58487313 26327657 SANTERIA Nigerian Rituals for Love Money Health and Protection - [PDF Document] (2024)


Santeria:A Practical Guide to

Afro-Caribbean Magic

Luis M. Nuñez




Table of Contents


Chapter 1.Historical notes.

Chapter 2.Ceremonies.

Chapter 3.The Sacrifice.

Chapter 4.The Gods I.

Chapter 5.The Gods II.

Chapter 6.The Gods III.

Chapter 7.The Gods IV.

Chapter 8.The Oracles I.

Chapter 9.The Oracles II.

Chapter 10.The Oracles III.

Chapter 11.The Oracles IV.

Chapter 12.Talismans, Spells & Implorations I.

Chapter 13.Talismans, Spells & Implorations II.





Santeria is not an archaic religion. It is a vibrant force with fivehundred years of continuous history in the Western Hemisphere.Its African roots go back at least as far as Christianity's.

Santeria has millions of followers spread across the United States,the Caribbean, Central, and South America. There is Voodoo inHaiti, Macumba in Brazil and Candomble in the Northern coastsof South America. Its adherents come from all walks o f life;doctors, lawyers, politicians, thieves and pimps. All those whoseek the power to control their own lives and want to lead them inaccord with the deepest parts of their beings are candidates forinitiation into Santeria. As the traditional belief systems of theWestern world cease to provide a direct emotional involvementwith the mysteries of life, more and more people are turning to thethrobbing of the Santeria drums. It is a religion of trance, mystery,posse ssion, blood and sex. What follows is a brief glimpse intoSanteria. If you want to know more, go to the ceremonies, burnthe candles and dance to the drums. Skin color or language are nobarriers. The ancient gods will recognize their own.


Santeria's roots are in Africa, in the Yoruba religions native toNigeria. It was brought to the New World by the hundreds ofthousands of men, women and children who were hunted downand sold as slaves.

The African religions had to undergo severe transformations inorder to survive. The changes that led to Santeria began in 1517,when Yoruba slaves had their first bitter taste of Catholicism inCuba.

It is its Catholic content which gives Santeria its peculiar flavor.The combination results in a Santero being a devout RomanCatholic at the same time he or she is sacrificing a rooster to acement image of Elegua enthroned behind the front door.

There are no records. There are only stories, echoes of voices longdead.




The slave is brought to the new land. No longer a human being,the slave is sold and traded like a beast of burden. If the Master iskind, the slave will eat and live to work. If the Master is not, theslave will work until the slave dies.

Night brings an old Yoruba song. A homemade drum answers. Achorus forms. More drums are brought out. The old movementsare recalled. The dancing starts. Chants and dances fromquarrelling African tribes join and make love to each other. Therhythms unite, transform and give birth to something new.

The herb man looks after the sick. He sees the future. Prayers.Offerings. Sacrifices. He knows what foods the gods like, whatwomen attract them. Enemies are killed by a handful of powder.

The white man in the black cassock comes. There is a Jesus. Hewas tortured and killed. His mother cries. The slaves understandgrief and death.

The white god doesn't talk. The white god does not come to visit.The white god does not like the things that the earth gives withsuch love. No singing. No dancing. No food. No perfume. He hatesthe feel of soft velvety flesh and laughter in the night. The whitegod makes no miracles.

The old Yoruba priest teaches the young the ancient rites.Secretly. They are treasures.

Nannies croon African Apatakis. White babies fall asleep, thestories of the gods in their ears. The babies grow up. They dance.They believe.

White men have black lovers. Beautiful black women bite theirears. They learn to respect Chango. They do not provoke Elegua.

The Spanish Inquisition comes and kills and burns. They say thereis only one god.

The slaves smile and lie. They worship Chango, Obatala or Oshunas they kneel in church. They believe in the white god and saintsas well. The more love and respect given to all the gods, thegreater their protection.

Elegua, the playful messenger of the gods, cheerfully becomes theHoly Child of Atocha. Oshosi, the fierce god of war, shrugged his




shoulders and became Saint Norbert. Oshun, the hip-swinginggoddess of those who know how to make love with skill andpassion, became Our Lady of Charity (La Caridad del Cobre).Chango, the invincible warrior chief, the whoring god of stormand lightning, showed his sense of humor. He turns into SaintBarbara.

Everyone felt much more protected now that Chango was awarrior as well as a female Saint inside the church. No one fooledanyone. The slave owners saw that, after a religious festival (a "golpe de Santo") there was peace and harmony in the sugarplantations. Many white mothers had their child brought back tohealth by a black herbalist. Young women swore about theeffectiveness of love philters and showed off their handsomehusbands as proof. The priests thought about the recent slaveuprisings in Haiti and the accompanying massacre of thepriesthood and assured the laity that a little drumming in thenight was absolutely harmless.

Santeria was born. No one really paid much attention.


The Rule of Osha, as Santeria is formally known, has no writtencanon. Its traditions are passed on orally to the initiates. Thewritten records in existence are either direct transcriptions fromthe oral tradition taken from initiates by interested researchers orfrom the notebooks in which a godmother or godfatherlaboriously wrote, with a smeary pencil, awful grammar andspelling, the finer points to be remembered during the ceremonies.The Lucumi language that the initiate in Santeria, the "asentado",is supposed to learn and practice is passed on in the same way.

Santeria has many variations according to the locality in which itis practiced. Distance and necessity make many of the practicesvary wildly from each other. However, certain common threadsrun through all practices and make it possible to come up withwhat may be called a "generic" ceremony.




The Ceremony

It is Saturday. Everyone arrives early, dressed in their patronSaint's, their Orisha's, favorite colors and bringing the collars(Ilekes) and bundles and boxes containing the sacrificial animalsand special foods and offerings needed for the ceremony. Theceremonies are long and exhausting. They can last all night andinto Sunday morning.

A large comfortable room has been reserved in the house. Thetime passes in conversation, jokes and anecdotes. The altar isplaced in a prominent position within the ceremonial area.Commonly, images of Christ and St. Barbara are prominentlyfeatured. Spread out before each image is a large ceramic souptureen with a cover, usually decorated in a very rococo style.These tureens contain the stones (Otanes) sacred to the Orishasand the consecrated cowrie shells (Dilogun) used in the shelloracle (Medilogun).

Upon the mat covering the floor before the altar, the participantsplace the fruits, vegetables, cooked foods and the sacrificialanimals they brought to the ceremony. There are also containersof Chequete (a drink made from sour orange juice, molasses, cornmeal and fresh coconut milk). Bottles of aguardiente (anextremely strong drink distilled from sugar cane juice) are alsoplaced on the mat as an offering to the Orishas. The officialconducting the ceremony, either a high ranking bishop (Babalawo, or Iyalocha, if a woman), or a common priest (Santero orSantera) will fill his or her mouth with the aguardiente and sprayit over the gathering as a blessing and to quiet those who havebeen possessed by an Orisha during the ceremony.

The conversation dies down at a signal from the Babalawo.Everyone settles down in front of the altar. The Babalawo holdsup a container of Omiero (a mixture of rain water, river water, seawater and holy water; aguardiente, honey, corojo butter-extractedfrom the hard nuts of the corojo palm, cocoa butter, powderedeggshell, pepper and various other herbs and ingredients particularto the mixture's purpose. It is brewed by immersing a live coalwrapped in a fresh taro (Malanga) leaf into the mixture, which hasbeen steeping since the previous day).




The container is presented to the four cardinal points and a smalloffering is made to each by spilling a bit of the Omiero. TheBabalawo faces the altar and offers the Omiero to the Orishas,asking them to bestow their magical powers (Ashe) upon him. Alittle Omiero is then spilled at the room's entrance. The Babalaworeturns to the center of the gathering and spills Omiero on thefloor three times. The mixture is then offered to whomever wouldlike to drink. Almost everyone does.

The Babalawo then draws the required symbols on the floor tosummon the Orishas

. They are drawn with powdered eggshell mixed with earth fromthe roots of the favorite tree or plant of the house's tutelary Orisha.The symbol is blessed and sprinkled with corn meal. A candle islit at prescribed points. No one walks on these designs or stepsover them.

The preliminaries being over, the youngest initiates (young interms of time since their initiations into Santeria), along withthose that aspire to join, back into the room, their faces away fromthe altar. The make obeisance by laying face down on the floorwith their heads towards their godmother or godfather, the personsponsoring the novice and who may or may not be conducting theceremony. This person or persons, in turn salutes the Orishas andblesses the new initiates and the novices. The blessings made, thegodfather or godmother stands. The drumming begins.

Sometimes a participant is immediately possessed by an Orisha.At the moment of possession, the personality traits of thecontrolling Orisha become clearly manifested. Shaking andshuddering of the whole body are followed by very strongconvulsions. The possessed individual falls on the floor.

The physical symptoms cease. Utter calm is reflected in the"montado"'s face (literally, he who is ridden. The act ofpossession). Voice, mannerisms and gestures change completely.The personality of the "caballo" (horse) ceases to exist. Thepersonality of the Orisha has completely taken over the believer'sbody.

Nearby persons restore the "caballo"'s calm by blowing into his orher ears and mouth. Cocoa butter or corojo butter are rubbed on




the person's hands and feet. If the trance becomes too violent, the"caballo" may be injured. It is the responsibility of those aroundthe possessed individual to ensure his or her well being.

After the initial crisis is over, the Orisha's control over thepossessed body becomes stronger. The Orisha dances to thewelcoming beat of his or her specific rhythm and chant and"cleans" (purifies and blesses) those present. If the ceremonyincludes an animal sacrifice, the Orisha blesses those present bytearing or biting off the heads of sacrificial birds and sprinklingthem with the blood.

If the Orisha is in a good mood, his "children" (those initiated tothat particular Orisha) will joke and dance with the Saint. If theOrisha is in a bad mood or comes to punish someone, there is aprofound silence. Everyone respectfully listens to the scolding.

The Orishas speak briefly and get directly to the point. Theyprefer to communicate through the cowrie shell oracle or thecoconut oracle (Biague).

The trance may last for seconds or for the entire ceremony. Thetrance's end comes spontaneously, although the godmother orgodfather of the possessed person may have to intervene at timesand prevent the possession from lasting too long a time. This isspecially true in the case of novices whose trance capacity is notwell known. Rarely can the possessed person remember what theydid or said.

The Initiation (The "Asentado")

The details of each initiation ceremony vary according to theOrisha who will become the "parent" of the person being initiatedinto Santeria. The following information is a composite obtainedfrom various sources and may be described as a "generic"initiation.

The first Orishas to be "asentados" (literally, seated upon) thenovices head are: Obatala, Chango, Yemaya, and Oshun.Petitioning these Orishas for protection, offering them bloodsacrifices and becoming possessed by them mark the entrance ofthe novice into Santeria.




The novice has no say in selecting the Orisha whose "child" hewill become. The relationship is revealed through consulting theoracles, the physical characteristics peculiar to the "children" of aparticular Orisha and through the direct intervention of the Orishaas he or she possesses a person and lays claim to that person priorto his or her novitiate.

"I remember that the first thing I had to do was to get together themoney. And it was a lot! An asiento is expensive. The big one isthe fee to the Babalawo, but there's also all the food to buy and theaguardiente. Not to mention all the new clothes I had to buy. Youhave to have all new clothes, you know, to be clean."

Both the money and the new wardrobe are turned over to thenovice's godmother or godfather. It is this sponsor whoadministers the funds.

The current cost of an initiation in New York or in Miami caneasily run from three to five thousand dollars. The cost isdetermined by the Orisha, or so it is said.

"My godfather came and told me when the 'asiento was going tobe. I was very excited. I was frightened, but I was mostly excited.I packed up my things and moved to my Babalawo's house. I wassupposed to be there a week, but I had problems at work and I hadto go back to work in four days."

If the novice is a girl who has reached the age of menstruation, thedate of the "asiento" and of its accompanying rites must notcorrespond with that of her period. The proximity of amenstruating woman to an Orisha is considered sacrilege.

"The Babalawo sat me down in his room. He made me sit on amat. He took out his shells and sang to them and shook them up.Then, he had me blow into them to give them Ashe. He threwthem over and over again until he was sure what my Ebo wasgoing to be. I've been pretty bad, so, let me tell you, it was a lot!"

An Ebo is any sacrifice or offering to the Orishas. In the case ofan initiation, the Ebo are the sacrifices the novice must make toappease the Orishas offended by his or her past faults or evilactions.




"They brought in this big cage full of birds. There was everythingin there. Chickens, roosters, pigeons, everything. I'm standingthere in front of everybody and the birds are making a hell of a lotof noise. The Babalawo takes out the birds one by one and rubs itall over my body and hair. There was chicken sh*t everywhere. Hethen took out his knife and killed all the birds. That was scary.And I had to taste the blood."

Once the Babalawo has transferred the novice's impurities to thebirds, the Orisha's names are called out. Each of the sacrifices isdescribed to the Orishas in Lucumi,an archaic form of a languagestill commonly spoken on the Nigerian coast. The Babalawo isvery careful to explain what is wanted of each Orisha. The noviceis then presented to the images. They are begged to accept thenovice into Santeria.

"We stayed chanting for a long time. Then, the Babalawo cleanedme up a little bit. We all got in cars and they took me to the river.We got there just as the sun was setting. It was beautiful."

After making Ebo to the Orishas, the novice must be taken to aplace holy to his or her patron Orisha.

"I was crying and glad that Oshun had chosen me. She is myfavorite. I took the plates of food that we had all prepared forOshun and went down into the water. I put the food in the river.Not like throwing it away, but with respect. When I had given allthe food to Oshun, I ripped off my clothes and threw them in thewater. That was great. I was naked in the water in front of allthese people, crying and feeling really happy."

The novice is then carefully bathed in the river by the Babalawowith the help of the accompanying Santeros and Santeras. Theceremony is very much like a full immersion baptism. The noviceis then dried and wrapped in a new towel.

"Then, I filled my new pot with the river water. We all got backinto the cars and went back to the house. No, no. I wasn't nakedany more. I had on my new clean clothes. When we got back tothe house, Eduardo was wailing away at this big cow bell. It wasjust like church, but happier. Then, I had to take off my clothesagain and get washed in the water from the pot."




That night, the Babalawo petitions (rogar) the novice's head. Aperson's head is inhabited by an Eleda, a guardian angel. TheEleda is not a Orisha. If the Eleda is ignored and proper attentionis not given to the resident angel, it will abandon the person, whowill become defenseless against evil influences. The intelligencewill be lessened. Without feeding a person's Eleda, no importantrite can take place. The Eleda is fed by drinking blood.

The Ebo to petition the Eleda is fairly simple. Doves are sacrificedand their blood is tasted by the congregation. Two deep dishes arefilled with powdered egg shell, two coconuts, cocoa butter, cotton,cooked but unsalted corn meal, bread, guinea pepper, smokedfish, Jutia (a large Caribbean rodent about the size of a possum),and slugs. The Babalawo places a white cloth on the floor beforethe soup tureens containing the Otanes sacred to the Orishas andplaces the deep dishes on the cloth. Two candles are lit and placedto either side of the dishes.

A Moyuba (prayer of invocation in Lucumi. See Page 173) isoffered to the Orishas, the spirits of the dead and the deadBabalawos, Babalochas, Santeros and Santeras.

"They lit the candles and sat me in this tiny chair right in front ofthe altar. First, I had to take off my shoes and roll up my pants.Then, I sat on the chair with my hands on my knees."

The Babalawo takes a gourd full of water and spills it on the floorthree times. He prays to Olodumare.

"omi tuto, ana tutu, tut laroye, ile tuto olodumare ayuba bo wo ebeelese olodumare ayuba bai ye baye to nu."

The Babalawo makes Moyuba to the dead Elders and to the spiritsof the dead.

"ibaye baye tonu bowo oku be lese olodumare mo yuba ibayebafayaye kosi iku kosi aron kosi ina dosi eye kosi faya kosi ofoariku baba wa."

He then makes Moyuba to the Orishas, beginning with Elegua.

The Babalawo picks up the two deep dishes and stands before thenovice.




"emi bori (name of the novice) kosi iku kosi aro kosi ina kosi eyekosi ofo ariku baba wa."

"My knees are starting to cramp up a little bit by now, allscrunched up in that chair, but the Babalawo is still standing infront of me with the dishes. He says that they have this and theyhave that. I don't understand very much of it. Anyhow, he touchesthe dishes to my feet, and then to my knees and my hands. Hecomes a little closer and rubs the dishes on my shoulders and myforehead, and a little bit on my neck. I'm starting to smell a littlestrange, when he smears cocoa butter on my feet. But, he takesmost of everything off with big wads of cotton. Then, he tookwhite powder and made lines on my face. I tell you, I felt like anIndian."

The white powder is powdered eggshell. The Babalawo drawsthree small horizontal lines on the novice's cheeks, forehead,hands, knees and feet. If the novice is a woman, the lines aredrawn vertically.

The Babalawo breaks a coconut and selects four pieces. He thenpicks out a meat fragment from each piece.

"oni no iku, obi no aro, oni no eye.'

He touches the hand holding the coconut flesh to the novice'sforehead, neck, shoulders, chest , hands and knees. With the samehand, he touches the floor and his own forehead.

"ile mo ku ko ori mo ku ko.'

The Babalawo throws the small pieces of coconut on the floorthree times.

"obi aremi.'

He stands behind the novice.


"He put the pieces of coconut in his mouth, after throwing themon the floor and everything, and he chewed them up with a bite ofcocoa butter. He spits it out on his hand and put it all over myhead. I don't know. In my friend's asentado, the Iyawo used ablender. That seems better, you know?'




"Anyhow,then he put the white collar around my neck. So, withObatala with me, I felt better. Stronger."

The placement of the first collar is a crucial moment. It is the timethat the novice's relationship with the Orishas "catches".

"A couple of the women helped me get up, because I was allcramped up. They took me outside the room and sat me down on awhite sheet they had laid out for me. They told me to shut up andstay quiet."

"I didn't see why, because everyone outside was laughing andtalking. There was a lot of people there, because you need at least16 Santeros to do an 'asiento'".

Osain, the god of herbs and healing, is the next Orisha invokedduring an "asiento". To "make" Osain, herbs must be broken upand ground, crushed and mixed. This portion of the ceremony isgenerally entrusted to a herbalist of proven experience. Theherbalist goes out into the wilderness, or to an empty lot nextdoor, to obtain the Ewe (the herbs).

When the herbalist returns, he must announce himself and theherbs at the door.

"ago ile egbe onareo ago ile."

"When he got back, he gave these big bundles of herbs to theBabalawo. The Iyalochas laid out clean mats on the floor andeveryone helped to spread the herbs out. The Babalawo gave themwater to drink and coconuts to eat. Then, he spit on them. He saidit was to give them Ashe."

Seven ceramic pots, painted in the symbolic colors of the Orishas(White, red, blue, yellow, black, green, and brown) are set outamong seven barefooted Iyalochas. The herbs are distributed.Each Iyalocha receives the herbs belonging to her patron Orisha.Each Iyalocha goes on to offer a Mayuba to her Orisha as shereceives the herbs.

The Babalawo intones the prayers for the dead, the prayer forOlodumare and initiates the sixteen ritual chants, beginning withthe one for Elegua. (See Page 173)




Each Iyalocha prepares her herbs and places them in her pot. Thecontents of all the pots will go to make the Omiero. The Omiero isthe all purifying water. It regenerates and cures because in it areconcentrated the powers of the medicinal plants and the influenceof the Orishas.

The Omiero is formulated as follows:

The Otanes, the lodestones sacred to the Orishas, are washed withtheir corresponding herbs. The Orisha's ornaments and theircowrie shells and collars are washed as well and then dried withwhite linen cloths.

The washing of the lodestones begin with those belonging toElegua . The stones are steeped in the herbs belonging to Elegua.(See the "Herb" sections in Chapters Four to Seven)

Ogun's stones are washed next. Then, follow the Otanes ofOshosi, Obatala, Chango, Agayu, Yemaya, Oshun and Oya.

The sap extracted from the pounded leaves is mixed with rainwater, river water, sea water, coconut milk and holy water; honey,aguardiente, corojo butter, tiny bits of smoked fish, jutia, cocoabutter, powdered eggshell, toasted grains of corn and Guineapepper. The mixture is poured into a tub and a small live coalwrapped in a taro (Malanga) leaf is dropped in. The Omiero willtonify the body of the Iyawo (novice) and prepare him or her toreceive the presence of the patron Orisha.

"When they finished washing the Orisha's stones, The Babalawocame and threw a white sheet over me. I couldn't see anything. Iwas stood up and someone walked me to a door.

'Knock,' the Babalawo told me.

So, I knocked.

'Who are you looking for', he said.


I said, 'No.'






We went like that, back and forth until he said, 'Oshun?' and, Isaid, 'Yes'."

Someone opened the door and pushed me through. Somethingwarm and sticky went on my feet, but the Babalawo told me tokeep my eyes closed."

After dripping the blood of a young chick on the novice's feet, theBabalawo leads him or her into the room by the hand. The noviceis made to kneel in the tub full of Omiero and is washed oncemore by each of the Santeros present. If the novice is a woman,she is washed by the Iyalochas. He or she is then dried with thetowel used after bathing in the river. The novice is then dressed innew white clothes.

"I felt really good and smelled really good too. I sat on a chair andan Iyalocha put a sheet around my shoulders. The Babalawostarted to shave my head and the Iyalocha made sure that none ofthe hair fell on the floor. That would have been bad luck. Whenmy head was shaved, the Babalawo started to paint it for theOrisha."

The novice's head must be prepared to ease the Orisha's entranceand possession of the body. First, a central circle, the color of theOrisha who will possess the novice, is painted. Circling it in abull's eye pattern are seven concentric circles in white, red, blue,yellow, black, green, and brown. Below the circles, all theBabalawos, Iyalochas, Santeros and Santeras paint dabs of color,each one using the color of his or her patron Orisha.

"After everyone finished painting my head, they sat me on the'pilon' (a large upright mortar) that was used to mach up the herbs.The Babalawo put water in Oshun's herbs and made a mud out ofit. Then, he put the mud all over my head."

Each of the Santeros and Santeras participating in the ceremonydaub a little bit of the herbal paste on the novice's head until it iscovered in a helmet shaped plaster.

"The Babalawo started to pass the Otanes to me. It was prettyemotional. This was the first time that I'd been allowed to touchthem. The last ones they let me hold belonged to Oshun herself.Between handling the Otanes and the singing for the Orishas andthe drums, I started to feel very strange. Things started spinning




around me like I was getting drunk. It was like a big hand wassqueezing my chest so that I couldn't breathe. I started to shakereally hard. I couldn't help it. The singing got louder. TheBabalawo started singing right next to my ear. Then, I don'tremember anything."

The patron Orisha is being enticed and cajoled to enter thenovice's body. When the physical symptoms indicate that theOrisha has taken possession of the body, The Babalawo shouts:

"iya ye kuma kue yu mao!"

He tears off the head of a guinea hen and touches the bleedingneck to the novice's mouth so that the possessing Orisha can drinkthe blood. Immediately, tiny pieces of smoked fish, jutia, pepper,a little honey and a sip of Omiero are given. The Babalawo lightlyincises a cross on the novice's tongue with a razor.

The Babalawo opens the possessed novice's eyes and gives histhanks to the Orisha.

"gbogbo koyu mo dupue."

The Orisha has manifested its presence. The "asentado" iseffective. All the participants shout and sing. Everyone gets up todance. The Babalawo and his assistants help the novice return toconsciousness and wipe off all the Ashe from his head with awhite cloth, in which the sticky remains are wrapped and carefullysaved.


"Right after they cleaned all the stuff from my head, myBabalawo started to kill the animals. It took hours to killeverything. If I could have afforded it, it would have taken all day.But, who has that kind of money?"

Only a Babalawo or an Iyalocha may kill. If their patron Orisha isOgun, their rights to slaughter need only be confirmed in a briefceremony. The "children" of other Orishas must have thesacrificial knife granted to them over a period of long andinvolved rituals and initiations, by a Babalawo or Iyalocha whohas Ogun as his or her patron Orisha.




"All the animals have to be healthy, beautiful and fat. I spent daysrunning around making sure that they were perfect."

"It's very important that everything be the way the Elders did itwhen the Orishas are being fed. Because, if the Babalawo doesn'tknow what he's doing and screws up the sacrifice, the "asentado"won't work. Not only that, you could die, or the people that arethere could get sick or their children could get sick. Blood is verypowerful, you can't fool around with it."

"You have to feed the Orishas. The blood gives strength to theOrisha and the novice. It made me stronger. People can't do bad'work' against me. I've been baptized in the all powerful blood, thelife of life."

The sacrificial killing establishes a strong bond between thenovice and the Orishas. The same benefits extend to those thatparticipate in the sacrifices.

The animals are kept outside the Igbodu (the room containing thealtar and consecrated to the Orishas) until the moment of theirsacrifice. Animals with four legs are brought into the room first,covered by colored cloths. The color of the covering indicates towhich Orisha they will be sacrificed. All the birds have theirbeaks and legs washed with Omiero.

All the tureens, filled with their Otanes, are placed on the floorand left uncovered. The Babalawo makes an offering of water andcoconut to each tureen.

"omi tutu laro ero pesi labe koko lodo per leri wi bo mo iga be riiga boya iga bo chishe ile mo koko mo peloni intori iku mo peloniintori iku aye mo pe loni intori ofo mo da bi pe loni ebsoe iku obiaro obi aye obi ofo obi lebareo."

"I was feeling a little better, but I had to stay seated on the 'pilon'and was told not to move."

"Two Iyalochas led in a lamb. The Babalawo gave it somesunflower leaves. She ate them. That was real good because itmeant that Oshun liked the lamb."

"firolo firolo bale fi ro lo ba le abo fi ro lo fi ro lo bale abo fi ro firo lo bale."




"The Babalawo gave me some pepper and a piece of coconut meatto chew up. I spit it back out on his hand and he smeared it on thelamb's head. He brought the lamb close to me and I had to touchher three times with my forehead and rub my forehead and myballs on her."

If the novice is a woman, she rubs against the animal with herbreasts and legs.

The Babalawo's assistants tie the animals's legs together and it isplaced on the floor on a bed of banana, guava and poplar leaves.The Babalawo takes up the knife.

"yakina yakina."

The helpers respond in chorus as they stretch the animal's neck.

Chorus: "bara yakina yakina yakina lo bara yakina."

The Babalawo stabs the animal in its jugular vein and the fountainof blood is caught in the Orisha's tureen.

"ogun choro choro."

Chorus: "eye ba re ka ro."

"eye ogun moyu re ebima."

As he kills each animal, the Babalawo shouts, "I did not kill it,Ogun, who is great, killed it," removing all guilt and responsibilityfor his actions.

Chorus:"ebima eye ogun moyu re ibi ma."

"elegua dekun."

Chorus: "eye dekun ye."

"olodumare eye eye."

He cuts the lamb's head off. The Babalawo pours salt in its rawneck wound.

"iyo iyo ma le ro iyo iyo ma le ro.'

Chorus: "abala iyo ma le ro abala iyo ma le ro."

The Babalawo smears corojo butter on the bleeding neck stump.




"te epo epo ma le ro te epo epo ma le ro."

Chorus: "abala epo epo ma le ro abala epo epo ma le ro."

He smears honey on the neck.

"ba ra i la wi oñi o ba ra i la wi oñi."

Chorus: "odu ma ma la wi oñi o ba ra i la wi oñi."

"Then, the Babalawo put the head right on my face and I drankthe blood. I looked up at the ceiling and spit all the blood up to theOrisha."

The Babalawo twirls around the novice with the head and offers itto the Orishas.

"ato reo ato reo afori mawa orio oba to ba ofori mawa adere mo nio adere monio fa ra ori lori elewa ode rere monio odere re."

He places the head before the tutelary Orisha's tureen.

"ten ten leri fu mi ba fo wa o ten ten."

The headless carcass is removed from the Igbodu by theBabalawo's helpers. They hold it up by the legs, making sure thatthe neck stump faces the door. The Babalawo places a rooster or acoconut between its rear legs.

"wo ekun eni le wo ekun eni le wo ekun eni le."

At the door, the carcass is turned to the left and to the right beforebeing taken out.

If the novice's budget permits it, the sacrifice is repeated for eachOrisha represented in the Igbodu. After each decapitation, a saltfilled gourd is filled with blood and set aside. It will be used toprepare the Orisha's Ashe. Each gourd is painted with the Orisha'semblematic color. There are no gourds for Obatala or for thespirits of the dead, who hate salt.

To clear the reek of blood from the air, the Babalawo spills a littlewater on the floor.

"iro ko suwo ogu osono."

Chorus: "ero ero koise ero ariku babawa."




The carcasses are skinned outside the Igbodu. The skins arestretched on the floor. After butchering, the pieces are piled on thehides. The offal is thrown up on the roof so that the vultures,Oshun's birds, may also enjoy the feast.

Each butchered animal is presented to the Orisha who demand itsdeath. The topmost vertebra is taken out of the animal's head. Thisbone is added to the bundle of oracular cowrie shells handed tothe Iyawo. It is proof that his Orisha drank the blood of a fourlegged animal.

"After the big animals, it's time to sacrifice the birds. TheBabalawo started with the roosters I'd bought."

Each rooster's head is cut off with a knife. Its blood is consideredmore powerful than that of the lesser birds, so it is mixed with thesheep's blood in the tureens. The Babalawo offers the bleedingbird to the Orisha.

"akuko mo kua ara aye."

He then sacrifices the remaining birds by tearing off their headswith his bare hands.

"ko si cu ete eye otoko amu otoko epo.'

"Every time that he tore off the head of a bird, he put the stump inmy mouth so I could drink some of the blood to make mestronger. His assistants also had a little bit from each bird."

Before removing the dead birds from the Igbodu, its neck stump isjoined to its legs and the Babalawo touches the floor three times.

