The Seven African Powers

(To My Kids)

Eleggua: Saint Anthony of Padua,The Holy Infant of Atocha. Feast Day:June 13.He is the opener of the doorrs; the messenger of the gods; he is a great diviner who does not need an oracle to see the future; he owns the keys to all doors, and to evil as well as to good; he seems to take pleasure in creating compromisions situations and trouble between human beings; he can be equally cruel and generous; he is the unexpected, treacherous and dangerous and capricious like fate itself; he is the great justice wielder and though he may see at time a master of deceit and the bringer of misfortune, his actions are always justified because he alone knows the true meaning of justice and sees things which are hidden from humanity, as well as from the other orishas.In other words, Eleggua can be equally identified with both fate and justice.It is said of this orisha that he's the lowest and the highest, a prince and a pauper who is equally at ease in a palace and a garbage dump, where he often feast.With Oya, he rules over the four winds.He is a great healer and a master magician.His spells and amulets are all powerful and impossible to destroy.


Colors: Red and Black. Day of the Week: Monday. Foods: Toasted corn, Smoked Fish and Possum, Palm oil. Fruits, all types of candies and cakes. Male chickens, Roosters. Coconut, Corn Meal balls with honey and palm oil.

Necklaces;Three red beads alternating with three black beads.

Obatala: Our Lady of Mercy. Feast day:September 24. This very importantant orisha is the father of most of the other deities.He is seen as Peace and Purity and as the creator of mankind.As Olodumare is Creator of the Macrocomos-- the Universe -- so is Obatala Creator of the Microcosmos -- the Earth.The elder orisha is also seen as the male principle and as a symbol of fatherhood and creativity.As the symbol of peace Obatala is known as King of the White Cloth.Obatala's "owns"all white substances,as well as silver and platinum.He is said to rule over the of the body and over the brain, which he created.


Color: White. Day of the Week: Thursday. Foods: 8 meringues or a meringue tower sprinkled with silvery dust; Milk or Rice puddings; towers of name sprinkled with cocoa butter and cascarilla; all white foods; she-goats; doves; guinea hens and white hens.Obatala will not accept alcoholic drinks of any type.His children and priests are also forbidden to partake of these foods.

Necklaces: Obatala all white beads.

Chango: Saint Barbara. Feast day:December 4. This most popular orisha is seen as the symbol of fire, thunder and lightning.He is the embodiment of passion, virility and raw power.When the santero hear thunder rumbling they say Chango is galloping acroos Heaven on his white horse.he also symbolizes dancing, war and all the virtues and imperfections of human nature.


Colors: Red and White. Day of the week: Friday. Foods: His favorite food is Amala, made with Cornmeal and Palm oil, Okra is also sacred to him and sometimes his Amala is made with twelve pieces of Okra. Apples and Banana are also among the most common food offering given to Chango.He does not accecpt rum, like Eleggua, Oggun and Ochosi, but he is partial to very dry, red table wine,. He will not accept cigars as an offering. Animals: Roosters, Rams, Turtles, Turkeys,Lambs, Quail,Guinea Hens, and Bulls.

Necklaces; six white beads alternating with six red beads.

Oggun: Saint Peter. Feast day:June 29. Oggun represents work and all human effort.He is also a symbol of violence, of brute force, of raw energy.He is one of the older orishas, brother to Eleggua, Ochosi and Chango, with whom he has had many battles.He is the divine ironworker, who toils eternally without rest.He lives in the woods which he owns.In santeria this orisha is envisioned as a black man, handsome and muscular, bressed in green and black cassock and a carries a machete by his side and a black dog.His have a bad temper is legendary but he is also honest and hard working.


Colors: Green and black. Day of the week: Tuesday and Wednesday. Foods: Seven plantains covered with palm oil, Roasted name, Kola nuts, White beans, Rooters, Goats, Possum, Toated corn, Palm oil, Smoked fish, seven soda crackers spread with palm oil.

Necklaces; Seven brown beads alternating with three black beads.

Orunla: Saint Francis of Assissi. Feast day: October 4. Orunla is the symbol of wisdom. In Santeria, and among the Yorubas, he is the holy diviner, the owner of the mystical oracle known as the Table of Ifa Opon Ifa), with which he can see the future and find solutions to all problems,both human and dive.Orunla is also known as Orunmila, as well as Ifa.He is the patron of the babalawos, the high priests of Santeria.He is also believed to be a great doctor with a thorough knowledge of herbs,and is said to be the one of the owners of the four winds.Orunla does not take possession of his initiates and only communicates with them through his oracles,which are the Table of Ifa and the okuele.


Colors: Green and yellow. Day of the week: Every day. Foods: Black Hens and Pigeons, Coconuts and Names.

Necklaces; Orunla a green beads alternating with a yellow bead.

Yemaya: Our Lady of Regla. Feast day: September 7. This beloved orisha is seen as the ocean waters and the supernal mother.She is the giver of all life and the sustenance of the world.With her help all things are possible; without her, there is only death and destruction.While Obatala is the seed of of the world.Whith her help all things are possible; without her, there is only death and destruction.While Obatala is the seed of life, it is through Yemaya that the seed germinates and manifests in many living things.Yemaya is seen as a beautiful and majestic woman, full bodied and magnificent.


