OSHOOSI AFFIRMATION: BASIC INFORMATION
Òshóòsi: An Affirmation by Alashe Michael omo Oshóòsi Registered © Michael Oshoosi, 2015, All Rights Reserved "They gossip about the dead, those alive should not be surprised. Love your neighbors from your heart, not from your face." --Dagbamba Proverb (from "Drum Damba," 1990) The spirit of the orisha Oshoosi (prn. Aw-Shaw-Aw-See, or 0-Shu-Osi) is always to be found among us: found in his eleguns and his ofo ashe--the ones he possesses and in his sacred speech; in his otans or agbasà --the spirits of the stones of his earthly existence--in his diloguns or caracoles, i.e., in the cowrie shells through which he reproduces and expresses himself; at his altars and the thrones, the ojo'run, of his initiates, in his flechas and ofa (his bow and arrow sets)--and, finally, in the ori(s) of his devotees, i.e., in their intelligence and destinies. Along with the orishas Elegua and Ogun, Oshoosi and Osun completes the main group of orisha "warriors"--quartet known as "the" Ebora in Cuban Yoruba religion.In Africa, the term ebora refers to the act of invoking the protection of one of these warriors against negative blowback counter-attacks for having had prescribed (and for doing) the ebbo that the reading required of the client in any given case. And they add Shango and Obatala to the ranks of those who can be enlisted for the ebora. In this sense, "the" ebora (meaning these warriors) are born in a war against negativity. Also, Oshoosi's world includes the Aronimoja spirits that are of the forest. They are elemental spirits that live in the woods, and in some rocks, rivers, caves, special trees, and so on. But there are other warrior orisha, as well: like Oya, and Orona Apanada--the little sister of Ogun who makes his enemies disoriented, confused, and overwhelmed as in "Psy-Ops" operations. She can put roadblocks in the way of his enemies. (She is born in the odu Ogunda-Owani). Also, many other orisha have "warrior roads" though the primary mission is not that of a warrior: Oshun Ibukule, Yemoja as Okute and as Achaba (the wife of Ogun), or Obatala's "road" (or type) called Ajaguna. Osun (not to be confused with Oshun) is not a combattant, per se, warrior is 'fed' with the warriors. And, finally, the general term for the society of warriors is referred to as the egbe Ajagun or egbe Ologun. Their protective spirits--borne from the experiences of war-- are called the ebora, the jagun-jagun or the ajagun (not to be confused with the term "ajogun" or "bad spirits") in Yorubaland and "los guerer- ros" in the Afro-Cuban Lucumi version of Orisha-Ifa religion in Cuba and Brasil. His prototype is that of the forest and riverine Hunter. When the warriors are called to meet as a council, the expression "(A)gbagun" is used to describe this call and event. (In Haitian Vodu, the loa, or Lwa, or "orisha" that cor- responds to Oshoosi is called "Kouzen Zaka") . We see what he wants us to see, we hear only that which he wants us to hear. Some believe that he is elusive, a recluse of the forest (and that only). Often in vain, they look for his mountain but fail to find it; they look for his river yet fail to find it. They look in his forests and do not see him.And they wait by the riverbank, but do not sense his presence.In the evening sky, and for nine months a year--the exact period of reincarnated gestation--his is the largest of the easily visible constellation, "the Hun- ter." Thus, each night in beholding "Ori-on" they look right at him, but do not realize that "Orion," by an- alogy, is he. That is, the "ori" in "Orion" is like a "Heru" of "Horus" (Greek) or "rulership" name of Osiris and of Oshoosi. (Please see the next page in this website entitled "Oshoosi Details" for a fuller explan- ation of the names and terms discussed here). And the greatest paradox of all: while they live in met- ropolitan society, never expecting to find him there, they yet do not realize that civilization and social institutions--especially religious congregations--are, themselves his creations. How can you know him? By his legendary stories, his itan (stories)? Perhaps. By his hunter's poetic ijala chants? Perhaps. Oshoosi is slow, self-contained, and patient like his avatar the tortoise. But he is also swift, strong and of good character like his avatar the deer. And, finally, he is deadly in his silent attack, like his avatar the falcon--the direct flight of the winged arrow. Oshoosi, like the Falcon (Hawk) God of Heru (Horus) is a master of camouflage, wizardry, magic, medicine, snares, and the airborne attack--is also at home in the water, on the river bank, in the forest, on the mountain tops with gods of the highest places like Obatala and Orisha Oke, as well as in the skies. Everyone knows that! He stalks and ambushes quarry in their very dreams. Oshoosi is considered "the one-arrow hunter" because one arrow is all that he ever needs. The victims of his divine justice are called "Ogbo-Ofa"; 'he who falls in victimization to the arrow-shot.' The Egbe Ajagun, warriors' society, under the guidance of the Ogboni society (juridical council within Yoruba culture) are taught the gid -igbo systems of martial arts that invoke a combination of trance possessions (ini), ancestral ashe, and good character maintenance. (See Ft Nt #7). "Oshoosi," "Osayin," "Osiris," "Horus," "Ori," "Orion,""Sahu," "Isis,""Sirius," "Sopdet" Conceptual Complex and Connections Let me say from the outset in this section that I am definitely not claiming that the religious concepts and personages that have populated Yoruba religion come from Egypt. I do not believe that. By con- trast, I believe that the Yoruba religious legacy has communalities with its subjects of interest with KMT religion(s), linguistic and conceptual. But how these communalities arose if and where they exist is the subject of much conjecture. The putative shared connections, in deep history, probably exist because of the shared connections with the civilizations of Upper Nubia (not KMT). Indeed, though the proto-Yoruban, Nok and Igbo civilizations did not exist as we know them today in predynastic KMT times, interaction with Nilotic Africans who lived due east of them was very likely during the last 2,000 years. This means many if the bedrock words and cosmic and religious ideas that Nubian Nilotics had from time immemorial donated to KMT in pre-dynastic and dynastic times, were simply also shared with west Africans in more recent times. This is the simplest explanation of why so many Yoruba and KMT words are similar inspite of the