"emi lo ku so osin ogun lo kua.'

All the feathers, except those of the ducks, are placed inside thetureens and mixed in with the blood and the sacred stones. Theperson nominated to clean the birds sings:

"etie eku edeku etie eye adeya to lo ma likui ela popo ini eye,"

while cleaning them.

The killing of the guinea hens ends the sacrificial ceremony.Before tearing off the head, the Babalawo twirls the bird abovethe novice's head.




"loricha fin fe to loricha fin fe to ara bobo loricha fin fe to arabobo."

When it is dead, the Babalawo ends the ceremony.

"ero ko ishe."

"That was it. I stayed seated on the pilon, the blood dripping downmy chest. The Babalawo's assistants brought in the heads of allthe animals wrapped in their stomachs and put them in front of theOrishas."

The flesh and organs are left in the Igbodu as an offering beforethe Orisha's tureens for about an hour. This allows the Orishas'essences, manifested in the sacred stones, to absorb the blood inwhich they have been soaking.

"The Babalawo fed his knife with coconuts. Everyone came inand pitched in to clean the room. All the blood was scrubbed fromthe floor and the splatters of blood on the walls were washed off."

After the Orishas have fed, the blood is washed off the stones withOmiero. The blood and the feathers must be disposed of in themanner favored by each Orisha: Yemaya's in the sea, Oshun's in ariver, Elegua's at a crossroads, etc.

The preparations then begin for the feast that will be shared by allthe participants except the Babalawo or Iyalocha that performedthe sacrifices.

"That night, I slept on a mat laid out in front of the altar. One ofthe Iyalochas stayed with me to take care of me."

"When I woke up the next morning, the Babalawo gave me a littlebit of smoked fish and some smoked jutia and three drinks ofOmiero."

"I took off all my clothes again and got inside the tub of Omiero.After all the blood and everything had been washed off, I put onsome new clothes, a yellow shirt and red pants, because those areOshun's favorite colors."

"The Santeros helping him put on my collars. Then, the Babalawopainted my head again. He helped me sit on the 'pilon'. I sat there,




barefoot all day long. All the Santeros and Santeras were sitting infront of me on a mat, clapping and laughing."

"All my friends and relatives came by and congratulated me andleft money in a big gourd in front of me. So, that helped to pay fora lot of it."

The third day is reserved for the oracles that will guide the novicein his future path within Santeria.

"On the fourth day, right before I had to go back to work, Idressed up in my best white clothes, got into the rented limo withthe Babalawo and his assistants, and went shopping. We boughtbaskets full of all the fruits and foods that Oshun likes, and somefood for the other Orishas, because it doesn't pay to make themjealous. Then, we took everything back to the house."

The Iyawo is now "married" to his Orisha. The initiation is over.He or she goes home. During the following year, life will notreturn to normal.

"Sleeping in separate beds is something my wife didn't like verymuch. But, I said, 'Look, I have to do this. If I sleep with you,Oshun will kill me.' Even if I were single, I couldn't be with awoman. That was the roughest part of the 'asiento' I couldn't bewith a woman for a year."

"I couldn't shake hands with anyone. Nobody could tell dirtyjokes around me. I was pretty anti-social, let me tell you."

"I had to sleep with my head covered with a white handkerchiefthat whole year."

The novice will also wear white socks every day. Her or she willchange bed sheets every day. He or she will wear clean whiteclothes every day and change them immediately if they havebecome slightly soiled. Cleanliness is extremely important duringthe first year after the "asiento".

The women will not wear any make-up or shave their bodies.They are to avoid mirrors. They will have their own comb andwill have a separate place in the house for all their personalobjects. No one must touch their personal belongings.




"I couldn't visit anyone who was sick, or go to a funeral or acemetery. The first three months were the hardest. I couldn't sit atthe table with my wife or with anyone else. I had to eat in thekitchen. And, I could only eat with my hands or with a spoon."

"I couldn't go out at night. I couldn't go out in the rain. I almostgot fired. I couldn't even take off my hat in the store."

"Three months after my 'asiento', I had to go get confirmed. I tookall my tureens to the Ile (house where he was initiated), and wentand did Ebo."

All the Otanes will be washed with their respective Ewes andoffered fruits, sweets and feathers. The Babalawo sacrifices birds.

"In the afternoon, we fed the Orishas and gave them food, bloodand Mayuba. Everybody had a great time. We just ate and dancedtill dawn. When we are happy, the Orishas are happy."

By the time the last initiation Ebo comes around, a year haspassed since the "asiento". In that time, the novice has had theresponsibility to learn and follow the basic laws of Santeria:

How to attend his or her Orisha.

The offerings that belong to each Orisha.

The stories of each Orisha.

The Orisha's sacrificial animals.

How the animal is to be killed and cooked.

How to prepare the Igbodu for an initiation.

Memorize his or her "asiento" oracle and follow its advice.

Learn the responses to the chants and prayers.

Learn to perform the minor rituals.

Learn to throw the coconut shell oracle (Biague)

Learn to invoke the spirits of the dead, the Orishas and the spiritsof the elders (Mayuba).

Learn the ingredients needed for the rituals.




Learn his or her rights and responsibilities towards the elders inSanteria.

"At the end of the year. I had to do another Ebo. It was moreimportant than the three month one, because it wasn't just a birdsacrifice. I had to feed the Orishas sheep and goats."

"All the Santeros and Santeras that came to my 'asiento' wereinvited and I gave them each gifts and money."

At the end of twelve months, the Iyawo is considered a Santero orSantera. At that time, he or she is allowed to participate in aninitiation and in the major rituals for the first time.

Chapter FourTHE GODS (Orishas)

We are the gods' children.

When Olodumare sends out the souls that will be born on thisearth, the Orishas pick and choose among them, selecting the onesthey wish for their own. They become our parents.

One does not choose an Orisha. The Orisha chooses his or her"child". Insisting on worshipping and being the "child" of anOrisha who has not recognized the initiate produces absolutelyterrible results. The tales tell of physical and psychologicaldisturbances leading to suicide.

No Santeria ceremony, no matter how simple, begins or endswithout the ancestors being thanked and the spirits of the deadbeing placated. The dead are among us on a very intimaterelationship. The ghost of an enemy in life is to be feared in death,having more power dead than alive.

The following are necessarily brief descriptions of the majorOrishas and ancillary spirits. Geographical differences andinconsistencies in the names and nature of the Orishas areunavoidable in a religion without a written canon. But, it isdiversity that has maintained Santeria alive through the centuries.The information is broken down into a few groupings:




The Saint

The Catholic persona assumed by the African Deity to escape thewrath of the Inquisition.

The Day of the Week

Each Orisha has a favorite day. This is the most propitious time tomake offerings, burn candles, consult the oracles, and perform therites specified through the oracles.

Colors and Collars (Ilekes)

Each Orisha owns a collar of a specific color and shape. TheOrisha's "child" must wear it around his or her neck. The collarsshould not be kept in the pocket or purse or inside a balled uphandkerchief. Care should be taken that they remain unsnarled.When they are not being worn, they should be placed on theOrisha's tureen. When there are no tureens, they should becarefully laid out on a white cloth.

The collars are not to be lent to anyone. A Santero or Santerashould never sleep, have sex, or shower with them on.

An Orisha's colors are the same as those of the beads that make uphis or her Ileke. The Orisha's "child" should wear clothes in thecolors that are pleasing to his or her patron. The Orisha's tureenand implements should also be of the appropriate color.

Sacrificial Animals

Each Orisha prefers to feed on the blood of a particular group ofanimals. His or her sacrifices should consist of those animals.

Sacrificial Food

Like their worshippers, Orishas have their favorite foods and areextremely pleased to have them presented as offerings.


Each Orisha has power over a group of healing and magical herbs.The Omiero used to wash the Orisha's Otanes should be made upof the herbs that "belong" to the Orisha.




The most common recourse for a Santero or any believer inSanteria when confronted by a problem whose solution does notrequire an animal sacrifice or any other specific Ebo, is to preparean herb bath (Ewe).

Used externally as a body cleanser, a spirit cleanser, or to cleanthe house and internally as medicinal potions, they are the mosteconomic and fastest method for resolving problems anddissipating evils.

When working with herbs for various Orishas, it is important thatthe herbs be piled separately until they are ready to be mixed inthe final Omiero. Worshippers also often wash in their Orisha'sOmiero to regain their health or to cleanse themselves fromimpurities.

The herbs for the Ewe or the entire Omiero should be prepared ina deep mortar or over the soup tureen belonging to the Orishabeing petitioned. They are never boiled and never used dry. TheOtanes may be washed as frequently and as thoroughly as theperson invoking the Orisha feels is needed.

As the stones are being washed, a Mayuba should be made to theOrisha that is being washed. Animal sacrifices are not requiredbefore or after the stones are washed.


These are the traditional African tales of the Orishas and theirrelationships among themselves and with men. They make up aconstantly shifting mosaic of loves, betrayals and intrigue.


The "tools" used by the Orishas and their worshippers to focustheir power.

And, a note about the music that always accompanies theceremonies:

The drum is the music of the African gods. Everything in Santeriais done to the beat of the sacred drums. They take the worshippers'messages to the Orishas.




When the Orishas grant a request, the drums are played inthanksgiving and in joy. They are also played next to the sickbed,at funerals, and for the spirits of the dead.

Regardless of the occasion, the drums must be well fed andhonored before and after they are played. The offerings are madeto Osain, the Orisha who "owns" the drums. When the drums arefed and happy, they sound better.


OLODUMARE (Olofin, Olorun)

Saint: Jesus Christ or the dove of the Holy Spirit.Day of the Week: Thursday.Colors and Collars (Ilekes): All and none.Sacrificial Animal: None. No animal sacrifices of any type.Sacrificial Food: None.Herbs: None.Ornaments: None.


Olodumare, even though he was king of the other

gods, had a mortal fear of mice. The other gods thought that aking, especially their king, should not be afraid of anything asunimportant and weak as a mouse.

"Olodumare has turned into a weak old woman," they said, forthey believed it shameful to fear mice. "It's time that we tookaway his power and named another king." Besides, they wantedtotal dominion of the world.

Things continued as they were until the principal Orishas gottogether again.

"We must take away Olodumare's power," they said. "He isgetting old and weak."

Everyone agreed, again. There was a problem, though. Olodumarewas old, but he certainly was not weak. He was fierce and terribleand not one of the other Orishas would dare to challenge him incombat.




The Orishas thought and talked and thought some more until one,no one knows who came up with an idea.

"Let's scare Olodumare to death," said the unknown Orisha.

"How do you propose to do that?" asked the other Orishas, sincethey themselves were deathly afraid of Olodumare.

"Olodumare is afraid of mice," said the Orisha.

"Everyone knows that," exclaimed the disappointed Orishas. "Wethought that you had an idea."

"If he is afraid of one mouse," continued the Orisha, "what wouldhappen if we invite him over to our house and fill it with mice?"

"Tell us," said the other Orishas.

"If Olodumare finds himself in a house full of mice, he will be soafraid that he will run away from here or die. We'll take over hishouse and we will be the masters of the world."

"That's a wonderful plan," they all exclaimed. Putting their headstogether, the Orishas began to plot how they were going to lureOlodumare to their house and scare him to death with mice.

They forgot that Elegua was by the door. He lived by the door,since he is the Orisha that rules roads, routes and entrances. Theyhad forgotten all about him. He heard all their plans.

What did Elegua do? What did the trickster Orisha do? He knewthe day that Olodumare was coming. He had listened to the otherOrishas' plans. He waited and hid behind the door.

Olodumare arrived, happy to have been invited to a party. Heknew that he was not as popular among the Orishas as he used tobe. Little did he know that the other Orishas were hidden, waitingto release hundreds of mice. The moment he stepped inside, thedoor was slammed shut at Olodumare's back. The mice werereleased.

Olodumare was terrified and ran around the house screaming,"The mice are attacking. The mice are attacking!"

He tried to find a place to hide, but every box he opened andevery closet he ran into just had more and more mice.




Olodumare ran head first at the door, ready to demolish it, just sothat he could escape the tormenting rodents. Just as head and doorwere going to meet, Elegua stepped out and stopped his panickedrush.

"Stop, Olodumare," said Elegua, putting his arms around theterrified old Orisha. "No mouse will harm you."

"Yes they will. Yes they will," cried Olodumare.

"Watch," said Elegua. He started eating the mice.

Elegua ate and ate and ate until he had eaten all the mice.

Olodumare, whose fear had turned to fury, demanded, "Whodared do this to me?"

Elegua said nothing. Smiling like a happy cat, he pointed out thehiding places of all the plotting Orishas.

Olodumare immediately punished them in a very terrible andpainful manner. After he grew tired of watching them hop andscream, he turned to Elegua and said, "Now, what can I do foryou?"

Elegua scuffed the floor and shook his head. "Oh, nothing," hesaid.

"Nothing!" roared Olodumare. "You saved me and you saved mycrown and you want nothing?"

"Well," said Elegua, "maybe just a little thing."

"You can have whatever you want," said Olodumare firmly.

"I want the right to do what I want," said Elegua. He went on withmore conviction, ignoring Olodumare's raised eyebrows. "I wantthe right to do what I will. I want the right to do what I want,whatever that may be."

Olodumare wished it so, and so it was. From that moment on,Elegua is the only god that does as he wills without restraints orlimits.





Olodumare is unique within the Yoruba pantheon. He nevercomes down to earth. Few Santeros speak of Olodumare becausethere are no Babalawos "asentados" in him. No one is "asentado"in Olodumare. He never possesses anyone at a "bembe" or a"golpe de Santo".

He is the ruler of all the other gods, except Elegua, as the Apatakishows. More than the Orishas' ruler, he was their creator as wellas the source and origin of men, animals, plants, rivers, oceansand the heavens. He also created the earth, the sun, the moon andthe stars.

Before going to bed, a Santero will ask Olodumare to give him thestrength to get up the following day by chanting, "olofin ewa wo","May Olofin help us get up". At dawn, when he awakens andascertains that he is still among the living, he says, "olodumare eegbeo", "May Olodumare grant us a good day".

Olodumare is old. He is very tired and has been working long andhard on the universe, which is a very large job. He should not bebothered with small things. Santeros ask favors of the Orishas thatcan directly solve their problems and do not bother Olodumare.

A series of commandments are attributed to Olodumare:

You will not steal.

You will not kill except in self defense or to survive.

You will not eat human flesh.

You will live in peace with your neighbor.

You will not covet your neighbor's possessions.

You will not use my name in vain.

You will honor your mother and your father.

You will not ask for more than I am able to give you and you willbe satisfied with your destiny.

You will not fear death or take your own life.

You will respect and obey my laws.




You will teach these commandments to your son.



Saint: Our Lady of Mercy (La Virgen de las Mercedes).Day of the Week: Sunday. Thursday is also popular.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):His color is the purest white. The collar is made up of all whitebeads. A variation on the collar is 21 white beads followed by acoral bead repeated to make up the desired length.Sacrificial Animals:Female goats, white chickens, white canaries. In cases of graveillness, he will accept a white female calf.Sacrificial Foods: Yam, rice flour paste, corn meal dumplingsand black eyed peas. He hates alcoholic beverages. The only spicethat Obatala likes is cocoa butter. He drinks chequete. His watercomes from the rain. His favorite fruit is the sweet soursop(guanabana).Herbs: Amansa Guapo, Chamise (wild cane), madonna lilies,calla lilies, cotton, purslane, almonds, white hamelia, whiteelderberry, white peonies, sweet basil, sweet soursop, wild mint,marjoram, jimson weed, blite, goosefoot, African bayonet, yucca,witch hazel and sweet balm among others. eguere egun, san diegoblancoOrnaments: Obatala's image must be made of white metal orsilver. In one hand, he holds a crown. A sun, a moon, fourwristlets, a walking stick with a clenched fist, a half moon and acoiled snake; all made out of silver. Two ivory eggs.


Obatala was the only Orisha that knew where Olodumare lived.This gave him a very important position among the other Orishas.At that time, the Orishas had no power of their own. They had tobeg all their power from Olodumare..

"Obatala!" the Orishas would call out. "Please have Olodumarestraighten out the fight between Oshun and Chango."

And, Obatala would make the long journey to Olodumare's houseand relay the message.




"Obatala, a person needs healing and love," said Yemaya. "Pleasehave Olodumare give me the power to heal them."

Back and forth travelled Obatala. He gave messages. He grantedfavors. He ran himself ragged. He became unhappy. He was notambitious and he knew that the other Orishas were talking behindhis back.

"Obatala thinks he is our leader," the Orishas grumbled. "He giveshimself airs just because he knows where Olodumare lives."

"Do you see how he listens to us?" complained another Orisha."It's as if we were his spoiled children. Who does he think he is?"

So, Obatala took all the Orishas to Olodumare's home.

"Good morning, Obatala," said Olodumare. "What can I do foryour friends?"

"I'm tired of running back and forth, with all due respect," saidObatala. "I would like for you to give each of my friends some ofyour power."

"I don't know," Olodumare hemmed and hawed. "Do you think it'sthe right thing to do?"

"Just think, great Lord," said Obatala. "If you give them a bit ofyour power, I would not have to come here and bother you aboutthis and that every day."

"You have a point there, Obatala," said Olodumare. "I'll do it."

So, Olodumare gave each of the Orishas a bit of his power, hopingto get a little peace and quiet. Finally, he got to Obatala.

"To you, Obatala," he said, "I give the right to control the heads ofall the human beings."

Since it is the head that makes a human being good or evil, a goodson or a bad son, Obatala became the Orisha with the mostauthority over human beings. More than any of the other Orishas.

"Did you see that?" said the other Orishas. "He brought us herejust so that he could maintain his power."

Which just goes to prove that you can't please anyone.





Obatala is the supreme divinity on the terrestrial plane. Herepresents such a refined purity, that it cannot be describedthrough words or songs. He is reason and justice and all that ismoral.

Controlling the head, he is considered the father of all humanbeings. He gives the best advice and is the one to turn to in timesof great difficulties.

The relationship between the Santeros and the Orishas is muchmore intimate and direct than in other religions. The Orishas havehuman passions and desires. They can be cruel and unjust just likehuman beings. When the Orishas manifest their cruelty, Obatala iscalled upon to mediate in the situation and to calm and soothe thefurious Orisha.

ORUNMILA (Ifa, Orula)

Saint: St. Francis.

Day of the Week: Thursday. Sunday is also popular.

Colors and Collars (Ilekes): His colors are green and yellow. Thecollar is made up of alternating green and yellow beads strung tothe desired length.Sacrificial Animals: A goat who has not given birth. Darkchickens.Sacrificial Foods:Red snapper and yam puree. Plums are his favorite fruit. Hedrinks white wine and his water is to come from a spring. Hisfavorite condiment is corojo butter.Herbs:Guava, sage, night shade, ginger, dog bane, guanine, myrtle, corn,honeysuckle, night jasmine, pitch apple, guasima, (guazumaguazuma) tree native to Cuba, parami, and corojo among others.san francisco (palo o hierba), don carlos, uvancillo, parami,chinchitaOrnaments:A hardwood board having various shapes according to theBabalawos's tradition (Ifa's Board). As well as serving as a surfaceupon which the cowrie shell oracle is cast, the board is also the




table upon which many rites are performed. Cowrie shells andoracular collars also belong to Orunmila.


Orunmila does not fear death. One day, a woman came running upto Orunmila. These were the days that the Orishas still walked onthe earth. She clutched at his shoulders and cried out, "Iku isgoing around and around my house."

This was very serious because Iku is the name of death. When Ikuwants someone, she walks outside the house looking for a smallhole or opening through which she can get in and take away theperson inside.

"Iku is at my house," she cried again. "She wants to take my onlyson, my little boy. Iku sent in a fever and it's going to kill him if Idon't do something." She started to drag Orunmila back to herhouse. "We have to hurry," she said, sobbing. "I have turned myback. Iku may be getting into my house right now to take awaymy child."

Orunmila smiled down at her and said, "Don't cry, good woman."

"But, what should I do? You have to help me," she said.

Orunmila patted her head to calm her down. "Don't worry," hesaid. "Go to the market and buy four baskets full of okra and takethem back to your house."

"What about my child?" sobbed the frightened woman. "I will goto your house and make sure that Iku does not go in," saidOrunmila. "Go to the market in peace."

The woman followed Orunmila's advice. She went to the marketand bought three heaping baskets of okra.

When she got home, breathless from having run with the threebaskets, she found Orunmila waiting for her.

"Here are the baskets," she said. "What are you going to do withthem?"

"Hush," said Orunmila. "I don't have time for explanations."




He took the baskets from the woman, went inside the house andspread the contents of the baskets all over the floors until theywere covered by a thick carpet of okra.

He handed the baskets back to the anxious mother. "Don't worry,mother," he said. "Iku won't be able to do your son any harm."

Exhausted by the run from the market and a fear and anxiety thathad not let her sleep for days, the mother collapsed on a cot andwent to sleep.

As she slept, the child's fever rose. Iku was thinking that it wastime to take the child away, so she made the sickness worse. Ikuwent up to the door and found that it was unlatched and had notclosed all the way. Death slipped in through the crack, hurrying toget to the child before the mother awoke.

Iku strode across the room with her usual firm and silent steps.But, when her hard and bony heels stepped on the okra, the fruitburst open. Iku slipped and slid. All the okra on the floor oozed itssap as Iku slipped from one side of the room to the other. The sapwas as slippery as soap. Both of death's feet slipped out fromunder her. Her long arm bones windmilled trying to regain herbalance.

"Oh, crap," she cried. And, before she could say anything else, herbony hips hit the floor, shaking loose all her joints.

Iku had to slip and dig through the mess of okra to find one or twolittle bones that had come off. She made her way very carefully tothe door. Outside, Orunmila waited for her.

"How are you this afternoon, Iku?" he asked very politely.

"Curse you, Orunmila," she spat. "I know that this is all your fault.Curse you and that cursed woman in there for getting you to helpher."

"Are you coming again?" Orunmila called out as Iku hobbled offdown the path.

She turned and gave him an evil look.

"Are you crazy?" she said. "I'm going to wait a long time andmake sure that okra is gone."





Orunmila is highly regarded within the Santeria pantheon. He isthe Orisha that predicts the future. He is in charge of destiny, bothhuman and Orisha.

He is an invisible presence at every birth, since he also overseespregnancies and the care and raising of children.

He knows how to use the ceremonial and healing herbs andinstructs human beings in their uses.

Orunmila is the intermediary between humans and Olodumare.

The Santeros and the Babalawos are familiar with the problemsand tragedies that afflict human beings. Thanks to Orunmila, whocommunicates with them through the oracles, the Babalawo or theSantero can come up with the solution to a person's problems.Their advice must be followed to the letter.

Orunmila never possesses a human being. It is felt that he is tooimportant and close to Olodumare for that. In a Santeriaceremony, the Iyalochas of Oshun dance for him since he does nothave a physical body that can enjoy the drumming and dancing.

Chapter FiveTHE GODS (cont.)


Saint: The Holy Child of Atocha.Day of the Week: Mondays and the third day of each month.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):Red and black. His collar is made up of three red beads followedby three black beads. After the three black beads, a red beadalternates with a black bead three times. The sequence is repeateduntil the desired length is obtained.Sacrificial Animals:Small goats, roosters. On rare occasions, monkeys, sheep, bulls,ox and deer. Chickens should not be offered. Elegua is a gluttonand will bother and torment the participants at a ceremony until hehas had his fill of blood.




Sacrificial Foods:Smoked fish and smoked jutia. He loves yams. His favorite fruit issugar cane. Everything should be well spiced with corojo butter.He loves to drink aguardiente and he favors standing water.Herbs:Abre camino, (Bunchosia media), Cuban spurge, sargasso, wildconvulvulus, foxtail, nettles, manyroot, crowfoot, neat's tongue,white pine nuts, jack bean, spiny blite, nightshade, black eyedpeas, ateje, (cordia collocea), heliotrope, pigeon peas, mastic tree,camphor leaves, chili peppers, corn stalks, corn leaves, and cornsilk, avocado leaves, avocado roots, coconut husk, coconut palmstem, corojo, guava, wild croton, coffee, cowhage, peppergrass,dried rose buds, senna, soapberry tree, bitter bush, and mintamong others.Ornaments:Elegua is never without his "garabato", the shepherd's hook(sometimes only a crooked stick or club) with which he metes outpunishment.

He protects temples, cities and houses. He does this by residing ina helmet-shaped construction made out of stone or cement withcowrie shells for eyes. The small statue is placed next to anentrance way. From this abode, Elegua protects all the residents.

Since he is as playful as a child, tops, marbles and kites hold aspecial fascination for him.

Apataki:Orunmila had returned to earth to see how all the Babalawos hehad trained in the arts of divination were getting along. Hedecided to travel from town to town and greet his old students.

"Orunmila, how nice to see you," said one. "I don't have time totalk with you now, I have an appointment."

"Orunmila, how are you?" said another. "If you come back onWednesday, I'll be able to see you."

"Orunmila, I'm very busy with my clients right now," said a third."Could you come back in a day or so?"

Orunmila was furious. All his old students were ignoring him.They were too concerned with making money and having a big




reputation to honor their old teacher. Orunmila decided to teachthem a lesson.

He sent out notice that he would challenge all the Babalawos to acontest to see who cast the most accurate oracles. Orunmilafigured that, after they had been shamed by his incomparable skill,all the Babalawos would respect him again.

After the notices had been sent, he went to the nearest town andchallenged the Babalawo. Orunmila proved to be a far betterreader of the oracles, of course. But, the Babalawo refused to payOrunmila the agreed upon amount.

Elegua, who is never far away and always likes to play tricks,walked up to Orunmila and the Babalawo.

"Hello, Orunmila, how are you today?" said Elegua.

"I am angry, Elegua." fumed Orunmila.

"And, why is that, dear Orunmila?" Elegua tried to stifle hisgiggles, since he knew perfectly well what had been going on.

"This cheat of a Babalawo has lost a wager with me," answeredOrunmila. "And now, he refuses to pay."

Elegua looked up and down the nervous Babalawo. "Is that right?Are you trying to cheat Orunmila?"

"Well, Lord Elegua..." stammered the Babalawo.

Before he could say another word, Elegua reached out and put hispowerful warrior's hand around the Babalawo's neck. He looked atthe man straight in the eye.

"Tell me," he said softly, "are you looking for trouble?"

"No," squeaked the Babalawo.

Elegua raised his garabato stick over the Babalawo's head.

"You'd never do anything to make me angry, would you?"growled Elegua.

Another squeak, "No."




"And what are you going to do?" asked Elegua, tapping theunhappy Babalawo on the nose with his garabato stick.

"I'm going to pay Orunmila?" asked the Babalawo.

"What was that?" shouted Elegua, shaking the Babalawo back andforth.

"I'm going to pay Orunmila. I'm going to pay Orunmila." stutteredthe Babalawo.

He took his money pouch out of his clothes and handed the wholething over to Orunmila.

"I thought you wanted to cheat Orunmila, but I see that you are aman who pays his debts when he loses." said Elegua and gave theBabalawo a resounding slap on the back. "I'll leave you alone."

Orunmila and Elegua turned and walked away arm in arm. TheBabalawo picked himself up from the road and began dusting offhis clothes.

"One more thing," said Elegua turning back to the Babalawo.

"Yes?" The Babalawo cringed.

"Since you have forgotten that the oracles are meant tocommunicate with the Orishas and not to increase the Babalawo'swealth, I'm prohibiting you from using the Dilogun ever again."

Orunmila and Elegua left the Babalawo wailing after them.

In the next town, the Babalawo saw Elegua and his tick standingnext to Orunmila. There was no trouble there.


Elegua is the guardian of entrances, roads and paths. He is the firstOrisha to be invoked in a ceremony and the last one to be bidfarewell. He has to be first in anything, just like a spoiled child.The first rhythms of the drums belong to him. He must bepetitioned before all the oracles. Orunmila is the one whocommunicates, but Elegua guards the paths of communication. Itis he who acts as an intermediary between human beings and theother Orishas.




He is the trickster, and is feared because, with so much powercontrolled only by his whim, great harm may result from hispractical jokes. Like a very large and powerful child, he is ruthlesswith those that cross his path when he is in the midst of a tantrum.If his precedence is not carefully maintained, and the properceremonies are not followed, Elegua becomes indignant andrushes to open the paths to Iku, death.

All beings have their destiny, but through Elegua's influence,destiny and luck may be changed. However, when petitioningElegua, the Santero must always remember that he is a tricksterand word the request very carefully. He can just as easily blockthe path to happiness and luck as open it.

Elegua appears to travellers as a small child with the face of anold man, wearing a Panama hat and smoking a good cigar. Hetakes on other guises in order to play his tricks and to measure thelevel of charity and compassion among human beings.

When Elegua possesses a Santero, he immediately heads to thedoor and stands guard. There, he carries out his pranks andchildish mischiefs, dancing and threatening the other participantswith a smack from his garabato stick.

Elegua is one of the fiercest warriors in the Yoruba pantheon.When joined with Ogun and Oshosi in battle, nothing can stand intheir way.

How to Make an Elegua

No matter which branch of the Santeria tradition is followed,Elegua always inhabits a stone. It could be a natural stone or acement form. These are the instructions for constructing an Eleguaout of natural stone.

Find a medium size stone, one about the size and shape of a largepotato is ideal. The stone should be collected next to a railroadtrack, at a crossroads, or under a coconut palm.

Find the natural base of the stone, the surface where it will cometo rest upright by itself. Bore a perfectly round hole into the baseof the stone about two inches deep by an inch in diameter.




Cut the head off a white chicken and let the blood drip onto thestone. Make an Omiero with May rainwater, coconut milk and theherbs that belong to Elegua. Wash the stone thoroughly in theOmiero and leave it to soak for 24 hours.

