Oshoosi is a hunter, a scout, and a frontiersman or pioneer that locates the best places in the forest, along the rivers, in the mountains or elsewhere to exploit natural resources so as to found a civilization, to nurture and supply it, to create its institutions, and to "police" it. This is because, as a hunter/ warrior he is also a tracker, and bounty hunter, a skilled observer, and a night watchman. Hence his ashe is also associated specifically with in- stitutions that confine animals (e.g., zoos, preserves) and people (e.g. hospitals, asylums, sanctuaries and jails); institutions that keep order. With these qualities, Oshoosi can point to the quickest route in nature to find and obtain animal resources and plant foods and medicines and the quickest and most direct guide for civilization to be established (along side the riverbanks usually) being, as he is, the master of the arts of provision, safety and survival. And, by similie, he also can guide or direct the individual most effectively along the path of his or her solutions in life; particularly to that person's spiritual-ideal (whatever opportunity path he or she may have had "Eshu" to open up for this pur- pose). It is good to look at it this way: Elegua presents us with the roads, options and opportunities (or blocks them). Ogun can cut down or smash down the major obstacles along the road. Oshoosi, however, can get one to one's goal on the correct road in the most effective way because Oshoosi knows all of the roads through the wilderness of our conditions in life. If you do not get to your goals effectively you may never reach your desitination at all or, or worse yet, you may get ambushed on the road. (If you do get delayed, waylaid, or lost on the route it is Shango that teaches you how to fight on the road. But, in the end, it is Obatala that knows the reason for the road and who can answer whether or not you should have been on the road in the first place)! The prototypical progenitor of Oshoosi was his father "Odede" ("Ode" implies 'open spaces, frontiers and "open- ess"' in character--especially in the characters of all of the warrior hunters like Ogun, Oshoosi, and (Er)inle in Yoruba). "Odede," the wizened old hunter, shepparded the people from the hunter-gatherer clans and river-bend (trading posts) encampments into agricultural civiliations based on eating, storing and trading grains--farming-- among other things. Urbanization, more complex economies and the emergence of warrior and dominant classes turned much of the commons into "private preserves" and, eventually, into "private property." This evolution required the buil- ding of institutions for civil administration (regulating "rights" and "stations") in social life and propogated rules, ethics, religions and a "social contracts" congruent with their needs to retain power, to maintain blood-lines, and to maintain control over the populace (to the exclusion of competitive "others"). Odede, the arche- type of Oshoosi, like Osiris, is, by analogy, the guide into this 'new frontier' of urban and class-based "civilizat- ion"; of its organization and order. One greets an Oshoosi shrine--which can be very elaborate or as simple as a pure bramble bush--and the orisha himself with the shout "Oshoosi O(ooo)!" And the response is "Ode mata! (meaning, alternatively, "the Hunter who never misses!" or "Great Hunter, do not shoot me")! In this sense, especially, as "Ode"--as "owner" of free-ranging "outside" ashe of Hunters or fishermen--was also considered the patron of individual and social psychology; that is, the owner of its precursors of magic, plant medicine charms, sorcery and wizardry in the period of the advent of the agricultural economies and pastor- alism. The first instance of antagonistic "political economic" classes also evolved in these pre-classical societies, to wit: slavery, where the first class struggle of all was fundamentally between that of the slave owner and the slave. Evolution of the Concept of a "Good Character" (Iwa Pele), Knowledgeable Character (Iwa 'Re 'Re) and Their Desirability in Early Societies Thus, Odede is also a guardian of "good and personable character" (iwa pele) as he, like his son Oshoosi, is a "cool" orisha of white cloth ("Asho'fun'fun" or "Orisha 'fun'fun"). Oshoosi is the spokesperson (yes, there is a female "road," "pool," or "camino" of Oshoosi along with icon multiple male types) for the orisha "Obatala"--the father of most prominent orishas and the of wisdom, forbearance, health, and good fortune. Oshoosi is the ruler's crier, i.e his Gbede Gbeleke ('binding upliftment comes to exalt and make conspicuous') or his Akede Feyo ( 'spokesman with fidelity'). The term Agbaroso funni and Abede also applies to his spokesman's traits (clean cutting, straight-to-the-point-words). Oshoosi's house is painted white. And it is a home of comfort for the needy and the oppressed. Itis said that orig- inated philanthropy Oshoosi is trustworthy; the originator of congregational worship and the icon of purity and sanity. (see the traditional--"isheshe alagba aiye"-- Yoruba religion's treatment of Oshoosi at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC33Zqyefb4&t=1 Next, but not least, the hunters and their foraging wives were the sources of divination; all divination. "Divining" or "reading," writ original, essentially meant inspecting the tracks (and remains: the entrails or livers) of anim- als, or the ways of insects and birds to determine what was, and what was likely to be, the state of affairs in that savannah or wooded-area in the not-to-distant past and future. Even gathering and foraging had its divinatory aspects for "reading" the environment and its spirits; as women were to also discover. They could tell what would be the circumstances of suvival for all who operated in that area, in that time-period. Families and clans in that period also had ways of propritiating and making-offerings to the putative spirits of the wild life and fauna around them. I suppose that ritual--if only as reciprocal mime--is as old as song-making, tool-making and as old, perhaps, as dialogue itself. Oshoosi represents the best in the conscientious ideal of these original clans. As such--with these qualities, properties, combined--he can be relied on to most directly guide one to one's "conscience" or "eriokan" (a term derived from "eri" or "ori"--"head" and "okan" for "heart" and soul) in order to monitor one's personal integrity. The central Africans who later became Nilotic (Nile) Africans evolved the concept of the deities "Ma'at" and "Sahu" (in KMT) to embody the elements of "good character"; ethical and gentle. And judgements (or being a judge /constable) are roles that come naturally with the ashe of Oshoosi. The Nature of Hunters Successful hunters and trappers not only had keen intellects, perceptions and tenancity, but personal courage was expected of them as well. Indeed in some areas the most revered of them hunted at night, sought game the larger the better, and would often set out alone for weeks at a time. While a hunter may stalk game, he cannot successfully chase it. Therefore his cunning lies in inducing his prey to use its own nature to come to where he will be; to use it own nature against it. This orisha's ashe lies, then, in ambushing, stalking, sniping and stealth; followed by the ability to deliver light- ening fast death with an arrow or rifle. He is a master of in-fighting, snares and traps and no one fights with him and wins. His is a lethal intelligence; an enemy's worst nightmare (literally) as Oshoosi is associated with the unfathomable snares and hidden traps. As an ijala chanting warrior, the ashe of an omo-Oshoosi (a child of Os- hoosi) includes becoming possessed in the execution of certain martial arts that members of that caste learn. And as the only orisha that is gifted to "astral travel," he can dispose of his game or enemies in their dreams. Hence, hiding is useless for these, the ill-fated prey of Oshoosi, for he "sees" from above in tree tops and astro-traveling through the atmosphere. *Olofi, another Yoruba name for God, arranged for human beings---through the fashioning work of Obatala (and Oduduwa)--to have a joint in the middle of their arms, shoulder sockets that faced outward, not forward, a rot- ating spinal-and-hip column for maneuverability and throwing objects, and long legs for running great distan- ces and thumbs that oppose ("face") the finger pads of all of the fingers (to allow one-handed manipulation of objects as well as more secure grasping which required less energy than other forms of grasping). All of these attributes were not possessed by any other form of ape or monkey. And these qualties were all needed for throwing things directly or-- like the grasping and drawing of an arrow and bowstring--"throwing" them indir- ectly. ("Ofa" means "drawing"--e.g., a bow string--in addition to meaning arrow). And as magician or sorcerer and maker of talismans he is associated with incantations: oogun ashe (medicines), ogo (curses) and protections, camouflage, odorlessness or scentlessness (by using anise/ fennel, or even gar- lic, for example, to achieve this). Invisibility, and "shape shifting,' i.e., going back and forth into animal forms as needed, and by the use of invisibility through camouflage are in his arsenal. (By contrast, the orisha Oya--a female warrior of the wind--camouflages herself through invisibility). Oshoosi and the orisha Oya of the wind and respiration (called emi) or 'soul breath' are easily allied because both have warrior temperments. And bec- ause the hunter's world--like a sailor's-- would collapse without mastery of the winds. *When Oshoosi, the orisha, comes to possess a devotee, i.e., an Oshoosi priest (a sorcerer), the orisha Oshoosi sometimes signifies his presence by making dog-like barking sounds; as he is as- sociated with dogs. He is especially sensitive to the songs and praise chants of ode warriors like Ogun, and of