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Did you know that there are Orishas with various Catholic Syncretisms?

Cuban syncretism

The term syncretism he is highly listened to when the true Cuban identity is described. However, sometimes the meaning given to it can be somewhat ambiguous and we fail to understand the complexity of the term and its importance in all spheres of Cuban society.

What is understood in Cuba by syncretism?

The whole of Cuba is full of African, Spanish, Asian elements, culture, religion and spirituality.

And from that mixture comes the term syncretism, a process that came with the same conquest and colonization, hundreds of years ago.

The African tradition came to Cuba to stay due to the slave trade. The Africans, deprived of their gods, decided to continue worshiping them in America and to hide them from their masters, they syncretized them with the Catholic deities.

That is why today in Cuba Catholic and African religious rituals come together to honor different saints and orishas, ​​the fruit of this mixture of different religions and cultures is known as the Cuban syncretism.

Cuban religious syncretism is recognized by society and its ceremonies are practiced by millions of habitabefore the Island.

Santeria and Cuban syncretism

The call Santería in Cuba it is currently an Afro-Cuban religious expression, known as the Rule of the Ocha. This is a manifestation of Cuban syncretism, since African, Catholic and even spiritualist elements intermingle in their ceremonies.

For example, many pay homage to their Orisha in the image of a Catholic saint and show their loyalty and devotion to both deities on the same day, in the same cult.

So it is with:

  • Obbatalá, who is worshiped together with Our Lady of Mercedes,
  • Chango, Yoruba god of thunder, who is associated with Santa Barbara,
  • Oshún, Yoruba Goddess of Love related to the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre and
  • The Goddess of the Seas Yemayá, who is the Virgin of Regla in Catholicism.

We highlight the great cult of San Lázaro and the Orisha Babalú Ayé, full expression of Cuban religious syncretism. 

Orishas with various Catholic syncretisms...

But not all the Orishas of the Yoruba pantheon are linked only to a Catholic saint. In fact, many of the most recognized African deities unite their cults to various representatives of Catholicism, since their ways and powers are related to each other.

Let's see which are some of the Orishas with more than one Catholic syncretism:

Eleguá, the one who opens the roads of the world

Holy child of atocha Eleguá
Eleguá and Santo Niño de Atocha

Eleguá, the messenger of the Ocha, the first protection, the one who opens the ways to continue in religion, is a warrior Osha who cares for destiny.

It is symbolized by the rocks and is placed behind the entrance door to the homes, to be the first to be greeted and at the same time mark the border between two worlds.

To Eleguá, the uninitiated or aleyos must receive or consecrate him as first. He is one of the fearsome and ferocious warriors of the Orisha Oddé group together with Osún, Oggún and Oshosi, who are called Los Guerreros.

By his powers and ways, Eleguá syncretizes with the following saints:

Saint Anthony of padua:

Patron of Miracles and protector of sterile, poor women, travelers, sailors, bricklayers, bakers and papermakers. He is invoked to find lost objects, to give us good health and the young women pray for a good partner

Encourage alone:

This deity is also venerated in spiritualism as a 'solitary soul' or 'abandoned spirit' in purgatory. She is invoked above all by those who want to find love or were engañatwo for your partner.

Holy Child of Atocha:

Invocation of the Child Jesus. The Santo Niño de Atocha is prayed fundamentally in difficult and urgent situations, so that he hears our prayers and helps us.

Oggún, Patron of Metals

The Orisha Oggún

Oggun, head Orisha and master and lord of iron, symbolizes the beginnings, the beginning, the mañana, spring, and also the powers of command, force, violence and authority.

He is considered the patron of blacksmiths, wars, technology, army surgeons and anyone who works with metals.

By his powers and ways, he syncretizes with the following Catholic saints:

Saint Peter:

Simón Pedro or San Pedro, is one of the Twelve Apostles that appear in the New Testament. He is the protector of fishermen, builders, harvesters, bakers, butchers, shoemakers, locksmiths, watchmakers and bricklayers. He is prayed for against fever and aging.

Saint Paul:

Saint Paul the Apostle is also called the Apostle of the Gentiles. He is considered the protector of Christians. He is prayed for for support and comfort in difficult situations.

San Miguel Arcangel:

He is one of the 7 archangels, known as Warriors of God. Like an angel, defend and protect our souls, we pray for heaven's blessing and protection.

Ochosi, the hunter of the Ocha

orisha oshosi

Ochosi is a warrior Orisha, protector of the persecuted, sorcerer and hunter. It belongs to the group of Orisha Oddé, known as The Warriors.

He is a hunter related to prison, justice and defender of the persecuted. It is the thought that is capable of moving to any time and place to capture something and fight against injustices.

Ochosi syncretizes with the following Catholic saints:

Saint Albert the Great:

Scholar, philosopher, naturalist and theologian. St. Albert is the patron saint of natural science students and is prayed for for knowledge and study.

