Osanyin refers to a lesser god credited with all knowledge of herbs, leaves, and roots for medicinal purposes. Osanyin is missing a leg, and an arm lost as punishment from all the other orishas when he attempted to conquer the world with magical domination. He is also blind in one eye. He has one arm and one leg that he lost as punishment from all the other orishas when he attempted to conquer the world with magical domination. Osanyin is a divine herbalist who knows all of the earth’s botanical secrets.
The myth says that Osanyin was once tasked by his brother to uproot all the weeds from the garden. However, when his brother returned, he found Osanyin crying because he could not find any weeds in the garden. Osanyin said that all of the plants in the garden had a use, and therefore, he could not complete the task. Osanyin explained the plants’ spiritual aspects and therapeutic benefits in detail, which astonished his brother.
He was the appointed doctor who provided medicine for children and infants. He was a divinely appointed figure with extensive knowledge of plants and human ailments. Osanyin soon passed on his knowledge of all the uses of the plants to the other gods.
In the past, many people visited a Babalawo who had herbal knowledge and started in Osain for spiritual and health improvements. They were the healers and knew the medicines that allowed them to alleviate a headache to a much more important health problem. And this is because every herb, trunk, or root has its virtue, and when the plants are mixed with other herbs, they make medicines for different purposes. Osanyin is a delicate Orisha, so only some should acquire his initiation.
When the person who wishes to be initiated into Osanyin receives the basic knowledge of this Orisa and can take care of it by himself, he can begin his initiation with the Babalawo who is carrying out his learning. Divinations must be done to know what sacrifices are necessary before their initiation.
The Yoruba usually describes Osanyin as an impatient, cruel, and smug orisha. Osanyin has the omiero (Omi Ero or holy water), which is so powerful that he is in charge of activating the initiation of the Orisha. In addition, Osanyin is responsible for approving any curse done to a person. Also, all plants are assigned to him. He is the only deity able to use cornmeal oil to produce a medical ointment. All the plants are presented to this deity because he has an important position in the planetary system, which is the basis for his worship.
The colors associated with Osanyin are green, red, white, and yellow. Offerings to Osanyin include tobacco, coins, and alcoholic beverages like Aguardiente, made from harvested botanicals. It would help to leave this offering at the sites where the botanicals were harvested. More often, the person making the offering kneels on one leg at the time of propitiation. Once these medicines are made, they are placed in the Osun de Osanyin for the Orisa to approve.
Yoruba people worship and serve Osanyin for various reasons. It could be to cure a disease, obtain good luck and riches, or destroy one’s enemies.