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The Orishas: Olokun

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The Orishas: Olokun

Olokun is revered as one of the most commanding Orishas in the Yoruba religion. She is an androgynous Orisha that can take on any form. The guardian of the deepest depths of the sea, Olokun is the owner of the oceans and all of the riches that they possess. The deep sea is her kingdom and she resides there happily.

Olokun is deeply tied to the Orisha Yemaya, and the two are often mixed up. Some people believe that the two are husband and wife, while others say that they are brother and sister. Yemaya looks after the shallower parts of the seas. She is the Orisha of motherhood, and the waves and tides fall under her realm. While the two share the same element of nature, their temperaments are extremely different.

The name Olokun is derived from the word “olo” meaning "owner", and "okun" meaning "ocean". He/she possesses unmatchable wisdom, governs over dreams, wealth, prosperity, meditation and healing. Olokun is respected as an authority over all other water deities.

Olokun is an Orisha full of deep mysteries. She is often associated with dark or left hand path magic. The reason for this is that no light ever hits the bottom of the ocean where Olokun lives. She embodies the necessary darkness that is within us all; the drive that every living thing possesses in order to survive. In the same way that Yemaya is the creative force of life, Olokun is the equally necessary destructive force of life.

She is rebellious and works very closely with Oya, the deity of the winds, to create devastating storms and damaging floods. Olokun is always brooding and he has a raging temper. She is said to be chained to the bottom of the ocean so her rage cannot come upon the lands of the earth. When someone dies in the sea, rather than immediately beginning to join with their ancestors, they may stay with Olokun until she decides to release them.

She is also essential to political power and status and is petitioned for material wealth. Cowrie shells were used for money in ancient times, and Olokun was the possessor of all of the wealth of the sea. Sailors will give offerings of shells to Olokun and the ancestors in the sea before departing on their voyages.

Children of Olokun specifically tend to travel a lot and be very busy people. Many if not most are in physically dangerous professions or are seamen. They tend to be passionate lovers, but they are not able to fully commit to one partner.

The Image of Olokun

Whether depicted as male or female, Olokun is shown with a fish tail often wearing or carrying a mask. She wears robes of dark navy blue with accents of 9 different colors. Olokun resides in a glazed blue and white tureen or a sealed terra-cotta pot decorated with shells, which holds her secrets.

Olokun wears a beaded necklace made of dark blue, milky white, green and coral beads. Her colors are blue and beige. Her numbers are 7 and 9. There is no Catholic saint associated with Olokun.

Invoking Olokun

Olokun is petitioned for blessings, health and prosperity. Her offerings are taken and deposited into the sea. Her sacrificial animals are roosters, ducks, pigeons, guinea hens, pigs and geese. Olokun loves all fruits and harvest that comes from the earth. Altar offerings for Olokun include cooked yams, grains, melons, and molasses.

To call upon Olokun, begin by spreading a white  handkerchief on your altar. Place an Olokun statue on the handkerchief. Put some Yemaya incense powder on top of charcoal. Light the incense. Once the incense is lit, make your offerings to Olokun. Cowrie shells should always be offered to Olokun when summoning her strength. A seashell basket is another popular offering for this Orisha.

Lay a set of  Olokun tools on the altar, next to the offerings that you have presented. Light a Sea Queen 7 day Candle and recite the following prayer:

I praise the Spirit of the vast Ocean.
I praise the Spirit of the Ocean who is beyond understanding.
Spirit of the Ocean, I will worship you, as long as there is water in the Sea.
Let there be peace in the ocean. Let there be peace in my soul.
The Spirit of the Ocean, the ageless one, I give respect. May it be so

Focus on your desires and let the flame of the candle pull you into a state of deep relaxation. Once your incense has burned out, finish your ritual by thanking Olokun for her blessings. This passionate and resilient Orisha represents wisdom, strength and perseverance. Incorporate Olokun into your prayers and you will be blessed with her guidance and protection.

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