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In original Benin mythology, yes, Olokun was (is)
male, but then the deity got transplanted to Ife by
Ekaladerhan and subsequently to Cuba during the middle
period. In other parts of Yoruba land it was adopted
by making Olokun the child of Yamoja.

Depending on who you read Olokun has been referred to
as either God or Goddess.

Clearly the Olokun cult was very strong among Edo
women, but way before that it was at a level that
virtually made it State religion – tied into the most
fundamental Edo notions of the creation of land and

It is incredibly similar to the Greek myth of Poseidon
– The brother of Zeus and God of the Sea


“The oldest son was given control of the waters by
Osanobua. The Bini call this son, Olokun (meaning the
god of the river). The other son was allowed freedom
to use his magical powers to balance out the negative
and positive forces of nature. He apparently
represents evil and the Bini call him Ogiuwu (or Esu
sometimes) meaning the harbinger of death. Ogiuwu is
supposed to own the blood of all living things. In
other words, no living thing can live forever.
Osanobua then settled in the realm of the spirit world
across the waters where the sky and the earth meet.
While Osanobua and Olokun represent aspects of life
such as good health, long life, good luck, prosperity
and happiness to which man may apeal through ritual
purity, Ogiuwu represents mourning, evil omen and

“Pottery heads were made for shrines in the brass
casters’ quarter; and life-size groups of royal
figures in mud are still made for the cult of Olokun,
divinity of the sea and of wealth.”


“… figure tells two stories about Oba

Oba Ohen, who ruled in the 1400s, was a very handsome
man. After he broke a divine law, the gods paralyzed
Ohen’s legs to punish him, according to one legend. A
sick or weakened oba is considered dangerous, so Ohen
hid his disability. His followers carried him into
council chambers before other officials arrived; they
carried him out after everyone had gone. Soon the
senior town chief, or the Iyase, became suspicious. He
hid behind a door and watched while Ohen was carried
away. But Oba Ohen’s servants saw the Iyase. Ohen had
him killed on the spot.
The Edo were horrified by what Ohen had done. To kill
the people’s representative, the Iyase, was a crime
against all the Edo. The people stoned Ohen to death
with lumps of purifying white clay. Ohen’s son Ewuare
defended his father Years later, Ohen’s son Oba Ewuare
gave the people a new explanation for why his father
couldn’t walk. Ewuare said that the god Olokun had
sent power, like the electrical charge of dangerous
mudfish, into Ohen’s legs. Since then, the fish-legged
figure has become the central symbol of Benin
It reminds the Edo people that the Oba is divine; it
also cautions the Oba not to overstep the limits of
his powers.”

“For the Edo, who live in a tropical climate, coolness
symbolizes all that is positive in life – purity, good
luck, health and the watery world of the god Olokun. ”

“Fashek was actually born in Benin City, the heart of
the Ancient Sini Kingdom, now in Bendel State of
Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country. His mother
is an Edo woman from Benin. and his father, a school
principal, was a Yoruba man from Ilesha in Oyo State
of Nigeria. After his father died when he was just 11
years old, Fashek’s mother, educated and very liberal
for a traditional culture, became a businesswoman,
supplying concrete to road contractors. Fashek’s
family wanted him to become an engineer at first, but
he had already succumbed to the spirit of music. From
the beginning, his mother would bring him along to
participate in ceremonies celebrating her traditional
religion, where mainly women would play the Olokun
rhythm used for worship of the goddess of the river.
Playing the heavy rhythms and intricate syncopations
on maracas, Fashek says he’d “bring down the spirits”.

“OLOKUN, son of OSANOBUA, once challenged his father.
A market place was set for the match. On the
stipulated day, the father, OSANOBUA, sent a messenger
to OLOKUN that he was ready. Surprisingly the
messenger was in the same dress OLOKUN wore. It was a
dress OLOKUM thought was the best to undo his father.
He, therefore, went into his room to put on a more
splendid one. But anytime he came out, he found the
messenger in the exact dress he wore. Realizing that
he could not even challenge his father’s messenger
after several attempts, he gave up the challenge. The
messenger was the chameleon.”
– Bolaji Idowu ,Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief, p.
45, cited in

“In fact, the Yoruba and the Afro-Cuban Lukumi systems
have fused several traditions found in Africa. Deities
from Dahomey (Obaluaye, Nanu, Nana Buruku, etc.) and
Benin (Olokun) are among them. In the case of the
deity known as Olokun from Benin, John Mason documents
that, ‘…in the 12th century A.D.., Prince
Ekaladeran, the only son of Ogiso Owodo, was banished
from Benin City by his father, and then founded the
town of Ughoton, established an Olokun shrine for
communal worship, and later introduced Olokun worship
among the Yoruba. Ile Ife is the only city in
Yorubaland where Olokun is actively worshipped’…;
this, despite the fact that Orisas are known to come
from many places throughout Yorubaland, Dahomey and
In contrast, Olokun is widely accepted amongst the
followers of Cuban Palo and Lukumi traditions, and is
considered to be one of the most influential and
respect deities.
“Both the shrine sculpture and the sacred drums
employed by the Lukumi in Cuba, when they worship
Olokun, shows a direct link with the Edo of Benin” —
John Mason, Orin Orisa, 1992 ” – from Respecting &
Recognizing Established Afro-Cuban Traditions


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10 comments to this article

  1. Manushka

    on August 14, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Izzzz heaaa

    • Met

      on August 14, 2015 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      mi a wait pan God of Grace

  2. Manushka

    on August 14, 2015 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    Guess I’ll find a book to read. Y’all boring

    • Met

      on August 14, 2015 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      :maho yes and believe half of the book

      • PhantomPhoenix

        on August 14, 2015 at 11:26 pm - Reply

        Good article Met…it also verify a point made from part I.

        • Met

          on August 15, 2015 at 12:08 am - Reply


  3. Manushka

    on August 14, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply


  4. God of grace

    on August 15, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Good afternoon I’m here now.. I was busy

    • Met

      on August 15, 2015 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      weekends hectic bad fi mi

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