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An orisha (spelled òrìṣà in the Yoruba language, and orichá or orixá in Latin America) is a spirit who reflects one of the manifestations of the supreme divinity (Eledumare, Olorun, Olofi) in Yoruba religion] Orisha are said to have existed in the spiritual world, or Astral plane (òrun) or lived as human beings in the planetary world, or physical plane (ayé). Others are said to be humans who are recognized as deities due to extraordinary feats. Many orishas have found their way to most of the New World as a result of the Atlantic slave trade and are now expressed in practices as varied as Santería, Candomblé, Trinidad Orisha, Umbanda, and Oyotunji, among others.


Salve todos Orixás
Salve o Sol e salve a Lua
Salve toda a natureza
Salve Deus lá nas alturas

Salve a tribo guerreira
Omolu, Obatalá
Olorum, Nagô, Nana
Eparrê, Epa-babá

Salve a força dos caboclos
Salve a rainha Yemanjá
Salve a linha de umbanda
Salve todos Orixás
A história conta que os Orixás foram inspirados em homens e mulheres capazes de intervir nas forças da natureza por meio de caça, plantio, uso de ervas na cura de doenças e fabricação de ferramentas. São cultuados pela mitologia Iorubá pelo Candomblé e Umbanda.

A equivalência entre os orixás e os santos da Igreja Católica surgiu no período colonial, com a chegada ao Brasil dos primeiros africanos de origem iorubá, povo que habitava a região atual de Nigéria, Benin e Togo. Adeptos do candomblé, eles eram proibidos de adorar suas divindades porque a religião oficial do País era o catolicismo. Para driblar a censura, os negros criaram a associação e seguiam assim praticando sua fé. Por isso, o sincretismo pode variar de acordo com a região do Brasil.

Os orixás possuem a personificação humana, com características como virtudes e defeitos: podem ser vaidosos, generosos, temperamentais, obstinados, ciumentos, corajosos, maternais etc. Tais atributos, quase sempre, têm um paralelo com as forças naturais. Vejamos os paralelos advindos para cada um dos Orixás mais cultuados no Brasil
Orisha: Elegguá (Elewá, Elegbá)
Saint: Saint Anthony
Colors: Red and black
Number: 3 and 21
Description: Elegguá is the first and most important Orisha in Santería. He is the owner of the crossroads, the witness of fate and acts as the connecting agent in this world. Elegguá is often perceived as a trickster or impish child who tests our integrity.

Orisha: Ogún (Oggún)
Saint: Saint Peter
Colors: Green and black
Number: 3
Description: Ogún is a mighty warrior, the divine blacksmith who crafts tools and weapons and the hardest working Orisha of them all. Ogún is the father of technology, the cutting edge of the knife and the power of metal. Ogún is often perceived as a powerful muscular man wearing a skirt made of palm fiber and he carries a machete.

Orisha: Ochosi (Ochossi, Oshosi)
Saint: Saint Norbert
Colors: Blue and amber
Number: 3, 7
Description: Ochosi is the divine hunter whose arrow never misses its mark. He stalks silently through the forest hunting his pray. He is the force of blind justice that is applied equally to all. He is best friends with Elegguá and Ogún and is often found hunting with them.

Aggayu’s shrine at our church.
Orisha: Orisha Oko (Orichaoco)
Saint: Saint Isidore
Colors: Light blue and pink
Number: 7
Description: Orisha Oko is the Orisha of agriculture and the fertile earth. He rules the mystery of the black earth that gives birth to crops and life, fertility and procreation. He is often depicted as a hard working farmer who wears a straw hat and plows the earth with a team of two oxen.

Orisha: Olokun
Saint: None
Colors: dark blue with green
Number: 9
Description: Olokun is the Orisha that rules the depths of the sea where light does not touch. He is a mysterious Orisha and there is some debate about whether Olokun is male or female. He is a primordial orisha arising out of his own ashé as the first oceans formed on the surface of the earth. He gathers the sunken treasures and souls of the drowned and rules from the depths. He is usually not depicted in a human form.

Orisha: Babalú Ayé (Babaluaye, Asojano)
Saint: Saint Lazarus
Colors: White, blue, brown, black
Number: 17
Description: Babalú Ayé is one of the most beloved, worshipped and petitioned Orishas in our religion. He is the Orisha of small pox, contagious diseases and of healing. In many ways he has become the modern day patron of HIV/AIDS and other epidemics. His worship is shared with the Arará people of Africa. Babalú Ayé’s name was made famous with the song Babalú and sung by Desi Arnaz in 1946. Babalú Ayé is depicted as an old man covered in pox sores, walking on crutches and accompanied by two dogs.