Yemoja and Obatala. And, finally, this generally well-balanced orisha is quite favored(!), like Oya, by our "Holy Mothers." (It seems to me that the well-known exiled revolutionary Assata Shakur in Cuba was depicted in a way suggestive that she is a child of, or channelor of, the ashe of the Oshoosi-Oya combination in the film "Eyes of the Rainbow, 1997, by the seminal Cuban film-maker, Gloria Rolando. And, similarly, but in regard to well-known liberation theologists, Bishop Desmond Tutu (late of South Africa), the Dalai Lama of Tibet, or father Bertrand Aristide of Haiti seem to me to share, as "liberation theologists," the attributes of these two orishas as well). Regarding Oshoosi, polarities are politesse and an erudite and civil temperament, on the one hand, and invinc- ible combativeness, on the other; a dedication to the founding and sustenance of civilization, on the one hand, and a serious tendency--nevertheless--to isolate in the forest (or in exile), on the other. Being respectful of wom- en and reproduction, he is a protector of children and, like his brother Ogun, is a skilled negotiator. Additionlly, Oshoosi is reputed not to sire many children. While there are stories of his liason with Oshun and marrying Os- hun Iponda, his wife is also said to be the orisha Uja. "Oshoosi, without working, wears a gown, apron (bante) and cap of fine beadery" (he is royal and wealthy). And he is an ajagun; a dog fighter!' As well, he is also the owner of the paths near he riverbank). Oshoosi is the (out- side the palace gate) guard or Ogunbe, and crier, for the palace of the Ooni but he never comes inside. Oshoosi is the brother of Orisha Oke (the mountain that Obatala first stepped on to when coming to Earth). He is a sniper (ata matashe) and captures at a distance with an arrow or snare pit. And,"Oshoosi comes in to take for himself, the head and crown of a king" (Ya ku ra mbo f'eri oba"). Or, "The Oshoosi child uses the head of a ruler" (Omo Oshoosi f'eri oba"). [See Mason, John, "Orin Orisha," pp. 124 and 134, respectively]. Oshoosi's Ashe and Beneficence Is Eternal That Transformed Him Into a "Living Stone"; The Permanent Protector of the Masses! Oshoosi is the most sensitive of orishas to issues of injustice. And one should not ask Oshoosi for justice when what is really needed and ought, in many cases, to be the thing most sought, is mercy (because justice can be harsh and irreversible). Unless your hands are clean, play it safe and first confess one's ethical shortcomings to Oshoosi, and only then ask for mercy, justice and a strategy! Jurisprudence belongs to Shango and Obatala (but one's petition to "baba" must come through Oshoosi). In Nigeria, while Oshoosi is mostly associated with practitioners in Ogun state, Oshun state as well as in Benin (Dahomey). But he is well known in Ile Ife as well. He originated, according to John Mason (Orin Orisha, p. 99), in Ikija Ijebu-Ode. There, the Ooni of Orisha religion, Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, in 2018, based in Ile Ife, led a venerable celebration of Oshoosi (See Endnote #2 https: //m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1254384184655657&id=962346807 192731&_rdr). This is the essence. The precursors of Yoruba (proto-Nok, Nupe, Ife, Owo, Igbo civilizations, etc.) go back about 9,000 years in that area as well as having absorbed later waves of culture from the east, i.e., from the areas round the confluence of the Bennue/Niger rivers, around Lake Chad and, bef- ore that, from the lower Sudan (See End- note #1). Oshoosi, like Osi ris in KMT, was considered from that early date as the originator of religion and religious con -gregations 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 reas- on, Oshoosi is beloved by all as a Savior: the protector of the downtrodden and the immiserated classes. *"Kato-ka-ki-ki-ki-ka-fenu-e-sole" was the name of Oshoosi's slave. It is he that brought forth the ashe of Oshoosi on Earth by painting Oshoosi's house white, in honor or Orisha'nla (Obatala), for singing, dancing, and praising Olodumare.It is from this name that we get the word "Ketu"(the capital of Dahomey), the "Ketu (Oxossi) Nation" of Brasil, and even the word "Catholic" derived, via the Grecian (or Coptic) and Latin languages, from this name. Even the Greek word "oikos" or "church" comes from the proto-Yoruba word for "Oshoosi" according to some, but I do not know this to be verified. Priests of Oshoosi in History Most of the Africans directly initiated to Oshoosi did not make it into the New World as slaves to the Europeans. They were the first to fight and the last to die in resistance. In fact, in some of their villages in western Nigeria and, especially, in Benin (Dahomey), the hunter/warrior peoples protected by Oshoosi and Ogun were never taken captive as slaves by anyone. In Ife lfe, a pow- erful spirtual urban center among the Yorubas, the chief priests of Obatala seves as the chief priests for Oshoosi: the Aworo Ose. And thus, Oshoosi is still celebrated in west Africa, contrary to some uninfor- med Cuban views. Because of Oshoosi's mandate to be the guardian of justice in civil society, and especially in view of the fact that he serves as the spokesman--the gbesde gbeyo or--for Orisha'nla/ Obatala (no less), it is natual for Oshoosi to be concerned with ethical policing in any society where policing has emerged. Oshoosi Is the Orisha of Justice: NOT the Orisha of the Police, Doctors, nor Zoo-Keepers. First, let's deal with the stereotypes of Oshoosi and policing. This is the history: "Oshowusi" or "Osowusi" is a 'night guardian of the people'; a policeman of sorts. He, and other officials, protect- ed the integrity or the "ashe" of the ilu or "town". And, therefore, the police and other officials were called the "ashe'lu" (in Cuba) while the words for "police," generally in Yorubaland, are awon olopa (the police group). Thus, traditionally, hunters-removed-to-towns served as frontier guards, sentries, gate-keepers (ba'ile) and "policemen" of the town because there were no professional police forces anywhere. And, specifically as "palace guards" (the palace of the Ooni of Ile Ife, Oshoosi priests sevre with Ogun priest as the "ologungbe"). In Cuba, Santeros often refer to police officials, to this day, as the "ache'lu. The police in Cuba can be pretty tough and people, therefore (being highly Yorubic in beliefs), tend to be very deferential and circumspect when deal- ing with the orisha and ashe of Oshoosi because he is the one who, among many other things, is the "owner of police and jails." And he is also the one who can direct spiritual, social and legal means to best control them ethically --lest they become an oppressive gang. And for good cause, because in many different types of coun- tries (our own included), they often do! By contrast, because of respect for "Ochosi," when compared to the wes- tern capitalist countries, there is very little "street crime" in Cuba! (Of interest probably only to practioners of Yoruba religion, technically there is an Eshu "road" called "ashe'lu," but this is a different usage of the phrase as far as I, the author, know). *Interestingly enough, when I was there in Cuba I s aw no police with guns unless they were escorting trucks that delivered currency. Also, I traveled from one end of Cuba to the other and, in terms of police visibility, on the streets, none of them were blancos (in regard to"race"). And--since most of them do not carry guns--I noticed that the few who did seemed to be disproportionately Afro-Cuban. Oshoosi is also associated with all of the "ache'ilu" that control entry and exit from caged environments. For example, doctors are the gate-keepers for hospitals--a strange and forbidding place, like jails, to traditional Africans--that housed ill people by caging them in, or zoo-keepers who cage animals in zoos, or gamewardens that protect animals from extinction by fencing them into preserves and tracking down poachers. Sometimes criminally-minded Cubans or Brasilians here, or in their countries of origin, will seek the power and protection of Oshoosi to evade the police for the anti-social crimes that they have committed (or intend to). This is an egregious mistake and goes only to show that even the Gods are defenseless against stupidity! This is bec- ause Oshoosi ('Ochosi') is the guardian of justice not the guardian of criminality, rogues or gang-minded cops. Handcuffs are very popular symbol of Oshoosi. Indeed, handcuffs are applied to people who have been hunted and captured by the police, but they were originally used to chain the captive to the ache'ilu--i.e., to the arresting official. In the religion, the handcuffs given to the neophyte priests of Oshoosi to place on his altar also tie the priests of Oshoosi to this orisha of justice and to social ethics! His work, like the roles and symbolism of all of the orishas is to bind you--at least their priests--to righteousness (though not perfection) in life. The First "Police" Africans-in-America Had to Deal With Were White Slave Patrollers: Since 1704 !
