In an ideal world, relationships would be easy. We would give love freely and generously, and receive love with ease. We would be upfront with our wants and desires and rationally communicate with one another if our needs aren’t being met. We would not try to coerce someone to feel a certain way — including ourselves. And, if our needs couldn’t be fulfilled, we would respectfully move on without a lot of drama.
Unfortunately, relationships are rarely that easy. We enter relationships with our past baggage, trauma from childhood and previous experiences, we let our ego fixate on the things we’re lacking rather than what we are receiving, and we either withhold our affections to get what we want, or provide too much affection in an attempt to prove that we are worthy. We make it difficult.
The story of Oshun
Oshun is the Orisha goddess of love, healing, fertility, and fresh water. Orisha deities belong to the Yoruba religion. Originating in Western Africa, Yoruba is one of the 10 largest religions in the world, with about 100 million global practitioners. Oshun is both a creator and a healer. Followers call on Oshun for help with fertility and to cure ailments when medicine doesn’t work. Oshun’s energy can heal and create life, but she can also take it away if she feels that we are ungrateful for what she has given. She represents everything that is lush, fertile, and juicy in our world.
According to the Orisha legend, Olodumare, the god of all gods, sent the female deity Oshun down to earth to create a world with a group of male deities. Oshun wore a gold dress and jewelry. She was dark, beautiful, and quite flirtatious. While they admired her beauty, the male gods didn’t think that they needed Oshun’s help to create a world. Frustrated that she wasn’t getting the reverence she deserved, Oshun left this boy’s club and went to the moon, where she lounged and admired herself in the mirror. Oshun didn’t try to convince the male gods of her value or demand reassurance that she was worthy – she just left. She knew they wouldn’t get far without her.
Oshun’s departure caused the Earth to dry up. Without water, there weren’t any plants or animals. There was no life. The gods didn’t know what was going on; they didn’t connect their failed attempt of creation to the missing goddess. Confused by their lack of success, they went back and informed Olodumare that they couldn’t create the world he had requested. The gods explained that the world was barren. Olodumare looked at them quizzically, noticing that Oshun was no longer with the group. He explained to them that Oshun — her love, beauty, and energy — was essential to create the world and life on it. The chagrined gods apologized to Oshun and begged her to come back and provide her life-giving energy and love. She accepted their apology, but sternly told them not to treat her dismissively again. Upon her return, the world became fertile and beautiful.
When we feel we need another person to complete us, or we need reassurance that we are lovable, we are lacking essential Oshun energy.
When we feel we need another person to complete us, or we need reassurance that we are lovable, we are lacking essential Oshun energy. Oshun knows that she is sexy, generous, and lovable. She doesn’t need reassurance and validation to know that she is worthy. She doesn’t need another person to be whole. She gives her love and energy freely to create life and growth. When she is not appreciated, she simply moves on.
Women and men who possess a lot of Oshun energy are independent, confident, and generous. They love freely, but don’t feel victimized if a relationship doesn’t work out. They are kind and helpful, but they are not martyrs. They can communicate their needs effectively and listen to the needs of their partner. Oshun-like people are comfortable providing space in a relationship to ensure that there is room for both her and her partner to grow and evolve. They realize that everyone has their own path to walk and their own wounds that need to be healed. They provide the support and the love needed for healing but don’t take ownership of everything that ails.
May we be inspired by goddess Oshun to give love with ease, and to help us move on if our love is not being reciprocated. She reminds us that the only love we need is the love for ourselves. We can then act from a place of abundance, from which we can attract and sustain healthy relationships.