Oshumare is the serpent-rainbow; he has multiple functions. They say that he is one of Shango’s servants and that his work consists of gathering rainfall and taking it back up to the clouds…but in this definition we find a certain elementary-school tone of explaining and describing natural phenomena.
Oshumare is movement and activity. One of his duties is to drive the forces that produce danmovement. He is the lord of everything that is elongated. The umbilical cord, which is under his control, is generally buried with the placenta under a palm tree which becomes the property of the newborn, whose health will depend on the tree’s conservation. He is the symbol of continuity and permanence, and sometimes, is represented by a serpent that twists and bites its own tail. He wraps himself around the earth to keep it from falling apart. If he lost his strength, it would be the end of the world…this is an excellent reason to not be negligent with his offerings.