impossibility of very much cultural intercourse between them thro- ughout history. (See Boyce Rensberger, The New York Times, March 1, 1979). The headline: “Nubian Monarchy Called Oldest”). Be it gainsaid that the earliest known kingdoms on earth were the kingdoms of upper and lower Nubia. They date back to 5,900 BCE (See and that. It is, therefore, more likely that Iron-Age west Africans also interacted with Upper Nubians and shared cultural influences (but more likely in the Common Era; since the advent of Christianity). Oshoosi is a hunter who provides a variety of animal, plant and natural resources;but they are not al- ways the same thing each time.And, as a wizard ("osho"), Oshoosi priests often become babalawos (in order to receive and apply the medicinal arts of counter-sorcery--"Osayin"--which, itself, is the Yor- uba equivalent of Latino brujeria). "Osayin"is a term for the ashe of plant (and mineral) sorcery and power among the Congo-influenced paleros of Cuba where it is called Palo Monte or Regla de Palo Moy- ombe. And Osayin is also the great connector orisha between, Yoruba Ifa, "Palo," Vodun, Mexican brujeria and curanderismo, Brasilian Macumba,and so on, in the world of plant sorcery. The term, Osayin or Osain (in Cuba) one of the orisha of medicine, is also related to the KMT concept of "Sahu"--rooted in the word "Osahi"(n)--the god of the stars; i.e., the three belt stars of the constellation "Orion," to be exact. (Later, he became identified with Orion and Osiris as a whole). The upper Nubians, from whom KMT religions were borne, were often called the original "Star People." And they had fas- hioned for themselves, for the first time, a solar calendar through archeo-astronomy. That is, through the recording of landmark positions that corresponded to the positions of fixed stars (and the sun) on a daily and nightly basis until they all returned to their original positions a "year" later. So, naturally, it is likely that they also developed a good deal of astro-theology (but not mathematical astrology--we leave that for the Babylonians, much later) and projected religious anthropomorphism to them. From its earliest days, one constellation (not a zodiacal one)--Orion, the Hunter--was first among equals among the deified heavenly personages. We will see the "Oshoosi" connection, momentarily. The KMT name for what we call "Orion" was Sah or Sahu (again from "Osahi") and he was the moral aspect and soul of Osiris; the conscience of the the cosmos. And, in his identification with (Ausar) of the sky, he was called "Orion" by the Greeks.In this form, the god Osiris is a hunter; a very great hunter, indeed! Hence, Osiris, as mentioned elsewhere, is the Oshoosi of the cosmos. And as a "ruler" (an "oba" in Yoruba language), he has a rulers' name --i.e., a "Horus" name. And this is why we also share the word "ori" or "head," associated with "Horus," (Heru) with the Kemites. Sahu signifies the existence of morality in the Universe (as Ma'at does so in respect of that part of mor- ality we call ethics). And he has a loyal companion--as loyal as a hunter's dog always is--the KMT neter (god) Isis; the mother of morality-in-action and the personification of ethics (Ma'at) as a fun- damental property of the Universe. In the night sky, she is seen as the brightest of all of the stars--the "the Dog Star," commonly called "Sirius." In KMT, she was called Sopdet (or Sothis), meaning "skilled woman"; "the star of the Nile." (And she was the female counterpart to Sopdu, the warrior God of the Eastern Desert that protected KMT). As "Auset" or "Isis," she--like her husband-brother Osiris--was a god of fertility. And each year, at mid-August, in the KMT sky--the same one that we observe--she was the first and brightest binary star to rise over the horizon that signaled to start of the flooding of the Nile river. "Orion" also rose at that time and they remained visible for next nine months--the exact period of human gestation. She is always near her hunter companion. Thus, she too is a part of the Sahu-Osiris-Horus-Ori-Oshoosi hunter-warrior god complex shared by the ancient Kemites Nubians, and the proto-Yoruba peoples of west Africa. (Please be referred to the book "Ozain Mystery of the Congo and Yoruba," by the oba-oriate (a master-of-ritual-ceremonies), and an orisha priest, palero and Osainista, Anthony Canty, for commentary on these Yoruba linguistic connections with the concepts that the Kemites obtained from their forebear- rers in other parts of Africa as well as their connection to Osayin ("Osain") the sacred source for the rel- ease of vegetation ashe (vital power) as exemplified, at least in KMT, as Osiris' first portfolio--the great green God of agriculture. All this said, however, as is my custom, I always advise caution in drawing conclusions about the orig- ins of words and concepts in regard to who had them "first." It is quite probable that the priests of KMT got their basic concepts from upper Nubia (the South Sudan) and it is also quite possible that these, in turn, were shared with the west African progenitors of the "Yoruba" cultures of west Africa (the Nok and the Igbo) through trans-savannah and Sahil cultural intercourse; though the term "Yoruba" per se is of fairly modern vintage; meaning 'enemy over there' in the language of their neighbors, the Hausa. Oshoosi is the Founder of All Social Institutions of Confinement--Especially Congregational Worship Kato ki kiki-ka-fenu-e-sole (Oshoosi's slave's name whom he decreed that he should never marry nor have children before Oshoosi, himself, became "a living stone"). His house shall be a refuge for the ne- edy. His doctrine is the origin of humanitarianism through religious devotion--especially in regard to Christian charity. His slaves name gave rise to the Greek word "Katolikos" which became "Catholic" doctrine of worship for the masses of the world. Indeed, it is said that the very word "church" comes from the Greek "Oikos" which springs from the word "Oshoosi." Oshoosi is celebrated in Jan- uary in Ile Ife and is presided over by Ooni (Ooni'-risha). These ideas come from the crier for the Ooni of Ile Ife the Babatude Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) and can be found at: "Oshoosi." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC33Zqyefb4&t=46 O ti se se ! (It is possible!) The Etymology of the Term "Oshoosi" (or "Ochosi" or "Oshosi") and Its Possible Relation to the KMT Deity "Shu." "Oso" (prn. Osho) means 'camouflaged pit,' and "Osi" to increase (or capture) is how one may look at the "name of this orisha. "Oson," or bow string, implying the ability to "capture at a distance."