Sango: The god of thunder

Sango: The god of thunder

- in Legends

Sango is one of the most controversial Orishas from the Pantheon of Yoruba

He is known as the God of fire and thunder and he is very fond of dancing, of (Ayan), mahogany and sex. His colours are white and red, his favourite food is quimbombo (Ilá), ram (àgbò), turtle (ìjàpá), rooster (akuko), guinea fowl (etu), bananas, all kinds of fruits (ogede), palm oil (epo), osun food colouring, seed yam, orogbo seeds, ostrich feathers, mamey, yam flour and corn.

He is mostly represented in the shapes of edena (thunder stones), this because of a conflict he hade in the sign of Ìretè Òsá with one of his disciples who replaced him. Sàngo was forced to transform six of his soldiers to èdán- àrá, so he could prove that his identity was stolen so that he could recover his throne. It says that he came to earth descendent from the sign of Òkànràn Méji and he carries six stones (ota).

The sect that engages directly in his worship is called Magba. He is the brother of Abòkún, Òranmiyàn and Dada Igbayin, his throne is guarded by Obakolaba and his mother is Ayalua or Ìyàmase who gave him birth in the bottom of the oceans from where he came. He is closely related with Ekùn, the leopard. He respects the pumpkin because it gave him the áse of Olòdumarè;s sacred word, which he posses, in the odu Òbàrà Méji.

He is the father of the Ibeji, whom he hade with Osun. When he discovered that Osun gave birth to Ibeji, Sàngo beat Osun, believing that she was responsible for bigamy. Osun took the Ibeji and left them under a malanga plant from where Oya took them and raise them up. Under the escape of Osun she ended up where Òrúnmilà was, and gave birth to the one that is called Idewú (the triplet).

When Sàngo arrived to Òrúnmìlá looking for Osun, Òrúnmìlá demanded from that day that the ewe ikoko would be placed in the Igbódù Òrisà in memory of the Ibeji and a bunch of bananas would be placed to remind Sàngo that he has to approve the Òrìsà whom is settling down. It is found in the odun Òkànràn Oyèkú that the Omo Sàngo has to subject to a special ceremony, so that they can undo the actions of Òranmiyàn, considered a brother to Sàngó, he is the one who represents the shadow. Often manifested like a shadow, that the sons of Sàngó (omo Sàngó) obeservs behind them.

A legend says that Sàngó was the fourth king of the Yorùbá city from Òyó and together with Obàtálá the king of the Igbo they hade a territorial war with Odúdùwà the king of Ifé.

Obàtálá’s warriors dressed up daily with dry palm leafs (mariwo) besieged the territory of Ifé so that they could deceive the residents into believing that they where ghosts and run away. A long time before hostilities started, a soldier hade a relationship with one of the daughters to the monarch of Igbo and one day during the conflict, the daughter of Obàtálá confessed to the soldier that her father’s ghosts weren’t either ghosts or spirits, but men dressed in mariwo costumes. When this revelation came to Odúdùwà’s notice he order to light a fire to the fields as soon as the opposite side started the next attack, and the attackers came out of the fields covered in flames. Odúdùwà took the opportunity of this and took over the city of Igbo, ousting Obàtálá from his throne and freed him.

Obàtálá hade sent for enforcement to Òyó, but Sàngo being entertained by his three concubines (Oya, Oba and Osun) did not sent any help.

Odúdùwà started to attack Òyó and before Sàngó was captured he set his house on fire and hanged himself from a mahogany tree (Ayan). Sàngo’s concubines took suicide because it was a law to follow if the king would die. When Sàngo’s followers knew about he’s death they started to scream “Sàngó oba koso” which means: The king did not hang himself, and until today people uses that phrase when Sàngó’s name is motioned.

The legend says that the river is divided in three at the place where his concubines took suicide and the three rivers have the names: Odo Osun, Odo Oya, Odo Oba.

After the death of there king the habitants of Òyó continued resistance against the forces of Odúdùwà and with the gunpowder that the Fulani have given to Sàngó they put it into dry guiras so it made an explosion, which made the invading forces retreat. It is also said that a thunderstorm started right after the explosions and made such horrible noise and thunders, that people thought that it was the unleashed wrath of Sàngó and they started to say the following words:

Another story says that Sàngó was the fourth king that ruled in Òyó, which is placed east of Nigeria. He sat in the throne for seven years and even thought he had ups and downs in his kingdom, he is attributed with many victories. His victories where not only because of his grate heroism, but mainly because of his magical gifts, he scared his enemies, and made them escape by casting fire and smoke through his mouth and nose, he also hade the gift of producing storms along with his magical gifts. A mythology tells that he one day went to the mountain near his palace accompanied by his most trustworthy men and because he did not trust his gift of storm, he decided to put it to test. Rays shot from the sky and in few seconds the palace was in flames. Most of his women and children where victims of the flames and with his heart crushed Sàngó abdicated. He left Òyó seeking refuge in Elemepe north of Nupe which belong to his Grandfather. Sàngó pointed his sword to anyone who tried to convince him to go back to his Òyó, they even told him that they would replace the women he lost, so he could have new children, but nothing could make him change his mind. So along with people of trust and his preferred women Oya he made his way to Elempe.

During the way, his followers started to regret why they followed him and turned back. Oya, his faithful wife lost the courage when they arrive to Ira, and even Sàngó himself was starting to doubt, but his pride prevented him from turning around, so he decided to terminate his life. There are different stories about the way he put an end to his life, there is a legend that says that he is not allow to have a normal death, so he penetrates in to the ground; while he sat under a butter tree (Butyrospermum parkii) in the city of Koso, suddenly thunders and rays shook the earth until he was slowly buried in the ground.



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