Select three small precious stones. All gems belong to Elegua.Place the three gems in the hole in the stone along with threesmall pieces of silver, three small nuggets of gold, three smallpieces of coconut, some feathers from the sacrificed chicken and asmall personal piece of gold jewelry.

Seal the hole with cement made with sand from a crossroads,Guinea pepper and cemetery dust.

When the cement is dry, paint the rock black. Crown it with afighting co*ck's spur, with the curve towards the back. Give itcowrie shell eyes.

Take a white rooster and the rock to a palm tree growing by acrossroads. Sacrifice the rooster and let the blood drip on thestone. Bury the rooster three inches deep at the base of the palm.

After three days, dig up the rooster and wash it in a flowing river,first asking Oshun's permission by tossing a live white chickeninto the river along with a little honey.

Elegua is ready to be stationed by the door.

How to Place an Elegua

Monday is the most auspicious day to position the Elegua, but itcan be done on any day of the week.

Place the Elegua inside a large clay pot heavily smeared on theoutside with corojo butter. Place it next to the door. Smear thelintel and the door with corojo butter. Sacrifice a young whiterooster. Allow the blood to drip upon the stone. Make three ballsof uncooked corn meal and honey. Place them next to the stonealong with a gourd of aguardiente, cigars. pieces of coconut, asmall plate of sweets, smoked jutia, and as many of the things thatare pleasing to Elegua as the Santero is able to afford. Arrange allthe offerings around the pot.

Kiss the neck of the sacrificed rooster. Consult the coconut oracleand see if Elegua is happy with all his offerings. If Elegua




responds favorably, this is the best time to consult the oracle aboutanything else that may be worrying you at the time.

Elegua's food should be changed every Monday. A candle shouldbe lit in his honor every time he is fed.

Elegua's presence is felt in the house as a noise that runs from oneside of the door to the other. He is often seen by small children,who can touch him and exchange toys.

Only those persons who have been initiated into Santeria and havebeen possessed by an Orisha have the power to grant an Elegua.

How to Salute an Elegua

Stand before the Elegua. Lift your right arm and move your rightfoot out the side and say:

"A elegua ako pashu eshu toru le fi ya yomare ako eshu tori torutere mafun elegua laroye locua e elegua atande naro eleguamaferefun elegua."

Or, you may speak your own language. The Orisha willunderstand the greeting.

Repeat the same process with the left arm and foot. When you arefinished, turn your back on the Elegua and wipe your feetbackwards as if you were cleaning them. Never kneel to or laydown in front of an Elegua.

An Ebo to Elegua


Three pieces of yellow paper or three small paper grocery bags.

Corojo butter. Three pieces of smoked fish.

Smoked jutia. Dried corn.

Cinnamon sticks. Three small pieces of coconut.

Three cigars. Honey.

Nine pennies.




Divide the offering evenly among the three small bags or thepieces of paper. Wrap each small package tightly with red andblack thread.

Pass each packet over you head three times, turning around threetimes after each pass. Repeat the procedure over your feet, handsand, finally all over your body.

Throw away one package at a crossroads. Throw the second awayin a lot or field full of tall weeds. Throw the last one away near acemetery.

CHANGO (Jakuta, Obakoso) Saint: St. Barbara.Day of the Week:Saturday. Friday is also popular. Huge parties are held inChango's honor on December 4th, St. Barbara's day according tothe Catholic calendar.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):His colors are red and white. The collar is made up of six redbeads followed by six white beads. Then, a red bead alternateswith a white bead six times. The sequence is repeated until thedesired length is obtained.Sacrificial Animals:Roosters. Complicated Ebos may require sheep, small bulls, pigs,goats, deer, rabbits, and oxen. A horse is required to remove avery strong curse or to change an oracle predicting death.Sacrificial Foods:Chango is a glutton. He loves huge portions of corn meal andokra. Apples are his favorite fruit, and he likes pitahaya (cactusfruit). All his food should be heavily loaded with corojo butter.Chango drinks red wine in large quantities. His water shouldcome from a pond.Herbs:arabo rojo, cordoban, vacabuey, siguaraya Banyan tree, kapoktree, poplar, sorghum, clematis, hog plum, Cuban spurge,cashews, ironwood, mugwort, bran, climbing vines, bull'stesticl*s, American spurge, leeks, pitahaya, plantains and bananas,red hamelias, Bermuda grass, royal palm, pine, lignum vitae,amansa guapo, pine nuts and apple trees among others.




Ornaments:A sword, a knife, a machete, an ax, a dagger and a spear, almostalways made out of cedar. Chango is also represented by theimage of a warrior holding a large double edged hatchet in onehand and a sword in the other. Both images, the warrior and St.Barbara can be found on the same altar.


Obakoso, in Yoruba, means "the king that did not hang himself."This is the story of how Chango came by that name.

Chango has always been a womanizer. Back in the days when hewas a king in Africa, he had two wives. He ruled his women hardand he ruled his kingdom hard, for his temper had not mellowedyet with age.

"You are always yelling and stomping in this house," said WifeNumber One.

"That's right," said Wife Number Two, "You never have a kindword for anyone."

"All you care about is your stomach," said Wife Number One.

"And you don't care about us, " said Wife Number Two.

"You never buy us presents," said Wife Number One.

"You never take us anywhere," said Wife Number Two.

"You don't love us," wailed both wives in unison.

"I don't stomp around the house," shouted Chango, stompingaround the house. "I was having a pleasant morning, thinkingabout how nice it would be to have a little wild duck and you twohave ruined it."

"Do you hear that?" said Wife Number One to Wife Number Two."I told you all he cared about was his stomach."

"That's it!" shouted Chango. "I'm getting on my horse and ridinginto the forest. At least no one will nag me there."

"How long are you going to be gone?" asked Wife Number One.




"I'll be back when I'm good and ready. Don't bother looking forme or coming after me," snarled Chango.

"As if we would," sniffed Wife Number Two.

Chango stormed off through the palace, slamming doors andkicking cats. No one paid him any attention, since this was hisnormal way of walking through the castle. All his subjects wereused to Chango's tantrums.

No one waved as Chango rode off into the forest.

"He's in one of his moods," said the groom to a kitchen maid."He'll be back in a little while." He rubbed the top of his head. "Ihope he comes back in a better mood and does not hit me again."

A week passed and Chango had not come back.

"He's with a new woman," some said.

"He is on adventure," said others.

"He's drunk somewhere," said Wife Number One.

A month passed. Chango's wives would burst out crying withoutreason. His subjects missed the noise of the slamming doors andthe screeching cats.

"Where can he be?" They asked.

"he's been gone way too long," said others.

"We have to go and look for him," said Wife Number Two. "Ican't stand this any longer."

A well organized search party was sent out into the forest. Itreturned a week later.

"Well?" asked Wife Number One.

"Nothing," said the captain of the search party.

Rumors began to fly in the palace.

"Chango went into the forest and hung himself because he wasashamed of what a bad king he was," said some people.




"He tied a rope around his neck and jumped off the top of a largeBanyan tree because his mistress abandoned him," said others.

The rumors and the search parties kept coming and going. Changowas not to be found. It had been six months since he had riddenoff into the forest.

A new massive search was organized. Everyone in the palace,from the youngest child to the oldest woman, set out into theforest. They looked under every stone. They climbed every tree.Slowly, they made their way into the center of the forest.

Hundreds of voices cried out, "Chango! Where are you Chango?"And the echo came back, "Chango."

Women beat their breasts and smeared their bodies with ashes."Where are you, Chango?" they shouted. "Tell us if you havehung yourself."

Deep in the deepest part of the forest, up on top of the tallest andoldest banyan tree, Chango woke up from a nap. He heard thehundreds of voices that had awakened him. "Chango, Chango.Where are you, Chango?"

Chango was furious. He hated noise and he specially hated itwhen it woke him up from a nap.

"What is that racket?" he shouted. "Who are all you people?"

Then, he saw that it was hundreds of his warriors and thousandsof his subjects beating the bushes, scaring the animals anddestroying the peace and quiet of the forest.

Chango's got angrier, as most people do when they are rudelyawakened from a nap. He stood up on the topmost branch of thebanyan tree and roared, "I am here! I did not hang myself and Iwill never hang myself."

The forest was silent. A thousand heads looked up to Chango,standing proudly on top of the banyan tree.

"Come down, Chango, come down!" shouted his subjects.

"Quiet," yelled Chango. He waited for all the murmuring andmuttering and crying to die out. "I'm not coming down," he said."If I come down, if I go back to the palace, my wives," he pointed




a stiff and slightly dirty finger at them, " Who are now friends,crying over my loss, will start fighting with each other again.What's worse, they'll start fighting with me again."

"No, we won't," shouted Wife Number One.

"You get yourself right down here," said Wife Number Two.

"Come down, Chango. Come down." shouted all his subjects.

Chango sat on the branch and thought about what he should do.He thought and thought until all the shouting had died downagain.

"Are you coming down now?" asked Wife Number One. "It'salmost time for dinner," said Wife Number Two.

Chango came to a decision. He stood on the branch atop thebanyan tree. He raised his arms and shouted, "My people!"

"Come down, Chango." they all cried.

"Quiet!" shouted Chango. I've come to the conclusion that it isjust too much of a bother and a problem and a headache to try togovern all of you."

"Are you calling us a problem?" shrieked Wife Number One.

"Are you saying we're a headache?" screamed Wife Number Two.

"From now on," said Chango, as he dodged a couple of wellaimed rocks thrown by his wives, "I will still rule you, but I willrule you from far away." Another rock whizzed by his head."From very far away. I'm going to rule you from the sky."

Ignoring the shouts and tears of his subjects and the curses andstones from his wives, Chango grabbed a thick chain that led fromthe top of the banyan tree to the sky. He pulled himself up link bylink. When he paused for breath and looked down, his subjectswere tiny. He could not distinguish his wives. He looked up. Thechain disappeared into the blue sky.

He climbed and he climbed and he climbed until he reached thesky. There, he stayed.




He is now an Orisha among the Orishas. Chango looks at theactions of his people down here on earth and is swift in hispunishment of the unjust and of those that do not follow thereligion or make the sacrifices.

He hurls down deadly thunderbolts on those people. He makeswhole cities explode, or he blows them away in terrible tropicalstorms. His angry words make whole trees go up in flames and hisannoyed snorts create wind storms that sweep all that displeaseshim away forever.


Chango is the most popular and the most widely known Orisha inSanteria. He rules violent storms and thunder. He also reconcilesthese forces into peace and understanding. Like a tropical storm,Chango's attacks are sudden and devastating, but are soon over.During "golpe de Santos" (Santeria ceremonies), Changodescends among the participants and dances with his followersholding his feared two edged sword. When he possesses someone,the "caballo" dances round and round like a top. The possessedSantero will take food to all the other participants in theceremony. Chango will then demand a sacrifice from those whohave eaten.

Chango loves good music, dancing and drumming. He likes tohave fun, but is a braggart who provokes violent situations. Heloves women and encourages clandestine sexual adventuresamong his "children".

Chango has three wives, Oba, Oya (who used to be Ogun's wife),and Oshun. Yemaya is his adoptive mother. When Changobecomes aroused, it's necessary to beg his three wives and hisadoptive mother to intervene.

The only Orishas respected by Chango are Elegua andOlodumare.

Chango's "children" are recognized at birth by the image of across on their tongues. These children cannot have their hair cutuntil they are twelve, or they will lose their power to see into thefuture. They are known as the Bamboche, the messengers ofChango.




OSHUNSaint: Our Lady of Charity (La Caridad del Cobre), Cuba's patronSaint.Day of the Week: Saturday. It is the day that lovers must act ifthey want their love returned.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):Coral and amber. The collar is strung with yellow and red beads.Amber and coral are to be used if the Santero has the money. Thecollar is made up of five amber beads followed by five coralbeads. Then, one amber bead alternates with one coral bead fivetimes. The pattern is repeated to obtain the desired length.Sacrificial Animals:Neutered or female goat, white chickens, sheep, female calf,female pig, female rabbit. Oshun does not like any other type ofbird. Her sacrifices should be made next to rivers or other sourcesof flowing sweet water.Sacrificial Foods:Ochin-Ochin (spinach with shrimp) and pumpkins. Her fruit is thelucuma. All of her food should be liberally garnished with honey.Oshun drinks chamomille tea. The water for the tea, and all waterused in a ceremony for Oshun, should be river water.

All offerings to Oshun must be extremely clean and wellprepared. She will not enter a dirty house.Herbs:Rose, sunflowers, Indian lotus, morasun, alambrilla, frescura,cucaracha, hierba nina, arabito, mazorquilla, paraguita morada,hierba fina, ale and female ferns, creeping crowfoot, purslane,oranges and orange leaves, papaya, amber, anise seed and flower,peppergrass, marigold, sow thistle, river weeds, seaweed, whitehamelias, plantain, vervain, lantana, purple grapes, maidenhairfern, rosemary, wild lettuce.Ornaments:Copper is Oshun's metal and she is sometimes represented by agourd crowned by festive feathers and filled with copper pennies.She also loves gold and her chief ornaments consist of a goldencrown with five points. From the points, hang five rays, fivespears or five arrows. Oshun also owns two oars, a bell, and fivebracelets. She loves fans made of peaco*ck feathers.





Oshun is now married to Chango. Her first husband wasOrunmila.

Oshun was the most breathtaking, absolutely beautiful maiden inthe region when she was a young girl. Hundreds of suitors wouldcome seeking to marry her. But, the result would always be thesame.

"marry me," gasped or shouted, or whispered the suitor.

And Oshun would turn her back and walk away from the youngman. Their last sight of Oshun would be her exquisite hipsswinging back and forth, disappearing into her mother's house.

More and more suitors showed up at Oshun's house. They broughtmountains of gifts. Their horses trampled the garden. Finally, afterseeing her rose bushes eaten by a camel, Oshun's mother rushedout of the house shouting, "That's enough!"

The serenaders stopped playing in mid chord. The duelistsdropped their swords.

"You get out of my garden right now!" shouted Oshun's mother,"and don't come this way again."

A brave suitor spoke up. "We're in love with your daughter."

"That's right," said another. "We're here to win her hand."

"You're here making my life miserable," grumbled Oshun'smother. However, she realized that they were right in wooing herdaughter, since she was the greatest beauty in the region.

"You're in the right," she told the surprised suitor. "But," sheadded, raising her voice to be heard by the crowd of suitors. "Thismadness has got to stop."

"But, we want to marry your daughter," they wailed.

"Quiet!" shouted Oshun's mother. "I have determined a fair wayfor all of you to compete for my daughter's hand without tearingaround in my flowers and vegetables."

The crowd settled down.




"My daughter's name is secret. Only I know it. The one who findsout what her name is will have proven that he has the cunning towin my daughter's hand in marriage. His skill will melt mydaughter's heart and will win my approval. He will be herhusband."

Orunmila was in the crowd of suitors. He is the god of oracles andcan see the future.

"This should be easy," he said to himself, concentrating.

But, no matter what he did or how many times he threw thecoconuts or rattled the cowrie shells, Orunmila was unable to findout the name of the most beautiful girl in the region.

Orunmila's other attribute is wisdom. He knew when to call forhelp. He went out in search of Elegua and found the tricksterOrisha. Even though he was only Orunmila's porter, Elegua hadtaught him all the sciences and secrets of divination.

"Elegua, old friend, you must help me," cried Orunmila, seizingElegua by the shoulders.

"Do you need money?" asked Elegua.

"I'm in love and I need your help," said Orunmila.

"Even worse," said Elegua.

"Please help me find the name of the most beautiful girl in theregion," pleaded Orunmila. "She has won the hearts of all themen, but I want her only for myself. I want her for my wife."

"And what do you need me for?" asked Elegua.

"Only you, Elegua, who is such a wily trickster can find out thesecret of her name."

Elegua smiled modestly. "I'll try," he said.

He went directly to Oshun's mother's house. He stayed there fordays. Some days, he disguised himself as an old man. Other days,he maintained his surveillance in the aspect of a small child. Hespent days acting the fool in the local markets, hoping that a looseword would reveal the secret. Or, he pretended to be asleep inOshun's doorway, the better to hear what went on inside.




Patience always has its rewards. After many days of patientwaiting, Elegua, dozing in the doorway, heard an argument inside.

Oshun's mother, who was always very careful never to say herdaughter's name aloud, was very angry. Oshun had knocked overa fresh pot of Omiero while trying out a new and exciting dancestep.

"Oshun, look what you've done!" shouted the mother.

Elegua heard. "Oshun, Oshun," he said to himself, "That Oshun isgoing to cost you a daughter, dear lady. That Oshun will turn adaughter into a wife."

Elegua didn't waste any time in getting back to Orunmila's house.

"Well?" asked Orunmila anxiously.

"This has not been easy," said Elegua.

"What have you found out?"

"I had to spend weeks in the most uncomfortable positions," saidElegua.

"What is her name?"

"Weeks and weeks I spent wearing itchy beards and a small boy'sbody," said Elegua. "I'm all cramped.

"Please?" pleaded Orunmila.

"Her name is Oshun."

Orunmila ran to Oshun's house. He knocked on the door. sheopened it.

"You are going to be my wife because now I know your name,"he told her.

"What is this? What is this?" asked the mother, appearing behindOshun.

"Your name is Oshun," said Orunmila, pointing his finger at her."And now you are mine."




The two of them were married and were happy for some timebut...

Men kept making offers and improper advances to Oshun, evennow that she was a married woman. She paid no attention to anyof them.

One day, at a party, she glanced at the drummer, who was able topull heavenly rhythms out of his instrument. Oshun was smitten.She was transfixed by love. She kept looking at the handsomedrummer and saying to herself, "He will be mine."

The miraculous drummer was none other than Chango.

"Chango, do you see her?" asked the other Orishas at the party."Oshun, the most beautiful of all is trying to flirt with you."

"So?" asked Chango, concentrating on a specially difficultpassage.

"Make love to her," said the Orishas. "She is beautiful and wantsyou."

Chango smiled at his friends and replied, "I have more womenthan I know what to do with. They throw themselves at me."

"Braggart," thought the other Orishas.

"Besides," said Chango, counterpointing his decision with the beatof the drums. "I'm not ready for any more complications rightnow."

That was what Chango said, but, who can resist Oshun'senchantments? Who can say no to her grace and her flirtatiousways? Who can let her walk away after seeing her hips swaying?Who can refuse the invitation of her moist fleshly lips?

Chango, the great womanizer, the great conqueror could not resist.He became interested in her. Oshun, for her part, became colder asChango grew warmer. She wanted to teach him a lesson forhaving slighted her on their first meeting.

It became too much for Chango. He waited for Orunmila to leavehis house one day, went to the door and knocked. When Oshunanswered, Chango burst in.




"If you don't give me your love," said Chango, grabbing her arms,"I'll go off to war and never return."

Oshun's heart melted. "Don't go," she said. "I'll love you forever."

"Forever?" asked Chango, a little taken aback.

"I'll be with you all your life," said Chango. "I'll be your wife."

On that day, she left Orunmila's house and went to live withChango. Their love produced the Ibeyi.


Oshun is the most beautiful Orisha. She is sexy, flirtatious andhappy. As goddess of rivers, she loves to bathe naked in naturalsprings.

As Chango's wife, she is understanding of the difficulties in loveand marriage. She also helps those with money problems, sinceshe controls the purse strings in Chango's household. But, thepetitioner should beware, Oshun can take money away as easily asshe bestows it.

Oshun loves parties and celebrations. No one has ever seen hercry. When Oshun takes over the body of a believer during a"golpe de Santo", she laughs continuously and puts on the airs ofa distinguished society lady. Her arrival is always greeted with thewords, "yeye dari yeyeo'.

Chapter SixTHE GODS (cont.)


Saint:Our Lady of the Presentation of Our Lord. (Santa Virgen de laCandelaria) and St. Theresa.Day of the Week: Wednesday. Friday is also popular.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):Black and white. The collar is made up of nine black beadsfollowed by nine white beads. Then a black bead alternates with a




white bead nine times. The pattern is repeated to the desiredlength. A variant is a collar made of brown beads striped in avariety of colors or lilac or maroon beads striped with colors.Sacrificial Animals:Chickens and guinea hens. Some hold that Oya does not eat anyfour legged animals, but others say that she likes female goats.Sacrificial Foods:Ekru-Aro (black-eyed peas unpeeled and cooked in a doubleboiler. Her favorite fruit is the star apple. Oya loves eggplant. Allof her food should be liberally laced with corojo butter. She drinkschequete. Her water should be rain water.Herbs:espanta muerto, bonita, varia, palo rayo, cabo de hacha, revientacaballo, Peppercress, marigold, plantain, Jamaican rosewood,mimosa, mugwort, aralia, camphor, breakax, cypress, flamboyantree.Ornaments:Oya wears a crown with nine points from which hang ninecharms; a hoe, a pick, a gourd, a lightning bolt, a scythe, a shovel,a rake, an ax, and a mattock.

A spear or a metal rendition of a lightning bolt. A red gourd. Thedried seed pod of the flamboyan tree. She also wears nine copperbracelets.


Many years ago, Chango was embroiled in one of his unendingwars. He had fought for many days and killed many of hisenemies, but, more came than he could kill. He found himselfsurrounded by his enemies in the middle of the forest.

"Enchile," he shouted, but his famous magical horse had becomelost during the fighting. Chango was afraid to yell again. He mightbe found. He heard his enemies beating the bushes and shakingthe trees to find him. If they did, they would kill him.

Without Echinle, Chango had to scurry through gullies and coverhimself in river mud to hide from his enemies. Days passed. Hisimplacable enemies did not rest. They did not eat. Chango, tiredand hurt, had to keep on running without sleep and without food.




He ran and he ran until he reached the place where Oya lived. Itwas very deep in the woods. Very few people there knew that Oyawas Chango's wife.

Chango came to Oya's house and pounded on the door. Sheopened it and saw Chango bruised, cut and panting.

"What has happened to you?" cried Oya.

"Oya, they have me surrounded," panted Chango. "They want tohang me from a tree."

"Come in, quick." said Oya, hustling Chango into her house.

"My lightning is not effective against my enemies today," He toldOya.

"That's because you lack the courage to fight," she scolded. Oyagave him water and a bite to eat.

"It's not courage I lack," said Chango. "I'm very tired."

"What do you want from me?" asked Oya.

"If I could escape my enemies' deadly circle, I could rest andsleep." said Chango. "I would recover my strength and destroy myenemies."

"Why is it that you only come to see me when you need help?"asked Oya.

In those ancient times, Chango was used to fighting by himself,but he swallowed his pride.

"Help me, Oya."

Oya thought for a moment and then turned to her husband.

"When night falls," she said. "You will put on one of my dresses.The disguise will let you escape."

"They will still recognize my face," said Chango.

"I will cut off my hair and put it on your head. That will completethe disguise." said Oya. "I will cut off my hair to save my king'slife."




They waited until night. Oya lit no fire. She was afraid that thesmoke from her chimney would be noticed by Chango's enemiesand draw them to the house. When the sun had gone down, butbefore the moon had risen, Oya cut off her beautiful hair andpinned it to Chango's head. Chango did not know what to do withwoman's hair. It fell across his eyes. It tangled in his ears. Oyahad him sit down and wove the hair into two long braids.

"Here's a dress," she said. "Put it on quickly, before the mooncomes up."

Chango managed to tangle himself up in Oya's dress. "Stand still,"she said. "Just stand still and let me dress you."

Finally, Chango was dressed as a passable imitation of Oya. Shewent to the door and peered out.

"Hurry," she said. "There's no one around."

Chango stepped outside, imitating Oya's dignified walk. Hewalked until he reached the forest and came across the line ofsearching men. He greeted his enemies with an imperious tilt ofhis head and crossed their line. He did not speak to them becausehis voice is very deep. It would have given him away.

This is the way Chango was able to escape his enemies' trap.

Once he was far away from the forest, he made camp. He restedand slept and ate and regained his strength and his will to fight.

Echinle managed to find his way back to his master. Chango fedhim and groomed him.

A few days later, rested and healed, Chango mounted Echinle.

"It is time to kill," said Chango to his horse, and galloped off tofind his enemies.

it was dawn when he reached his enemies' camp. He came rushingat them. His fury was terrible to behold. Lightning flashed fromhis hands. He shouted wild warrior cries. He was still dressed as awoman.

"Oya has turned into Chango," his enemies shouted when theysaw the screaming apparition bearing down upon them, long hairflying and a gown flapping in the wind. They panicked.




Behind them, Oya came striding out of her house, fully armed,and began hacking right and left with her ax. Her short hairbristled and shot out electric sparks.

"If Oya helps Chango, there is victory," she shouted, cutting offarms and legs.

Chango and Oya were victorious. Since that battle, Oya has beenChango's inseparable companion in war. With Chango's thunderand Oya's storms, they are invincible and remain so to this day.


Oya is the only Orisha that has power over the dead. Since she is acompassionate Orisha, she has allowed many dying children tolive as a gift to their parents. Cemeteries are known as "ileyansan", Oya's house. Anyone who uses dead bodies or parts ofdead bodies in their ceremonies, must render payment andhomage to Oya.

Whenever there is a haunting, Oya is summoned to dismiss thespirit. Sacrifices must be made to ensure that she takes an interestin the matter.

Oya is the Orisha of tornadoes and twisting storms, hurricanes andgales. The four winds are dominated by Elegua, Orunmila,Obatala and Oya.

Oya has such a terrible face that anyone looking on it will bestricken mad or blind. In ceremonies where Oya descends, no onelooks upon her. When she possesses someone, she puts on a redcrepe dress or a flowered dress and weaves multicolored ribbonsaround her head. She only dances warrior dances. When her"children" enter trance, some of them can handle live coals withtheir bare hands.

YEMAYA(Olocum, Ocute)

Saint:Our Lady of Regla. (La Virgen de Regla) The patron Saint ofHavana's port.Day of the Week: Friday. Saturday is also popular.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):




White or crystal and blue. The collar is made up of seven crystalbeads followed by seven blue beads. Then, a crystal beadalternates with a blue bead seven times. The sequence is repeateduntil the desired length is obtained.Sacrificial Animals: Lamb, ducks, roosters, turtles goats. Fishand pigeons.Sacrificial Foods:Banana chips and pork cracklings washed down with chequete.Black-eyed peas. All her food should be liberally spread withsugar cane molasses. Yemaya's favorite fruit is the watermelon.Her water is seawater.Herbs:cucaracha, chinzosa, Yellow mombin, indigo, anamu (garlic herbnative to Cuba), water hyacinth, seaweed, purple basil, greenpepper, chayote fruit, Bermuda grass, Florida grass, sponges,coralline, majagua linden, salt water rushes.Ornaments:Yemaya is summoned at the seashore with a gourd rattle. Shealways has a fan made of duck feathers.

She owns an anchor, a key, a sun, a half moon, a siren which sheholds in her open arms. It holds in its hands a ray, the head of ashovel, a conch shell and a sea shell. All her ornaments are madeof lead.


Chango first saw the light of day thanks to Obatala (in a femaleaspect). However, Obatala soon became indignant with her son'spranks and threw him out of her house. Yemaya took pity on theyoung Orisha and raised Chango as if he were her own child.

Chango grew up and left home to find his fortune. Chango forgotthe details of his upbringing. He had no past. He wandered theworld without roots and without goals. Many years passed andmany women crossed his path. He had many amorous adventures.So many, that he forgot, in time, Yemaya's face.

Time passed. Chango kept chasing women, fighting and going toparties. It was at one of these parties where Chango met Yemayaagain. He was drumming and singing. The people were dancing.When he looked up, he saw Yemaya.




He immediately felt a very strong attraction towards her. His heartopened and he felt an intense tenderness wash over him. He didnot remember feeling like that before, so, he confused it withpassion and sexual attraction. He was wrong. What he felt was thelove of a son for his mother, his second mother, the woman whohad brought him up.

He stopped playing the drums, stood up and sidled up to Yemaya.

"Have I met you somewhere before?" he asked.

Yemaya turned her back on him for an answer.

"We could go off and be alone," said Chango. "Just you and I."

His lips brushed her shoulder. She shrugged him off.

Yemaya knew the dissolute life that Chango had been leading.She knew he was a drinker, a brawler and a womanizer. When heattempted to seduce her, his own mother, she decided to teach hima lesson.

"I'm going to teach him respect for women," she said to herself."I'm also going to teach him a little humility." She turned toChango. "What did you have in mind?"

Chango jumped at the opening. "Let's go to your house and keepthis party going. But, more privately." He did not want to go to hishouse, since his wives would not exactly approve of a conquestunder their own roof.

"Why, I think that's a wonderful idea," purred Yemaya, leadinghim on. "Come with me."

She walked through the crowd. Chango was close behind.

"What an easy conquest," he said to himself. " What a virile manam I."

They walked through the sleeping town until they came to theseashore. Yemaya went to a small boat tied to a rock. She got inthe boat.

"Please undo the lines," she told Chango.




"But, where is your house?" asked Chango. "I thought that youwanted to have a little party."

"My house is over there," said Yemaya, pointing towards the darkline of the horizon. "Come with me."

She stretched out her hand to Chango, who gingerly climbed intothe boat. He was rapidly losing his enthusiasm for this romanticadventure. He was afraid of boats and did not like the waterbecause he could not swim. But, it was too late to change hismind. He would appear frightened. He was, but he would admit itto any man, let alone a woman.

Chango tightened his grip on the gunwale as the little boat bobbedover the breakers and headed out to sea. The farther out they went,the more nervous Chango became. The little boat was out of sightof land.

"That's enough," said Chango.

"Isn't the sky lovely?" said Yemaya.

"I said, that's enough," growled Chango, striking the oars from herhands. "Who are you who has the strength to send this boat flyingover the waves?"

Yemaya did not answer. She sat in the boat calmly, her handscrossed on her lap.

"Who are you who can live out in the middle of the ocean?"demanded Chango.

