Yoruba Pantheon

ELEGUA
 

Eleggua (also spelled Elegua, Elewa, Elegba or Legba) is the first orisha to be worshiped in the Santeria religion, since it is Elegga the one who opens the way to proceed in everything we do. Without Elegua’s blessings very little can be accomplished. Elewua is the owner of all roads, paths, crossroads, and doors. It sis believed in the Yoruba Lucumi religion that Elegba transport the essence of our prayers and allows our destiny to change. Elegua assists in the divination through the different oracles like the diloggun, caracol, obi, okuele and communicates its message to the pertinent Orisha. Elegua was the first orisha that came down to earth and he did so accompanying Obatala. Eleggua is considered Olofin’s most trusted messenger.

 

Elegba is considered in the Santeria religion to be a trickster or troublemaker. He is always ever present in our lives and guides us through the right path so we can come out triumphant and successful. Eleguara is always the first Osha honored in every ceremony that we do (after the ancestors have been honored, of course) so that he can open the roads and our prayers and requests can reach their destinations.

 

Elegua along with Ogun, Ochosi and Osun is one of the orishas received during the initiation know as The Warriors (Guerreros). Every initiate receives Eleggua as the first orisha in his or her life emphasizing the importance of his presence in our spiritual life and in the religion of Santeria. Eleggua’s diloggun (cowrie shells or caracoles) are the ones used for all general readings as he can speak for all of the other orishas. In many houses, Elegba lives behind the door, protecting the entryway of its possessor.

 

His numbers are 3, 7 and 21; his colors are white, red and black . Elegua is attended every Monday.

 
 
Some Roads for Eleggua
 
  • Afra – The companion of Babalú Ayé who gathers the bodies of the dead

  • Abaile – The one who receives ebboses, interprets and takes them to their destination

  • Agbanukue – The gossiper of Babalawo as it sees and hears everything in your Ilé

  • Agongo Ago – Has a knotted club , which serves to attack or defend

  • Ala Lu Banshe – Without him you can’t achieve your objectives

  • Awo Bara – Soothsayer. He guards our houses

  • Laroye – The Storyteller, the talkative one

  • Alawana – He who walks alone in nature

  • Eshu Aye – The one who lives at the edge of the river and in the sea

  • Eshu Olona – The owner of the paths and the roads

  • Añanki – Is the mother of all Eleguás. She is brave, and knows everything

  • Ala Bara Asuayo – Lasuayo

 

 

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OGGUN
 

Ogún (also spelled Oggun, Ogou or Ogum) is the owner of all metals, war and labor. Oggun has the gift to work and shape all types of metals turning them into useful tools, weapons, and even today’s technology is a reflection of his work and ingenuity. Oggun’s ashe is also represented by all the machineries and metal tools used to clear away the wilderness in order to build the same cities, homes, and roads that we use today. Ogum is the strength and mechanics that turns the world and evolves our nature from using a stone to using computers in an effort to always better ourselves.

 

In the Santeria religion it is said that Ogum lives in the deep woods and forested areas. Ogun is often found hunting alongside his bothers Eleggua and Ochosi. Ogun can be found working tirelessly deep into the woods, away from civilization at his forge making new inventions with heavy pieces of metals, extreme heat and never taking a break. As per the Lukumi Yoruba religion, Oggun is also a very loving father and will defend his children to the death. Ogun’s essence is so diverse, that can be credited to the knife that kills and takes lives away to the scalpel that opens the wound a mother to give birth to a new life, or to assist in removing an illness from a sick body. From the cars, planes, cruises, and trains we use to go on vacations and enjoy ourselves, to the ever changing world of innovating technologies we so much enjoy today. This is Oggun!

 

When a person is initiated into receiving the warriors (Guerreros), Ogun, along with Elegua, Ochosi and Osun is one of the orishas that are received. Ogun resides in an iron cauldron filled with iron implements, tools, and his otá.

 

His numbers are 7 and 77; his colors are purple, black and green.

