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Arts and Crafts The Tourist Trail

Osun Grove: Exquisite 20th-Century Sculptures.

We all know the feeling well.

Sometimes we simply need to get away; to find a place that allows us to forget  some of the realities of everyday living. A space to relax . Maybe one which reminds us that our faiths and beliefs, our primal connection to nature and divinity defines us as human beings  in a universal way. And for a few glorious hours, I was transported to such a place.  Osun Sacred Grove on the outskirts of Oshogbo town.

 

A dense forest teeming with exotic plants and wildlife.   Sanctuaries. Shrines. Palaces. Exquisite 20th-century sculptures.  A  journey back into an almost forgotten world and the most spectacular examples of sacred art.

It was heavenly beneath the leafy canopy. In midday temperatures close to 29 degrees celsius, I welcomed the green marquee and the coolness of the shade. However, beyond its spectacular natural beauty, this was a special place designated as a World Heritage Site in 2005.

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Home to the goddess of fertility Osun, one of the pantheon of Yoruba gods, the sacred grove  is abundantly dotted with signatures  of Yoruba traditional mythology; shrines, sculptures and contemporary art in honour of Osun and other Yoruba  deities.

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I was  impressed with this congregation of sacred sculptures  only an hour away from my town of ile-ife. Although it was over 40 years old, clearly, this was no forgotten monument out in the middle of nowhere. The grounds, antiquities, museum , sculptures and  structures looked extremely well-kept. As I took it all in,   I was proudly  appreciative of the effort it must take to keep this place maintained to the highest standards.

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With warm smiles and an undeniable enthusiasm for sharing the goodness of Oshun, the Osun devotees spoke with passion. This was an active religious site where daily, weekly and monthly worship takes place. The more I listened to the stories of Osun and her powers to heal and provide hope for those who desire to be mothers, the more I instinctively understood  why this place drew  so many people from all over the world. They believed this to be a place of sacred worship, pilgrimage and transformation.

At a time when many  heritage sites across the world are disappearing, Osun grove remains a thriving, relevant religious and cultural space. It is also an important reminder that we have a history. It is richly textured with a traditional belief system which predates many Western cultures.

I had set out to learn something new about a world which I thought I knew pretty well.  As I left  Osun grove, I was extremely satisfied I had found my way there. Here I was, full of optimism and a  reinforced sense of my own identity and the roots I share with a wider community.

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Paul
    April 16, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Very interesting article. More grease to your elbow. The writer has succesfully pictured Osun grove just the way it is, in a simplified manner and yet cohesive in content.

    • Reply
      osupa
      April 16, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks Paul. Writing about such an iconic place without losing the essence of a personal experience is tricky. I hope the article will inspire more visits by other people. It was an awesome day.

      • Reply
        Rain
        January 30, 2017 at 6:44 am

        Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or soimhteng. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

        • Reply
          osupa
          February 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm

          Hi Rain- thanks for your thoughtful comments and great feedback. I love images so I will most certainly add loads more to enhance the imagery. Thanks. Inspired to keep writing about the places, people and experiences which fill me with such feeling. Please visit again and join the email sign up for regular posts.

    • Reply
      osupa
      February 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks Paul. Just when I think no one is visiting you comment so positively. I’m inspired to keep writing about the places, people and experiences which make me feel connected so completely to the world around me.

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