Instead of answering him, Yemaya dove over the side and swamstraight down to the bottom of the sea.

Chango was petrified. He had no idea how to handle a boat. Hedidn't know what to do. Clumsily, he picked up an oar, but got ittangled in the lines coiled in the bottom of the boat.

While Chango struggled, Yemaya sent a gigantic wave towardshim. It was a wave taller than a mountain. When he saw the wavecoming, Chango dropped the oars and covered his head with hishands.

"I can triumph over men," he muttered, curled up in the bottom ofthe boat. "I can triumph over women. But I can't triumph over this




wave." He took a peek over the side. A blue wall of water wasbearing down upon him. He tried to make himself small. He triedto make himself disappear.

The giant wave came crashing down on him. It washed him offthe boat and sent him tumbling and bubbling to the bottom of thesea. It was quiet and blue. Chango was afraid.

He fought his way back to the surface and felt immensely gratefulto Olodumare when he was able to pull in a lung full of air. Theboat was floating right next to him. He scrambled into it. He didnot sink and drown.

Yemaya came gliding on the waves, her feet barely touching thewater.

"I think you are going to have to save me," said Chango throughchattering teeth.

"I will save you upon one condition." said Yemaya. "Name yourcondition."

"You must respect your mother," said Yemaya.

"My mother!" blustered Chango. "My mother abandoned mewhen I was a baby."

At that instant, Obatala, Chango's mother, who had beenmagically aware of the lesson being given to her son by Yemaya,appeared in the boat.

"You have to respect Yemaya," said Obatala. "She is yourmother."

"You are my mother," he yelled. "You abandoned me when I wasa child. You kicked me out of your house."

"I brought you into the world," said Obatala. "But it was up toanother to bring you up."

"You forget women too easily, Chango," said Yemaya. "You havehated your mother, but you have forgotten your second mother."

"You have forgotten that she is your mother, as well as I," saidObatala. "I brought you into this world and she raised you."




"You have two mothers, Chango." said Yemaya. "you have twomothers in a world where many people have none."

A stiff breeze sprang up and washed Chango clean of the hatredhe had carried for many years.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm sorry I hated you, Obatala. I'm sorry Iforgot you, Yemaya." He sighed. "It is indeed wonderful to havetwo mothers."

From that time on, he began to respect women more. But, he isstill a womanizer.


Yemaya is the Orisha that controls all the seas and the oceans andall the creatures that live in them.

She is considered the mother of all human beings.

When Yemaya comes down and possess someone, she endowshim or her with all her grace and very spicy personality. She willimmediately call for a long gown tightly belted at the waist andfor her fan. She dances with movements that are like themovement of the waves. When the drums heat up, she dances likewaves in a hurricane.

She is full of love and tenderness, as befits the mother of allmankind.

BABALU-AYE(Chopono, Taita Cañeme)

Saint: St. Lazarus.Day of the Week: Sunday. Wednesday is also popular.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):White with blue streaks. The collar is made up of white beadswith blue streaks strung out to the desired length.Sacrificial Animals:Gelded goat, spotted rooster. Also, chickens, guinea hens, snakes,quail and wild pigs.Sacrificial Foods:Fermented corn meal. Babalu-Aye loves to drink aguardiente and




to smoke good cigars. Coconut butter (ori) is his favoritecondiment. His water should come from a pond.

Babalu-Aye is an Orisha with simple tastes and will accept with apiece of stale bread and a glass of milk or water, dry wine and afew peanuts if the petitioner cannot afford anything better.Herbs:jayabico, ateje, hierba vieja, hierba nina, tengue tengue, angariya,Guava, balsam apple, thistles, all types of beans and seeds,peanuts, guaguasi (Loetia Apelata) tree native to Cuba, Virginiacreeper, pigeon peas, agave, heliotrope, caroba, bastard feverfew,basil, sage, pine nut, caisimon (Pothom*orphe peltata L. Mig.)medicinal plant native to Cuba, yaya lancewood, cowhage, broom,rose of Jericho, datura, cocillana bark, sabicu, olive, sesame,cactus pear, and butterfly jasmine among others.Ornaments:Babalu-Aye always has his crutches and his two faithful littledogs. On his altar there is always a charara, a broom made fromthe fruit clusters of the palmetto, used to sweep away evilinfluences.

Jute sacks also belong to him. Devotees who have been cured dueto his intervention wear clothing made from jute in gratitude.


A long time ago, Olodumare, the Supreme Being, the Creator ofall the Orishas, decided to give his children a gift. He called themall together.

"My children," he told them. "It is time for you to take over yourresponsibilities in this world."

There were a few polite coughs. There were also a few giggles.

"I have decided to share my powers with you," continuedOlodumare, after staring down the gigglers. "I will give you of myashe so that you may fulfill your destinies as best you are able."

All the Orishas got very excited. This was the big moment whentheir influence among mankind was going to be determined. Theyshuffled and sorted themselves out in a line.

"Oshun," said Olodumare. "To you I give the rivers."




"Thank you, Father," said Oshun.

"Chango, to you I give thunder."

"Thank you, Father," said Chango.

"Oya, to you I give the wind and the shooting stars," saidOlodumare. "To you, Ogun, I give all the metals of the earth.Orunmila, I give you the power of divination so that you mayguide the destiny of mankind. Elegua, Elegua, quit talking andlisten to me! Elegua, to you I entrust all paths, ways and entrancesand, since you love to talk so much, I'll make you the messengerof the Orishas."

Then, came Babalu-Aye's turn.

"Is there a particular boon you would like me to bestow upon you,Babalu-Aye?' asked Olodumare.

Back the, Babalu-Aye was very good looking and very young. Hisprimary concern was his ability to make love to women; as manyof them as he could.

"I want you to give me the power to be every woman's lover," saidBabalu-Aye. "I want to dally with the ladies. I want them to loveme."

Olodumare frowned at such a frivolous request. "It is granted," hesaid. "But I want you to have one condition so that you may stillhave to exercise some control over your desires. On everyThursday of Easter Week, you are forbidden to have contact witha woman."

"Thank you, Father," said Babalu-Aye. "I will do as you say."

For a long time, Babalu-Aye respected Olodumare's prohibition.Every Easter Week, he would go into his house and stay awayfrom women. But, one day, on an Easter Week, he was workingon his garden. He looked up and saw the most beautiful woman hehad ever seen.

"Hello," he said. "Would you like to see my beautiful garden?"

Every day, he talked to her. Then, he held her hand. Then, on AshWednesday, they kissed. She came by on Thursday and Baballu-Aye touched her, kissed her, and took her to his bed.




The next morning, when he woke up, he found his whole bodycovered with large, painful sores.

"What is wrong with you?" screamed the young lady, leaping outof bed.

"It's Olodumare's punishment." Babalu-Aye was afraid. "It's hispunishment because I did not follow his law."

"You're disgusting," cried the young lady, and she ran out of thehouse.

For many days, Babalu-Aye stayed home and tried herbal baths,prayers and sacrifices. Nothing worked. Leprosy was consuminghis body. Finally he dragged himself on his stumps toOlodumare's house. He knocked at Olodumare's door.

"What is that smell?" said Olodumare as he opened the door.

"It is I, Babalu-Aye. I need your help."

"I seem to remember someone by that name," said Olodumare."But, he was young and handsome and knew how to keep hispromises."

"Please, Olodumare," begged Babalu-Aye. "Please help me. I'msorry I broke your commandment."

"I'm sorry," said Olodumare. "But I don't speak to people who donot keep their word."

He slammed the door on Babalu-Aye's face. And, right there, onthe street in front of Olodumare's house, Babalu-Aye died withhorrible convulsions and sufferings. Babalu-Aye's death wasmourned by all the women in the world. They decided to send apetition to Oshun, the Orisha of love. The women were graciouslyreceived at Oshun's house.

"What may I do for you?" asked Oshun.

"Dearest Lady, we ask you to bring Babalu-Aye back to life." theycried. "The women of the world are saddened at the horrible deathof one who loved them so."

Oshun was moved by their prayers.




"Ladies," she said. "I will go to Olodumare's house and try tobring your lover back to you."

That evening, Oshun went to Olodumare's house. She found a sidedoor open and went in without anyone seeing her. She went fromroom to room, sprinkling her oñi everywhere. Oshun's oñi is herpower to awaken uncontrollable passion in men.

Olodumare, sitting quietly and reading the paper, began to shiftand wiggle. He threw the paper down and ran to his wardrobecloset. He felt great and he wanted to look great. He put on hisbest clothes and put perfumed pomade on what was left of hishair. He thought about old lovers who he had not seen in yearsand wondered what had become of them. All the passions that hadlain dormant for ages of the world awoke. He looked at himself inthe mirror.

"I haven't felt this good in a very long time. I haven't thoughtabout sex in an even longer time." he said to himself.

Wise as he is, Olodumare knew that he was under the spell ofOshun's oñi.

"Oshun," he laughed. "Are you in here?"

"Here I am, Olodumare."

"Thank you," he said. "Thank you for making me feel wonderful."

"You see," said Oshun. "It's not such a bad thing to feel good.You punished Babalu-Aye for this very thing."

"Give me some more of your oñi," said Olodumare. "I feel youngagain."

"only if you forgive Babalu-Aye's indiscretion," said Oshun. "Ifyou bring him back to life, I will give you my oñi."

Olodumare had already decided to revive Babalu-Aye, since hehad considered his death as a temporary punishment anyway.

"Granted," said Olodumare. "Babalu-Aye will live again."

Oshun gave her oñi to Olodumare and Olodumare gave life toBabalu-Aye. But, Babalu-Aye's sores never went away.





In his African guise of Chopono, he brought smallpox and leprosyto the tribes, but now, he cures. His cures are always miraculous,especially among persons who are unable to walk. Babalu-Aye isfull of compassion towards human suffering and misery. Heknows more about pain than any of the other Orishas.

When he takes over the body of a believer, the trance ischaracterized by muscle cramps. The individual walks withdifficulty and, at times, rolls on the floor, feeling all of Babalu-Aye's sores burning into his skin. If the pain gets to be too muchfor the person possessed, the head and feet are sprinkled withwater.

Chapter SevenTHE GODS (cont.)

OGUNSaint: St. Peter. Sometimes Ogun is also represented as theArchangel Michael.Day of the Week: Tuesday.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):Green and black. Seven green beads followed by seven blackbeads. Then, a green bead alternates with a black bead seventimes. The pattern is repeated until the desired length is obtained.Sacrificial Animals: Young bulls, roosters (especially white andred roosters). All other quadrupeds.Sacrificial Foods:Smoked fish and smoked jutia. Yam with blood. The sapodilla ishis favorite fruit. All his food should be heavily smeared withcorojo butter. Ogun drinks aguardiente. His water should comefrom a standing pond.Herbs:palo vencedor, rabo de piedra, palo bomba, escandon, pincha degato, Eucalyptus, sasparilla, boneset, blessed thistle, restharrow,senna, datura, carpenter ants, guao (comocladia dentada), treenative to Cuba, sweet soursop, guamao (Lonchocarpus sericeus),Cuban timber tree, red pepper, black pepper, mastic tree, castor oilplant, oak leaves, and indigo plant among others.Ornaments:Ogun's clothing is a tiger skin. He own an iron pot on three stubby




legs and nine or twenty-one pieces of iron that symbolize all thetools used in agriculture and blacksmithing. The most commontools are: an arrow, an anvil, a pickaxe, a hatchet, a machete, ahammer, and a key. Ogun's tools are always well greased withcorojo butter.


For as long as anyone can remember, for as long as there ismemory, Ogun and Chango have been enemies. The way it is toldby some, their hatred goes back to their childhood.

It is said that Ogun had sex with his mother. The incestuousrelationship took the mother's affections away from the father.Chango, Ogun's younger brother, grew up and found out about hisbrother's illicit love. He decided to take vengeance.

Ogun and Oya were lovers. Chango waited and watched Ogun'shouse until he saw that he left Oya alone. He went to the door,and, being a strong and fierce warrior, had no difficulty knockingit down.

He went in, grabbed Oya and ignored her protests.

"You are coming with me now," he told her. "You are going to bemy woman."

When Ogun returned, he searched the house for Oya. Theneighbors told him what had happened. Furious, Ogun ran toChango's house.

Chango had made love to Oya. His sexual prowess had made herfall madly in love with him.

Ogun hammered on Chango's door. Chango stuck his head out awindow.

"What do you want?" shouted Chango.

"I want my woman back," yelled Ogun.

"Well, let's see if she wants to go back with you," said Chango.

Oya leaned out the window.

"What do you want, little man?" she shouted. "Go back home, I'mquite happy here."




Ogun's face got very red. His throat swelled like a bull's.

"He has put a spell on you," he shouted. "I don't care if he is thegod of thunder. I'm going to make you mine again and destroyhim."

Oya's and Chango's laughter was his answer.

Ogun and Chango have been mortal enemies ever since.

That's one version, but, another story tells of the time when Ogunand Chango met each other in the forest.

When he saw Chango, Ogun pounded his chest.

"Chango, I challenge you." He drove his huge spear into the earthbetween Chango's legs. "We haven't fought each other in a longtime. It's time to show you that I'm the better warrior," braggedOgun.

"When do you want to fight?" asked Chango without raising hisvoice.

"I want to fight right now!" roared Ogun.

"I agree with you," said Chango. "I want to fight you right nowtoo."

With a yell, Ogun grabbed his spear and rushed at Chango.

"Wait, wait," said Chango. "Let's not rush matters. We have therest of our lives in which to fight each other. Let's do this right."

"What do you mean?" growled Ogun.

"Let's have a drink first," said Chango. "Aren't you thirsty?" And,he took a large gulp from his gourd full of aguardiente.

"Let me have some," said Ogun. "Watching you drink makes methirsty."

Chango handed him the gourd. "Have a good drink ofa*guardiente. I'll wait. We have all day to fight."

Chango knew that Ogun loved strong drink. He also knew thatOgun had no capacity for alcohol. After just a couple of gulpsfrom the gourd, Ogun was weaving and laughing at nothing.




Ogun had two or three more slugs from the gourd. They wentright to his head. His eyes got very red, so did his nose and ears.

"I'm ready to fight now." he yelled at Chango. "Get ready, I'mgoing to destroy you."

Of course, Ogun could do nothing of the kind, since he was nowblind drunk. He whirled his arms, trying to hit Chango. Changopicked him up and threw him on the ground. Ogun tried to get up,but Chango jumped up and down on his chest, picked him up byhis feet and swung his head against a tree. Ogun's head made avery unpleasant sound as it hit the tree trunk.

Chango left Ogun lying on the ground. The ants went into Ogun'snose and into his ears.

An hour later, Ogun came to. His head hurt terribly. His wholebody was covered with insect bites and, what's worse, he felt likea complete fool for allowing Chango to play a dirty trick on him.He go to his feet slowly, blowing the ants out of his nose. He heldon to the tree trunk for support.

"I will never forgive you," he croaked, shaking his fist in thedirection of Chango's house. "I will never forgive this."

And, he didn't. Ogun never forgave Chango. They have beenenemies ever since.


Ogun rules all the metals. He is the only Orisha who can handleiron. All the trades that use metal tools, from the butcher to thesteel worker to the surgeon, are protected by Ogun. He protects allwarriors. Anyone wanting to work with a knife, a sword or an axhas to sacrifice to Ogun.

Ogun disguises himself in order to observe his "children". He canappear as a laborer, a hunter or a warrior. He also likes to dress upas a butcher or a smith. His wrath is terrible and usually takes theform of a bloody accident.

When Ogun comes down and possesses a Santero or Santera, hedances vigorous warrior dances and pretends to be clearing a paththrough the forest so that his warriors can follow him. Chango andOgun should never be summoned in the same ceremony. If they




gain possession of bodies at the same time, the two "caballos" willtry to fight to the death, no matter how holy the occasion.

OSAINSaint: St. John (San Jose) in the city and with St. Ambrose in thecountryside.Day of the Week: Sunday.Colors and Collars (Ilekes): White, red and yellow. The collar ismade up of one white bead followed by nine red beads and eightyellow beads. The pattern is repeated until the desired length isobtained.Sacrificial Animals:Goats and red roosters, turtles, turkeys, guinea hens, quail, blackmale doves, owls, monkeys. All reptiles, especially the crocodile.Osain will receive the feathers and the blood of pheasants, theheart of mockingbirds and the feathers and blood ofhummingbirds. He also likes peaco*ck feathers.Sacrificial Foods:The sap of trees and herbs. seeds, flowers and grains. Tobacco. Heoften appears to people with insomnia and asks them for a light.He drinks aguardiente.Herbs: All medicinal and magical herbs belong to Osain.Ornaments: Osain is never without his pipe. His Otanes andcowrie shells are kept in a gourd. The drums used in Santeriaceremonies are consecrated to him.


As his knowledge of herbal magic grew, Osain thought himself tobe Orunmila's superior. Envy made his thoughts black.

"If I get rid of Orunmila," he muttered to himself. "I will have hispowers and gifts as well as my own. I will be the most powerfulOrisha."

Osain began to cast powerful spells against Orunmila.

All Orunmila knew was that spells and evil influences wereweaving a black web around his person. He began to have slightaccidents and his health began to suffer. He attempted to use hisoracular powers to find out who wished him harm, but Osain had




been very careful to hide the source of his attack. Finally,Orunmila went to Chango's house.

"You must help me, Chango," said Orunmila. "My powers are notenough to see who is trying to harm me." "I will join my vision toyours and we're sure to discover who your enemy is." saidChango.

Chango is a great diviner in his own right. He is not as gifted asOrunmila, but, when he added his sight to Orunmila's, a wallopened and they both saw Osain's face. Not only that, they sawOsain busily brewing his spells against Orunmila.

Chango was furious. He gathered his warrior aspects aroundhimself.

"Don't worry any more. I will rid you of that evil Orisha that isout to harm you." said Chango.

He stalked off to find Osain. First, he stopped off at Oya's house,since he brought her along whenever he prepared for war. Heexplained the situation to her.

"I not only want to punish him" he told her. "I want to take all hispowers and knowledge away."

"I agree. We have to make him harmless." said Oya.

"Not only that," said Chango. "We will then have all hisknowledge to ourselves."

Oya walks faster than Chango. She arrived at Osain's house first.She knocked at his door.

"What do you want?" asked Osain. A great cloud of herbal vaporsswirled around him.

"I was just passing by and I saw all the smoke," said Oya. "I wantto offer you a little aguardiente, since you seem to be working sohard."

Osain took the gourd from her hands and took a good long drink.

"Thank you, Oya," he said. "But now, I have to keep working."




"Have another little drink," she said, offering her gourd again. "It'snot good to work all day."

"That's true. It affects the health." Osain took another drink.

The aguardiente was already having an effect on him, so he didn'tsay anything when Oya walked into his house.

"I think I'll have another little drink." said Osain.

"Drink up. I have plenty. " said Oya.

Osain drank and drank until he had to lay down. He fell asleep.Oya put her hands on his head and began to take his secrets. But,she had underestimated Osain's capacity for drink. He woke upand grabbed her wrists.

"So, that's why you came," he shouted. "You wanted to steal mysecrets."

Oya broke away and ran out into the garden with Osain closebehind her.

"You can't get away. I'm going to kill you," he shouted.

He leaped and landed on Oya's back. Oya bit and clawed him.They rolled over and over among the herbs. "Chango! Chango,help me!" screamed Oya.

Chango heard her screams. He ran around the house and jumpedover the garden wall.

"You are brave enough to fight a woman," yelled Chango. "Let'ssee if you are brave enough to fight a warrior."

He threw a thunderbolt that tore off Osain's left arm. Holding thespurting stump, Osain ran back to his cauldrons and grabbed agourd that held his most potent and dangerous magical herbs.Before he could throw it, Chango let loose with anotherthunderbolt meant to strike Osain blind. Osain ducked his headjust in time. It only tore off his ear, leaving a little nub. The painmade him drop the gourd. It shattered on the ground.

"I'm going to take chunks off you until there is nothing left."growled Chango.




He would have whittled Osain down to nothing but, he only go tostrike him a couple of times. As Chango was winding up morethunderbolts, Ogun, that terrible warrior and Chango's swornenemy, appeared. Ogun changed himself into a lightning rod andprevented any more thunderbolts from reaching Osain.

Since that fight, Osain has been a small shrivelled Orisha. He onlyhas one arm and one leg and a very small nub of an ear. He getsaround by giving little hops, like a bird.


In Santeria, each plant has its own ashe, its magical power, whichcan be either harmful or beneficial. Osain knows them all.Cultivated food plants hold no interest for him.

The Babalawos and Iyalochas that serve Osain are greatherbalists. They follow an oral traditions which describes theproperties of thousands of plants.

The Babalawo or Iyalocha must refrain from sex the night beforegoing out to gather herbs. Once deep in the woods, an offering ofa*guardiente and a little package with tobacco and a few coins isleft as payment to Osain.

When a plant is going to be used, the necessary offerings must bemade to Osain to ensure the effectiveness of the herb's ashe.

Osain never possesses anyone at a "golpe de santo".


Saint: St. Norbert.Day of the Week: Tuesday.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):Green. The collar is made up of green beads. Brown and green arealso popular.Sacrificial Animals: Deer, red roosters. Sheep, goat, pigs.Sacrificial Foods:Smoked fish and smoked jutia. Yams. Mango is his favorite fruit.All his food should be liberally covered with corojo butter. Hedrinks aguardiente. Oshosi's water should come from a well.




Herbs:espinilla, cercelera, jia blanca, chincha, Leadwort, esparto grass,fulminate, incense, tobacco, vine arbor, Jamaican rosewood,castor oil plant, and basil among others.Ornaments: A bow and arrow. A model of a jail.


Before becoming an Orisha, Oshosi earned his livelihood andsupported his mother by his skills as a hunter. He knew everynook and cranny of the forest. He knew all the habits of theanimals. One day, as Oshosi was walking along a forest path,Orunmila appeared to him.

"Oshosi, hear me." said Orunmila.

"I am yours to command." said Oshosi, bowing low. "Please standup," said Orunmila. "I am here to ask for your help."

"It is not for me to help an Orisha." said Oshosi.

"But, I will do what I can."

"I have need of your skills as a hunter. Olodumare wants one ofthe fat delicious quail found in this area. I promised I would gethim one, but I have been here for three days and haven't had anyluck," confessed Orunmila. "I just don't know how to hunt them."

"Why, that would be no trouble at all," said Oshosi.

"If you get one of those quail for me, you will have my andOlodumare's blessing for the rest of your life," said Orunmila.

"Meet me at my house tomorrow," said Oshosi. "I will have aquail for you."

Orunmila disappeared. Oshosi immediately set about huntingquail. With his skill and knowledge, it wasn't very long before hehad a beautiful hen struggling inside his sack. Whistling, he madehis way back home.

Oshosi put the quail hen in a little cage and went back into thewoods to hunt. He travelled a long ways and, as was his custom,spent the night under a tree.




The following morning, he hurried home to meet Orunmila.Visions of all the wonderful things he would ask Olodumare madehis head spin. His mother would be so happy!

Orunmila was already waiting when Oshosi arrived home.

"Good morning, Oshosi. Were you able to trap a quail?" Orunmilaasked him.

"I trapped the fattest and most beautiful quail in all the forest,"said Oshosi.

He went in the house. He came out with an empty cage.

"Where is it?" asked Orunmila.

"I don't understand it," said Oshosi. "I left it in this cage yesterdayafternoon, and now, it is gone."

"Are you playing with me?" Orunmila was becoming angry.

"Of course not, sir. I would not dare." said Oshosi. "Mother!"

Oshosi's little mother came out of the house, drying her wrinkledhands.

"Yes, my son?"

"Mother, do you know anything about the quail I left in this cageyesterday afternoon?"

"No, dear," she said. "I don't know anything."

Oshosi's mother was lying. She had seen the quail in its cage theday before. She had been happy that her thoughtful son hadbrought her such a tasty bird to eat. She had killed it, plucked it,and eaten it, but she was afraid of admitting it to Orunmila.

"Don't worry, Orunmila. I will go out right now and I will haveanother beautiful bird for you by this afternoon," said Oshosi.

It was not hard to keep his promise. In just one hour, he hadanother beautiful quail hen struggling inside his sack. He returnedto his house. Orunmila was waiting for him.

"You see," said Oshosi, proudly taking the fluttering quail out ofthe sack. "I have brought you another beautiful quail."




"You have done me such a great favor that I will take you directlyto Olodumare so you can present him with this quail yourself,"said Orunmila. "It is not just that I should receive the credit whenit was your skill that made Olodumare's gift possible."

They went to Olodumare's house. He was delighted with the quail.

"You have made my heart glad today." said Olodumare.

"It is my pleasure to honor you, great sir," responded Oshosi.

"I thank you too, Orunmila, for having had the wisdom to turnover your task to this great hunter," said Olodumare. "I havedecided to make you an Orisha, Oshosi. You will be a king amonghunters."

Praise and treasures were heaped on Oshosi. He did not let it go tohis head. He kept a pleasing humility before Olodumare. After allthe ceremonies were over, Oshosi approached Olodumare.

"Sir, I would ask that you grant me one more boon," said Oshosi.

"And what might that be?" asked Olodumare.

"I have not forgiven the one that stole the first quail that I trappedfor you," said Oshosi. "I want vengeance. Please allow that, whenI release my arrow, it will find the thief's heart."

"I cannot deny you what you wish," said Olodumare sadly. "Butyou will not forgive yourself for asking such a boon."

Oshosi released his arrow and, guided by Olodumare's will, itwent straight into Oshosi's mother's breast. Horrified, Oshosiwatched his mother die by his own hand

After the funeral, Oshosi stood before Olodumare, tears streamingdown his cheeks.

"I will no longer be a hunter. I will fulfill my duty and help allhunters, but I will never forget that it was my need for vengeanceand my lack of foresight that caused my mother's death."





Oshosi lives in the forests and is a close friend of Osain. Osain hasrevealed many herbal secrets to him.

Oshosi often battles alongside Elegua and Ogun. Together, theyform an invincible combination.

When Oshosi comes down during a "golpe de santo" andpossesses a believer, the person always pretends to be shootingwith a bow and arrow.

ORISHAOCOSaint: St. Ysidro (St. Isidro).Day of the Week: Sunday.Colors and Collars (Ilekes): Lilac. His collar is made up of lilacbeads.Sacrificial Animals: Red roosters, monkeys.Sacrificial Foods: Yams and all produce from the garden.Herbs:bejuco guarana, bejuco lechero, jiba, Yam, Sweet potato, Datura,bejuco colorado, (serjania diversifolia), and everything that growsin a garden and is cultivated.Ornaments: A hoe and all the tools of the gardener.


Orishaoco is in charge of crops and agriculture. He settles fightsamong the Orishas, and always acts as a judge in delicate cases.He spends a lot of time resolving the arguments between Changoand his wives.

During full moon, the women whose task it is to do the gardening,make offerings to him. The majority of his followers are womenand it is mostly Iyalochas who serve at his ceremonies.

THE IBEYI (Taebo & Kainde)Saint: St. Cosme and St. Damian.Day of the Week: Sunday.Colors and Collars (Ilekes):The colors and collars are the same as Oshun's and Chango's, theIbeyi's parents.Sacrificial Animals:Pigs, sheep, goats, bull calves and donkeys. Men who suffer from




impotency or other sexual problems only offer the testicl*s ofthese animals.Sacrificial Foods: Candies and sweets.Herbs: Palm, gourds, coco plum, corn, gemip, sago palm,sapodilla, tomato. Ornaments:The Ibeyi should always be dressed identically. Their figurinesshould be tied or chained together to insure that they won'tseparate.


Obatala was known among the other Orishas for his generosity.His thrifty habits assured him of having enough money to helpanyone who needed help. Unfortunately, word spread that he keptmoney in his house.

He was robbed many times. He tried putting his money under thebed. He tried putting his money on the roof. He buried his moneyin the yard. No luck. Every time he found a new hiding place forhis money, thieves would break in while he was taking a messageto Olodumare. Obatala always came home to an empty house. Hecould not stand it anymore. Olodumare was too noble to resent therobberies, but he was tired of having his floors dug up and hiswalls caved in by industrious thieves. He went to Oshosi.

"Make me the longest ladder in the world and a big strong sack,"he told Oshosi.

When Oshosi had finished working and brought him the ladderand the sack, Obatala went to his house and filled the big sackwith money. He then went to the middle of the forest. He foundthe tallest tree in the world and used his ladder to climb to the top.There, Obatala hung his money bag.

The Ibeyi had seen everything. They ran to find Chango.

"Chango, Chango! We know where Obatala's money is," theyshouted. "We saw him hide it at the top of a tree!"

This news made Chango very happy. His drunken parties hadbeen financed many times by Obatala's money. He now had thechance to get the month's drinking money. Chango was proud ofhis boys.




"Show me where it is," he told them. And, they set off for theforest.

Chango and the Ibeyi found the tree, but Obatala had surroundedit with fierce wild animals that attacked anyone that came close.Chango thought and thought and came up with an idea.

"Give me your candy," he told the Ibeyi. "When we get themoney, I will buy you twice as much."

"Make it three times as much," said the greedy twins, "and it's adeal." Chango agreed and the Ibeyi gave him all their candies andpastries.

Chango spread the food around the tree and, while the wildanimals were busy eating it, climbed to the top and dropped thebag with Obatala's money down to the twins.

Chango was not seen for a month. The Ibeyi had a feast.


The Ibeyi are identical twins who represent fortune, good luck andprosperity. In all the ceremonies, their images are always tiedtogether to prevent their separation. If they do separate, all of theirpower to bring good luck disappears.

They are practical jokers like Elegua, but, unlike him, they neverinjure anyone.

They do not come down during ceremonies to possess anyone but,dancers dance for their pleasure and honor by imitating the littlehops and skips that very small children make while playing.

