A great variety of religious practices, cults and beliefs predominate in Cuba.
For the most part, a part of the Cuban population is Catholic and another part venerates their African roots and practices their sacred cults.
But in the majority of Cubans, there is an ancestral mixture of both religions, due to the immense syncretism that remains in society and that unites cultures and religiosity.
This union and mixture of faith is popularly known as Santeria, a religious practice in which elements of Spanish culture and the Catholic religion and African beliefs and religions come together.
The Orishas or Oshas are the representative deities of the Yoruba religion, which among African religious practices has been the most established on the island. They are the orishas deities that govern the forces of nature, manifesting their energy and power through it.
Despite the fact that the Yoruba religion, one of the most recognized African practices in Cuba, has more than 400 deities, the fact is that, due to the mixture itself and over the years, many cults have been lost and only the most popular remain. .
- Let's get to know these powerful deities a little better, in which many devotees place their faith to find a better path in life.
These are the best known orishas in Cuban Santeria:
Obbatalá, Father Orisha
Obbatalá is a powerful Osha, he considers himself the father of all humans on earth.
It is the orisha that represents justice, health, purity, wisdom, truth and peace. Legend has it that he created the world and human beings, which is why he is considered the wisest and most respected.
- He is the greatest of the orishas, owner of human intelligence and feelings.
- Its color is white as a symbol of peace and purity.
- Its Catholic representation is the Virgen de las Mercedes.
Elegguá, the Owner of the Roads
Elegguá is the little Orisha considered a child and a warrior at the same time.
He is the Owner of the Paths and Destiny and the first of the Osha warriors, who is cared for and venerated with priority.
He is protector of those who initiate in the Yoruba religion and guide of all religious.
He is represented as a naughty and unruly child who can open and close the astral of people's happiness. He is also the orisha of jokes, of the unexpected and the unforeseen.
- It is identified in Catholicism with San Antonio de Padua and with the Santo Niño de Atocha.
Shango, the God of Thunder
Shango is the God of Lightning and Thunder, representative of the Fire and the Batá drums.
Kawo Sile as it is also known, symbolizes the joy of life, passion and strength, a very brave, impetuous and manly Yoruba warrior.
He is the god of war, owner of dance and music. He is a fortune teller and healer, closely associated with Oshún, goddess of Love.
- Shango is identified in Catholicism with Santa Barbara.
Yemayá, the Queen of the Sea and belly of the world
Yemayá is the mother of all the orishas, mistress of the seas, patient and serene goddess. The beautiful deity who lives among the waves of the ocean, and who with her power protects from danger.
She is the protector of children and pregnant women and queen of intelligence and reason.
Yemayá is life, the womb, fertility, and she is as old and powerful as Obbatalá for that reason she is owed great respect.
- In the Catholic religion it is identified with the Virgin of Regla.
Oshún, Goddess of Love and Rivers
The most beautiful orisha of the Yoruba pantheon. Oshún is the goddess of love who personifies the intensity of human feelings, delicacy, femininity and fertility and everything beautiful.
It is also representative of money, prosperity and abundance. His kindness and mercy is immense, his energy habita in the rivers and fresh waters of the earth, liquid with which he blesses.
- It is identified in Catholicism with the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, patron saint of Cuba.
Babalú Ayé, Orisha of Pests and diseases
Babalú Ayé is highly revered for his power and in Cuba he is fundamentally recognized for his Catholic syncretism with Saint Lazarus, the saint who cures the disease.
Its power is so great and mysterious, that as a cure it is capable of creating the greatest pandemics and deadly diseases. He must be treated with the utmost respect and his worship is sacred.
He is dedicated to curing the sick and is invoked in the face of any human misery.
Oggún, Lord of Metals and Force
Oggún is the patron of iron, the work and of all the Metals, an Orisha warrior and tireless worker who represents strength, work and strength.
Orisha sorcerer who masters all the secrets of Mt. He is the god of weapons, tools and lord of the mountains together with Oshosi, his hunting companion.
- It is identified in Catholicism with Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Michael the Archangel.
Orula, the Orisha Diviner great Oracle of Ifá
Orunmila or Orula is the Orisha of Divination and benefactor of humanity through the sacred word of Ifá.
