Òrìṣà “Orishas” are Gods and Goddesses who reflects one of the manifestations of the supreme God “Olodumare” in Yoruba religion.
Orishas have existed in the spiritual world or Astral plane “òrun” or lived as human beings in the planetary world or physical plane “ayé”. Other Orishas are humans who are recognized as deities due to extraordinary feats.
Many Orishas have found their way to most of the New World as a result of the Atlantic slave trade and are now expressed in practices as varied as Santería, Candomblé, Trinidad Orisha, Umbanda, and Oyotunji, among others.
There are 401 Orishas which is associated with a sacred number. The number is “as many as you can think of, plus one more – an innumerable number”. Different oral traditions refer to 400, 700, or 1,440 Orishas.
Our daily life depends on proper alignment and knowledge of one’s ori. Ori literally means the head but in spiritual matters, it is taken to mean a portion of the soul that determines personal destiny and success.
Ashe is the life force that runs through all things, living and inanimate. Ashe is the power to make things happen. It is an affirmation that is used in greetings and prayers as well as a concept of spiritual growth.
Òrìṣà “Orishas” Devotees
Orisha devotees strive to obtain Ashe through iwa-pele or gentle and good character and in turn they experience alignment with the ori, what others might call inner peace and satisfaction with life.
Ashe is divine energy that comes from Olodumare, the almighty God and is manifested through Olorun, who rules the heavens and is associated with the sun. Without the sun, no life could exist, just as life cannot exist without some degree of ashe.
Ashe is sometimes associated with Eshu, the messenger Orisha. Ashe represents a link to the eternal presence of the supreme deity, the Orishas and the ancestors.
Supreme Trinity: The Supreme God has three manifestations:
Eledumare – The Supreme Creator
Ọlọ́run – The ruler of the Heavens
Olofi – The conduit between Orún (Heaven) and Ayé (Earth)
Metaphysical Òrìṣà “Orishas”:
Orunmila – Orisha of wisdom, divination, destiny and foresight
Ori – Personification of one’s spiritual intuition and destiny
Òrìṣà “Orishas” Male Names And Offices:
Aganjú – Orisha of volcanoes, the wilderness and rivers
Babalú Ayé – Orisha of the Earth and strongly associated with infectious disease and healing
Erinlẹ̀ – Orisha of medicine, healing, and comfort, physician to the gods
Èṣù – Trickster, psychopomp and Orisha of crossroads, duality, beginnings, travelers, fertility and death
Ibeji – Twin Orisha of vitality and youth
Kokou – A violent warrior Orisha
Ọbàtálá – Creator of human bodies; Orisha of light, spiritual purity, and moral uprightness
Oduduwa – Orisha of Humans
Ògún – Orisha who presides over iron, fire, hunting, politics and war
Oko – Orisha of agriculture
Osanyin – Orisha of the forest
Oṣùmàrè – Divine rainbow serpent associated with creation and procreation
Ọ̀ṣọ́ọ̀sì – Orisha of the hunt and forest
Ṣàngó, also Shango – Orisha of thunder and lightning
Sopona – Orisha of smallpox, also known as Babalu Aye
Òrìṣà “Orishas” Female Names And Offices:
Aja – Orisha of the forest, the animals within it, and herbal healing
Aje – Orisha of wealth
Ayao – Orisha of air
Egungun-oya – Orisha of divination
Mawu – Creator goddess, associated with the sun and moon
Nana Buluku – Androgynous Supreme Creator
Ọbà – First wife of Shango and Orisha of domesticity and marriage
Olókun – Patron Orisha of the descendants of Africans who were carried away during the Atlantic Slave Trade or Middle Passage
Ọ̀ṣun – Orisha who presides over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy
Ọya – Orisha of the Niger River; associated with wind, lightning, fertility, fire, and magic
Yemọja – A mother goddess; patron deity of women, and the Ogun river