Santeria Religion – What is Santeria?

Santeria Religion

Santeria Religion
Santeria Religion

In this time anyone caught in the worship of native gods would be punished and many times by death, Africans and the native Tainos. In order to keep the religion and life, The slaves became “Christianized” at least to the slave owners. The slaves took each African god(Orisha) and renamed them after the saints. Chango the god of thunder became Santa Barbara and they kept the religion in secret. Even today the religion is kept in secret since there is still people who see it as devil worship when it’s not.

There are hundreds of gods in Africa but within Santeria, many people worship 7 main Orishas. Also represents the planets: Mars, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune,Uranus plus the Sun & Moon. Each has his or her own colors, numbers, foods, herbs, so on. Jesus would be Olodumare or Olofin, Olorun. He would have no sacrifices, his day is Thursday and his color is all combined.

Sacrifices is a part of Santeria, Animal as well as foods and cafe…money Chances are that within your home or relative’s home, You have seen the 7 day glass candles in different colors and with pictures Of the saints. Maybe a cup with old coffee and a dish full of change. Or you light candles for your dead family since we as Puerto Ricans have What is called “ancestor worship” which can be found in the African & Taino culture. We pray to our dead for help and guidance and protection. This is Santeria and Taino beliefs and not Christian beliefs.

What is Santeria?

Santeria Religion | What is Santeria Seven African Powers
Seven African Powers

When an animal is to be sacrificed, Its done by a priest or Babalu only. We can have altars and offer food, money, coffee, but we are not to kill an animal. Animals are used only in major situations, Such as ones life is in danger or badly cursed. With all religions, there is good and bad people.. This does not make the religion itself bad but the people who use it for harm.

Santeria isn’t just about magic or voodoo, These people are the people we go to when we are sick. They know what herbs gives what effects, This is something in the African & Taino culture as well. To the church it is looked at as bad and even evil. Within the church, There is no herbs and only Jesus is the one you pray to and not the Virgin or Lazarus.

Every Puerto Rican and Latin knows to pray to Lazarus is to pray for money. This is not a Christian or Catholic belief. So in many ways we still keep our pre-Christian beliefs with us without knowing where we get them from. The Virgin brings miracles…San Jose protects her and all Virgins St. Christopher protects while we travel.

Orishas (gods)

Elegua – a.k.a. “Holy Child of Atocha”
Day of week: Mondays and 3rd of each month
Number: 3
Color: red & black , his beads or Ilekes would be 3 red, 3 black over and over until you have the length you want.
Sacrifice/Animal: roosters & goats
Foods to offer him:smoked fish, yams, sugar cane
Herbs: avocado leaves, coffee, guava, mint, coconut husk, black eyed peas, crowfoot, dried rose buds.
Elegua – is the god of the dead or underworld and is know to play tricks on people and is the god whom protects your home.
Always at the “crossroads” like to be at the cemetery & Funerals


Santeria Religion | What is Santeria Santa Barbara

Chango- a.k.a. Santa Barbara
Days of the week: friday also Dec.4 th
Color: red & white, his beads would be 6 red, 6 white
Animals: pigs ,roosters, goat, rabbits sometimes horses and bulls
Foods: corojo butter, cactus, corn meal, apples, red wine
Herbs: pine, plantains, mugwort, apple trees, leeks
Chango is the god of thunder but also a lustful god..he’s fire much like the mythic Aries
Also an African warrior King

Yemaya a.k.a. La Virgin de Regala
Days of the week: friday & saturday
Number: 7
Colors: white & blue, her beads would be 7 white, 7 blue
Animals: roosters, lambs, fish
Foods to be given: sea water, pork cracklings, plantain chips, watermelon
Herbs: seaweed, florida grass, indigo
Yemaya- is a “Mother” goddess and protects women and children.. she is an ocean goddess
Also queen of all brujas y brujos- she is the moon

Oshun -a.k.a Our Lady of Charity

English: Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de La ...

