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Ochosi

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Ochosi
Ochosi

Ochosi (also known as Ochossi, Oshosi, or Oxosi) is the divine hunter and embodiment of justice amongst the orishas in the Yoruban religion and its diaspora in the Americas. He is a skilled tracker and the most talented archer in the world. While he can find his way in and out of the jungle where others get lost, he does not live there. He is an urban orisha and lives in Obatala's castle as his personal hunter. He is close friends with Eleggua and Ogun; the three of whom are called "the warriors". He is an orisha of high moral and ethical standards and encourages his worshippers to be law-abiding, upstanding citizens. He helps his followers to "hit the mark" when they strive to attain goals, and to do so with integrity. He is frequently called upon for issues of injustice and for court cases and legal issues and is considered the patron of police officers and court officials by many followers.

Ochosi is usually depicted as a lean, athletic black man dressed in hides, brandishing a longbow. His shrine is in the form of an open ceramic bowl filled with a metal tools, many of which are bows or crossbows, and a rack of antlers and deer feet, along with 18 loose cowries for diloggun divination through which he can speak. There is only one road or avatar of Ochosi, unlike other orishas. One of his stories captures just how blind Ochosi's justice can be. Ochosi had a beautiful guinea hen who was his favorite pet. One day he went hunting and his mother decided to do something nice for her dutiful son, so she took the hen, killed it, cooked it up, and had it simmering in a pot on the stove for when he would return. She then left to tend to other things. Ochosi returned to find his beloved guinea hen cooking on the stove and was so upset that he drew an arrow across his bow, aimed it up to the sky and said, "May this arrow land in the heart of whomever killed my lovely guinea hen!" He let the arrow fly, and it found its true target. Ochosi found his mother killed by his own arrow. Ochosi's ritual numbers are 3 and 7. His beaded necklace is composed of royal blue beads, honey colored beads, and coral beads. His garments are deep blue with gold trim. Animal sacrifice is used to propitiate Ochosi within African Traditional Religions. His sacrifices include: he-goat, roosters, quails, pigeons, guinea hens and all game animals. Altar offerings for Ochosi include anisette liqueur, grapes, and pears. Ochosi has no taboo foods, but he cannot be petitioned to evade the law or to foil justice.

In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria, in which African orishas are associated with Catholic Church saints, the representative of Ochosi is Saint Norbert. Hoodoo pyschic readers, spirit workers and root doctors who are adherents of the Yoruban and Yoruban-Diasporic Religions and who petition the orishas on behalf of clients may work with Ochosi when there are pending court cases and legal issues.

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