It represents wisdom, intelligence and cunning, therefore it is the main advisor of Orishas and humans.
He is the orisha in charge of interpreting the oracle of Ifá and knows the destiny of everything that exists, in the past, in the present and the future, advises men on earth.
- Orula identifies with Saint Francis of Assisi.
Ochosi, the Hunter of the Ocha who does justice
He is the hunter Orisha and one of the Warriors of the Osha. Ochosi is the Yoruba deity who represents prisons, Orisha of prison, justice and the persecuted. He always does justice in his wake, no matter who he is, he makes pay.
He is a witch, and has the power to appear anywhere and at any time.
- In syncretism, it is Saint Albert the Great and Saint Norbert.
Oyá, Queen of the Spark who is also a warrior
Yansa is the orisha of Centella and strong winds.
She is the Queen of the cemetery and mother of spirits, one of the death deities together with Obba and Yewa with whom she lives in the cemetery protecting the world of the dead.
She is a warrior and provides us with the oxygen to exist. His power object is the iruke, a tool that helps him remove obstacles, and with it he moves the bad off the roads, and attracts a lot of health.
- It is identified with La Virgen de la Candelaria and with Santa Teresa de Jesús.
We dedicate these prayers to the powerful Yoruba deities:
Cubans pray to the best known Orishas of the Rule of the Ocha in syncretism, for protection, for peace, for love, health and prosperity.
To them, we raise our prayers asking that they guide us through life and protect us from all evil, that they allow us to avoid obstacles and difficulties and remove all bad energy from our family.
We must bear in mind that each Orisha has particular characteristics and tastes, so we must know about the offerings that we must allocate to each of them, as well as rituals and thanks.
- If you want to know some of offerings to the Orishas, I recommend you read these articles: Click here
In addition, we must know that, if we say a prayer asking for the help of all the Orishas, we will be counting on immense support.
That will only come to us if we really put faith and trust in our prayers and ask with sincere intentions from our hearts.
Only then will the Orishas consider us worthy of their help and blessings, and they will support us, giving us strength to face dissimilar situations.
So we pray with this prayer to all the Orishas to intercede for us
- Choose a quiet place, either in your home or in nature, a river, the sea, the mountain.aña, but with tranquility and a lot of peace
- You can light a white candle or the color you want, offer your light with love
- Do not forget to put a lot of faith, love and humility to your request, and above all thank you.
Orishas, my spiritual guides, you who respond to every difficulty of your devotees and lead them by the hand, avoiding obstacles and dangers
My powerful deities, I come today to ask for your guidance, your strength and your wisdom, so that you illuminate my path and help me advance towards my destiny.
I invoke, my deities, their combined powers to face this difficult situation that threatens my peace and that of my family.
I ask, Father Obbatalá, Lord of Wisdom, that you intercede for me to overcome my problems.
Eleguá, my guide, grant me the key of luck and fortune to get out of this bad streak, and give me the blessing of a path without obstacles
Mighty Shango, protect me with your rays so that no danger can touch me or my relatives
Yemayá, my mother, don't let difficulties cloud my judgment and let me discern the best decisions to get ahead
Bella Oshún, bathe me with your honey and sweeten my path, so that luck smiles at me and the bad turns positive
Great Diviner, my Lord Orula, with your immense wisdom warn me of danger and bad eyes,
Oggún, Lord of Iron, cover me with your mantle and keep my enemies away from me, that their curses cannot touch me
My great hunter, Ochosi, may justice be done for me and mine. I ask you Lord, to protect us from injustice and condemnation
Oyá, Mother and powerful warrior, may your winds take me away from all evil, hide me from those dangers that threaten me and may your powerful death sisters Obba and Yewá accompany me
Babalú, powerful Father, remove from my house all the shadows that may persecute me, do not let the disease penetrate these walls
May Aggayú cover me with his voice and power, may Osun guard our path, may Osain del Monte heal us with his Ashé, and may Oduduwá protect us with his powerful mantle forever.
My Orishas, deities of the Yoruba pantheon, I owe you, and as your proud son, I ask for your eternal protection,
So be it