Chango is a representation of the ultimate masculine force. He is dynamic, stimulating, and logical. He is a deity of great height and represents the skies and the heavens. His color is red, and he is considered hot, and is able to produce heat by breathing fireballs from his mouth. The goddess Oshun, on the other hand represents yin. She is the ultimate female essence. She is static, calming, and intuitive, much like the rivers she resides in. Chango and Oshun, much like yin and yang characterize two different types of energy, also known as chi, or in Yoruba, ashe.
In Chinese philosophy as well as in African practices, everything in nature is perfectly balanced. If things become unbalanced then illness and malady may occur. Too much of Chango’s heat underlies pain and inflammation. Too much of Oshun’s coolness may cause blockages and stagnation. Both forces complement each other, and each force is needed to generate the spark needed for creation.
Chango’s heat can drive out Oshun’s cold. While Oshun’s cold can reduce Chango’s heat. Oshun and Chango, much like yin and yang are relative to each other and there is always a relationship fostering a certain condition. One flows into the other and then returns. Their partnerships gives people the ability to understand that they cannot comprehend cold without feeling heat. Their relationship evolves and becomes stronger because there is in inherent checks and balance system that allows them to feed off of each other’s strength.
Oshun’s ice, when warmed by Chango can become water. When Chango breathes out balls of fire, Oshun’s water becomes steam. In the Chinese system, as well as in African practice, all of life is a cycle of yin and yang, masculine and feminine, light and dark. When these forces come together, they generate an electric charge, or an unified supreme energy that sparked the creation of earth.
Oshun is known in Santeria and in Yoruba as the Goddess of love. She is revered in Western Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States for her beauty and grace. Others describe her to be the ultimate feminine essence equivalent to Venus. Oshun’s beauty is not just skin deep. She is the Orisha of unconditional love and is called upon for family matters and relationship issues. She resides in all rivers and lakes and is said to be the Orisha of sexuality. However, Oshun also resides in the rivers of energy that flows through our bodies. These rivers are called meridians.
Although the Chinese are credited for discovering the invisible energy channels that flow throughout the body and the world, the Africans were also very much aware of the power of chi. Unlike the Chinese, they called this energy ashe and the meridians that this energy flowed through were called rivers. Today, meridians and energy fields are studied by holistic health Practioners and are used in the common practice known as acupuncture. However, the concept of treating the root of an illness as oppose to its symptoms is universal. Ancient healers understood the power of ashe, and could see beyond the skin, sinew, and muscle tissues of an ailing patient. They understood that disharmony in the meridian channels caused illness. They worked to treat the sick by reasserting an energetic balance within the meridian system.
They understood that old, rusty, tired bones were a result of ashe being blocked in certain areas of the body. They understood that wounds that were slow to heal meant that the body wasn’t giving off the proper electronic shock needed for healing. They understood, that ashe much like chi, prana, and mena was an organic life force that flowed from the air into the lungs, into the execratory system, and back into nature.
Oshun is the Orisha who is commonly called on by healers because she presides over the rivers of ashe that allow our bodies to operate at optimum levels. She is the Orisha of unconditional love, because she understands that healing is a holistic approach and study. Oshun understands that all facets of the body must work together harmonically. A healer cannot just treat one aspect of a patient and ignore another. Traditional healers understand that all parts of our body work together interdependently. Knowledge needs to be transferred through the channels to ensure that each entity receives the ashe needed for balance and efficiency.
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.
Writers and artists
have always played pivotal roles in restructuring the social
hierarchy of class and race in the United States. Early writings
such as Narrative of the
Life of Fredrick Douglass authored by Fredrick
Douglass vividly portrayed the brutality of slavery greatly
advancing the abolitionist movement. W. E B. Du Bios’
Reconstruction in America challenged the
prevailing orthodoxy of black inferiority. Other greats such as Z.
Hurston, C. Cullen, and J. Toomer provided inspirational leadership
that resulted in the explosion of African art and literary
expression known as the Harlem Renaissance.
