Knowledge of the Orishas

topic posted Mon, February 7, 2011 - 1:03 PM by  Stanislao
Do you think a person can actually understand or know what an Orisha is without having had the Orishas crowned on their head? Would be interested to hear your opinions.
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  • Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

    Mon, February 7, 2011 - 2:51 PM
    :) Stanislao -

    Before I did Santo, I thought I did. I am especially attached to Oya, more so to her than my kidneys:) However, I have to admit - that once I underwent the Osha ceremony, it was a completely different view from before.

    I believe that anyone can work with the Orishas in the natural manifestation (Yemaya at the Ocean, Oggun at the tracks, etc.), or that they may give permission to Aleyos (outsiders to the religion) to do work with them, but ultimately - your connection deepens to a far more extensive point after you undergo initiation.

    Even then - one may have intense connections with some Orisha - and none at all with others.

  • Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

    Mon, February 7, 2011 - 8:22 PM
  • Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

    Mon, February 7, 2011 - 10:30 PM

    I would have to say that it probably depends upon the person, that person's destiny, his/her character, and the Will of the Orishas.

    When I SERIOUSLY started in this religion (1996), I sought to truly understand the orishas, and I had epiphanies. Then I was crowned in 2006 and guess what? I still get epiphanies!

    Do I FULLY understand Them? No. Even after all of these years, I'm aware that I'm just barely scratching the surface. To quote an Olokun-related proverb that seems apropo here, "Who knows what lies at the bottom of the sea?". Only the orisha(s) and Olodumare.

    In fact, there is so much to learn and I'm so wanting to learn, that I sometimes despair how long it took me to find this path --- I just don't think I'll have enough mortal years left to fully appreciate it. And every time I think I "have a clue", something new will present itself and I realize that -- yup! I'm clueless! Damn it. I'm starting to cry... The desire to touch the face of God -- what fancy and what folly.

    I love you, Oshun. Thank you for everything -- the "good", the "bad", the "easy" and the "hard". Just wanted to reiterate that...

    Friggin' tears...

  • Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

    Tue, February 8, 2011 - 3:14 AM
    Here's my 2 cents to the question.

    A person can start to learn about the Orisha's "energy" from working with them spiritually, for example a Wiccan doing ceremonies and calling on Yemaya at the ocean and truly feeling the presence or corriente of her, for them they ARE getting to know the energies (baby steps)'s like, in my opinion, a meet and greet and the beginning of a beautiful relationship. To understand an Orisha (in regards to their crown) more profoundly you have to know how to LIVE with them and in order to do that, one must make Ocha. Also, it's important to know it's not about the partys and tambores and thrones...To LIVE is the day to day interaction so you begin to "know" the orisha in order to "understand" them in your life, the guidance, the protection, and the lessons. All the other stuff is done as Gratitude from the heart and there will be certain times when they (tambores, thrones, etc..) are mandatory by the Regla of Ocha.

    Ok, so one who doesn't have Ocha might be thinking..for example..if I'm living with the Orishas, have santo since let's say birth could I not understand the Orisha completely, they've been with me for xyz years, I grew up in it, etc?....and here's my answer...ABURES, chime in at anytime!.....A person can (and should) learn as much as they can about the individual Orishas, their ceremonies, patakis, their prayers, dances, foods, taboos, the list goes on and on....etc...but it'll be a general understanding and textbook knowledge as to how to "attend" to them. The real learning starts when one makes Ocha, with this ceremony a few things come out that will color in the black and white....
    1. The Orisha and their Camino (path)
    2. So important but people forget...the Odun that the Orisha gives
    3 An Odun of destiny (first odun of elegua and first odun of your crown)
    4. Your name in Ocha (would a rose be a rose...basically you live the name meaning that the orishas choose for you).

    All things that are very specific and taylored in the eyes of Olofi for your personal destiny and the Orisha's Ache and advice through ODUN to maintain that path of destiny, again FOR YOU. This is a very Personal religion, so for example... Oshun isn't just Oshun...there's the Oshun that people know and love with general characteristics and the educational history and background (that is vast and infinte and will never be able to know in one lifetime ever) and then there's the ASPECT of Oshun that YOU will come to know and understand on a microcosm level by the learning process of LIVING with her through the ups and downs, good and bad in your home, ringing your bell, laughing and enjoying each other and probably eating flan. LOL!

    I hope this explains a little about why we as Santeros give the answers we do in regards to knowing / understanding an Orisha. I just don't want a person to shy away for a reason like, if it's so large and i'll never understand it, why get involved... so I wanted to explain, from my point of view, the mico / macro viewpoints to help clarify a few misconceptions I've seen people start with.

    Hope I didn't ramble on and that it was beneficial to someone.

    Love you abures! Ase pa todos!
    Aina Ibu
    • T.
      offline 11

      Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

      Wed, March 9, 2011 - 10:14 AM
      Your response is so excellent and well seasoned.

      Your wisdom is very true and infalliable, my mother was a powerful spiritual worker explained the same thing to me that you just explained, you explained it so very well. I really admonish everyone who reads this to take head to this post of yours. Often many time people try to monopolize spirits, making people feel like they can't experience them unless this and that, but that is simply not alway true. We can monopolize spirits
  • Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

    Tue, February 8, 2011 - 7:08 AM
    i think that gods are here to give us lessons and guide us in development doing ocha or any other tradition is that step when they want you to go further and work with them more in a deeper form. now from my experience they can do anything we really don't have a complete understanding of what they can do and i have seen many cases where people are mounting orisha vodoun and many other gods with no initiation at all simply because they have it in their family or they just choose you to serve them .
    • Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

      Fri, March 4, 2011 - 8:47 AM
      without a doubt a person can understand the orisha without being crowned... with that being said it also depends on the person. Some are more spiritually open so to say and have a deeper affinity for the orisha and deeper understanding ... some are meant to be in this religion from birth... some learn about it in their 40's... everyone is different... but you do not need to be crowned to understand what an orisha is or how to work with them... obviously when you do ocha a person hopefully learns all they can about their specific orisha and his/her camino... but does that mean that someone who hasnt done ocha is less capable of comprehending the orishas, their meaning and their work? not at all...
      • T.
        offline 11

        Re: Knowledge of the Orishas

        Wed, March 9, 2011 - 10:11 AM
        Excellent response, because I have many undoubtable experiences with the Orisha, and I can feel when one of them are calling me to do something for them. Like lately I have been feeling Oggun asking something of me. I am very spiritual open and gifted, but even most of very sincere and genuine. I have a very high reverence for spirits, the spirit world, and the importance of the care that should be shown them.

        I will say that almost every spirit that I have gone to for help, has always answered and graced me with an experience from them, and treated me well, even the one who are known for being difficult to work with. It really does depend on the person.

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