Olokun = Keeper of Secrets

**Ancestral Waters of Life…

Olokun, you are here and of the unknown, the unknowable and unreachable. You are a world within a world. As a natural force represented in the oceans, rivers, underwater volcanoes, streams, and lakes. Without Water, there would be no world as we know it. Olokun, you represent and care for civilization beneath the Sea, which nourishes and enrich us all by stimulating the production of foodstuffs and other materials. You made a home to all who perished at the hands of evil while crossing the Atlantic Ocean against their will because of greed.  

To understand Olokun nature we need to look at the nature of the bottom of the sea, a vast mostly unexplored dark habitat. The deep-sea floor is a seemingly hostile environment and yet life thrives down there. In fact, scientists believe that there is more life in the dark abyss of the Earth’s oceans than in all of the tropical rain forests put together.  

She is the Goddess of the Unknown -Darkness – Realm of Dreams & Unconscious. Like her world, so is Olokun the Keeper of Secrets.

Anything that falls to the bottom of the sea floor remains intact forever more, never to be laid eyes on by anyone other than herself and her underwater children. Olokun is believed to hold the secrets of the past, the present and the future. She knows all and guards that knowledge well. Olokun holds the key to the mystery of exactly what happened to their Ancestors on those fateful journeys across the Atlantic. Many didn’t make it and thus entered the Realm of Olokun. Olokun is all-knowing, She is the Keeper of Wisdom and Divination. 

Olokun is the Goddess of Death: Her Domain is the Graveyard of the Earth, cold and dark nature being the perfect environment for the suspended animation of Spirits. Olokun is also the Goddess of Rebirth and Renewal: At the bottom of the deep sea from Her Dark Watery Womb new life springs forth every moment, contributing to a vast and incredibly adaptive ecosystem. Olokun is associated with great riches, She is said to be a Goddess of Wealth and Abundance. Women pray to Her to conceive a child as well as for good health and worldly possessions.

Olokun is often depicted as a beautiful black Mermaid. One of the animals that symbolize Olokun is the mudfish… The Goddess Olokun is also linked to the red coral, a beautiful red gem-like colony of tiny animals that are joined together through the skeletons of their dead ancestors. As corals grow they form reefs which purify the water, provide shelter for other sea creatures and encourage the growth of wildlife habitats beneath the sea.

***In the New World: Especially amongst the Lukumi people in Cuba, Olokun and Yemaya are seen as different aspects of the same Goddess. Yemonja  at the surface of the ocean is exposed to sunlight and the pull of the Moon. She is the Goddess’s life-giving and nurturing side, while Olokun in Her impenetrable abyss is the Goddess’s mysterious, dark and unknowable aspect.

When we speak of  the Ancestral Waters of Life , we speak of waters that has a form of Natural consciousness  that flows and nourishes,  that incubates and feeds and the essence of Maternal caring that relates to the protection of children.

Omi Orun – Ancestral Waters: The idea of heavenly waters  may seem symbolic to us but yet holds the ring of truth since the most commonly found  substance is hydrogen particles  throughout  the universe . Science agrees that the combination of earth and water is what created the womb of all living creatures on the earth in consequence of the union of these elements.

The Olokun was given the title and name of the combined words  OloOkun – Owner of the Oceans of Ode Aye – Earth. As well is her representation of water and birth and in fact a principal part of the human spirit of  consciousness  as well as it makes up part of our bodies. Throughout time and most Ancient religions of the east a Female dominate deity took hold of the Title of the owner of the great Oceans of earth. When Olokun is angry she causes the sea to be rough and stirs up a raging surf upon the shore; and it is she who drowns men, upsets boats or canoes, and causes shipwrecks.

Olokun Sea Goddess – The owner of all the riches under the Oceans, the greatest Bead maker, the most powerful Deity whose mantles are the rolling waves of sea water, is a most beautiful divinity to behold. Her long, braided hair flows with the waves of the undulating waters, her ebony dark skin glistening like priceless pearls under the motion of ceaseless seas.