(3) Also, a version of "oso" means "wizard" or "magician, and "sise" (prn. she-shay) means "to work." "Osho-sise " therefore, means the "working wizard." Similarly, "Osho wu si" ("Osho the famous one"). And, for some commentators,Oshoosi is referred to as the 'one-arrowed hunter'; as one arrow is all he ever needs! In ancient KMT, the neter "Shu" is responsible for the separation of the Earth from the Sky. This separation allows not only for air, wind, and atmosphere, but by keeping the sky (a watery ocean locat- ed above us!) at bay, but also allowed the free-flow of the world's currents in this atmosphere. This, in turn, signifies free-flowing communications: Think Oshun, Eshu, and Oshoosi as free-flowing water, free-flowing communications and the free-flowing feathered arrows of justice, respectively. Oshoosi's name in Yoruba also signifies the mastery of spirituality and stealth: "Osho" means wiz -ard or sorcerer and "osi" means "left" or "left-handed"; signifying "invisible sprituality" and func- tionality (the "left hand" being the hand of sacred work Yoruba religion). Hence, Oshoosi also means the "left-handed-handed working wizard" (or sorcerer). Accordingly, Oshoosi is the only orisha in the pantheon that can regularly "shape shift"--i.e., become an animal (as Obatala once changed into a deer buck as a part of instructing Oshoosi on who his father was)--and astral travel ; especially enabling the ability to forage and hunt his quarry--"animal or man--at night (a great level of stature is acc- orded to night hunters in Africa). These qualities are mindful of those of our "Holy Mothers" the iyami who are special spiritual entities; though not orisha. Oshoosi and the iyami(s) have a reciprocal benevolence toward each other. Hence, the only birds that Oshoosi kills are those that are domesticated or are game birds well-know to hum- ans. This is because birds are also sacred to our Holy Mothers, who often disguise themselves as birds of the night (and he is not eagar to mistakenly kill one). Please see the treatise on this website entitled "Oshoosi Details" on the next web page, for other iterations of the name "Osho-osi" in Yoruba as well as his oriki names (praise nick-names). The Metaphorical Physics of Oshoosi The nexus of these concepts can be explained this way: Oshoosi is con con nected to insight and a great fund of knowledge about nature. The world to which Oshoosi uniquely has access to is divided into Okun, the "heaven" or "invisible world of darkness below," where there is no light as we know it, on the one hand, and by contrast, there is the world of Orun. Orun is the "heaven" or (ionized plasma) firm- ament "above" with all forms of visible and invisible light and energy--including plasmic discharges that we call "lightning" (when seen in the Earth's atmosphere)--as well as the frequencies of light that we normally cannot. Oshoosi can "see" into these invisible realms as only wizards can do. (Among other things, for this reas- on the ashe of Oshoosi is good for determining who is lying and who is telling the truth). One of the reasons that the deer is an avatar of "Ochosi" in the Cuban Yoruba traditions of Santeria-Lucumi is bec- ause this animal--like many others--can "see" light and images in the ultra-violet frequency spectrum of electro-magnetism ("light") that humans cannot. Staying in the realm of biology, as mentioned above, Oshoosi is also associated with "Osayin"; the (dei- ty of) charm medicine and incantations for health, fertility, self-defense and poisonous destruction that is based in the ashe of plants and tree worship; similar to these attributions to Osiris--his KMT analogue. Now taking us into the realm of physics, "genies" (also called ebora) in African culture can also give guid- ance into these areas of invisible light even though the light they see and reflect can be quite "base" or crude. But an Oshoosi elegun----one who is pos- sessed by Oshoosi--can travel (i.e., see into) these otherwise "invisible" areas of Okun and Orun as well. Finding a straight path may be something like traveling through a "worm hole" since astral travel has to contend with the fact that, at a cosmic level, "straight" may be quite "curvy" or indirect to us since light, mass, gravity, etc. are all "warped" (or bent) and wavy--even here on earth as we can see--but usually do not. In this fashion the ashe of Osho- osi includes the mastery of the calculus of archery as this orisha's arrow never misses its target even if they have to go around corners or through warps to arrive at them; even while their flight paths may appear to be a "straight" ark to us. Indeed, some refer to Oshoosi as the 'one arrow hunter'; as he only needs one arrow to hunt since he never misses his target. [Indeed, as an adherent to "EU" theory--the Electric Universe theory and its variant called plasma universe theory of cosmology (as contrasted to a "gravity-based" theory of cosmic functioning based on Newton and Einstein)--I believe that one of Oshoosi's rootings is in the olodu or story of Irosun meji--like Shango and his lightening and thunderbolt's rooting in the "olodu" Okanran meji--aids his adherents in comprehending the electrical and plasmic laws of the universe at their absolutely deep- est levels. Please see my comments on the olodu Irosun meji, immediately below , and watch: for an ex- pose on "EU" theory and its relevance to cultural antiquity]. https://www.you tube. com/watch?v=5AUA7XS0TvA Thus Oshoosi's spirit can see the "hidden" curves of space-time and even find a "worm hole" in space and in conceptualizations to get to a problem's most "direct" solution. Now, the ashe of Oshoosi in- cludes the mas- tery of archery, bows and arrows. In essen- ce, this is why in Yoruba religion Oshoosi is associated with the sacred oral texts (odus) of "Ejioko meji" or "Oyekun meji" (notice the "kun"--the 'strong deep hidden'--in this), on the one hand, and "Irosun meji" on the other; as these odus deal with the "invisible" dimensions of humanity's involvement with nature. Oshoosi is the "scout" or guide that can navigate these dimensions through 'astral travel' which is spying on the world below from on-high at night. As well as "shape- shifting" (disappearing into a tree or animal, or into sleep "sun" in Yoruba (or "magically "making other living things think that you have done so through one of the three met- hodsmethods for producing illusions listed immediately below) . [Also, please see reference to Sek- hemu, in the "End Notes" below, for a re-statement of these ideas].