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 the [enslaved Africans] who were brought 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 abstracted 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 Continue reading
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
Ninth child – Oya
From The Yoruba Religious Concepts
Not unlike her sisters, Oya Llasan, 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
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. It is She who assists us with rapid inner and outer transformation. Oya, is about absolute change (especially for the good) and is not a Continue reading
By Santeria Church of the Orishas
Yemaya (also spelled Yemoja, Iemoja, or Yemayá) is one of the most powerful orishas in Santeria. She is the mother of all living things, rules over motherhood and owns all the waters of the Earth. She gave birth to the stars, the moon, the sun and most of the orishas. Yemaya makes her residence in life-giving portion of the ocean (although some of her roads can be found in lagoons or lakes in the forest). Yemaya’s aché is nurturing, protective and fruitful. Yemaya is just as much a loving mother orisha as she is a fierce warrior that kills anyone who threatens her children.
Yemaya can be found in all the waters of the world, and because of this she has many aspects of “caminos” (roads), each reflecting the nature of different bodies of water. She, like Oshún, carries all of the 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 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