Chapter EightTHE ORACLES

The oracles are used to obtain the Orisha's opinions and advice, tosee into the future, to counsel those who come to a Santero to seekhelp and to see what will heal the sick.

The most popular oracles used in Santeria are the coconut oracle(El Coco or Biague) and the cowrie shell oracle (Los Caracoles orDilogun).




THE COCONUTS (El Coco, Biague)

The coconut oracle is known as Biague to honor the name of thefirst Babalawo to make use of Olodumare's gift.

According to an old African tale, Olodumare came to earth andbecame so enchanted by a coconut palm that he decide to give it agift.

"Not only will you give nourishment and oil to men," saidOlodumare to the palm. "But all the Orishas will read the future inyou. The pieces of your fruit will have meaning to the Orishas.They, in turn will pass it on to men."

The oracle operates by interpreting the positions that four piecesof coconut shell (the Obinu) land in when thrown. The Obinualways respond yes or no, so questions to the Biague must be verydirect and to the point. For example:

The question: "Should I change my job?"

May have any of the following answers:

ALAFIA; Yes. It is possible.

EYIFE; Yes. Definitely.

OTAWE; Not sure. Throw again.


OYEKUN; Death. Stop consulting the oracle and go to aBabalawo to find out what's going on.

The simpler the question, the easier the answer's interpretation.

The Obinu are simply pieces of a coconut shell. What gives themtheir oracular power is the Ashe, the Santero or Santera's graceand natural psychic gifts. It is the Ashe which allows theconsultant's relationship with the Orishas. Not everyone can usethe Biague.

When consulting the Biague, questions should only be asked ofone Orisha at a time. If the person consulting the oracle is not




experienced in its manipulation or interpretation, only Eleguashould be invoked.

The Biague may be consulted daily, but the same question shouldnot be repeated. Elegua will become bored and play tricks on thequestioner. Strange and very upsetting answers will come up.Stupid questions insult the Orishas. The oracle is not to be used asa party game or as an amusem*nt. The Orishas are helpful whentreated with respect, but they punish disrespect.

Persons who have not been initiated into Santeria, or do not havean Elegua, may consult the Biague as long as they show properrespect towards the Orishas. The prayers and invocations toElegua may be made in the person's own language and in theirown words.

How to Consult the BiagueHave two gourds standing by, one filled with fresh river water(water from a faucet is not considered as effective) and one filledwith the following mixture:

A pinch of toasted corn.

A pinch of smoked jutia. If smoked jutia is unavailable, as it islikely to be, it may be replaced by smoked fish.

A smear of corojo butter.

A spoonful of molasses or honey.

A spoonful of powdered eggshell.

Also have a candle ready. The candle should be of a colorpleasing to the Orisha being consulted. For example, if Elegua isinvoked, the candle should be red and black.

Strip the outer husk off a coconut until the inner nut is freed. Takethe nut in one hand and split it apart by hitting it with a hardobject. A hammer will do. Tap around the nut's circumferenceuntil it splits open Note that the inside of the nut is full of coconutmilk, which will pour out when the nut is split open.

If you are inside, do not throw the coconut against the floor toopen it. It is considered disrespectful to the Orishas. However, the




coconut may be taken outside and split open by throwing against arock or a cement patio floor.

After you split the coconut apart, choose four clean pieces. Theymust not show any cracks or other imperfections. These will bethe Obinus. Wash them in the gourd filled with fresh river water.

Take up the Obinu in your left hand. With your right hand pickout bits of coconut meat from the corners of each piece. Thenumber of pinches should correspond to a number pleasing to theOrisha consulted. For example, pinch out three pieces for Elegua,six pieces for Chango, five pieces for Oshun or seven pieces forYemaya.

As you are pinching out the pieces of coconut meat, chant:

obinú ikú obinú ano obinú eyo obinú ofó arikú babagwá.

Save the pieces.

Light a candle in honor of the Orisha being consulted. Assumingthat Elegua is the Orisha whose advise you seek, the candle maybe placed before the image of Elegua or, if you do not have anElegua, by the front door.

Place the small pieces of coconut you pinched off the Obinu andplace them on top of Elegua's tureen or on a small plate next tothe candle.

Take up the gourd with the Saraceo mixture and add leaves ofwitch hazel, sargasso, or neat's tongue to it. Add enough riverwater to make a thick gruel. Place the gourd next to the candle andthe coconut meat as an offering to Elegua.

Sprinkle river water three times around the offering whilechanting:

omi tutu ana tutu tutu laroye tutu ilé.

Take the gourd full of Saraeco mixture and spill a little bit en eachcorner of the room. Throw a few drops out the front door to guardagainst an unfavorable oracle. This cleansing will also help youchange an unfavorable should one still come up.

Once the cleansing of the room is completed, offer this prayer toElegua:




elegua laroye akiloye aguro tente onú apagurá akama seséareletuse abamula omubatá okoloofofó okoloñiñi toni kan ofóomoró ogun oyona alayiki agó.

You may also compose a prayer of your own, in your ownlanguage.

Other Orishas may be invoked by using one of the followingprayers or, again, you may compose your own.

Mayubos to the OrishasTo Elegua:

laroye akiloye aguro tente onú apagurá akama sesé areletuseabamula omubatá okóloofofó okoloñiñi toni kan ofó omoró agunoyona alayiki agó.

To Ogun:

Ogun ñakobié kobú kobú alaguere ogúo ogun yumu su ogunfinamalú egueleyein andaloro ekum feyú tana guaraguru osibirikíalalúo agó.

To Oshosi:

oshosi odematá onibebé ede kuresé olebure atamasile eobeki agó.

To Obatala:

obatalá obataisa obatayanu obirigwalano katioke okuni ayékofiedenu babámi ayaguná leyibó jekun babá odumila oduaremuasabi olodo babámi ayuba.

To Chango:

eluwekon ashé osain cherere adashé kokoni jikoji omó la dufetinicherebinu oluosó bogwó ayalu kosó agó.

To Yemaya:

yemayá aguayo a kere odun a limí karabio osa ñabio legu eyintebié gwá sirueku yebwá obini duato okuba okana kwana kekuyanza ori eré gwá mio agó.

To Oshun:




Yeiyé kari imbamoro ofi kereme ogwá meri kokuasi agó.

To Osain:

osain ake meyi oshe kure kere meyi bero eki dibi agwanakero amate le iku mori chase le berike a yaya agó.

To Orunmila:

orunmila egwadoni en agwaluri ñakiedé ifá omá ifá ogwó ifáarikú babagwá agó.

To Babalu-Aye:

babalú ayé ogoro niga iba elobi agwa litala babá sinlao iba eloniogoro niga chapkuaná agó.

To The Ibeyi:

beyi oro araba aina kainde ideu agó.

To Orishaoko:

orishaoko ikú afefé orogodó gailotigwaro agó.

To Biague and Adiototo (the first Babalawo to use the oracle andhis son):

oshé bile adagwe biagué babadona orun adiatoto adafum ala kentadada omo tuyo agó.

After the Orisha who is to answer through the Biague issummoned, respect is paid to the following entities:

Olodumare is honored:

bogwo ikú oluwo embesesé olodumare ayuba igbaé bayé tonú.

The dead Santeros and Babalawos are honored:

boguo imaworo iyalosha babalosha babalao olorisha icu embeleseibae bayeral baye tonu.

The spirits of the dead are honored:

kosi ikú kosi ano kosi eyo kosi ofó arikú babagwá.




Ask your Godmother and your Godfather for permission to throwthe Biague, even though they may not be present:

kinkamashe (your Godmother) kinkamashe (your Godfather).

Gather the Obinus in your right hand even if you are left handed.Without kneeling, touch the floor and the Orisha's tureen withyour left hand and say:

ilé mókueo (the Orisha's name) mó kueo.

Repeat the words three times. If anyone else is present, theyshould respond:

akué yé.

Place your right hand over your heart and say:

unile ovi elegua.

Bend down and moisten the fingers of your left hand in the waterthat you spilled on the floor. Moisten your right hand with the wetfingers and say:

akué yé oguó akué yé omá arikú babagwá.

If anyone is present, they should respond:


Toss the Obinu on the floor while saying:

oni elé bake.

If you are consulting the Biague on behalf of another person,touch the Obinu to their head before throwing them.

Now that you have followed the preliminary steps, the position ofthe Obinu on the floor, determines the answer. The possiblepermutations are:


Chango and Orunmila speak.

Position: All four Obinu land white (meat) side up.Meaning: Affirmative. It is possible.




Interpretation:Happiness and health. Everything has been done as is right andproper. Peace, prosperity and grace.Further actions:When Alafia comes up, say: eyionlé obatalá orú ayé.Then, lay down on the floor before the Obinu and make reverenceto them. Repeat the question and throw the Obinu again. Alafiamust be ratified by Otawe or Eyife.


Chango, Ogun, Yemaya, and Oshosi speak.

Position: Three Obinu land white side up. One lands dark (shell)side up.Meaning: Maybe. There are doubts.Interpretation:Hope, but not complete confidence. What is asked is possible, butsubject to conditions.Further action:When Otawe comes up, say:obara ni bara obara koso telerio ayé kikaté ala kamake arayéeluwekon ashé osain ogun arere la boko. The Obinu must bethrown again. This time, make your question more specific. Thenext throw will give the answer. If Otawe comes up again, theanswer is no.With Otawe, or if the previous throw was Alafia it might benecessary to make Ebo, a sacrifice. By consulting the Oracle, thetype of sacrifice can be pinpointed.


Elegua, Ogun, Oshosi and Oshun speak.

Position: Two Obinu white side up. Two dark side up.Meaning: Yes.Interpretation: Absolutely positive. Definitely affirmative.Further action: When Eyife comes up, say:eyífe olówo eyité omó arikú babao arikú babagwá.If the previous throw was Alafia, the answer is yes. No need tothrow again.





Chango, Babalu-Aye and the spirits of the dead speak.

Position: One Obinu white side up. The other three pieces aredark side up.Meaning: No.Interpretation: Negative. Beware of tragedy. Be alert in order toavoid misfortune. Grave difficulty.Further action:When Ocanasode comes up, open your eyes wide,pull your ears and say:ocana sode okuá ti sode sode oke sode oma sode oguó batiosodearikú babagwá.Consult the oracle again and ask if Ocanasode just means "No", orif there are further difficulties and complications present.


Chango and Oya speak.

Position: All four Obinu are dark side up.Meaning: Death.Interpretation: Definitely no. A very bad sign which announcesdeath and suffering.Further action:When Oyekun comes up, take the four Obinu andput them in a gourd filled with water and eight pieces of cocoabutter. This will refresh the Obinu from such a negative reading.After the Obinu are soaking in water, touch your chest and say:olufina. Touch the floor and say: mofin karé mofin karé godogodo da fá mofin karé godo ba é alafi kisieko beké lorié eña kanori mi aferé asaka beke ouani moyuba abe ebami oma tun oma eseerbami che fun ni omó omó ni mi yegwá jekua jeri apú yan fúyanza ará orún.A babalawo must be consulted immediately. You need to beritually cleansed by a despojo, the brushing and washing away ofevil influences. Light a candle for the souls of the dead.The Babalawo and you must keep asking the oracle if the messageof death comes from the Orishas who speak or from the spirits ofthe dead. That will give the Babalawo an idea of the forces hemust deal with.




Chapter NineTHE ORACLES (cont.)

THE COWRIE SHELLS (Los Caracoles Dilogun)

The cowrie shells los, caracoles, "talk" through the naturalopening of the shell. Before you can use them for divination, youmust file the domed side of the shells flat until you have made ahollow shell medallion. Leave the side with the opening in itsnatural state.

A "hand" of shells is made up of 18 cowrie shells. Set two of theshells aside and do not file them down. They are known as theEdele and become the guardians of the oracle. To the 16remaining shells, add a small black stone and a piece of egg shellwhich will be used in manipulating the oracle and a small bonewhich proves that the cowries have drunk blood (see the sectionon the initiation ceremony).

The person consulting the oracle holds the little black stone in onehand and the piece of egg shell in the other. According to whetherthe Ordun, the "letter" thrown is left or right handed, the Santeromanipulating the oracle asks the questioner for the item held inthat hand. If it is the black stone, the Ordun's meaning is negative.If it is the piece of egg shell, the Ordun's meaning is positive.

An unfavorable reading is an Osobo. The Ordun comes down "abad path" and the negative aspects of the reading are to bestressed. A favorable reading is known as an Iré. The Orduncomes down "a good path" and the positive aspects of the readingare to be stressed.

The Ordun are divided and placed as follows:

Division of the Ordun

The Lesser Ordun: 5,6,7,9, and 11.The Greater Ordun: 1,2,3,4,8,10,12,13,14,15, and 16.

Placement of the OrdunLeft hand: All the major Ordun. All double numbers and, 6-7, 6-9,6-5 11-9, 9-7, 9-5, 7-5, 1-5, 3-7, 8-9, 10-6, 12-6, 11-5, 10-11, 2-6,4-11, 1-2, 11-6, 2-5, 1-4, 1-6.




Right hand: All the lesser Ordun and, 5-9, 11-3, 5-12, 5-6, 6-12,7-6, 11-1, 9-12, 5-11, 5-7, 11-10.

During the development of the oracle reading, the greater Ordunsare thrown once and the lesser Ordun are thrown two times. Thethrow is repeated after a lesser Ordun comes up. However, thefirst throw is always repeated, regardless of whether a major or aminor Ordun comes up.

How to Consult the Dilogun

The person consulting the oracle and the Santero operating thecowrie shells should sit on a mat on the floor. Both should be intheir bare feet.

The shells are washed in Omiero and receive a blood offering.

The Santero will then ask the questioner to write his or her nameand date of birth on a small piece of paper. It is placed in theblood.

A Moyuba is made to the Orishas, Olodumare and the spirits ofthe dead using the same formulas as for consulting the Biague.

After the Moyuba, the Santero says:

sunsorobi baofó unsorofóbaobi.

The Santero picks up the handful of shells and blows into them togive them his Ashé. He then puts them before the questioner'smouth so that he or she may blow on them as well.

The cowrie shells are tossed on the mat. The number of shells thatfall with their natural openings facing up is counted. This numberdetermines the Ordun, the "letter". The Santero then interprets themeaning of the Ordun according to his or her experience,knowledge and Ashé.

The first Ordun is read. It will always be made up of twonumbers, since the first throw is always repeated. The dominanthand of the throw is determined and the black stone or theeggshell will be revealed, determining whether the Ordun bringsgood or evil.




Ebo, prayers and sacrifices, are made to the Orishas that speakthrough the Ordun. If the initial throws indicate that the generalanswer to the question is positive, Iré, the oracle is questioned tonarrow down the answer.

The first question should be:

eboda? Is it beneficial? Does it bode well for the questioner?

The second question should be:

ire ariku? Are the spirits of the dead, the Iku favorably disposedtowards the questioner?

The third question should be:

ire ariku moyale? Is their favorable disposition good and firm?

When the answer to these three questions is affirmative, it's clearthat the questioner's path is free of any obstacles. It is onlynecessary to perform the Ebo according to the Ordun'sinstructions. The questioner will then be certain of the announcedgood fortune.

If a negative response, is received to any or all of the previousquestions, a more extensive Ebo is required to obtain a betterOrdun or to improve the reading of the Ordun that have alreadycome up.

If the first Ordun are negative, Osobo, another series of questionsshould be made to avoid, or at least determine the extent of thecoming misfortune.

The first question should be:

ocha kuaribó? Is the misfortune sent by the Orishas?

If the answer is no, ask:

egún kuaribó? Is the misfortune sent by the dead?

Once the source of the misfortune is determined, ask:

lariche? Are the Orishas going to speak about the impendingmisfortune?

If the answer is no, ask:




adimu? Should a small offering be made to pacify an Orisha?

If the answer is no, ask:

ebochure? Is an Ebo of a little bit of all the Orisha's foodsrequired?

If the answer is no, ask:

enoqueun eduqueun? Do the Orishas or spirits want something toeat today and then something to eat tomorrow?

If the answer is no, ask:

ebo? Do the Orishas want sacrifices or prayers other than thosealready indicated by the Ordun?

If they will accept an Ebo, then it's necessary to ask what theywant and how they want it. If the answer to that is no, the Orishasdo not want anything to do with the questioner and they desirenothing from him or her.

You should only consult the Dilogun once a month.

Of the 16 Ordun that can be formed by the cowrie shells' fall, only12 can be read by a Santero. Numbers 13, 14, 15, and 16 can onlybe deciphered by a Babalawo. However, there is a commoninterpretation of number 16 which is:


You already belong to an Orisha whether you know it or not. Youare a "child" of Olodumare.You will be taught the science of Ifa. You will study the arts ofhealing and, because of your learning, you will act within Santeriaas a teacher and a judge for Olodumare. It is imperative thatanyone receiving this Ordun consult a Babalawo immediately.If all the cowrie shells land with their openings down, a zero,throw water up into the air so that it falls down like rain. If thishappens during a double throw, interpret the single number thatcomes up by itself





1. OCANA SODE One opening up.

Elegua, Chango, Obatala and the spirits of the dead speak.

ORACLE: Ocanshosho Ofotele Obitele. -- With one, the worldbegan. If there is no good, there is no evil.INTERPRETATION: Pay attention and listen well to what youare about to hear.If there is no sickness in your house now, there soon will be. Mostlikely, an elderly person, not you. Summon the doctorimmediately. The sickness will be serious, a matter of life ordeath.Take care not to be bitten by a dog.Don't curse yourself or your luck. Don't allow your companionsand relatives to do so. This habit is attracting evil influences toyou and your home.You are being held back. You are going through bad times botheconomically and emotionally.You will take a trip far from home. Beware. You may beassaulted. Make sure someone takes care of your home andbelongings, since you may be robbed and lose your valuables.Resist that urge you have to do harm. Avoid arguments. Keepyour mouth shut, even if you are insulted. Do not fight.You are moody and somewhat of a joker. This may proveharmful. If your jokes and actions shame another person, theremay be serious repercussions.

EBO: When this Ordun comes up, say: ocana sode okuá ti sodesode oke sode oma sode oguó batiosode arikú babagwá. Place thecowrie shells in a gourd filled with water. Rinse them well. Takeout the shells and throw the water out the front door. Throw theshells on the floor.Examine the new Ordun that comes up. Step on the shells threetimes with your left foot. If there is a maiden in the house, ask herto pick up the shells.Based on the second Ordun, ask the oracle if the misfortune is onthe way. As soon as the question is spoken, take a piece of redmeat, smear it well with corojo butter and touch everyone presentwith it. Touch their foreheads, the nape of the neck, the shoulders,the palms of their hands, and their knees. Toss the meat out the




door for a stray animal to take away. This will alleviate thenegative influences.Sacrifice a chick at your front door for Elegua. Rub the blood onthe door frame. Hang a bunch of bananas from the door forChango. To one side of the door, make an offering of fresh fish, agourd filled with corn, and a tamale.If someone comes to spread gossip, spill water three times on thefloor and drink a sip of what is left in the glass. Don't get up toinvestigate when you hear a fight, loud voices or noise.Offer the Orishas a rooster, two doves, a plantain, two tamales,honey, toasted corn, smoked fish, smoked jutia, cow's meat, twococonuts and a yam.

Double Ordun

1-2 Ocashonsho Abure:When you release arrows, release them with care. If you arecareless, you might injure yourself or your best friend.

1-3 Ocashonsho Ocana:Your dead enemy wishes the worst for you. The dead may not beso dead.

1-4 Eyeru:A revolution inside your body. Hemorrhages of the mouth, thenose, and the anus.

1-5 Oshe Iku Rono:Jealousy is the mother of mistrust. Your jealousy destroyseverything.

1-6 Leri Leri Iku:Don't lose your head. If you don't lose your head, you won't loseyourself. The dead walk.

1-7 Ordi Yemaya Dubuele:One who dreams with the dead or with the sea cannot fear eitherone.

1-8 Obatala Eri Ole:When you think that you will be robbed, shut your door tight anduse your head.




1-9 Osa Enrofeo Eque:A fight between man and wife brings tragedy. Envy brings gossip.Divorce.

1-10 Aseyu Afefa:He who is overly fond of gold never has any. He who embraces alot, cannot squeeze very hard.

1-11 Oshosi Ogure:He who is troublesome and stubborn comes to a bad end with hisbones in jail. Bad, very bad.

1-12 Ican Ina Omi:Don't try to put out fires with mouthfuls of water.

1-13 Oma Metanla Ocua: The careless leader is killed and hisposition usurped.

2. EYIOCO Two openings up.

The Ibeyi, Oshosi, Elegua, Ogun, Obatala and Chango speak.ORACLE: Ofa Abure -- A fight among brothers. Today, yourbrother is your enemy.INTERPRETATION: Two brothers fight over somethingvaluable. Your brother wants to injure you with witchcraft.Beware of your business partners. Don't take vengeance againstthose trying to harm you. You will triumph.Your are a hot head. You lose your patience and, at times, get sofurious that your talk to yourself. Your Eleda, your guardianspirit, is trying to calm you down. Pay attention.You are in bad economic straits. Your misfortune comes fromyour capricious character and your tendency not to listen toadvice.Go work in the fields. You will find money. Your situation willchange radically.You were born outside the city and will live outside the city again.You will have your own house and a large plot of land. At thevery least, you will have well being and satisfaction.You are part of identical families and will have or have twins. TheIbeyi watch over you and guide you through life. If you are single,you will marry a twin. The marriage will produce many sons.Look after your own interests. Relatives watch you. They hold




treason in their hearts. Whomever you feed and support is talkingbehind your back. Keep feeding the needy. Don't worry ifkindness is not returned. The Ibeyi will reward you.You have a relic or talisman that is not properly made. It does notprotect you as you think.Avoid drafts. Your constitution is weak,even though you appearstrong.

EBO: You must make ebo, otherwise, you will find yourself inthe midst of legal problems that will not allow good luck to reachyou. Take care of what you eat and drink, both at home, and out.Hunt two birds. Gather two coconuts, two eggs, corojo butter andsmoked fish. Sacrifice the birds to Ogun. If you have collars, feedthem some of the food and the blood. If you do not have collars,get them immediately to avoid the tragedy between brothers.Sacrifice a rooster and two pigeons. Paint a child's chair with theblood. Keep the chair behind your front door for seven days,sitting in it frequently for another seven days. Hang the chair fromthe rafters or on the wall until you feel your situation is changing.

Double Ordun

2-1 Same as 1-2.

2-2 Ironi: A lying woman loses her husband. A lying man loseshis wife.

2-3 Tiyi Tiyu Egun: Where there are arguments, there is no peace.They bring bad spirits.

2-4 Otan Ibe Chenshen: There is a rocky path before you.Remove what bothers you and you will walk with ease.

2-5 Oguo Nindiyale Caniosha: Where there is money, tragedyarises.

2-6 Oshacuaribo: The Orishas bring a revolution.

2-7 Ilile Yeon Ane: He who eats a lot is killed by his mouth.Indigestion.

2-8 Abure Oba: They want to depose the king by filling him witharrows.

2-9 Ore Gata Obini: Your best friend wants your woman.Tragedy. Confusion and rumors within the family.




2-10 Icoco Oguo: He who arises early always has money in hispocket.

2-11 Ajuani Oshosi: Your birds die in their cage. Don't imprisonyour children. Arguments between father and son.

2-12 Ebo Osha: He who does not petition the Orishas fails in allendeavors.

2-13 Otocu: For each dead king, a new king.

3. OGUNDA Three openings up.

Ogun, Oshosi, Obatala and Olodumare speak.

ORACLE: Lucumi Guila Acuin Urara Malama. Cuila Acuin.Arguments and tragedy.INTERPRETATION: Sometimes, you feel a great desire to hitanother person on the head. Don't use or carry a weapon; knife orfirearm. You'll hurt yourself. Let Ogun be your weapon.Avoid fights and arguments. You may be attacked and not havetime to defend yourself.Avoid dark places, especially bars. Danger follows you. Don'tclimb around in dangerous places. Avoid machinery. You mayreceive a puncture wound and fall ill if you don't beware.Don't drink. Alcohol goes to your head and makes you lose yoursenses. It may eventually drive you crazy. Take care if you havebroken the law. You may be found out and imprisoned.If you are married, don't fight with your spouse. A curse betweenman and wife may affect the children for many years.Three people are struggling for the same thing you want. Theyfeel their rights to it are superior. They all want to lead. They don'twant you to stand out and take on responsibility.Beware the one bearing gifts. Examine what is offered, it mayharm instead of helping.What you have lost, you will regain soon. What will be lost, willbe found. Your crying will turn to laughter.EBO: Set up an Ogun in your house. If you have one, sacrifice agoat to him. Ogun will tell you how to protect yourself.Make an ebo to the Orishas of fresh fish, corojo butter, tamales,and coconuts. Sacrifice a dove and a rooster. Offer their tongues.




Double Ordun

3-1 and 3-2 Same as 1-3 and 2-3.

3-3 Ocumajana Laroye: The drunk believes one thing and thebartender another. To offer a toast, one must first learn how todrink.

3-4 Ocuni Iyu: A single man may save his people.

3-5 Icun Chere: Don't pick up what you discarded. Loathing.

3-6 Eyioroso Meyi: Return what the visitor offers. Twins arecoming to your house.

3-7 Orunmila Oyu: What is known is not questioned. Look atwhat is in front of your eyes. Guess the riddle.

3-8 Tere Tere: Don't kill mice. Don't kill what is in your house.

3-9 Emu Fofo: No flies enter a closed mouth. Don't gossip. Don'tstick your nose in other people's business.

3-10 Ananagu Eyorozunde: If you are cursed, forgive he whocurses you. He who forgives is saved. He who does not, isdoomed.

3-11 Otaniyu: A person throws a stone and all his people have tocarry the blame. Don't take on the problems of others. 3-12 OcanIse: Put your heart into what you do so it comes out well.3-13 Ade Omi Emu: Water from a clean gourd does not stain thetongue.

4. EYOROSUN Four openings up.

Chango, Yemaya, Oshosi, Orunmila and the Ibeyi speak.

ORACLE: Acute -- No one knows what is at the bottom of thesea.INTERPRETATION: You have a lot of projects, but you can'tdecide what you are going to do with your life. This is causingyou to pull money in with one hand and throw it away with theother.You will run into an attractive business proposition. Beware whatyou sign. Have everything in writing to avoid misunderstandings.




Don't worry and don't complain. The gods will provide.You will be robbed, if you haven't been robbed already. Don'tdisplay your valuables. Don't hide money at home. Beware ofvisitors. Not everyone has good intentions.A woman has evil thoughts and an evil tongue for all thatsurround her. She is quarrelsome and a snoop. Stay away fromher. She wants to see you in jail. Don't listen to gossip about yourloved ones.If you are a married man, another man is making eyes at yourwife. He wants to seduce her. He is creating arguments betweenthe two of you for his amusem*nt.Don't tell anyone your innermost secrets. Envy and jealousy areeverywhere.You will become a Babalawo or an Iyalosha. You are Yemaya's"child". Babalu-Aye and Obatala protect you as well.You must make ebo to avoid losing a sick relative.EBO: Go to the sea. Give a duck and a watermelon to Yemaya.She will set you on the path that is best for you.Wear blue and white often. Offer two red roosters, four coconuts,smoked fish and corojo butter to the Orishas. Don't walk throughthe woods. If you do, cleanse yourself with a herbal bath.Don't eat grain or tripe. Don't suck on the heads of animals orgnaw on bones. Don't jump over ditches or over ropes.Keep your house clean and well lit. Do not hang things from thewalls or rafters. If you have promised an ebo to Babalu-Aye, payhim.Place a chick, an arrow, a stick, three stones, unsalted lard,smoked jutia and smoked fish in a frying pan. Wrap the frying panin a sheet and present it to the Orishas.

Double Ordun

4-1 to 4-3 are the same as 1-4 to 3-4.

4-4 Levi Levi: The son that was born strong, healthy and straightis now crooked from lack of care.

4-5 Iku Oshe: The dead are out and about, looking for someone tocapture. Run. Don't let the spirits of the dead chasing you catchyou.

4-6 Oloyuo Chenshen: Cats walk along fences. Men do not. Makeup your mind.4-7 Meye Oya Elese: If your head does not sell you, no one can




buy you. The head moves the feet. The feet take the body to theauction block. Think with your head and not with your feet.

4-8 Leñi Aensa: You were born to be a head and stayed a tail.

4-9 Ofemi Eni: Look forward and look back. Take care where youwalk.4-10 Abuyalara Iron: No one listens to a boaster.

4-11 Funfun Terevi: White is pretty. Dress in white.

4-12 Eñicocoso Omemi Ardie: Chickens were born to lay eggs.You were born to have sons. Don't avoid it.

4-13 Ayagua; The turtle walks slowly, but gets to where she isgoing. Don't hurry so much. Things are better done slowly.

Chapter TenTHE ORACLES (cont.)

THE COWRIE SHELLS (Los Caracoles Dilogun) (cont.)

5. OSHE Five openings up.

Oshun, Olodumare, Orunmila and Elegua speak.

ORACLE: Eyevale Eye Blood that runs thorough the veins.INTERPRETATION: You have lost your great good luck. Whatyou have loved, has disappeared. At times, you feel like crying forno reason. Your difficulties are your best advisers. Your tongue isyour luck and your disgrace.You will be initiated into Santeria. You will "seat" your Orisha.You have participated in ceremonies. Ebos have been done foryou. You are not satisfied. You think you have been cheated andfooled.It is not true. You are a "child" of Oshun. She has been testingyou. Don't search anymore. You have found the house where allyour problems will be resolved. Oshun will remove your anxiety.You have passed her tests. You are called to serve as a priestwithin Santeria. Don't say anything bad about other Santeros.They could not help you until you had drawn this Ordun.A dead soul is asking your family for a mass. It wanders aboutincessantly and is asking for help.