Orisha: Ibeji (Ibeyi, Ibelli, Melli)
Saint: Saint Cosme and Saint Damian
Colors: red and blue
Number: 2, 4 and 8
Description: The Ibeji are the divine twins. They are considered one Orisha. Twins are sacred to the Lucumí people and the Ibeji are their patron Orisha. The Ibeji are the children of Oshún and Changó. When Oshún gave birth to the Ibeji, they were the first twins born and she was shunned as a witch. She kicked the Ibeji out to reclaim her position in society. Oyá took in the Ibeji and raised them as their adoptive mother. The Ibeji are depicted as two young children or babies: one boy named Taiwó dressed in red, and one girl named Kehinde dressed in blue. While Kehinde was born second she is considered the elder of the two.
Obatala Obamoro’s shrine draped in light lavender cloth with Oke on the right and Agidai on the left

Orisha: Obatalá
Saint: Our Lady of Mercy
Colors: White
Number: 8
Description: Obatala is the eldest of the Orishas, the owner of white cloth, the king of peace and logic. He encourages us to use diplomacy and reason when acting and is often the Orisha who mediates disputes between the other orishas. Obatalá is actually a androgynous Orisha where half of his avatars are male and the other half are female. It is therefore possible to have a female Obatalá like the road Obanlá in addition to male roads like Ayáguna. Obatalá’s shrine is placed higher than the other Orishas‘ shrines out of respect for his status as their elder. He is often depicted as an elderly black man with chalk white hair dressed in white robes.

Orisha: Obba
Saint: Saint Catherine of Siena
Colors: Brown, opal and coral
Number: 8
Description: Obba is the Orisha of marriage and personal transformation. She was Shangó’s legitimate wife who was shunned after trying to ensnare Shangó with witchcraft. She fled to the cemetery and underwent a powerful transformational journey that made her come into her true power. She is depicted as a homely woman, missing her left ear, wearing a headwrap to cover her wound.

Oyá and Ogún fight side by side with the powers of lightning and iron
Orisha: Oyá (Yansa, Yansan)
Saint: Our Lady of Candelmas or Saint Theresa
Colors: Brown, dark red or multi-colors
Number: 9
Description: Oyá is a fierce female warrior and the Orisha of change. She took the secret of slinging lightning from Changó. She fights with machetes and scares away Ikú (death) with her horsetail fly whisk. She is the owner of the cemetery gates, but does not live in the cemetery contrary to common belief. She resides in the marketplace. She is depicted as a lithe powerful warrior woman wearing a skirt of nine different colors.

Orisha: Yeguá (Yewá)
Saint: Our Lady of Montserrat
Colors: Pink and burgundy
Number: 7 or 9
Description: Yeguá is Oduduwa’s special daughter who he was keeping as a symbol of purity and chastity. Unfortunately her purity was tainted when she was violated by Changó. She is the Orisha associated with death as she rules the decomposition of the body in the grave and the mysteries associated with the dying process. She is depicted as a mysterious woman, withdrawn from society residing in the bottom of a grave.

Orisha: Aggayú (Agajú, Aganyu, Aggayu Sola)
Saint: Saint Christopher
Colors: Brown and opal
Number: 9
Description: Aggayú is Shangó’s father in Santería. Some godfamilies say he is Shangó’s younger brother, but they are related to one another in every instance. Aggayú is the orisha of the volcano and the ferryman who takes people back and forth across the river. Some lineages refer to him as the Orisha of the desert. His worship is closely aligned with that of Shangó. He is depicted as a stocky built man who walks with huge strides and carries a double headed axe with a curved double handle.

Oshun by Carla Nickerson
Orisha: Ochún (Oshún)
Saint: Our Lady of Charity of Cobre
Colors: Yellow and amber
Number: 5
Description: Oshún is the Orisha of sweetness, love and beauty. She is the embodiment of feminine grace, and is a flirtatious coquette. She is a generous and loving mother, but she can also quickly turn bitter if she is wronged. Once she is soured, she is unforgiving and unbending. Oshún can accomplish miracles untold. She is the youngest of the orishas and is depicted as a flirtatious, mixed-race woman dressed in yellow, gazing in a mirror.

Orisha: Yemayá (Yemoja)
Saint: Our Lady of Regla
Colors: Blue and clear
Number: 7
Description: Yemayá is the mother of all living things, the queen of heaven, earth and all waters. She resides in the ocean and her children are countless like the fishes in the sea. Yemaya is the mother of many of the other Orishas as well. In addition to being a loving mother she is a fierce protectress. She can fight with a machete or a scimitar and bathe in the blood of her enemies. Yemaya is often depicted as a voluptuous black woman with full breasts dressed in blue.

Orisha: Shangó (Changó, Sango)
Saint: Saint Barbara
Colors: Red and white
Number: 6
Description: Shangó (Changó) is the king of the religion of Santería and was once the fourth king (Alafin) of the city of Oyó in Yoruba land before he was deified and became an Orisha. He is the Orisha of lightning, thunder and fire, the owner of the sacred batá drums, the power of passion and virility. Changó is a ladies’ man and a charmer. Changó is the master of dance, a fierce warrior and a powerful sorcerer who spits fire. He is depicted as a handsome, young man wearing a crown and carrying a double headed axe.

