Ṣàngó is an Orisha. He is syncretized with either Saint Saint Jerome. Shango is a royal ancestor of the Yoruba as he was the third Alafin of the Oyo Kingdom prior to his posthumous deification. Ṣàngó has numerous manifestations including Airá, Afonja, Lubé, Obomin. He is considered to be one of the most powerful rulers that Yorubaland has produced, is noted for his anger. Jakuta was the third Alafin following Oranmiyan and Ajaka. Jakuta brought prosperity to the Oyo Empire. According to Professor Mason's Mythological Account of Heroes and Kings, unlike his peaceful brother Ajaka, Jakuta was a powerful and violent ruler, he reigned for seven years which were marked by many battles. His reign ended due to his inadvertent destruction of his palace by lightning, he had three wives, namely Princess Oshun, Princess Oba, Princess Oya. The Oyo Empire declined in the 19th century, which led to the enslavement of its people by the Fulani and the Fon. Among them were many followers of Ṣàngó, worship of the deity thrives in the New World as a result.
Strong devotion to Ṣàngó led to Yoruba religions in Trinidad and Recife, Brazil being named after the deity. In Yorubaland, Sango is worshiped on the fifth day of the week in, named Ojo Jakuta. Ritual worship foods include guguru, bitter cola, àmàlà, gbegiri soup, he is worshiped with the Bata drum. One significant thing about this deity is that he is worshiped using red clothing, just as he is said to have admired red attire during his lifetime. Ṣàngó is viewed as the most powerful and feared of the orisha pantheon. He casts a "thundersone" to earth, which creates lightning, to anyone who offends him. Worshippers in Yorubaland in Nigeria do not eat cowpea because they believe that the wrath of the god of iron would descend on them; the Ṣàngó god necklaces are composed in varying patterns of white beads. Rocks created by lightning strikes are venerated by Ṣàngó worshipers. Ṣàngó is called on during coronation ceremonies in Nigeria to the present day. Ṣàngó is venerated in Santería and Haiti as "Chango".
As in the Yoruba religion, Chango is the most feared god in Santería. In Haïti, he is as Ogou. Palo recognizes him as "Siete Rayos". Ṣàngó is known as Xangô in the Candomblé pantheon. He is said to be the son of Oranyan, his wives include Oya and Oba, as in the Yoruba tradition. Xangô took on strong importance among slaves in Brazil for his qualities of strength and aggression, he is noted as the god of thunder. He became the patron orixa of many Candomblé terreiros. In contrast Oko, the orixá of agriculture, found little favor among slaves in Brazil and has few followers in the Americas; the main barracão of Ilê Axé Iyá Nassô Oká, or the terreiro Casa Branca, is dedicated to Xangô. Xangô is depicted with an oxê. Consecrated day: Tuesday Colors: white and red Elements: thunder, fire Sacred food: amalá Instruments: oxê, a double ax, it speaks of his achievements, consorts and dominion Sacrificial animals: fresh water turtle, male goat, sheepAmalá known as amalá de Xangô, is the ritual dish offered to the orixá.
It is a stew made of chopped okra, dried shrimp, palm oil. Amalá is served on Wednesday at the pegi, or altar, on a large tray, traditionally decorated with 12 upright uncooked okra. Due to ritual prohibitions, the dish may not be offered on a wooden tray or accompanied by bitter kola. Amalá de Xangô may be prepared with the addition of beef an ox tail. Amalá de Xangô is different than àmàlà, a dish common to Yoruba areas of Nigeria. Xangô is depicted with an oxê known as the oxê de Xangô; the oxê is a double axe similar to a labrys and made of wood. The song "Mama Loi, Papa Loi" by Bahamian musician Exuma includes the lines "Come on Shango"... Shango is a large theme in the Mighty Sparrow song, "congo Man". Caliban invokes Shango in Aimé Césaire's play Une Tempête. Shango appears as a minor character in The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. In episode 28 of the telenovela "Celia," loosely based on the life of Celia Cruz, the cultural ancestors of Celia's African heritage visit her in her dreams and invoking the presence of Chango.
Xango is mentioned in the song Canto de Ossanha by Vinicius de Moraes. Legends of Africa Johnson, History of the Yorubas, London 1921. Lange, Dierk: "Yoruba origins and the'Lost Tribes of Israel'", Anthropos 106, 579-595. Law, Robin: The Oyo Empire c. 1600 – c. 1836, Oxford 1977. Seux, M.-J. Épithètes royales akkadiennes et sumériennes, Paris 1967. Tishken,Joel E. Tóyìn Fálọlá, Akíntúndéí Akínyẹmí, Sàngó in Africa and the African Diaspora, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009. Charles Spencer King, "Nature's Ancient Religion: Orisha Worship & IFA" ISBN 1-4404-1733-4 Charles Spencer King, "IFA Y Los Orishas: La Religion Antigua De LA Naturaleza" ISBN 1-4610-2898-1 Santeria.fr:: All about Shango Santeria.fr:: Todo sobre Shango Santeria.fr:: Tout sur Shango
Yoruba herbalists and priests enlist the aid of Osanyin, the spirit of herbal medicines, or Opa Erinle, in their work against mental and physical illness caused by malevolent forces and individuals. The Yoruba believe the power of Osanyin is vested in a wrought iron staff, called an Osanyin staff, placed on altars to this Orisha; the staff is composed of a circle of small birds and a shaft in the middle that elevates a large bird above smaller ones. Babatunde Lawal suggests that the reason for this division could be to suggest the relaying of metaphysical powers from the celestial to the terrestrial realm. Lawal evokes the Yoruba reference to Osanyin as "The one who sees everything, like Olodumare," allowing him a vantage point from which he can protect all of humanity below; the birds, emissaries of Ogun, refer to the herbalist's understanding of and power over these malevolent people. There are sixteen birds, invoking the most sacred number of divination and confronting the central bird, which represents the smallpox god.