The mid-20th century gave rise to novelist Richard Wright and his attention to racial segregation and injustice. Works during the Civil Rights Movement included texts by Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. and The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Roots both penned by Alex Haley. The late 20th century brought award winning writers such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison to the fore of narrative and historical fiction. Black literature was (beyond L. Hansberry’s, A Raisin in the Sun) making its way as inclusive American classics.
Today’s African-American writers are working to remove the veil that continues to distort our history and religion. Following the footsteps of Ben Okri and Wole Soyinka, these writers delve into creative fictional narrative that portrays the beauty and psychological depth of African arts, history, epics, and myths; and the characters that embody them.
Added to the list of emerging writers are: Oloye Karade and Yamaya Cruz. Mr. Karade is the author of Storms of the Orisha and Emina and the Lake Dragon. His fictional narratives are based on knowledge amassed over his thirty years as an initiate in the Yoruba/Ifa religious tradition. The spirits and deities of the tradition serve as mythological and religious entities directly impacting the characters and plots of his novels. Yamaya Cruz writes with a flow of New Age spirituality embedded with twist and turns distinctively African. Her novel, When the Shadows Began to Dance is a creative narrative that depicts enslaved Africans beset by mental disorders –disorders alleviated by supplications to African deities and ancestors who’d also survived the Middle Passage. The healing of minds torn by horrid treatment via faith in the ‘old ways’ is the premise behind her work.
As a community, we understand that our ancestors survived the atrocities committed against them in America and the entire world by keeping African art and culture alive. We ask that you help us in our similar endeavor. Our community is now open and we’re accepting members. Also, if you have works of literature, art, or music we’d love to review them and place them on the New African Spirituality website. Together we can win.
are looking for a crash course on how to be fearless, check out my
e-course. The Seven
African Powers: The Stepping Stones to Enlightenment.
Or, if you have additional
questions call for a consultation. I am always ready and willing to help!
We have all heard the myths about an angel weighing our souls, judging us based on passed experiences and future intentions. If we are good, then we are allowed into the heavens. If we are bad, then we are forced to burn in hell for all eternity. However, we very seldom see, or learn about the angel that was blessed with so much power to judge us and discern our fate. That angel in Yoruba terms would be Eshu-Elegba.
The number for Eshu-Elegba is three, meaning the three great divisions, such as the past, present, and future.
He is commonly associated with crossroads and gateways. The gateways represent the bridge between the physical and spiritual realms. It is the angel Eshu-Elegba who leads us by the hand and guides us into the heavens, the world of the invisible, and the world where all the Orisha lay. This is perhaps why all offerings to the Orishas are shared with Eshu-Elegba.
Eshu-Elegba’s purpose is more than just an angel of guidance.
He is the Orisha who believes in tough love and likes to teach hard lessens about life. However, Eshu-Elegba’s main purpose is to teach people about the importance of making good decisions. The crossroads represent situations where opposing forces need to come together. In many situations we experience conflict at the crossroads. If we turn left, we are using our intuition and not logic. If we turn right, we may be taking the path of least resistance. A right turn can also suggest that we are making strictly logical decisions without using our intuition. In all situations, we are going to have to be aware of our past and present situations in order to make appropriate decisions.
This is the primary lesson that Eshu-Elegba tries to teach us.
It is difficult for many people to understand that there are four worlds, or four different planes of existence. Just as there are four parts of the Ori. Two parts of the Ori are invisible, while two parts of it are not. The parts that are not invisible are the past, and present. We can see, feel, and understand those worlds or planes of existence while making decisions. However, we cannot feel or see the other two worlds, which are the worlds of the future, and the world of the manifested.
