Oshumare ~

Oshumare is the Orisha of the Serpent and the Rainbow, represents the union between heaven and Earth, the balance between the men and the Orishas. It is androgynous and represents the movement, the permanence and the wealth. He is the assistant of Chango and the Crown of Yemaya. He is the son of Nana Buruku  Iroko and Babaluaye are his brothers. His cult comes from territory Yewe, this reached its peak in the 19th century, but has been lost due to the few who have the secrets. It is said that you helped cure the blindness of Olodumare, when it offered him to reside in the Orun. His colors are related to Oya and worship him through Yemaya. Oshumare’s cult is also through the Babalawos. His Elekes are made with 7 transparent accounts interspersed with 11 yellow and 11 Golden.

The main accoutrement associated with Oxumaré is the rainbow-serpent. When he created the world he brought together matter and wrapped him/herself around earth and rivers and valleys were formed as a result of slithering through it. This orishá lives under the ocean and takes “the water from seas to the sky, so that rain can be formed – he is the rainbow.” Therefore, Oxumaré’s natural space is water and this essential water cycle accounts for part of the reason why she/he is the orishá of movement and the image of a snake biting its tail not only illustrates the cycle but also how the universe is interconnected. Levy, an educator on Afro-Brazilian Shamanism, points out that that Oxumaré contributes to the cycle of life and fertility which is why one of the minor symbols of the orishá is an umbilical cord, the connection to the supernatural. Those who practice Candomblé do not kill snakes because of the relation to Oxumaré.   The dance of this orishá is much like fluid the movement of a serpent, this is mainly achieved by constantly rolling the rib cage. The stance is with arms held out at sides and bending at the elbow with hands (shaped like a snake’s head) pointing away from the body. The feet move in a shuffled box step in the “RLrlrLRlrRLrlrLR” pattern while the serpentine hands strike with every big step. this Video of a woman which you can watch in the below link shows the moving spine signifies the snake that runs through the earth and could possibly reiterate that she/he is orixá of movement. The arms out at the side almost look like balancing scales which makes sense because the deity promotes balance. Also part of the dance is a moment when the performer points up to the sky and down to the earth with an iron snake in one hand to acknowledge that he/she is the connector, thus, Oxumaré holds the universe together. The pointing is also a relating gesture with brother Omolu, since he also points with his hands. Additionally, the up and down movement shows just one example of the many opposites this orishá has to balance such as light/dark and male/female.