Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
The father and the orisha of the land is Orisha Oko. He is the orisha that holds the secrets to farming and maintaining the harvest and crops fertile and alive. It is him that maintains the stability of life through his plantation of the fields. He tends to his crops on a daily basis making sure that the harvest and the land is up to par. Ogun made a contraption for him that he got the aide of 2 ox’s, that help him distribute the seeds so the crops can grow.
Orisha Oko is also the judge of the orisha. He dislikes arguments and is the first one to jump to any females defense when an argument is present. As the orisha of the crops and fertility, he is also petitioned when one is fertile and can not multiply. Whether it be a man or a woman, he is said to assist in those matters. He is the great fertilizer of the land. He lives in a terra cotta dish with the a man being pulled by 2 oxes. He has a teja (usually the corner terra cotta tile of a roof) that is painted in red and white with 2 coconuts. He also takes a staff that measures from the knee down. The 2 coconuts represent the scrotum of a male. It is said that Orisha Oko’s scrotum hanged down to the floor The teja is used as the male shaft, in which when performing his rituals, the animals ashe run down the teja fertilizing the earth.
Orisha Oko is also prayed to bring prosperity and good fortune and health to the one that is making the offering. It is said that us who takes from the earth, must give back to the earth. So offerings to the earth is done on a regular basis.
The Pataki of Orisha Oko
Orisha Oko was a man that tended to his job with the up most respect. He would work all day on his crops to make sure the crops are growing as said. Once the sun would start to go down and the moon would rise, he would go to bed and leave his brother Korinkoto to tend the crop fields as tomorrow was another long day.
One morning Orisha Oko was walking near the seashore planting his crops in a new town to help bring harvest for them. He noticed a beautiful women in the waters and was struck by her. He put down his farming tools and walked towards the sea and yelled out to her. She turned around and stayed looking at him. In his eyes you can notice the look of a similar puppy love he had for the women laying in the sea. The women looked straight at him and told her that her name was Ibu Agana Eni and she was not looking for any type of love affairs of puppy looks because she had a defect that made it impossible not to leave the ocean.
Note* Different people say that the woman he saw in the ocean was Olokun and that’s who spoke to him. Olokun to some including myself is derived as a male orisha, father of the bottom of the ocean floor. It was an aspect of Yemaya that spoke to Orisha Oko.
Orisha Oko looked at Agana and told her that he didn’t care of her defected looks. He told her that he did not care of that. Agana told him ok, and she then told him to make a pact with her. She told him, you never discuss or make fun of my defect or we will separate and never talk again. Orisha Oko who was yearning for love none the less a wife agreed to the pact. Ibu Agana agreed and she started to come to the waters edge. Now Agana had a beautiful face but her body was somewhat deformed. She had one leg bigger than the other, multiple scars and blisters near her womb area and she had one breast. Orisha Oko seeing this paid no attention to it. Olofi seeing all of this from the heavens came down and told Orisha Oko that he did not want any disrespect towards Agana. He told Orisha Oko that he made a castle for Agana deep in the ocean so she wouldn’t be ridiculed by anyone for her defects. Orisha Oko gave Olofi his word that he will never disrespect Ibu Agana and he will always cherish her. Olofi then told the both that they needed to be married.
Years passed on and Orisha Oko and Ibu Agana lived happily together. Due to the fact that Orisha Oko’s harvest were so abundant, he decided to sell his crops. So Orisha Oko would go and collect the crops and the fruits that he grew and took them to his wife where she would sell them to the people. Everyday the towns people would come and purchase their harvest from Agana at the seashore. She always was dressed to hide her defects from the world so they would not make fun of her.
One day some townsmen came to the seashore to buy some fruits from Agana. They stayed staring at the orisha and were whispering under their breath to one another. Ibu Agana was feeling very reluctant and asked them what where they discussing. They told her that they came because there was a man who plowed the fields has said that there is a women by the seashore who is totally deformed. Agana got such in a rage that she turned into a ghostly figure. You could see the hurt and dismay of her face. She left the sea and went to where Orisha Oko was at. When Orisha Oko saw her approaching him, he was wondering why his wife was coming to him at such a fast pace and in such a rage.
Agana told him of the hurt and the promise he broke to her and she stated that as while the world is the world, I will always detest you and we will live in separate places. And you will live far from me and you and I will go upon your lands whenever I feel like it. I will never talk to you and everyone must pay homage to me and with that I will save my children who honor me. I will assign Elegua who is the guardian of Olofi’s house, to receive the souls of the children of the earth as well as yourself. I curse you that your own weapons will turn against you, your animals will also turn against you. The lands that you fertilize will become bad soil. Your children will no longer be your children, you will never see the fruit of your harvest and man will always step on your grounds. She then turned around and disappeared into the ocean.
Olofi who was very upset at Orisha Oko and he descended to where he was at and told him with a strong voice that upon what Agana told him, his harvest will always shrivel and die. The ox that he uses to help with his harvest will die of thirst, and the land will become sour.
Orisha Oko upset and shamed didn’t know where to turn his head as he has just be scolded by the great Olofi. He went and collected fruits, a pig and harvest and made a haste to the seashore. He constructed a make shift boat and sailed out into the sea. The oceans water became very rocky as Agana was still in such a rage. There Orisha Oko made sacrifice to Agana and told Elegua to take the sacrifice to her. He returned to land and picked up all the scraps from the market place with 2 roosters and made sacrifice to Elegua at the well. He left there and sacrificed one of the ox’s to Olofi in forgiveness. By him doing these ebbos or offerings, he was able to diminish the epidemic that was coming upon the land from Agana. Olofi spoke to him from the heavens and told Orisha Oko that he was pleased with the sacrifice and he saw his serenity of what he did and from that day forth Orisha Oko will have his harvest and be the orisha of ii and his lands will always live very far from the ocean.
This is where love was born and then died.
Orisha Oko is friend to Chango in which the thunder god gave him as a gift the color red and a thunderstone. Orisha Oko’s colors are pink and sky blue. His feast day is either March 22 or May 15. He is known to be similar as Saint Isidro. His number is 7 and due to the curse from Ibu Agana, his children are initiated through Yemaya. In which we call Yemaya oro Orisha Oko, His offerings are everything that come from the grounds. All crops that come from the ground is given to him His sacrifice is male goats, roosters and pigeons. He is strong and affectionate father. His protects everyone who are hard workers and especially harvest workers. Orisha Oko lives outside in the backyard of the priests house. It is there where one would plant vegetables and crops for him. With these same crops one can do ebbo and give back to the earth. When Orisha Oko eats, a whole is dug in the earth and all of the foods from the awan (ceremonial cleansing) is placed inside of the hole.
Koricoto is Orisha Oko’s brother. He is the orisha that is said to look after the crops when the sun is down. Due to the fact that the birds always come to pick at the growing crops. Koricoto is represented as the scarecrow that sits in the middle of the crops. He is also received and eats with his brother Orisha Oko. His vessel lives alongside with his brother that contains his mysteries. His colors are green and red.