What Is Santeria?
Santeria, much like many other traditional European religions consist of diverse spirits and divinities. The supreme god, Olodumare, created the natural world where humans lived. The deities known as orishas in Santeria, ascended to greatness by exemplifying good character and thus becoming angels with unlimited abilities. Like other traditional religions, Orishas were associated with natural features like rivers, thunder and mountains. In Greek mythology, Zeus was the God of thunder. In Santeria, the Orisha Chango is the god of lightning and fire. Stores of the Orishas, also known as patikis reveal their specific personalities and traits. Each Orisha rules over some aspect of human life and or society. The Patikis guide practitioners on how to worship the Orishas. Dozens of books have been published with complete guides and charts on offerings, foods, colors, virtues, and songs about each Orisha.
In Santeria, each human has a patron Orisha, or presiding Orisha that is assigned to him or her before birth by the supreme God Olodumare. The ori, which translates into head, is divided into four parts. The ori contains the true essence of the human being. It works as a guiding force to help an individual to follow his or her destiny, to strive to have good character, and to adopt special gifts and talents. Once, an individual has achieved all of this, they are led by the Orisha Eshu through the gates that separate the physical world from the spiritual world. In the spiritual world, they become ancestral spirits known as eguns.
Ashe, also known as energy in the Western world, and Chi in the Eastern world, is the inherent power or essence that makes things happen. Everything in nature vibrates at its own frequency. Ashe, much like healing energy works based on polarities such as positive and negative, male and female, and ying and yang. Priest and priestesses in Santeria strive to find the perfect vibration for each life form. Therefore, words spoken or sung carry ashe. Herbs giving to an ailing patient carry ashe. Animal blood and certain key parts of sacrificed animals carry ashe. Practioners and priest of Santeria strive to create balance by attaining the perfect vibrational frequencies in nature and within themselves.