Santeria, also referred to as Regla de Ocha, is an Afro-Caribbean religion which began with the West African descendants in the Spanish empire. Santeria means the worship of the saints. With the interception of Roman Catholicism, this religion uses the sacred language of Lucuma, a variation of Yoruba.
West Africa Santeria was brought to the New World by the Yoruba slaves along with the indigenous people religion of the Americas. This religion was criminalized by the colonists who believed in this religion to be witchcraft even though the Santeria beliefs coincide with Judeo-Christianity angels and saints. Politicians, bankers, the business community, Tribal kings, and their families were taken away from their homeland and enslaved in a new land. Thus, in this hostile, cultural environment, these descendants saw the need to preserve their religious beliefs and traditions secretly during this time.
In this religion, the Santeria gods also referred to as the angels or messengers of God, are called the Orishas. These gods are worshipped through animal sacrifice, feasts, dancing, drumming, and daily rituals, and many of them use Ashe in their rituals with Iwa Pele, meaning good character. The Santeria saints are known as the Catholic saints, and they include the following:
Yemaya/Mary, Star of the Sea
- Being one of the most powerful gods, she is the owner of all waters and the mother of all living things. She gave birth to the moon, the sun, the stars, and most of the gods. She is also a fierce warrior who will kill anyone threatening her children. Other aspects include her colors being clear and blue,
number seven being her number, and her temperament is frank, direct, loving, and nurturing.
Obatala/Our Lady of Mercy
- Being the eldest god in this religion, he is the father of many of the gods. Thus, he is given must deference and respect by the other gods when it comes to the matter of great importance. Also, he acts as a judge or referee when gods have disputes. He always preserves peace and works to restore. Other aspects of this god include his color being white, his number is eight, and his temperament being quiet in some regards. Otherwise, he's fiery and youthful. His other temperament includes him being reasonable and calm.
- Being one of the most popular gods and being syncretized to the Catholic saint, Saint Barbara, he is the king of this religion on earth. He is the god of leadership, male virility, fire, thunder, dancing, and drumming. He is also powerful in sorcery where he crafts spells in his mortar which include the magic allowing him to spit fire. Other aspects of this god include his number being 12 and six, his colors are white and red, and his temperament is charming, assertive, outspoken, and bombastic.
- Considered the most important in this religion, it is the first god made by Olodumare. He witnessed creation, and he existed before creation. He is key to any of the religious practices. Other aspects of him include him being the owner of all crossroads, doors, and roads; the allowance of prayers to reach the gods and the facilitating of divination. His number is 21 and three, his colors are black and red, and his temperament is talkative, curious, and inquisitive.
- He is the nature god where he rules wild areas, forests, healing, and herbalism. His colors are red, yellow, and green.
Oshun/Our Lady of La Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady of Charity)
- This is the youngest god and one of the most popular ones. She is the god of beauty, love, sensuality, and femininity, and thus, she is by compared many to Aphrodite or Venus. Nevertheless, she is powerful, vast, and the full breadth of womanhood. Powerful in sorcery, she weaves spells for the intoxication of her lovers. Her other aspects include her number being five, her colors are amber, coral, gold, and sometimes yellow, and her temperament being serious, bitter, and stern, or loving, sensual, and flirtatious.
-With Saint Peter being Oggun's syncretized catholic saint, he is the god of weapons, tools, and iron. He is a protective father and a fierce warrior in which he fights injustice and defends his people. Other aspects of Ogun include the following: His numbers are seven and three, his colors are black and green, and his temperament includes him being inventive, brooding, inventive, and prone to anger.
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