 

 

Some Roads for Oggun
 
  • Onile – Ogun is stablished ss the new king of the land and is a benevolent leader

  • Kobu Kobu – The foreman leading their workers with a whip

  • Alagbede – The tireless blacksmith, always crafting tools and weapons

  • Arere – Known as the butcher

  • Aguanile – The conqueror of the land. The owner of the wilderness

  • Meye – The warrior that turned into seven warriors. All is in multiples of 7

  • Adeola – Warrior who became king. He wears his crown with honor and wisdom

  • Oke – Owner of the mountains, also called Afanamule and Ogumbí

  • Shibirikí (Chibiriquí) – The murderer who creates his own weapons and is driven by bloodlustof his enemies

  • Onire – The conqueror, warrior and army general. He was king of the city Ire, this is why his name Onire

 

 

 

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OCHOSI
 

Ochosi (also spelled Ochossi, Oxosi, Osawsi or Oshosi) is known in Cuban Santeria as the patron of justice, a hunter and a master of all air attacks. Devotees pray to Ochosi when in search of swift justice. We also come to Oxosi when in search of other things, like health, happiness, a job or a house, just to mention a few.

 

 

Oshosi, considered by many to be a medicine man, is often found wondering alone deep in the forest. Ochossi shares the woods with his brothers, Elegguá and Ogún.

 

 

The Warriors or Los Guerreros, as commonly known are composed of Elegguá, Ogún, Ochosi and Osun. Receiving the warriors, one of the first steps a person takes to be initiated into the Santeria religion; the initiate quickly notices the positive outcomes and spiritual development obtained through their faith and the assistance of these deities. Eleggua opens the path or doors to a better opportunity, Ogun with his machete, clears the way of obstacles, Ochosi catches that person’s goals/needs as easily as he catches his prey when he shoots his arrow and Osun brings health and stability so that it can all be enjoyed.

 

Osawsi is a righteous Orisha, he does not accept disobedience from his children, nor be above the law, as he will be the one to personally bring justice upon them. Ochosi also known to be the patron of police officers and all those who enforce law and order, Oshossi oversees the flow in the court systems, jails and any department where the rules need to be followed and enforced. By that same law, Oxosi protects us against individuals who falsely accuse us of doing something we did not do. In Santeria, Ochosi is represented by a metal crossbow and arrow that lives together with Ogun in his iron cauldron.

 

His numbers are 2 and 7; his colors are blue and yellow.

 

 

Some Roads for Ochosi
 
  • Oshosi Mota – Defends his territory, hunting enemies both material and spiritual

  • Oshosi Kayoshosi – Always vigilant, no thief is safe from this watchful eye.

  • Oshosi Ale – Protects by hunnting witches, dark and malicious spirits by night

  • Oshosi Ibualámo – Magnificent hunter and fisherman. Lives in the deep of the river

  • Oshosi Onile – Owner of the land and the house where the others are based. He is depicted as the first hunter who founded the city and is back bringing his blessings.

  • Oshosi Marunde – Great hunter, warrior and doctor. Knows many herbs which uses to removes diseases and illnesses

  • Oshosi Otín – Considered feminine, but has a male counterpart in the other beliefs yet it has the same characteristics and virtues. Otín is a great hunter and always accompanies Oshosi, his twin brother and husband. (It was customary for twins marry each other or with other twins).

  • Abedi Oshosi

  • Bi Oshosi

  • Oshosi Gurum

 


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OBATALA
 

Obatalá (also spells Obbatala or Obatala) is the creator of human beings, the owner of all heads, the eldest Orisha in the Yoruba Pantheon. Obàtálá translated into The King of White Cloth, is credited with being the Orisha authorized by Olorun to create earth and also the one who found the first Yoruba city, Ife; where is is worshipped. All Oshas and Orishas have great respect for Obbatala, as he is Olorun’s representative. Obatala is a neutral Orisha that is why in the Cuban Santeria religion the head of uninitiated individuals are said to belong to Obbatala, until that person is initiated into the priesthood of his or her tutelary Orisha.

