Many years ago, Chango was embroiled in one of his unending wars. He had fought for many days and killed many of his enemies, but, more came than he could kill. He found himself surrounded by his enemies in the middle of the forest.

“Enchile,” he shouted, but his famous magical horse had become lost during the fighting. Chango was afraid to yell again. He might be found. He heard his enemies beating the bushes and shaking the trees to find him. If they did, they would kill him.

Without Echinle, Chango had to scurry through gullies and cover himself in river mud to hide from his enemies. Days passed. His implacable enemies did not rest. They did not eat. Chango, tired and hurt, had to keep on running without sleep and without food.

He ran and he ran until he reached the place where Oya lived. It was very deep in the woods. Very few people there knew that Oya was Chango’s wife.

Chango came to Oya’s house and pounded on the door. She opened it and saw Chango bruised, cut and panting.

“What has happened to you?” cried Oya.

“Oya, they have me surrounded,” panted Chango. “They want to hang me from a tree.”

“Come in, quick.” said Oya, hustling Chango into her house.

“My lightning is not effective against my enemies today,” He told Oya.

“That’s because you lack the courage to fight,” she scolded. Oya gave him water and a bite to eat.

“It’s not courage I lack,” said Chango. “I’m very tired.”

“What do you want from me?” asked Oya.

“If I could escape my enemies’ deadly circle, I could rest and sleep.” said Chango. “I would recover my strength and destroy my enemies.”

“Why is it that you only come to see me when you need help?” asked Oya.

In those ancient times, Chango was used to fighting by himself, but he swallowed his pride.

“Help me, Oya.”

Oya thought for a moment and then turned to her husband.

“When night falls,” she said. “You will put on one of my dresses. The disguise will let you escape.”

“They will still recognize my face,” said Chango.

“I will cut off my hair and put it on your head. That will complete the disguise.” said Oya. “I will cut off my hair to save my king’s life.”

They waited until night. Oya lit no fire. She was afraid that the smoke from her chimney would be noticed by Chango’s enemies and draw them to the house. When the sun had gone down, but before the moon had risen, Oya cut off her beautiful hair and pinned it to Chango’s head. Chango did not know what to do with woman’s hair. It fell across his eyes. It tangled in his ears. Oya had him sit down and wove the hair into two long braids.

“Here’s a dress,” she said. “Put it on quickly, before the moon comes up.”

Chango managed to tangle himself up in Oya’s dress. “Stand still,” she said. “Just stand still and let me dress you.”

Finally, Chango was dressed as a passable imitation of Oya. She went to the door and peered out.

“Hurry,” she said. “There’s no one around.”

Chango stepped outside, imitating Oya’s dignified walk. He walked until he reached the forest and came across the line of searching men. He greeted his enemies with an imperious tilt of his head and crossed their line. He did not speak to them because his voice is very deep. It would have given him away.

This is the way Chango was able to escape his enemies’ trap.

Once he was far away from the forest, he made camp. He rested and slept and ate and regained his strength and his will to fight.

Echinle managed to find his way back to his master. Chango fed him and groomed him.

A few days later, rested and healed, Chango mounted Echinle.

“It is time to kill,” said Chango to his horse, and galloped off to find his enemies.

it was dawn when he reached his enemies’ camp. He came rushing at them. His fury was terrible to behold. Lightning flashed from his hands. He shouted wild warrior cries. He was still dressed as a woman.

“Oya has turned into Chango,” his enemies shouted when they saw the screaming apparition bearing down upon them, long hair flying and a gown flapping in the wind. They panicked.

Behind them, Oya came striding out of her house, fully armed, and began hacking right and left with her ax. Her short hair bristled and shot out electric sparks.

“If Oya helps Chango, there is victory,” she shouted, cutting off arms and legs.

Chango and Oya were victorious. Since that battle, Oya has been Chango’s inseparable companion in war. With Chango’s thunder and Oya’s storms, they are invincible and remain so to this day.


Yemaya has always has immense love for her sister Oshun… as you will read in the following pataki ..Yemaya always knew Oshun was always a bit conceited … always in fine clothes and stared at herself for long periods of time in the mirror the most beautiful of all Queens . When she had no mirror she would gaze into the river and use its reflection to comb her beautiful long hair. The time came when Bloody wars ravaged the lands and Oshun had to flee her kingdom with only the white dress she was wearing… as the time pasted and Oshun washed her dress it turned yellow from the waters that she washed it in . She had to sell her precious Jewels so she could eat , And to add to her misery … from all the worrying she had done her beautiful hair had fallen out .

