According to legend...
Thousands of years ago, there was a king who was an incarnation of Shango, who had a wife who was an incarnation of Oshun. The king died honorably, but his successors were unmerciful towards his surviving wives and children. So Oshun found herself a single mother, penniless and shut out of the market and professional venues, with no way to feed her children but to sell her body. So she did.
One would think that being the embodiment of beauty, this would be easy for her, but it was not. For you see, beauty without status is treated as a disposable consumable in this world. So she was happily used, but not very well cared for.
Yet, she had her self respect, and despite whatever she had to do to survive, each day she made her way to the river to clean herself and her clothes. The once pristine, white robes she had worn as a queen gradually turned yellow from the sediment of the river.
So every day the spirit of that river saw the most shapely pair of legs she had ever seen wade into her waters. Every day, the most delicately dextrous set of hands she had ever seen, scrubbed clothes in her waters. Every day, the remnants of sex and sweat and tears floated through her waters. For a moment every day, the most beautiful woman she had ever seen submerged and scrubbed herself. Then every day, she left and the spirit of the river waited for her to return.
The spirit of the river, Aje Shaluga, understood after awhile that it was poverty that caused the tears of this beautiful creature. So she decided to solve that problem. One day, when Oshun came to the river, and dipped in her skirt it not only came up cleaner, but full of gems and jewels.
So she no longer needed to sell her body. She sold the jewels she had received from the river, and it was enough to sustain her and her children well. She did not forget though. She returned to the river with offerings of thanks. So the spirit of the river was so happy that she spoke.
In time, they were married, and to this day, when we need prosperity, or to thank the Orishas for prosperity, we give offerings to Oshun and Aje Shaluga.
In some places, Aje Shaluga is male, in some female, and in others, both. I like the story with Aje Shaluga as female.
Click here to learn more about Aje Shaluga!
© 1997 Sis. Nicole T. Lasher and respective guest authors.