OrishaOko is the Orisha of cultivated land, of the harvest, of plenty. Many of the mysteries of this Orisha have been lost in the New World. He is not a saint that is "made" on the heads of initiates. Usually Yemeya is made to the children of OrishaOKo with "Oro" for Yemaya. OrishaOko is represented by a metal farmer with a team of oxen, a painted tile and two coconuts that are painted red and white. In Africa, where agriculture played a very important part in the daily life many years ago, OrishaOko was a very important Orisha. OrishaOko is also an Orisha of fertility. It is said that there is today still a secret society of women that have the secrets of working with him to insure fertility in women. In the earliest times, fertility in women and animals was just as important as fertility of the soil. Another important function that OrishaOko has is that of Judge of the Orishas. Whenever there was a dispute among the Orishas, OrishaOko was called to settle the matter. It is said that once Obba brought Chango before OrishaOko, complaining of his behavior.
Saint Isidore the Laborer is the Catholic Saint that our ancestors chose to represent OrishaOko. The reason is obvious. He is represented as a farmer with oxen. This is exactly the emblems of OrishaOko. Of course, in the earliest times in Africa, there were no oxen to farm the land, but in the New World, they became like the slaves, the beasts of burden. One of the main crops of the Yorubas was the ~name or yame. This is tubular root that is brown on the outside and white on the inside. It is one of the staples of the Yorubas. There is a story about the Obatala, Yemaya and OrishaOko and the ~names. Yemaya seduced OrishaOko to learn the secret of cultivating ~names and then traded the secret to Obatala in exchange for the sacred drums. For this reason, the ~name is one of the symbols of OrishaOko.
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