The lack of Oshoosi policing ethics is wholly evident in the class-based societies of the West;especially. For exam- ple, until the the white men's slave patrols began in the American colonies in the early 18th century, there were no "police" in the western hemispshere. Indeed, the colonialists in what was to become then, and afterward, much open debate in the Continental Congresses about slavery, conditoned their willingness to ratify entrance into the new union--i.e., into the Republic of the United States of America--upon the adoption of the Second Amendment guaranteeing them their "right" to maintain "well-armed militias"--i.e. "well-armed" slave patrol- ler gangs. *These were the forerunners, 100 years earlier, of the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan and into which every able-bodied white man (including a young colonel George Washington) was required to serve--begining in the Carolinas in 1704--starting at the age of sixteen in the southern colonies and states! Later on the "Bobbies," became the first "professional police" and were formed in the UK around 1816 (they were unarmed), and in Boston in 1838. Prior to these developments, from time in memorial, and continuing today, criminal investig- ations and armed enforcement were carried out by court-connected "constables" (i.e., a detective and judge combination) or by marshals, sheriffs or inquisitors. Thus the phenomenon of 'policing' in society (meaning, simply, to keep things organized and civil) is within the province of the orisha Oshoosi. However, to the extent that a priest of Oshoosi has an opinion about them at all (an opinion based on the ashe of Oshoosi) it would most likely be that he is neither a respector nor a disrespector of them per se. There are certain indispensible roles in every complex society and "the police" is one of them. What matters first is: Whose "order" (i.e., social and class rule and interest) are the police serving to edify in any given place? And second, do they treat the citizery equally, humanely and with dispassion (i.e. act like professional civil servants) on the one hand, or do they function as a self-perpetuating gang of thugs who know- ingly, with impugnity, and with abandon, oppress segments of the populace (usually the most defenseless ones) or countenance it in their peers, on the other? Please be referred to the author's policy brief on police reforms entitled "Justice Reforms Measures" in the nav- igation bar of this web site for some proposals on the ethics of policing that ought to obtain in the contemporary United States. ORIKI (PRAISE TITLES) OF OSHOOSI Oshoosi is sometimes referred to as the Oba L'oke (king of the mountain) where he protects the domain of Obatala). Oshoosi oluo igba (Oshoosi the chief priest of the forests). Oshoosi 're 're-ooo (Oshoosi is great in good fortune) Odede (owner of the ownside and open frontier places) Ode mata (Hunter, do not shoot me). Ode mata (Hunter who never misses). Osho wu si (the famous one) Ode de (The hunter arrives). Oshoosi Odede (Oshoosi arrives standing tall). Oshoosi ode mata (Oshoosi do not shoot). Oshoosi Ode mata sele (Oshoosi,the shooting hunter does not miss). Ode ata matase Onibebe (The owner of the riverbank where he hunts and associates with Oshun and Erinle). Osholokere (The forest magician or wizard) Oluwo igbo (The king of the forest) Olog'arare (Master of Himself) Oshoosi Alaketu (Oshoosi,the king of Ketu (Benin) Africa, and king of the Ketu "nation" in Brasil) "Enibumbu, Olodo-Odo, Olomi-omi lba se..." "I praise all you pools (or "roads," "types," or "caminos" or "ona") of Oshoosi and all of your rivers! All you waters, I salute!" (see section on Abatan, below). Akin Osho" ("power wizard" or "great one). Ode olorore (Hunter of abundance). The Types--"Roads," "Ona," "Caminos," or "Pools"--of Oshoosi Oshoosi and Erinle's (lnle's) "roads" in Brasil are called "ibu" or ponds and are the equivalent to the ona or the "caminos" (roads) of other orishas because there are no "roads" per se in the bush. In total, in some places, they are said to be 21 in number; including male and female types (Oshoosi okunrin and Oshoosi obinrin, respectiv- ely). Some of the more note¬worthy ones are: lbujuto and lnle (or Erinle). But again, in Cuba, there are two main "caminos," roads, or "pools" of "Ochosi." Aguerre is one of the types. The entire list is to be found in cubanyoruba.blogspot.com/2007/04/oshosi.html . They are: Ochosi (of the) Highway, Oshosi Kayoshosi, Oshosi Ale, Oshosi Marunde, Oshosi Iualamo, Oshosi Otin, Oshosi Onile, Oshosi Abedi, Oshosi Bi, Oshosi Gurumujo, Oshosi Odde, Oshosi Odde kills, Ochosi Ode Ode, Oshosi Buru, Oshosi Beluja, Oshosi Bomi, Oshosi Kadina, Oshosi Bilade, Soft Ochosi, Oshosi Tunde, Oshosi Omiale, Oshosi Deyi, Oshosi Of, Oshosi Tafao, Oshosi Elefaburu, Oshoosi Akiloyo (Ifa road). In Afro-Cuban Ifa the "roads" of "Ochosi" are: Oshosi Adebi, Oshosi bi, Oshosi Gurumiyo, Oshosi Ode, Oshosi Odeode and Oshosi Odemata. "Oshosi's crown is born," "Oshosi is born," "Gurumiyo" (trans?), "Oshosi, the hunter," and "Oshosi--do not shoot me," respectively. Characteristics, Traits, and Associated Information About Oshoosi's Allied Orishas: Eleegua, Ogun, ErInle (Inle), Osayin and Osun [IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE INFORMATION ON ORISHAS CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION]. All of the information on the nature of the orishas contained in this section, and the way their characteristics are enumerated, is public domain information en toto deriving from folkloric legends and stories repeated time and again by priests, diviners and common-folk alike on three continents; going back hundreds of years. No writer "owns" this world cultural herit age corpus of stories and myths about the orishas nor their descriptions (i.e., no one"owns" Ifa, its legends, mythic hero's and deity's characteristics). In addition to being common sense, this principle regarding the Yoruba/Ifa/Santeria religion has been recogn- ized by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Social & Cultural Organization) in its protection of the literary and oral literature of Ifa as a world cultural heritage corpus since 1998, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Wande Abim- bola, the awise of Ifa, of Ile Ife, Nigeria, precisely in order to prevent any individual writer from claiming person- al ownership or "credit" of the description of African deities found in the copious oral literature of Africa, Cuba, Brasil and (now) the United States and Europe. "Ifa" is the broad name for orisha religion which includes all of the deities and their natures descrbed herein. Dr. Abimbola is the 5th ranking babalawo in the World, and the official world spokesman for the religion of Ifa as it is based in Ile Ife, Nigeria; Ifa's "awishe." My knowledge of these orishas and their traits came, first and foremost, from my padrino and abuelo in this religion, Anya bi Osun (ibae!) and Ode Ilu (ibae!) who initiated me into the "mysteries" of these orishas--espec- ially (Er)Inle and Abatan--in 1989 as a required part of my initiation to "Ochosi" in that year. My next source of information on these minor orishas, e.g., (Er)Inle and Abatan, "allied" to Oshoosi ("Ochosi"), was obtained in the 1990's, from literature published in the Candomble school of "Orixa"religion in Brasil which was given to me by my egbonbirin (literally "one who walks with swaying (hips) ; older sister; whereas an older brother is "egbon -kun"; "one who walks with strength"), Oya Dei, in Oakland, California, and from many other books and seminars as well. *In the Millenium I came across additional descriptions of these orishas in various websites, as that way of sharing information had become popular. Notable among these sources was the work of Martin Tsang in his (now defunct) website titled inle.freeserve.co.uk. His recitation of information--because neither he nor anyone else personally invented the descriptions of the orishas--on the orishas "Inle" and Abatan was quite useful to me. And, finally, for the edification of the discerning reader I have appended at least fifteen websites--many of them existing for years now--that also describe the traits and characteristics of the orishas"allied" to Oshoosi--especially (Er)Inle and Abatan--in exactly the same way as do I and, earlier, as did Martin Tsang. Please see the End Note to this section for those sites. The only way to list the traits and characteristics of the various orishas is to list them; hence all writers' enumeration of these things is similar because the subject matter is quite limited and, for centuries, has had only minor variations from country to country. Aja (Dahomey) is a female road of Oshoosi; owner of the forest and its animals. Arquetipo (Brasil) is associated with rapid, alert movements, harmonizes the community and the family, is generous, is hospitable and is loyal provider and protector of women and children. Oreluere (In Brasil, as is known in Nigeria, Oreluere is a progenitor and protector of Oduduwa and is a chief of the forest villages that resisted invasions (he is sort of a commander of the National Guard and "Special Forces"). The Coblocos of Brasil--half Indian and half African folk of the forests--are associated with this Oshoosi. And here in North America Oshoosi is associated with the 550 First Nation tribes (of Indians). Oreluere is a "pool" (or "road" or "camino") of (Er)Inle in Africa. Logun-Ede: the story is told that near the town of Ede--nine miles from the capital of Oshun worship, Oshogbo --there is a wizard's grove (which is what "Oshogbo" means). The ruler of the area and, particularly, of the Oshun cult is called the "Ataoja" ("one who uses his hands to feed the fish"). The Ataoja originally wanted to build his capital too close to the Oshun river--endangering, among other things, her scared shrine areas. Upon the first attempt someone chopped down a tree that fell into the Oshun river; whereupon she cried out "Osho igbo" ("you've destroyed my indigo pots"). Hence "Oshogbo" from this eytmological source as well. This first ataoja was a hunter named "Olotumene (sp?) Laroye"; one, as a hunter, who was probably possessed with the ashe of Oshoosi. It is said that she, Oshun, appealed to Logun-Ede, her and (Er)inle's son (and a closely related avatar of Oshoosi as well as connected to Oshun's eshu named "Laroye") to ask for his help in obtain- ing deference for her wishes. The Atoja agreed to move the town farther away and to keep her sacred grove well-respected. In exchange, Oshun promised eternal protection for the town. In time, the Muslim Fulanis invaded in a jihad against Yorub- aland, but they were stopped at the gates of Oshogbo, and turned back. A similar thing happened at the frontier of the Oyo state where the children of Shango also turned back northern