Stone was, after wood, the natural element most used and revered by primitive man. From its use a whole arsenal of survival and religious worship arose which was transformed over time.
The rock represented at that time a working instrument, on it and with its help, humanity built houses and was able to take shelter from the cold and other inclement weather.
The stone was precisely the material on which the figures of the first gods were sculpted.
What meaning does the stone have?
The rock represents firmness, since its solid structure has been the basis in the construction and development of many civilizations.
This in turn is identified with the longevity virtue that corresponds to the popular phrase:
"If you want something to last, make it of stone."
The Otá or stone in Santeria
The Otá (NATO) or stone, is the Yoruba term under which this natural element was identified. Through the Otá, the Orishas are represented who are identified with the number of stones according to the number that represents them.
The spirit of the African deities lives in the Otanes, the power of the saint is based on them, the same energy that is later used by the Orishas in the aid of the religious in order to achieve the defeat of the causes and on the difficulties that they torment them about their passage through earthly life.
The stones used in the Santeria They have different origins, among these we can mention the belonging:
- to the river,
- to the hill and
- to the bowels of the earth.
These will be selected depending on the Orisha who will be consecrated taking into account the domains of the same.
How are stones selected for Osha?
The stones used in the Osha ceremonies are not randomly selected by the religious, it is the santero or godfather who is in charge of giving coconut to the otanes to see if they are the right stones to develop the birth of the saint.
This ritual is strictly observed because if it is not carried out, it could have serious consequences for the religious and the initiate.
The consecration of the Otans in the Yoruba Pantheon.
Once the stones have been selected, they must be consecrated, which is closely linked to the secrets of the saint's room and the use of ceremonial omieros.
The pact between the African deities and the Otanes is deposited inside the receptacles of the Orishas.
This must remain protected from the sight of curious, the religious must profess respect before the holy stones, since these are considered extensions of the Orishas themselves.