The birds on Osanyin staffs suggest an iconographic link with the birds on Obas' crowns
The Yoruba religion comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in present-day Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo known as Yorubaland, it is similar to the Vodun practiced by the neighboring Fon and Ewe people to the west and to the religion of the Edo people to the east. Yoruba religion is the basis for a number of religions in the New World, notably Santería, Trinidad Orisha and Candomblé. Yoruba religious beliefs are part of Itan, the total complex of songs, histories and other cultural concepts which make up the Yoruba society. According to Kola Abimbola, the Yoruba have evolved a robust cosmology. In brief, it holds that all human beings possess what is known as "Ayanmo" and are expected to become one in spirit with Olodumare. Furthermore, the thoughts and actions of each person in Ayé interact with all other living things, including the Earth itself; each person attempts to find their destiny in Orun-Rere.
One's ori-inu must grow in order to consummate union with one's "Iponri". Those who stop growing spiritually, in any of their given lives, are destined for "Orun-Apadi". Life and death are said to be cycles of existence in a series of physical bodies while one's spirit evolves toward transcendence; this evolution is said to be most evident amongst the divine viziers of Olorun. Iwapẹlẹ meditative recitation and sincere veneration is sufficient to strengthen the ori-inu of most people. Well-balanced people, it is believed, are able to make positive use of the simplest form of connection between their Oris and the omnipotent Olu-Orun: an adura for divine support. Prayer to one's Ori Orun produces an immediate sensation of joy. Elegbara initiates contact with spiritual realm on behalf of the petitioner, transmits the prayer to Ayé, he transmits this prayer without distorting it in any way. Thereafter, the petitioner may be satisfied with a personal answer. In the event that he or she is not, the Ifá oracle of the Orisha Orunmila may be consulted.
All communication with Orun, whether simplistic in the form of a personal prayer or complicated in the form of that done by an initiated Babalawo, however, is energized by invoking ase. In the Yoruba belief system, Olodumare has ase over all. Hence, Is considered supreme. Olodumare is the most important "state of existence". Regarded as being all-encompassing, no gender can be assigned. Hence, it is common to hear references to "it" or "they". "They" are the owner of all heads. In this, Olodumare is Supreme. One of the most important human endeavors extolled within the Yoruba literary corpus is the quest to improve one's "Iwa". In this way the teachings transcends religious doctrine, advising as it does that a person must improve his/her civic and intellectual spheres of being. Central to this is the theme of both individual and collective; the Yoruba regard Olodumare as the principal agent of creation. According to a Yoruba account of creation, during a certain stage in this process, the "truth" was sent to confirm the habitability of the newly formed planets.
The earth being one of these was deemed too wet for conventional life. After a successful period of time, a number of divinities led by Obatala were sent to accomplish the task of helping earth develop its crust. On one of their visits to the realm, the arch-divinity Obatala took to the stage equipped with a mollusk that concealed some form of soil; the contents were emptied onto what soon became a large mound on the surface of the water and soon after, the winged-beasts began to scatter this around until the point where it made into a large patch of dry land. Obatala named the place Ife; the land became fertile and plant life began to flourish. From handfuls of earth he began to mold figurines. Meanwhile, as this was happening on earth, Olodumare gathered the gases from the far reaches of space and sparked an explosion that shaped into a fireball, he subsequently sent it to Ife, where it dried much of the land and began to bake the motionless figurines. It was at this point that Olodumare released the "breath of life" to blow across the land, the figurines came into "being" as the first people of Ife.
For this reason, Ife is locally referred to as "Ife Oodaye" - "cradle of existence". An Orisha is an entity that possesses the capability of reflecting some of the manifestations of Olodumare. Yoruba Orishas are described as intermediaries between humankind and the supernatural; the term is translated as "Deities" or "Divinities" or "Gods". Orisha are revered for having control over specific elements by nature, thus being better referred to as the divinities or Imole. So, there are those of their number that are more akin to ancient heroes and/or sages; these are best addre
Egungun, in the broadest sense of the word, refers to all types of Yoruba masquerades or masked, costumed figures. More "Egungun" refers to the Yoruba masquerades connected with ancestor reverence, or to the ancestors themselves as a collective force; the singular form, for an individual ancestor, is Eegun. The classification of Egun or Egungun types, might appear to be a straightforward task, but in fact it is complex deciphering the comprehension of indigenous taxonomies; the difficulties include: the problem of distinguishing between personal Egun names and generic terms for types. Such factors demonstrate the complexity of the analysis of indigenous taxonomies and the classification of masquerade types; these same difficulties arise in the use of the term Egungun itself. In the Yoruba religion, the annual ceremonies in honor of the dead serve as a means of assuring their ancestors a place among the living, they believe the ancestors have the responsibility to compel the living to uphold the ethical standards of the past generations of their clan, town or family.