invaders. Logun-Ede is often referred to as a fierce male variant (or son ) of Oshun and is a protector of the wealth of both of his parents. And the eshu (random force) "Laroye" is, as mentioned, still connected to Oshun and Oshoosi by being rooted in this legend. Logunede's colors are dark green pants, gold colored shirt, and yellow "skirt." (Many male and female orishas wear "skirts" of cloth or mariwo (grass)--on top of their regular pants; some times symbolizing sweeping brooms). Otin is a female riverine type of orisha Oshoosi revered in Onisa, Nigeria and is referred to (also) as the wife of Erinle in Cuba and southern Brasil,though considered male in the northern Candomble Brasilian sytems. Where considered "male," Otin is a part of the ebu or egbe (guild society, lodge, order or cabildo) of Ogun's hunters. As "Yemoja's anchor" this orisha links Erinle to Olokun. And remember that Erinle is also considered an alter ego of Oshoosi. They all speak or, in Inle's case is spoken for (because Yemoja actually speaks for him in the odu of lros- un meji. Otin appeared to the leader of the people of lnisha and prescribed for them the place to establish the town of lnisha. Otin, having an Oshoosi-like quality of closeness to Obatala, has a parallel existence in Ketu or Benin (Dahomey). There this orisha is call Age and has a close relationship and is a protector of Lisa (their version of Obatala). Otin accepts offering best at the juncture of the river and the ocean, i.e., and in the omodus (the 'junior' odus) of Oche-edi or Odi-che. She signifies a close bond between Yemoja and Oshun. * Erinle, lnle, Eyinle, Enle (in all locations) is associated with riverine zone medicinal magic ( oogun) and was known first to the Yoruba before Osayin (who is also associated with Oshoosi). He is a fisherman, an animal breeder, and a ferocious hunter--i.e., an "Ajaja"--or "one who eats dogs!" (meaning that he is aggressive), is wealthy, and is refined in his dress and appliques: cowries, coral, and feathers. He has the memory, intelligence, power and fer- ocity of a forest elephant and his names means "the elephant in the earth" --the most aggressive kind. While the science and supernatural ashe of the leaves, roots, bark, sap, toxins, oogun (medicines) and so on of plants is now embodied in the divinity of Osayin, the original and current onisegun (doctor) of Yoruba religion remains to be Inle. *So, Inle, Osayin, Abatan, Osun (not to be confused with Oshun) and Oshoosi, Ogun and Babalu- aiye) make up the primal spiritual and supernatural "health care system'" within Yoruba theology. Inle is the penultimate doctor, though it is Ifa (in any of its divinitory forms) that writes the prescriptions. Erinle is bi-gendered (not "bi-sex- ual"); spending half the year in male form and then, alternately, in female form in the other half. In female form, he is associated with Yemoja Mojelewu. Typically he is the consort of Oshun (and with her parented "Logun-Ede") and is also sometimes seen as "the son" of Yemoja Mojelewu with whom he is associated in the sea. Ideally, even his of- ferings go to the sea as well. On land, he is associated, with orisha Oko of the farm and with Eshu Elegua, Ogun, and Osayin in the forest or "igbo" because of his close connection to medicine, charms, and amulet-making using things from the bush. Prior to being called "Inle" he was called "Igbo"; a forest physician. Many latino and Brasilian (or latino-influ- enced) practitioners who are homosexual revere Inle as their protector or even their guardian orisha. But, this belief is a contemporary projection on their parts as there are no known cults of homosexuality in the history of Ife civilization. Usually, as is the case with the orisha Olokun, bi-genderism in clothing is actually a celebration of itself (i.e., it celebrates the divinity of both genders as is, at least implicitly, heterosexuality as well because it appears--not unreasonably-- to be directly associated with reproduction; the most important thing in the cul- ture. In the historcal religious anthropology of traditional west and central Africa, homosexuality--whether of the male or female variety--was not sufficiently a subject of concern to warrant any religious doctrine and mythology about it in any direction--one way or the other; and certainly no orisha dedicated to its protection, edification nor condemnation. His symbol is an ibojuto (which is an "osun" or communication fetish) in the form of a trident-¬ like staff--(like Neptune's trident)--that rises from under the sea--that is, from his underwater castle where he--the "ode ko'baye"--once lived with and saw orisha "Olokun"(no other orisha has) until Yemoja summoned him from there and, thereupon, re-seated him at the bottom of the indigo colored Erinle river in Nigeria. Though he is mainly known as a riverine orisha and associated, therefore, with Oshun and Oshoosi (owner of the riverbank), his origins lie in the very depths of the ocean; the richest place in the world, and the world's last repository of was- ted things and ancestral bones, with Olokun. Hence they share prominence in the olodu called Irosun. And, since the mineral and biological resources of the ocean are essential to life and healing, and since (Er)Inle is the physician orisha (even before Osayin and Ogun), it is natural and prescribed in the omodus called Oshe-Iros- un and Odi-Irosun (in the Old World), that one of his most potent locations for ebbo (healing rituals) is where the rivers flow into the oceans. (In the New World, of course, the mouth of the river and the ocean meet in the omodu Odi-Oshe and Oshe-Odi, but in Africa all rivers--except those belonging to specfied orisha--belong to Yemoja. I think it is best to look at Odi-Irosun as signifying where her rivers meet upon returning to "their deep source"; that is, the ocean. His preferred fish, for offerings, come from the ocean. The snakes associated with Abatan--an associated orisha for lnle and Oshoosi--crawl up the outer arms of the ibojuto and signify medicine and rejuvenation. It is the equivalent of Ofa for Oshoosi, the iron bow and arrow that lives on the top of Ogun's iron pot. The ibojuto stands beside Yemoja or may sit atop the orisha Abatan. Also associated with Erinle's magical and medicinal powers (Aroni) are his staff which has carved or iron birds on it; his Opa Orere. And as a warrior orisha, Erinle also enjoys the use of the obe Ogun--the war knife of Ogun. This androgynous Orisha--male and female, riverine and oceanic--is syncretized with San Rafael, the Catholic heal- er saint. And, in Cuba, he is juxtaposed with Saint Norbert and, in other places, with St. Thomas and St. Sebastian. Some of the specific ibu of Enrile are Ojutu, Alamo ("Ibu-Alama"-a separate road of Oxossi in Brasil), Owaala, lyamokin, Aanu, and Abatan. Erinle's seven sacred stones (otans) are kept in the earth- en vessel called Awo Ota Enrinle. Erinle is silent; his tongue having been cut out by Yemoja in a fit of erotic anger and jealousy toward Oshun (her daughter or sister, in some itan stories) because of Erinle's affection for her. And, thus, since then she, Yemoja, speaks for him in divination. (see below). *lbualama and Enrinle in Ketu (Benin/Dahomey) are the two main roads of Oshoosi. This Ibualama, Logun-ede, is also depicted as "the son" of Oshun and Enrinle in some stories. He inhabits the riverbank and, like his father, is decribed as unbelievably fierce and effective as a hunter: "swift as a hawk; he who hunts like a cat." Logun-ede is also called "Laro" (and his "Eshu" is referred to as "Elegua Laroye"--the lawyer-spokesman of the Eshu pantheon; is closely associated with Oshun and Oshoosi. As an Eshu, he is gleeful and quick to take sacrificial offer- ings and is contentious. He is especially associated with the llesa (lyesa) people of Nigeria and is called the "Prince of llesa" (Iyesa in Cuba). Abatan (a specific ibu or "pool" of Erinle) Along with Erinle (lnle), Abatan is associated with Oshoosi. She is considered a wife to the orisha Erinle and a nurse who helps him prepare his medicine (oogun ashe). She, as an orisha, can be seated on top of Erinle; like the orisha Dada that can seated atop Shango. Abatan is considered an "avatar" or another form of Erinle in Africa, but is considered "the wife" of Erinle In Cuba. (The term "wife" is used loosely in Yoruba religious liturgy; often meaning 'loyal companion' and is applied to men and women alike). For example, sometimes Oshoosi has been referred to as "the wife" of Ogun. And new initiates--male and female--in orisha religion are called "(i)yawos" or "wives" of an orisha; from aya or "wife"). Abatan is the "nurse" of (Er)Inle; both of whom are aides to Oshoosi. Her role in relation to Oshoosi/Erinle is connected to her natural representations on earth: the pond, marsh or swamp. Her eleke (a ritual beaded neckless) contains alternating patterns of 7 and 14 beads in the colors of yel- low, green, gold and coral. Offerings to her are made at a marsh. In Nigeria, Abatan is an ibu of Erinle. She provides Oshoosi and Erinle with nutrients and attracts game that can be ambushed at "the pond." Abatan is received whenever Enrile is received, and although Oshoosi can be given singularly as "orisha adimu'' (i.e., as a specific catalyst ritual for a major problem), whenever Oshoosi is crowned on someone's head, Erinle and Abatan should also be given to the initiate. In fact, the orisha "Oggue"--an avatar of Osho- osi--and the true squire of Obatala should be given as well, if possible. *Nursing a person goes better with the ashe of Abatan to heal the wounds of iron (e.g, in surgery). I often put spir- ulina in her vessel as an ashe. *Abola and Aboqui are described as twins that always accompany Oshoosi (see "Agolaroye. com/ ochosi.php). They are 'guardian angels' of hunters. ODDE (or Odei) is considered a separate orisha in Cuban Ifa. Technically, three of the ebora: Eshu (Elegbara), Akoro (Ogun) , and Oshoosi traveled in the igbo (woods) from time-to-time. At one time, Osayin, the orisha orisha of the plants of medicine and self-defense drugged Oshoosi before taking him home to teach him all about plants and herbs (ewe and oogun). When Akoro (Ogun) went to fetch him from Osayin's house he emerged as "Odde." In Cuban Ifa, Odde is considered the husband of Yemoja and the father of Oshoosi. In African "important stories" (itan patakin) about Oshoosi, his father is Oranmiyan (who had a nickname or oriki called "Odede" and Oshoosi's mother is Yemu or Yembo--a specific "road" of Yemoja). "Odede" (Oranmiyan) is considered the 'father' of human psychology and social institutions that involve the confinement of people andthings (e.g., churches, jails, zoos, hospitals, libraries, etc).