You will take a long trip, but you must do ebo.You are very nervous and may fall ill. It is not due to an Orisha orto a curse laid upon you. Go to a doctor for a sedative.You have to move three times. The last house will be your homefor years. There, you will find happiness and good fortune.EBO: If you promised an ebo to Oshun, pay it now. Offer a smallgoat to Oshun. She will help you get what you desire.Oshun wants you to give her a big party with lots of music.Depending on how big a party you throw, that will be the extentof Oshun's gifts to you.Rub your hands with a bit of cocoa butter and rub them over yourhead from front to back. Do it frequently. It will calm your nerves.Make ebo to the front door. Rub it with cocoa butter and drape itwith white material.Feed your Elegua with a smoked fish head and corojo butter tochange your luck. Go out and buy a lottery ticket.Do an ebo for your head.Offer the Orishas five small fish, five chickens, five small gourds,five feathers from a parrot and five peanuts.Clean your house five days in a row with clear water, five eggwhites and honey.Don't eat pumpkin, eggs, or reheated food.

Double Ordun

5-1 to 5-4 are the same as 1-5 to 4-5.5-5 Sore Emu: If you talk too much, you will tire out both yourtongue and your companions. Don't talk so much.5-6 Ayalay: Bells sound better in your own yard.5-7 Ire Logue: You are free because of lack of proof. Don't pushyour luck. They may catch you with your fingers in the pudding.5-8 Buruenyele Odu Iron: Lies bring arguments. There aredisturbances in your house due to liars.5-9 Ashaesu Meunle: No one knows what he has until he loses it.Take care of what is yours.5-10 Iku Ogunda Rono Colo Osha Coniguengue: The dead tookwhat the Orisha has. Don't pretend to be dead or a Saint. You arenot going to like the wake or the burial.5-11 Aye Oshe Odbara:If you don't know the laws under whichyou have to live, or obey them, you will learn them in the nextworld.




5-12 Olodumare Omemi Iya: The good son has God's and hismother's blessing. Remember your mother. Respect your mother.5-13 Sirere Ican Ina:Don't play with fire or you will get burnt.

6. OBARA Six openings up.

Chango, Oshun and Elegua speak.

ORACLE: Oba Icoru From legends, the truth is born. The kingdoes not lie.INTERPRETATION: You are very short of means. You lackeverything. Your money vanishes like smoke. You are being heldback. Whoever has a treasure and does not watch it, will lose it.You lie and are always caught at it. Your exaggerations confusewhat is real with what is not. People have to take you as you are.You are not going to change. Beware that what you are told is notfalse. Beware other's lies. Control you mind and see things as theyreally are. Do not live in dreams and illusions.Beware the law if you defend another from harm.When opportunity knocks, open the door. Make good use of it or,when your luck fails, don't complain that you threw opportunityaway.Drink is your worst enemy.Don't talk about what you see. You might benefit from havingbeen the only witness.A man should listen to his wife's advice.You are Orunmila's "child".EBO: If you have an Orunmila, go to a Babalawo and have himsuggest an ebo. If you don't have one, receive him as soon aspossible.Light a candle to the Orishas. Offer a rooster and a little piece ofthe clothes you have on.Offer a garabato stick (a shepherd's crook or club), two roosters,16 small gourds, two chickens, red clothe, smoked fish and corojobutter to the Orishas.Don't help anyone lift anything off the floor.Make a blood ebo to Oshun.Wear white clothes.

Double Ordun




6-1 to 6-5 are the same as 1-6 to 5-6.6-6 Iku Orunmila Babalosha: He who doesn't know, dies. He whoknows lives. Go to Orunmila's house so he can tell you the luckthat awaits you in this life.6-7 Aya Ibe: Dogs have four legs, but walk on one path. You can'tbe everywhere at once.6-8 Afuyalasa: Where a trifle grows, nothing else will sprout.6-9 Asiguere: You are not crazy. You pretend to be crazy. If youcontinue to pretend, you will become crazy.6-10 Abe Agutan: Two calves do not drink at the same fountain.6-11 Aguada Eke: Don't be envy's slave. Beware the envious.6-12 Saranda: Your stubbornness will take you from failure tofailure.6-13 Arube Chenshe: He who does not listen to advice does notreach old age.

7. ODI Seven openings up.

Yemaya, Oshun, Ogun, and Elegua speak.

ORACLE: Odi Olocum Where the first hole was dug. Where thefirst burial was made.INTERPRETATION: You are very frightened. You toss andturn in bed without sleep. The spirits of the dead chase you inyour dreams. Your nerves are overexcited. You do not have anystrength. See a doctor. Don't allow further deterioration. What isnothing today will be extremely serious tomorrow.Three persons compete for your favors. You are confused but youwill pick the third one, the last you met. Beware of venerealdisease and eye problems. Beware adultery's dangers.Someone will come with gossip. Stay away from thecomplications. Don't risk giving advice, even with the best ofintentions. Remember previous negative results in thesesituations.Treachery between man and wife. Blood and tragedy. Don't listento those who woo you. It will destroy your home. It is all a lie.You dream of your enemies. Disappointments result from notfollowing your premonitions.You have the gifts of seer and diviner. You see the future.EBO: Dress in light, happy colors. Avoid somber colors.Don't eat or drink in anyone's house.Offer Elegua a gourd, a turtle, a chicken, two doves, two ears of




corn, beans and a rooster.Offer the Orishas two roosters, a large gourd, seven coconuts, andseven ears of corn.Offer the Orishas cloths of different colors, seven tamales, twogourds and parrot feathers.Raise a small lamb. Yemaya will improve your life according tohow well it grows.You are Yemaya's "child" and must be initiated.

Double Ordun

7-1 to 7-6 are the same as 1-7 to 6-7.7-7 Odigaga Odigogo: Everyone makes sure that they do thingswith care so that they come out well. Two don't know how to dothings properly.7--8 Azan:Don't abandon your customs. Uneasiness.7-9 Ecugogo Meyi Agadogudo: Two with big noses can't kiss.7-10 Cuacua Ofemi: Don't be ashamed to look at yourself.7-11 Logue Cofa*gua: Stretch out your hand as far as it will go.7-12 Leti: The ear is smaller than the head, yet it does not gothrough it. 7-13 Eta Elede: See how much crackling is left afterthe fat is fried. Give everything time and you will win..

8. EYEUNLE Eight openings up.

Obatala and all the Orishas speak.

ORACLE: Leri Eri The head rules the body. Only one king rulesthe body.INTERPRETATION: You don't get the merit you deserve. It isyour fault. You are too good, too noble. Help the needy, but don'tbe taken for a fool. Listen to your wife or parents when theyexpress anger at the way your false friends are treating you.Things may appear uncertain. Your life will change from this dateforward. Don't let yourself be ordered about. Listen to advice anduse your judgement. You have suffered much and still have tostruggle on. In the end, your path will be clear.You have a gift for business and dealing with people. Olodumaregave you this gift to use. Use it to benefit yourself and youremployees. You were born to lead. Olodumare wants you tosucceed.Beware of robbers. Stay away from dark and dangerous places.A dream warning of danger is worrying you. You must make ebo




to turn it away. Don't count your dreams. They will lose theirpower.Your complaints attract negative influences. Don't curse yourselfor desire your own death.Honor Oshun, your elders and your parents. Don't argue. Theiradvice is for your own good.You have taken another's woman. The consequences will beserious.Don't help anyone off the floor. Whom you help raise, will helpyou fall. They will turn against you.Sometimes you believe and sometimes you doubt. Don't ask forproofs. They may be too strong for you.EBO: You have to be initiated into Santeria immediately.Don't kill mice or any of Elegua's small animals.You should have a piece of red cloth in your home that drawsattention. If you don't have one, get one. Curtains, bedspread ortablecloths are good. It should be seen as soon as your house isentered. Don't dress in red. If you'd like to, dress in white or inwhite with a little bit of red.Don't eat corn or any grain. Don't eat white beans.Make an offering to the Orishas of two white doves, a stick ofyour own height, cocoa butter, two parrot feathers, cotton and apiece of white cloth.

Double Ordun

8-1 to 8-7 are the same as 1-8 to 7-8.8-8 Ore Gata Eruya: When close friends fight, war is certain.Don't fight with your friends.8-9 Chango Yile Abo: Don't repeat the evil that you oncecommitted.8-10 Ise Sore Onia: The needle carries the thread. Don't followpeople who talk nonsense. You are being given bad counsel.8-11 Iyile Cocoaya Daguada: He who eats too much, gets sick.Leave some for others. You will not regret sharing what you have.8-12 Guan Mele Losi: Wasps have fierce stings. The pain passes.8-13 Onuru Olodumare Mogueleti: Kneeling, one talks with God.Get on your knees, and God will listen to you.

9. OSA Nine Openings up.

Oya, Obatala, Ogun, and Oshun speak.




ORACLE: Osa Canengue Eriate Your best friend is your worstenemy.INTERPRETATION: Problems between man and wife. Themarriage is at an end. There is no rest in the house. Too muchnoise and fighting. The neighbors will call the law. Thisdisagreeable situation is brought about by a person that looksupon the marriage with an evil eye. That person wants the end ofthe marriage. He or she is paying for witchcraft to destroy you.Beware if you are about to marry.You feel a lot of anger. Don't argue with anyone. It prevents youfrom thinking intelligently. You fight over nothing. calm down. Ifyou are single, your fights with your parents are making you leavehome.Stop thinking about moving. Do it.Don't allow sick visitors to sleep over. If they die in your house,their spirit will trouble you.Consult a doctor. Beware of fire.When someone entrusts you with something, receive it in front ofwitnesses. You might be asked to return more than you weregiven.EBO: Make an ebo to Ogun. His influence will control youranger.Don't visit cemeteries.Pray to Obatala. He will lift your sadness.If you have an Orisha that has not been fed, feed him or her.Make an offering to the Orishas of two chickens, two doves, asmall machete, nine gourds, nine buns and two stones you find inyour house, your patio or right by your front door.

Double Ordun

9-1 to 9-8 are the same as 1-9 to 8-9.9-9 Ocua Burere Ore: A friend who kills a friend and a brotherwho kills a brother cannot be pardoned. Their crime won't beforgotten.9-10 Omi Olofin Oyauro: Rain water is God's water. Washyourself in it.9-11 Tiyu Aqua: You can't dig a hole where there's one alreadydug. Leave what is buried be, or you will suffer great shame.9-12 Oya Saranda Ayi Loda Logue: You are a failure because youare a troublemaker. You will be put in the cemetery by your ownhand.




9-13 Otaco Eni Igui: A hidden enemy in the house; hidden underthe bed.

10. OFUN Ten openings up.

Obatala, Oshun and Oya speak.

ORACLE: Ananaqui. Ofun Mafun Larobi: Where the curse wasborn.INTERPRETATION: You are stubborn. Your are lazy. Whatyou think is easy, is not. All your projects are up in the air. Yourwhims make you repent your actions. You don't like toil, but, inthis life, one must struggle.The ill person in your house should see a doctor and consultOrunmila.Contrary to appearances, your health is delicate. Go see a doctor.Your gambling luck is gone. Someone is using witchcraft againstyou. Your job is in danger. Bet the number in your dreams to payyour bills, not to get rich.Say a mass for your dead parents. Don't argue with living ones.You must be initiated into Santeria.

EBO: Feed Oshun in a river. Feed Oya in a market.You must make an Omiero. The questioner and the Santeromanipulating the oracle must both drink a little. Spill a bit on apiece of linen. Offer some to Elegua and some to Obatala. Atnight, throw the remaining mixture out into the street and shout,"Batiosode!", three times.Maintain your house clean. Don't store bundles under your bed.Offer the Orishas an ebo made up of a rooster, a chicken, a horse'smane, powdered eggshell, cocoa butter and tamales.

Double Ordun

10-1 to 10-9 are the same as 1-10 to 9-10.10-10 Sirere Ile Ogue: He who gambles loses the cash and hishome.10-11 Guesum: The cheap is expensive in the end.10-12 Ocumayama: Drunks don't know what they are doing whenthey don't want to. 10-13 Osain Esum: He who rests under astrong tree benefits from the shadow.




11. OHUANI CHOBI Eleven openings up.

Babalu-Aye, Elegua, Oshun and Oya speak.

ORACLE: Omi Ohuani Oshobi: Bailing water with a basket.Ingratitude.INTERPRETATION: A black, evil dead soul is tormenting youand your family. It has been chasing you for years. You have toresort to stronger measures than masses to drive it away or it willtake you with it. This spirit drives away anyone who might helpyou. You have already had accidents. The next one could be fatal.Don't lose hope. Feed your Orisha.Don't loiter on street corners. You may be falsely accused of acrime.You don't listen to advice. You don't follow directions. That iswhy you never see the results of your ebos.Don't argue. Don't lose control. Let Oya and Elegua pay backthose who have harmed you. Don't take vengeance againstanyone, not even your worst enemy.Don't drink. Don't go out at night. Don't open the door to anyoneafter you go to bed unless they identify themselves.EBO: Place an Elegua in your home. If you have one, feed him.Offer the Orishas a bottle of water, a bottle of aguardiente, elevenneedles or sharp thorns, three pots, two roosters and three cornmeal balls.Offer the Orishas two roosters, two turtles, white thread blackthread and a razor.

Double Ordun

11-1 to 11-10 are the same as 1-11 to 10-11.11-11 Mentala Ohuanishobi: You will see your enemy's corpsepass by your front door. Don't curse those that wish you evil.Olodumare will provide justice.11-12 Aguere Agadogodo: A united family is a strong family.Unite your family.11-13 Aquisa: A new broom sweeps clean.

12. EYILA CHEBORA Twelve openings up.

Chango speaks.ORACLE: Orecuami Obatacuami: When there is a war, thewarrior does not sleep.




INTERPRETATION: Beware of fire. Stay away from the scenesof fires. Don't visit jails or hospitals.Ask Chango for what you need. You are Chango's "child". Youget what you want, but you can't keep it. That's because you don'trespect Chango. You have been told that another Orisha protectsyou. That is not true. Beware of Ogun's "children". You have beena diviner since birth. If you are a man, you will be a Babalawo.Your friends always betray your trust. They take advantage of youand gossip behind your back. Have few, but well chosen friends.Keep your private affairs private.You have a bad temper. Don't use or carry weapons.EBO: Wash your head with hog plums.Dress in white and pray to Obatala.Don't practice any sorcery involving the souls of the dead.Make an offer to the Orishas of okra, a tiger's skin, smoked fish,smoked jutia, cocoa butter, black eyed peas, a small club, a pieceof rope, red cloth and white cloth. Sacrifice two roosters.

Double Ordun

12-1 to 12-11 are the same as 1-12 to 11-12.12-12 Egue Sarandere Sarayeyeo: Cleanse yourself. Forwardmovement.12-13 Maferefun Orunmila: Olodumare made Orunmila into aseer. Your destiny is known by Orunmila.

13. METANLA Thirteen openings up.

Babalu-Aye speaks.

Throat problems. Menstrual problems. Blood problems.An impending illness will put your life in danger. Consult acompetent Babalawo immediately.

Chapter ElevenTHE ORACLES (cont.)





The dominos do not require the ceremonies of the Biague or theDilogun. Since they are a simple form of divination rather than anoracle, their interpretation does not require as much experience orfinesse. They are not as respected or trusted as the formal oracles.

How to Consult the Dominos

You need a set of dominos up to a double six. Lay the dominosface down on a mat or table and mix them up.Pick up a domino from the pile and compare it to the list ofthrows. After reading it, return it to the pile.Stir the dominos and repeat the process twice more.If a piece comes up twice, it is a reaffirmation of the previousreading, but you have the right to pick a fourth piece.Don't consult the dominos on Mondays or Fridays or more thanonce a month.


DOUBLE BLANK: A bad omen. Heartbreak and treachery. Lostlove. Lost work. Lost business. Beware of accidents. What yougained through treachery and the black arts, you will keep. Youwill pay for it in sickness and suffering. Perform an Ebo for Oyaand Chango as soon as possible.

ONE/BLANK: Someone will die in your house. You won't findluck. Beware your temper. Go to a Babalawo and do what he says.

DOUBLE ONE: Happiness in business and love. Harmony in thehome. Romance and matrimony. Triumph and security.

TWO/BLANK: Treachery and bad luck. Women, keep your eyeson your husband or boyfriend. Travel. The change will befavorable. Give Oshun a chicken, pound cake with honey and fivesmall coins.

TWO/ONE:A marriage to wealth will end in early widowhood.The second marriage will last for many years. You spouse mayfall ill and die. Guard your money. Robbery. Get an amuletagainst envy.

DOUBLE TWO: This month brings happiness and success inbusiness. Good luck in everything you do. An older man wants toharm you. The Ibeyi suggest a long business trip. Make Ebo tothem under the direction of your godmother or godfather. Your




future depends on the Ibeyi. Feed you collars. If you don't haveany, throw the Dilogun and get collars and Ashe.

THREE/BLANK: A fight. The bad tempered wife wants adivorce. Infidelity. Avoid gossip, bars and darkened places. FeedElegua on Monday. Do Ebo with a white rooster and throw theBiague. Elegua will tell you what to do.

THREE/ONE: Scandal. Problems with the law. Someone comeswith bad news. You will solve the problem. FollowingThree/Blank, it confirms your spouse's infidelity. Elegua isplaying tricks on you because you haven't fed him. If you don'thave an Elegua, get one as soon as possible.

THREE/TWO: Love. Marriage. Business investments. Luck ingambling. The Orishas look after you. Honor and feed them. Takecare of your children. They feel abandoned and are upset withyou.

DOUBLE THREE:A large sum of money arrives. A good friendbears gifts. Recovery from illness. Reunion with a loved one.Elegua guards your door.

FOUR/BLANK: A broken heart. The marriage is off. Gossip andcomplications. An evil spirit is after you. Consult Orunmila ifyou're pregnant. Twins or triplets. A difficult or premature birth.

FOUR/ONE: Marriage. Economic security. Prosperity. Act onyour plans before the end of the month.

FOUR/TWO: Big changes come for all aspects of your life.Transfers. Job changes. Make Ebos of food and music to Changoand Elegua so that all comes out right.

FOUR/THREE: Marriage for the single woman. A son for themarried woman. A new wife for the bachelor. An affair andproblems for the married man.

DOUBLE FOUR: Help from friends and acquaintances. A funtrip with good friends.

FIVE/BLANK: Women, the man comes with bad intentions.Suffering. Public humiliation. Beware married men. Bewareaccidents on the job. Make an Ebo for your head.




FIVE/ONE: Poblems with your stomach. An addition to thefamily. Don't dig up buried things. Don't eat pumpkins. You willlose money if your don't feed Oshun. Bathe in a river afteroffering it a lot of honey.

FIVE/TWO: Obstacles in your life. Don't marry. Don't move.Don't travel. Anxiety. Illness. You sleep badly. Go see a doctor.Don't change your normal routine. Don't allow yourself to bepushed around. Listen to advice. You have the gift of foresight.Develop it. Be initiated into Santeria.

FIVE/THREE: Peace and security in your business. A better job.You will get out of debt this month.

FIVE/FOUR: Love. Marriage. Lots of sons. Don't invest moneythis month.

DOUBLE FIVE: Love. You will succeed in everything you try.Make an Ebo to the Orishas with lots of herbs.

SIX/BLANK:Two marriages. A divorce and another marriage.Consult the Dilogun.

SIX/ONE:Arguments between parents, sons, and brothers.Disagreeable news from far away.

SIX/TWO: You will recover from an operation. A businessrecovery. The marriage will recover. A messenger comes bringinggood news.

SIX/THREE: All obstacles to love will be overcome. Securityand consistency in all that you attempt.

SIX/FOUR: A fast recovery. A marriage with money and lots ofgifts. Someone wants to destroy your happiness. Don't worry. Youwill overcome all obstacles and succeed.

SIX/FIVE: Persist in what you are doing. Radical change in yourlife. A new beginning. Your health may be affected, but not forlong.

DOUBLE SIX:Go see a Santero or a Babalawo. Receive thecollars and learn about Santeria. You will find health andprosperity in Santeria. If drawn twice, become a Santero.




Everything in your life depends on the Orishas and how youhonor them.

THE CHINESE NUMBERS (Charada China Chifa)

The Chifa is a simple numerological dream interpretation guidecommonly used for betting and the purchase of lottery tickets. Itdoes not really form part of Santeria, but it is so widely used, andthe association between animals, persons or objects and theirnumber is so strong among the followers of Santeria, that anabbreviated list is worth including here:

1 Horse2 Butterfly3 Sailor4 Cat, Mouth5 Nun6 Turtle7 Snail8 Corpse9 Elephant10 Big Fish11 Rooster12 whor*13 Peaco*ck14 Tiger15 Dog16 Bull17 Moon18 Small Fish19 Worm20 House cat21 Snake22 Toad23 Steam24 Dove25 Gem26 Eel27 Wasp28 Goat




29 Mouse30 Shrimp31 Deer32 Hog33 Buzzard34 Monkey35 Spider36 Pipe37 Witch38 Macaw39 Rabbit40 Priest41 Lizard42 Duck43 Scorpion44 Year45 Shark46 Bus47 Bird48 Roach49 Drunk50 Police51 Soldier52 Bicycle53 Electric light54 Flower55 Crab56 Candy57 Bed58 Photo59 Crazy60 Clown61 Big horse62 Marriage63 Killer64 Big corpse65 Food66 Horn67 Stab68 Cemetery




69 Well

70 Coconut71 River72 Ox73 Suitcase74 Kite75 Tie76 Dancer77 Italian flag78 Coffin79 Train80 Old doctor81 Theater82 Mother83 Tragedy84 Blood85 Mirror86 Scissors87 Banana88 Glasses89 Torrents90 Old man91 Old shoe92 Plane93 Ring94 Machete95 War96 Shoe97 Mosquito98 Piano99 Saw100 Toilet


These are the most respected and complicated oracle systems inSanteria. While all the Orishas may speak through the Biague andthe Dilogun, the Ileke and Ifa's Board are reserved exclusively toOrunmila, the Orisha of wisdom. Through him, speaksOlodumare, the supreme deity.




Only Babalawos with their long years of experience and studyunder other Babalawos, who initiate them into the oracles' secretsare able to use and interpret the mysteries of the Ileke and Ifa'sBoard.

The Ileke is made up of twelve collars. They are the same collarsgranted during the initiation ceremonies. Every morning, aftersaluting Olodumare, the Babalawo throws the collars to learnwhich influences will rule the day and what combinations ofcollars he should wear to make the most of the positive influencesavailable and to ward off any impending evil.

Ifa's Board is made from a round or rectangular piece of woodknown as the Opon Ifá. The images of the Orishas that control thequarters of the world are carved on each quadrant or corner of theboard.

To use the board as an oracle, the Babalawo uses 16 palmetto nutsor 16 cowries. He tosses the nuts or shells onto the board andinterprets the pattern of their relative positions away from thecorners and edges of the board as well as the individual positionof each nut or shell. The possible combinations of Ifa's boardreach 4,096 Ordun. The encyclopedic scope of theinterrelationships between Ordun and their Apatakis is beyond thescope of this volume.


All rites are preceded by Ebos. The word Ebo includes all types ofsacrifices and offerings of food, drink and property. It also meansa petition, an imploration, a supplication. The idea of purificationis implicit in Ebo and includes the cleanliness, both physical andspiritual of the person making Ebo.

The Ebo repertory is endless. They range from the simplest, asmall love gift of fruit or drink to an Orisha; to the most expensiveand difficult to employ, demanding the death by fire of bulls andhorses. The Orishas need food and blood. Blood increases theirenergies and maintains them potent, efficient and satisfied withtheir worshippers. In turn, the Orishas render renewed strength




and vitality to the person making, and to those participating in, ablood sacrifice.

Ebos are needed when being initiated into Santeria and receivingthe collars. They shield from danger, illness, and death. There areEbos to obtain your heart's desire, to better your life, to succeed inany undertaking. They are also employed to protect fromwitchcraft, to appease an Orisha's anger, to woo an Orisha's favorsand to distance yourself from the influence of the dead. They woolovers and they also kill. All needs are met through Ebos.


To refresh the Head (Eleda):

Ingredients:BR> Coconut water River water or rain waterRaw milk Rice water Corojo butterWhite juicy fruits such as: pineapples, pears, and sweet soursop.

Mix all the ingredients together and wash your head as often asyou like. This is specially recommended for mild depression andanxiety and to get rid of the "blahs".

To feed the Head (Eleda):

Ingredients:CoconutPowdered egg shellCocoa butterSmoked fish and jutia for EleguaSlugs and black eyed peastamales for Obatala.Two new white platesTwo candlesCottonA large white handkerchief

Feed Elegua and Obatala. Make a paste from the rest of theingredients. Light the two candles and place one on the center ofeach plate.

The person whose Eleda is being fed should be sitting with his orher shoes off and holding on to his or her knees. The paste isplaced on the plates around the burning candles. The Santero




holds a plate in each hand and presents the offerings to thepetitioner's forehead, shoulders, chest, the palms of the hands, theknees and the feet while chanting:"awe bo awe to awe omo ori yuba ba wa osiweo owe to mo re."The paste is then applied to the petitioner's head. While still wet,the cotton is applied, the head is covered by the handkerchief andthe paste is allowed to dry.

To strengthen the Head (Eleda):

Ingredients:Four pairs of white dovesPowdered egg shellTwo coconutsCocoa butterSmoked fishCorn PepperOne pound of cottonTwo yards of white cloth

Have the petitioner sit as in feeding the Eleda. Tear of the dove'sheads and allow the blood to drip onto the petitioner's head. Mixthe coconut meat, cocoa butter, fish, corn and pepper into a paste.Invoke the Orishas.Cover the petitioner's head with the paste and the cotton. Wrap inthe white cloth.The doves are cooked in a new pot and only the petitioner may eatthem. During three days, the petitioner will wear the mixture andturban. He or she is to avoid the sun, not go out, not to speak toanyone, become angry or sleep on a bed.

To save a person at the point of death:

Ingredients:A white female calfA large white containerTwo pounds of cotton

Sacrifice the calf to Obatala. Cut off its head and place it for 24hours next to the dying person's head. Pray and petition Obataladuring the 24 hours.The following day, feed the dying person's Eleda and follow thesame procedure on the severed calf's head. After the Eleda is fed,




wrap the calf's head in cotton and place it inside the white vessel.Bury the vessel, with the head in it, in a cemetery.

To think clearly:

Ingredients:CottonPowdered egg shellCocoa butterGrated coconutGrated yamCoconutwaterA white cloth

If you feel that you are not thinking with your accustomed clarity,make a paste with the yam and the grated coconut. Mix in the restof the ingredients and soak up the result with the cotton. Wrap thesoggy cotton up in the white cloth.Lay down and put the package on your forehead. Close your eyesfor an hour. Keep the mixture moist by sprinkling it with coconutwater.

To see your Orisha or Eleda:

Prop up a mirror on the floor of a very quiet and dark room. Lighta candle next to it. Sit on the floor two to three feet away from themirror. Look into the mirror for three hours and you will see yourOrisha, your Eleda and your past lives.


To petition Yemaya:

Ingredients:WaterIndigo dyeA candle

Fill a small tub with water. Tint the water with indigo until it is adeep blue. Place a candle on a small dish and float the dish on thewater. Petition Yemaya as you light the candle.The candle should burn for seven or fourteen days.

To petition the Orishas:




Ingredients:Almond oilCorojo oilIron filingsCoconut WineOrange waterPeppercornsCocoa butterMercuryRed ocher

Fill a tin can with the oils and seven drops of wine and orangewater, seven peppercorns, seven small bits of coconut and a pinchof each of the solid ingredients. Place a wick in the mixture.Go to the seashore and petition Yemaya and all the Orishas tocome to your aid as you light the lamp. Next to the lamp, place aglass of water with cocoa butter and mercury.

To petition Yemaya:

Ingredients:Indigo dyeCorojo butterCorn mealFishSaltA cotton wick.A blue cloth

Fill a deep plate with liquefied corojo butter. Stir in the indigountil it is a deep blue. Add small amounts of corn meal, fish andsalt. Insert the wick and allow the corojo butter to solidify.Petition Yemaya as you light the wick. Allow the lamp to burnuntil all the corojo butter is consumed. Wrap the remains in a bluecloth and dispose of the bundle at sea.

To petition Oshun:

Ingredients:A large gourdFive eggsHoneyOilA sugar plumCotton wicks




Make small holes in the five eggs and place them inside thegourd. Fill the eggs with oil, a drop of honey and a piece of sugarplum. Place a wick in each egg.Light the wicks as you petition Oshun. The egg lamps should burnfor five days. At the end of the fifth day, take the gourd and theburnt out eggs and dispose of them in a river.


To remove cursed eggs:

Ingredients:AlcoholDry red wineCamphor squaresBlack pepper

When someone has cursed you by throwing or placing cursedeggs around your property, don't touch them. Sprinkle them withalcohol, dry red wine and camphor squares. Set the mixture onfire and, while it burns, sprinkle it with black pepper and ask thatthe evil that is wished upon you returns to the person that sent it.

To remove an enemy's influence:

Ingredients:Six red applesA red clothBanana leavesA red roosterSix red lianas

Go to the foot of a palm or a kapok tree. Take off all your clothes.Wipe yourself all over your body with the red cloth. Spread it outon the ground.Proceed to rub yourself thoroughly with all the other ingredientsand pile them on the cloth.Finally, take the rooster and wipe yourself down with it. Tear offits head and let its blood drip upon the pile on the red cloth. Addthe rooster's feathers to the pile and make a bundle.Bury the bundle at the base of the tree. Don't go back to that placefor a long time.

