What are the Orishas and what are they?

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The orishas they are deities of the Yoruba pantheon, to talk about them you have to go back to the religions and beliefs of the African culture, among them the lucumí.

Like Hercules and other analogous beings of Greek mythology, the orishas, ​​were considered mortal beings that for some reason became divine beings. By committing heroic acts, they got the acceptance of the villages where they lived, similar to that of many of the Greek stories we know.

The majority of the orishas venerated by the Yoruba people were kings or great leaders because they contributed to the economic and territorial progress of their civilization. They were great warriors and politicians of their time.

The yuruba belief bases its pillar on the belief of the reincarnation of the souls that are evolving life after life until their eternal rest in a place called Orun.

The Yoruba belief, in turn, has managed to settle in the more developed societies of the West. To the point that today there are deep-rooted variants in Cuba, Mexico and the United States, from which they have nourished each place's own idiosyncrasy, becoming a belief accepted and practiced for many years by followers from across the continent.

Its origin in America dates back to the era of African slavery, and it has been able to survive by coexisting with other western beliefs to this day, thanks to the great fervor with which its cultivators practice it.

The Cuban variant is known by several names, among which are: lucumí or simply «santería». The latter is the term with which it is best known, and that is why it is usually associated with clairvoyance or the art of divination. However, the orishas and the seers have nothing to do.

In fact, the Orishas are not seers that we can find in seer sites but rather represent what in Greek traditions we knew as "semi-gods." Since for each god of the Yurubas there are one or several orishas that come from him.

The most popular and well-known deities of the Yurubas are Obbatalá, Shangó, Yemayá, Oshún, Elegguá and their main deity Olodumare, the supreme God, among others. Like other beliefs, each one has its own characteristics, colors, dates, numerology, etc.

In summary, we can affirm that although this belief has strong roots in African culture and beliefs and despite being remarkably infused with magic and superstition, its followers are numerous and in it they find a reason to live and believe.


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