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What is the Ituto Ceremony and how is it performed in the Osha-Ifá Rule?

Ituto ceremony

Everything related to life and death for the Yoruba religion is seriously important and respected.

Death, which is Ikú in the Yoruba cult, is the one who is in charge of guiding and accompanyingañato the spirit of the deceased person on his journey back to the origin of everything, to the Universe, that is, to Olodumare the Supreme God.

The Rule of Osha-Ifá (Santeria) is a diverse and complex religious system and when a religious belonging to this Rule dies, many ceremonies are carried out that will help that spirit to go to the afterlife.

Among them we have the Ituto ceremony; breakfast, which is so that the dead person knows that he has nothing left in earthly life; remove the tears, which is when an older person dies, that is, a godmother or godfather and it is done 9 days after having passed away, and the funeral services, which are very important and extremely necessary.

I will speak today of the sacred Ituto ceremony specifically.

What is the Ituto in the Yoruba religion? Its religious importance

Ituto is a funeral ceremony and means detachment, rite, evolution and elevation, which is done to the deceased who is consecrated in Osha-Ifá.

This ceremony takes place in the period of death and burial of the religious or santero.

If the Oshas belonging to the deceased are not dismissed, the spirit of that person cannot rise and will arrive with hindrances at the feet of Oloddumare, and will not have peace or tranquility.

The deceased must say goodbye to everything that belonged to him on the earthly plane.

It is essential that when the Ituto ceremony is being performed, in the songs and prayers to the different deities each of them is told that their "son has died" so that the Orishas understand that their mission has ended on earth.

But for us religious that person is still alive, because, although his body is gone, his spirit will rise to heaven and will continue to live among us forever, because we faithfully believe in the ancestors.

What is done in an Ituto and how is it done?

Briefly and always respecting the memory of my ancestors and with their blessing, I will mention a little about this sacred ceremony of ituto.

When a santero dies:

  1. It should be put to Osun horizontally or lying down, then the Oshas go to the ground immediately with their snails and are arranged in the same order in which they are born, always leaving their tutelary Osha last.
  2. Where the Orishas were or in a corner of the room where the ceremony is held, light a candle, put a glass of water and a vase with flowers, if they are better lilies and a dead man's staff (bakuko).
  3. If the religious had Orishas received after being initiated, these will go to the side of the corresponding Osha.

For example, next to Yemayá would be Inle, Orisha Okó, Olokún. And if Yemayá decides to leave, all of these will go with her, because the snails of these Oshas do not speak except for her. And so the other Oshas and Orishas.

  1. The Oriaté will make an Omiero (water prepared with sacred plants) with 8 Obbatalá herbs where the Ewes (herbs) of:
  • Peregún or Balloneta,
  • White elderberry,
  • River fern,
  • Seedling,
  • Purslane or Ewe Papisame,
  • pigeon heart (Ewe Fa),
  • everlasting or prodigious (Ewe Odundun),
  • Atypony 

All these elements are seasoned with smoked hutía, smoked fish, guinea peppers according to the number of the deceased's tutelary Orisha, cascarilla, cocoa butter and other ingredients.

Purification and washing of the body:

The Yoruba ancestors said that until the body was washed and purified, that deceased would not depart towards heaven (Ara Orun).

For this reason, the body of the deceased must be washed with black and white laundry soap, also with natural scouring pad or made of rope.

Everyone present at the ceremony should also be cleaned with the omiero.

To know the will of the Orishas:

For this, the Oriaté will ask in order if they leave or stay.

The snail falls to the floor without a mat and the Oriaté sits on a bench. Only two letters enter which will be: Oshe and Obara.

  • If Oshe leaves, the Oshas are left with a blood relative of the deceased and
  • if Obara goes out it will be with someone from his religious family.

What will be the main ingredients to use in an Ituto?

  • White, red and black fabric of almost 2 meters (one yard),
  • large gourd,
  • three white plates,
  • hair comb,
  • razor or scissors that was used on the day of his saint,
  • the ashé that went to his lerí (head) when they consecrated him,
  • the white, red, blue and yellow paints,
  • house land,
  • dried palm leaves (mariwo),
  • ash,

Other very important elements are:

  • cocoa butter and corojo butter,
  • honey and honey,
  • guinea peppers,
  • toasted corn, smoked jutía and smoked fish,
  • cotton,
  • Natural charcoal that is used powdered with omiero and with the help of cotton the Ozun that crowned him in his day should be erased from his leri.
  • the okra must be dry,
  • dead scare plant,
  • 9 poplar leaves (Ewe Odon) to be collected between the fallen leaves of the tree that are upside down,

And you also need a piece of cloth from the parade on the day of your consecration. For this reason, the godparents or godmothers must jealously guard all the elements that are used in the consecration of each Iyawó (initiated in the Yoruba religion) that is born.

The ituto is a ceremony of detachment and evolution of the soul

By doing the Ituto to our dead we are separating their spirit so that it reaches purification and can reach Oloddumare without problems.

When we remember our ancestors we always do so convinced that they are next to us, that they take care of us and protect us.

We must be respectful and take care of them as much as when they were matter. Blessings.

Other ancestral and sacred ceremonies and cults in the Yoruba religion:

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