(8) Finally, in the realm of psychology (an area of expertise that he inherits from his father "Ode"), Osho- osi's three methods for producing illusions are these: (1) "masquerade" (where the being--predator, prey, or observer--can be seen by others but looks like something else), (2) "crypsis, " (where the being blends into the background such that it cannot be "seen" at all, though it is there) and (3) "mimicry" (where the being can be seen but mimics another kind of animal so as to fool an observer). An Aside: [For those who have familiarity with the odus of Ifa (Yoruba, Santeria-Lucumi, etc. religion) you will remember that the olodu "Ejioko meji" or "Oyeku meji"--where Oshoosi is really prominent has a saying that goes:"an arrow between brothers." This refers to the opposite-complim- entarity of Ejioko meji ("Oyeku meji"), on the one hand, and Eji Ogbe meji, on the other. The orisha Oshoosi is probably involved in mediating the relationship--which is not, except in a nominal sense--about about conflict; it is about the dialectics of "full twilight, (Oyeku)" considered first, and "full light" (Eji Ogbe), considered next.] In the Ifa-Yoruba religion, including the Cuban Santeria-Lucumi version of it, in the sacred text or odu called Irosun, " Oshoosi" where the archetype analogue of Orion , also "speaks." It is this odu, Irosun , that, among other things, deals with the underlying laws, necessities, hidden wealth, and the traps of orun, okun and the middle-space in-between them that we call "civilization(s)." An Aside: [For those who have familiarity with the odus of Ifa (Yoruba, Santeria-Lucumi, etc. relig- ion) you will remember that Irosun is, like all odus, an orisha too. As such, his birth was the result of conception amid the red blood-shot-eyes of treachery and rape: His mother was ravaged in her sleep ("sun" in irosun = "sleep" and "iron" = nightmare). And he was conceived. Hence, on the negative and diminishing side of existence ("ibi" or "osogbo" ) lies his association with redness, eyes, traps, and bloody treachery but, on the postive ire side ( the expansive good fortune side), Irosun meji connotes deep and mature insight into and understanding of the unfathomable, the opague, or the inscrutible sides of existence (okun). "No one knows what lies at the bottom of the sea." Now, back to Oshoosi ! Oshoosi is also learned and dapper and dressed in his " gown of beads"; an urbane sophisticate of im- pecable taste--an attribute that also arises from odu Irosun. Favoring lavender and blue, teal and amber, and gold--he (or she) is a hunter in the city and a guardian master of its nights! In rural settings his clothing traditionally consists of cloths, beads, hides: leopard skins, deer skins, amulets and so on. His beads often include tiger's eye, amber, and gold, as well as the black-green-red beads that go into the end-segements of the sacred jewelry of all Santeria-Lucumi guerreros (warriors) or, in Yoruba, among the orisha, the ebora and the "ajagun" (dog fighters) or "ologuns" (owners or chiefs of war and powerful medicines). What can you make of such an orisha? Listen carefully to his silence, and reflect on his legacy. Para- phrased here, a legendary story like this one is told in Cuba; though in many variations. This one from Cultos Afro- cubanos: Regla Ocha, Yosuka Publ., Cuba: Itan-Patakin ("Ita-patakin" or Legendary Important Stories) of Oshoosi and the Birth of Justice In to the World 'Olofi', another Yoruba name for 'God-Almighty, asked Orunmila (the master god of divination) to hunt a quail for him. As this tasty little bird is very elusive, Orunmila asked a variety of hunters to help. None had luck. Then he asked Oshoosi to help, and he did so successfully. He left the bird in the care of his mother and went to fetch Orunmila. When they returned, they found the bird missing, and his mother --not being there at the time--gave no explanation. Again, Oshoosi went on the hunt. And again he was successful in capturing a quail. This time he carried Orunmila with him. Together they presented bird to Olofi,and Olofi gave Oshoosi the title of 'greatest among the hunters. Oshoosi, for his part, had not forgotten the original theft of the first quail and, in anger, shot an arrow into the sky with the curse that it should pierce the heart of whomever had 'stolen' the bird. For whatever reason his mother had released the first bird, thus she suffered the wound of the arrow, and died.' (1) Another, even more common version of the story is this. 'Oshoosi killed two birds in the forest and returned to his messy home. He hung the birds out to cure. While he was gone, his mother (in the New World), Yemoja--the goddess of the ocean surface and motherhood--visited his house. Not finding him there, she tiddied up his house and took the birds home to cook for him. When he returned he found that they were missing and did not know who 'stole' them. With an incantation that only he and his sacred parrot knew, and with special poison put on his arrow tips to guide it, he cursed the thief and let the arrow fly. Up, up, and then down, into the heart of his mother far away. This was the course of the arrow. His mother died.'(2) [Note: In orisha stories, the dead orishas reappear from time to time. And, also, as an aside, in Africa, Oshoosi's mother, like Ogun's, is Yemu or Yembo, and his father is Oduduwa. ["Oduduwa" is actually two orishas. In the area of religious mythology, "Oduduwa" is the wife of Orishan'la or Obatala, a prim- ordial orisha. (This orisha became "Odua" in Cuba). But "Oduduwa" is also the name of the legendary male figure who was the founder or the modern "Yoruba" nationalities hundreds of years ago and who was "deified" or cannonized in their social mythology]. From these stories we learn of the birth of justice in the world and how Oshoosi became the guardian and dispenser of the virtue of hunting down wrong-doers to bring them to justice (whereupon Shan- go is the judge and, whereafter, Eshu is the executioner). Whenever and wherever an animal or man acts unwisely and unjustly, Oshoosi may be found there with a cage, a net or trap. His justice, however, must be based on insight, not on the pretence of impartiality or "blind justice," curses (emotionality) nor self-serving justification (egotism). Above all, a petitioner must, before asking anything of him,fully confess all that could make one blame worthy. For he expects 'clean hands' before he intervenes into the world with wrath because