Santeria is a religion created by Africans who found themselves enslaved in the West in places like Brazil, Cuba and Trinidad. It's built on a foundation of Orisha worship wrapped in elements of Catholicism. The Africans were forced to hide their Yoruba traditions behind Christian symbols to fool the slave owners and their staff. Today Santeria practices contain the power and beauty of ancient spiritual truths passed down for thousands of years. Botanica Viejo Lazaro is an excellent source of materials needed for Santeria religious practices.

Santeria Levels

People involved in the Santeria religion can be classified as belonging to one of several Santeria levels. The titles that accompany those levels are:

1. Aleyo 
2. Aborisha 
3. Olorisha (Santero/Santera) 
4. Iyawo (Yawó, Yabo) 
5. Padrino, Madrina (Babatobi, Iyatobi) 
6. Oyugbona (Ojugbona, Yubona
7. Babalawo 
8. Obá Oriaté

People involved in the Santeria begin as an Aleyo and can work their way through the levels if they are called and willing to do the work and study it takes to grow in power, influence and usefulness within the Santeria religion. However, not everyone involved in Santeria aspires to or can become a Babalawo or Obá Oriaté. It is a special level attained by a select group of well-trained, spiritually advanced, individuals.

What The Santeria Levels Signify

Each level a person attains in the Santeria religion reflects the amount of participation, training and commitment they have demonstrated.

The Aleyo are people on the periphery of the Santeria religion. They have no formal association with the religion or any spiritual lineage, but are free to work with the Ancestors.

Aborisha are initiates in Santeria. They are protected by the Orishas and have responsibilities and duties towards the spiritual godparents who provided them with necklaces or introduced them to the warriors. The next step after Aborisha is to become a Santeria priest or priestess

Olorisha (Santero/Santera) are people who have been crowned with an Orisha in the kariocha ceremony. The person's body and life are then consecrated to serving that Orisha. Aggayu, Chango, Eleggua, Obatala, Obba, Ochosi, Ogun, Oshun, Oya and Yemaya are popular Orisha to whom Olorisha become attached.

An Iyawo (Yawó, Yabo) is someone who has gone through the kariocha initiation ceremony and must spend a year wearing white and following many behavioral restrictions to remain centered, focused and pure and bond with their chosen Orisha.

Padrino, Madrina (Babatobi, Iyatobi) are terms that mean godfather and godmother. They are titles of respect given to Babalawo or Olorisha who initiate an Aleyo or newcomer into the Santeria religion.

An Oyugbona (Ojugbona,Yubona) is a new initiate's second godparent. The literal meaning of the term Oyugbona is 'eyes on the road'. The Oyugbona's role is to help 'look out' for the new initiate on their spiritual journey. They also play an important role in religious ceremonies.

A Babalawo is a priest consecrated to the Orisha Orunmila and the sect of Ifá. It's a diviner's sect and Babalawo perform readings, do cleansing ceremonies, sacrificial ceremonies and initiate other Babalawo and those receiving Orunmila's mysteries.

The Obá Oriaté is the Santeria religion's high priest. They know all the rituals and ceremonies and orchestrate and officiate them for the community. They do cowrie shell readings, entrance readings before ceremonies and give necklaces, warriors, Orisha and life readings and perform religious services associated with every aspect of the Santeria religion.

A Trusted Source

Miami, Florida based Botanica Viejo Lazaro we have over 400,000 wholesale and retail items including educational materials, candles, African statuettes, supplies, spiritual merchandise and more for Santeria and Lucumi religious practices, initiations, rituals and ceremonies.