Saint Norbert:

Intellectual and founder of the Norbertine or Premonstratensian order of canons regular. He is invoked to defeat enemies and fight envy and injustice.

Osain, the Owner of the Mount

yoruba osain

Osain is the Orisha who represents nature and its secrets. A greater Orisha soothsayer, doctor and sage, owner of all the secrets of plants.

Osain is the absolute owner of the forest and the vegetation that is gathered there, he knows each herb and its particular ashé (energy and power), and he uses them to do good. He is a healer and a magician, a hunter and a celibate.

By its powers it syncretizes in Catholicism with:

Saint Anthony the Abbot:

Pattern of basket weavers, brush makers, cemeteries, butchers, pets. Many pray to San Antonio Abad for the health and well-being of pets, as he is considered the protector of animals.

San Silvestre:

We pray to San Silvestre fundamentally to ward off evils from home and attract good fortune.

Yewá, the Orisha who owns the Cemetery

Yewa history

Yewá or Yegguá, represents the loneliness that is perceived in the darkness of the night and the containment of human feelings. Yewá is recognized among other deities for his divinatory gifts, as his children are said to be highly respected diviners among the devotees of the Yoruba religion.

She is the Orisha who owns the cemetery and is widely linked to death. She is one of the dead goddesses, whose job is to bring the eggun or spirits of the deceased to Oyá, his sister owner of the spark.

Yewá syncretizes in the Catholic religion with:

Our Lady of the Forsaken:

The Virgen de los Desamparados is an invocation of the Virgin Mary and the patron saint of the Valencian Community. She is prayed to, above all, by those who are in difficult living conditions, the helpless of the world.

Our Lady of Monserrate:

Patron Saint of Orihuela, formerly known as Virgen de la Puerta. It is said that all the Kings of Spain prostrated themselves before the image of María Santísima de Monserrate.aña to ask for your protection.

Virgin of Sorrows:

Under this title the Virgin Mary is venerated in some parts of the world. Mothers pray to her especially, seeking her consolation for their children.

Dadá Obañeñé, the Orisha of newborns


Obañeñe is the Orisha of newborns, and is also considered a representative of vegetables, since Yoruba legend tells that when Obbatalá was entrusted to populate the world, he gave Obañeñe the creation of the vegetable, mineral and animal kingdoms.

Obañeñe, is one of the minor Orishas of the Yoruba religion and protects the little ones from any evil.

By its powers it syncretizes in Catholicism with:

Saint Ramon Nonato:

A saint recognized for having been extracted from the womb of his deceased mother. For this reason, he is the patron saint of childbirth, midwives, children, and pregnant women.

Our Lady of the Rosary:

Also called Virgen del Rosario, it is a Marian invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Most Holy Rosary.

It is said that whoever prays the rosary will never be oppressed by misfortune, nor will he die an unfortunate death, he will convert if he is a sinner, he will persevere in grace if he is just and, in any case, he will be admitted to eternal life.

Naná Burukú, the Orisha Elder

Orisha Nana Buruku

Naná Burukú is a major Orisha of the Yoruba religion, the wise one who represents strength and ancestral knowledge. It is said that it is very old and that as such it demands respect from its devotees.

This deity is attributed immense spirituality, and the Yorubas consider her Mother of God and Grandmother of all Obatalas.

It mediates between life and death and has masculine and feminine characteristics. In nature, it governs the springs, the mouths of the rivers, the swamps and the lagoons.

It is considered in the Catholic religion as:

Saint Ana:

Mother of the Virgin Mary, and therefore the grandmother of Jesus of Nazareth. Many pray to Santa Ana for the well-being of her children and relatives.

She is regarded as the patroness against poverty, and protector of carpenters, childless people, landlords, housewives, grandmothers, cordon workers, lost items, miners, mothers, poverty, pregnant women, the Indian people, seamstresses and working women.

Virgin of the Way:

The protector of the highways and a Marian invocation of España, patron saint of the León region and the city of Pamplona. The Virgen del Camino is prayed to for protection against enemies and good fortune.

Inle, the Doctor of the Ocha

Santeria Inle

Inle is the Doctor of the Ocha, the most beautiful Orisha of the Yoruba pantheon. It can have feminine and masculine characteristics and in its figure, it symbolizes fishing and gathering. He is known as the Orisha of the extractive economy and is the patron of doctors, fish and owner of the river.

Inle is the doctor of the Ocha, considered a doctor, hunter and fisherman and is represented in nature by fish.

Inle syncretizes in Catholicism with:

Saint Raphael the Archangel:

He is one of the three archangels known by name within Catholic and Orthodox Christianity. He is asked for health and for the end of diseases.

San Roque:

Considered the holy protector against the plague and all kinds of epidemics, he is also the protector of pilgrims, nurses, surgeons or canids, among others. We pray for the cure and for the end of the disease.

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