Orisha: Orunmila (Orunla, Orula)
Saint: Saint Francis of Assisi
Colors: Yellow and green (or brown and green)
Number: 16
Description: Orunmila is the Orisha of divination and the patron of the Ifá sect. He along with Elegguá witnessed all of destiny unfold and therefore can be consulted to know where a person’s fate is headed. He developed the oracles of Ifá: the ikines (palm nuts) and the okuele (diviner’s chain). His priests are known as Babalawos and function exclusively as diviners. They do not ordain people into the mysteries of orishas other than Orunmila. He is depicted as a wizened black man with graying hair, dressed in traditional African garb carrying his wooden diviner’s tray.
Elegba: Holy Child of Atocha
Saint Anthony of Padua (Eshu Laroye),
San Benito de Palermo
The Lonely Soul- Anima Sola (Alagbana),
Infant of Prague,
Saint Peter (Eshu Onibode)
Ogun: Saint Peter
Saint Michael the Archangel (Ogun Shibiriki)
Ochosi: Saint Norbert
Erinle: Saint Raphael
Osayin: Saint Ambrose
Saint Sylvester
Orishaoko: Saint Isidor
BabaluAye: Saint Lazarus
Nanu: Saint Martha
Nana Buruku: Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Dada & Bayani: Our Lady of the Rosary
San Ramon Nonato
Saint Lucy
Aganju: Saint Christopher
Shango: Barbara
Obatala: Our Lady of Mercy (Ransom)
Ayaguna St. Sebastian
Oshagrinan St. Joseph the Worker
Eruaye Divine Providence
Oba Moro Jesus of Nazareth
Yeku Yeku Santisimo
Oshanla, Obanla Our Lady of Mercy (Ransom)
Alagema St Philomena or St Lucy
Oduduwa: Manuel
Oba: St Rita of Cascia
St Catherine of Sienna
Yewa: Our Lady of Monteserrat
Saint Clare
Our Lady of the Abandoned Ones
Oya: Theresa of Liseaux in Havana,
Candlemas in Matanzas
Theresa of Avila (some say these are the three roads Oya- I cannot confirm this as my House does not do roads of Oya)
Yemaya: Lady of Regla
Asesu Saint Clare of Assisi
Achaba Saint Martha
Mayelewo Lady of Regla
Oshun: Our Lady of Charity
Ololodi Our Lady ofLoreto
Yembo: Saint Anne
Orunmila: Saint Francis of Assisi
Olokun: Stella Maris (Our Lady, Star of the Sea)
Oke: Saint Roque
Saint Robert
Oge: Saint Philomena
Ibeji: Saints Cosme + Damian
Idowu: the child in OL of Charity's arms (the Ibejis and Idowu are sometimes associated with Faith, Hope, and Charity)
Boromu & Borosia: Saint Elias
Ogan: Saint James Matamoros (Santiago)
Agidai: Saint Bartholomew
Iroko: Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Saints that Have Been Lost in Cuba brought back from Brazil in some Houses:
Oshumare: Saint Bartholomew
Logun Ede (Laro): Saint Expedite
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Yoruba tradition often says that there are 401 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 orisha.

Practitioners traditionally believe that daily life depends on proper alignment and knowledge of one's ori. Ori literally means the head, but in spiritual matters, it is taken to mean a portion of the soul that determines personal destiny and success. Ashe is the life-force that runs through all things, living and inanimate. Ashe is the power to make things happen. It is an affirmation that is used in greetings and prayers, as well as a concept of spiritual growth. Orisha devotees strive to obtain Ashe through iwa-pele or gentle and good character, and in turn they experience alignment with the ori, what others might call inner peace and satisfaction with life. Ashe is divine energy that comes from Olodumare, the creator deity and is manifested through Olorun, who rules the heavens and is associated with the sun. Without the sun, no life could exist, just as life cannot exist without some degree of ashe. Ashe is sometimes associated with Eshu, the messenger Orisha.[5] For practitioners, ashe represents a link to the eternal presence of the supreme deity, the Orishas, and the ancestors.[6]
The concept is regularly referenced in Brazilian capoeira. "Axé" in this context is used as a greeting or farewell, in songs and as a form of praise. Saying that someone 'has axé' in capoeira is complimenting their energy, fighting spirit, and attitude.

The orisha are grouped as those represented by the color white, who are characterized as "cool, calm, gentle, and temperate"; and those represented by the colors red or black, who are characterized as "harsh, aggressive, demanding, and quick tempered". As humans do, orisha may have a preferred color, foods, and objects. The traits of the orisha are documented through oral tradition.[4]
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