Ethnic and Spiritual Growth

Aganju: the Orisha of Volcanoes

According to Yoruba mythology, Aganju is the Orisha of volcanoes, the wilderness, and the earth. He is associated with Saint Christopher and is believed to be the third Orisha said to have come to earth and is an Orisha of great antiquity.
In the Yoruba areas of Nigeria and the Benin Republic, Aganju is known as a revered warrior king from Shaki town in the present-day Oyo State of Nigeria. Aganju was said to walk with a sword and to fight by shooting fire.

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The Yoruba God of Wisdom

In the Yoruba Ifa religion, Orunmila is the God of Wisdom. In terms of Ifa, he is perhaps the most revered divination god. Orunmila is the most frequently invoked Orisa in the Ifa Yoruba religion. Olodumare bestows infinite wisdom on Orunmila, allowing her to foretell, predict, and read human minds and thoughts. He was the only Orisha permitted to witness Olorun’s creation of the universe and bears witness to our destinies. Eleri Ipin, or in other words, “Witness to Destiny in its Creation,” is derived from this. His priests, known as Babalawos or “Fathers of the Secrets,” must devote their lives to divination and the associated arts.

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The Orisha of Herbs: Osanyin

Osanyin refers to a lesser god credited with all knowledge of herbs, leaves, and roots for medicinal purposes. Osanyin is missing a leg, and an arm lost as punishment from all the other orishas when he attempted to conquer the world with magical domination. He is also blind in one eye. He has one arm and one leg that he lost as punishment from all the other orishas when he attempted to conquer the world with magical domination. Osanyin is a divine herbalist who knows all of the earth’s botanical secrets.

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Beliefs and Practices of the Candomblé Religion

Candomblé is an African religion that has been developed in South America, particularly in Brazil. The enslaved Africans that arrived in the New World brought with them their beliefs. The religion is based on oral tradition. It includes various rituals such as personal worship, animal sacrifice, dance, and ceremonies. Candomblé includes some elements of indigenous South American beliefs along with Catholicism. Although Candomblé used to be a hidden religion, it has finally become public and has at least 2 million adherents across the continent in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Argentina.


Followers of Candomblé believe in a single powerful god known as Olodumare. The ultimate god is served by various deities that visit Earth. The deities communicate with people through the messenger god known as Exu. As there were similarities between Candomblé and Catholicism, each deity was hidden as a saint. For example, the god of smallpox called Omulu is quite similar to Saint Lazarus. Thus, the adherents were able to continue worshipping their deities without any trouble.

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The Queen of Voodoo: The Legend of Marie Laveau

The Queen of Voodoo: The Legend of Marie Laveau

The Queen of Voodoo: The Legend of Marie Laveau

Anyone interested in New Orleans and its history of voodoo is bound to come across the name “Marie Laveau.” Considered a voodoo queen, you might be wondering if she is as mystical as she is typically portrayed. New Orleans is a city that perfectly mixes the Old World with the New. Most of its residents believe in the supernatural. The legend of Marie Laveau is a popular one. She was a black priestess who possessed breathtaking beauty.

Tremendous Power

Marie Laveau held great power in her community. There are countless rumors of her magical abilities. People visit her grave even today in exchange for a small request and leave tokens. It is impossible to overlook voodoo when we talk about New Orleans. Most people are influenced by the pop-culture perception of voodoo which holds that dolls and zombies are at the heart of voodoo beliefs. However, it is essential to understand that voodoo is a compilation of various West African religions. Religions brought to the Americas by slaves with traditions of indigenous people and the Christianity they adopted. There is more to Marie Laveau than the legend might make you believe.


Born in 1801 to a wealthy mulatto businessman by Charles Laveau and a freed slave by the name of Marguerite, Marie Laveau was the first free person in her family. Her great-grandmother had arrived in New Orleans in 1743 as a slave. Eventually, her grandmother, Catherine, was bought by Francoise Pomet, a successful entrepreneur of color and free woman. She managed to buy her own freedom and established a small home where she went on to have Marie, her granddaughter.
During the 1800s, it was common for free blacks to buy slaves. Laveau even had a few slaves despite being an important figure in the black community and a rather charitable woman. She had a brief marriage with a free mixed black man, after which she had had a relationship with Cristophe Glapion, a noble, white Louisianian man for thirty years. Interracial relationships were a thing in New Orleans during the time, even though there were forbidden to marry by law.

For most of her life, Marie remained a Catholic, and voodoo had no place. Nevertheless, she accepted voodoo, and her front room was filled with offerings, holy images, and candles. She held weekly meetings where the participants were only allowed to wear white. Liquor and food were left as an offering to the spirits. Marie gave advice to her clients on just about everything. Racism and the need for newspapers to publish sensational stories led to most descriptions describing Marie’s ceremonies as drunken orgies. Marie became a prominent position in New Orleans due to her natural theatrics, charitable work, and strong personality. She bailed free women of color, nursed yellow fever patients, and visited prisoners to pray for them.

Marie Laveau died in 1881. However, her popularity only continues to grow. She has been a fantastic inspirational figure for black women in the Deep South. Her rise would have been impossible if it had not been for New Orleans.