At the time when the sacred waters of orisa Osun are taken in brass bowls from the river to the shrine, the priestess carries her fan as an insignia of office. As a mediator between this world and the "other world", the priestess is able to interpret messages from the river deity Osun to her supplicants in response to their questions. She is also in touch with spirits of nature, using these natural forces to help people in a variety of ways.
Floral motifs are important for both artistic and ritual reasons. Palm leaves with realistic details are seen on this fan, along with those which seem as if they are in the process of transforming from plant to animal. Two tubular objects, like fruit bearing trees, extend from the central cross. In Yoruba iconography, a cross within a circle symbolizes a place of meeting. In this case, the motif represents the meeting of the powers of gods and nature, understood and utilized by the priestess for the common good.