Colors: White and Blue. Day of the week: Satuday. Foods: Her favorite fruit is Watermelon, but she accepts Pineapples, Papayas, Apples, Bananas, Pears and Grapes.Favorite offerings is a plate with seven burnt coconut balls sprinkled with melao.She is partial to sugar cane syrup"melao de cana".

Necklaces; Seven white beads alternating with seven blue beads,then one white and blue until seven of each have been threaded,the cycle is repeated until the necklace is of a suitable length.

Oshun: Our Lady of La Caridad del Cobre. Feast day: September 8. Oshun is the deity of river water and is also seen as the embodiment of love and sexuality.She is a symbol of gaiety, music, the arts and human pleasure.She represents the joy of life and is, in many ways, what makes life worth living.Oshun is the patron of gold and all wealth is hers to give.She also rules marriage and is the giver of fertility.Her influence is gentle and loving and she teaches humanity that the secret of life is love.She is a beautiful mulatto, with skin the color of copper, and long hair that she combs constantly with a tortoise shell comb.Dressed in gold and yellow and wears many gold bracelets and chains on her arms and ankles.


Colors: Yellow, Coral and Aquamarine. Day of week: Satuday. Foods: Her favorite offers is the Ochinchin, which is an Omelet made with tiny Shrimps, finely diced Onions and Watercress. She loves Pumpkins filled with honey, Oranges, Melons and all Yellow Fruits, Lettuce, Yellow rice,Almonds, Spinach,Parsley, Sweet Potatoes,Shell Fish, and Corn Meal with Palm Oil.Roosters,Yellow Hens.Pigeons,Turtles, Ducks,Venison,Quail,Peacocks,Canaries and Crocodiles.

Necklaces; All yellow beads,also five amber beads alternating with five red beads.

Babalu--Aye: Saint Lazarus. Feast day :December 17. Babalu--Aye is a title that means "father" and it was given to Chankpanna, who is the dreaded god of smallpox among the Yorubas.In sateria Babalu-Aye is perceived as the personification of all epidemics, leprosy, skin diseases, syphilis, ulcers, paralysis and all types of infirmities.Lately, the epidemic of AIDS has also been adjudicated to this orisha.Santeria believes that Babalu-Aye not only cures the illnesses he rules but can also cause them.To the santeros Babalu-Aye is a symbol of death and illness, as well as the cure for all types of ailments.One of the elder orishas and is highly respected in Santeria.


Color: Royal purple. Day of the week: Friday and Wednesday. Foods: All types of grains, such as Rice, Wheat, Corn, Beans, chickpeas and Garbanzos, Popcorn covered with palm oil burnt Bread, Roast Corn on the Cob, Green Coconuts, Garlic, Onions, Smoked Fish and Possum.His ascribed animals are Pigeeons, Roosters, Guinea Hens and Bearded Goats.

Necklaces; All white bead alternating striped blue.

Aganyu--Sola: Saint Christopher. Feast day : july 25. This orisha is a symbol of all earth forces,particularly the center of the earth and the volcano.He is responsible for earthquakes and all the cataclysmic upheavals that change the face of the planet.Volcanic lava is seen as his fiery breath and his power is the impulse that makes the earth gyrate upon its axis.His refuge is the palm tree which he shares with Chango, who according to some legends,is his son.Aganyu and Chango are the children of Obatala.Aganyu as a huge man, wild and untamed, of a fiery temper.His waist he carries nine handkerchiefs in different colos and a skirt of mariwo (palm fronds).


Color: Red. Day of the week: wednesday. Foods: Nine Crackers covered with palm oil, Nine Green Plantains, also covered with palm oil, Eggplants and fruits of all types.

Animals: Bulls, Goats, Roosters and guinea Hens.

Necklaces; Large white beads,followed by nine red and eight yellow bead,another large white bead,and so on.

Oya: Our lady of Candlemas. Feast day : February 2. This orisha is identified with the thunderbolt, fire and wind.Sheis the embodiment of all types of turbulence, and creates tempests,hurricanes and tornadoes whenever she is enraged.Unlike Chango, who represents thunder and the lightning bolt as it falls from heaven, Oya represents the thunderbolt (centella), which crackles as it zigzags across the sky.The difference between the two is that the lightning bolt falls down to earth, while the thunderbolt simply simply explodes with violent electrical power, spreading its energy across the sky without earthing itself on the ground.Oya is also seen as the guardian of the gates of death, which is why she is known as the owenr of the cemetery.She is not death itself, but the one who receives the souls of the dead and opens the astral doors to them.Together, Oya, Eleggua, Orunla and Obatala represent the four winds, but Oya symbolizes the very air that we breath.The santero say that she is Olofi's 'secretary' because she informs him zealosly of everything that happens on earth.She is saind to live by the cemetery gate or its vicinity.


Colors: All colors except black; her main color is wine; she likes flowery prints which her initiates must never wear. Day of the week: friday, which is chosen by the orishas to inflict punishments on those who have broken the law. Foods: White rice with eggplant and small balls made of pigeon peas.Rice with fish, Rice with fish, Rice with corn, Rice with sesame seeds of Oya, as yams and chocolate pudding.Animals: She- goats.Pigeons, Black hens and guinea hens.The ram, with is Chango's sacred animal, is odious to her, as is palm oil.