he is so deliberate that he even runs the risk of killing his own mother--sometimes disguised (as do all Sac- red Mothers) as birds--if she does not 'come clean'; if what she is up to is not clear to him when she is in disguise. There are additional important stories (itan-patakin) about Oshoosi in the next page of this website called "Oshoosi Details." The Color of Oshoosi's Temperament is White (Cool-headed) Oshoosi is in the lineage of 'cool-headed,' exceedingly intelligent and effective, orishas of 'white cloth' (asho 'fun 'fun). He is very closely associated with the king of the orish- as, Obatala, for whom he is the protector who has much "ashe'' (vital creative power and authority). His devotee may become an alashe or 'one who owns or channels vital creative power' and authority. He is also the multilingual spokes- person for Obatala; is his "abede feyo" (clean-cutting straight-to-the-point speaker) or "akede feyo" (speaker of messages with great fidelity). When you hear Obatala, you hear him. When you wish to see Obatala, you go though him. In Ile Ife, a spiritual center for orisha worship in Nigeria, the entrance to the temple of Obatala (Orisha'nla) is, literally, guarded by Oshoosi. The same is true of Aga (Oshoosi) among the Dahomeans of Benin. *"Color" in African culture goes to one's character; not one's "race." Indeed, the word for "character" and for "existence" in Yoruba is iwa and is possibly related to iwn (prn. iwen) of KMT. (But also note that the word "iwin" in Yoruba means "ghost" or "madness"). That is, the nature of one's, or one's religious lin- eage's, character has a certain temperament or color temperature. Thus orisha (o)fun-(o)fun is "white" --meaning 'cool-headed.' A good, gentle character---which is the ego-ideal in Yoruba-- is iwa pele, for example. Or, by way of consistency (not contrast) the word dudu means black or 'deep wisdom.' This--"blackness"--too is a term of good--even great--characterologic temperament. For example, "black wisdom" is emblematic in the very term for an important moniker of God Almighty--"Olodumare"--or "Oduduwa" is the owner of our 'deep wisdom.' As to an mentioned, Oduduwa is an irunmole or prim- ordial orisha, "the wife of "Orishan'la" (meaning the dedicated one avatar of this Obatala), and is also a deified cultural ancestor--specifically famed as the founder of the Yoruba-speaking sub-nationalities and royal lineages. [As an Aside: Most westerners pray to be "enlightened," but given what their "Enlightenment" did for them and, consequently, to the World , I'd prefer to be Endarkened; being a son of Africa (in the final analysis)]. On the matter of color and temperament, remember this: Orisha-Ifa is a religion the sole focus of which is the worship of good character. Omo Oshoosi (Oshoosi's "kids") know that it is all as simple as that! One hunts it throughout life (or one doesn't). Hunters can be loud as well as masters of stealth. For example: loud in calls, cries, chants, messages, warnings and bragging rights as long as they are telling the basic truth; for this right expresses a version of psychological de-briefing and emotional re-adjustment to social living after having been in bloody conflict. Additionally, since a king (an oba) or chief is rarely loud his or her spokesperson or crier (as Oshoosi is for Obatala / Orisha-'nla) must be an effective and eloquent public voice. *Unbeknownst to many, Oshoosi is also connected--through the orisha Ode ("Odede")--to the orisha Oduduwa. He, Oduduwa, again is both a primoidal orisha (the owner of our blackness, the creator of the black soil that was cast upon the water in the beginning times to form 'earth,' and the owner of the word that captures this history) and a deified ancestor who was, it is sometimes said, the conquering founder of the 'modern' Yoruba nation at Ile lfe in Nigeria. As a matter of mythological legend, indeed, Oshoosi is related (as his son) to the orisha Ode(de). "Odede" is a good reputational nickname (a "kiki" ) that means "Outside owner of' the hunt, arrives" ('de'), that belongs to Oshoosi's mythological natal father named "Oranmiyan" the founder of ancient Oyo city. Additionally, Oshoosi is the spiritual son of Obatala, and is considered the godson of Orunmila. A History of "Oshoosi-like" Deities in Egypt (KMT). What is in a name? Everything. I expounded on the linguistic connections between proto-Yoruba, Nubian, and KMT terms that involve Oshoosi in the early paragraphs of this essay supra. This section, then, shall be a brief touch on that connection once again. What is in a name? Everything else.To appreciate these deeper connections let us travel backward in time to ancient Sudan (Kush and before) from whence one prototype or concept of Oshoosi originated, and from whence much of the population and religious culture of the Yorubas originated. "0-Shu-Osi." We are familiar, of course, with the great dynasties of Egypt (KMT). They began as long ago as 3,250 BC, i.e., over 5,000 years ago. But at that time, in the area of modern Egypt (Ta Merri) and the Sudan along the White Nile River (Ta Seti), for at least 10,000 prior years, extensive pre-dynastic cultures existed in this--"the Land of the Bows"-- or "the land of the long-bow men" that was later called Nubia, Kush and (much later) Meroe. *Contrary to the racism inherent in the beliefs of so many Europeans and Americans, civilization was birthed and periodically rebuilt by African peoples whose basis of life and tradition was in Central Africa. They, pushing upward and north-easterly through "Sudan" and Eithiopia, laid down the KMT "worldview," in general, and provided the main themes of dynastic Egyptian religions and culture, in particular. The influence of this neolithic sourcing from Central Africa was also repeated during the three "Golden Ages" of Egyptian lore as well. We can rest assured that the civilizers of Egypt (KMT) did not just 'fall from the sky' 5,000 years ago and the next day start building pyramids. Indeed, the very concept of pyramids evolved first in the Sudan or Nubia-Cush. In fact, until the time of Christ, Nubians rescued dynastic Egypt from outside conquerers time and again. A recent scholar wrote that the first kingdom known on earth was that of Ta Seti whose kings date back to 5,900 BCE ! (See footnote #10 infra.) Imagine, for a moment, a little pyramid the base of which is small. Now also imag- ine great gods such as Osiris (Ausar), Set, Isis, Horus (and many others), swirling like a cloud that is so thick and high that you cannot see, at first, the pyramid