12 African Gods and Goddesses you Should Know and What They Stand For

It is not news that the African continent is home to many deities with awe inspiring stories. One of the popular stories told are of the Ancient Yoruba gods spread across continents, countries, and states.

These gods, though with different names conjure similar powers and imagery, with stories that catches the ears and comes with strings of other amazing stories.

These African gods and goddess’s pantheon from XoticBrands firmly represent the varying imagery of these gods, nonetheless, dive into this short article to learn a bit more about them.

Oggun — This deity of warriors, hunters, blacksmiths etc. has its primary symbol as IRON. He is also known as the god of transformation and mediation. For the Yoruba followers of this tradition, they swear to utter the truth by “kissing a piece of iron in his name”. His other primary symbols are a dog and palm fronds. Followers of Ogun wear chains of iron implements; Ogun festivals feature the display of knives, guns, blacksmith implements, scissors, wrenches, and other iron implements from daily life.


Oshun — Goddess of divinity, femininity, fertility, beauty, and love is connected to destiny and divination. She is the river goddess affiliated to the Osun River in Nigeria which has its source from Ekiti state and passes through Osogbo where her sanctuary Osun-Osogbo sacred grove is located. Furthermore, she is associated with the colors White, Yellow, Gold and sometimes Coral.


Yemaya — Yemoja also called Yemaya the patron spirit of the oceans and rivers. She is said to be motherly, strong, and protective while comforting and cleansing them of sorrow. Also, fertility is said to be one of her strong points as she cures infertility in women and cowrie shells represent her wealth. Her anger and lost temper are symbolized by destructive, violent and turbulent waters.


Chango — Shango or Sango according to the Yoruba language is described as the third Alaafin of the Oyo Kingdom. He is said to manifest like these — Aira, Agodo, Afonja, Lube and Obomin and with his popular AXE. Considered to be one of the most powerful rulers the Yorubaland has ever produced but also noted for his anger.


Also, he is revered with the Bata drum. One noteworthy thing about this deity is that he is worshiped using red clothing, just as he is said to have admired red attire during his lifetime.

Obatala — Obatala is believed to be the Sky Father and the creator of human bodies, which were brought to life by the smooth breath of Olodumare. Obatala is the father of all gods His principal wife is Yemoo.


He is said to have been authorised by Olodumare to create land upon the water beneath the sky. Due to his efforts, the first Yoruba city, Ife, was founded. Obatala is Olodumare’s representative on Earth and the shaper of human beings.

OyaỌya is the goddess of winds, lightning, and violent storms, death, and rebirth. Also known as “mother of nine” history mentions this name was derived due to giving birth to all 9 children as stillborn, with her being barren all her lifetime. She is crowned the Queen of the river Niger.


AjaAja is an Orisha, the spirit of the forest, the animals within it and herbal healers. She is a patron of the forest and all the animals within it. She holds the secrets of botany and is a master of potions and healing herbs. She passed this skill to the Yoruba people, who practice her craft to this very day.


Ochosi Ochosi hunts with a bow and arrow said to be hunting for positive energies and good influences. He is mainly associated with hunting, forests, animals, wealth, wisdom, and craftiness. Animals sacrificed to Ochosi rituals are goat, cooked pig, and guinea fowl.


Orunla Ọrunmila, the god of wisdom, knowledge, and divination. He is said to understand the human form and often regarded as a more effective remedy to other orishas. Orunla can intercede and affect the reality of a human than any other god, while being considered a sage. He was present both at the start of Creation and then again amongst humanity as a priest that taught an advanced form of spiritual knowledge during visits to earth in physical form or through his disciples.


ElegguaEleggua is also known as Èṣù-Ẹlẹ́gbára in the Yoruba religion and is closely associated with Eshu. Ẹlẹ́gbára means the “master of force” in the Yoruba language.


Olokun — Olokun believed to be the parent of Aje is revered as the ruler of all bodies of water and is praised for the ability to give wealth, health, and prosperity to their followers. Olokun is highly praised for their ability to give great wealth, health, and prosperity to their followers. Communities in both West Africa and the African diaspora view Olokun variously as female, male, or androgynous.


Obba — Identified as the senior wife of Shango, she is the Orisha of the River Oba whose source is near Igbon particularly said to be where her worship originated but was later moved to Ogbomosho. According to some stories, she is said to have been tricked by the other wives of Shango into feeding him her ears. Oba is described as the partner of Aganju and is praised as “Oba, who owns parrot tail feathers and fights on the left”.



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