At the entrance to the groove.

17th of November, 2018 I travelled to the city of Osogbo in Osun state to visit the Osun-Osogbo sacred groove. Which is the abode of the Osun goddess known as the goddess of fertility. Many women come yearly during the festival and ask the goddess for children and then promise to repay a certain gift if rewarded with a child.

A sculpted image showing the goddess of fertility and her children.

The groove is peculiar for it’s rich history and work of arts. The groove has been preserved over time from century to century as the Osun goddess worshipers believes the place serve as a medium whereby the goddess still communicates with her people. Sacrifices are made daily, weekly, monthly, and the overall big festival  comes up every year in August.

One of the shrines below where spirit spouses are separated.

On my way to the groove , the impression I had earlier was that I was going to the Osun river but on getting there the inscription on the signpost at the entrance says groove so I adopted the new name. It is believed that it was one of the very prominent historical king Sango’s wife that turned to the river after leaving her husband’s palace in search of a new settlement.

At the bank of the river, no footwear is allowed as people come there to pray, make their heart desires ,wishes, promises,  pledges to the goddess for good fortune. Did I make a wish there?  Maybe 😁

An open arm statue which indicates the goddess does not discriminate and welcomes all.

So, after paying an entrance fee, myself and some few others who came to visit were introduced to the tour guide. A lady with a wide beam of smile across her face. She welcomed us warmly , then proceeded to the rules and regulation of the groove as indicated on the signpost below.

The groove has rich herbal plants that is use for all kind of pharmaceutical treatments. No form of wildlife hunting is allowed and equally no felling of trees.

A picture of the dense forest and trees

Our first stop was the place shown below which indicate the entrance that only a virgin from a royal family can pass through and one who is not a virgin is forbidden to pass through it as there are repercussion for such actions. During the annual Osun-Osogbo festival the virgin dressed in white carries a heavy calabash that contains sacrifices to be offered to the goddess . She passes through the tunnel with only the priests and priestess of the goddess and pours the sacrifices into the river after which she is allowed to rest at the first palace of the king of Osogbo for days before getting back to her normal self.

The virgin’s entrance

This picture below shows the sculpted statue of the white woman Susan Wenger, her dog , the people she worked with and the priest she got married to. She came to Osogbo as a tourist but later became a priestess of the Osun goddess and even married one of the priest after divorcing her white husband. She was appraised with the title Aduni Olorisa. She died in the year 2009 at age 92 and was buried somewhere around the groove which can’t be disclosed to strangers.

The groove also has the first hanging bridge in Africa. The bridge was really shaky and I was scared initially on climbing it, but it was fun.

Me thinking if the bridge is really as old as it looks…

Also the groove represents it’s Rich cultural values as it shows the most prominent skill of the people of Osogbo which is drumming.

Below is a picture of one of the masquerades that comes out during the annual festival. It has three heads, I had to ask the guide if they were real heads, she actually confirmed they weren’t but costumes. She however maintains the masquareded has three spirit heads tho. That’s quite something.

Close to the river bank is the first ever palace in the city of osogbo. Osogbo is said to have seven different palaces and the last one which is at oja oba is where the present king resides.

Below is one of the sacred passages in the groove.

The sacred entrance
Saw some monkeys too…

In all, I had much fun visiting this place.  Would you visit if you got the chance?  Let me know…😍🙂. **cheers**.

Me… Having fun at the riverside.


About the author

Damilola Oludemi

Hello there. My name is Damilola Oludemi. I'm fondly called "Damidemi". I love to travel and write about places, people, culture, food and lifestyle. I admire the beauty of Art and nature. I bring life to travels, images, dialogues through captivating stories . Have a good stay here. **cheers**

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