top of page

The 5th Annual Osun River Ritual London: A calling for love, light and community life

Since I made the spirit-led decision to open the Osun River Ritual to the public, some five years ago, I'm ever amazed by its growth. From my lone devotion, to doubling with a priestess of the Orisa Osun, to inviting individuals troubled in some way, spiritually, emotionally or mentally to lay their burdens by the river, we now see more than 100 visitors attending the Opening to Spirit Ritual. The return to this natural force is directly linked to the growing need to restore the planet to balance, which is ultimately what Mami Osun symbolises. This environmental aspect is found in the Ose Otura, one of the Holy Odou from the Ifa system, whereby Mami Osun was sent to restore the world to order after a period of devastation. Osun was one of 17 Orisa (Divine Ones/manifestation of Oludumari, the Supreme being) who descended to develop Earth. She was the only ‘female’ among them. The ‘male’ Orisa considered her fickle – she is the symbol of beauty, love, nurturing, fertility, sensuality etc, and loves to adulterate herself, posing in front of her golden mirror. In other words, she is the essence of the Divine Feminine.

As the Earth was turning to ruin, Osun overheard the others commenting about her uselessness, considering her unnecessary to restoring the Earth to order. As with most goddesses, being proud and naturally sensitive, she decides to remove herself from Earth, and let the other Orisa get on with it. while away, the sweet waters dry up, making it impossible to do anything; build homes, create, eat, be healthy, nurture, love; everything is made impossible by her retreat from the Earth.

Recognising that their endeavours are failing, the selected Divine Ones return to Oludumari, complaining that nothing they try to restore the Earth is working. The Supreme Beings observes that Osun was not among them, and asks where she is. “Who needs Osun,” one of the deities, retorts. Oludumari summons Osun, who explains that they had insulted her. They are forced to apologise, which they do. After accepting their apology, and insisting they never again insult her, Osun chose to return to Earth, ensuring its blessing, development and sustenance from her sweet waters.

The significance of this sacred reading is best summed up by Sister Luisah Teish:

“to have Osun leave us is a very dangerous thing. And we see it in things like fracking; what's happening to our water supply. We see it in the way that they are raping the Queen bee. Honey is sacred to Osun. We see it in the sex trafficking of children, that's going on on this planet. All of these things, we read as signs that we done pissed Osun off. That’s why for the last 10 or 12 years there have been priests, all over the world, going to the river, going to places where the river is dry and making offerings and begging Osun to come back to us. All of this is about wanting to recognise the power of the Divine Feminine.” The archetype of Osun and the divine feminine on YouTube.

The video from which the quotation above is taken was uploaded over five years ago. We know, therefore that it has been way longer that this reverence to the rivers, oceans and seas etc., has been taking place, especially in indigenous communities. While we have sought to reconnect the power of the Divine Feminine, there has been a countering manifestation of anti-human and catastrophic environmental attacks on our planet by world leaders who mislead their nations about what is vitally needed for its care and maintenance. What, for example, does the G-20 purposefully do to ensure global economies develop equitably, without primarily securing the continued dominance of the so-called ‘superpowers?’ The ‘industrialised economies’ care little about indigenous rights, and the development of those economies. G-20 members are from these very industrialised, and mostly, developed economies. Do they seriously listen to those economies that need and use alternative methods of economic development that are environmentally harmonious?

Further, if the UN, that other erstwhile institution of global dominance, receives most of its funds from any one of these economies, how vested is this body in establishing economic, social, environmental and political equity for nations struggling to advance to the level of industrialisation. I'm pointing to the obvious fact that Osun, as a symbol of harmony, peace fairness creativity, nurturing, healing and balance has been missing from the hyper masculinised, anti-environmental, capitalist, technocratic and autocratic ensemble that comprise institutions like the UN (and its subsidiaries) and G-20. We can add to these IMF (International Monetary Fund), WHO (World Health Organisation), WTO (World Trade Organisation) etc. These are institutions set up to represent, reflect and embody the self-interest of the dominant world powers. If it were not so, the world would be a much fairer place, instead of the economic, environmental and social disparities we keep seeing on the increase year in year out. What good do these ‘summits’ (as the one billed for 30-31st October this year) do that progressively impacts the needs of the masses of the peoples across the globe? The strategy to evolve our planet must include round the table of discussion those communities whose lives are severely impacted by these unending disparities, and who have relied on indigenous, as well as technologically harmless, advances to help heal this planet.

Undoubtedly the planet is bilious, a condition that was there long before the Pandemic. But the rampant, blatantly authoritarian measures to reset the Earth in a way that perpetuates this odious imbalance, creates divisions and demonstrates the continuing domination of multinational corporations, and nations that have no regard for humanity. Disease and destruction through biological, ecological, technological and psychological war are signs of the relegation and dismissal of Mami Osun as a vital power source of balance and restorative healing. Thus, the annual River Ritual, in London is our call to Mami Osun to return to us and restore our lives and the planet to natural balance. Often overlooked, is the fact that goddess Osun is also a warrior, for she is a staunch defender of the weak, innocent, children and women.

This year the Ritual took place on Sunday, August 15th, which coincided with the opening of the annual two-week long Osogbo Festival in Nigeria in honour of Mami Osun. It’s heartening that devotees from around the world are joining this annual tribute to this particular Orisa of sweet waters, not least, it must be noted as we’re on the ascent to the water bearer sign of Aquarius. Arrayed in our collective White clothing, with yellow trimmings, we embarked on our pilgrim to lay our collective and individual offering to Mami Osun. Morden Hall Park, where we do the ritual, glowed with our light, our love, our investment in life and peace. This year, our largest yet, saw more than 100 attendees, comprising families, young and elder from London and beyond. Now in its fifth year, I'm delighted by the pull and power of the river (in this case, it’s the Wandle in South London), calling each of us to embed our lives with the sacred rituals that are vital to the practice of African indigenous spirituality.

Miami Osun is of course an aspect of Mami Wata, which is found throughout Africa and the diaspora. Although the ritual is a celebration and calling on the deity to sweeten our lives in myriad ways, it's important to acknowledge the environmental aspect of honouring the river. As a continuation of this celebration, this year in London Rivers Week, we invite you to join us to do a river cleanup of the Thames, followed by a collective offering to Miami Osun.

This special tribute is a collaboration between the Annual Osun River Ritual, Thames 21 and Thames Connection. It actively brings together the environmental and spiritual focus of honouring Mami Osun.

We extend special thanks to brother Quindy who offered opening prayers at the river this year, brothers Chauncey, Eli and Prince who did some amazing drumming, brother Danny and his son Xavier for this accompanying video of the event. We thank, too, the brothers who inverted the tradition, somewhat, by carrying the communal offering into the river. They were, of course, immersed in the Sacred Feminine waters, representing Mami Osun, and thereby ensuring order and balance.

Shout Out


Featured Posts
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
Search By Tags
Recent Posts
bottom of page