and Ogun. Here is one of them

    We know that Oya was married two times. Once to Ogun and then to Sango. At first the marriage between Oya and Ogun was going well. That Oya helped Ogun heat and cool iron in his blacksmith shop while he made weapons.

    One day Ogun created two weapons with the Ase of justice in them. He gave one to Oya and told her "When you are in danger strike with it and the nature of that danger will be destroyed." Ogun kept the second weapon for himself.

    Everything was going well, until Sango arrived

    A God by the name of Sango
    Who like so much to be "cool"
    He plaited his hair like a woman
    And he made holes in his ears
    Where he wore gold earrings
    He wore beaded gold necklaces
    He wore gold bracelets
    Where you find females
    There you will find Sango

    Sango is known as the Playboy of heaven's society, because of his knowledge about male and female sexual relationship. At the same time, Oya is so sexually attractive that Gods cannot take their eyes off her. And she too, loves to play the games in male-female relations.

    One day Sango came to Ogun's shop to have some work done, and with his arrival came trouble in the paradise of Ogun and Oya's relationship.
    So when Sango and Oya laid eyes on each other, the attraction was so strong that they disappeared together. Meanwhile, Ogun did not know what had happened and sent some young Gods to look for Oya. However, they returned singing:

    We went to the East for Oya
    Where she use to sing
    But we did not find Oya
    We went to the west in search in Oya
    Where she use to dance
    But we did not find Oya
    We searched for her in the north
    Where she used to eat
    But we did not find Oya
    We search for her in the south
    Where she use to play
    But we did not find Oya
    We searched and searched
    But could not find Oya

    To Ogun this was injustice, and being the God of war that fights for justice, rushes to track down Sango and Oya. Finally he saw their love nest far deep in the forest.

    Sango and Oya could see Ogun coming in the far distance. And Sango realized, though Ogun were his older brother, he is a war God, and if it came to a fight he would lose. But Oya told him she could take care of the situation, and rushed out to meet Ogun.

    They came closer and closer, both had their weapon of justice in their hands, and finally coming into contact with both striking at the same time, all danger to both disappeared.

    Which meant that Ogun's reason to fight disappeared. He realized that females have the right to choose. And if Oya would fight to defend Sango, he had nothing to fight for, Oya belonged to Sango by right of female choice. After which Ogun moved into the forest and remained a bachelor to this day
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