 

Obatala is represented by the color white, which symbolizes purity, harmony and all that is good and honest. When an individual is initiated into the Santeria Religion, they are required to wear white clothing for an entire year in an effort to purify not only the outside but the inside as well. To attract all energies that are positive, clean, clear, trans lucid and to divest from all negative dark energies that could of surrounded us at one point.

 

Obbatala differs from the most popular Orishas in the Santeria religion as Obatala’s paths or caminos are both made from male and females. Ranging from a young energetic warrior to an very sweet old lady sitting on her rocking chair, softly moving as she knits by hand of course a white garment.

His numbers are 4 and 8; his main color is white.

 

 

Some Roads for Obbatala
 
  • Ayaguna – Male, fiery temperament, warrior that rides a horse and fights with a sword. It is said to resemble the behavior of Chango in many ways

  • Oba Moro – Male, very old and needs tranquility at home. Does not like to be disturbed

  • Ochalufón – An old wise man, works besides Olofi. She taught mankind the language arts

  • Oshagiyán or Ochagriñán – Old man who walks with a cane, he is the father of Orunla

  • Baba Acho – Male young, knows the secrets of creating cotton

  • Baba Fururu – Male, king of the Bariba land. Assists couples who can not conceive

  • Obanlá – Young woman married to Ayaguna. She fights with a scimitar to perfection

  • Oshanlá – An older woman married to Oshagiyán. Likes knitting and being in her rocking chair

  • Alaguema – An elderly delicate female. The chameleon and ceiba tree belongs to her.

  • Agguidai – Responsible for carrying messages to Olofin. The necklace is white with sections of the colors of the tutelary Osha and Orunmila

 

 

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OYA
 

Oyá (also Ollá, Yansa , Iyansan or Yansán) is known in the Regla de Osha or Santeria religion as a fierce and powerful female warrior and owner of the wind, lightning, hurricanes and tornados. Olla is the orisha of change and transition. Often credited with the chaos that any kind of destruction brings, that same effect also brings new innovations, recycling the old and defective with new and improved and better things. Iyansan loves all colors except black, as are the infinite colors of her flowers. A very astute businesswoman, during the day time, Yansa owns and lives at the Marketplace, where business is conducted and currency is exchanged for fresh fruits and produce and many other items that makes the world turn, again, resembling a recycling machine. After dark, Yansan escorts the spirits of the dead to the cemetery gates, where Yewá and Obba take it from there.

 

Oyá is closely associated to Obba, Yewa, and Ochun but especially known for her intimate romances with Chango and Ogun. Oya is believed to have been Shango's favorite wife, although it was Oggun whom was blinded by love the one that gave Olla the secret of metal.

 

Individuals being crowned into Chango, Yemaya and Inle do not receive Oya when they are going through their Sodo Orisha, Yoko Osha or Kari Osha, but they can receive her at a later time depending if marked by a divination.

 

Her number is 9 and her colors are dark red, marron, brown or any other colors except black.

 

 

Some Roads for Oya
 

Oya is singular in nature and as such has no roads, but here some descriptions of her energies:

  • Oya De – A fierced warrior and hunter, working in the fields and forests near rivers

  • Oya Afefere – Represented by the wind that blows from all directions

  • Yansa Oriri – Is the most intelligent and skillful in the Yoruba pantheon. Very jealous of Shango and will do anything to please him, sometimes in an exaggerated manner. Takes offerings in the cemeteries

 

 

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AGGAYU
 

Aggayú (also spelled Aganyu, Agganju, Argayú, Agaju or Agayu Sola) is the orisha of volcanos and rivers. Aganju is credited with assisting humans overcome physical as well as psychological barriers, Argayu is regarded as the healer. In Santeria patakies it is said that Yemaya as well as Ochun had romances with Agaju. Aggayu transports individuals from one side of the river to the other on his powerful shoulder. Shango and Argayu are very much associated, to the point where some believers say he is the father to Chango, while others claim he is Chango’s brother.

