Osanyin Incantation

Iba Osanyin

Praise to the owner of herbal medicine

Iba oni ewe

Praise to the owner of leaves

Angberri, ewe gbogbo kiki oogun

The supernatural one, one-who-turns-all-leaves-into-medicine

Agbenigi, oromodie abidi sonso

One who is versed in the use of roots, one who has a sharp, pointed tail like that of a chick

Esinsin abedo kinnikinni

One who has a liver as crystal clear as a fly’s

koogo egboro irin

One who is as powerful as an iron rod,

Aroni ja koto digun moya

Aroni, the custodian of secrets who fastens medicine on his chest

O gbaso okunrin ta giegie

One who forcibly takes the clothes from a sick man and staggers

O l’oso mo olokunrin l’orun

one who forcibly grabs and twists a sick man’s clothes

O gbaso okunrin ta giegie

One who forcibly takes the clothes from a sick man and staggers

Abanija ma jebi eni

He who fights without being guilty

O siso arun lara okunrin

He removes the man’s clothes

Eegun nla a a yido fun

A big masquerade for whom the mortar is rolled

Ewe lowo

Leaves in the hand

Ewe lenu

Leaves in the mouth

Ko sohun to o lee se

There is nothing you can’t do

Gbogbo ara kiki oogun

One whose body is full of medicine

Ko sohun to o lee se

There is nothing you can’t do

A le pa le ji

He who can kill and can revive

Oko o mi

My husband

A le ji le pa

He who can revive and can kill

O foogun baku ja

He who uses medicine to fight death

Ekun tii so oogun loya

A leopard that prepares medicine to remove to assaults

O bum u, o bum we

He drinks some water and uses some to anoint his head

Ko lounje meji bi o sataare

He has no other food but ataare

O so igba ewe dokan

He turns 200 leaves into one

Gbogbo ara kiki oogun

One whose body is full of medicine

Okunrin nla ti i figbo le foogun

The mighty man who preserves the forest for medicinal purposes

Okunrin a fewe soun gbogbo to wuu

The man who uses leaves to do all he wants


Osanyin The Orisa Of The Forest

Osanyin is the Orisa of the forest (some say he is ebora), and the abundant flora found within. He has a very close relationship with Orunmila.

The forest is believed to have great power, and an incredible amount of knowledge resides within it, in the form of medicines, etc.

Plants Supernatural Power

The plants of the forest constitute a direct emanation of the supernatural power of the earth fertilized by the rain.

This power can be used in many ways. Each leaf, stem and root in the forest possesses unique virtues.

When combined with other plants, they form medicinal or magical preparations.

These preparations are of great importance to the traditional medicine men and women as well as the various Orisa cults.

Osanyin Powers

The liquids within the leaves, roots, etc., contain powerful transformative ase. Osanyin possesses a power, that like that of the Iyaami, can be extremely beneficial; and it can also be equally dangerous.

Osanyin Non-surgical Healing Power Of Herbs And Powders

Osanyin deals with the non-surgical healing power of herbs and powders. Osanyin is the herbal cure and the poisonous mushrooms. Like the Iyaami cult, the Osanyin cult is secretive and somewhat mysterious.

Osanyin Pot

Osanyin’s pot is usually accompanied by a gourd (igba Osanyin or seere), similar to the igbadu. This gives us an idea of the power of Osanyin.

Osanyin Four Elements Leaves

The leaves are categorized in four groups, corresponding to the four elements, water, air, earth and fire. So we have; ewe afeefe (leaves of air-wind); ewe inon (leaves of fire); ewe omi (leaves of the water); and ewe ile or ewe igbo (leaves of the earth and of the forest).

Other classifications that we have related to the leaves are; masculine and feminine; cooling (ero) or heating (gun); and positive or negative.

In Yoruba cosmology, it is believed there are feminine and masculine, or positive and negative forces in nature.

Both are believed to co-exist in all things and are necessary to existence. People, plants, animals and everything else can be either positive or negative.

Men are regarded as negative and women as positive. This point is lost on many who have been taught the opposite.

Osanyin Herbal Medicines

Osanyin is the repository of vast information on herbal medicines used to cure illness as well as influence supernatural powers. Herbal preparations go hand in hand with powerful incantations, called ofo ase.


Women are regarded as delicate physically, but spiritually powerful. In fact, women of child bearing age are called Ebora, which is also what we call certain powerful deities like Osoosi, ogun, etc.

Ebora also is the word for what they call it in the diaspora “the warriors.”

Spiritual Beings

Women, then, are seen as powerful spiritual beings. This is why for many ritual tasks, women cannot be present, especially if menstruating. Their power will render the ritual ineffective.

