Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Olokun is the orisha that resides in the bottom of the ocean. He is an androgynous orisha that can turn into any shape or form. Olokun is half man and half mermaid. In some houses, Olokun is a female but the majority including myself sees him as a man. Olokun is the depths of the ocean floor. He resides where no man can reach. The only ones who knows of his domain are Olokun himself, Olofi and Olodumare. His domain is a dark solitude area of water and rocks. Not all fishes can swim to his domain. He is represented by both the living and the dead. Olokun’s kingdom is one of the biggest cemeteries ever. Everything sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Its there where Yemaya gives him all the cadavers of the world that happens in her waters.
Olokun is one of the biggest, and usually the orisha that one receives after “The Warriors”. He is given to ensure health, prosperity and foundation in ones life. He hides all the riches at the bottom of the ocean for his petitioners. In the house of his followers, he lives in a blue and white tureen which holds his secrets. His secrets were given to mankind by Olofi. Olofi is one of the only ones who know his secrets. He is said to reside somewhere dark in the house of his followers. This reason for this is because no light ever hit’s the bottom of the ocean.
Olokun is very mysterious and has a compulsive temper. He is said to be chained to the bottom so his rage would not come upon the lands of the earth. Olokun is petitioned especially for health. He is an orisha that can bring that in seconds. His color is blue with off white. His number is 7 or 9. He is the true ruler of the ocean water but through Olofi the superficial part was given to Yemaya. He takes a mask that he wears. Both santeros and babalows give this orisha, different secrets but they are both the same entity.
Pataki on Olokun
This pataki derives on the previous one from Orisha Oko.
The day came when Orisha Oko was introduced to Ibu Agana, Ibu Agana was the preferred child of Olofi but she was the favorite daughter of Olokun. The great king of the ocean tended to Ibu Agana and gave her everything she asked for with Olofi’s gift of the ocean terrain. Olokun was not happy at first that Ibu Agana found love on the lands with Orisha Oko. He was very skeptical because he did not want anyone disrespecting her. But to Olofi’s command he bowed his head and agreed with the marriage between Ibu Agana and Orisha Oko.
Time went on and he saw his daughter Agana very happy until one day she came to him upset and crying. Olokun asked her what was wrong and she proceeded to tell her father Olokun what Orisha Oko did to her. Olokun became so enraged that he surfaced immediately to the top to take actions. Meanwhile Orisha Oko out of guilt and hurt he was making sacrifice to Olofi for his disobedience. Olofi accepted his apology and Obatala was entrusted to receive the sacrifice and to restore peace on the lands and in the oceans.
When Olokun hit the surface he immediately threw his waters on top of the lands. Drowning everything in sight. The depths of the ocean waters were swallowing the lands. Obatala seeing this from high above send messengers to Olokun to refrain from sending his waters upon the land. Olokun out of rage did not respond to Obatala’s messengers and kept on sending waters upon the land. Animals, humans and all life that sustained the lands were drowning deep in the ocean waters. Obatala consulted with Orula who told him that Olokun was upset and he will not stop until the waters cover the entire land. Orula told Obatala that a chain was needed to tie Olokun so he can stop this madness.
Obatala sent word to Ibu Okunte to go to her husband Ogun and have Ogun make the biggest and strongest chain he has ever built. Okunte rode the waves that Olokun was sending upon the lands deep into the forest where Ogun was at. She told Ogun Obatala’s order and the god of iron started immediately to construct a chain that was the most biggest and strongest ever built by him. Once the chain was made he gave to Ibu Okunte who fought the gigantic waves back to the ocean where Obatala told her to give the chain to her sister Ibu Achaba. Obatala told Ibu Achaba that since she as well has the chain as her attributes to swim to where Olokun was at and wrap the chain around him from top to bottom. Ibu Achaba did as the great king of peace instructed her to do.
She swam around and around Olokun wrapping him with the chain that Ogun made. Olokun was so upset that he did not even feel or see Ibu Achaba wrapping the chain around him. Once it was tight she pulled and brought him to the bottom of the ocean. He was chained to the bottom of the ocean in disrespect for not following or listening to Obatala. The waters subdued and returned back to the waters. Ibu Agana who saw her father tied to the bottom of the ocean told Orisha Oko from this day forward we will live apart but when I feel I will come upon your lands. Not so great but you will feel me touch your lands.
Another pataki on Olokun
Olokun had 2 servants that would always accompany him in battle. One day after one of the battles that Olokun had said he would reward his 2 servants. One of his servants was very arrogant and rude while his other servant was very nice and humble. He asked his humble servant what would he like and the servant told him that all he wanted was to be happy and to be able to serve the great Olokun. Olokun asked the arrogant servant what he would like. The rude and arrogant servant told Olokun that he hated to look at the world and that he wished that Olokun would take out one of his eyes. Olokun accepted the request and took out the eye of the arrogant servant.
Olokun told the arrogant servant that from this day forward he would be on land and see the misery, the famine and hear the cries of all mankind on the earth. He could never come back to the depths as he would not have the sight to see the bottom. He then looked at the other servant and told him because of the other servants request he can no longer see the light of the land, but he will always have the sight to see within the depths of the ocean. He also told him that he would live with him Olokun in the depths and share all of his wisdom, riches and secrets.
Olokun turned to the arrogant servant and told him that since he would be on land he had to make sure that everyone on land was contributing to the offerings that were to be given to Ibu Agana and himself Olokun. He said that through this servant he would eat on the land and bring him the offerings to the ocean and deposit them there where it would be sent to the bottom where the other servant alongside Olokun resided.
Both servants agreed and it is now the reason why both santeros and babalows feed Olokun on the land. The first servant makes sure that the offering of sacrificial animals and offerings are given to him in which he brings to the ocean to the other servant. It is also the reason why you have 2 sets of shells inside the tureen of Olokun. One that lives on the bottom with the secrets and mysteries of Olokun and one that resides on top near the opening.
Olokun is received for blessings, health and prosperity. His offerings are taken and deposited into the sea. He sacrificial animals are roosters, ducks, pigeons, guinea hens, pigs and gooses. He wears a mask and loves all fruits and harvest that comes from the earth. His children are not initiated on their heads. His children are entered into Yemaya’s mysteries and he is received. If one of his children is recognized usually their path of Yemaya would be Ibu Agana. Once a year the babalows feed Olokun his animal sacrifice deep within the open waters of the ocean to ensure blessings on mankind.