Olokun heard about the plan to establish human abodes on earth and became angry.  She was fully prepared to turn down the request to use earth for the human project mainly because she was already using the space for her Bead-making studio. She made Beads of all colors and shapes, but her favorite Bead was the indigo colored, tubular shaped Segi bead, so luminously dark that it seems to capture light within its luxurious entrails. It was her love for Bead making that caused her to move her seat to the depth of the ocean, which nobody wanted at that time. But after she succeeded in taming and ruling the vast ocean, after she salted it and stocked it with priceless jewels, after she had transformed the vast and empty space into a home for herself, they began to plot behind her back to take her space from her and turn it into a general home to lodge humans. She found the human project totally unacceptable if it would be at the expense of her own studio work of Bead making.

It was totally unacceptable for the divinities to take her sanctuary away from her and populate it with strangers. She sat down in a reflective mood in the midst of her vast collection of Beads. She calmly picked up some of the most colorful and exquisite Beads ever made, and slowly rubs the warm gems against her dark brown skin.  She would not give up her craft, she resolved. She would fight for every cup of water in the vast ocean of the earth. It was clear to Olokun that they chose earth because she had developed it so artistically that nobody could take their eyes away from it. But they also thought that she had no fighting power. It was only if the power of the others overwhelmed her that she was going to surrender.

Olokun & The Chameleon… Her secret contact in heaven informed her that they were sending the Chameleon to her. She considered that to be a sign of their contempt for her because they could not be sending a more inferior fellow as an emissary. She knew that every act is a sign of another thing. They were telling her that she was ugly, slow and contemptible, and the chameleon would be a clear deliverer of the message. They were telling her that she was beholding her own reflection in the mirror when she saw the Chameleon riding the Snail as a horse. Right before her eyes, she saw the Chameleon climb down from the back of the Snail. To her astonishment, the skin of the Chameleon glister with a lustrous light that radiated around it. Olokun, to her surprise, wanted to touch it, but she quickly checked her impulsive spirit.

She went into her chambers and began to attire herself in her gorgeous garments, woven in multicolored patterns, using different yarns and textures. She then looked for various combinations of Beads, both brilliant and dull Beads, large and slim, round, and angular shaped gems, and she wore them. She then reappeared before the Chameleon, to show off herself, and display how beautiful she looked. “As usual, you are the most elegant and attractive being alive,” the Chameleon said to her, when she came out looking exceedingly beautiful in her attires. But even as the Chameleon spoke, it began to transform, and its skin began to reflect the splendor of the color of Olokun attires. The only exception is that the mirror even looked more splendid than the original, which puzzled Olokun.

Olokun thought about these things and decided that they were too bizarre for her to deal with. Certainly, things have changed in Heaven, and they were no longer as they used to be, if the ugly Chameleon could look so beautiful, and the Snail could be as swift as a horse… She decided that she had underestimated the power of the forces of Heaven. She told the chameleon “I want no trouble from those who sent you here. But you cannot take all of my space. Tell those who sent you that you can have some of the planet, which you may turn into solid ground for human habitation. But I will still continue to reign over the larger portion covered by the waters.”

***Olokun however remembered her word because one’s word is what is most important. And her word remained that she consented to the establishment a human colony here on earth. So, she has to honor and keep her word, for that is the nature of her own graceful character. At one time She was the Goddess of all Waters and all of the Oceans, for Her name means Owner of Oceans – Lord of the Sea. Today, especially amongst the New World Yoruba, Olokun is generally associated with the dark and cold bottom of the sea.

==Both Olokun & Mami Wata use mirrors which represent water and is used as a vehicle into the other world. White Kaolin (Efun) is used for the Olokun while Talcum powder is used for the Mami Wata. The worship of Olokun deity in Benin may be because the land of the living is surrounded by limitless water into which all rivers flow and that human souls must cross these waters “Olokun realms” either to be born or depart on their way to the spirit world after death.

