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8 Facts about the Rule of Ocha-Ifá or Santería: Questions and Answers

Data Rule of the Ocha

From our Yoruba ancestors we have inherited the Rule of the Ocha-Ifá, or as it is commonly called “Santería”, an ancestral legacy that accompanies usaña to the present day.

Over the years, as a result of slavery in America, many Africans migrated their beliefs, practices, and religions, and that is how, to this day, we keep the heritage of their religious traces, full of stories, spirituality, and syncretism.

The "Santeros", as we know them today in a popular way, are the people consecrated to the Rule of the Ocha, they are priests and priestesses who can establish communication with the orishas and the powerful Eggun (spirits), they are the channel for mortals to we can connect with the ashe or vital energy of the deities.

8 very common questions in the religious practice of Santería:

We share some of the main questions and doubts, especially for people who are looking for information and learning about this beautiful religion.

1. What is a Babalawo?

The babalawos are priests of the Yoruba religion who have a consecration of Orunmila, the diviner and wise Orisha who guides us with determination along the paths of life with his advice.

These sacred priests are the ones who give the devotees the “Hand of Orula”, also called “Ikofá” for women, and who consult the believers and present Orula's predictions, which are inexorably fulfilled.

2. What is the Oracle of Ifa?

It is the supreme Oracle that the Orishas use to communicate with the Babalawo and send messages to the earth, so that these are fulfilled by Men.

It is a sacred symbol of Yoruba wisdom through which the destiny of the religious is directly influenced.

3. What is the Ebbó?

When through a consultation with the Babalawo or Oriate, the orisha indicates ebbo, this implies an astral cleaning and purification to get rid of the negative and all kinds of osogbos.

The ebbo also represents within the religion offerings, prayers and prayers.

4. The initiation in the Yoruba religion. What does it mean?  

The person is initiated in the Rule of Osha-Ifá through a consultation with a Babalawo or Oriaté, who can deliver the Warrior Orishas that are:

  • Eshu (Elegguá) the owner of the roads and the destiny of human beings.
  • Oggún the god of iron and owner of the mountain that frees everyone from obstacles.
  • Oshosi the representative of justice and hunter of adversity and osogbos.
  • Osun is the custodian of the heads that eagerly watches over everything bad that can happen to us.

Through the Babalawos, Orunmila's Iddé (bracelet) is also received, thus determining his tutelary Orisha.

Although the Oriaté also determine the Guardian Angel, there are religious controversies about it, but above all it must be respected so that peace and union among all prevail.

The initiate also receives at the initiation the so-called "elekes" consecrated foundation necklaces representative of the 5 head oshas:

  1. obbatala the white orisha and father of the world, owner of our heads.
  2. Shango the great king of fire that gives us wisdom and firmness.
  3. Yemaya the mother of the waters of the world, the womb that brought us to earth.
  4. Oshun, the queen goddess of honey and love, owner of rivers and fresh waters.
  5. Eleggua, the owner of the roads and the 4 corners, the first to be invoked in the Osha.

5. The meaning of “Become holy”.

The Kari-Osha or Elehan ceremony commonly known as "Become a saint" in the Osha-Ifa Rule is the most important in the Yoruba religion.

This happens when the religious initiate consecrates (becomes a saint) with his "guardian angel" or "tutelary orisha" and becomes an Iyawó for one year and seven days.

Later, hierarchically, it acquires other titles such as Iwóro, Babalosha (man), Iyalosha (woman) and finally Oriaté.

6. Why should a person become a Saint?

In the Rule of Osha Ifá, becoming a saint depends primarily on the determination of the deities in consultation with the Babalawo / Oriate, it is fulfilled as the Orishas say.

The desire to start in religion implies devotion, priesthood, stability, and above all a lot of faith in the orishas and deities.

7. The Eggun, sacred ancestors. Who are they?

The Eggún in the Yoruba Pantheon represent very sacred deities within the religion.

This is the name given to the spirit of the ancestors, our ancestors.

In the Yoruba religious practice or Rule of Oshá-Ifá it is essential to pay tribute to the dead before the deities, and before beginning any religious ceremony out of respect.

8. What is the Spirit Vault?

It is a sacred space in which tribute is paid to the ancestors and spirit guides.

It is represented by placing glasses with fresh water on a table in representation of our dead and deceased.

This site is dedicated to our spiritual guides, that is why it is so important, there are offerings to the Spirits such as:

  • Flowers to venerate and honor them,
  • candles to give them light and
  • prayers to invoke and care for them.

If you want to know more you can read: What is a Spiritual Vault and when to set it up? "click here"

Learn more about Santería and its religiosity:

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Hello, I need to consult me. Can you send me the information and the price of the Spiritual Consultations guided by an Espiritista Santera? Thank you. Ashe 🙏