Yoruba-Religion

Orisa’s name

I’ve been seeing people make the OR14 => OR15 => OR15A => ORISHA connection and that is correct!

However.

Orisa’s name is more than that. Efi Oladele’s name is Yoruba, so it’s safe to assume that she is also Yoruba. 

In Orisa-Ifá, Yoruba religion, Òrìṣa are spirits that act as reflections of Olodumare, a manifestation of the Supreme God. Òrìṣa are in essence a smaller manifestation of that divinity. Some are malicious, some are benign.

In naming her creation Orisa, from an in-universe perspective Efi is literally invoking the divine into something she’s created to protect other people, to act as a force of good.

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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.

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Lukumi: a religion, a people, and a language.

One of the distinguishing features of Lukumi as an Afro-Diasporic religious community has been the retention of archaic forms of the Yoruba language in Cuba. The language is a liturgical language now - used in our songs, prayers, and by elegun (priests mounted in possession) rather than conversationally.

Part of the horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade was the stripping of individual and cultural identities from enslaved Africans, and this was achieved in many places in the New World through banning and otherwise brutally discouraging the use of West and Central African languages. Lukumi, as a language, managed to be preserved by enslaved peoples who made creative use of the imposed Catholic system of cabildos de nacion - mutual aid societies under the patronage of Catholic saints. The cabildos allowed enslaved people and free people of colour to gather and perform seemingly Catholic worship “in the manner of their nation” - in other words, using the language and drumming styles particular to their ethnic group. The system of cabildos gave space for both enslaved and free people of colour to preserve a variety of West and Central African religions in 19th Century Cuba, including Arara, Abakua, and Palo. However, it was also allowed to flourish because the whites believed that keeping people of African descent separated by nation (nacion) would prevent them from organizing en masse as in the case of Haiti, which was a constant source of white anxiety during the 19th Century.

Though the language never stopped being used, fluency in Lukumi faded somewhat in the early 20th Century, which the old people often say was due to a lack of proper training. When Lukumi arrived in New York City in the late 1950s, African Americans entered the religion looking for a spiritual component to the growing Black Liberation movement. In particular, we credit Sunta Serrano Osa Unko (iba’e) for opening her ilé to African Americans. Early African American converts were most interested in emphasizing the Yoruba roots of the religion, and rejecting Catholicism, and part of how they did this was to focus on the Lukumi language. Thanks to their efforts to write down and translate back into Yoruba the Lukumi songs and prayers, the language was revitalized. Examples of this can be seen in the books of Baba John Mason, particularly Orin Orisha: Songs for Selected Heads.

Though some songs and prayers are not translatable to modern Yoruba - either due to being archaic regional dialects or due to the many subtle borrowings from other African languages spoken in Cuba (particularly Arara and Palo’s unique Bantu-Spanish bozale) - the Lukumi language continues to flourish today.

Shango (also known as Chango, Sango, or Xango)

King of the orisha pantheon, rules over thunder, fire, drumming, dancing and male virility. Shango is actually a deified king who was once the Fourth Alafin of the city-state of Oyó. He is one of the most worshipped orishas in the pantheon and his legends are numerous and speak to the human experience. He has four separate wives: Obba - his first wife who was faithful but unattractive so Shango withdrew his affections from her, Oshun his favourite lover, Oya his equal in strength and power, and Yewa the virgin daughter of Obatala whose purity was stolen by Shango. He is the the owner of the sacred drums, a powerful sorcerer who wields fire and lightning, and loves to seduce women, drink and dance. Shango has a special relationship with Babalu Aye as he was the only orisha to offer him assistance when he was sick and homeless. Shango is often considered the son of Yemaya and his fatherhood is either credited to Ogun or Aggayu. Shango was a very impulsive youth and was quick to anger, and legend has it that Obatala taught Shango the art of diplomacy and gifted him with the white bead that is now a part of his necklace. In nature, Shango is said to live at the top of the royal palm tree and his offerings are commonly placed at the foot of palm trees. Shango is petitioned for help with protection, enemies, sexual, business success, and good fortune.

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@fyeahmyths​ two week summer event
day nine: African Deity → Oshun

The Yoruba goddess of love, beauty, luxury, and pleasure, Oshun is one of the most popular and venerated orishas of the Yoruba religion. Known as the goddess of sweet waters, Oshun is the orisha of the river and fresh water and is the patron saint of the Osun River in Nigeria, which bears her name. She is the consort and favorite wife of Shango, the orisha of thunder.

