Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Ochosi is the orisha of hunt. He is the orisha that also lives in the forest and is always accompanied by Elegua and Ogun. Ochosi also know as Oxossi, Ode Mata, is a well known magician. Ochosi has great knowledge and usage of all the herbs known in the forest. His implements are a bow and arrow that he constantly has with him in which he uses for his hunt. Ochosi is also a great fisherman. He can catch a fish that is swimming in the river without a problem. Here is where he sits at times with his good friend Inle and they hunt together.
Ochosi is also the orisha of justice. Justice for the reason that he is always hunting righteousness. All law enforcement individuals are said to be under his protection and guidance. When someone has committed a crime and the police is searching for them, Ochosi is in hunt mode and seeks the individual out. He does not rest until the one who did wrong is captured. You can say Ochosi is our modern day navigation system. He is also the jail house where the offenders reside. After he captures his hunt he puts them in a cage just as when an offender is captured they are put in jail.
Ochosi is said to do all of his magical work deep in the forest where no one can see him, He takes different herbs and sticks to conjure up his magic. His magical work is very strong and is swift and effective. He uses his magic in every aspect there is. He can use it to heal the sick or to destroy an enemy. He creates special potions in which he also dips the points of his arrow in so when he is on a hunt, his target will drop immediately.
Ochosi is always hunting with his fellowmen Elegua and Ogun, Elegua uses his garavato to move the tall shrubs, Ogun wih his machete, clears the path and Ochosi with his bow and arrow releases and hits his target never missing. All animals are to be of Ochosi. He loves to hunt deer and large games. There is nothing impossible for Ochosi when he is on the hunt.
The Pataki on Ochosi
One day Ochosi was in the forest doing what he does best. He was on the tracks of a large deer that he saw from afar. Ochosi went into range and released his arrow straight hitting the deer. Ochosi ran through the shrubs until he reached the fallen deer. Elegua who is everywhere, saw this and approached Ochosi and they both made a fire where they consumed the deer. While drinking and eating, Elegua proceeded to tell Ochosi that the great Olofi was having a gathering in ara onu (the heavens). Ochosi who wasn’t an orisha yet, told Elegua that he is blessed beause him Ochosi, has life from the great Olofi. While they were talking, Ochosi smelled the tracks of another game so he quickly grabbed his bow and arrow and got ready for his next hunt. Elegua who was full from the feast told Ochosi that he was going to go keep drinking and find new conversation somewhere else. Ochosi smiled at Elegua and left quickly through the trees.
Elegua walking through the woods, smelled a tasty scent coming from Orula’s house. So he decided to stop and visit the great diviner. Orula opened the door and welcomed Elegua in. Orula who knows all through his divination, knew that Elegua would be coming and of course the little one is always hungry and thirsty. So Orula told Elegua that the food was almost ready and in the next room he would find a bottle of oti. Orula was telling Elegua about the great event that Olofi was having in the heavens, and that Olofi wanted a beautiful and rare bird to stay in the castles of ara onu. Elegua suggested that he should take a cake to the great one. Orula said no because he Elegua would end up eating the cake. Elegua laughed and shook his head as in to agree with him. Elegua jumped up said that he knew of someone that could help him get Olodumare a bird. But not any bird, a special bird that would be seen by all. Orula did not have the time or energy to catch a bird. Elegua smiled and told him he knew the perfect person that could help him resolve that. His name is Ochosi and he lives within the forest.
Orula started his path through the forest and was on his search for this person that Elegua said that could help him. Orula saw Ochosi over the hill top gazing on a pack of gazels. Orula approached Ochosi and when Ochosi saw Orula he immediately bowed his head as Orula is the great diviner in all lands. Orula told Ochosi that he was seeking him for a favor that hopefully he could help him with. Orula told him that Elegua said that he would be the only person that could help him in this matter. Ochosi confused asked Orula what was the favor. Orula explained to Ochosi that the great Olofi wanted a bird that was beautiful and rare. Ochosi honored by Orula’s request, told him that he would be by his house later in the afternoon with a bird so beautiful and rare. Orula blessed Ochosi and they both parted as Orula went back home and Ochosi went on his hunt.
Ochosi spotted a beautiful bird gazing by the edges of the river and he went to the other side and set up a trap so he can catch the bird. Ochosi sat behind the tall grass and watched the bird make its way to the trap. And before you knew it, the bird was stuck in the trap. Ochosi grabbed the bird and went back to his house to clean and groom the bird so it will be presentable for Olofi.