 Aje Ṣaluga & The Ocean’s Secrets: Long ago, Aje Ṣaluga, the youngest of Olokun’s daughters and Yemoja, her sister, were both Olokun’s favorite daughters. When the bodies of water expanded over the earth, Olokun divided parts of the ocean among his daughters and for this reason, there are nine Yemoja. Olokun, also, gave her daughters different secrets of the oceans, but not one of them knew all its secrets alone. Olokun was the only one who knew them all. To Aje Ṣaluga, Olokun gave the power over the tides and the secrets of controlling them. However, Aje Ṣaluga was a curious young deity, always roaming neighboring oceans, trying to discover new secrets. Whenever Olokun embarked on a voyage around the world, Aje Ṣaluga would make the tides rise and follow her, galloping over the waves. She disguised herself in the form of shining, bubbling foam, so intense that it blinded anyone who looked at it.

One day, Olokun gave advice to Aje Ṣaluga, “Be aware, my daughter, know that everything you give to others, you will also receive and know that you will be seen by others, in the same manner you show yourself to them. This is your new secret but be aware that every secret can be potentially dangerous.” The next time Olokun went on a voyage, Aje Ṣaluga followed right behind her, wearing her usual disguise, but this time, the foam was shining with even greater intensity because her pride grew since she acquired knowledge of a second secret. Those who looked with amazement at the splendorous shining of the ocean foam, became instantly blind. Later, Aje Ṣaluga saw her own reflection and became blind herself. Only then, did she truly understand the meaning of the second secret. From that day on, Yemoja became the eyes of Aje Ṣaluga.

***Ogbe-Ose*** (Araba = Ekun/Leopard) When Oduduwa was King of Ife, Olokun Sea Goddess was his wife, and Orunmila was her lover. Orunmila consulted the diviners to learn what he should do so that Oduduwa would not catch him with his wife. The diviner told him to sacrifice a pigeon, a fowl, camwood, chalk, and charcoal. They took a knife and cut three incisions in his skin, rubbing one of the three powders into each of the cuts. Then they told him he could continue to sleep with Olokun without fearing anything. One day Orunmila and Olokun overslept, and Oduduwa came upon them at dawn. But Eshu, to whom the sacrifice had been made, came to Orunmila’s aid; he spoiled Oduduwa’s eyesight, so that Oduduwa thought Orunmila was a leopard. Oduduwa ran away in fright, and Orunmila returned home safely. Orunmila began to praise the diviners who had protected them, saying that what they had said had come true. After that, if he lived, he spotted himself annually like a leopard; and since his time, Araba has done the same.

Irukere = Cow tail Switch…
The palm tree at the crossroads is the one which feels the cutlass – Two people cannot sleep on a duiker hide – were the ones who cast Ifa for the Sea Goddess. The Sea Goddess did not sacrifice… After a while, the Sea Goddess Cow died, and she took the Cow and laid it out just like a human corpse. She told her family to say that she had died, and she told them to call the diviners to come and divine, just as if she had really died. When the diviners came, they all cast Ifa, but not one of them chose the correct specific alternative; all the diviners said that following her death things would go well. Then the family of the Sea Goddess asked them if there was another diviner. They said that there was Tail. And they sent word to Tail that he should come.  

Irukere Odi-Okanran Yoruba

**When Tail arrived, he cast his Ifa and declared that the Sea Goddess had not died, but that she had suffered a loss. Then the Sea Goddess came out from where she had hidden herself; and she said that she would take Tail as her diviner because he had chosen the correct specific alternative. Tail named his sacrifice at once for the Sea Goddess. The Sea Goddess heard and made the sacrifice. Then she told the diviners that whenever they were going out to divine, they must bring Tail along with them. Since that time diviners always carry Tail with them…

Ileke-Olokun: (Irosun-Ogbe) To her surprise, he said that he would assist her and help her to solve all of her problems. He said he needed to make sacrifice and after doing so, all of the people who had left her would come back to join her again. Furthermore, he said that she would become a powerful orisha that everyone would worship, that the work would make her rich and had never been done before on earth. Olokun of course agreed on the spot to make the sacrifice. One day Olokun noticed a big stone that was a lovely blue color, as if water were inside, in the backyard of her home. She began thinking about what she could use the stone for. Days later she decided to fashion a necklace using the blue stone and she made a lovely Ileke. When the other diviners saw the Ileke they began begging Olokun to please give them their own set of Ileke necklace and wrist beads. They started buying the beads from Olokun and she began to be rich and famous, to the extent that all the people who left her came back and joined her. Olokun took them back as any merciful mother would. In spite of her fame, wealth, many followers, and her power amongst all the Irunmole and people, she still had one problem: she did not have a husband she could lay under so she could have a child. To solve this problem, she went once again to Orunmila to ask for his help.

