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Osain

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Osain
Osain

Osain (also known as Ozain or Osanyin) is the orisha of wild plants, healing and magic. He is a powerful wizard, master of all spell craft and is found out in the wild, untamed areas of nature. Without Osain, none of the ceremonies in the religion can happen; it is his magic that is used to conjure the shrines of the orishas. Osain is commonly understood to be Shango's godfather who taught him how to spit fire and throw lightning. Osain's magic is so powerful that no one can unravel his spells. Consequently he is petitioned for any purpose where unconquerable magic is required.

Osain is often depicted as an extremely disfigured, impish man. He has one eye, one hand, one foot, one tiny ear that can hear even a pin drop, and one ear larger than his head that hears nothing. He keeps all of his magic in a calabash that he hangs high in a tree, out of reach. His shrine can take various forms including a beaded gourd that hangs from the ceiling, or an iron cauldron full of his mysteries. It is considered taboo for women to walk under his gourd shrine. Osain has no dedicated priests, but every follower of the orishas calls upon Osain when conjuring "omiero", the magical herbal elixir used for consecrations and initiations. Osain's ritual numbers are 7 and 21. His necklace is of mixed colour beads. Animal sacrifice is used to propitiate Osain within the African Traditional Religions. Sacrifices for Osain include: he-goats, rams, roosters, quails, pigeons, guinea hens and all hunted animals. Altar offerings for Osain include candles, and rum.

In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria, in which African orishas are associated with Catholic Church saints, the representative of Osain is Saint Sylvester. Osain is also closely associated with the mpungo Ngurufinda from the religion Palo Monte, as the two are virtually identical. Hoodoo pyschic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who are adherents of the Yoruban and Yoruban-Diasporic Religions and who petition the orishas on behalf of clients may work with Osain when there are pending issues involving protection, breaking jinxes, reversing, road opening, court cases, law keep away, spiritual rites of initiation, revenge, curses, hot footing, herbal preparations, and more.

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