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for fyeahmyths’ two week summer myth event

day nine: african deity

oshun, also spelled osun, is an orisha (deity) of the yoruba people of southwestern nigeria. oshun is commonly called the river orisha, or goddess, in the yoruba religion and is typically associated with water, purity, fertility, love, beauty, and sensuality. she is considered one of the most powerful of all orishas and, like other gods, she possesses human attributes such as vanity, jealousy, and spite.  

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Orisha Yemeya
This video is about Orisha Yemeya, ocean mother. Goddess of the moon. Mother of Santeria. http://santero-balogum-universe.tumblr.com/ https://twitter.com/Bal...

Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings, Maulana Karenga

If you are looking for a beautifully poetic, highly sophisticated interpretation of selected Odus, this is the book you need. For those of us who are longterm and serious students of classical African philosophy, the great Dr. Maulana Karenga is a well-known and respected name. His research and writings on the continuity of African culture and the singularity of our traditions from ancient Kush and Khemit  to (western Sudan) the West African nations is unsurpassed by any other scholar. His work laid the foundation for the establishment of the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa, as well as the recognition of the connection between African-American dialectic colloquialisms and the languages of the Congo and Bantu. This text is actually more than just a book of poetic interpretations of the Odu, it is a continuation and exploration of his earlier work, “The Husia”, in which Dr. Karenga clearly illuminated the common origins of the Christian Bible, namely the Book of Psalms; the Koran; and the religious texts and oral tradition of Ancient Khemit and the Yoruba religion of Ifa, respectively. That is why this work has such great value. It is not a quick reference book for fledgling diviners, it’ a treatise on African culture.

To compare “Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings” with “The Sacred Oracle of Ifa” is appropriate, but only with a proper understanding of the connection between the two. As most who read this review will know, the co-author of the latter text is Philip John Neimark, a White Jewish-American businessman and publisher who studied in Nigeria and received the initiation of Babalawo. The other co-author and true creator of the book is the late great master Babalawo of Ifa, Dr. Afolabi A. Epega of Nigeria. When Dr. Epega was seeking to compile his vast learning into a text that would make the teachings of Ifa accessible to the Western audience, particularly converted followers of Ifa and American- and Caribbean-born African priests, he approached countless members of the African-American and Caribbean religious community for assistance, and no one was interested in participating. Finally, he gained the patronage of Mr. Neimark, who, in exchange for a co-authorship credit, agreed to help compile the text and assist with getting the work published. Once the work had been published, Mr. Neimark, ever the businessman, actually attempted to trademark the ancient Odus of Ifa, which would have given him legal and financial rights to a spiritual and religious corpus far more ancient than his own and certainly by no means his property! It was an outrage and a perceived affront to African people everywhere and the African-American spiritual community in particular, who were the primary audience of such a book which translated Yoruba divinatory and moral teachings into English. It was in response to this treachery that Dr. Karenga penned “Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings.” This work was a direct challenge to the attempted European-ization and commercialization of African spiritual heritage. It helped to subvert and defeat Mr. Neimark’s goals of gaining ownership of ancient African religious teachings, and also paved the way for other authors to continue the very important work of compiling, translating, and interpreting the sacred Odu. They are no one’s property- but definitely an African legacy!

Inside the text of “Odu Ifa” you will find many eloquent passages which illuminate the moral teachings of the Yoruba people. Dr. Karenga has selected several odu for in-depth interpretation and commentary. His insight as a pre-eminent scholar and expert on African traditions is remarkable. It is, again, not a guidebook for divination- but the Yoruba way of life and worldview is not just about divination and magico-religious practices. That is the entire point of Dr. Karenga’s life work. He wanted to introduce to the rest of the world the beauty, validity, complexity, and eloquence of African philosophy- as opposed to the stereotypical and outdated modes of thinking which relegate African spirituality to mere superstition and witchcraft. He wanted to demonstrate through his research and texts that African religions are and always have been just as advanced as any developed in Asia or Europe, and that in fact, the African way is the genesis of all others by virtue of Africa being the birthplace of human civilization. This book will help you to understand the cultural context of the teachings of Ifa as well as other African-derived systems. It will help you to see the human story behind the divine teachings. It is also a beautiful piece of literature, an introduction to Ifa for those who are just beginning to learn about their African culture. I highly recommend this book as an introduction or adjunct to the library of those who seek to understand classical African thought and philosophy.

Every Yoruba person & Diaspora should own this book.