 

Agayu Chola, can be crowned directly, though most of the secrets have been lost and this is why now a days in most places a child of Aggayu is Yoko Osha through Shango and this ceremony is refered to as Chango Oro Aggayu.

 

Agayu is depicted as this great rough giant, that has no rhythm when dancing, when in fact he is one of the most docile, humble and generous Orishas in the Yoruba Pantheon.

 

His number is 9 and his colors are dark red, marron and brown.

 

 

Some Roads for Aggayu
 

Agganyu is singular in nature and as such has no roads, but here some of his energies:

  • Aggayú Kinigua.

  • Aggayú Lari.

  • Aggayú Babadina.

  • Aggayú Aggarí.

 

 

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OSHUN
 

Oshún (also spelled Ochún, Oṣun or Oxum) is the Orisha associated with love, marriage and maternity. Ochun is the most conceited, coquettish among female Orishas as well as the youngest yet very powerful and most popular in the Santeria religion. In the Cuban Santeria or Regla de Ocha, Ochum is also associated with the female beauty, very sensual, wealthy at times and very delicate. But, do not be fooled, she also has a very unforgiving temper, although is not often she loses it, when she does she blinds her self to the point where she is very harsh even with her own children. Ochun felt madly in love with Chango the first time she ever lay eyes on him as he was dancing and doing his typical erotic movements. Since then, she became principal wife although it is know that Shango had romances with Obba, Oya and Yewua.

 

In a pataki, Oshun is identified as the mother to the Ibeji and Idewu as well as being married to Orula. Belief to be the only female Irunmole in the original 16 odduns that were sent to create earth, thus the name of “Yeye” that translates into our great mother. Another name given to Oshun is Iyalode or Yalode Yalodde “Chief of the Market” as it is shouted in the process of mounting one of her children. Once spiritual possession takes place, Oxum dances in a beautiful rhythm to the beat of the drums, very energetic and seductive, however if she is crying that means she is happy, as in the other case, where she is laughing that means she is livid and hides it behind her loud and consecutive hysterical laughter.

 

Her number is 5 and her colors are yellow, coral and white.

 

 

Some Roads for Ochun
 
  • Ibu Ikole – Mother of witches and powerful sorceress, the vulture is sacred to her (she sacrificed her beauty to save humanity)

  • Ibu Aña – Was so poor and lonely that the Añá drums were her only friends and danced before them to forget her problems

  • Ibu Ololodi – Married to Orunmila and with many riches. All tools are duplicated

  • Ibu Asedan – Powerful Huntress and enjoys inflicting pain on her prey

  • Ibu Akuaro (Akparo) – Very poor and destitute, lives where the river and the sea meet. The quail is sacred

  • Ibu Tinibu – Comes out at night, likes to navigate the river by boat. Her children should not have dogs in the house. The necklace is white, coral, black, and Orunla colors

  • Ibu Yumu – Means "that who makes the belly grows without being pregnant." She is deaf and of extreme beauty. Owner of wasps and snakes

  • Ibu Ayade – Means "she who is queen." Has ties to Eleggua and performs the same jobs Eleggua does

  • Oshun Funke – Very wise and intelligent, has great knowledge and does not hesitate to teach.

  • Yeye Moró or Yeye Kari – Owner of the mirror, queen of flirtation and the most cheerful

 

 

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YEMAYA
 

Yemayá (also spelled Yemoja, Yemaya, Iemoja, or Yemalla) in the Regla de Ocha is considered the mother of all that lives on earth and in the ocean. Owner of all bodies of water, and everything that lives in it. By translating her name, "Yeye Omo Eja" literately means "Mother whose children are like fish" thus proving why Yemaya represents motherhood, fertilization and pregnancy.

 

Yemaja, also known as the patron of fishermen, and the survivors of shipwrecks is also a very dedicated mother and fierce warriors in some paths or roads that works along side with Ogun or a very humble and old lady that despites noise. Iemoja offerings are sugar cane syrup, pork rinds, watermelons, fish, just to mention a few.

