topic posted Thu, October 20, 2005 - 4:34 AM by  Unsubscribed
It's weird, being Jewish I have no frame of reference for Catholicism, and being queer and a bit of a revolutionary I have no love for the church, but I still likes me some Catholic kitsch. I don't correlate the Orishas with the Saints except as art ... there is no theology behind it, but I think the Saint art is beautiful and must confess that I have some around.

I was talking with a friend tonight about which saint is which for the Orishas and it came up that there are a lot more correlations than people know, esp. when it comes to the various roads of Orishas. So I thought I would post them here for curiosity's sake.

There are many more than this. This is just what came off the top of my head so early in the morning (Insomniac here).

Elegba - the Infant of Atocha
Elegba Alagbana - Anima Sola (the Soul in Purgatory)
Ogun - Saint Peter
Ogun Shibiriki - Saint Michael the Archangel
Oshosi - Saint Norbert
Erinle - Saint Rafael
Orisha Oko - Saint Isidor
Asojano - Saint Lazarus (the leper one, not the bishop)
Ibeji - Saint Cosmus and Saint Damian
Dada - Our Lady of the Rosary
Aganju - Saint Christopher
Shango - Saint Barbara
Obatala - Our Lady of Mercy
Obatala Ayaguna - Saint Sebastian
Obatala Oshagrinyan - Saint Joseph
Obatala Oba Moro - Jesus of Nazareth (carrying the cross)
Obatala Eruaye - the Divine Providence
Obatala Orishanla (Oshanla) - Our Lady of Mercy
Boromu and Borosia - Saint Elias
Nana Buruku - Our Lady of Mount Carmel (del Carmen)
Oba - Saint Catherine or Saint Rita
Yewa - Our Lady of Monerratte
Oya - Saint Teresa (Havana) or Our Lady of the Conflagration (del Candelario) (Matanzas)
Yembo - Saint Anne
Yemoja - Our Lady of Regla
Yemoja Ashaba - Saint Martha
Yemoja Asesu - Saint Claire
Yemoja Mojelewu - Our Lady of Regla
Yemoja Ogunte (Okutti) - Our Lady of the Snow (de las Nieves)
Oshun - Our Lady of Charity
Oshun Ololodi - Our Lady of Loreto
Orunmila - Saint Francis of Assisi
posted by:
  • Unsu...

    Re: Saints

    Thu, October 20, 2005 - 7:27 AM
    Whoops, I just reread this and saw a mistake. Being the obsessive compulsive son of Yemoja Asesu, I have to correct it. (indulge me)

    Oya's saint in Matanzas is Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria (I got the gendre wrong above)

    Also, here's another one ...

    Iroko - Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
    I really like this correlation because this saint represents God coming to Earth, and Iroko is the World Tree with its branches in Heaven and its roots in the Earth. Contrary to stupid as Migene Wippler's crap about correlations being based on things like colour, this proves (as do many of the other correlations) that the brilliant Lukumi actually put some metaphysical thought into such things.
    • Re: Saints

      Thu, October 20, 2005 - 12:19 PM
      Being a Virgo, I have to make a minor correction. Nuestra Senora de la Calandaria refers to the feast of Candlemas. It was when Jesus was formaly presented to the Temple in Jerusalem. Right at the moment can't find my bible. So I'm not going any deeper on this.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Saints

        Thu, October 20, 2005 - 1:47 PM

        7 planets in Virgo here. You're right about the Candlemas thing of course. I was translating the word itself. Thanks for the clarification.

    • Re: Saints

      Fri, October 21, 2005 - 4:39 PM
      Bendicion mayores y menores,

      Additions to the list, through many questions over the years- and Willie Ramos' site...

      Eshu Laroye: Saint Anthony
      Eshu Onibode: Saint Peter
      Nana Buruku can also be la Virgen del Buen Camino
      Oba Nani- Santa Catalina as well
      Obatala can also be: San Eduvigis, Santa Lucia, San Joaquin, Justo Juez
      Obatala Yeku Yeku- Sanitismo Sacrament
      Oduwa: Blessed Sacrament, San Manuel
      Oke- Roque
      Oge- Philomene
      Ogan- Saint James the Greater (also known as the Moor Killer)
      Agidai- Bartholomew
      Oshumare- Bartholomew
      Laro- Expedite ( must be crossover from Brazil's Logun Ede- )

      Con respeto.......
      • Unsu...

        Re: Saints

        Fri, October 21, 2005 - 4:55 PM
        Right on Jesse!

        Willie's my godfather and the one I relied on for my correspondences above. Most of the differences you presented have to do with region (mostly Havana/Matanzas). Thanks for filling in the blanks.

        There's another one for Logun Ede that fits (IMHO) better, but I can't remember what it is (I am old).
      • Unsu...

        Re: Saints

        Fri, October 21, 2005 - 5:01 PM
        The saint you presented for Oge, Philomena, is more commonly associated with Obatala Alaguema. I don't know why Willie's site made this correlation, as he is the one who taught me the Alaguema correspondence. He has spent a lot of time recently in Matanzas though, so perhaps he learned it there.
  • Re: Saints

    Thu, October 20, 2005 - 10:25 AM
    Saint Norbert might have been a cool guy and all that, but I am not so hot on the name. Norbert? wtf?! And everyone knows that Ochossi is the coolest ocha there is ;-) Ok just messing.

