The dense forest of the Osun Sacred Grove is located on the outskirts of Osogbo, the capital city of Osun State. The grove which is one of the last remnants of primary high forest in southern Nigeria, is regarded as the abode of the goddess of fertility – Osun – one of the pantheon of Yoruba gods!
The landscape of the grove and its meandering river is dotted with sanctuaries and shrines, sculptures and artworks in honour of Osun and other deities.
The sacred grove, which is now seen as a symbol of identity for all Yoruba people, is probably the last in Yoruba culture. It testifies to the once widespread practice of establishing sacred groves outside all settlements.
THE NEW SACRED ARTISTS AND SUZANNE WENGER
The development of the movement of New Sacred Artists and the absorption of Suzanne Wenger, an Austrian artist, into the Yoruba community have proved to be a fertile exchange of ideas that revived the sacred Osun Grove.
The grove is the largest and perhaps the only remaining example of a once widespread phenomenon that used to characterise every Yoruba settlement. It now represents Yoruba sacred groves and their reflection of Yoruba cosmology.
OSUN SACRED GROVE AND YORUBA BELIEF
Osun Grove is a tangible expression of Yoruba divinatory and cosmological systems; its annual festival is a living thriving and evolving response to Yoruba beliefs in the bond between people, their ruler and the Osun Goddess.
Osun, also known as Yemoja, is one of Yoruba Orisas and the goddess of all the waters on earth. The orisa Oshun is commemorated annually in an elaborated festival held on the bank of the Osun River.
Osun is also celebrated in other parts of Africa and Brazil where the Orisa is referred to as Yemoja.