PRAYERS TO THE ORISHAS
A LOOK AT SANTERÍA
By Diane Elizabeth Caudillo, 2007
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
The 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
THE SEVEN AFRICAN POWERS
By Cat Yronwode
The religion of the West African Yoruba people was forced underground by centuries of slavery in the Americas. Several hybrid forms of worship, of which the best known is Santeria, were created by deliberate conflation of Yoruba spiritual entities with Catholic ones.
The Yoruba people of West Africa recognize three levels of spiritual force: one creator god called Olodumare; numerous nature or messenger spirits (similar to Christian angels) called the orishas, and the revered spirits of the dead, called the eggun. Continue reading