    Thanks for the mega list mr. shloma!
    • Unsu...

      Re: Saints

      Fri, October 21, 2005 - 5:02 PM
      Well there's always the Brazilian thing with Sebastian, who is MUCH cooler ... LOL
  • Re: Saints

    Thu, October 20, 2005 - 1:21 PM
    You know, I love saints and actually enjoy praying to them at the "mesa blanca". A lot of people I know are trying really hard to purge their use from esperitismo and ocha, but me I love them. Some people have told me that some old time santera/os say the Lord's prayer as part of their rogacion de cabeza ceremonies. I've never seen that done myself but it seems like a nice gesture, since most westerners have primarily christian eggun that you'd like to appease. Anyway I digress, give me some Carridad de Cobre, Candelaria and Santa Barabara anyday. If no one else will have them I will.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Saints

      Fri, October 21, 2005 - 5:36 PM
      It's funny 'cause my godfather is SO reactionary against the saint thing. When you make Erinle you have to set up an elaborate table filled with liquers, gifts, and boxes of chocolate to give to the people who come who have Erinle. When my pal Martin was made we put a beautiful statue of la Virgen de Regla and San Rafael on the table and MAN did my goddaddy go through changes ... LOL ... He indulged my overly decorative faggotry though, bless him (It may have been the big boxes of Godiva chocolates that kept him quiet).
  • Unsu...

    Re: Saints

    Fri, October 21, 2005 - 5:30 PM
    I thought of another one... many correspond Ori with the Holy Spirit or Sacred Dove.
  • Re: Saints

    Thu, February 16, 2006 - 6:18 PM
    A few of these associations (with the caminos), I've never heard of... but they are very interesting!

    I'd like to add St. Anthony of Padua for Eleggua. The Infant of Prague also?

    I've heard of St. Clare representing Yewa as well, and Christ on Calvary for Ayaguna.

    In different parts of Brazil, St. George represents either Ogun or Ochosi. It is St. Michael for Ogun in our house.

    Doesn't St. Lucy (Lucia) also represent a road of Obatala?

    Iconography is very interesting. I have also seen Obatala represented by Kuan-Yin (the Eastern version of Our Lady of Mercy), and a warrior road of Yemaya by Kali.

    Does anyone else have other associations for different roads?
    • Re: Saints

      Fri, February 17, 2006 - 11:11 AM
      Sure Badger, ignore my post completely.....I understand. LOL.

      Yes. Laroye is often syncretized with San Antonion de Padua. Infant of Prague is sometimes used, but I don't know of a specific camino- I was told by one santero that Infant of Prague is used with a niño de atocha candle can't be found (!). St. Clare as Yewa? Never heard that, but I could see why. Asesu I've heard- and one person told me sometimes Yembo but I've never heard that again. I have heard that for Ayagunna- Christ on Calvary. The thing is that same Christ on calvary is often used for Olofin. But overlapping obviously exists. Brazil has a ton of different correspondences.... like Moses for Shango! lol. St. Lucy can be used for Alagema I believe- because she holds eyes- which provide the extra vision of the chameleon, by extension, I imagine.....

      Kuan Yin has also been used for Yembo, Obatala makes sense, as does Yemaya. Kali for Oya, or Yemaya Okoto, I've seen. St. Martha Dominatadora for Yemaya Agana, etc. I personally love when they fly the Jolly Roger behind Yemaya Okoto- it makes me giggle. In the end we all create new traditions- as long as thought goes into it and the origin is cited, I rather enjoy hearing correspondences. What nauseates me is 'fabricated' tradition. Blegh. Give yourself credit if you invent it, started it, or developed it. Don't add credence to a new thing by self mythologizing. But really, this has less to do with this list and more to do with other discussions, so... I'll leave it at that.

      • Aj
        offline 7

        Re: Saints

        Fri, February 17, 2006 - 11:57 AM
        Of late I have been keeping track of movements within other Orisha based religions and their bids to remove the syncretism from their houses and the tradition as a whole. I am wondering what the groups opinion on this is.

        Personally having no experience with saints, I have no love for making any connections between them and orishas and so I make none whatsoever and without apology. But I wonder what other views are. I also wonder what the views of former/current catholics are about the saint-orixa relationships since it still represents two opposing to speak. Has anyone chosen to let go of this idea of saints representing orishas. Has anyone decided to embrace it who didn't agree with it at first?

        This is just me being curious. No offense intended, but the subject intrests me a great deal.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Saints

          Fri, February 17, 2006 - 1:27 PM
          How to say this....I really don't think that Lucumi is really all that syncretic at all to begin with. It's just window dressing that one can take or leave without changing much of anything at all in the practice. Academics love to write articles about syncretism and to emphasize how important it is, but when does it actually come up for a practioner? I think really it's just a way we have for dealing with people who want assistance but don't actually want to make a commitment to working with Orisha and making ebo. I mean someone asks you for some spiritual assistance but you know that they aren't up to or willing to deal with a reading with dillogun or making ebo so you advise them to do some spiritual thing for a saint that you see as equivalent to Orisha assistance they need.

