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Ogun Sinks into the Earth


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(Yoruba, Nigeria)

Ogun is the god of war and iron, and he is the guardian divinity of barbers, blacksmiths, butchers, goldsmiths, hunters, all workers in iron and steel. Ogun stands for justice and is called on to witness covenants.

When the divinities came to inhabit the earth, they encountered a thicket that they could not penetrate. Ogun was finally able to cut a path with his machete, and the gods were grateful. Ogun similarly assists humans as he did the gods at the beginning of time; he has the machete to clear the path and open the gate for wealth, health, and prosperity. But if he is neglected, he can cause ghastly accidents and bloody battles.

Ogun, the son of Oduduwa, helped his father in wars against his enemies. Oduduwa therefore allowed him to reign over Ire, a town in Ekiti. Returning from a battle, Ogun came on a group of Ire people in Ajo Oriki, at a gathering where greetings were forbidden. Ogun, angry because no one greeted him, was further annoyed when he found that the palm-wine kegs were empty. He beheaded people in his fury and then, realizing what he had done, in anguish he thrust his sword into the ground, sat on it, and sank into the earth. Before he disappeared, he assured the people that whenever they needed him they should call on him. See also: Gu, Oduduwa.

Subjects: Religion.


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