To Iroko, the blessing at her roots, Orisha who extends her branches to the sky, offering shelter to the God of Thunder, Shango, so that from its foliage it watches over that justice is carried out in the world.
All about the sacred Iroko
Let's see next, 10 elements that define this deity:
1. Orisha of wishes
Iroko is an Orisha related to desires, whether good or bad. We go to him to pray and entrust to him our goals, our secrets and deepest wishes, asking him to listen to our prayers and help us make them come true.
2. Iroko, the spirit of La Ceiba
It is the spirit that lives in the root and in the foliage of the Ceiba, so this is considered a sacred tree, not only for the Rule of the Ocha (Santeria), but for many of the African religious expressions.
That is why this tree is not cut or burned, and to knock down one of them, one must consult with a babalawo and ask for the permission of the deity.
It is said that all the Orishas are worshiped in Iroko and other names by which it is known are Aragbá and Iroké.
3. Wayfarer's Orisha
Iroko is also the deity that protects the walker, the one who gives shelter to those who need the shade produced by its branches to rest and then move on.
4. Related to Father Orisha, Obbatalá
Iroko consecrates himself through obbatala. It is also said that it is a path of Father Orisha, so it would be one of his own manifestations.
5. Offerings to Iroko
Iroko is given offerings similar to those made to eggun (spirits), at the foot of the Ceiba tree, to which a red cloth is also tied and blessed. And it is that the deity is closely related to the spirits.
Young bulls that have not yet mated are immolated. These are walked by the santeros, while they carry lighted candles and immolate hen, roosters, chickens, duck and guanajos, all white, due to Iroko's relationship with Obbatalá.
6. Iroko, the African mahogany
In the Yoruba religion, Iroko is the African mahogany, as the Patakí say that being in heaven, the god refused to perform ebbó before coming down to earth.
For this reason, when it descended, it became the spirit of the tree and was used for the manufacture of houses, furniture, doors or for any instrument or wooden object.
7. The Orisha Iroko and the Eggun
In Cuba, Iroko is associated with the Ceiba, a sacred tree that welcomes the spirits that roam the mountains before continuing on their way to the afterlife.
Iroko also made a pact with Iyami Osoronga, the witches of the night, and since then they have been resting in the canopy of the ceiba tree.
8. Iroko, refuge of the God of Thunder
The Patakíes say that the Lord of Fire, the Great Shango, always rests vigilantly on the top of Iroko, protecting his children and proclaiming justice and the teachings of Ifá.
9. La Ceiba, natural altar
La Ceiba is a natural altar for the realization of numerous ceremonies, especially those destined to the samples of devotion to the eggunes.
Both the Yorubas and the practitioners of the Rule of Palo Monte, go to the foot of the tree to perform rituals that relate to the different entities that converge there.
10. Iroko, religious syncretism
As part of the colonial period, the slaves brought to Cuba feared losing their roots and had to hide their beliefs, giving each Yoruba deity the name of a Catholic saint.
For this reason, Iroko syncretizes in the Catholic religion with the Immaculate Conception, a dogma of faith of Catholicism associated with the story of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.