Olokun is more commonly known as a feminine deity. However, many also interpret her as a male deity. Her name literally means owner (olo) of the waters (okun). Olokun is, nowadays, associated with the deep seas, the literal bottom floors of the seas.
Her Hidden Queendom
Olokun’s realm is known as the Land of the Dead. Dead Sea creatures eventually drop down to the surface of the sea, providing sustenance to other sea creatures. This process of dying and dropping is also known as ‘marine snow’. Due to the great pressure at the bottom and the darkness, many sea creatures thriving there tend to have monstrous forms.
Never Gives Up Her Secrets
Since no one can dive that deep into the sea, Olokun’s realm has almost never been seen by the human eye. Olokun is often known as the Goddess of secrets. Typically, whatever dies in the sea is never or rarely ever found. Which is why she also signifies wisdom.
There is always something worth knowing even if you cannot attain its knowledge. Especially about birth, life, death and the Afterlife. Olokun also presides over meditation, mental health, dreaming, psychic abilities and water-based healing. Many women pray to her for conceiving a child.
As they associate Olokun with great wealth, individuals desiring power worship Olokun for exactly that purpose.
Although most females tend to worship Olokun, the legend stories tell that men were the initial worshipers of Olokun.
The first legends tell us about a hunter who resided in Urhoniigbe. To determine the origin of distant singing, he ventured off into the woods and found a King including his court. Invited by the King to participate in a spiritual ceremony, the hunter agreed. He decided to stay with the King, Olokun, for almost 3 years and learned spiritual practices and worship associated with Olokun. The hunter’s friends and family presumed him dead.
However, he returned to his people, carrying a water pot over his head. He was completely mute and couldn’t speak. To the shock of the town’s people, he started dancing.
They mocked him for it but it set in motion his 14-day event of ritualistic dancing to please Olokun. After the 14 days, he regained his ability to speak. Next, he told the townsfolk about his experiences. It erased all criticism when the hunter did spiritual work to please Olokun and it blessed the town with positivity. They designated him Chief Priest of Olokun and they built a temple for Olokun on the spot where the hunter had rested his water pot after the 14th day.
They often depict Olokun as a black mermaid. The animal used to symbolize Olokun is the mud fish which buries itself in the mud. Her followers also link her to the red coral. The coral purifies the water and provides sustenance for sea animals.
Learn more about Santeria and the Orishas with Lucumi: The Ways of Santeria