Ogun Deity in Yoruba Creation Myth and Bini

Ogun Myth and Worship

The existemce and followership of deities in traditional society is an integral part of the ethnic groups in Nigeria. Gods like sango, orunmila and ogun have a constant worshipers base and though some may look at them as voodoo(black magic) their role in the overall African cosmology is very paramount

Ogun in Yoruba Creation Myth

In the yoruba Creation myth, Obatala came from Heaven to Earth down the chain with a seashell, a guenia hen, sand and ikin. He poured the sand on the waters, then he dropped the hen on the earth. The chicken started scratching the sand and made the first land mass. This land is called Ile Ife. The words "Ile Ife" means "spreading Earth." It is a reference to the first land mass and it is the name of the sacred city of Ifá which is currently in Osun State in Nigeria.

Obatala tried to get life organized and failed because his tools were too weak. Ogun came from Heaven to Earth with the secret of the mystery of Iron and was able to create cities in the Jungle. But the Ifá myth also says that Ogun's methodology was not fully effective. As a result, Orunmila came to Earth to correct the mistakes made by Ogun.

Ogun, or Ogun Onire, is the god of war and iron of the Yoruba people of West Africa. In Yoruba lore, Ogun and the other gods climbed down to the Earth on a Spiderweb. When creation was over, the gods realized that people needed to clear more land in the forest where they lived. Unfortunately, the only tools available were made of soft metal, a material not suitable for cutting down trees. However, Ogun had been given the secret of Iron by Orunmila, son of the supreme god Olorun, and he used an Iron Axe to clear the forest. Ogun later shared the secret of Iron with the other gods and with humans. He also showed them how to shape the Iron into Weapons.

Though a fierce god, Ogun is not evil and will help those who pray to him. Yoruba Blacksmiths have traditionally sacrificed dogs to Ogun, and each year they hold a three-day festival in his honor.

Ogun Deity in Bini

Ogun is the deity of iron and war. Festivals are also held in honour of Ogun. There are two reasons for the Festival.  First, it is a thanksgiving for all disturbances already overcomed. Second, it is an Appeasement and a Propitiation to ward off accidents, conflicts, wars and strife. There is an enormous Ogun shrine in the palace called "Ogun Oba" and is a dreaded deity.

Practically, every household in the old Benin city especially those of the chiefs, contains an Ogun Shrine because it is the believe that every individual who uses any Iron tool is beholding to the deity. Ogun is the national deity and he has shrines of various sizes all over the kingdom. Each shrine is the preserve of an OGIOGUN (Ogun Priest) whose favourite Attire is made of Ododo (scarlet - color of blood) and his favorite sacrificial victim is the dog (ekita). Ogun Worship is climaxed with an annual festival in the middle of the dry season (uyunmwun) which normally last for seven (7) days.

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