Orisha Rulers of the Zodiac
An Orisha is a spirit that reflects one of the manifestations of God. Being four hundred and one of them in total, each playing a role within the Yoruba pantheon, twelve of them can be equated to the twelve signs of the Zodiac along with their respective houses. The following is a brief summary of each Zodiac House along with the Orisha that is associated with it.
The first house of the Zodiac is the home of the Ascendant, and symbolises the acting self and how your personality appears to others. The ruling planet of this house is Mars, which is also the Roman God of war, making Ogun the warrior god the Orisha equivalent. Like Aries, Ogun possesses assertive and aggressive characteristics, and is the patron deity of soldiers, police officers, surgeons, railroad workers, welders, body builders, or anyone employed to work with iron and steel. Like the blacksmith who molds his creations to perfection, the first house deals with molding the inner and outward Self and realizing your highest potential.
Taurus is the ruling sign of the second house, which is said to be the house of possessions. This should not only be understood as material possessions but also as traits and characteristics that we value about ourselves. The ruling planet Venus is also the Roman goddess of love, whose Orisha equivalent is Oshun. Oshun is the goddess of fresh water (as opposed to the salty, ocean waters of the goddess Yemoja), sensuality, prosperity, love, and fertility. Oshun is presented as a beautiful young woman who is widely loved for providing protection and needs for the poor and healing the sick.
The third house is ruled by the cosmic twins Ibeji, the Orisha equivalent of Gemini. This house deals with communication and the way you think and operate mentally. An emphasis is put on siblings within this house which is properly represented by the twins, along with short journeys and writings. Ibeji also represents duality and balance; the yin and the yang found within all life. Though presented as twins, Ibeji is actually one Orisha. To the Yoruba people, twins are considered sacred and are said to be one soul inhabiting two bodies, linked together by destiny for life.
The fourth house of the Zodiac is ruled by Cancer and deals with issues surrounding the home life. Cancer is known for being maternal, protective, nurturing, and instinctive, qualities shared by the Orisha Yemoja, the goddess of the ocean and mother of all the Orisha. She is the patron spirit of women, especially pregnant women, whose name is a contraction of the Yoruba words “Yeye omo eja” which means “Mother whose children are like fish”, representing the vastness of her motherhood. Her ebb and flow of the tides of the ocean are a result of the moon which is the ruling “planet” of the fourth house.
The fifth house of the Zodiac is the house of creativity and pleasure, ruled by the sign Leo. This house deals with gaining pleasure through acts of creation, artistically and even procreation i.e. the creation of offspring. The Sun, the ruling “planet” of the fifth house, is a symbol of creative energy, illumination, and knowledge, all of which the Orisha of wisdom, knowledge, and divination Orunmila reflects. It is Orunmila’s duty to record the destiny of individuals at the moment the breath of life is given to them by Yoruba creator Olodumare, who creates because it brings Them pleasure to do so.
The Orisha Eshu is the ruler of the sixth house, the equivalent to the sign Virgo. Health, work, and service are central to the sixth house, which is ruled by the planet Mercury, the messenger of the gods within the Roman pantheon. Eshu is the Orisha that stands at the crossroads between the physical world and the spirit world, whose duty is to be the intermediary between man and the Orisha. Therefore, when one wishes to call upon the Orisha, he or she first gets permission from Eshu. This is symbolic of clearing and preparing the mind to receive whatever message the Orisha have for you.
Oba is the Orisha of marriage and personal transformation, making her fit to be the ruler of the seventh house, the house of partnership. Oba was the first wife of Shango who tended to his castle and everything that he requested, making her the ideal wife before being tricked by her sister Oya into trying to ensnare Shango with witchcraft. After this betrayal she fled to the cemetery in which she went through a transformational journey into her true power. This house is about expediating our life’s purpose through partnerships, whether that partnership be marriage, business relations, contracts, and/or treaties. Through these partnerships we learn a great deal about ourselves, transforming and enhancing our lives, making them fuller and bringing us balance on the scales of Libra.
Oya, the goddess of winds and storms, is the equivalent to Scorpio and is the ruler of the eighth house which is the house of transformation, regeneration, death, sex, and rebirth. She is the powerful force in nature that can change the face of the Earth, embodying the tornadoes and twisters that uproot trees and houses with her destructive winds. This powerful Orisha is also responsible for carrying the spirits of the newly departed to the spirit world.
The ninth house is the house of philosophy and is ruled by the philosopher Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter, the king of the gods within the Roman pantheon. Obatala, the father of all the Orisha, would therefore be the Orisha ruler of this house. Obatala is said to be the Orisha of purity and was sent by the Supreme Being Olodumare at the beginning of time to form the Earth along with construct the bodies of humans. Obatala completed his construction of the bodies he created by adding heads to them, therefore becoming known as the owner of heads. The head is symbolic of intelligence, higher education, and deeper understanding, all which the ninth house represents.
The tenth house is the house of public life and social status, being ruled by Capricorn and the planet Saturn. The aspects within this house deal with how you manifest your individual role within society and your work place, along with the energies and challenges you’ll face meeting your career goals. The Yoruba associate the planet Saturn with Babalú-Ayé, the Orisha of disease and healing. Also known as the “Wrath of the supreme god”, Babalú-Ayé’s job is to punish individuals for their transgressions, but also to heal epidemics like small pox.
The house of friends and membership, the eleventh house of the Zodiac is ruled by the planet Uranus and the sign Aquarius. Aquarius is associated with rapid social change, upheaval, and rebellion, traits that all reflect Shango, the warrior Orisha of thunder, lightning, and fire. Once a living king on Earth, Shango is known for working miracles after his death, elevating him to the status of Orisha. Shango is also the brother of Babalú-Ayé, the Orisha ruler of the tenth house. The work in society represented within the tenth house is expressed through the individual in the activities associated with the eleventh house, the planets and energies indicating how group associations and friendships will operate in your life.
The twelfth house of the Zodiac is ruled by Pisces whose Orisha equivalent is Olokun, the god of the ocean floor. This house is associated with self undoing and confinement, which is reflected in Olokun being chained to the ocean floor by seven chains. As this house deals with the unconscious and things beyond the physical plane, Olokun’s aspects are expressed within the astral, the subconscious, and altered states of consciousness that is experienced during meditation, initiation, and spirit possession. Deep and mysterious is this house of the Zodiac, just like the bottom of the ocean; an old Yoruba proverb says that nobody knows what lies on the ocean floor. Olokun is said to be the owner of the Mysteries, and sparks within our being the genius that activates our super subconscious.
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