Reference Sources: Zaquanix De King = Soul Of Africa Museum = Mami Wata – Olokun Togo/Benin = Farinade Olokun = Silvestra = Tete Kitissou = Google Search/Photo = Babalawo Ifasegun Adeniyi

17 thoughts on “Olokun = Keeper of Secrets”

  1. Eric Hudson = I love this also because I feel most free and connected when I’m diving and even though I mostly dive in the Caribbean it means something because in the water I feel connected to Africa. Which is why at night I also just swim in the dark ocean under the stars. Now I know who to give tribute to whenever I enter and leave the ocean. Thank you, my wise elder again, for the important gift of knowledge.

  2. Iyalosa Songonjoko Adeyemo = Thank you, Yagbe Awolowo Onilu for these beautiful, inspiring photos…With blessings, I will return to Afrika next year…but I think I will go to Benin, the spirit is so strong there I can feel it through the photos…Thank you.

  3. i love maimiwata because she is real and am her follower please i need to know more about her.

  4. Shirl Williams = I am reaching out skeptical to a degree however I need to know why I am here I have sought answers but to date my life is really no better that it was when I was born…Is this real? how can I know…everything seems to have been tainted by a ppl that its almost impossible to find truth and power that is untouchable….

    1. Greetings. Can you give a ritual to do when going to the waters, the sea, to do deep mental and emotional healing for ourselves and our ancestors

  5. Donna McCraney = Very interesting. In Africa we sent our prayers to the bottom of the Atlantic. I sent love and prayers to my sister who was passing. This is power knowledge. Thanks Mami.

    1. I dove for the first time two months ago off the Yucatan peninsula… I also felt connected to something at the bottom of the sea that can only be found at those depths. Now that I’m back on dry land, I miss that sensation. Its like a longing for an old friend. I discovered Olokun recently, and resonate with this sense of endlessness they carry. Maybe Olokum has patronage over divers, I’m curious.

  6. Abori Boye! Alafia! I have always loved your site since landed on it. I love the background traditional and spiritual music on the each pages. I am very interested in knowing more about my mother and wife olokun… She saved me when I am drawning at age 9 years at the sea close to the town I was born. Thanks for the knowledge on your site! Please I want to know more about her..

  7. Thank you so much for this wonderful piece, its so inspiring. I wish to know more about her please, I am so confused about religion and wish to know the truth. Hoping to get more from you.

  8. Is Olokun same as mamiwata or mermaid?? I see alot in my dreams , oceans . Finally I was asked to praise or worship the God goddess of wealth in yoruba language , Lols I am a northerner, precisely kebbi state . I don’t understand yoruba language. I was thought how to praise d goddess of wealth in yoruba in my dream but couldn’t remember a thing . ….I need to know who or what Olokun is . 08104657877

  9. Thank you Yagbe for all your wonderful work. This article has such great information, and the photos are so beautiful! Every time I peruse your site, I am filled with gratitude.
    <3 u xoxo

  10. Hola excelente publicación, soy awo ogbe otura, me gustaría saber quién fue (tail)( a parte de ser awo que escogío olokun) como dice la historia o en que oddun se encuentra . Muchas. Gracias repito excelente explicación sobre olokun

  11. Well done sir please can you tell me mean of OKanran Yoruba please is very important to my life thanks God bless you

    1. Okan = Encounter Oran = Challenge !!! Okanran = (The One Who Encounters A Challenge.) This Odu is a representation of these dual forces which are the seat of Emotion and Psychic energy. Okanran kan nihin – Okanran kan lohun – Okanran Dimeji a dire One Okanran located here and another Okanran located over there. Okanran becomes two and turns to blessings.

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