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Osain is one of the most important Orishas because without Osain there would be no way to correctly perform the ceremonies of "making" the Orishas. Osain is the owner of all the plants and trees that grow wild in the woods. He has nothing to do with cultivated plants. For a plant to have the ache that Osain gives to it, it must be found growing wild in the woods. Osain was the greatest herbalist and knows all the secrets of every plant. Although the other Orishas share the use of certain plants, Osain is the true owner and a tribute must be paid to Osain, before one can enter into the woods to collect plants. There are many stories of how Osain came to shave his ownership of plants with the other Orishas. Reportedly Osain kept his secret medicinal and magical herbs in a large "guiro" or calabash gourd hanging high in a tree in the forest. Osain lives in the deepest woods and does not like the company of others. Chango and Oya were jealous of his magical powers and resolved to gain access to them. Oya caused a great wind to blow through the trees in the forest and when this happened, Osain's magical "guiro" fell to the forest floor and the herbs all spilled out. According to legend, all the other Orishas rushed in and each of them claimed the herbs that they found as theirs. Above you see a "guiro" that has been consecrated as an Osain. Osain has many secrets and only the Babalawo knows the manner to correctly prepare Osain. The "guiro" is one of several forms that Osain takes when he is prepared. There are other forms used to represent him, but these are kept in secrecy. The only way to correctly learn these mysteries is to receive Osain from a Babalawo. Continue on to learn more about Osain with us in the following pages of our site dedicated to him.

Above you see what is called in Africa an Opa Osain. This metal representation of Osain in found in yards of "Osainistas" or men who have received Osain and indicates to the public their profession. In Africa there are so many herbs and plants that are used in healing, that only someone trained can competently perform the function. The plants and herbs of Osain have their purely medicinal value as well as their magical value. The Osainista knows how to correctly gather the herbs and plants so that the ache remains with the plant or herb. Some plants have to be gathered at certain times of the day or night. Certain plants have to have certain prayers said to them and certain offerings made in order to correctly work. It is truly a science, the knowledge that the Osainistas have mastered. Continue on to our other pages to learn more about Osain.