To remove the tendency to be accident prone:




Ingredients:A piece of black clothWhite chalkEight black roostersRoseapple rootsA shark's toothA mule's toothOwl feathersSeven candlesA large iron pot

Draw a cross with chalk on each corner of the black cloth. Linethe inside of the iron pot with the black cloth.Place the seven candles inside the pot and light them. Throw inthe seven black rooster legs, the rose apple roots, and the rest ofthe ingredients. Make sure that there are enough owl feathers for agood fire.As all the ingredients burn inside the pot, ask to be relieved ofyour curse.When the fire burns out, take the pot full of ashes to a cemeterybefore midnight and bury the pot with its contents.

To remove the influence of the evil eye from a child:

Ingredients:Sweet basilHoly waterA white handkerchief

If you suspect that a child is sick because of someone's evil eye,put the child to bed.Pray over the child, asking for the intervention of your Orisha,Yemaya, St. Beltran, or your patron Catholic Saint. Moisten asprig of sweet basil in the holy water and make crosses on thechild's head, chest, stomach, legs and hands.When you are finished, wrap the sweet basil in the whitehandkerchief and dispose of it far from the house.

To remove a neighbor's evil eye:

Tie a red ribbon around a large bunch of bananas. Hang themfrom the roof of your house until rotten. They will absorb all yourneighbor's envy.




To facilitate a trip:

If there are obstacles in the way of a business or pleasure trip,sacrifice a chick to Elegua.Take a few of the feathers and go to a railroad line. Rub thefeathers over your hands and feet and leave them there along with21 pieces of hard candy.

To better your life:

Ingredients:A piece of flank steakA red clothA piece of white clothRed ribbonCorojo butterPowdered egg shellDried cornSix pieces of coconutSix cowrie shellsSix silver coinsA red rooster

Place the steak on the red cloth. Smear it with corojo butter andpowdered egg shell.

Rub the steak thoroughly all over your naked body. When done,place it on the red cloth again.

Dress in red and white. To the steak, add the corn, coconut, shellsand the coins. Place the red cloth and all that is on it on the pieceof white cloth. Make a secure bundle and tie it with the ribbon.

Take the bundle to the base of a kapok tree and offer it to Chango.Before putting the package down, circle the tree six times whiletouching it with your right hand and praying to Chango for abetter life. After the sixth turn, leave the package at the foot of thetree.

Wait six days and return to the tree. Sacrifice a red rooster andleave it where you left the package. Do not touch the tree. Neverdo another ceremony of any kind at that tree. Don't return for along time.

To find out who is cursing you:




Ingredients:A white candleA clear wine glassWaterCoconut oilCorojo butter

Go into a very quiet room. Place the wine glass on the floor andfill it with water, a couple of drops of coconut oil and a tiny bit ofcorojo butter. Place the candle next to the glass and light it.Shut out all other sources of light. Sit on the floor two or threefeet away from the glass and invoke your Orisha, if you have one.Look at the glass. Breathe evenly. It's alright to fall asleep, sincethe answer may come in a dream. The face of the person wishingyou evil will appear in the glass.The process takes patience and perseverance, since you might seeunrelated scenes in the glass for quite a while.

To ward off evil:

Ingredients:Cooking oilFive eggsCinnamonA deep white dish

Fill the dish with cooking oil. Float the five eggs on the oil.Sprinkle them liberally with cinnamon. Insert a cotton wick in theoil and burn the lamp for five days.

To ward off the evil eye:

Ingredients:A small gourdMazorquillaTaroBamboo

Grind the ingredients to powder. Mix equal quantities of eachpowder and sift.Blow the powder into the eyes of the person giving you the evileye.

To purify yourself:




Ingredients:SunflowersYellow rosesWhite rosesRed rosesPompeii cologneViolet waterMint oilCoconut oilChamomileHoly waterRose waterMint leaves

Put five sunflowers in a large container. Add five of each of theroses, a small bottle of cologne, a small bottle of violet water, fivedrops of mint oil and five drops of coconut oil. Add a small bottleof rose water, five handfuls of chamomile, five handfuls of mintleaves and five drops of holy water. Pour in about five gallons ofwater. Let the mixture steep of 24 hours.

Bathe with the mixture before going to bed. Don't dry it off.

To purify yourself:


PeppergrassVervainRosemaryVioletsMarigoldsPumpkin seedsGuinea pepper

Five river stonesFive peaco*ck feathersFive cinnamon sticks

Fill the tub with boiling water. Add five blossoms of all theflowers and five pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle in the pepper. Add therest of the ingredients and stir until cool enough to submergeyourself.

To purify yourself:




Ingredients:Sea waterWatermelon seedsFlorida grassAnamu, (petiveria alliacea) garlic herb native to CubaPurple basilMugwortWitch HazelMarjoramSeven gallon bottlesSeven candles

Take all the ingredients to the sea shore. Fill the seven bottles halfway with sea water. Add seven watermelon seeds to each bottlealong with seven sprigs of each of the herbs. Submerge the bottlesin the sea for seven hours.Start bathing with the contents of the first bottle on a Saturday.Use a bottle a day until all the bottles are used up. On the seventhday, light seven candles to Yemaya.


To curse a person:


A candle from a funeral Coal dust Salt

70 pins

Buy the coal dust and salt at three different stores. Mix equalquantities in a plate.

Set up the candle so that it burns upside down on the plate, on topof the mixture.

At midnight, strip yourself nude and light the candle. As it burns,let out all the hatred you feel towards the person you want tocurse. Stick the pins in the candle as if it were the flesh of yourenemy. With each pin, shout out that you wish the death anddestruction of the hated person.




After the candle has burnt down, leave the plate at your enemy'sdoorstep.

To curse a person's material possessions:


Corn silk Brown paper Sand

Two twigs A funeral candle

Obtain a candle used in a funeral that is nine days old or, keep onefor nine days.

Build a castle to the best of your ability using the corn silk and thepaper. Strengthen the castle by pouring sand at each of thecorners. Use the twigs as little flag staffs.

At midnight, take the play castle to a trash pile. Take off all yourclothes and light the candle, invoking the soul of the individual inwhose funeral it was used. Set the castle on fire. Tell the dead soulthat your enemy's goods should burn as the castle is burning.Continue demanding destruction and loss for your enemy until thecastle is completely burnt. Leave the candle burning.

To curse a person:


A used potCow fatDirt from nine gravesDirt from a cemetery entranceDirt from two corners of a cemeteryMud from a tombCat excrementA dried quail's headA dried bat's headIron filingsCowhageCharcoalGuinea pepperChinese pepper




Indian pepperRock saltGarlicA shark's toothA dog's toothA cat's toothA beehivePeoniesA hermit crabA land crabDried okraNine cotton wicks

Fill the pot with cow fat. Put the pot on a fire and melt the fat. Stirin nine pinches of each of the cemetery dirts and mud. Add thedried heads, nine pinches of the excrement, the filings, thecowhage, peppers, nine pieces of salt, nine cloves of garlic, ninepinches of charcoal and the teeth.

Slowly add the pieces of the beehive so that the wax has a chanceto melt and mix with the fat. Add nine peonies, the two crabs andnine pieces of the dried okra.

Insert the wicks.

Go to the cemetery at midnight and take off your clothes. Lightthe lamp and ask the souls of all the dead to torment and injureyour enemy in every way possible. Leave the lamp burning in thecemetery.

To kill an enemy:

Ingredients:Nine clay potsDirt from nine tombsNine coinsAshesGuinea pepperChinese pepperBlack pepperAguardiente




Cooking oilNine wicks

Write the name of your victim on the bottom of each pot. Fill eachof the pots with a handful of dirt from one of the tombs. Leave acoin at each tomb as payment for the dirt. Mix ashes in with thedirt. Add the pepper.

Pour in nine spoon fulls of aguardiente in each pot. Fill withcooking oil and insert a wick in each pot.

Go to the cemetery at midnight. Light the nine lamps and invokethe help of the souls of the dead to kill you enemy.

To curse a enemy:


Linseed oilAlmondoil Cooking oilBalsamAshesThree peppercorns

Write the name of your enemy on a piece of paper. Place thepaper at the bottom of a clay pot. Cover the paper with ninepinches of ashes, the peppercorns and the balsam. Pour in equalparts of the oils and insert nine wicks.

At midnight, petition Oya to destroy your enemy as you light thelamp. Do this nine nights in a row.

To cause a tragedy:

Ingredients:Nine peppercornsNine pieces of rock saltDirt from a cemeterySulphurRed ocherCat hairsNine roots of bonesetA scorpionCooking oil




Write your enemy's name nine times on a piece of paper. Wrapthe boneset roots with the paper by winding it with cat hairs andyour enemy's hairs. Place the roll at the bottom of a clay pot.Cover the paper with the peppercorns, the salt, and nine pinchesof the cemetery dirt. Add nine pinches of sulphur and of the redocher.Fill a frying pan with cooking oil. Fry a scorpion in the oil until itis completely dissolved. Pour the oil into the clay pot. Insert awick.Take the lamp to a cemetery and place it where no one will botherit. Light it and let it burn for nine days.On the ninth day, go retrieve the lamp. Go to your enemy's houseand smash the clay pot on his front door.

To curse your enemy:


A funeral candleA knife

At midnight, light the candle and call your enemy's name. As youpronounce his name, make small cuts and stabs on the candle.Repeat the procedure for three consecutive days.

To curse your enemy:

Ingredients:Four roostersSulphurChinese pepperBlack pepperMercuryCoconutDust from your enemy's footprintLinseed oilCemetery dustBuzzard feathersGunpowderSesame seedsStar apple leavesDried red snapperA kapok tree root




Cut off the roosters' heads and dry them in the sun. When dry,place them in a clay pot. Add nine grains of each pepper, threedrops of mercury, three pieces of coconut, nine pinches of bothdusts. Add three buzzard feathers, nine pinches of gunpowder,nine sesame seeds, three star apple leaves, three pieces of the redsnapper and three pieces of the kapok root. Add enough linseedoil to cover the mixture. Insert a wick.

Light the lamp at midnight, calling your enemy's name andcursing it. Leave the lamp burning for three days. Daily, atmidnight, curse your enemy's name while standing in front of thelamp.

To bring your enemy evil:


Seven pins A gourd

You must obtain a few drops of your enemy's urine. Wet thepoints of the pins in it. Stick the pins into a fresh gourd and bury itin a fire ant pile.

To bring your enemy evil:

Ingredients:Dust from the tomb of an assassin's victim.India inkVinegarAguardienteSaltRed wineGuinea pepperChinese pepperThree needlesNine pinsThree garlic bulbsSnake fatCooking oil

Write your enemy's name with India ink on a piece of paper.Pierce the paper with the nine pins and the three needles. Place it




at the bottom of a clay pot. Cover the paper with nine pinches ofdust, salt and the peppers. Add nine drops of India ink andvinegar, nine spoonful of aguardiente, and the garlic bulbs. Coverthe mixture with cooking oil. Insert a wick.

Call a curse on your enemy as you light the lamp. Let it burn fornine days.

To curse your enemy's house:

Ingredients:River waterSea waterCooking oilSeven turkey eggsCharcoal powder

Guinea pepper Fresh water

In a tub, mix equal quantities of the different waters and the oil.Add the whites from the turkey eggs, and seven pinches of thecharcoal and the peppers. Stir everything thoroughly. Take carethat none of the mixture is spilled in your house.

Fill seven bottles with the liquid and smash a bottle a day againstyour enemy's house for seven days in a row.

To make a man impotent:


A scorpionCooking oilThree lemonsSalt waterAguardienteBasil rootFry the scorpion in the oil until it is dissolved. Pour the oil into apot. Add the juice of the lemons, three cups of salt water, sevendrops of aguardiente and the root. Insert a wick.




Light the lamp while calling out your enemy's name. Let it burnfor three days. Dispose of the lamp in a virgin's grave.

To make a man impotent

Ingredients:TermitesFire antsA chicken gizzardSugar cubesBody hairMenstrual bloodOilHoneyA scorpionChinese pepperCotton ballssem*n

Fry the scorpion in oil until it dissolves. Save the oil.Write the man's name on a piece of paper and wrap the chickengizzard with it. Place it in a pot. Cover the paper with live termitesand fire ants. Add three sugar cubes, thee hairs from the man'sbody and menstrual blood from three consecutive days. Pour inthe oil. Stir in three spoonfuls of honey, three grains of Chinesepepper and eight cotton balls with the man's sem*n on them.Insert a wick.Light the lamp and let it burn for three days. Dispose of it in anempty grave.

To make a man impotent:

Ingredients:Cotton ballsTurpentinePoppyBalsamIncenseAmansa guaposem*n

Write the man's name on a piece of paper. Wrap the paper arounda cotton ball with the man's sem*n on it.Place the paper at the bottom of a pot. Cover it with poppy seeds,




balsam incense and amansa guapo. Pour in enough turpentine tocover and insert a wick.Place the lamp before your Elegua and burn it for three days. Takeit to a cemetery on the third day and dispose of it in an emptygrave.

To curse a person:

Ingredients:Dust from the grave of a corpse with the same name as yourenemy.Human boneA crab's shellCowhage

Pulverize the human bone, the shell and the cowhage. Mix it inequal parts with the grave dust. Sprinkle the mixture at yourenemy's doorstep.

To curse a person:

Ingredients:An eggshellA wasp's nestRock saltCoalGuinea pepper

Grind all the ingredients into a powder. Mix equal parts together.Blow the powder into your enemy's face.

To destroy happiness in a home:

Ingredients:AshesGoat excrementPig excrementDog excrementChinese pepperGuinea pepperBlack pepper

Dry the excrements thoroughly. Reduce them to a powder. Mixthe powder in equal parts with the ashes and the peppers. Sift themixture into a fine powder.

Sprinkle inside the house you wish to curse.




To destroy happiness in a home:

Ingredients:Blessed thistleChinese pepperGuinea pepperCemetery dust

Toast and powder the thistle. Mix in equal parts with the otheringredients. Sift into a fine powder. Sprinkle on the door of thehouse you wish to curse.

To destroy happiness in a home:

Ingredients:Fresh dog excrementFresh cat excrementDog whiskersCat eyelashesCat tail hairsDog tail hairsMotor oilRed ocherTwo roosters

Powder the animal hairs. Mix them with equal parts of the freshexcrement. Add a pinch of red ocher and enough motor oil to get asticky consistency. Roll the mixture into a ball.

Make the two roosters fight and cut their heads off. Let the blooddrip over the ball of excrement. Toss the ball onto the house'sroof.

To cause arguments:

Ingredients:Female monkey excrementLion excrementDog excrementChicken excrementA turtle shell Cowhage

Dry all the excrements thoroughly. Powder them once dry.Powder the turtle shell and the cowhage and mix in equal partswith the excrement. Sift to a fine powder and spread over the areayou wish the arguments and the tragedies to occur.




To cause arguments:

Ingredients:A twig from a red pepper bushA turtle shellDust from a place where two men have foughtRock saltGuinea pepperCat hairRed antsCowhageBone setBamboo

Reduce all the ingredients to powder. Mix in equal quantities.Sprinkle over the area where you want the arguments to occur. Ifit is a house, sprinkle it on the doorstep.

To cause fights:


A crab shellA turtle shellHuman bonesSnake skinCowhageUrinePowdered antlerRed, white and black pepperRed antsBonesetIronweedCoalA wasp's nestSesame seedsPeony seedsCemetery dustWind blown dustPig excrementGoat excrementDog excrement




Burn the human bones and powder them. Dry and powder theexcrements. Powder the rest of the ingredients and mix all inequal parts. Sift until a fine powder is obtained.To use, set out three pieces of paper. Place a pinch of the mixtureon each. Fold the papers up and place before your Elegua for threedaysOn the third day, write the victim's name on a piece of paper.Burn the paper and add the ashes to the three small packages.Sprinkle this activated powder where you want the fight to takeplace.

To destroy peace in a home:

Ingredients:Dust from a place where three dogs have foughtCat's hairsMustardPepperRock salt Dried okra seeds

Grind all the ingredients to powder and mix in equal parts. Siftinto a fine powder. Sprinkle inside the house whose peace youwant to destroy.

To kill an enemy: WARNING: A DEADLY POISON!!!!

Ingredients:JimsonweedNightshade seedsLobelia juiceArsenic

Dry the herbal components and reduce them to a powder. Mix thepowders in equal quantities with the Lobelia juice and let dry. Siftto a fine powder.

Mix with your victim's food.

To produce swellings in an enemy:

Ingredients:Toad skinSesame seedsPeony seeds




NettlesEgg yolkguao(comocladia dentada) tree native to Cuba

Toast the toad skin and powder it. Dry the egg yolk in the sun andpowder it. Dry and powder the herbal components. Mix theingredients in equal quantities. Sift into a fine powder. Take carethat the mixture does not touch your skin.

Sprinkle the powder on your enemy's body.

To drive away unpleasant people:

Ingredients:HoneyGingerAmansa guapo

On a plate, place three spoonfuls of honey, three pieces of gingerand the Amansa guapo. Place the plate in front of your Elegua andwait until it is covered with ants. Mix all the ingredients,including the ants, and smear the mixture over your mouth,petitioning Elegua to drive the person away.

To drive away unpleasant persons:

Ingredients:Pumpkin leaves

Boil seven pumpkin leaves in water. Strain off and keep the water.When an unpleasant person comes to visit, throw out a bit of thewater at the person's back as he or she is leaving. Repeat everytime the person comes to visit. The person will stop coming.

To drive away unpleasant people:





A loaf of breadAn eggHoneyIndia inkRed ocherA white clothA turtle shellCorn silkCorn

Make seven spots of red ocher on the white cloth. Place a tea cupatop the cloth.Break the egg inside the tea cup. Pour in seven drops of honey andseven of ink. Add a few threads of corn silk and three grains ofcorn.Tear off the butt end of a loaf of bread, hollow it out and pour themixture into it. Place the butt in a turtle shell and wrap everythingup in the white cloth.Wait until the person you dislike is leaving and throw out thebundle after him or her.

To drive away unpleasant people:

Ingredients:Ground cuminChinese pepperGuinea pepperCowhageDried cat excrementDried dog excrement

Reduce all the ingredients to a fine powder. Mix equal parts of thepowders together. Blow this powder upon the person you want todrive away.

To drive away an unpleasant person:

Take hairs from the head of a dog and of a cat. Toast them andpulverize them. Blow the powder on the unwanted person.

To drive away an unpleasant person:





Powdered egg shellHellebore

Dry and powder the hellebore root. Mix in equal parts with theashes and the powdered egg. Blow the powder into the face of theperson you want to drive away.

To drive away unpleasant people:

Ingredients:Witch hazelMarigoldCloverFlakes of rustRock saltGround antlerA lizard skinA frog skinCoalHuman bone

Write the person's name on a piece of paper and burn it. Dry andpowder the rest of the ingredients and add in equal quantities tothe ashes. Blow this powder at the person's back and feet.

To drive away unpleasant people:

Ingredients:A pepper tree twigA tamarind twigMalanguillaCloverMarigoldCowhageCemetery dustGround antlerDried goat's excrementDried pig's excrement

Grind all the ingredients into powder. Mix equal parts of thepowders. Blow the powder at the person.

To make a person wander without a resting place:




Ingredients:Red pepperWhite pepperBlack pepperRock saltCoalAshesIndia inkBrick dustMudIron filingsGround glassAn infertile hen's eggDust from the four corners of the person's house.A black cloth

Write the person's name on a piece of paper and burn it to ashes.Place the ashes on the black cloth.Cover the ashes with a pinch of each of the powders and a drop ofIndia ink.Blow out the white from the egg and place on the pile of powder.Make a bundle of the black cloth and throw it into an open grave.

To destroy a matrimony or a friendship:

Ingredients:Three guinea hen eggsCooking oilCowhageSow thistleBonesetMalanguillaabre camino, (Bunchosia media)Ground pepperRed ocherSalt

In a new pot filled with the oil, boil three pinches of each of theingredients. Strain and save the oil.Make small holes in the eggs and blow out the contents. Fill themwith the oil. Place the eggs before Elegua for three days.Go to the couple's house or the house of one of the friends. Throwan egg at each front corner of the house and one at the door.




To destroy a marriage or a friendship:

Ingredients:A duck eggSaltA candle

Place the egg in a container. Cover it with salt and the burningcandle and place it before your Elegua for three days.On the third day, go to the couple's house or the house of one ofthe friends. Leave the egg on the front step.

To destroy a marriage or a friendship:

Write the names of the persons to be separated on a large piece ofpaper. Cut the names apart and burn the paper. Cover the egg withthe ashes for 24 hours.Go to the couple's house or the house of one of the friends. Throwthe egg against the front door.


To drive away sickness:

Tie a dry corn cob behind the door with a purple ribbon.

To drive away sickness and the evil eye:

Ingredients:A peeled guava stickCorojo butterWhite, blue, red, yellow, black, green, and brown ribbons.

Bend the guava stick into a shepherd's crook shape. Cover itthoroughly in corojo butter. Wind the seven ribbons around it.Place the stick behind the door.

To protect against a cold or flu:

During the cold and flu season, take a small jute bag and fill itwith a few pieces of camphor and two or three mint leaves. Hangthe bag from your neck or pin it to your underclothes.




To encourage recuperation from an illness:

Ingredients:bejuco de la Cruz, (Hippocratea volubiles, Lin.)A white ribbonCocoa butter

Place a little bundle of bejuco de la cruz , tied with the whiteribbon and smeared with cocoa butter next to the bed or under thepillow. When the sick person recuperates, wrap the bundle incotton and throw it away in a hospital.

To relieve stomach troubles:

Ingredients:Five small gourdsFresh fishCinnamon oilHoneyGuinea pepperCocoa butterFive pieces of coconutFive yellow candlesA piece of yellow clothCinnamon sticksTwo chickens

Place the candles around the sick person. As you light eachcandle, pray to Oshun:

"oshun mori leyeo obini oro abebe oro osun oni colalegue iyamiloyasousun aye cari pa angara mama yeye guañasi egale guasi oriosha obini oro guasi aña ayuba maferefun".Rub each of the ingredients on the sick person's stomach andplace them on the yellow cloth. After the last item, blow out thecandles, put them on the cloth and wrap up the bundle.Take the bundle to a river, open it, take out the candles and lightthem. Sacrifice a chicken and allow the blood to drip on thebundle's contents. Offer the bundle to the river.Sacrifice another chicken to Oshun and smear it with honey,cinnamon and chewed Guinea pepper before giving it to the river.This Ebo is normally done for women who have problems withtheir lower bellies. If the condition is not severe, a gourd smeared




with cocoa butter will suffice for the Ebo.

To prevent illness due to the evil eye:

Ingredients:A white doveCocoa butterCorojo butter

Put cocoa butter and corojo butter on the dove's legs, wings andhead. Rub your head with the dove.Free the dove outside your house, preferably outside yourneighborhood. This Ebo should be done during the last days of theyear.


To settle dissension at home and at work:

Sprinkle toasted corn mixed with powdered egg shell around thearea several days in a row.

To prevent gossip and slander:

Ingredients:Ginger rootA cowrie shelA young chickA red roosterA piece of goat skin

Sacrifice the chick and the rooster and let their blood flow overthe ginger root and the shell. Make a small bag out of the goatskin. Place the root and the shell inside, still wet with blood. Addthe rooster's tongue.Close up the bag and wear it close to your body.

To prevent problems with the law:

Put a white rabbit and a white dove together in a comfortablecage. Feed them well every day and sprinkle drops of holy waterand coconut water on their heads.The day before the court date, free the animals in a field. Tell




them that you fed them to give them their liberty, so they shouldgive you your freedom.

To cool off a bad temper:

Ingredients:A lodestonePoplar sliversAmansa guapoCocillana barkEggshellCocoa butterHoneyA ribbonA white teacup

Write the bad tempered person's name on a piece of paper. Place itat the bottom of the teacup. Put the lodestone on top of the paper.Cover the stone with eight slivers of poplar, and eight pieces ofthe other ingredients. Add eight spoonfuls of honey.Cut the ribbon the same length as the circumference of the badtempered person's head. Tie eight knots in it and place it on topoff the cup's contents.Place the cup and its contents before Obatala for eight days .

To escape the law:

Rub your head with two quail hens. Bite their heads off and let theblood drip on your head. Spread their feathers up and down thestreet.

To keep the police away:

Grind sage leaves into a powder and blow on your door.

To obtain a prisoner's release:

Ingredients:A roosterCemetery dustCotton thread in red, black, white, yellow, blue, green and brown

Sacrifice the rooster to Elegua. Toast the rooster's feathers andgrind them to a powder. Mix the powder with the dust.Tear out the rooster's tongue and wind it tightly in the differentcolored thread. It is to be given to the prisoner to unwind in his or




her cell.Sprinkle a light, but steady, stream of powder form the Orisha'shouse to the jail and back again.

To win a trial:

Ingredients:A black roosterTwo dovesThree pinsHoneyBalsamEssential oilsRueBasilWitch hazelCotton thread of the seven colorsAbre camino, (Bunchosia media) BranSunflowers

Rub the accused person's nude body with the rooster and the twodoves. Sacrifice them to Elegua. Cut out the rooster's tongue andpierce it with the pins.Rub the tongue with honey, the balsam, the oils, the rue and thebasil. Write the judge's name and the names of the accusingwitnesses on a piece of paper. Wrap the anointed tongue, with therue and the basil, in the paper. Wrap the little package tightly withthe colored threads in front of your Elegua. As you wind, petitionElegua for the accused person's liberty.After the package is wound, place it on the floor and step on itthree times saying:"In the name of God and Elegua. All my enemies will be undermy control, without the power to speak, accuse me or defendthemselves. Their tongues are tied with this spell."Before the trial, the accused must bathe in a tub in which witchhazel, bran, sunflowers and abre camino have been steeped.On the trial date, the accused will take the small package intocourt. He or she will place it on the courtroom floor, withoutanyone seeing it, and will carefully step on it three times whilerepeating the above prayer.

To stay out of jail:




Ingredients:Dust from your houseCorn mealDust from the jailA red ribbonA roosterCottonRed, black and white threadDry wineFlorida watercologneOrange water

Mix equal parts of the dusts with the corn meal. Place the powderon top of a yard of the ribbon and put it next to Elegua for threedays.

The day before the trial, sacrifice a rooster to Elegua and tear outit* tongue. Write the names of the accusing persons on a piece ofpaper. Wrap the tongue in cotton and then in the paper. Wind thepackage tightly with the thread and give it to the accused.

Offer dry wine, Florida water and orange water to Elegua on thetrial date. Cut the red ribbon in two and tie a piece to the accused'sright arm and another to the left arm. Divide the powder mixturein two paper packets.

Place a packet at the street corners of the court building. Theaccused should carry the rooster's tongue package into court.

To avoid the police:


Dust Two vulture A rooster A guinea hen

A white cloth A red cloth A leather bag

An alligator's tooth

Collect dust at noon. Sacrifice a vulture and take out its heart.Sacrifice the rooster. Soak the white cloth in its blood. Place thecloth out in the sun to dry and lay the vulture's heart on it until itdries as well.




Collect dust at midnight. Sacrifice the second vulture and take outit* heart. Sacrifice the guinea

hen and soak the red cloth in its blood. Put the cloth outside todry. Lay the vulture's heart on it until it dries as well.

When the hearts are dry, grind them into a powder. Mix thepowder with a pinch of the dust collected at noon and then atmidnight. Put the mixture in a small leather bag with the tooth andsew the bag shut. Wear the talisman close to your body.



To have good fortune:

Every year, find out what Orishas rule the year and fly banners intheir favorite colors from your front door and at your place ofbusiness.

To have good luck:

Spread candies and pennies in the corners of your house. Do thesame at street corners and at crossroads. It will make Eleguahappy and he will favor you.

To have good luck:

Wear ornaments of coral and jet around your neck. It is speciallyeffective for children.The ornaments should be washed in holy water and coconut waterevery now and then to refresh them.

To attract luck:

Wear an alligator's tooth around your neck. Never go near theocean or a river with it or it will lose its powers.




To have good luck:

Ingredients:A red appleFive yellow rosesA red roseA white roseSeven lettuce leavesA half quart of milkHoneyAbre camino , (Bunchosia media)Wild mintCinnamon sticksMarigoldsFlorida water cologneCologneAlmond oilPatchoulli oilBath saltsA red candle

Blend the apple, the flowers, the lettuce, the milk, seven spoonfulsof honey, seven leaves of Abre camino, seven mint leaves, sevencinnamon sticks, and seven marigolds until a smooth, thick liquidis obtained. Add a small bottle of Florida water, a small bottle ofcologne, and seven drops of each of the essential oils.Fill up the tub with hot water and pour in the mixture. Add thebath salts. Light the red candle and relax in the bath.Repeat the procedure seven days in a row.

To have good luck:

Macerate a handful of laurel leaves in water and add to a hot bath.

To have good luck:

Cover a white bed sheet in laurel leaves. Sleep on them.

For good luck:

Ingredients:Pine needlesLavender leaves




Laurel leavesGeranium leavesPatchoulli

Take out the stuffing from your pillow. Mix equal portions of thepine needles and other ingredients until you have the same volumeof material as the stuffing you took out. Sprinkle with a couple ofdrops of patchoulli and stuff your pillow with the herbal mixture.Sleep with it every night.

To have good luck:

Ingredients:ParsleyBonesetJamaican rosewoodFive yellow rosesHoneyColognePowdered egg shellA yellow candle

Crush the herbs in water. Add five spoonfuls of honey and a smallbottle of the cologne. Place the mixture in an open container andleave out exposed to the sun a day and exposed a night to the dew.Divide the mixture into five equal parts. To each, add a wholerose.


To bring prosperity:

Ingredients:Orange rindDried orange leavesBrown sugarAn iron pot

Place the ingredients in the pot and burn them. Smother the fireand leave the smoldering mixture smoking heavily. Offer theincense to Oshun:"oshun oguao mi inle oshun igua iya mio igua iko bo si iya mi




guasi iya mi omo y alorde oguo mi inle ashe oshun".Or, respectfully pray to Oshun in your own language for themoney and economic prosperity that you need.

