Witches And Pagans/ Spirit Guardians: Orishas of Santeria
September 23

Witches And Pagans/ Spirit Guardians: Orishas of Santeria

On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate freedom from oppression for the hardy and deeply spiritual Africans who kept their own religions alive despite the incredible odds against them. African slaves brought their native religion with them wherever they went. African spirituality is based on nature—water, rivers, plants, seashells, and all the elements of the world around them. When the Africans came to the Catholic lands in Central and South America, their African deities were blended with Catholic saints to make an interesting new religion called Santeria. It was their way of keeping their African religion alive, and it has worked well. These orishas are spirit guardians, similar to those honored in Candomble. All of life is believed to come from one great creative force, Oloddumare. Practitioners of Santeria believe that everyone has one orisha as a guardian throughout his or her life.

 •   Aganyu corresponds to Saint Christopher. This volcano god is the father of Chango and whose mother is Yemmu. He can protect you from harm but only if you make your appeal through Chango.

•   Babalu-Aye is associated with Saint Lazarus and is the deity to turn to for healing. He is one of the most beloved and needed of all the orishas. Babalu-Aye travels about with a bag of corn and offers healing and prosperity.

•   Chango is a male god who corresponds to Saint Barbara. Chango holds major power. Red-coated and covered with cowry shells, Chango loves the good life—women, food, drink, dance, fire, lightning. He is the hot orisha. Call on Chango when you need passion in love.

•   Eleggua corresponds to Saint Anthony, but he is a trickster who creates bewilderment in his wake. He is “all-knowing” and wants to be acknowledged first before any other orisha. Because order comes from chaos, it is believed that Eleggua brings us into wholeness.

•   Obatala is a deity of both genders who corresponds to Our Lady of Mercy. He is a bringer of peace and purity, as evidenced by his white robes. Obatala teaches temperance and can help us control obsessive thoughts, anger, worry, and fear.

•   Ochosi corresponds to Saint Norbert and is the hunter god who lives in the woods. He protects and helps hunters, is a healer, and helps with legal issues. Ochosi is the orisha to turn to if you need to relocate.

•   Oggun corresponds to Saint Peter and is the warrior orisha, holding all metals under his domain. Call on Oggun when you need a job or if you need a protector.

•   Orunmila corresponds to Saint Francis of Assisi and is the orisha of fate. He is “one who lives both in heaven and on earth.” Since he holds all our fates in his hands, he can help us improve our destiny.

•   Oshun corresponds to Our Lady of Charity and is a river goddess. She is the Santerian Venus and looks after affairs of the heart—love, marriage, and money. She gives us joy and abundance.

•   Oya corresponds to Saint Teresa and is a deity of the dead. She is also a goddess of the winds and boundaries. Oya is a warrior and offers protection against death and is quite aggressive. She is married to Chango.

•   Yemaya corresponds to Our Lady of Regia and is a goddess of the moon and of the ocean and the patroness of pregnancy. She is always depicted as a gorgeous goddess who helps girls make the passage to womanhood. Yemaya is one of the most popular orishas.