Oshun feeling alone, Unbeautiful and seeing the worst of times. She cried to herself at the raging river not knowing that at the rivers end she was not alone for there was Yemaya waiting on her sister . Yemaya then tried to find a way to remedy Oshun’s situation for she could not bear to see her sister destroyed materially and spiritually.

“Oshun, my sister cry no more , For your tears are like swords penetrating my heart” Yemaya cried back to her sister ..

“Queen you left and Queen you shall return to be by the Grace of Olofi . From this day fourth , All the gold will be yours and you will adorn yourself in wearing its color , ALL the corals of the sea that is the heart of the Ocean floor will be yours. YOU shall never do work of a slave again but sit upon a golden throne and you will take my peacock that which is my mine, Who will now be yours from this day fourth, For he is the symbol of Royalty and that of a Queen . And so that you are not tormented and cry NO more , You see my hair? Remember it is my pride , As yours was to you … I will cut mine in half and you may take my hair and fashion a wig made of it and wear it till Yours grows back and your dignity returns . With tears in Yemaya’s eyes she cut her beautiful hair giving half to Oshun to wear upon her head as a wig.”

For this Pataki we understand now why Oshun will defend the children of Yemaya and Yemaya the children of Oshun . And why the daughters of Yemaya and Oshun should never cut their hair much . This Pataki comes for the Odu (7-5) Odi tonti Ose




Who are the Yoruban people?

The Yoruba people are the west African habitants of what we know as Nigeria.

Why is your religion secret? 

It’s an oral tradition. Knowledge it’s passed down generation to generation since the beginning. And there are some knowledge that’s only for the elders and the ones they trust and respect.

What do you believe in? Do you believe in God?

Yes and Yes. Santeria believes Oloddumare (God) created everything under the sun and his aché is what gave us life. As in the catholic religion, we believe that Oloddumare is a holy trinity (Olofi, God almighty and Olorun the sun)

Are the Orishas and the Catholic Saints the same divinities?

No. But they do share some similarities. 

Do you have any church? 

There are Santeria churches in the US. In fact, in 1974 the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye became the first Santeria church in the U.S.A.

Is Santeria voodoo? 

It is related but not the same.

What’s the difference between Santeria and Spiritualism?

Spiritualism is to Santeria what the Catholic Religion is to Santeria. Meaning that Spiritualisms elements are blended with the traditions of Santeria.

Is Santeria a pagan religion? 

Pagan comes from the Latin “Paganus” meaning “country dweller”. In its early years Christianity was an urban religion and “pagan” was everyone from the country that worshiped other religions. So, any other religion than Catholic is a pagan religion.

Is Santeria witchcraft? 

No. Since we incorporate spirits to all our praying and beliefs, people think Santeria is the same as witchcraft. We indeed call for our ancestor’s spirits and other good spirits, but it is our moral that determines if these spirits are going to work for good or evil.

What are the unchanged truths of your religion? 

God is real; God is good; God is the creator. God is on earth.

How old is your religion?

Really old, our religion it’s descendent from the Yoruba people in West Africa (Which is the oldest continent of all). There our forefathers were taken as slaves and brought to the new world. In America to keep their religion they had to blend/hide their religion with the Catholic to avoid persecution.

Who founded it?

No one funded it. It’s a tradition that blended with something else, let’s say it’s something organic.

What does ‘aché’ means?

Aché is the spiritual energy of life and divinity. It’s the power that helps everyone to fulfill their path in life. When you wish ‘aché’ to someone you’re wishing this person with good luck.

Who is the Babalawo?

The Babalawo is a priest of Osha-Ifá and he reads the oracle of Ifá.

Who is the Santero?

The Santero is a priest to the religion.



Shango saw the humility and kindness not to mention the pureness of the old man in front of him. so he asked him about his brother Orula. Obatala replied that Orula had been taken away and buried a long time ago and he was sorry for how he had reacted. Shango took the opportunity to tell Obatala the truth, That Laroye , had taken Orula into the forest an buried but had not buried him completely in the ground and that Araba had been taken care of him since. As well that Laroye had taken food all these days to him since then. But the time had come that he could no longer keep living in this manner . Obatala asked Shango for his advice , and Shango replied that Obatala should give Orula the means in which to live and care for himself .

Obatala thought long and hard on this situation and Obatala saw that Shango was just and a good man. So Obatala responded to Shango that because of the interest he had in Orula, that Shango himself would be in charge of giving Orula the means to live.

So Shango decided to give his brother the art of Prophecy and the Oracle of IFA that Shango had brought to earth , this way Orula could foretell the future of the inhabitants of the kingdom. Here is where the Ecuele and Tabla of IFA are born that the Babalawo’s consult the orisas.