Sàngó is a divinity among the Yoruba Òrìsà Pantheon, related to the mythology of the Yoruba Indigenous Religion known as “Èsìn Òrìsà Ìbílè”.
In the Yoruba myth of creation of the universe, “Olódùmarè” is the Supreme Creator, who delegated His powers to the “Òrìsà”, giving them the autonomy, authority and freedom to act according to His will to create the earth and interact with the Humanity. Based on this Yoruba theological concept, Sàngó was delegated the function of creating the storms, being known as the divinity of thunders, rays, rain and fire.
Also the mythical history of the Òrìsà Sàngó, embodies the third Alaafin (king), known as Tella-Oko, who was a strong warrior, believed to be a physical incarnation of the Òrìsà Sàngó, due to his mythical and invisible powers used through the energy of the thunder and storms.
Sàngó was the second son of Oranmiyan; the founder of Oyo Empire; the youngest of the grandsons of Oduduwa. Sàngó was a brave and powerful man that inherited most of his special abilities from the Nupe, his mother’s people. During the reign of Alaafin Ajaka, Oyo was under a regular treat of war from Olowu, Ajaka’s cousin; who rules Owu Kingdom. Olowu later sent his warriors to capture Alaafin Ajaka and bring him to Owu. In their bid to rescue Alaafin Ajaka, the Oyomesi (Oyo’s council of chiefs), sent for Sàngó in Nupe land where he had lived. He rescued Ajaka and he was crowned King while Ajaka was sent into exile.
Sàngó , in his lifetime, had five wives, but three were very closed to him, Obà , the first wife and in the traditional sense the legitimate, Òsun , the second and Oya, the third, a concubine (as no marriage right or dowry was paid on her) was a spirit who has the power to transform from human to animal. She also had the power to summon rain. Together with Sàngó ’s thunderbolt, they had terrific victories in battle. The resulting Jealousy by Obà and Òsun made Oya to be more close to Sàngó, becoming his princess consort (Ayo) and having access to Sàngó ’s thunderbolt (Edun Ara).
During the reign of Sàngó, he had two generals: Timi Agbale Olofa-ina (also known as Olu-ode) who could shoot arrows of fire and Gbonka (also Known as Eliri) who was equally powerful. After disobeying his direct order not to match on Owu in Battle, Sàngó follows Oya’s advice to get rid of them and sent them to govern the border towns of the Empire. Timi obeyed him and left for Ede but Gbonka stayed back in Oyo to pose further treat. Sàngó in his quest to destroy them both: sent Gbonka to Ede to capture Timi which he did. Sàngó who believed that the match in Ede was staged asked for a re-match in Oyo and Gbonka defeated Timi. Sàngó then ordered that Gbonka should be burn to ashes. Mysteriously, he appeared after three days giving Sàngó ultimatum to vacate the throne for his infidelity.
He left the palace to a high rock facing the palace to re-affirm the potency of his thunderbolt. The thunder he created stroke the palace and burnt it down. Obà and Òsun after losing everything, left the palace angrily blaming one another for allowing Oya such access to Sàngó and became the under goddess of the river Obà and Òsun the goddess of Òsun river. Oya, on her part, went back to the forest in Nupe Land where Sàngó found her and became the under goddess of Odo- Oya known as river Niger.
On the other hand Sàngó left the town followed by the chiefs as Baba-Mogba persuading him not to leave. After an unyielding persuasion, the chiefs went back as they approach an Ayan tree, the news ran that the king has hanged himself, but that was not true. Only Baba-Mogba knew the truth that Sàngó varnished into the earth, leaving his thunderbolt (Edun Ara) with Mogba . – Hence the popular saying OBAKOSO or OLUKOSO meaning the king did not hang was created by the Baba-Mogba and the place where Sàngó disappeared has became known as Koso.
Today Koso is a suburban district of Oyo, one of the holiest places of the city, where the spirit of Sàngó inhabited the sacred site thousands of years ago. There is no king in Oyo, who will be installed without performing all the rites of coronation inside Koso temple.
Mogba Koso plays a crucial role in the royal succession, since he is the custodian of the thunderbolt (Edun Ara) and the ancestral crown of Sàngó, being responsible for the coronation of the new king.
The Elégún Sàngó Koso is the living embodiment of Sàngó, who leads the faithful to perform one of the most sacred rites in the sacred Koso temple, symbolizing the spiritual immortality.
Sàngó is a mystery and a phenomenon in the Yoruba history that have spread beyond the boundaries of Oyo town, spreading throughout the world.
In art, Sàngó is depicted with a double-axe on his three heads. He is associated with the holy animal, the ram, and the holy colours of red and white.
Olukoso ayoran ina
Ekun oko oya
Sangiri lagiri,o lagirikaka,fedubo
Efin ina la nda laye
Ina nbe lodo sango lorun
Oloju orogbo,elereke obi
O peke pe,o podale pepe
Orissa nla ti bologbo leru
Ina loju,ina lenu
Omo Oyo alafin
Ojo pa sekere
Source: HearSay Nigeria