Days of the week: saturday
Number: 5
Colors: yellow & orange, her beads would be 5 yellow, 5 orange
Animals: hens(white), nanny goats, female pigs
Foods: honey, river water, cinnamon, shrimp
Herbs: cinnamon, roses, oranges, anise seeds, rosemary, sunflowers, papaya
Oshun – is the goddess of love and beauty, much like Venus..she is a river goddess
Also a fertility goddess..lover of Chango

Ogun- a.k.a St. Peter & St. Miguel
Days of the week: tuesday
Number: 7
Colors: green & black, his beads would be 7 green, 7 black
Animals: roosters, bulls
Foods to be given: smoked fish, water from ponds, yams w/blood.
Herbs: eucalyptus, red pepper, black pepper, oak leaves
Ogun- is a warrior god and enemy of Chango, god of technology

Oya-a.k.a Santa Virgen de la Candelaria & St. Theresa
Days of the week: wednesday
Colors: black & white
Numbers: 9
Animals: birds
Foods to be given: eggplant, rain water
Herbs: plantain, marigold, mugwort
Oya – Is a goddess that has powers over spirits..the dead,
To look at her will make you blind or madness within the mind
She is a warrior goddess.

Obatala – a.k.a Our Lady of Mercy
Days of the week: sunday
Colors: white
Numbers: 21
Animals: goats, chickens, cows – all must be white & female
Foods: rainwater, flour, cornmeal
Herbs: mint, basil, yucca, cotton, almonds
Obatala – is a god who is said to be the father of man much like Adam

Oshosi -a.k.a St. Norbert
Days of the week: tuesday
Color: green
Numbers: none
Animals: roosters, pigs, goats
Foods: mango, smoked fish
Herbs: basil, tobacco
Oshosi – is a hunter god who lives in the wild

Orula -(Orunmila)a.k.a St Francis
Days of the week: thursday
Colors: green/blue & yellow
Numbers: none
Animals: goats (virgin)
Foods: plum & yams
Herbs: ginger, jasmine, guava, sage
Orula -is a god of great who knows the future of all people. Also a warrior god.

Babalu-Aye- a.k.a San Lazurus
Days of the week: sunday
Colors: white with blue
Numbers: none
Animals: roosters, snakes, goats
Foods to be given: corn meal, coffee, cigars, pond water
Herbs: guava, beans, jasmine, sage, peanuts
Babalua-Aye – is a compassionate god and brother of Chango.
Always shown as an old cripple man with 2 dogs and sores on his skin. He helps the poor and cripple.

This is another word for spells with sacrifices. People use ebos in love, marriage, money, healings and harm or hurt others.

People who practice Santeria are to go through an initiation period. For this you would go to a Babalu who would perform this for you. You become a child and an Orisha is chosen for you who protects you. You will learn all the secrets of the particular Orisha. The Babalu will consult the Orishas through the use of cowry shells. There will be an animal sacrifice for this ritual and it’s not cheap. You’ll be given a “Godfather” and “Godmother” who are people within the Santeria community, They will guide and instruct you as to your rituals and be there for you in time of need.

Books to read: although there are many on this subject.
Look for books by Migene Gonzales-Wipper, she has many Santeria books As well as a Boricua herself.

What is Santeria? by Orisha Net

Santeria by Wikipedia

Visual Ethnographic exploration of the Afro-Caribbean religion of Santeria as it exists in my experience as a Puerto Rican – American woman from New Jersey

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15 Thoughts to “Santeria Religion – What is Santeria?”

  1. Jessica

    My boyfriend and I went to see a Babalu. He gave us a bracelet with Green and yellow alternating beads for my boyfriend, my self and my son to wear. Can you help and tell me what it means?

