Ochosi (also spelled Ochossi, Oxosi, or Oshosi) is a skilled, stealthy hunter orisha who upholds the highest ethical standards and always hit the mark with his arrow. Ochosi knows the wilderness better than anyone else and has mastered the art of tracking his prey and killing it while being totally undetectable. While he knows the wild parts of the world he does not make his residence there. He lives in Obatala’s palace and hunts on his behalf. He is often times depicted as the force of blind justice in the world, and is said to rule the court systems, police officers, jails and other executors of the law. He is the piercing tip of the arrow, drawn across a bow and launched through the air with purpose. He helps us attain our goals while maintaining an ethical and straight path through life.
Ochosi is often found with his inseparable friends Elegguá and Ogún. These three orishas along with Osun are “The Warriors” – one of the initiations a person receives making him an Aborisha or worshipper of the orishas. Elegba, Ogun and Ochosi work together to help a person’s spiritual development. Eleggua opens the road, Ogun clears it and Ochosi helps that person attain their goal as easily as possible, like the straight shot of his arrow. Ochosi’s main symbol is the crossbow, and when a person receives The Warriors as a set, Ochosi’s presence is a small iron crossbow inside of Ogun’s cauldron. Later, if the initiate needs to receive Ochosi’s full shrine, he will receive his own container with an assortment of hunting tools and his own otá (stone) and diloggún.
Priests who are crowned with and of the warrior orishas including Elegguá, Ogun or Ochosi receive Ochosi’s complete shrine (pictured to the right) at their Kariocha ceremony. Some lineages give Ochosi’s shrine in a clay vessel, while others give his shrine in an iron cauldron. This is a normal variation that is seen between spiritual houses.