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Who are the Santeros? The Yoruba hierarchy

Who are the Santeros

The santería It was practiced by former black slaves and their descendants in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil and in places with a large Hispanic population, such as the United States of America, mainly in Miami, New York, San Francisco, among other cities. .

It is a religious belief that arose from a syncretism of Creole, European and African elements with strong cultural roots and an immense presence in today's world.

The term "Santería", in fact, is also the result of a process of transculturation, since it was used by the Spanish in a derogatory way to mock the devotion that followers showed to the saints.

Now, the practice of the Rule of Ocha is known as Santeria and those who practice it, are popularly told, santeros.

Los Santeros, their religion

The santeros they worship a central force called Olodumare, the creator of life, force and justice, a divine current that works through Ashe or energy, which is considered the absolute basis of reality.

Then there are the Orishas, ​​who are deities associated with natural forces and who govern aspects of the world. They help mortals to follow their destiny and can protect them in times of need.

The Santeros they establish a communication with the Orishas to obtain their blessings and their protection in life. In addition, they venerate them and treat them with offerings to show their appreciation.

Santeria and the priestly order

Santeria has a priestly hierarchy and the Yoruba High Priests They are the babalawos or babalaos, who interpret Ifá and the prophet orunmila.

Within the hierarchy, the babaloshas and iyaloshas, ​​are santeros with consecrated godchildren and the Iyalorishas and Babalorishas, santeros who do not have godchildren.

On the other hand, the Iyawos are santeros In their first year of consecration, and finally the Aleyes, they are believers but have not yet been consecrated.

All are recognized as santeros, initiated through a purification ritual and the delivery of five necklaces that represent the Orishas Shangó, Obbatalá, Yemayá, Oshún and Elegguá or by receiving the warrior orishas that are Elegguá, Oggún, Oshosi and Osun.

The santeros They carry out the worship ceremonies in their own homes, since the practice of Santeria lacks temples, although some syncretic elements have allowed the Orishas to be worshiped in sanctuaries dedicated to Catholic saints.

Although in many countries Santeria is still seen as a religion of the devil, related to evil and religious spells that cause harm, in Cuba it is widely accepted because it is part of our culture and idiosyncrasy.

Being a santero is carried in the heart, beyond the taboos that exist let us remember:

"There is no bad religion, only bad religionists"

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