hidden within. This cloud has within it currents and conflicts: a virtual vortex of irunmoles ('the original gods,' in Yoruba langauge). Now, finally, imagine this pyram- id starting to grow bigger, and higher, and higher until it becomes very visible and very imposing--standing straight up so high at its apex that it now towers above the 'god cloud' swirling around its base. Let us call this new and growing pyramid Ra! And Ra himself grows so big and imposing that he bec- omes merged with the Amon ("hidden") of the Ta Seti Nubians. That is, as "Ra-Amon" ("Amon-Ra") among the Egyptians. This fanciful scheme took place over three thousand years as Ra-Amon became edified within the "rel- igious mentality" of the society; with the royalty thereafter being assoc- iated with Ra and the populace being associated with the omnipresent Ausur (Osiris) and the other deities of the KMT pantheon. "All Mankind Fears Time, but Time Fears the Pyramids." --Anonymous OK, so now, what about "Oshoosi" in this regard? Specifically, the people of Egypt believed that there was one particular god that separ- ated the ocean ("sky") that covered the earth from the earth itself. This ocean was rais- ed above the earth by the efforts of Shu the god that held the sky up like the Greek god Atlas holds up the earth. This god is the one that created and owns the 'atmosphere,' the space between the earth and the sky-ocean above. This god made life and civilization possible by creating a 'life space' in which it could happen and flow. And it is "Shu" that we also likely share Eshu, Oshun in Yoruba language because Shu may be rooted in the old languages of Nubia; the langauges that created Egyptian and the Egyptian religions. All deities with "shu" in their Yorubic names, it seems to me, as mentioned above, likely signify free-flowing communication (of air, waterways, and "roads") through an earthly atmosphere and through the 'life and civilization space' that the deity "Shu" created by separating Heaven from Earth. (See e.n.4). The people of Egypt also believed in a god that we, and the Yorubas immediately before us, came to later know by his Grecian name, Osi-ris, or "Osiris." His Egyptian or KMT name is Asar or Ausar. He, along with his twin and wife, Isis, and their son Horus, made up the original "holy family"; one of the many trinities that were known in KMT religions.' When the dynasties began, about 3,250 B.C.E, Osiris and these other gods were swirling about in the consciousness of all of the peoples of KMT and their neighbors. Osiris was a fertilizer of human kind and agriculture, the prime civilizer and, later, the judge of reincarnation in the afterworld or 'underworld' of Tuat (or Duat). Hence, now, "Oshoosi" writ 0-Shu--Osi(ris) likely has as his primogenitors "Shu" and "Osiris"--at least conceptually. * As an added point of interest to Yoruba adepts, the'afterworld' or Tuat that Osiris presided over was divided into twelve zones, each of which was presided over by a particul-ar deity or "aat." These "aats" became, in the subsequent history of the Omotic (Sudanic-Kushitic) languages, ots, then ods, and then, finally to us as "Odu." (f.n. 4). And as an additional point of interest, the son of Osiris and Isis, Hor- us--the falcon-eyed hunter--is the forebearer of our concept Ori : "head," i.e., to wit: "destiny," and "intelligence." *As mentioned above, though it warrants repeating, each night, for nine months a year, in the Egyp- tian sky, their "Oshoosi" can be seen as the most imposing "hunter" constellation--"Ori(on)" or "Orion" to those of KMT--the great hunter of the night sky. "Orion" is preceded by his "Dog" star "Sirius" or "Sopdet" at this time. (It is most important to know that it is very likely that these religious concepts came into KMT's religions from Nubia and the southern Sudan as the area is now called (and not the other way around). From there, similar words and religious concepts may have also been shared bet- ween Upper Nubians and west Africans on a reciprocal basis within the last 2,000 years as well. As you will recall, I expounded on this subject in the 4th paragraph of this essay, supra. An Aside: In West African religions all living things exists in "conditions," that frequently evolve and change into one another. We call these "conditions" or vectors "odus." In total, there are 256 such odus. But in some circles there are either 16 basic ones (16 x 16 = 240 and, when adding the original 16 basic ones, this becomes 256. (As a practical matter, in some areas the basic ones are considered to be 12 in number. Some linguists believe that the word "odu" comes from the KMT word "att" (or vice versa !). In KMT the "atts" became "ots," then "ods" and then, finally, in West Africa, "odus." In KMT these atts were 12 helpful deities who resided in the 9th sector of the Duat (the Underworld).*
And in West Africa these odus, these "conditions of existence and growth" are also considered deities in their own rights. In any event, they--when invoked by Ra to do so--spoke words of wisdom and pow- er--to help the wayfarer in the Duat to pass though unharmed and to stimulate Osiris (to wake him up, in a manner of speaking). Their names in KMT--the basic 12 atts--were: Perit, Shemat-Khu, Nept-shat, Nebt-shef-shefet, Aat-aatet, Nebt-mat, Tesert-ant, Aat-khu, She-ket-metu, Netert-en-khen-Ra, Nebt-setau, and Tesert-ant. (Please see endnote #9 for the sources of this information). This, then, is the pedigree, "rama" (in Spanish) or "idile" (lineage in Yorua) and the ashe of Oshoosi: an ashe likely to be misunderstood if his name is not pronounced correctly--in its three parts. Thus his ashe is that of the great hunter, fertilizer, father, institution-builder and purveyor of justice.Osiris, along with Thoth (Orunmila in Ifa), taught his son Horus ("ori") how to defeat the arch-disorganizer Set and established the justice of reincarnation shortly thereupon. But he encompasses more. His is also the ashe of civilization's founding along the riverbanks, the ashe of the night, and the ashe of deciding the atts (ods, odus) or deities of the zones in the Underworld (e.g., the atts or "odus" by which, and through which, dead souls must reckon with on their way to possible reincarnation) .