Ceremonies, Clarifying Misconceptions, Orishas, religious Practices, Terminology

respectable 29, 2012

by Santeria Church


Changó is among the most common head orishas in Santería Lucumí. That is the king of our religion and also his presence is uncovered in every awareness in Santeria.

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There appears to be a growing trend of civilization wanting to learn who your orisha is and how they can work through that orisha. In this article we’ll attend to some of the misconceptions around the guardian orisha, clarify how a person’s tutelary orisha is determined, and also why you must or shouldn’t know who that is.

A person’s tutelary orisha (also referred to as a head orisha, guardian orisha or guardian angel) is the orisha that insurance claims a person’s head. They are your patron or matron and act as a guardian and balancing force in a person’s life. A person’s head orisha is not a issue of selection or preference; the tutelary orisha is linked to a person’s destiny. The head orisha is the ideal divine present of spiritual energy that human needs because that his or she life come be balanced so his or her ultimate destiny can be attained.

Not all Orishas room Equal!

There are literally hundreds of orishas but only a select couple of of them deserve to be guardian orishas that are actually crowned on a person’s head as part of the ordination that kariocha. The orishas that deserve to be tutelary orishas in Santería Lucumi/Lukumi are:


Aggayu is crowned through a ceremony called “Changó oro Aggayu“. Below is ours Aggayú shrine in ~ our Church.

These space the list of tutelary orishas in ~ Lukumí practice that room done straight to a person’s head. In enhancement to these over there are other orishas that room crowned with a routine adjustment called “oro”. This are likewise legitimate and traditional initiations with a procedural adjustment.

Orishas Crowned in various other African Religions

In other African Diasporic religious beliefs (Candomblé, Ifa, etc.) there are added orishas crowned beyond those pointed out above. This orishas incorporate Logun Ede, Oshumare, Orisha Oko (direct) and even Olokun. These space legitimate initiations in those religions yet are no a traditional part of Santeria Lukumí. Over there is even a modern trend to begin initiating civilization to this orishas in Lukumí practice but this is extremely unconventional and non-traditional.

Who Is mine Head Orisha?

With the growing awareness the Santeria, world find us infatuated through the orishas. Over there is a cultivation phenomenon of world wanting to recognize who their orisha is, along with a desire come worship and also work through that orisha directly. Regrettably many world treat this details like a parlor game, trying come guess who a person’s tutelary orisha is before divination. Over there are also espiritistas (spiritualists) that will declare a person’s tutelary orisha in a spiritual mass (misa), or use tarot cards to identify who their orisha is. I newly saw an write-up in a well-known brand-new Orleans Voodoo publishing telling human being to carry out a shamanic journey to identify who their tutelary orisha is. These are not legitimate practices and are not only fraudulent yet can be very harmful come a person’s development.

So how does a person discover out that their tutelary orisha is? Simple. You aren’t claimed to understand until you are currently preparing because that kariocha (ordination together a priest). As much as all need to be pertained to you room under the tutelage and also protection the Obatala. Obatala is the owner of every heads – the fashioned ours bodies and also minds. That is the “head” the the orishas and as such protects and also guides all people with fairness and also equality. If you want to recognize who to worship and who to work with, it’s Obatala … until it is time because that you to discover out who your guardian orisha yes, really is.

The guardian orisha can readjust before a human being is ordained in kariocha and there is no suggest in discovering until the species are currently being created kariocha. Additionally, a person may it is in told they are a boy of one orisha and also they dedicate every one of their energy and also efforts come bond v that orisha only to find out in ~ the critical minute that it has adjusted and this imbalance in the relationship with the orishas will certainly be reflected negatively in the person’s life analysis (itá). As an Aleyo or Aborisha your task is to learn about all the orishas and also learn discipline, obedience and humbleness while apprenticing at her godparent’s side. You should not be focusing on one orisha. You must be functioning on your very own self, overcoming her weaknesses and building a relationship with your ancestors long before kariocha. Understanding a person’s guardian orisha is putting the cart before the horse.

When is the appropriate Time to determine a Person’s Guardian Orisha?


Ifá-centric houses will defer come the Babalawos in their godfamily to recognize a person’s orisha.