 

In the Santeria religion Yemalla is saod to be the one who raised the Ibellis, as her own. Yemaya is very closely linked to many Orishas with whom she had romances; like Inle or Erinle, Oggun, Agayu, Orisha Oko, Orula, Obbatala and Babalu Aye. Llemaya assisted Chango to become the wise leader he was intended to be that later turned into a King.

 

Her number is 7 and her colors are blue, coral and white.

 

 

Some Roads for Yemaya
 
  • Asesu – Lives in the sea foam where the waves break on the shore, is forgetful and slow to respond to requests for their children

  • Achaba – Wife of Orunmila, a soothsayer since she learned the complexity of the oracle as she would witness her husband doing readings

  • Ogunte (Okuti) – Married to Ogun, lives in lakes, springs, and the forest. Powerful warrior who fights with a machete, likes rum and cigars

  • Agana – Favorite Olokun’s daughter but deformed. Betrayed her sisters and was forced to wear a mask and a snake, considered Olokun’s slave and messenger

  • Mayelewo – Lives in the middle of the sea and controls the flow of the Seven Seas

  • Awoyó – The oldest and richest of all Yemayas. Lives in the ocean, far from shore. Represents the expansion and wealth of the sea.

  • Magba or Ataramawá Atara – Means "she who is important at any time." Owner of the oceans and land’s treasures. Likes seashells, beads, two mirrors, a sword, a compass, 7 silver bracelets

  • Okoto – Means "she who lives in the shells." Presides over battles. It's a fierced mother that will destroy whom ever tries to harm her children. Lives in the deepness close to the coast, where there are many shells

  • Iña – Means "Queen of the tragedy and discussions". Always ready for war and disputes

  • Oro – Very mysterious and lives with egguns. The meaning of her name is "the siren that sings", wakes up the spirits and wears a bronze mask, a silver sword, seven seashells and 7 plates

 

 

 

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CHANGO
 

Changó (also spelled Shangó, Ṣango, Shango, Chango, or Xango) considered to the king of the Cuban Santeria religion, Shango is perhaps one of the most popular Orishas of the Yoruba Lucumi pantheon. Also known as the god of dancing, drumming, lightning, fire, thunder and being a great lover. A real royal ancestor in Yoruba land, he was the fourth king of Oyo in West Africa. When alive, Xango was said to have had supernatural forces because he could produce thunder and lightning. He coordinated many battles for which Sango was recognized as an invincible warrior.

 

Shango's necklace is very particular, as it was originally all red. But because this will infuriate Chango at the drop of a hat and was always looking for fights, Obatala decided to alternate a white bead in his necklace to balance or appease hid temper, there by today his necklace is made up of one red and one white bead. According to Yoruba and Vodou belief, Shango hurls bolts of lightning at the people he chooses to be his followers, leaving behind imprints in a thunderstone form.

 

When Yoko Osha Shango, one of the fundamental Orishas to be received when you Kari-Osha Chango is Agayu, since any omo Shango must enter with Aggayú Sola. Its main symbol is the Oshe. The Oche is a doll carved from cedar and that instead of having a head it has a double ax.

 

His number is 6 and their colors are red and white.

 

 

Some Roads for Chango
 

Chango is singular in nature and as such has no roads, but here some descriptions of his energies:

  • Alafi Alafi – This path is associated with royalty, government, law, justice and superiors. Shango Alafi Alafi is highly respected by his authority and a sense of justice

  • Obadimeyi – Means "Double King". Refers to the relationship between Shango and Aganyú, his twin brother. Devotees must attend to Aganyú and Shango a like, and his head belongs to both

  • Obakoso – Means "The king did not hang himself" Title Aganyú received after taking the throne of Oyo, meaning the return of Shango on his body. He is associated with lightning, fire and law, it is also represented as a young womanizer and party goer. Lives in the palm tree

 

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