Orisha (also given as Orisa and Orishas) are supernatural entities usually referred to as deities in the Yoruba religion of West Africa, though they are actually emanations or avatars of the supreme being Olodumare. Their number is usually given as 400 + 1 as a kind of shorthand for “without number” or innumerable.
Another common initiation is the intitiation into the Seven African Powers (Elegua, Obatala, Oggun, Chango, Yemaya, Oshun, and Orunmilla).
The colors red and black or white and black are his and codify his contradictory nature. In particular, Elegba stands at the crossroads of the human and the divine, as he is child-like messenger between the two worlds.
The deities, or gods, worshipped in the Cuban Yoruba Lucumí/Santería and Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda religions are called Orishas (or Orixás in Brazil). They are all representatives of Olodumare, the Supreme Being, who placed the Orishas on Earth to help and supervise humankind.
Elegua (Yoruba: Èṣù-Ẹlẹ́gbára, also spelled Eleggua; known as Eleguá in Latin America and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands) is an Orisha, a deity of roads in the religions of Santería, Umbanda, Quimbanda, Holy Infant of Atocha, and Candomblé.Elegua.
Yoruba tradition often says that there are 400 + 1 orishas, which is associated with a sacred number. Other sources suggest that the number is “as many as you can think of, plus one more – an innumerable number”. Different oral traditions refer to 400, 700, or 1,440 orishas.
Obatala or “Orisa Nla” (known as Obatalá in Yorubaland and in Caribbean and South American Spanish and Oxalá in Brazil) is an orisha. He is believed, according to Yoruba cosmology, to be the Sky Father and the creator of human bodies, which were brought to life by the smooth breath of Olodumare.
Oshun is both a creator and a healer. Followers call on Oshun for help with fertility and to cure ailments when medicine doesn’t work. Oshun’s energy can heal and create life, but she can also take it away if she feels that we are ungrateful for what she has given.
Oshun’s favorite thing to eat is honey, and her contagious laugh can either put you under her spell or send shivers down your spine… And despite her generosity and irresistible charm, this Orisha is also the most dangerous when crossed—Oshun is as sweet as honey, but her honey can also turn sour.
The Santeria faith teaches that every individual has a destiny from God, a destiny fulfilled with the aid and energy of the orishas. The basis of the Santeria religion is the nurture of a personal relation with the orishas, and one of the principal forms of devotion is an animal sacrifice.
An individual may over the course of a lifetime worship several Orisha. In fact, according to Bascom, most Yoruba worshiped a group of five or six deities acquired under different circumstances, and regardless of how one came to the worship of an Orisha, he or she was eligible to become a priest of that Orisha.
OGUN: Warrior god of iron and war. He controls much of the material in the earth and represents primitive force and energy. He is known as Oggún in Cuba and Ogun Feraille in Haiti (“ferraille” means “iron”).
Hunters and blacksmiths avoid eating or witnessing the mating of blacksnakes. Other important sacrificial offerings to Ogun are the Clarias submarginatus (a species of catfish), alligator pepper, kola nuts, palm wine and red palm oil, small rats, roosters, salt, snails, tortoise, water, and yams. (Clyne: 1997).
Sango is regarded as the most powerful god in Africa and one of the most popular gods around the world. He is the god of vengeance, protection, social order and more. His symbol is a double headed-axe.
Generally speaking, African religions hold that there is one creator God, the maker of a dynamic universe. Myths of various African peoples relate that, after setting the world in motion, the Supreme Being withdrew, and he remains remote from the concerns of human life.
orisha, also spelled orixa or orisa, any of the deities of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. They are also venerated by the Edo of southeastern Nigeria; the Ewe of Ghana, Benin, and Togo; and the Fon of Benin (who refer to them as voduns).
Olodumare created the Yoruba people through Oduduwa. Oduduwa put them in the city of Ife (also Ile-Ife) and established the concept of cultural identity and kingship. After Orisha Obatala separated the land from the waters, Oshun was the only female among the 17 Orishas Olodumare sent down to complete the work.
She is a fierce female orisha, a known warrior who joins Shango in all of his wars. In these battles, she is likely to fight with a sword in each hand or bring along some symbolic attributes such as a machete and hammer. Oya is also known to carry a black horsetail, which is used to bless and clean her followers.
She’s associated with the numbers seven and ten, the colors blue and white, pearls, silver, conch shells, and doves. Offerings for her include molasses, coconut cakes, white flowers, and watermelon. For practicing witches, Yemaya has a fierce, nurturing, gentle energy often associated with the moon and sorcery.
Santeria practitioners also believe in the Christian Jesus Christ known as Olofi. Orisa, also spelled Orisha or Yemaya, a Santeria saint known as the mother to all Orisas She is thought to be a protector of women and is likened to Christianity’s Virgin Mary.
Èṣùu partially serves as an alternate name for Eleggua, the messenger for all Orishas, and that there are 256 paths to Eleggua—each one of which is an Eshu.
Ceremonies and Ritual Colors
Osun is the orisha of the river. Her devotees leave her offerings and perform ceremonies at bodies of fresh water such as rivers, streams and canals. She is associated with the colors white, yellow, gold, and sometimes coral.
Forms of polytheism was widespreaded in most of ancient African and other regions of the world, before the introduction of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
Babalú-Aye (from yoruba Obalúayé), Oluaye, Ṣọpọna, or even Obaluaiye, is one of the orishas or manifestations of the supreme creator god Olodumare in the Yoruba religion of West Africa. Babalú-Aye is the spirit of the Earth and strongly associated with infectious disease, and healing.