Sample Stories (Itan or Ihin) of Orishas Associated With Oshoosi (Patakin) * (Most Lucumi and some Nigerians use the word "patakin" or "apatakin" to mean a "story." But, in Yoruba the word patakin means "important." It became used in Afro-Cuba as a synonym for "story" because the elders would teach the youthful the legendary stories of the odus by first saying 'Listen! This is important.' This story is (a)patakin ! ; it is important! The actual word for "story" is itan; and is related to one word for 'book'). With Oshun (Greeting is "Ore yeye ooo! " Response is "Ore yeye Oshun"). The relationship between Oshoosi and Oshun is legendary. Both likely have ancient linguistic con- nections to the Egyptian or Nilotic deity "Shu." But more importantly, Oshun is known to be Oshoosi's lover. And, like Ogun, she found him (and his hunter familiars) in the forest near her river and enticed him to respect her area of--to be called Oshogbo--and to aid her in providing security, healing plants, beauty, and commerce--basically, to aid her in creating a civil society there. (The hunters, who had been on a quest for good water, chopped down some of her trees in order to make a grove--an osho-igbo (hence, "Oshogbo"--which means a 'gathering or groove of wood(s) for wizards or sorcerers,' Unfortunately, some of the trees broke her dark blue indigo pots, such that she de- creed as an ebbo etutu (an offering of atonement) that they would agree to build a settlement respectfully far enough away from her river and grovesso that there would be no future mishaps. There is another version of this story where Ogun chased and antelope in the groves and it shape-shifted into a tree. Ogun then burned the tree and it fell down breaking her indigo pots. She later forgave him (sexually). In this case, she also became the iyaloja --the chief woman of the marketplace. (Some people use the term iyal- ode"-chief-woman-in-charge) where he, Oshoosi, specifically brought game and honey to her market to be sold. She first obtained honey (oyin) from him and, in exchange for this favorite nutrient, charm and antibiotic of Oshun's, she promised him that she would send a swarm of bees to sting out the eyes of anyone who threatened him. When Oshun speaks and prescribes ebbo, in the absence of Orunmila, if the animal offering goes to Oshoosi, it must only be sacrificed outdoors and never in front of her. Many of Oshoosi children often forego honey out of respect for Oshun. Oshun's tears: Oshun gave her (and Shango’s) twins, the Ibeji, to Yemoja. But being without them afterwards,she cried so much (out of female pain) that her white shawl turned yellow and she was, thereupon, gifted with Idowu—her third child. Since then, her colors have been yellow and she became the matron of all newborn living things. The Yoruba have a saying that says ‘having only one child is having no children.” That is, a child should have peers to foster a sense of collective interests. She likes the harmonics of the bow string for a violin (or a bow and arrow vibratory sound. Her mirror signifies self-reflection and a penchant for self-improvement. It should also be noted that both Oshoosi and Oshun are wizards. "Osho," as as as mentioned above, also means "wizard" or sorcerer and, is thus connected to its literal meaning of "wood(s)" --osusu (i.e., a grove of trees). And "osi" means "left." Hence, Oshoosi's name refer to as the "left-handed wizard of the woods." Akin Osho" that means "power wizard" or "great one." And Oshun hailed, thereafter, from Oshogbo (again, osho--igbo--'the woods of wizardry'), And she also has an oriki or salutation name: Ori-osun, the isun or the ibi in the itan patakin ('story of importance'). These terms mean "the source" or "important narrow or contracted" source of ones "Head." Oshoosi and Oshun are very dedicated to each other. Additionally, Oshun is a part of Awon Iya Wa; the Society of our Holy Mothers ("witches"). Indeed, she is the head of this grouping of "iyami" or "aje" adepts. They live and meet in the woods and on the branches of wood, and they have a partiality to the Hunters--especially to Oshoosi. This is not surprising since it was Oshun who first convened a convention of our Holy Mothers in order to insure women's liberation and equality! And it was she that became the chief of their society's representatives on Earth. Do bale Oshoosi, do'bale Oshun (salute these two orisha). With Obatala (Greeting is Eeepa orisha ooo! Response is "Orisha Eeepa") In a slow dance, Obatala is bent over like a snail. He carries the weight of the world on his back. Oshoosi is regarded as a "child of Obatala." (His "father" in Africa is Odede (Oranmiyan), He is also is the guardian of the gate to Obatala's castle (an Ologungbe and, with Ogun, an Adele). He speaks for Obatala as his Akede Feyo (which means ‘spokesman who speaks with fidelity’) and when he speaks for “Baba,” his recitations are Abede, that is, clean-cut and straight to the point (Agbaroso fun-ni. That is, he speaks for Obatala with the same author- ity as do the Ilari priest for the oba Shango)! When you hear Obatala, you hear him. Oshoosi is, effectively, orisha funfun; an orisha of "white cloth" (asho 'fun 'fun) ; meaning a "cool-headed" orisha. Accordingly, he favors shea butter (ori) more so than palm oil (ope, epo), like Obatala when being fed or cleaned--especially if these are in the context of an ita ceremony (a very special divination reading). For example, like one's "life destiny reading" that occurs near one's natal birth (in Africa) or upon one's deep initiation into an orisha cult or society (in the western hemisphere). Obatala appeared to Oshoosi as a beautiful deer in the forest singing a song that said, in essence, "I am your father.". Oshoosi tried to shoot him with a bow and arrow. But he kept missing. Previously, Oshoosi felt alone because he believed that he had no known father. But then the deer shape-shifted back into Obatala who, rev- ealing himself, told him that he was his father! (See "Patakin" pp. 141-142, by David Brown). With Osayin, Eshu, Akoro (Ogun) and lgbo (Oshoosi or Erinle) These orishas are related to Oshoosi in the following way. All three of these orishas were the sons of Yemoja Okute (Yemoja Ogunte/Okuti)--the "mother of the fishes" of (probably) the Ogun river. Eshu, being mischievous, was made by Yemoja to live outside the house. Akoro worked on farms. But lgbo, who had 'locks' or very curly hair, was born to be a hunter. lfa warned Yemoja that lgbo was destined to leave forever if he went out to hunt in the forest at night under a full moon. lgbo went into the forest to hunt despite Yemoja's instructions to him to the contrary. While there he met Osayin (an herbalist from Mali) who drugged him and when he awoke, the hunt had begun He did not remember the world of men as he had been transformed into Erinle (Odde) while he had been asleep. When the hunt was over the other hunters could not fetch him. When discovered to be missing by Yemoja, Akoro set out to find him by taking all kinds of metal tools into the bush to clear paths and to search. By this time Osho- osi / Enrinle was dressed as if in a hunting party, but Akoro took him home on his shoulders. Upon returning, Yemoja rejected him for his disobedience. But both Osayin and Akoro decided that could not live with their brot- herly hunter and returned to the forest with. After a quarrel about him, they decided to hunt together forever with Akoro becoming Ogun, Eshu becoming Elegua, lgbo becoming Oshoosi / Erinle, and Osayin remaining the god of herbalism and medicine. In utter despair at having lost all three of her sons Yemoja became a river--the Ogun river. (There are versions of this myth that say that Erinle precedes Osayin--an "imported" deity from Mali--as the original herbalist--doctor among the Yorubas). With Osayin and Osun (Not to be confused with Oshun). As mentioned, Osayin is the orisha of ewe--plants: roots, fruits, leaves, sap, bark, toxins, dyes, oils seeds, etc.,and the distillation of the ashe that is in them to affect healing, cleansings, charming, and protecting the body and the birthing of orisha. All "priests" work--to a greater or lesser extent with the ashe of the plants--the ewe. Nothing can be done without the power of the orisha Osayin. It is the basis of the ritual "Holy Water" (omiero) that is used in all serious ceremonies. But Osayin is also the practice of self-defense; used in making talismans and doing "little jobs" (trabajitos) on those who would do you harm as well as for cleansings (limpiezas, in Luc- umi). There is a well-known story (an itan-patakin) about Oshoosi and Osayin. It goes like this, in essence: Oshoosi was hunting on an unlucky day. He could not snare, trap, nor shoot prey successfully. While in despair and getting tired he was chanced upon by the orisha Osayin; the purveyor of forest medicinals and plants. He invited Oshoosi to his home for a meal and fed him handsomely. Oshoosi began to feel sleepy and spent the night there. His mind became clouded and he continued to stay until he learned a great deal from Osayin about the secrets of the plants (although he already knew where they were located he did not know how to prepare