(5) For example,this is why Oshoosi in Yoruba religion first "speaks" in the odus--or the "chapters and ver- ses" of the religion--called Oyeku or Eji Oko and Irosun--the odus of reincarnation and deep forces' (traps and pits included) respectively; signifying Oshoosi's relation to Osiris and the "traps" of the Underworld and his abilities to "pierce the veil" of their invisibility. Of Oshoosi symbols or icons, the bow and arrow--the basis of unerring 'acquisiition" or 'capturing-at-a-distance--are the best known. However, the archer's arrows would be useless if they were not pur- posely guided. The required element are feathers; e.g., at the end of the arrows to guide them. The KMT deity Ma'at--the KMT deity of ethical order-- comes to mind as the owner of the sacred feathers of existence that enable guided ("ethical") action. She, first and foremost, is always depicted in KMT art as possessing feathered wings. And it is she that, in the Underworld of Tuat (Duat), presents the dead with the Ostrich feather against which the deeds of their lives are weighed on a scale. Oshoosi's arrow flies through the air (i.e., through the 'civilization space' opened up by "Shu") to their marks in an ethical, swift and unerring way because of the guidan- ce of the arrow's feathers. The "moral" feathers of ethical guidance and protection in Yoruba are the red tail feathers of the African Grey parrot; i.e., the 'loro' feather of the "Odidere" (or "Ididere") grey parrot. (Please see the picture of the African Grey parrot at the top of this page). There is more: Ode or Odede in Yorubaland! Four thousand years after the founding of the dynasties, around 950 AD, the deified ancestor Odudu- wa, a son of Nubia, a "Kushite," fled from the east (Sudan/ Kush); pursued by Muslims. Arriving at Ile lfe, then called lfe Oodaye, he found the lfe mefa and Elu groups of "lfes" already living there. Prior to him the lfes had a secret society called Egbe Ogboni and had their gods--orishas--with whom they tried to contend with Oduduwa and and these Cushite upstarts from the east. However, before long the lfes were conquered by Oduduwa. According to John Mason, noted historian, linguist, musician and priest of Obatala, in Yoruba (Luc- umi) religion, Ile Ife was first settled by hunter-gatherers who were headed by a legendary hunter (and pre-agricultural civilizer) named Oreluere. These people followed a pattern set forth originally by the orishas themselves that--prior to Obatala creating dry, firm earth--used to visit the primoidal marshland and sea (which was all of the world) in order to hunt.They slept in hunter's perches or platforms originally. Thus, the hunters were Obatala's original deputies, his "adeles." (See Orin Ori- sha, Mason, J., p.93, 1992). Because the Muslims of Mecca were still his enemies, Oduduwa enlisted the aid of Setilu, or Agbon- iregun (essentially "Orunmila"as the lfes called him--the formless deity the founder of lfa worship that knows each of our destinies, i.e., our "oris), to divine for him and to devise the sacrifices necessary to defeat the encroaching Muslim armies from Mecca that he feared. After 16 days of battle Oduduwa prevailed, defeated the Muslims, and went on to settle the Oyo region. Oduduwa's eldest son Okanbi (originally 'ldekoseroake' of the Ifes) sired seven children, boys and girls, who were to become the founders of the Yoruba sub-groups. The youngest child, the one to whom all of the land of Oyo was bequeathed to him by his grandfather and father (Oduduwa and Okanbi, respec- tively) to among all of his brothers (who were successful in other diverse areas of life) was chosen by the Oyo Mesi council to become the oba (king) despite his youth and lack of seniority. *He, thereafter, became the greatest general of the Yorubas and their most effective oba, having ob- tained these once Nupe lands, that became the site of his king- dom: "Old Oyo." His name (think of "Orion") was Oraniyan or, to the lfes, Oranmiyan. (6) His prai- se name was "Odede"--and he became, via deified ancestry--the legendary father of Oshoosi and the second alafin (king) of Oyo; and, thus, a royal progenitor to Shango, the 4th alafin of old Oyo town and kingdom. (In some accounts Shango is, at once, an irunmole--i.e.,a primoidal orisha and a deified (immortal) actual once-human ancestral ori- sha as well (though some Yoruba priests main- tain that the orisha Shango was never a human being). *Indeed, Odede further built the ancient city of old Oyo. Of Odede, this has been written by an olo Obat- ala (a priest of Obatala) Lionnel Scott,Ph.D., "Odufora," (iba-e!) in Beads of Glass, Beads of Stone (Al- thelia Henrietta Press, 1995) and Olorisha Conrad Muage, Ph.D., "Ifayomi Epega-Agbede," (iba-e) in "The Lost Orisha," (House of Providence Press, 1996). And it was he, Odede, who pushed Orisha religion to grow in Ile Ife and into Benin areas among those of the Edo kingdom. "There are relevant itan ("stories") that explain the Ode aspects in psychology of the African Amer- ican. These traits exemplify psychic integration and healing. While Shango (the God of thunder, fire and money), and Olokun (the God of the ocean),as well as Yemoja (the Goddess of the sea and mot- herhood) interact with within the storyline of the patakis (stories), it is Ode who is the master mover, the prime director regarding psychological matters because Ode is the embodiment of the relationship between nature and culture: the untamed and the tamed, the raw and the cooked, and the tensions, contradictions and the paradoxes that operate in between (their) extremes. "I believe the apatakis I have selected explain the breath of Ode and give the Yoruba deity Ode his due as the Yoruba God of psychology. Ode is the father of Ochosi; Ochosi embodies institutions. Ode is the thought process that organizes systems, and these systems give birth to mental integration."(7) I might add that, as the founder or "civilization's institutions" (including organized religion and the pol- itical institutions of roylty), it is said that as a king 'Ode crowns his own head.' This act and narrative would be like that of the European great leaders like Alexander the Great or Henry the 8th. The term ode warriors--implying warriors of the outside--the "dog soldiers" "or "ajagun" (not to be confused with the naughty avengers, the ajoguns) is applied to the career warrior orishas of the Yor- ubas--Eshu, Ogun, and (Er)Inle and Oshoosi. And Osun, a cosmic sentry to God and a spiritual "ground fault" is a related orisha to the warriors (but is not to be confused Oshun, the orisha of fresh water. See the next webpage on this site called "Oshoosi Details" for more on Osun). *Finally, it must be emphasized that while Oshoosi's Nigerian center is very near Oshogbo (in Irabiji, Oshun state area) other centers for the worship of Oshoosi exist in Ketu, Benin (Dahomey country) and in Brasil in the "Ketu nation" of Yoruba-Candomble religion (with its Afro-Indians called Coboclos are under the protection of "Oxossi"). He is said to be the padron of Rio de Janeiro.
