Ochosi (Oshosi) lives in the woods and is a great hunter and fisherman. He’s also a warrior, a magician and a seer with shamanistic powers. Ochosi is the lord of justice, and the patron of those who have problems with the law. According to a pataki (sacred story), when Ochosi lived on earth as a human, he was given a special task by Eleguá: he needed to hunt and trap a rare bird that Orula wanted to give to Olofi as a gift. Ochosi was an expert hunter and he found the bird without a problem. He took it home and put it in a cage, and then went to tell Orula that he had the bird. While Olofi was out, his mother came home and found the bird in the cage. She thought it was meant for their dinner, so she killed and dressed the bird, and then she went to the market to buy some of the condiments she needed to cook it. Ochosi came home and saw the bird was dead, and he was very upset. He didn’t know who had killed it, but he decided that he needed to go get another bird right away, so Orula would be able to give it to Olofi. Ochosi hunted and trapped a second bird and gave it to Orula and, together, they went to present the bird to Olofi. Olofi was so happy with the gift that he wanted to reward Ochosi, so he gave him a crown and made him an Oricha on the spot. He asked Ochosi if there was anything else he wanted, and the hunter replied, yes, he wanted to shoot an arrow into the air and have it pierce the heart of the person who killed the other bird. Olofi, all knowing, understood what Ochosi’s words meant, so he asked if Ochosi was sure that’s what he wanted. Yes, said Ochosi, I want justice, and Olofi granted his wish. Ochosi released an arrow and almost at once he heard his own mother cry out. The arrow had pierced her heart and killed her. Ochosi was terribly sad when he realized what he had done, but he also knew that justice had been done. Olofi knew then that Ochosi wouldn’t hesitate to punish any wrong doing he came across, and he made it Ochosi’s job to hunt for the truth and measure out justice in the world.
The Attributes of Ochosi
Ochosi lives in an iron cauldron with Ogún, which is placed next to Eleguá near the interior entryway of the home. Most patakis say that Ogún, Eleguá and Ochosi are brothers, but they may have different mothers and fathers. For example, Yemayá is often mentioned as Ochosi’s mother, whereas Yemú (Yembo) is the mother of Eleguá and Ogún. According to a pataki, Ogún and Ochosi weren’t always on friendly terms, but they came to understand that they needed each other and made a pact to always work together. When the earth was newly formed, there were so many forests that Ochosi had a hard time getting to his prey when he hunted. His arrow never missed the mark, but there were no paths or clearings, so he couldn’t reach the animal he had killed, and he had no food. Ogún had a similar problem. He was great at making metal traps, but he could never catch anything in the traps. Each one went to complain to Orula about their problem, and Orula suggested they go individually to make ebbó (an offering) in the forest. They ran into each other while they were going to make ebbó, and they started to talk. Soon, they realized that together they could do much more than either could do alone. Ochosi could hunt and kill animals for food, and Ogún could use his machete to clear the path. This way, Ochosi could reach his prey and he could share the food with Ogún. This explains why Ochosi and Ogún are inseparable.
Ochosi is one of the four warriors, with Eleguá, Ogún and Osun. His days are Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, and the 4th day of every month. Ochosi’s symbol is a crossbow and arrow. His tools include 3 arrows, 3 hunting dogs, a small mirror, a piece of stag’s horn, a fishing hook and a scalpel, which makes his protection is important for people undergoing surgery. He’s also the owner of all kinds of hunting birds, like falcons and hawks, and he looks after wildlife in general. Some also say he’s the patron of those who work with dogs, and he measures out justice to those who mistreat dogs. The eleke for Ochosi is usually blue and yellow, sometimes with green, coral or amber beads. His numbers are 3, 4 and 7. He’s syncretized in the Catholic religion with Saint Norbert. His feast day is June 6. Ochosi’s children are quick on their feet, have excellent reflexes, are sharp and attentive, full of initiative. They love change and new adventures. Sometimes they have a desire to wander, but normally they enjoy family life and are hospitable to others. Ochosi’s children are trustworthy and truthful. In order to petition Ochosi for justice, the seeker must be in the right. That is to say, someone who has been falsely accused or is being victimized by a wrongdoer can ask Ochosi for intervention, and Ochosi will deliver swift justice. Ebbó for Ochosi is often left in front of the jail or courthouse.
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