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What is an Otá in Santeria? ≫ The refuge of the Spirit of the Orisha

What is an otá in Santeria

Many times we hear it said that Eleggua it sits on an ott or river stone, but not just any one. The process of collecting the Otá from each Orisha requires a great ceremonial and numerous rites.

The so-called Otá, symbolize the divine power of the deities and are not only used in rites of Yoruba origin.

Ota, Okuti or Okuti in the candomblé, are names that represent the same meaning: a stone from a river or other natural landscapes, which encloses the "sacred power" of a deity, always brought to these elements by consecrating rites.

There are numerous legends in the different African religious expressions, that the Orisha leaves the earth, goes to heaven and then returns in the form of rain. That water reached the rivers and they became Otá.

The sacred stones in Santeria

Otanes santeria

The otá or stone Each saint is different and they are characterized by their colors that represent the deities: white, black, yellow, pink etc.

In the Yoruba religion, the Otá are collected from rivers and asked through the Oracle if they belong to an Orisha.

If they answer affirmatively, they are washed with the Omiero de Osain del Monte and then in another ceremony, the Orisha is asked if he accepts that Akuta, lifeless stone.

If the deity answers yes, it becomes an Otá or living stone.

In the Otá the spiritual energy takes refuge, complementing it. And that energy is made up of the spiritual essence of deceased people.

For this reason, the santeros indicate that an Otá can be loaded with many souls common to the same saint, which is why it always has an Oricha to which it belongs and represents.

Purification of the Otans

The Otá is collected first to later determine which Osha or Orisha it corresponds to and can be searched in different places depending on the characteristics of the deities.

For example:

  • For the wise father Obatala, the Otá must be collected at the top of a height or around a Ceiba.
  • For Shango the king of the drum, the Otá must be near the sea or at the foot of a Ceiba or a Palm.
  • The Ota of the vigilante ochosi is collected in the bush.
  • The goddess of love Oshun requires a river Otá.
  • For the mistress of the ocean Yemaya, a stone from the sea.

When the Otá is collected, it must be subjected to a process of purification of the souls, to increase its energetic forces and purify negative charges.

Afterwards, they will possess that special energy that will complement the sacred power of the Orisha and thus protect whoever possesses it.

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