Masculine Medicines

Masculine medicines are mostly negative. they are volatile in preparation and use. Some of these are called abilu – to push negativity to someone,

Masculine Charms

  1. Apeta: To spiritually shoot an arrow at someone (send them sickness, loss, etc)
  2. Aasan: negative curse
  3. Ajatuka: To cause two people to fight
  4. Feminine Medicine

These masculine incantations cannot be said by women or even when they are within hearing distance.


Feminine Charms

Feminine medicine is principally used for healing. The herbs used to make ifa’s ewe are feminine.

The gender of herbs is very important when preparing medicine for a client.

Masculine And Feminine Plant

One plant might have both masculine and feminine parts. Usually leaves are feminine and roots and bark are masculine. Another determiner of masculinity is if the plant stings our skin.

Orisa Plants

Many plants are linked to Orisa; that is, every Orisa has certain plants associated with it, with the attributes of that Orisa.

These plants, like ofo ase (the power of the word), add power and efficacy to our communication with Orisa (Odetumbi).

Osanyan is the forest and controls the power within. Osanyin protects against witchcraft.

Osanyin protects against nightmares. Osanyin is the cool rational thinking one can attain in the quiet of the forest.

Osanyin Mind Altering Drugs

He is the power of mind altering drugs. Like all Orisa, Osanyin has a right hand and left hand path; right is healing and knowledge; left is protection.

Osanyin is that aspect of energy that encompasses the medicinal and protective (charms) powers of vegetation.

Osanyin baawe

Osanyin tii soko Oriseje

Mogbo iraye

O gbopa lowo olokunrin somi

O sa kerekere gbeje

Aluwee lagbo

Aroni ja si koto digba oogun moya



Osanyin baawe

Osanyin, the husband of Oriseje

The one that is very intelligent

He seized and threw away the walking stick from the sick one

With his steady pace he collected all the vows made to him

You are the one who swims in herbal mixture

Aroni fell into a ditch clutching charms to his chest


Osanyin Patron Of Beads

Osanyin is also the patron of beads. He came into this world covered in dazzling beads.

The multi-colored beads of his ileke are representative of all the leaves in the forest.

The Leaf Of Divination

In addition, he also has an ileke which is shared with Orunmila, which are yellow and green.

In a relevant Itan it is said that: At the beginning, divination priests and herbalists (they work together) went to Ifa, the oracle.

Ifa gave them strands of alternating green and yellow beads, saying, “This is your sign.” These beads stand for Ewe Ifa, the leaf of divination.

Osun (Staff)

Some interpret the Osun (staff) as a symbol for Osanyin who in the above itan (story) becomes arrogant and learns humility by losing an eye an arm and a leg.

The pole represents Osanyin with one eye one arm and one leg or Osanyin after he has learned the lesson of humility (however, in odu there are references to Osanyin without the deformities, so perhaps different incarnations).

In this story is the idea of knowledge of herbs coupled with humility leading to altered states that include astral travel.

It is also symbolic of the idea that astral travel is a function of right brain activity or half the body.

Ifa symbolism more often than not contains several layers of meaning. In addition, the reference to the diviner and Osanyin working together is another reminder of the symbiotic relationship between Osanyin and Orunmila.

Orunmila And Osanyin

Orunmila and Osanyin work together in traditional Yoruba healing technology.

Orunmila has a vast knowledge of plants and their healing properties along with Osanyin.

People go to the babalawo for divination and healing, but must pay homage to Olubikin Osanyin-bikin, the orisa of the forest and all plants. He was the first to harvest medicinal leaves and roots.

Osanyin’s name is linked with the sound of the agogo gong (dance bell of power), which is linked with a leaf, agogo igun (vulture’s beak – the vulture is a symbol for the Aje), used to turn away evil.

The sound of the agogo communicates immediate aural pleasure to Aje – the witches, better referred to as awon iya wa (our mothers), “Iyaami” (my mother, Spirit Bird) or “eleiye” (owners of birds) – calming there destructive powers.

The following chant comes from Okanran Oturupon, the Odu that invokes or incarnates Osanyin.


Igbe kakaka

Irele kakaka

Parakun awusa ni nt’ aja l’enu

Ewe omo ajija

Oogun omo ajisa

Ewe o


Gentle, easy lift


Walnut shell cuts the dog’s mouth

Herb that must be cut early morning

Oogun (charm, medicine) that must be cast early mornings

I hail you, herbs (Osanyin)

Now you proceed with whatever it is that you summoned Osanyin for.