  2. ayd15

    @ Jessica: the correct term is a BABALAWO. Babalu Aye is the orisha. The green and yellow beads are the colors of ORULA. Orula is the direct messenger between the Babalawos and Orunmila which is God. The bracelet is called an Ide (EEDE). Its protection. Good luck with your research!

  3. rmartinez

    thank you ayd15 i thought no one would truly correct this the term used to describe an ifa priest is babalawo not babalu…. and its “ILDE” not ide and okay orunmila is not god… orunmila is only the orisha of divination… god is olodumare.. and yes yellow and green are orunmila(orula)’s colors and his ilde is given for protection it should be worn on your left hand… now obatala is not a goddess obatala is a male orisha he is the divine creator of man and the world..okay and a BABALAWO does not preform what you call initiation…. the kariocha initiaion is preformed by your god parents the babalawo only determines through the dillogun oracle and through orunmila you gaurdian angel or rather the orisha that owns your head… further more elegua is not the god of the dead that is ridiculous i dont know where you got this information…yemaya is not that moon she was born with the moon(Nana Buruku) and obatala was born with the sun(orun)…. orun and nana buruku are two seperate orishas and yemaya is not the godmother of all brujos and brujas that again would be Nana buruku the “MOON” is the godmother of all brujos….oggun is a warrior god and he is also the orisha of metal not technology… and he is not Shango’s enemy….. okay oya guards the gates to the cementarie she is actually the orisha of the wind and looking at her wont make you crazy or leave you blind you really have your information mixed up… it might be because your comparing the orishas to heathen gods like Venus and areas…..ochosi is the orisha known as the hunter and him and oggun are inseparable they live together. without one another they couldn’t survive….orula is not a warrior god ……. and the video link that you posted has absolutely nothing to do with santeria in any case what is being illustrated would be a spiritual form of santeria which isn’t even recognized in the santeria community… this whole article is extremely inaccurate……. -Babalosha and Tata Nkisi ariba Nganga Talatala Nzambi

  4. rmartinez

    Obatala isn’t in any way like Adam, Obatala was give permission my Olofin to create man and so he did he made man out of the other words dirt and after he had formed the body of the man Olofin breathed life into the man and or woman…. so Adam cant be compared to Obatala because man was created…. and through eve Cain,and Abel were born… while Obatala actually created man… so in theory for those like myself whose faith lies in the mysteries of this beautiful religion. one could say that Obatala created Adam if you will? there fore he cant and shouldn’t be in anyway compared to Adam. if in any case he should be compared with the divine creator.. now let it be known that Obatala isn’t god so he shouldn’t be compared in that sense but rather in the sense that he created man.

  5. Angel

    I use to live in philly and finding a Santeria shop almost anywhere. Now I live in California, does anybody know where I can find a Santeria shop here in Cali.

  6. oyola71

    hello Angel I live in philly and, looking for a santero i use to know one name david but cant find him do you know of any i would appreciate it

  7. oyola71

    or if anyone else know please help comment me back or email me at thanks and, god bless

  8. florida cigar lounge…

    Great site. Thanks for posting….

  9. serena

    i would love to kno more about santeria. i went and visited a santera and after i visited her i have dreams/preminitions of my day before in some way, can anyone help me or tell me what this means?
    thank you 🙂

  10. serena

    please contact me

  11. miguel

    IM a santero and first off Elegua is not the keeper of the dead even though there is an elegua who lives in the cematery the person your thinking of is oya and oya dosent like to get mixed up because she wants to be noticed by chango two obatala is the king of all orishas and controls all heads because god gave him that right and three its not right to turn around and give people the wrong information

  12. walic8

    Hi everyone i am new here , i hope to receive some help if at all possible.
    i am not initiated into the religion, but i used to give offerings to chango and ask for help, i no longer give him offerings, are there consecuences to this?

  13. zmelendez

    Hi! miguel can you please email me at I will like to have a talk with you please.

  14. tancartcord


  15. cmoctezuma

    i need to find a santero. Can anyone help me?

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