the oogun--medicine from them until he was shown so). After a few days, Oshoosi's big brother Ogun came to look for him and rescued him from the home of Osayin. His knowledge of the for- est began to slowly come back to him, but now he had the additional knowledge of how to use igede or ogede (incantations) prepare the oogun (medicine) and use the supernatural power of the ewe (the plants). This itan-patakin is from Ogbe-Irete. Associated with Osayin is the entity, not an orisha, the "Osun"; 'the spirit of God' in this sense. Osun literally means "the source." For example, one of the "nicknames" for the orisha Oshun is "Ori Osun" or 'the source of the Head.' The word "osun" should not be confused with the orisha "Oshun" though, as can immediately be seen, that is easy to do. Also, in the area of "the source" as a concept comes the word "osun." For example, the osu igbo (a single tuft of hair left on a shaved head) and eriosun (a sacred camwood powder used in Ifa divination); the greatest source of insightfulness destined to go directly into the head. It is in the head, simply put, that Ori and Osun are intimately connected (where, again, one's most important personal diety, one's "Ori" simultaneously means one's Head, one's Intelligence and one's Destiny. Osun comes in two versions: "The Osun" and, on the other hand, "an osun." In the sense of "The Osun," what is being referred to is a little metal statute with a small rooster on the top (in the case of aborishas and olorishas) or a quite sizeable metal staff with a larger rooster mounted on its top (for babalawos). In both cases, the statues are loaded with compacted ewe--power plant materials--that "charge" them with ashe power! When the focus is on this kind of Osun--"The Osun"--its role is mainly to "channel" the ashe power of the ewe (the plants) into what spiritual project that is currently being done. It is for regeneration and "course correction" away from very dan- gerous, near-term, outcomes. And, of course, "Osun" is given with and considered one of the warriors (a warrior sentry of consiciousness); i.e., one of the warrier deities that are invoked in the Ebora ritual of offering a war- rior's ebbo (sacrifices). *By contrast, the term "an osun" means something else that is similar, but still involves the small or large rooster-topped statues or even, alternatively, certain mounds of the important plants (not enclosed in any object), "art- istic" designs--sometimes in white chalk or colorful--drawn on the floor (firma or veve) or on somebody's body--or even something as simple as a glass of water (e.g., for meditational water-gazing at one's ancestral altars). In a sense, all of these "objects" can serve like broadcast "antennas" and "receiving antennas" between the supernat- ural messaging that may,at times, issue from guardians "in Heaven" or "the cosmos,"on the one hand, and a prac- titioners "ori," on the other. Sometimes severe warnings--as a last resort to avert even death--may be transmit- ted that way--through the antenna function of an "osun." But, far more often, an osun is ritually used to insure that a direct channel between the divinosphere and a per- son's ori occurs as may be required in initiations rituals, animal sacrifices, and on other important occasions. Osuns are also used to facilitate contact direct ancestral spirits as a part of oju'run (ancestral altar) or boveda rituals. The possessors of a permanent statuette osun goes to great lengths to treat them with the greatest of respect--e.g., never letting it fall over out of negligent handling or failing to keep it perched in the highest prac- tical place inside one's residence. Ritually dealing with them is about as close as you--a human--are ever going to get to deal with the Heavenly (for better or worse) other than when one experiences a true orisha possession. (Ini). Osun and Osayin are deities who allow Oroina (oroo is "to turn" and ina--like fire- connotes continuous rotation). With Yemoja, Yemonya, Yemenya, Yemaya--("yeye omo eja" = "Yemoja" = "mother of the fish children"). Greeting is "Omi-ooo" Response is "Omi o, Yemoja" meaning (Water! but as 'O-mio' it could mean 'Oh my' or 'Oh no' as in 'spectacular'). Yemoja is the mother of Oshoosi in the New World (while Yemu or "Yembo" is in Africa) and very fond of him. In some apatakis ("patakin"--actually "itan patakin"--are "legendary stories of importance") she rivaled Oshun for the love of Erinle and ultimately cut his tongue out in anger; the result of which, as mentioned, was that she speaks for Erinle to this day. This is the most famous Oshoosi story form. Basically it holds that Oshoosi owned a parrot that was noteworthy for knowing his secret incantations that made his medicine charms work-in tipping his arrows with this con- coction made of herbs. One day he went out for a hunt and stayed a very long time indeed in the forest. In the meantime, someone came to his home and devoured his parrot. When he returned home, he pointed his arrow into the sky and uttered a curse that directed the arrow to pierce the heart of whomever had ended the life of his parrot Odide. He did not know that the culprit was his mother Yemoja. She died of the wound. From that time Oshoosi first learned to be careful with his words; especially his curses. And he learned that justice, to the extent that it is blind, can be merciless as well. So justice should be dispensed with wide-open eyes.
There are numerous variations of this story. The most common have it that Oshoosi had game birds hanging or curing around his hut when he took off for a long hunt. While he was gone, his mother visited his abode and found it to be messy. She cleaned it up and also cooked the birds without him knowing it. When he returned he was angered at not knowing who had taken liberties with his birds and proclaimed the curse, shot the arrow, and produced the same result. With Shango Oshoosi is not necessarily a good businessman. The "Omo Obara" (probably Shango) was tending a farm one day. On that day Ode (Oshoosi) went to the forest to hunt, but had no luck finding game. He asked the King of the Forest for help. The king, the Oluwo Ogbo, gave him six pumpkin seeds and disappeared back into the forest. Ode thought that these seeds were magical but eventually noticed that they remained unchanged. He gave them to Omo Obara who promptly planted them, and became rich from selling them in the market place. Ode was never again able to find the Oluwo lgbo when he searched for a replenishment of his gift. Magic is useful,but not always practical. The Muslims have a saying: "Pray to Allah five times a day (but tie your camel !)" that expresses the sentiment expressed by the Buddhists: "Before Enlightment, chop wood and carry water. After Enlightment, chop wood and carry water." A second story goes like this. Shango was a respected ruler, But he had two generals that were quite belligerant. One was a sorcerer named Gboka who was an expert at hexing his enemies. The other was an Oshoosi-like warlord name Timi. The populace complained to Shango that the wars that these generals were waging was too costly in blood and treasure. But Shango loved both of them (and also loved a fight) and only reluctantly sent Timi away so that he would be less of a problem. Gboka remained in Old Oyo. Unfortunately, Timi--whose arrows never missed an enemy--tried to supplant Shango in the new area to which he was sent. In response, Shango sent Gboka there to do battle with Timi and to bring him back to answer for his deeds. By using incantations, sorcery, and juju to make Timi's arrows miss everything he shot at and rendered him sed- ated. This is how Gbonka won. So, Shango, having ordered the return of Timi demanded that Gbonka repeat the victory so that all of the people could see his magic work. He ordered them to fight again. But while Timi was gone, Gbonka had visited the forest to get the aid of the Iyamis to fortify his sorcery powers. They finally res- ponded to his incantations and the Queen of the Witches (Oshuronga) gave him an ebbo to do to fortify his charms. After her, the King of the Witches also throug his support in to aid Gbonka. Thus when the second battle between Timi and Gbonka occurred in Oyo, the supporters of Timi gave Shango a very hard time because they did not want Gboka to kill Timi. Nevertheless, Gbonka killed him. After that, Shango cursed him mightily because he did not expect the full murder of Timi. But, by the time of the fight, Gbonka had begun to mistrust Shango and then challenged him in return. Shango was so enraged by Gbonka's termidity, that he breathed spewed fire on him from his mouth, and took his double-headed axe and chopped some people up. After consulting with Oya, his trusted wife, he was so despondent that he went the woods and hung himself on an Ayan tree! Oya, when she discovered his body decreed that he should be deified and worshipped forever saying "Oba Koso!" ("The king did not die!"). The moral of the story is: 'do not challenge the king!' With Ogun & Orunmila In the odu Ogunda-rosun, the story is that in order to hunt animals, Ogun thought that all he had to do was to cut, slash,and fell the whole forest. This, of course, stampeded all of the animals away (Isare-giri-giri). Since this would never do, Oshoosi convinced him to only cut paths in the forest, since he he needed the tress and bush as ambush cover. This method of cooperation proved to be successful. Oshoosi also began to use iron weapons to make his hunting effective. This next story comes from the excellent Cuban website called: urbanyoruba. blog spot.com. That I quote it here under the "fair use" doctrine of US copyright law as a brief quotation for educational pur- poses only. This is the story or itan ("patakin,"" apatakin"). It is not attributed to a particular omodu (a chapter of "holy scripture," as above, but also appears to be from Ogunda-rosun as we "Oshosi was the best of the hunters and their arrows never