Ibeji is also known as Ibelli, Ibryi, Meji, Melli, and Jimaguas. They are twins but the Ibeji are identified as one Orisha. ‘Ibi’ accurately means born and ‘eji’ means two. Twins are considered to be very sacred among the people of Yoruba. They have the highest rate of twin births, about 5% whereas the rest of the world has a twin-birth percentage of 0.5%. The Ibeji and all twins of this world are considered to have one soul in two bodies. The Ibeji are believed to be the original twins born on this earth and are said to be the orishas of joy, glee, and mischief. The Gemini twins in astrology are also said to be related directly to the Ibeji. The Ibejis parents are, namely, Chango and Oshun. Continue reading
Ochosi, also known and spelled as Oxosi, Oshosi, is a great and stealthy hunter who lives in the woods. He is not only known for his excellent hunting skills, but he is also a fisherman, a warrior with excellent arrow skills, a seer with shamanistic powers and a magician. Ochosi is also the lord of justice and the defender/patron of those who has misdoings with the law.
Given an Undertaking
Ochosi, during his time, was only a huntsman who became an Orisha. According to a sacred story, also known as a Pataki, Ochosi was once given a task by Elegua. He was asked to hunt a rare bird for Orula who wanted to gift the bird to Olofi. Since Ochosi was a skilled hunter and had no problems finding his prey, he agreed and caught the rare bird in a matter of minutes. He caged it and brought it back home. Immediately he informed Orula that he had caught the bird. As Ochosi went out, his mother came home to find the bird in a cage and thought that Ochosi had caught it for dinner. She killed the bird and dressed it. She then went out to the local market to buy some condiments to cook it with. Continue reading
Ogun is known to be a very powerful warrior who has creativity and intelligence when it comes to making new tools. He protects his people from injustice. He is known as the father of civilization because if it were not for his creative tools, the earth would be full of the wilderness. If it were not for his strength, the path from heaven to earth would never have been cleared for the Orishas and humanity to thrive on earth. Ogun’s tools were the tools which helped create new buildings and cities. Continue reading
Yemeya is often also spelled as Yemoja, Yemanja, Lemanja or even Yemalla. Yemeya literally means “Mother of Water”. Even though she is the Goddess of the vast and open oceans seas, she is also worshipped near lakes, wells or lagoons. Anywhere there is water; Yemeya is likely to be present. In West Africa, they worship Yemeya as a river deity but in Brazil and Cuba, they worship her only as a sea/ocean Goddess. This mother spirit has a soft place in her heart for all the women of the world, especially pregnant women. It takes a lot to anger this Goddess because she doesn’t get easily riled up. But when she does, you should expect a huge hurricane your way. She is quite loving but she is very powerful. Continue reading
Extremely feared and well-respected, Babalú Aye is the Lord of many diseases. Babalú Aye is also known as Omulu, Azojano, San Lazaro and Shanpana. Often times, he is associated with the sun because the sun is a source of life in some places but also a source of death in some. He is also specifically known as the Lord of Smallpox. Medicines and vaccines have reduced the contraction of smallpox. However, Babalú Aye continues to struck people with diseases such as AIDS/HIV, tuberculosis, Ebola, etc.
Babalú Aye’s Attire
Babalú Aye is a muscular man who covers himself with straw and walks with the help of a staff. The straw he uses to cover himself up is to hide his smallpox. He can make any person sick as a punishment, which is why he is so feared. However, he can also help cure that person, which is why people respect him. No one in the African Diaspora wants to get on the bad side of Babalú Aye and be afflicted with life-threatening diseases.
Many stories and sources will make you perceive Babalú Aye as a feared Orisha. However, Babalú Aye is also a very merciful Orisha. He can cure you as quickly as he can make you contract a disease. Sometimes when people suffer from life-threatening diseases, they wish for death for peace. Babalú Aye helps grant them their wish and helps to guide those souls over to the other side. Babalú Aye is often found in hospitals, hospices, places where people are cured, gyms and the desert as well. Continue reading