When we were done with the pilgrimage to Ogun in Ire-Ekiti, we immediately made for our next and last pilgrimage for the day. We went to Igede-Ekiti, also in Ekiti, where the source of the Ọṣun river is located. Ọṣun’s home is Igede-Ekiti and her sacred grove is the source of this river which flows to another grove of hers in Oṣogbo in the neighbouring Ọṣun state. We went there to pay homage to her as part of activities marking the 2015 World Ifa Festival. She is the irunmọlẹ that dealt ruthlessly with the Fulani when they were about to invade and take over Ile-Ifẹ under the guise of a jihad. She single-handedly destroyed their jihad!
Figure 1: Pilgrims marching to Ọṣun’s grove
Figure 2: Pilgrims entering Ọṣun’s sacred grove
Upon arrival we entered a clearing along Igede-Awo road. It is surrounded by dense vegetation but there is a path that leads therefrom to the sacred grove in which is the source of the Ọṣun river (Fig 1 & Fig 2). As we entered we encountered some Ọṣun damsels, sorry priestesses, some of whom were singing her songs (Fig 3).
Figure 3: Some Ọṣun priestesses singing
There are rocks and trees at the source from which the river emerges, and more rocks are also strewn for some distance across the river from its mouth. Some of the priestesses sat on some of these rocks (Fig 4), but there was one on particular that is shaped like a chair as it had a comfy-looking backrest. On it was placed a white cloth, and a woman who appeared to be the chief Ọṣun priestess sat on it (Fig 5). The priestesses addressed us, we prayed, many collected some of the water in bottles and kegs, and then we began leaving.
Figure 4: Some Ọṣun priestesses seated on some of the rocks strewn across the river
Figure 5: The chief priestess seated on the regal-looking chair-like rock
As we left the priestesses invited us to have some of the Ọṣun food items on display like ekuru prepared with palm oil, plain ekuru, honey, salt, and others which I’ve forgotten. A friend who is really intuitive saw Ọṣun herself.
It was already nightfall when we departed for our various lodges to rest and prepare for our next pilgrimage to Ado-Ekiti the next day for the main ceremony of the 2015 World Ifa Festival.