here at shady sun, we believe that, whether they are conscious of it or not, the most enduringly successful pop cultural icons enrich their work with the symbolism of an acutely deliberate variety. drawing from the rich [and often intersecting] archetypes of astrology, numerology, mythology, tarot, etc, the themes and motifs of these “stars” seem to parallel certain legends that live immortalized in the collective unconscious. the existence of the famous figure bears a striking resemblance to something we’ve seen all before, at some point, in another dimension maybe, but it’s unique enough to keep us engaged as if we haven’t already seen unfold this story.
when we reconnect with our roots, we see the world with new eyes. as i study ifa, santería and voodoo, my lens to the outside world, particularly pop culture, has a fresh filter. just as i did, many others who are and have been familiar with this way of life are claiming a connection between lemonade, beyoncé’s latest offering, and the spirit of the afro-cuban deity oshún.
oshún is an orisha. to give praise where it’s due, she is one of the most celebrated orishas. for those of us who have never encountered them by name, the orishas are divine forces of nature that are revered, channeled, followed and praised for their supernatural powers and graceful guardianship.
if we all come from africa, one would posit that the greco-roman pantheon of gods is a derivative of this african ensemble of supernatural entities. if so, oshún would be foremother of aphrodite/venus, goddess of love and luxury. in that vein, oshún is regarded as the sweetest and most beautiful of all the orishas, the one we turn to when we wish to attract life’s treasures and indulge in romance.
she is also sought out for relief from harsh conditions, such as when she lightened her skin and hair to accompany the west africans who were brought to caribbean as slaves. under catholic rule on the island of cuba, yoruba’s oshún was syncretized to our lady of charity, the saint who was called upon to aid the newly enslaved prisoners.
it is because of oshún’s affinity for the finer things, as well as her ability to circulate and arouse love, she knows more than anyone else how it feels to live through oppressive circumstances such as poverty, oppression, rejection, neglect, and heartache. enter beyoncé.