failed. Nevertheless, he couldn't get their prey because the thickness of the forest prevented it. Desparate he went to see Orunmila, and he advised Oshosi to do ebbo. Oshosi and Oggun were enemies bec- ause of Eshu, who gossiped about each other, but Ogun had a similar problem. Although nobody was able to make paths in the thick forest quicker than him, he wasn't able to kill any; as the animals always escaped from him. Ogun went to see Orunmila too and received instructions to do ebbo. He went to do the ebbo, so both rivals went to the forest to fulfill his. Without realizing Oshosi dropped his ebbo on Oggun, who was laying in a trunk. They had a strong discussion, but Oshosi apologized and they seemed to talk and to recount his problems to each ot- her. While they spoke, in a distant spot step a deer. Quick like a ray, Oshosi get up and shot an arrow, that crossed the neck of the deer leaving it dead." You see, Oshoosi sigh, "now I cannot take it." Then Oggun took his machete and in no time he opened a path to the deer. Both of them very happy arrived to the animal and they shared it. From that moment they agreed upon whenever they'll be there one for the other and realized that when separ- ated they were nobody, reason why they made a pact in the house of Orunmila. That is why Oshosi, the hunter, always walks with Oggun, the owner of irons." Ogun's tools made hunting more effective. When Oshoosi is fearful Ogun, can be counted upon to step in and "handle his light work"; that is, visit utter destruction on his enemies. "When Oshoosi is a coward, he calls upon Ogun" (in other words, he will cut or shoot). Also, in the odu (i.e., the omodu), Ogunda-rosun, the story is that in order to hunt animals, Ogun thought that all he had to do was to cut, slash,and fell the whole forest. This, of course, stampeded all of the animals away (Isare-giri-giri). Since this would never do, Oshoosi convinced him to only cut paths in the forest, since he he needed the tress and bush as ambush cover. This method of cooperation proved to be successful. Oshoosi also began to use iron weapons to make his hunting . Ogun is of the woods, but is also an urban dweller. His smitheries are in settlements and towns. He is the paragon of destruction and intelligent creativity. His iron implements were also one of the early forms of money and monetary exchange. And he is a master of diplomacy who protects the society as a war lord, and protects the ori—the Head. Oshoosi's mythological father is Odede (Oranmiyan), his spiritual father is Obatala, and his godfather is Orun- mila. Oshoosi with The Iyami (Our Holy Mothers) "Awon Iya Wa" In the omo'du Irosu-Oshe, a story exists where some of Oshoosi’s night birds flew away as he had the habit of letting them fly around outside of their cages at night. But one night, some of them diid not return. After that lesson, Oshoosi closed the cage gates permanently. The iyami are not orisha per se; they are "neutral" spiritual entities. There are three types: the ajé (funfun-white), the aje (dudu-black), and the ajè (pupa gbona--red hot). Oshoosi and Odu: 'Ode Crowns His Own Head' In the Lucumi dilogun order of Olodu and Omodu Oshoosi speaks quite frequently: 1-6, 1-11, 2-1, 2-3, 2-4, 2-6, 2-16, 3-4, 3-16, 4-5, 4-10, 4-16, 5-2, 6.6, 6.11, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 8.2, 8.11, 9.15, 10.11, 11.3, 11.7, 12.3, 12.7 (in the Lucumi dilogun order of Olodu and Omodu). In Ogunda-Ofun (3-10) Oshoosi petitioned to Olofi directly (as even Orunmila had given him incorrect information about how to make other orisha pay him fairly for all of the things he provided to them) to help him achieve the just rewards for his labor, skills, and beneficience. Olofi told him to spend time in various towns learning all skills and trades. When he did this, Olofi announced that he needed a king to be crow- ned and, thereupon, passing over all of the other orisha, Olofi decreed that crowned Oshoosi will be the new king of the town. There is a saying that "Odede" was born with the Head of a king" upon which he placed his own crown upon his head, authorized by Olofi directly, as there were no other orisha nor mortals to do it. (See "Pat- akin," p. 141, by David Brown, Eguin Kolade). In this odu, Ogunda'fun, it is said that everyone treats you with hy- pocrisy. Hence, self-reliance is important. He, Eguin Kolade, also teaches us that the "three arrows of Oshoosi" are, in reality, his three sons; named Arisitasi, Arigitage and Atamatasi. He was born in the town Iyebu Ode, but is associated with the rulership of Ketu in Benin (Dahomey) territory. In Oshoosi's legendary (itan) story, his father is Oranmiyan or "Odede" (the 2nd Alafin of Old Oyo town). But his spiritual father is Obatala, and his godfather is Orunmila. Oshoosi was born to Yemu / Yembo (Yemoja, in Cuba) in the odu Odi-Oyeku (7-2). Olofi (God) is the one who made Oshoosi the king of Ketu (no council of kings crowned him). Offerings To Oshoosi by the Numbers 1, 3, 7 and 21. These can include virtually everything that any warrior orisha can eat: the ashes of ram, dog, goats, as well as roosted cow-peas, baked yams (especially with seven pieces of coconut in them), tree sap, snails, cornbread (especially with coconut in it), pork, roosters, Guinea fowl, and ox. Of course, fruit adimus (offerings) are favored. He likes licorice (and anise or fennel which flavors it) and anisette and, especially, creme de menthe. Pheasant (!), hamsters, doves, pigeons, and peacocks are acceptable too. Ideally, give Oshoosi seven (7) units of whatever offering you make, though this exact number is less necessary when it comes to animal sacrifices. The number 3 can also be used because it is associated with Ogun (and Oshoosi's close relationship to that orisha); though gifts of "3" to anyone is often avoided among Yorubas out of deference to the destructive ashe associated with Ogun and the odu Ogunda--the number of which is "3"--in the Cuban Santeria-Lucumi variant. However, "3" is also a sacred number for Elegua (Eshu--Elegbara) along with "7" and "21" for him. Except for the doves and pigeons, do not forget to treat Elegba to a little of the offering, and note that Ogun and Oshoosi often eat together). Oshoosi likes to accept obi abata (kola nuts) as a gift offering. Chewing an atare (Guinea pepper) and filling the mouth with anisette/rum and the spraying him with it is a favored "toast" to him. When feeding him it is best to do so outdoors, but--at least in the Brasilian traditions-- never put the heads of animals sacrificed to him in front of him (put the heads in the woods). And Oshoosi children do not eat any of the animals that is hunted by Oshoosi--especially deer. This taboo can and should be broken only to save the life of an omo (son or child) of Oshoosi if he or she is deathly ill. (One's "eewo" or taboos can be used for ritual cleansing as well). A fairly simple meal for him is made in the following ways. In the West, Oshoosi's egbe (society) birthday celebration is October 21st, (in August in Nigeria) and he is revered during the whole month of October; syncretic for "Libran" justice and balance in character, perhaps. In Cuba, he is celebrated on June 6th. Food offerings: Celebrating Oshoosi’s Birthday Consistent with “openness” or “ode,” the annual day for celebrating Oshoosi’s “birthday” coincides with theheight or apex of the year. For example, the Yoruba calendar begins in June, so the height of the year (for them) would be in January. This, then, is when Oshoosi is celebrated in Ile Ife. By contrast, in the New World, e.g., in Cuba, Oshoosi is celebrated on June 6th each year since our Gregorian calendar observes the new year to begin in January (i.e., for us the “apex” of the year, and it’s longest day of open sunlight, is in June. Some practitioners celebrate his birthday on October 6th each year. Offerings to Oshoosi Simple Adimus (offerings) Fruits ("eso" or "isogui"--especially apples), pork 'n beans, various beans dishes, and yams (especially seven yams, with one slit cut in each wherein seven pieces of coconut are placed in the slits) and smeared with lard prior to baking them. A great glaze for them (as well as a direct offering in itself is a "spray" or dash combination of rum and annisette or (creme d'mente). Game birds like quail and pheasant are also highly appreciated by this orisha. Other simple offerings include: Maize (corn), yams, black-eye peas [extremely loved by deer in the bush], and cooked pig products. Asoso (prn: Ashosho) The simple version: "Little Asoso" (Frejao, Frahino in Brasil). Black eyed peas and salt. Soak for two hours. Use a well-worn skillet and with a high fire throw them onto the skillet. Toast until brown or black. Pray to Oshoosi and put white syrup or maple syrup on them (do not use honey). Give them to Oshoosi indoors; no need to confirm with obi. The more elaborate version "Big Asoso" Use four pounds of corn ears and cut off the kernels. Take all spoiled kernels out of the mix. Soak all day. Add salt and boil them until they are soft. Axoxô (maize cooked with coconut), black beans, yams, roasted cowpeas is recommended. Drain the water off and make a corn pulp. In the meantime make a clay plate painted with bows and seven arrows circularly painted pointed outward from the center. Then open a coconut and take the brown inner skin off of the pieces. Cut the pieces into slivers and put them into the corn pulp. After placing the corn pulp into the clay bowl or bowl,place the plate on the earth three times saying "lyan'le" 3x. Then pour the white Karo syrup on the Asoso. After three days lift the plate saying "Ofe !" Place the clay dish and Asoso under a tree in the woods. Confirm with obi (coconut pieces) to see if anything else is desired with the offering before going to the woods. Ebbos for Oshoosi Ebbos (Sacrificial Offerings) to Oshoosi are profitably left at the door of, or on the grounds of, courthouses, jails and zoos or one's unjust enemies. Oshoosi can