The world of the future is common knowledge. However, very few people understand the world of the manifested. It is a world of infinite possibilities. It is the world of creation, a world of birth; it is the world where all of the Orishas lay. This is the world where we can understand the probability of certain outcomes. It is the world where we communicate with higher powers within ourselves, and throughout the universe. We can only get to this world by appealing to Eshu-Elegba. Through offerings, prayer, and love we can ask him to guide us through the gateway so we can become aware and truly understand our possibilities.
If you are looking for a crash course on how to be fearless, check out my e-course. The Seven African Powers: The Stepping Stones to Enlightenment. Or, if you have additional questions call for a consultation. I am always ready and willing to help! www.newafricanspirituality.com
Obatala is the voice of communication. He is the father of all Orishas and the deity of white cloth. The cloth does not only represent purity and cleanliness. The interwoven fibers represent the connection of all things to mother earth. Just as letters need to be stringed together to create words, then sentences, and paragraphs. Humans need to be stringed together to create individuals, families, and communities.
Obatala is the Orisha of high intelligence and is said to have descended from the heavens on an iron chain. The chain can represent the double-sided helix that stores information, like genetic codes, also known as DNA. It is Obatala who crafts the blueprint of our souls. He works very much like an engineer, studying the details of the human construct, and then combining all the elements to form one single unit. A brick by itself is just a brick. It has little meaning or purpose. However, when combined with other bricks it becomes more powerful, more stable. Bricks, when placed together can work as shelters, as fortresses, and even barriers. Obatala represents the power of unity and synchronicity. He is the holistic force that enables humanity to evolve and survive.
Obatala can also be associated with the forest and mountaintops. Mountaintops are the closest we can get to the heavens on earth. Mountaintops represent the state of full consciousness. The woods or forest is a symbolization of the unconscious mind. Exploring the unconscious mind is a process of understanding self, while exploring the secrets of our own nature. The forest can also represent the soul entering into areas that it has never explored before.
Obatala is also associated with the 6th chakra or the Vishuddha chakra in Sanskrit. This chakra also governs our ability to communicate. However, it also governs our intuition. Obatala represents the fibers that allows us to bind and become one. He is the force that allows us to exchange information through telepathy. Obatala rules over both verbal and nonverbal communication. This includes information and knowledge that is transported through humanity’s collective consciousness. Obatala’s color is white. Obatala’s numbers are eight and twenty-four.
There are thousands of stories, great myths, and legends about the African goddess. In Yoruba, she was known as the river goddess. However, she became the Yoruba deity of the ocean during the Mid Atlantic Slave Trade when millions of captives appealed to her for guidance and support. Slowly, she became the Orisha who presided over the oceans.
Yemaya can also be associated with Our Lady of Regla in Santeria. She can also be linked to the second chakra or swadhisthana chakra in Sanskrit. The 2nd chakra is located in the womb area and is a vessel for creativity. Yemaya presides over the womb and is called upon for maternity purposes, or to help aid mothers while giving birth. However, Yemaya is much more, she is the divinity of creation. She helps mothers give birth, not only to children, but also to new ideas, opportunities, and beliefs.
Yemaya is the deity of the ocean. The ocean in itself represents the collective consciousness of the human race. The waves rising and falling are symbols of the chaotic states that we all emerge from. The rise and fall of the tides represents our emotions, both negative and positive. The ocean also represents the strength of unity and oneness. It can also be a symbol of reconnecting with a primal Source of energy or ashe that fuels us all.
Yemaya’s number is seven. It is the number of completeness. There are the seven chakras, the seven African powers, seven primary colors, and the seven rays of light. The number seven also deals with magical forces. It also has esoteric and scholarly aspects associated with it. Yemaya is known to be very skilled in magic and other crafts, and will not hesitate to use her magic to protect her children.
Yemaya’s colors are blue and crystal. Yemaya’s physical correspondences are the breasts, liver, and buttocks. Objects associated with Yemaya include strong matriarchal statues, mermaids and creatures of the sea, shells, and images of the ocean. Offerings made to Yemaya include molasses, seafood, ducks, hens, or roosters.