In Nigeria, while Oshoosi is mostly associated with practitioners in Ogun state, as well as in Benin (Dah omey). But He is well known in Ile Ife as well. There, the Ooni of Orisha religion, Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, in 2018, based in Ile Ife, led a venerable celebration of Oshoosi. See: https: //m.facebook.com/story.php? story_fbid=1254384184655657&id=962346807192731&_rdr). This is the essence. The precursors of Yoruba (Nok, Nupe, Ife civilizations, etc.) go back about 9,000 years in the areas of west Africa as well as having absorbed later waves of culture from the east, i.e., from the areas round Lake Chad and, before that, from the lower Sudan arounf the White Nile (See Endnote #1). Oshoosi, like Osiris in KMT, was considered from that early date to be the originator of religion and religious congregations as well as humanitarianism, social beneficence, social security, philathropy, and moral enforcement. As the most skilled "hunter" he was, allegorially, the provider and protector par excellence. Thus, for this reason, Oshoosi--like his archetype Osiris-- is beloved by all as a Savior (the "liberation theologist" writ original): the protector of the downtrodden and the immiserated classes. Clarifying the Parentage and Marriages of Oshoosi In Africa, Oshoosi's (Odede's) "father" in Yorubaland is "Oduduwa" (actually this is his grandfather, as per the above).But in the New World it is Obatala (because"Oduduwa" basically disappeared by trans- formation here--into "Odua"). Also, in the Old World of Africa, Oshoosi's (and Ogun's) mother is Yemu or "Yembo." But in the New World she became "Yemoja."Finally, in both hemispheres, his known wife was Mojude and, in a sense, Oshun (as a consort).It is also held that Iponda (Oponda), a version of Oshun was his wife. Oshoosi in the Americas The hunter has always been with us. The Oshoosi priest, he or she, is a warrior that hunts ashe. Do not fret if the hunter-warrior, the Ode of the wilderness, the Ologun is rarely accessible; it is in his or her nature not to be so.Therefore, do not try to kill him by locking him up in your demand for accessibility. He does not do well when caged in your expectations. He (or she) knows where to be and when to be there! Most of his work--building, capturing and teaching what you need--occurs when you would pref- er to be asleep. Oshoosi, not you, owns the snares and arrows of life--markers of the quickest route to your goals, and he--in reading animal tracks, scat, and entrails--is humankind's original diviner. Moferefun Oshoosi !, dobale Oshoosi!" This orisha is very popular in the African diasporan cultures of Brasil and Cuba. Finally, it must be remembered that in the Americas the Oshoosi archtype exists in plentitude: the Cob- locos in Brasil, the sorcerers of Mexico (called brujo and bruja, as well as the many counterparts in var- ious indigenous nations. Oshoosi initiates, indeed, are better known as wizards and sorcerers rather than "priests." "A hunter knows that he will lure game into his traps over and over again, so he does not worry. To worry is to become unwittingly accessible. And once you worry you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whomever or whatever you are clinging to. "I told him that in my day-to-day life it was inconceivable to be inaccessible. My point was that in order to be functional I had to be within reach of every- one that had something to do with me. "I've already told you that to be inaccessible does not mean to hide or to be secretive, he (the mentor) said calmly. "It doesn't mean that you cannot deal with people either. A hunter uses his world sparingly and with tenderness, regardless of whether the world might be things, or plants, or animal, or people, or power. A hunter deals intimately with his world and yet he is in- accessible to that same world, hour after hour, day after day." "That's a contradiction." I (the protege) said. He cannot be inaccessible if he is there in his world, hour after hour, day after day." "You do not understand," Don Juan (the mentor) said patiently. "He is inac- cessible because he's not squeezing his world out of shape. He taps it lightly, stays for as long as he needs to, and then swiftly moves away leaving hardly a mark." --Journey to lxtlan, Carlos Casteneda 1. Barnett, M., Arena!, H, (el Bebo) Cultos Afrocubanos: Regla Ocha, Yusoka Publ CD-Rom, Cuba 2. Traditional 3. Mason, John Babalosha, Orin Orisha, Yoruba Theological Archministry, NYC, 1992 " " " Black Gods of Africa, Theological Archminsitry, NYC, 1980 *4. Lucas, J. Olomide, The Religion of the Yorubas, CMS Bookshop, Lagos, Nigeria, 1948. (and) Modupe Oduyoye, "The Vocabulary of Yoruba Religious Discouse" for the etymological connections between Yoruba and ancient "Omotic" (Sudanic) and Egyptian languages. Also see "Igbo-Ukwu: An Account of Archaeological Discoveries in Easter Nigeria" by Thurston Shaw for an account of the 10,000 year old pre-history of west African cultures. 5. Oshoosi, Michael Alashe, African Spirituality vs. The African American, IKO Berk- eley, 1997 6. Mauge, Conrad Oluwo, The Lost Orisha, House of Providence, Mt Vernon, NY, 1996 7. Scott, Lionel Babalosha Odufora, The Book of Ode: An Afrocentric View of Psychology and Religion, 1st Books Library, 2001, (and) Fa'Lokun, A., Awo--"Ifa and The Theology of Orisha Divination," and "Ela" for treatises on Yoruba theological concepts. And see "Ijala: The Ifa Concept of the Warrior." 8. Sekhemu's theses: at http://orisha.tribe.net/cOabe7d7-9ec4-4b78-b37c-deb7125f8e45cowbell , captures and expertly expounds on these insights into the "metaphysics" of Oshoosi. 9. See "Who's Who In Egyptian Mythology," Anthony S Mercante, Metro Books, 1978, NYC, pp. 1 and 121., and Modupe Oduyoye, "The Vocabulary of Yoruba Religious Discouse," op cit., and "African Spirituality vs. The African American, " by Alashe Michael Oshoosi, IKO Berkeley, 1997, and at Oshoosi. com.,op cit., for the names of the Odus in Mali, Madagascar, Dahomey, Rome and amonthe Estrucians in my section on "Conceptions of Ifa: Old World andf New." 10. See "Nubian Monarchy Called the Oldest," by Rensberger, Boyce, NY TIMES, March 1, 1979._____________________________________ *These materials are quoted or paraphrased under applicable provisions of the United States Code permitting 'fair use' for educational and informational purposes.