eat, as can all of the warriors, most of the animals fed to other orishas--especially red roosters. Do not feed him ebbo eje in front of Oshun (briefly take her out of the room). The Ritual Colors for Oshoosi Colors include violet or blue and amber or gold. Teal and amber or gold also work well. Add coral, jet black, green, and brass. His elekes will contain similar colors (with also a dash of red and green along with the black beads). In some places green is used as a color for Oshoosi (but teal is better). The Carga ("Cargo") of Oshoosi & Ewe (Plants) for Oshoosi This awo (secret) is omitted here. These ritual ingredients may be used to make up the ashes for Oshoosi. Various dried plants, dried birds heads or other dried animal parts, and soils are used in some combination, but are not disclosable. I can mention, however, that some of his important ewe and herbs include anise /fennel, mints, the leaves of fruit trees, mint leaves, water lettuce (Erinle), almond leaves, the leaf-of-life (sacred to Obatala) and--very sacredly--the awede and the akoko leaves (if you can get it)--even dried, if necessary, for cleaning and sanctification, respectively). Most of these leaves are usually easy to get. And Oshoosi can always be asked if he desires or prescribes a few of the leaves of Ogun (e.g., peregun, peonia) or Obatala (e.g., siempre vida, peregun, china-berry tree leaves). Anise (fennel) is used for purifications, e.g., in white baths. Luis M. Nunezsee "Santeria: A Practical Guide to Afro-Caribbean Magic," suggests others as well: like espinilla, cercelera, jia blanca, chincha, Leadwort, esparto grass, fulminate, incense, tobacco, vine arbor, Jamaican rose- wood, castor oil plant, and basil. Crowning Oshoosi to An Initiate's Head: Some Important Considerations It is obligatory to include the following orishas in the initiation (the kario'cha or the "crowning") of an omo Oshoosi (a child of Oshoosi) : The Warriors: (the Ebora, Ologuns or Los Guereros) of Elegua, Ogun, Oshoosi, and Osun. The Aides-de-Camp of Oshoosi: (Er)Inle, Abatan, Oggue, Odde and Aroni. Osayin--The orisha "Osayin" (the orisha of leaves, roots, bark, herbs and herbalism for medicine and self- defense). Most Godparents of omo Oshoosi already have Oshoosi, Oggun, Obatala, Oke, Yemoja, Shango, Oshun, and Oya. Like all of the Ode ("Ebora") warriors like Elegua, Ogun, Osun and , Oshoosi's kids must be crowned outside in a forest or forest-like shrine; an igbodu. Warriors in Yoruba are also called "ologun" and "ajagun." Implements and Adornments of Oshoosi The Bante (Ibante--leopard-skin apron), tools, charms, deer horns, deer heads, turtle shells, animal pelts (e.g., leopard and monkey skins), bows and arrows, rifles, ram horns, dried game birds, fish-hooks, animal pelts, handcuffs, silver spears (weilded by his avatar Oggue--the squire of Obatala) and scales adorn his shrine or altar areas; . One calls to Oshoosi by using a cow-bell. Oshoosi's bow and arrow sets (his ofa or flechas) live in his and Ogun's pots (or open vessels, caldrons, soperos, and half-gourd shells) and can be worn as jewelry replicas. The Ojubu--Tumbleweed Altar from Otura-Irete It is quite good to use a simple bramble bush or tumble weed (alone!) as an altar--called an ojobu or ojo'run-- for Oshoosi. It signifies traps and snares. The defensive use of bramble-bush and tumbled weed was born in the odu Otura-Irete. It will not protect even Oshoosi if he is hiding from an injustice that he has perpetrated (like conspiring with Ogun to steal Shango's wife, as one itan-patakin in David Brown's book "Patakin" describes). A bramble bush-looking metal sculpture with many birds on it is also an icon of Oshoosi; signifying his close rel- ationship with "our Holy Mothers." A Statement About The Essence of Ochosi I like this statement so much that I have taken the liberty to include it here at this moment. It comes from The Yoruba Religious Concepts (Lucumi) website: https://sites.google.com/site/theyorubareligiousconcepts/eleggua/oggun/osoosi-oshosi-hunter-and-judge "Working in close association with Eshu and Oggún, the work that is accomplished by Oggún to clear the ob- stacles in our lives is Òsóòsi /Oshosi, inseparable brothers who as the spirit of the tracker has the ability to locate the shortest path to our spiritual goals. The essential goal of Òsóòsi /Oshosi is to guide us towards the task of building "iwa-pele" ( good character). This guidance takes form as a spiritual quest which is called "IWA KIRI". "According to IFA theology, spiritual evolution is in perfect harmony with the process of physical evolution that occurs in nature. Thus as a result Òsóòsi /Oshosi has a double role to play within his responsibility. He must guide us on our quest to find spiritual growth and protect the needs of nature . "Òsóòsi /Oshosi must understand the inner dynamics of Nature as well as the human consciousness so that in harmony a balance is made in the physical world. He must be in direct contact with those spiritual forces who guide good character and those spiritual Forces who maintain fertility and abundance in nature. "At the core of his power is the knowledge and mysteries of the plants. IFA teaches us that plants for the forest are used for various spiritual cleanings. It is here that the mysteries of the plants form a basis of which mankind can access the communication with the Spirits of the forest. For this reason Òsóòsi /Oshosi, is known as the magic- ian of the forest. It is through the use of herbal remedies , herbal charms and herbal baths that Òsóòsi /Oshosi can show us the vision of where we are headed, both individually and collectively. Because of this scared respon- sibility , he is known as the Guardian of the forest. The hunter hunts the Ashe of Ori're're (a potent Head) and Iwa Pele (Good and Gentle Character). This hunt--the hunt for these kinds of Ashe--is called the hunt or daily quest for Iwa Kiri . "Through the invocation of Òsóòsi /Oshosi that we come to realize that the elemental spirits who preserve the forces that sustain life on the planet. This consciousness takes form of a group of Spirits called "Irunmole". The word Irunmole means "Light from within the earth". Light is used in the context of consciousness or illumination The consciousness that guides such forces of Nature, like the Ocean, is believed to be beyond the human com- prehension." THREE EASY PRAYERS TO OSHOOSI (TRAD.)
Iba Oshoosi,olog arare I salute Oshoosi master of himself Agbani nijo to buru Wise one who gives blessings Orisha ipapo odun Spirit of sweet togetherness Koko ma panige Divination guides the hunter Ode olorore Hunter of abundance Obaloge ara ojo pata ma ro The chief tracker overcomes fear (Olori olutopa bori eru) " " " " " Ashe So be it "KI 'KI" OSHOOSI PRAISE NICKNAMES Olofa Owner of Divine ArcheryOshowusi Osho the famous one*Ija tii ja iru erin One that cuts the elephant's tail*Omo Oshooro Child of the Tradition of WizardryAkin nile, Akin loju ogun At home, hero of the battle front*Bi Oso o ti e le ja If Osho is a coward (fearful)O ti gbekele Ogun He depends on Ogun (iron)* Ogun onire oko Mojude Ogun, the monarch of Ire (town)*Osho Olofa kan ata tu'gun Osho, the owner of one arrow that kills many at the battle front. *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 became "a living stone"). His house shall be a refuge for the needy. 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, the word "church" comes from the Greek "Oikos" which springs from the word "Oshoosi." Oshoosi is celebrated in January in Ile Ife and is presided over by the Ooni (Oonirisha). O ti se se!! (It is possible!)_____________________________ * *Oriki for Oshoosi from Yoruba Kalendar 2009/2011 by chief priest Yemi Elebuibon, Akoda of Osogbo (Nigeria). END NOTES ENDNOTE #1 See Orin Orisha by Olorisha John Mason; section on Oduduwa/Obatala for the 9,000 year old history of the proto-Yoruba and Yoruba civilization in west Africa. ENDNOTE #2 The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II during the 2017 Odun Osho- osi festival proffered Yoruba traditional religion as a tool in solving the challenges of peace and love in Nigeria and Africa. The festival was attended by dignitaries from different countries and continents in the world espec- ially America and the Caribbean countries. Oshoosi, is foremost the founder of all religious congregational wor- ship worldwide (as well as all primal social institutions) and is a great benefactor of humanity. See https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/WhctKJTzzZLsrvjKSdpXwsBMWZtgTKgzlPXNkHwfGWzPzKKQlRQvZsGKTQPGZkrkcstWBXB ENDNOTE # 3These sites also spell out the characteristics, colors, offerings, issues and stories (patakis) of these orishas exact- ly as I have described them herein.
Existing Websites That Describe the Characteristics of the Orishas Enrinle (Inle) and Abatan: Allies of Oshoosi fr/musique-cubaine-orishas-mineurs.php *http://agolaroye.com/Inle.php *http://divinemoon.tumblr.com/post/55490927883/inle-the-orisha-who-represents-health-and-all *http://cubayoruba.blogspot.com/2007/01/inle.html *http://altreligion.about.com/od/mythologicalfigures/a/Ibeyi-Inle-Obatala.htm *http://cfbrown.tumblr.com/post/45734487063/erinle-also-known-as-inle-or-eyinle-is-an-orisha *http://iusocha.blogspot.com/2012/05/inle.html *https://ifamatters.wordpress.com/erinle/ *https://sites.google.com/site/theyorubareligiousconcepts/ibu-kole-s-message-to-olodumare/olodumare-talks-to-ibu-kole/ibu-kole-s-return-to-the-kingdom/yemaya-meets-erinle *http://www.beudeeful.com/2014/02/yoruba-african-orishas-erinle.html *http://www.ecured.cu/index.php/Inle (Cuban revolutionario orisha) *https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=67238528419&story_fbid=10153149392968420 *https://ileashe.wordpress.com/tag/inle/ *http://furius.ca/santeriadb/orisha/inle.html *http://www.tnrelaciones.com/cm/preguntas_y_respuestas/content/358/4394/es/cuales-son-las-aflicciones-que-protege-el-orisha-inle.html