Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yoruba Pantheon

Yoruba Pantheon

The Yoruba enjoys a Pantheon of Orishas (Deities, ancestral spirits, elementals), this includes: Aganju, Babalu Aye, Erinle, Eshu/Elegba, Yemaya, Nana Buluku, Oba, Obatala, Oxossi/Ochosi/Osoosi, Oshumare, Ogun/Ogoun/Ogunda, Oko, Olofi, Olokun, Olorun, Orunmila, Oshun, Osun, Oya, Ozain, and Shango, among countless others. In the Lucumi tradition, Osun and Oshun are different Orishas. Oshun is the beautiful and benevolent Orisha of love, life, marriage, sex and money while Osun is the protector of the Ori, or our heads and inner Orisha.

The Yoruba also venerate their ancestral spirits through Egungun masquerades, Orò, Irumole, Gelede and Ibeji, the orisha of Twins (which is no wonder since the Yoruba are officially known to have the world's highest rate of twin births of any group). In fact, the town of Igbo-Ora is famous for not only being “fertile” but often producing twins.

Partial list of Orishas

  • Olokun - guardian of the deep ocean, the abyss, and signifies unfathomable wisdom,
  • Oxalá- arch-divinity, father of humankind, divinity of light, spiritual purity, and moral uprightness
  • Orunmila - divinity of wisdom, divination, destiny, and foresight
  • Esu “Papa Legba” - Esu is the messenger between the human and divine worlds, Undergod of duality, crossroads and beginnings, and also a phallic and fertility Undergod and the deliverer of souls to the underworld (an Embodiment of Death). Esu is recognized as a trickster, childlike.
  • Ochumare rainbow deity, divinity of movement and activity, the prismatic Orisha
  • Yemaja Imanja “Mami Wata” - divine mother, divinity of the sea and loving mother of mankind, daughter of Obatala and wife of Aganju.
  • Agayu - Father of Shango, Agayu is said to be the orisha of volcanoes, mountains, and the desert.
  • Shangó - warrior deity ; divinity of thunder, fire, sky father, represents male power and sexuality
  • Oba - Shango's jealous wife, divinity of marriage and domesticity, daughter of Lemanja
  • Oya - warrior deity; divinity of the wind, sudden change, hurricanes, and underworld gates, a powerful sorceress and primary lover of Shango
  • Ogun- warrior deity; divinity of iron, war, labour, sacrifice, politics, and technology- man-made objects
  • Oshún- divinity of rivers, love, feminine beauty, fertility, and art, also one of Shango's lovers and beloved of Ogun
  • Ibeji - the sacred twins, represent youth and vitality
  • Ochosi - hunter and the scout of the orishas, deity of the accused and those seeking justice or searching for something
  • Ozain - Orisha of the forest, he owns the Omiero, a holy liquid consisting of many herbs, the liquid through which all saints and ceremonies have to proceed. Ozain is the keeper and guardian of the herbs, and is a natural healer. He sometimes appears as a beautiful wood sprite when in female form.
  • Babalu Aye - divinity of disease and illness and the earth, son of Iemanja
  • Omolu-Orisha of adaption, deception and infiltration.
  • Soponna-Orisha of art, craft, and skill.  Twin sister of Shonponno.
  • Shonponno-Orisha of murder and music, the assassin of the gods
  • Xapanã-Orisha of worlds, the guardian at the gate, the revealer of secrets
  • Obaluaiyê- The druid of the dark.
  • Inle - orisha of medicine, healing, and comfort, physician to the gods
  • Okko - orisha of agriculture and the harvest
  • Ori - Ruler of the head; Ori, literally meaning "head," refers to one's spiritual ancestors, intuition, and destiny. He is the reflective spark of human consciousness embedded into the human essence. 

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