Continued from the last post.., okay so I know it’s kinda rude to disappear and not at least offer some form of apology. I hope to find my rhythm now that exams and project are finally over, I really do hope I stay consistent.
*phew…, now back to my gist…, in the morning of the next day, Tosin came to join us for the breakfast (I’m not sure if he actually met the breakfast but the story is sweeter that way) and then we started the day by heading straight for Osun Groove. Entering the place feels eerily familiar, like entering a massive forest reserve areas, but this time, you see sculptures everywhere along the motorable path.
We got to the information center and met the tour guide, a middle aged Yoruba woman, with good sense of humour and a deep knowledge of the culture and recent history of the Groove. We paid about N2,000 for the four of us, it was a fair price really but Tosin still wanted some discount because he believed as a ‘son of the soil’, he shouldn’t have to pay. Did I tell you guys that in his about 3 decades on earth and living in Osogbo for the most parts of those years, Tosin had never been to the Groove? It took us coming from Lagos to drag his ass to the sacred heritage site. Not like we’re not guilty ourselves, I mean people travel from different continents to visit the Groove that is just some few hours from Lagos but this was our first visit.
We started the walk to the shrine but we did not take the official path taken by the priests with Arugba (Arugba is the virgin lady who will ‘balance’ the prepared sacrifice on her head and dance all the way to the shrine during the annual osun-osogbo festival, the sacrifice must not fall off her head. We did ask what would happen if that happens, well her response was that it has never happened before). So we had to take a wider path not forbidden to mere mortals. We got to the shrine and saw where hundreds of people gather annually for the festival and of course the river as well. Osun worshipers throw different gifts into the river and ask the goddess for favors and whatever they want in return during the festival. Dignitaries, worshipers and tourist gather at the expansive shrine for the celebration and for prayers.
One interesting highlight was when we had to enter the inner shrine for prayers. Camera was not allowed inside the shrine and we had to remove our footwear before entering. The priest ask us to drop owo adura (prayer money), Demola innocently drop about 100naira or so, if you see the way the priest looked at him like he was going to hit with jazz and turn him to zombie. We quickly had to change it to 1000 naira note. I heard he’s used to getting dollars and euros from foreign visitors to the groove.
We left the shrine and continued exploring and visited the hanging bridge and another enclave housing the most magnificent display of sculptures representing Sonponna and other female deities.
The standout at the Groove was the impressive sculptures. The late prophetess of Osun, ‘Mama’ Susanne Wenger was a talented artist, who spent most of her years sculpting alongside other talented local sculptors.
Here are some interesting things to know about the Osun-Osogbo Groove.
1. Osun, is a female god of fertility
2. Source of Osun river is in Igede Ekiti
3. The last custodian of the groove is an Austrian artist, Susanne Wenger, who is late now but still fondly called Adunni Olorisha.
4. Susanne Wenger and her team were responsible for all the sculptures found all around the groove.
5. The site is a National heritage site and managed by the Federal Government.
6. Poaching, fishing or killing of any animal is prohibited in the groove, mostly through myths. Cars would slow down for monkeys on the road because it is a taboo to kill any animal particularly the monkeys (thank goodness, those monkeys are too friendly to be endangered).
We didn’t stay long enough at the Groove because we had to leave for Erin-Ijesha waterfall the same day. A visit to the Groove is highly recommended and I will love to visit to the place during one of the annual festivals, if you’re interested in joining me, say ‘Aye’ and we’ll make it happen.
The Osun tour continues in the next post which is the final series of the tour. And now, I formally apologize for staying away too long (I bet you didn’t notice there was no apology earlier)
Bonus pictures from the Groove, just because you guys deserve it