For those raised practicing the beliefs of Santeria, there probably isn't much mystery left to what this religion entails. Like any other system of beliefs, practitioners following this structure of belief have been raised learning the history, ceremonies, and practices associated with this religion.
For those coming to Santeria with fresh eyes, there may be a need to dispel the questions and concerns surrounding this ancient system of religious worship and practice. Here, a look at the basic concepts of this religion and a focus on the traditional tools of the religion, such as
collares de Santeria and Santeria beads, may provide an educational springboard from which to launch your study of this time-honored practice.
What is Santeria Really About?Looking to the media, including popular film and television, Santeria has often been portrayed in a bad light. Practitioners are often seen worshiping demons, or the devil himself, and offering human or animal sacrifices. This, in fact, is not remotely what this ancient belief system is all about. Instead of demonic worship, this system of beliefs focuses on the passing on of knowledge, personal power, and a dedication to the beauty of time-worn ceremonies and traditions.
Santeria originates from Africa in the area that is today called Nigeria, where it was first practiced by the Yoruba. Like many pagan religions, this religious practice
The term "Santeria" translates to English as "worship of the saints" and suggests that this is a loosely connected offshoot of the Catholic religion. However, it distances itself from Christian religions in that it worships the saints as deities themselves and holds the belief that those saints can and do descend to earth to assist their followers. In this way, worshipers are able to connect and personally interact with those they worship.
Also similar to many religions, one must study and learn about the religion, before being permitted to practice as a
On animal sacrifices, there is some truth to these stereotypes, though the exact circumstances when these types of ceremonies take place remain undisclosed to outsiders. It is known that such sacrifices are rare and, when they are conducted, the chicken is eaten after the ceremony. This is done to appease the orishas, who would not look kindly on any animal killed indiscriminately.
Additionally, all practitioners of Santeria are well educated in herbalism, as plants and flowers account for the majority of ingredients in magical works and rituals. The goal in any magical working is to obtain the "
Instead of the Zodiac, each person in the Santeria religion is governed by a specific Orisha. That orisha claims the people under his or her sign as their own and will even act as their guardian angel.
The Significance of Collares de Santeria and Santeria BeadsAs you begin your study of this system of beliefs and the accompanying practice of magical rituals, you can't help but
Even initiations are centered around the use of
Next, the initiate bows over a tub to be bathed in holy water, a process overseen by one or the other godparent. Then, the Santeria beads are bestowed upon the initiate. From this point forward, the godparent accepts spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial responsibility for the initiated child or individual.
There are several types of
The Rules Governing the Wearing of a CollarThe necklace of beads used in this religion is as sacred as the rosary is in Christianity and should be revered just as deeply. As such, there are certain rules to be observed in relation to these items.
1. Kiss the necklace each time it's removed or put back on.
2. Some practitioners may have more than one necklace. Each one should be handled individually and in the order that they were first received.
3. The necklace should never be worn where it may get wet. Take it off, before bathing and before going swimming.
4. It should be removed, when partying or drinking alcohol.
5. Where an activity involves blood, such as a sacrifice, or a woman starts her period, the necklace should be immediately removed.
6. The necklace should also be removed prior to engaging in any sexual activities.
7. At bedtime, the necklace should be removed. Exceptions to this rule may be made, where the individual is sick or where he or she has the permission of godparents to leave it on.
8. The necklace should never be touched by others. Only you or your godparents may handle the necklace.
9. When the necklace is removed, it should either be placed on an altar or wrapped in a clean white cloth.
While these rules might imply that certain activities are frowned upon as bad or immoral, that's not the case. For instance, drinking alcohol and sexual activity
This just leaves one to wonder where appropriate collars and beads can be obtained. El Viejo Lazaro Botanica, located out of Miami, Florida, offers a wide selection of beads, necklaces, and other worship items you may need to start your journey. They offer bulk bags of beads in a variety of colors to ensure you'll have all you need for yourself and for any other family members eager to follow you along your new path. Pre-made beaded necklaces are also available for those less crafty individuals, who may prefer not to make their own
Additionally, El Viejo Lazaro Botanica offers a selection of books, candles, and Catholic statues. These items can help complete your inventory of ritual and sacred altar items at reasonable costs. Once you have assembled these special items, you can begin your initiation into the magical world of Santeria.