There room two times as soon as you can discover out that your guardian orisha is. For homes that space Ocha-centric and do not work-related with Babalawos, this would certainly be the moment you are marked for kariocha. This would take place in a divination wherein it is identified that you need to be crowned a priest. When this happens, that human should start making preparations because that kariocha – generally saving money because that the ceremony. As soon as you room close to having all the money in ar a cowrie covering divination should be perform to uncover out who that person’s tutelary or guardian orisha is. That method the godparents recognize whether they can crown that human being (barring any taboos come the contrary) and they can begin to acquisition the rights supplies and make the appropriate arrangements. For example, the initiation for Elegguá costs a lot much more than that of Yemaya, therefore the suitable arrangements have to be made according to i m sorry orisha that human being will obtain on their crown.

For Ifa-centric houses, the divination that a person’s crowning orisha is booked for Babalawos. This is typically done once a human being received their Hand that Orunla (Awofakán or Ikofá). In ~ this ceremony, the initiate is provided the mysteries of Orunla (Orunmila), the bracelet of Ifá (idé Ifá) and also they room told who their tutelary orisha is. If the person has actually not received their hand the Orunla, this have the right to be done through a divination v Ikin (palm nuts) before the initiation.

There have also been instances wherein one orisha stood up to claim a person’s head moments prior to initiation, or even in the ceremony itself. This frequently happens as soon as a person’s tutelary orisha is determined means in development – years before the consciousness – and also at the last minute a various orisha possesses the person and also claims your head. This is yet another reason why it is best to wait up till the last feasible moment to identify the guardian orisha so the there room no dramatic transforms that need to be do in the ceremony.

How The Guardian Orisha Is Determined

There space two (maybe three) ways a person’s tutelary or guardian orisha is determined. The very first two space through divination. The third is through straight possession, yet even this need to be shown with divination.


Ocha-centric houses will usage the diloggún that Eleggua or the the godparent’s crowning orisha to magnificent a person’s head orisha.

For Ocha-centric houses, the proper way to identify a person’s tutelary orisha is in a ceremony well-known as a bajada (bringing down) the the guardian orisha. This is commonly done by an Obá Oriaté but any type of sufficiently experienced olorisha that has firm understanding of odu can perform the ceremony. This is done utilizing the cowrie shells (diloggún) that Elegguá or the the godparent’s tutelary orisha. The divination is perform on a grass mat covering in a white sheet the is placed on the ground. The diviner is sit on the ground and the person being consulted is seated on a small stool ~ above the extended mat within with of the diviner. In the divination, the customer will ar his head top top the mat if the diviner throw the diloggun to bring his guardian orisha “down to the mat” and determine which own his head.

For Ifá-centric houses, this have to be divined utilizing the ikin of Orunmila (palm nuts). Three babalawos should be present for this to be excellent properly. The babalawos will certainly beat the palm nuts and mark the end odu top top the table the ifá (opón ifá) and also determine which orisha rules that person’s destiny. This consciousness is also perfomed top top the floor prefer the one done in Ocha-centric houses. That is i can not accept for this consciousness to be done v the okuelé (diviner’s chain). Typically this awareness is excellent as part of a human receiving their Awofakán or Ikofá (hand the Orunla) yet it have the right to be done as just a reading if that human being hasn’t received the hand the Orunla yet.

The third method a person’s tutelary orisha have the right to be determined is directly from one orisha as soon as they space possessing a priest or priestess. This can take place at a drum ceremony or other ceremony. Periodically orishas will certainly descend top top their clergymans to speak and interact v others. They have the right to declare a human being needs to be initiated and also who they have to be crowned to. If this is a powerful and moving experience, in today of human being faking possessions it is crucial to confirm what to be revealed with divination just for good measure.

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It is vital to reiterate that utilizing obí (four cowries, 4 coconut pieces or four kola nuts) to divine a person’s orisha is no acceptable and is fraudulent practice. Obí is only used for yes or no questions. Obí can be supplied to open the bajada reading but the 16 cowrie shells (diloggún) room what speak and also deliver the news of the person’s tutelage. There are no other embraced methods as well as those mentioned over to recognize a person’s tutelary orisha in ~ Santeria Lukumí. If you to be told the you space a kid of one orisha through an alternate method just think about that reading as the orisha taking you under his or her protection, but until the proper an approach is used, you are NOT evidenced to it is in a boy of that orisha.