Santeria

Chango: The King Of the Religion

Also spelled and pronounced as Shango, Chango is a very important Orisha in Santeria. He is one of the four pillars in Santeria and every person has to receive him during initiation whether or not they are his children. Apart from being the King of the religion on earth, Chango is also the Orisha for male virility, leadership, thunder, fire, drumming, and dancing.

A Strong King He Was Not

Chango is known to not be as effective as a king should be when he was alive. However, after his death, he worked miracles for the other Orishas. Chango is also known to have had many female lovers and was an exquisite dancer and drummer. Chango also has a magical and powerful mortar which allows him to spit fire from his mouth. A double-headed ax is his favorite weapon and his residence is at the top of the royal palm tree.

His Relationship

There is a popular Pataki related to Chango and Oya. Chango was once at a party, drinking and dancing and having the time of his life. He was enjoying so much that he did not realize that some of his enemies were outside the party watching him. As soon as the party died down and all the guests left, Chango staggered to a corner where an enemy was waiting for him. The enemy quickly trapped him and locked him in a small cell. Chango and Oya had had a fling.

Chango’s Rescue

He had kept his pilon and mortar at her house. Days passed and Oya grew worried because Chango did not show up. Oya wondered about his pilon and mortar. She saw that the inside the mortar was gleaming and a clear liquid formed. Seeing that Chango had been trapped in a cell, Oya became furious. At that moment, she called upon lightning to help her rescue him. Kissing the liquid in the mortar and soon her lips and mouth burned. No water could ease the burning and fire spat out. The lightning came and took her to Chango. As she reached there, Oya screamed a war cry and a burst of fire erupted from her mouth.
Chango’s enemies soon scattered and Oya released Chango. She told him about how she rescued him as he could not remember. It upset Chango that Oya pried in his mortar but was grateful. Ever since Oya now accompanies Chango in fights and wars.

Children of Chango

Chango fathered the Ibeji twins as well as Boromu and Borosia, the children born because of Yeggua’s rape. Many Orishas used to complain about Chango’s unruly and egoistic attitude. However, through many trials and errors and a reality check from Obatala, Chango soon matured and learned gracefulness and charm. This Orisha teaches us that no matter how many mistakes we make, we can always turn around and redeem ourselves. He is very loving and compassionate towards his children and all Orishas.

Corresponding to Chango

His colors are red, white and gold. His numbers are 4 or 6 or both. Spicy foods, alcohol, chili peppers, tobacco, okra, and cornbread make great offerings for this Orisha.

Learn more about Santeria and the Orishas with Lucumi: The Ways of Santeria

 

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Obatala: Father Figure of the Orishas

Obatala is known to be a wise Orisha and is often also known as the chief and judge. He is married to Yemeya, who is the mother figure of all Orishas and is the Goddess of the Oceans. According to some patakis, Obatala is the father of all human beings. He and Yemeya created a lot of children. One day he got very drunk when making humans because he was thirsty and he drank some palm wine. Under the influence of the wine, he made some deformed humans. After he sobered up, he realized what he had done. He swore from that day that he would never drink and now every handicapped or deformed person has a special place in his heart. He takes extra care of them. Obatala shows mercy and compassion because of the fact that he realizes that he erred once when he got drunk on the palm wine. This is why he is also known to be the fairest Orisha of all.

Obatala was a very strong warrior when he was young and saw many injustices and wrongs being committed during those wars. Which is why when he became an Orisha, he vouched for peace. His experience on the battlefields angered him and now, as a judge, he is very much involved in the law and issues of justice. He will be involved in any kind of legal case or court issue. You can invoke him during such times for his help. However, do not invoke him if you are guilty unless you are willing to be punished for it. Obatala is also involved in karmic justice. If you think someone has done a karmic injustice to you, you can call to him for help. He will help you and make you be strong. He encourages humans to take responsibility for their irrational actions.
Obatala has no gender and is thought to be asexual. This signifies why he is rightfully thought to be the father of human beings. He has no patience for the gender fights which break out in the human community.

Sophia Shultz

Obatala is also associated with the color white. He is known as the God of white clothing and even loves his food to be white in color. He loves white offerings with no spices or even alcohol. People tend to spread a white cotton ball on the offerings they make to Obatala to please him. People can even offer him eggs, rice, mushrooms, water, milk, crushed egg shells, snail shells, myrrh or tobacco. Obatala worshippers dance in white costumes and offer white pumpkin, coconut milk and light up sandalwood incense to please this Orisha.
Obatala is often found in churches, libraries, universities, mountains, forest and the military. His number is 8 and his feast day is the 24th of September. His tool is a horsetail fly whisk. All of the animals sacrificed to Obatala should be white in color such as she-goats, guinea hens, doves, and hens.

 

Learn more about Santeria and the Orishas with Lucumi: The Ways of Santeria

 

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