Category Archives: Yoruba

Prayers to the Ori-Kra

PRAYERS TO THE ORISHAS
A LOOK AT SANTERÍA
By Diane Elizabeth Caudillo, 2007

Introduction

Who owns your head? This provocative question means a great deal to many people around the world who practice a religion known as Santería, or alternatively La Regla de Ocha. This tradition originates among the Yoruba people of West Africa, in the area of present-day Nigeria.

A great percentage of enslaved Africans who were taken to the New World were Yoruban— according to David Brown of Emory University, 500,000 Africans were taken into Cuba between 1800 and 1870, and one third were Yoruban or from Yoruban-influenced areas.1 According to Robert Farris Thompson, 40% of all Africans taken from Africa came from the Kongo and Angola regions.2 This fact helps explain some of the traditions observable today in the United States, in the form of yard shows, bottle trees, words like “banjo”- “mbanja” and “goober” (peanut) – “mgooba”. Many popular dance and musical styles – the Charleston, jug bands, jazz – owe their origin to African ways preserved by the descendants of the Africans who survived the Middle Passage. Continue reading

Oya and Shango and Oya

Oya and Shango - CKOya, Yansa
From Soulmindbody, 2010

Wind in her hair
Lightning in her eyes
Storms in her voice
And thunder in her thighs!

Sacred number: 9
Sacred colors: Brown, orange, purple, arterial blood red, deep red, burgundy, maroon, rainbow plus black, brown, and white
Symbols and Embodiments: Storms, wind, whirlwinds, hurricanes, storm and/or disease vector symbols, chaos symbol (cross of two or four arrows) with whirlwind (tapering zigzag), more symbols below… Continue reading

Oya Yansan

Oya - Lazaro BrandNinth child – Oya
From The Yoruba Religious Concepts

Not unlike her sisters, Oya Llasan Yansan, brought a physical beauty to the world. Her appearance also brought great conflict to the orisa. Oya had eyes of amber they where large and round and very expressive. When the people made eye contact with her, they would fall under her spell. With her birth into the kingdom also came the breath of life and movement of air, great storms and tornadoes.

Although she was female and feminine, She had a strong temperament and when she was forced to she would assume the personality of a masculine warrior in battle as well as lead others into war fighting as a equal at their side. Oya had the soul of a Continue reading

Oya

Oya - Dylan MeconisOya – Great Orisha goddess of Wind, Storms and Guardian Between Worlds
From African American Wiccan Society

Oya is a Great Yoruban Orisha. She is the goddess of Storms and Winds, and Her realm ranges from rainbows to thunder.  Her name means “She Who Tore” in Yoruba.  She can manifest as winds ranging from the gentlest breeze to the raging hurricane or cyclone.

Oya is known as a fierce Warrior goddess and a strong Protectress of women, who call upon Her. She assists us with rapid inner and outer transformation. Oya, is about absolute change (especially for the good) and is not a slow or very patient energy. According to Luisah Teish in the book, Jambalaya, Continue reading

Wata Mama

yemay - shepsaritesMami Wata

Myth of mermaids is popular all around the world, but the African water spirit Mami Wata remained respected and celebrated from the time before the African nations came in contact with Europe, through the ages, and even up to today where she is venerated in West, Central, Southern Africa and the diaspora in Americas. She represented one of the most powerful goddesses in the African religion of Voudun (not to be mistaken to the newer and more heavily publicized Voodoo) and is today celebrated as a goddess that must be both loved and feared.

As with many other old mermaid deities such as Assyrian Astarte, Babylonian Ishtar and Greek Aphrodite, she is regarded as an immortal spirit that personifies polar opposites, such as of beauty and danger, natural force and healing, Continue reading

The Seven Spirit Guides

orichas - religionlucimiThe Seven African Powers
by Dr. E., 2012

The Seven African Powers are a common spiritual force that people petition within Santeria but there is a common misconception around who they are and how they function. If you visit any botanica (spiritual shop) you’ll find candles with something akin to the image on the right claiming to be 7 African Powers Candles. You’ll also find spiritual supplies like baths, oils and powders that claim to work for the Seven African Powers. Who are these powers in reality?

[Most] people mistakenly think that the Seven African Powers are the orishas: Elegua, Ogun, Orula, Continue reading

Orishas

Orishas by Noire3000 James C. LewisThe Orishas
From Orishanet

The orishas are the emissaries of Olodumare or God almighty. They rule over the forces of nature and the endeavors of humanity. They recognise themselves and are recognised through their different numbers and colors which are their marks, and each has their own favorite foods and other things which they like to receive as offerings and gifts. In this way we make our offerings in the manner they are accustomed to, in the way they have always received them, so that they will recognise our offerings and come to our aid.

The orishas are often best understood by observing the forces of nature they rule over. For instance, you can learn much about Oshún and her children by watching the rivers and streams she rules over and observing that though she always heads toward her sister Yemayá (the Sea) she does so on her own Continue reading

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