What is Santeria?
Lucumi, or Regla de Ocha, is commonly known in the U.S. as Santeria, a religion that blends Yoruban beliefs with elements of Roman Catholicism. Santeria is believed to have originated in Africa or the Caribbean and to have eventually arrived in Cuba due to the slave trade.
Santeria focuses on building relationships between followers and powerful spirits called Orishas. Orishas assist followers throughout life if praised through rituals and worship. The Santeria religion has no written scripture. Beliefs and rituals are most often passed down by word-of-mouth and through practice.
What the Santeria Religion Is Not.
The media has often falsely portrayed Santeria as a form of devil-worship. It is the religion’s incorporation of animal sacrifice purposed as food, divination, and herbal healing practices that outsiders have found misleading. Santeria is often confused with the Voodoo or
Organization and Initiation.
Santeria is most often practiced within a “house” or a “temple,” which are sometimes called
There are four steps involved in joining the Santeria religion, followed by a post-initiation. The first step involves the acquisition of a special beaded necklace known as an
The third stage of initiation is referred to as the receiving of the warriors. Initiates receive objects that are representative of tools that are used to forge a relationship between the follower and the Orishas. The final stage of initiation is the
Tools for Santeria.
While the exact items needed for each ritual or ceremony vary by purpose, there are basic tools that are involved in most rituals. Those tools include candles, bath washes, oils, and herbs. Oils can be purchased in premixed dram vials, or they may be handmade essential oils. These oils may be added to objects or remedies or used with an oil diffuser. Other commonly used tools include jicaras, all-white garments, and statuettes. Sought-after, but more difficult to obtain items may include specific necklaces, railroad nails, and horsetails.
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