To attract money:


A multi-colored bowl A multi-colored cloakNine old pennies Alum Oil Red ocherDust from consecrated ground Rain water

Place the pennies in the bowl. Cover them with nine pieces ofalum, nine spoonfuls of oil, nine pinches of red ocher and of thedust. Add enough rain water to cover the ingredients.Cover the bowl with a multi- colored cloak and place before Oya.When the money comes, part must be used to buy a sacrifice toOya.

To make a man give money to a woman:


A coinOilRed ocherWhite, blue, red, yellow, black, green and brown thread

Obtain a coin from the man. Wrap it in the different colors ofthread until no part of the coin can be seen. Place the wrappedcoin in a dish full of oil and seven pinches of red ocher. Let itsoak for seven days.Keep the coin in a safe place and never spend it.

To attract money:

Ingredients:A lodestoneRueRosemaryAniseSweet basilA silver coin




Holy waterRed and black threadA red clothA black cloth

Place a lodestone in a deep dish. Cross a sprig of rue with a sprigof rosemary on top of the stone. Cross a line of anise with a sprigof sweet basil on top of the first cross.Wind black thread around the coin. Wind crosswise with redthread. Lay the coin on top of the herbal crosses. Sprinkle threetimes with holy water. Say three Hail Marys. Cover the dish withthe cloths and leave before your Elegua for three days.Always carry the coin with you.

To get money from a rich friend:


A coconut shellOilRed wineNine pennies

Write your friend's name on a piece of paper and place it in thecoconut shell. Put the pennies on top. Add nine spoonfuls of redwine. Fill the shell the rest of the way with oil. Insert a wickBurn the lamp in your yard for nine days. Then, go talk to yourfriend about money.

To make a debtor pay:


Three needlesHoneyRose honeyA candle

Write the name of the debtor on a piece of paper. Pierce the paperwith the needles. Place it in a glass containing equal parts of thetwo honeys. Place the glass before your Elegua.Light the candle and place it next to the glass. Petition Elegua foryour money. If you receive it, you must make a sacrifice to him.




To get an inheritance:

Ingredients:An egg shellRain waterParsleyWatercressRose honey

Write the names of the interested parties and the name of thelawyer on a piece of paper. Place the paper in a deep dish. Softenthe egg shell in the rain water and cover the paper with the paste.Finely chop parsley and watercress and mix equal parts together.Cover the egg shell paste with the chopped herbs. Pour rose honeyover the whole thing.Place the dish on a high shelf in your house until the matter isresolved.

To attract money:

Ingredients:Tobacco flowersHoneyPompeii perfume1800 cologneMint oilWhite roses

Pour the two bottles of perfume into a large bottle. Add seventobacco flowers and seven roses. Pour in seven spoonfuls ofhoney and seven drops of mint oil.Pour some of the mixture in your bath every day for seven days. Ifyour luck is very bad, do it for 21 days.

To attract money:

Ingredients:Three yellow rosesThe milk from three coconutsFlorida water cologne




Coconut meatDry wineCinnamon sticksSweet basilPumpkin rind

Fill a large container with the roses, the coconut milk, a largebottle of Florida water, three small pieces of coconut meat, a glassof dry wine, three cinnamon sticks, three large handfuls of sweetbasil and five pieces of pumpkin rind. Add about five gallons ofwater.Bathe with the mixture for three days in a row. Skip three daysand then bathe with it for five days in a row.

To attract money:

Ingredients:Balsam applePeppergrassHoneyRiver waterPompeii cologneWhite rosesYellow rosesRed rosesHoly water

In a large container, put five balsam apples, five sprigs ofpeppergrass, five spoonfuls of honey, five of each color rose, andfive drops of holy water. Add about five gallows of clean riverwater. Let the mixture sit for a day.Bathe with the mixture.

To attract money:

Ingredients:Cow's milkGoat's milkCoconut milkHoly water

Mix the liquids in equal parts. Bathe yourself in the morning,before sunrise.




To attract money:

Dress in yellow and go to the ocean or to a river. Walk into thewater, while dressed, with a bottle of honey. Rub your whole bodywith the honey, especially your head. Let the water wash it off.Don't swim.

To attract money:

Ingredients: Wild flowersCoconut oilCoconut soapGreen tobacco leavesRosemaryWild mintMaiden's hairMyrrhPompeii cologne

Gather three handfuls of wild flowers along three different paths.Put them in a large container. Add three spoonfuls of coconut oiland three bars of coconut soap, three tobacco leaves, three sprigsof rosemary and three of wild mint, three sprigs of maiden's hairfern.Add three drops of myrrh and a bottle of the cologne. Pour inabout five gallons of water.Bathe on three Mondays in a row. After each bath, give Elegua alittle bit of his favorite food.

To attract money:

Ingredients:Rose petalsGladioliWhite liliesJasmineMarigoldSunflowersPompeii cologneGuerlain cologneSol de Oro cologneFlorida water cologne




River waterCoconut water

Place seven rose petals in a large container. Add seven of each ofthe flowers, a small bottle of each cologne, and the water fromfive coconuts. Add about five gallons of river water. Bathe withthe mixture before sunrise for seven days in a row.


To get a better job:

Ingredients:Five diamond chipsA chicken

When you want to get a better job, or improve your work situationin any way, take the five diamond chips (if your budget allows. Ifnot, one will do.)and place them in Oshun's tureen. Sacrifice thechicken and allow the blood to drip over the diamond chips whileyou Moyuba Oshun.Perform this Ebo on a Saturday or on the fifth day of the month. Ifyou don't have a tureen, petition Oshun at a river's edge.

To obtain a job:

Rub your hands with corojo oil and honey. Lick your hands threetimes and ask for the job.

To get a raise at work:

Ingredients:Star aniseAlumPeanuts

Grind each of the ingredients into a powder. Mix equal partstogether and sprinkle it around your work place.


To purify your house after moving in:




Ingredients:Dried sweet basilDried eucalyptus leavesMyrrh

If you have just moved into a house and feel strange vibrations orentities, prepare a large quantity of equal parts of basil andeucalyptus. Add a little of the myrrh.Fill a large fireproof container such as an iron pot with themixture. Set fire to the leaves, smother the fire and walk thesmoking mixture all over the house.Close all doors and windows, place the smoldering iron pot on afireproof surface such as pieces of metal or tile and leave thehouse for four to five hours.When you return and air out the house, all strange influences willbe gone.

To remove a curse against your house or business:

Ingredients:Banana leavesSix Espanta Muerto sticksA stick from the rose appleCorojo butterRope from agave fibersDry eucalyptus leaves

Smear the banana leaves and the sticks with lots of corojo butter.Wrap the sticks in the banana leaves and tie the bundle togetherwith the agave cord.Place the eucalyptus leaves in a plate and burn them until theysmoulder and produce a lot of smoke. Take the smoking leaves allthrough your house or place of business, making sure that thesmoke gets in all the corners. Stop at each door and ask that thecurse be lifted from you.When you have thoroughly fumigated your house or place ofbusiness, leave the eucalyptus ashes and the banana leaf bundle atthe door of the person who cursed you (if you know who it is). Ifyou don't know who cursed you, spread a bed sheet on the streetand leave the ashes and the package on it.Return home and give yourself a herbal bath to drive away anytraces of the spirits of the dead.




To remove evil influences from your house:

Ingredients:A coconutPowdered egg shell

Whiten the coconut with the powdered egg shell. Go to the roomfarthest from the front door. Place the coconut on the floor andkick it from room to room until you reach the front door. Give thecoconut a good kick out the front door.Perform this ebo whenever your house feels "uneasy".

To protect a new house:

Ingredients:Four silver nails 3 to 4 inches long21 herbs belonging to 12 major OrishasA duckA doveA roosterA chickenA guinea hen (All animals are to be white)

Have a jeweler make up the nails. Prepare an Omiero with the 21herbs and the blood from all the animals.Soak the silver nails in the Omiero for 24 hours. The followingday, at sunrise, bury one of the nails at each of the four corners ofthe house, touching the walls.

To remove negative influences from a house:

Paint a live turtle blue. Allow it to walk around the house forseven days. Let it wander around the yard as well, but don't let itget lost.At the end of the seven days, take the turtle to the water and let itgo. Offer a watermelon to Yemaya.

To keep you house free of spirits:

Don't rock empty rocking chairs.

To keep enemies and rivals away from your house:





Boneset rootRusted ironArsenicSulphurRed ocherGround deer antlerRock saltBalsamA scorpionCooking oil

Fry the scorpion in the oil until the scorpion is dissolved. Save theoil.Write the person's name on a piece of paper. Place the paper at thebottom of a clay pot and burn it to ashes. Put the boneset on top ofthe ashes. Add three slivers of rusted iron. Cover all with thepowders. Add three grains of the rock salt and the balsam. Coverall the ingredients in the oil. Insert a wick.Place the lamp in front of Elegua and light it. Leave it lit for threedays.While the lamp is lit, pray that Elegua drive your enemies away.Throw water out the front door three times after each prayer.

To make a neighbor move:


A wasp's nestCoalGuinea pepperRock saltAn eggRed ocher

Powder a piece of wasp's nest, coal and four grains of Guineapepper. Add three grains of rock salt. Mix equal parts of thepowder.Let the egg soak in oil and red ocher for three days and nights.Throw the egg at your neighbor's door and blow the powder afterit so that it sticks to the remnants of the egg.

To make a neighbor move:




Ingredients:Powdered egg shellAn egg from a black chickenNightshade

Dry and powder the egg. Dry and powder the nightshade. Mixwith equal parts of powdered egg shell. Blow this powder insideyour neighbor's house.

To make a neighbor move:

Ingredients:The white of an eggSeven needlesCowhageIron filingsPeppercornsDust from the four corners of a crossroadsA feather from a Guinea hen

Pierce the egg and blow the white out. Stick the needles into theegg.Burn the feather and reduce to ashes. Grind the rest of theingredients into a powder and mix in equal parts.Throw the egg at your neighbor's door. Blow the powder after it.

To prevent the rental of a house:

Ingredients:Carbon dustRock dustBenzoin resin

Grind the ingredients into a powder and mix in equal parts.Sprinkle the mixture inside the house.

To have your lawyer win a property suit:

Ingredients:A peaco*ck feather A guinea hen featherEarth from the four corners of the property

Toast the feathers and grind them to a powder. Mix in equalquantities with the earth. Sift the mixture to a very fine powder.




The lawyer is to sprinkle the dust on the floor of the courtroomwhere the case is being heard.

To protect your house:

Ingredients:Anamu , (petiveria alliacea) garlic herb native to CubaThree large iron nailsRed, white and black threadWaxPowdered egg shellAn eggWater Wine

Cut the thread into seven inch sections. Twist three of the whitethreads, two of the black threads and two of the red threadstogether. Rub with wax to make a stiff twine. Make three piecesof the twine.Put the nails in a fire until they are red hot. While still hot, wrapeach nail in Anamu leaves and wind tight with the twine.Cover the egg in the powdered egg shell. Make a triangle with thenails. Stand up the egg in the triangle. Sprinkle the amulet withwater and wine every day.


To win a woman:

Ingredients:CoralCinnamonCreme de MentheAnise

Powder the ingredients and mix them with a few drops of theCreme de Menthe. When drunk or eaten, the mixture will turn themost indifferent woman into a passionate lover

To conquer a lover:

Chew a small stick of Jamaica rosewood and either chew it orleave it inside your mouth while you speak to the person you are




trying to seduce.This works equally well in a business meeting.

To resolve romantic problems:


ParsleyHoneyCinnamon sticksDry corn

Mix all the ingredients together, reserving a sprig of parsley. Placethe mixture in a high place in your house.Every time you speak with the one you love, you must have thesprig of parsley with you.

To win a lover:

Write the person's name with India ink on a small piece ofpapyrus. Put the slip of paper under a gourd filled with an Omieromade with seven herbs belonging to Yemaya and Oshun.

To arouse virility in men and passion in women:

Ingredients:Sea turtle eggsHoneyCinnamon sticks

Dry the turtle eggs and powder them. Brew cinnamon tea, stir inthe powdered eggs and sweeten with honey. Drink three times aday.

To attract a lover:

Ingredients:Sea waterIndigo dyeSugar cane syrupCorojo butterPork lardVegetable oilMercuryCocoa butter




A cotton wickSeven pinsBlue thread

Write the lover's name at the bottom of a large pot. Fill the potwith the oil. Add small quantities of the rest of the ingredients.Insert the wick.Go to the sea shore. Tie the seven pins together with the thread.Hold them up before you and walk out to the surf, calling out yourlover's name seven times.Light the lamp.Take the burning lamp back home and allow it to burn for sevendays. At the end of seven days, take the lamp back out to the seashore and let the waves sweep it away. Petition Yemaya to haveyour lover at your feet.

To attract a lover:

Ingredients:Dirt from a hillsideMercuryRed wineSulphur Red ocher Borax Two slugs Two doves An arrow madeof white metalAlmond oil

Paint a white stripe around a new clay pot. Write the name of theperson you desire on a piece of paper and place it in the pot.Cover the paper with a handful of dirt. Add the mercury, a littlered wine, a pinch of the powders and the slugs.Sacrifice the two doves to Obatala. Cut out their hearts and pinthem together with the metal arrow. Add the hearts to the pot. Fillwith almond oil.Insert the cotton wick, light it, and allow the lamp to burn for 16days.After 16 days, bury the pot and its contents at the foot of a kapoktree. Dress in white for 16 days.

To attract a lover:

Ingredients:Red ocher




SulphurBoraxPowdered poplar leavesThree pinsCooking oil

Write the loved one's name on a piece of paper four times. Placethe paper inside a large colorful teapot. Add a pinch of the fourpowders and the oil. Insert a wick and burn the lamp for ninedays.

To attract a lover:


A red appleCorojo oilSix okrasCorn mealMercury

Place the apple in a gourd. Cover it with the oil. Add a smallamount of the other ingredients. Insert a cotton wick and light thelamp before Chango's tureen.

To seduce a man:

Ingredients:Cooking oilRed wineAguardienteSeven needlesBlack threadWhite thread

Pour the cooking oil, a cup of red wine and a cup of aguardientein a new pot.Write the man's name on a piece of paper and pierce it with theseven needles. Roll the paper up into a cylinder and wind theblack and white thread around it.




Float the paper on the oil. Insert a wick.Light the lamp and burn it for nine days. At the end of the ninthday, take out the needles and bury them.

To attract a lover:

Ingredients:A doveSeven pinsSesame oil

Olive oil Almond oil Honey

Red ocher

Cut out the dove's heart. Write the person's name on a piece ofpaper and wrap the heart in it. Pierce the packet with the sevenpins and place inside a pot.Pour in equal parts of the oils. Add a pinch of the powder and aspoon full of honey. Insert a wick.

Light the lamp and allow it to burn for five days. On the fifth day,bury the pot and go visit the desired person.

To attract and dominate a lover:

Ingredients:Cooking oilBlack inkMercurySeven peppercornsA length of narrow ribbon

Pour the cooking oil into a pot. Add a few drops of ink, mercuryand the peppercorns.Remove all your clothes and stand before your Elegua. Tie thepiece of ribbon around your waist. While tying seven knots in theribbon say:"By the seven words that Christ said on the cross. With two, Ilook at you. With three, I see you. With the Father, the Son andthe Holy Ghost, let (name) come and be at my feet."

To attract a lover:




Ingredients:A doveFour pinsA round river pebbleOlive oilRed ocherRock candySesame oil

Place the pebble in a pot. Sacrifice the dove and let the blood dripon the pebble. Cut the heart out of the dove and pierce it with thefour pins. Place the heart in the pot along with the rest of theingredients and cover with oil. Insert a wick and light.When the lamp goes out, remove the pebble and wear it as atalisman.

To attract a lover:

Ingredients:Whale oilAlmond oilCorojo oilBalsamMercuryWater

Mix the oils together in a small container. Add a drop of mercuryand a spoonful of water. Write the lover's name on a piece ofpaper and put it in the oil. Insert a wick and burn the lamp.

To attract a lover:


A glass of waterHoneyCamphorPoppiesMercuryA candle

At noon, write the loved one's name on a piece of paper and placeit in the glass of water. Add a small quantity of the otheringredients. Light a candle next to the glass.




To seduce a lover:

Ingredients:A large new tea cupA lodestoneFive needlesA doveFive varieties of sweet wineOlive oilHoneyMercuryFive cotton wicks

Write the name of the person you love on a piece of paper. Piercethe paper with the needles. Place the paper at the bottom of thecup. Weigh it down with the lodestone. Sacrifice the dove overthe cup and allow the blood to pour over the stone. Add a spoonfull of each of the wines, five drops of mercury, and fivespoonfuls of honey. Fill the rest of the cup with olive oil. Insertthe wicks.Light and burn for five days.

To seduce a man:

Ingredients:Seven earth wormsMenstrual bloodExcrementHairGenital hair

Collect seven earth worms. Lay them in the sun to dry. Alsocollect a little of your menstrual blood, a pinch of your excrement,hairs from your head and hair from your genitals. Lay them on aplate and let them dry in the sun.When thoroughly dry, take all the ingredients and grind them to avery fine powder.Administer the powder in the man's food or drink.

To seduce a man:

Ingredients:Menstrual bloodNail trimmings




HairGenital hairArmpit hairPoppy seedsRoot of rueAmansa guapoA hummingbird heart

Collect a bit of your menstrual blood, nail trimmings from each ofyour fingers, hair from your head, armpits and genitals.Lay all the ingredients on a plate and add the hummingbird heart,three poppy seeds, and the Amansa guapo. Set everything in thesun to dry.When thoroughly dry, grind everything to a very fine powder. Putthe powder next to your Elegua for three days. Administer thepowder in the man's food or drink.If a man wants to prepare this powder to seduce a woman, replacethe menstrual blood with sem*n.

To seduce a man or a woman:

Ingredients:Cooking oilUrineRed wineLemon juiceRock candyMercuryA black doveSeven needlesHairSeven earthwormsMenstrual blood

In a clay pot, place seven drops of your urine, seven spoonfuls ofred wine, seven spoonfuls of lemon juice, seven pieces of candy,and seven drops of mercury. Sacrifice the dove over the pot andstir in the blood. Fill the rest of the pot with the oil.Write the person's name backwards on a piece of paper. Wrap thedove's heart in the paper and pierce it with the seven needles.Place it in the clay pot. Insert a wick and burn the lamp for seven




days.While the lamp burns, dry the earthworms, the blood and the hairin the sun.On the seventh day, unwrap the heart and toast it. Reduce it, theworms, the blood and the hair to a powder.Administer in the food or drink.A man needs to replace the menstrual blood with sem*n.

To be seductive:

Ingredients:Talismanperfumed body powderHair from a stray bitchPowdered egg shell from an infertile dove eggGround antlerIncenseBoraxValerian powderCinnamon powderFive pieces of coral

Grind the five corals and the five hairs from a stray bitch into afine powder. Mix with the body powder. Add five pinches of thepowdered egg shell, the antler, the incense, the borax, the valerianand the cinnamon.

After the powder has been thoroughly mixed, sprinkle on yourbody.

To attract a lover:

Ingredients:Pompeii face powderCinnamonPowdered valerianHoly waterMercury

Add a pinch of the other powders to the face powder. Make across on the surface of the mix with the holy water. Add a drop ofmercury.

To marry the person you want:




Rub your hands with powdered egg shell before you shake handswith him or her.


To stop a husband from being unfaithful:

Ingredients:Yellow clothDried cornHoneyCinnamon sticksCinnamonCottonTwo lodestonesA candle

When you know that your husband is unfaithful, take a littlecutting of his hair and a few of his nail parings. Place them and allthe ingredients, except the candle and the cinnamon oil, in theyellow cloth and make a tight bundle.Sprinkle the bundle with cinnamon oil and burn the candle toOshun daily for five days.If the unfaithful husband has actually left the house, add the bloodof a chicken to Oshun's tureen before making this Ebo.

To keep a spouse from running off:

Ingredients:A clay potYellow paintCorn mealCinnamon powderCinnamon sticksA powdered lodestoneTwo lodestonesIron filingsFive cowrie shellsFive white chickensA candle




Coconut oilCinnamon oil

Paint the clay pot yellow. Fill the pot with corn meal, powderedand stick cinnamon, powdered lodestone, the filings, the wholelodestones and the five cowrie shells.Sacrifice the five chickens and allow the blood to soak into thecorn meal. Pluck the chickens and fill the pot to the top withfeathers.Keep the pot hidden from your spouse. Light a candle to the pot atsunset for five consecutive days and sprinkle it with a few dropsof coconut and cinnamon oil.Dispose of the Ebo in a river.

To hold on to a wandering husband:

Ingredients:Almond oilHoneyHoly waterEgg yolkYellow clothRed ribbon

Fill a gourd with almond oil. Add small quantities of honey, holywater and egg yolk. Insert a wick.Light the lamp as you petition Oshun. Wrap the yellow clotharound your middle and tie it tight with the red ribbon. Wear thegirdle for five days.

To have a lover return:

Ingredients:A large gourdTwo chicken feetAn eggLinseed oilFlorida water cologneMarjoramPaprikaA piece of your lover's clothing or jewelryA cotton wick




Write your lover's name on a piece of paper. Place the gourd ontop of the paper. Put five chicken nails, the egg, Florida water, alittle paprika, marjoram and a strip of the clothing or the piece ofjewelry in the gourd. Fill it up with the linseed oil and insert thewick.Petition Oshun for your lover's return as you light the lamp. Allowit to burn for five days. Dispose of it in a river.

To tie a lover to you:

Obtain seven ribbons the colors of the Seven African Powers(white, blue, red, yellow, black, green and brown). Weave themtogether in a cord.Smear the completed cord with plenty of corojo butter and a littlebit of coconut oil. Make seven knots along the length of the cordand place it in front of a photo or the name of the person you wantto tie to you.Burn a candle before the cord for seven days.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:Olive oilMercurySulphurSweet wineAguardienteFive small dollsYellow thread

Buy a metal pot and fill it with olive oil. Add small quantities ofthe mercury, and sulphur. Pour in five spoonfuls of wine andaguardiente. Make up the dolls to look like the person you want totie to you. Tie them together with yellow thread and float them inthe oil. Place a cotton wick in the oil.Petition Oshun as you light the wick. Burn the lamp for five daysand dispose of it in a river.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:Cooking oilHoney




Brown sugarRock candyFive pinsFive needlesFive cotton wicks

Write your lover's name on a piece of paper. Pierce the paper withthe pins and needles and place it at the bottom of a large tea cup.Cover the paper completely with small amounts of the honey,sugar and candy. Fill the cup the rest of the way with the oil.Insert the five wicks.Light the lamp and allow it to burn for five days.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:Elegua's herbsSmoked fishSmoked jutiaHoly waterRed ocherSulphurBoraxBalsamValerian powderPowdered poppy seedsPowdered rue rootTwo small dollsSmall wooden chainsA lodestone Three iron nailsSesame oilBalsam oilPatchoulli oilPoppy oilHoneyAguardienteCottonWhite threadBlack threadA wooden box




Prepare an Omiero with Elegua's herbs. Write your lover's nameon a piece of paper and wrap the paper in cotton. If the person tobe tied is a man, add a little of his sem*n; if a woman, a few dropsof her menstrual blood. Place the paper wrapped in cottonbetween the two dolls. Tie the two dolls together with the woodenchains.Sprinkle the dolls with the essential oils, aguardiente and honey.Begin winding them with the thread. As you wind, insert the nailsinto the mummy as well as the lodestone. Continue winding withthread and intermingling the rest of the ingredients until the dollsare completely hidden.Soak the doll mummy in the Omiero as you petition Elegua tomake your relationship as tight as that of the dolls. Leave thebundle soaking in the Omiero for three days.After the three days, place the wrapped dolls in the box, nail itshut and bury it at the base of a kapok tree or a palm tree.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:PinsCorn silkThread

Take the inner soles out of your lover's shoes. Also obtain a littlebit of the person's hair and clothing.Write out your name on a piece of paper. Write out your lover'sname on another piece of paper. Lay the papers over one anotherso that they form a cross. Pin them together and wrap them in cornsilk.Sandwich the papers and the rest of the items in between the innersoles. Wrap everything tightly with the thread and bury thepackage.

To tie a woman to you:

Ingredients:Sugar caneCorn starchTaroImmature cornA fox's tailGinger




Five pieces of coralA ball of cottonPubic hairs taken while she is menstruating

Tie all the ingredients into a bundle and bury it.

To keep a man faithful:

Ingredients:Five coral crossesA piece of amberHoneyFernsA coinIndian lotus (nelumbo)

In a jar before Oshun's tureen, place 25 drops of honey. Grind thecoral and the amber to a fine powder one by one. Do a Moyubafor Oshun as you add the powder to the honey. Take the jar to ariver and pray to Oshun.Take a large leaf of Indian lotus. Leave a coin for Osain inexchange. Place the leaf in the jar and wrap the jar in the ferns.After five days, unwrap the jar. Press out the juice from the leafand wash your genitals with the juice. Moisten a piece of cottonwith the honey mixture and insert it in your vagin*. Take thecotton back out and make love with the man you want to tie.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:A male and a female lizardBlack, white and red threadSeven needlesAguardiente

Tie the lizards together with the three colors of thread. Pierce thelizards with the needles and pack them in mud taken from youlover's shoes.Obtain a piece of your lover's sweaty clothing. Soak it inaguardiente. Wrap the mud ball in the piece of clothing and placeit before your Elegua. Petition Elegua so that he will help youhold on to your lover.




To tie a man to a woman:

Ingredients:A white handkerchiefa*guardienteThree basil roots

Gather some of the man's sem*n and place it on a whitehandkerchief. Let it dry.When the sem*n is dry, tear the handkerchief into 14 strips. Tie aknot in each strip. Tie all the knotted strips end to end and placethem under your Elegua along with the roots and a glass ofa*guardiente.

To tie a lover to you:

Write out your lover's first name on a piece of paper. Turn thepaper 90 degrees and write the last name so that it crosses the firstname. Place a scissors on top of the piece of paper.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:SaltSaffronAniseCuminSeven pebblesThree dried twigsA hermit crabTwo bagsDry wine

Dampen the salt, anise, saffron, and cumin and mix into a stiffpaste. Make five figurines (either male or female).Gather seven pebbles from the four corners of the block whereyour lover lives. While gathering the pebbles, also gather thetwigs.Go to the seashore and capture a hermit crab.Sweep up a little dust from your lover's footprints. Write his orher name on a piece of paper.Put the figurines and all the other items in a bag. Sew it up andplace it inside a second bag. Sprinkle the package with dry wineand leave it at a street corner.




To tie a lover to you:

Swallow a grain of corn whole, without chewing it. Pick it out ofyour excrement once it passes through you. Add the grain of cornto the food of the person you want to tie to you.

To keep a lover from leaving town:

Ingredients:A glassCoffee groundsWaterA candleCorojo butter

Write your lover's first and last names backwards in the form of across on a piece of paper. Place the paper in the bottom of a glass.Cover the paper with coffee grounds and fill therest of the glass with water. Place the glass next to your Elegua.Cover the candle with corojo butter. Place it next to the glass. Asyou light it, petition Elegua to prevent your lover from leaving.

To make your lover come back to town:

Cut out a paper silhouette the same size as your lover. Write yourlover's name upon it seven times. Cut the names out of the paperfigurine with new scissors. Place the strips of paper at the foot ofyour Elegua. Leave them there for seven days.On the seventh day, burn the silhouette and the strips of paperwith your lover's name. Toss the ashes in the direction where yourlover is.

To make your lover come back to town:

Ingredients:A new deep white plateAlmond oilCoconut oilThree cotton wicks

Write your lover's name on a piece of paper and lay it inside theplate. Fill the plate with equal parts of the oils. Insert the wicks.Light and let the lamp burn for three days.

To make your lover come back to town:




Ingredients:A lodestoneThree needlesSweet wineMercuryRed ocherA glass of water

Write your lover's name on a piece of paper. Write your name sothat it makes a cross over it. Pierce the paper with the needles.Place the paper at the bottom of a small clay pot. Weigh it downwith the lodestone. Add three pinches of red ocher, threespoonfuls of wine and a small dollop of mercury. Put a glass ofwater next to the pot.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:A lodestoneDry wineThree horseshoe nailsAn eggAmansa guapoA candle

Obtain your lover's wash cloth. Write your lover's name on apiece of paper and place it on the cloth.Wash a lodestone in dry wine and put it on top of the paper. Placethe rest of the ingredients on the paper. Wrap the cloth aroundeverything and make a tight bundle.Sprinkle the package every Friday with dry wine and light acandle next to it.

To tie a lover to you:


A nailAguardiente

Heat the nail until it is red hot and plunge it into aguardiente. Letit soak for seven days.On the seventh day, reheat the nail and sprinkle it with




aguardiente. Drive the nail into a beam or wall in your housewhile calling out your lover's name.

To tie a lover to you:

Ingredients:A lodestoneSea waterA roosterRed ocherSulphurBoraxMercurySeven pieces of poplar rootWatercress juiceSweet wineCooking oilA cotton wick

Write your lover's name on a piece of paper. Place it at the bottomof a deep pot. Weigh it down with the lodestone.Sacrifice the rooster over the pot and let all the blood drain overthe paper and the lodestone.Add seven pinches of the three powders, seven drops of mercury,the seven roots, seven spoonfuls of the juice and of the sweetwine. Pour in seven cups of sea water and fill to the top withcooking oil. Insert a wick and burn for seven days.



58487313 26327657 SANTERIA Nigerian Rituals for Love Money Health and Protection - [PDF Document] (2024)
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