When Ochosi reached his house his, it was empty. As for his mother was not home, she was at the market. Ochosi groomed the bird to a glistening look and left the bird in the cage. He then went on his way to Orula’s house to notify him that he already captured the bird and it was ready to take to Olodumare.
Ochosi’s mother came home from the marketplace and saw that there was a bird sitting in a cage. She knew that her son was always on the hunt and probably brought the bird home for dinner. Ochosi’s mother took the bird and started to prepare for dinner. She took off all the feathers and was getting the kettle ready to start to cook it so when her son arrived home, the food would be ready and hot. But his mother forgot one of the condiments for her cooking so she went back to the marketplace to pick it up.
Ochosi and Orula arrive back to Ochosi’s house to pick up the bird. Ochosi told Orula how he groomed the bird and it will be a great gift for the great Olofi. When they finally arrived at the house the cage was empty and Orula asked Ochosi if this was a joke. Ochosi upset and humiliated told Orula that it was not a joke and expressed to him that he did not know what happened to it. Ochosi immediately went back on the hunt while Orula made the decent back home. Ochosi saw another bird and did the same process to capture it. He groomed the bird and this time went straight back to Orula’s house. When Orula saw the bird he was very appeased and thanked Ochosi. He decided to take Ochosi with him to the castle of Olofi so he can show Olofi who indeed captured this great bird.
They arrived at the castle and walked into the great hall where Olofi was sitting on his throne. Orula gave the gift to Olofi who was very estatic for this gift that was brought to him. Olofi asked Orula who was the one that captured this bird for him. Ochosi kneeled down in front at the foot of the great one. Olofi told Ochosi to rise and he thanked Ochosi for the gift. He then told Ochosi that he has watched him from the heavens while he is on his hunt and expressed to him that he was indeed a great hunter. Olofi said that he was going to grant Ochosi a gift that was the gifts of all gifts. He grabbed his staff and told Ochosi to kneel in front of him and he gave Ochosi an orisha crown. At that moment in time he became an orisha. Ochosi was very happy and humble to the gift that Olofi gave him. Olofi then asked Ochosi if there was anything else that he wanted him to do. Ochosi told Olofi that there was one thing that he requested from him. He asked Olofi that when he releases his arrow that it goes through the heart of the person that stole the bird that he previously got for the great one. Olofi knowing all asked Ochosi if he was sure on the request that he was asking for and Ochosi said yes. So Olofi touched the tip of the arrow and Ochosi released his arrow straight into the air.
Moments later their was a sighing cry that he himself Ochoi recognized. It was the cry of his dear mother. Ochosi was confused and Olofi showed him the results of his request. When Ochosi saw his mother lying on the floor with the same arrow that he just released in her heart, he was sadden but stood up to care for his actions. Olofi told Ochosi that his mother did not know about the gift. Olofi said that Ochosi should tend to the righteousness of the people. Olofi then made Ochosi the overseer of justice and truth. The same way he proclaimed justice even to his own mother for taking the bird that was not hers he would do the same for mankind.
Ochosi feast day is on October 25. His colors are blue, yellow, green and coral. He eats all animals that are game. His children are like him as they proclaim justice and are very trustworthy people. They always hunt and seek out the truth in everything. Hunters, all law enforcements and fisherman’s are under the protection and watch of Ochosi. The majority of Ochosi’s offerings are placed near or at the foot of a prison, jail or courthouse. He is petitioned when one is being falsely accused or to seek an accuser for wrong doing. He is also petitioned to help ward off the law only when the petitioner is in the right.
The family of Ochosi
Ode is said to be the father of Ochosi. Ode is a powerful witchdoctor that lives in the depths of the woods. He taught Ochosi the game of hunt. All birds and animals are associated with him as he has hunted them all. He said to be a tall man dressed in deer and leopard skin just like his son Ochosi. He constructed the bow and arrows of Ochosi. He is an orisha that one receives either from a babalow or santero,
He is the one that Ochosi turns all the prisoners and catches to you to lock in a cage. Represented as the jail cell. He is also received.
Abola and Aboqui
These are said to be the guardians of Ochosi who are always near him. They are like twins who never leave and protect Ochosi when he is in hunt.