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by Rev. Kenneth M. Kafoed
Ochun, the Yoruba Orisha of Love, Matrimony and Motherhood. Her life was fraught with difficulties: at one point she had to become a prostitute to feed her children. When other Orishas heard of this, They removed her children from her home and Ochun went insane. She had only one white dress during this period of her life and, because of her self-respect, went to the river to wash it everyday. Her dress, from the many washings and its age, had turned yellow. Another Orisha, Aje'-Shaluga, who lived in the river saw her and fell in love with her. Once when she came to the river to wash, Aje' sprang out of the water and presented her with cowries and gold and jewels which he had collected for her from the bottom of the river. This act of love allowed her to get her children back and live a more acceptable life. Her color is yellow; her metal is copper or gold. In Cuba, she was syncretised with the Catholic cult of the Virgin of Charity - "La Caridad de Cobre". Cobre is a copper mining town in Cuba.

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