          I go to lots of bembes, no saints there. I have my ocha at home, no saints there. And I like Catholic art and iconography. Where is all this syncretism people are always having an issue with?

          Where you actually find it is in espiritismo, because there you deal with these saints as spiritual equivalents of different orisha energies. But other than that they are just pretty pictures that some people happen to like, and hey they are pretty.

          That's my feeling.

          • Re: Saints

            Fri, February 17, 2006 - 3:39 PM
            That's true, the saint symbolism is more just artwork and also respect for the ancestors who had to hide the orishas behind Catholicism.
          • Re: Saints

            Fri, February 17, 2006 - 7:01 PM
            That was extremely well put, Jason. The syncretism ends pretty much when you enter the religion. (¡pero somos catolicos!) Some houses, mine included, require that you buy at least one catholic saint statue or plaque of the corresponding saint to your guardian orisha- to put on the table at your ocha- and perhaps, other than a few catholic cultural customs that have worked their way into the cultural paradigm as a whole, there's pretty much no catholicism.

            Now. Omi lasa. Catholic holy water? first rain of May? river/ocean/lake water? hmmm.

            Anyway. Well said Jason. Well said.
            • Unsu...

              Re: Saints

              Sat, February 18, 2006 - 6:56 AM
              Thanks Jesse. Nice to know I can make some sense through the daze of my flu.

              What I have noticed more is that people will often have a representation of the saint that corresponds to their Ocha on their boveda, or some other seperate shrine to that saint. But again this is like honoring that energy on a spiritual point.

              A tradition that's truly syncretic is Haitian/Dominican Vodu. I mean there the Catholic and African traditions are truly intertwined and inseperable.

              Hack cough. Later.
        • Re: Saints

          Fri, February 17, 2006 - 4:17 PM
          I do love the art and iconography of the saints, and this (for me) is a connection to my childhood being raised Roman Catholic and also a tie to my Sicilian/Italian ancestors. However, I was taught that the orisha are completely diffferent spirits from the Christian saints that are sometimes used to represent them. If I see a statue or photo of Santa Barbara, I am automatically reminded of Shango... but I know that it isn't really him. Syncretism is the wrong term that was probably used by academics who didn't really understand the religion... maybe this was intentionally done so by our spiritual ancestors.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Saints

            Sat, February 18, 2006 - 8:30 AM
            Motumba e Axe,

            I have the same reaction too with Catholic imagery. while I know the saints and orixas are two seperate entities, the colors or imagery remind me of the orixas. For example, last year I went to mass on Palm Sunday. The church was decorated in red and white. It being a high mass, the altar serves wore red with white gloves. The palms and the colors red and white reminded me of Xango. Then I looked at the woman next to me in the pew and suprisingly she had a red and white Chango eleke on.
            Sometimes you may get clients who don't believe in the orixas so I agree that recommending a Catholic saint to them may help. Unless it specifically calls for them to work with the orixa.

            Dominick de Logunede
          • Re: Saints

            Thu, March 2, 2006 - 3:20 PM
            Hi Guys,

            I've just returned from 3 weeks in Cuba. In Matanzas I visited the house of a friend's godfather who is a very well respected priest of Shango (or really Hevioso in Arara a few Matanceros worship both Vodun orisha as he did). Whilst virtually all homes of Santeros there bear some sort of Catholic icon, be it a San Lazaro on the floor or La Caridad on a shelf, this priest had the biggest Shrine of Our Lady of Monserrate in the living room.

            As stated above in the correspondences, Monserrate relates to Yewa and in turn Towosi; her Arara counterpart. I am no Catholic...can't be doing with all that confession and the only beadwork a rosary ;-) ...but there was definitely an energy, a presence in that room, to that decidedly Catholic looking altar.
            Imposing isn't the word and quite a strange choice considering the popularity of the other Ladies on and of the island. It turns out that the godfather and his family have a very strong connection to Yewa. In his igbodu, he showed us the inherited Yewa of his grandmother, which is currently 132 years old. His daughter is also made to Yewa. I actually felt more comfortable photographing the orisha than the Catholic shrine.

            Perhaps the Catholic imagery aren't a token of past memories of enfored Christian worship. I think the saints were seen as deities in their own right and offered things accustomed to the people that introduced them. They really are worshipped, petitioned and loved.

            I don't know if the orisha ever hid behind catholic images rather the saints may have provided human and so understandable representations of rather abstract and complex entities. Plus there was a vast, ready to go palette of saints to correspond with so why not? And a lot of them with their colours and attributes are pretty uncanny as to bring up the notion of a universality of spiritual energy, just in different expressions.
            The flipside to this is also the way the specifically Saintly attributes have crept into orisha world. I still have issues about Shango having a sword, wooden or not.

            Maybe it was good PR, the orisha had a new brand for a new market, something which the locals and future generations could relate to and uniquely call their own.


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