The Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, which practitioners usually call Regla de Ocha or the Lucumí religion, has evolved over hundreds of years since its beginnings in the Yoruba lands in West Africa. The Santeria religion is not based on the worship of an
How is Santeria Practiced?
There are many misconceptions about the Lucumí religion, that it is a primitive or polytheistic religion, but the truth is that it is neither. The Lecumi religion is a syncretic religion that has evolved over time to become what it is today. As the African Diaspora unfolded, West Africans who practiced the Lucumí religion were forcefully removed from their homelands and brought to the Americas, being forced into lives of slave labor and mandated Christian religious practices.
The Lucumí religion is practiced by initiated Orisha priests known as Santero. A Santero is known as
Who Are Yemaya and the Orishas?
Yemaya and the other Orishas are tutelary deities in the Lucumí religion that function somewhat like Saints in the Catholic religion. They teach us how to live our lives purposefully and intercede on our behalf. The Orishas also communicate with the trinity of high
There is a rich oral history of lore and legend in the Lucumí religion that is held by the Pataki or Itá, repositories of all of the past knowledge and wisdom left by our spiritual ancestors and carried into the present day through a long lineage. The stories
Working with the Orishas through rituals can generate a change in the disposition of individual people which can release them from negative karma and transform their lives in a positive direction. These rituals must be performed by an Orisha priest or Babalawo, but the person receiving the aché or grace need not necessarily be a practitioner of the Lucumí religion to benefit from a ritual.
There are hundreds of Orisha in the Santeria religion, but here are several of the most prominent:
Elegua Orisha is a male Orisha warrior, the
Yemaya Orisha is the divine mother,
Shango Orisha is an Orisha male warrior who is charged with assuring that the divine will of Olofi is being served on the Earth. Shango Orisha is the defender of virtue, righteousness, and order, promoting paternal values
Babalu Aye or Babalu Orisha
Babalu Aye, also known as Babalu Orisha, is the Lord of the Earth and rules over infectious diseases and healing. Babalu Aye is known as the Wrath of the Supreme God and it is his job to punish people for their transgressions. Throughout Africa and the Caribbean, Babalu Aye has been revered and feared for centuries. It is important to note that, though he is associated with infectious disease, he is also the spirit that heals these diseases.
Babalu Orisha is also known as Saint Lazarus in the Lucumí religion and teaches us compassion and responsibility for the sick, injured and infirm. Babalu Orisha is the protector of the sick and infirm, and he appears as an old man with visible sores and trembling legs to teach us about the importance of integrity and humility.
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The Santeria religion of the Orishas involves the use of a variety of products and services that act as supports in the practice. When one finds their particular guardian Orisha, they will then set up a shrine in their home to the Orisha, which would involve setting up Catholic and African statuettes, candles, and spiritual incense for the creation of a sacred space of worship and communication with the Divine. Making prayers and offerings to the Orisha on a regular basis, reciting mantras, and performing various divination rituals, is directly supported by the use of Santeria jewelry and bead products, Mazo necklaces, ides reg, ides crystals