The Egungun are celebrated in festivals, known as Odun Egungun, in family ritual through the masquerade custom. In family situations, a family elder known either formally or informally as "Alagba" presides over ancestral rites, he may not be initiated into the local Egungun society. In matters that deal with whole communities, Egungun priests and initiates who are trained in ancestral communication, ancestral elevation and funerary rites are assigned to invoke and bring out the ancestors, they wear elaborate costumes in masquerade. Through drumming and dance, the Egungun robed performers are believed to become possessed by the spirits of the ancestors, as manifested as a single entity; the Egungun spiritually cleans the community. In this way, they expose the strengths and weaknesses of the community to encourage behavior more befitting of their descendants; when this performance is completed, the performers as Egungun give messages and blessings to the assembled spectators. Important Egungun include both of Ibadanland.
Elewe of the Ìgbómìnà Yoruba clan, common in the towns of Òkè-Ìlá Òràngún, Ìlá Òràngún, Arandun, is of particular prominence. In Brazil, the main cult of the Egungun is found in the State of Bahia. Houses of worship dedicated to the Egungun exist in other states. Cloth plays an important role in the world of the Yoruba, their beliefs equate nakedness with insanity, or the lack of social responsibility. More elaborate dress reflects social prestige. In performances honoring ancestors, exquisite cloth is the major medium for the masker's transformation. An Egungun costume is composed of multiple layers of cloth lappets made from expensive and prestigious textiles, expressing the wealth and status of a family as well as the power of the ancestor; the composition of an Egungun ensemble has several distinctive features. The layer worn closest to the masker's skin, the undersack, must be made of Aso-Oke, the indigo and white strip-cloth, it resembles the shroud in which the dead are wrapped. This sack, along with the netting for the face and hands, must seal the masker's body.
The netting disguises facial and hand features that might disclose his identity. On top of this base are placed the layers of lappets; as the masker whirls, the lappets are sent flying, creating a "breeze of blessing." The design of the costume is therefore related to the choreography of the performance. Henry Drewal hypothesizes that the breeze of blessing created by the Egungun may relate to Oya, the wife of Shango, the deified fourth king of Oyo and the god of thunder. Oya is the whirlwind, considered a wind of blessing, that precedes the storm. To make the costume beautiful, thus powerful, the lappets are decorated with patchwork patterns, sequins and amulets; the amulets hold medicinal preparations which have performative power, providing protection against enemies at a time when the transformed person is vulnerable. The main protective amulets, are on the inside of the costume, not the outside. Metallic objects are sewn onto the garment; these catch the light as the wearer moves, creating flashes that suggest connection to the spirit world, orun.
The multiple hidden and visible layers of fabric used to create an Egungun costume signify the sacred and the worldly, respectively. The layers, used in combination, suggest the reunion of the living. An ensemble is repaired and refurbished for use year after year, with layers of new lappets and amulets added to express remembrance and honour. Through divination, however, an ancestor might request a new costume altogether; the owner and the patron, the priest of divination, the tailor, the herbalist who prepares the packets of medicines, the entire lineage collaborate in creating the ensemble. Depending upon its wealth, a family may own several types of Egungun costumes, which may represent specific or collective ancestors of the lineage; the Egungun ensemble acts as the medium for the masker's transformation into his ancestors. An Egungun society is composed of men and women whose lineages have th
Ife is an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. The city is located in present day Osun State. Ife is about 218 kilometers northeast of Lagos with a population of 509,813. According to the Yoruba religion Ife was founded by the order of the Supreme God Olodumare to Obatala and fell into the hands of his brother Oduduwa, which created turmoil between the two. Oduduwa created his own dynasty through his sons and daughters that became different rulers of many kingdoms; the first Oòni of Ife is a descendant of Oduduwa, the 401st Orisha. The present ruler since 2015 is Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife, a Nigerian accountant. Named as the city of 401 deities Ife is home to many worshipers of these deities which are celebrated through festivals. Along with the culture of Ife, their beliefs extend along the concept of the Ase, which help make art of the Kings and Gods. Ilé-Ifè is famous worldwide for its ancient and naturalistic bronze and terracotta sculptures, dating back to between 1200 and 1400 A.
D. According to Yoruba religion, the Supreme God, ordered Obatala to create the earth, but on his way he found palm wine which he drank and became intoxicated. Therefore, the younger brother of the latter, took the three items of creation from him, climbed down from the heavens on a chain and threw a handful of earth on the primordial ocean put a cockerel on it so that it would scatter the earth, thus creating the land on which Ile Ife would be built. Oduduwa planted a palm nut in a hole in the newly formed land and from there sprang a great tree with sixteen branches, a symbolic representation of the clans of the early Ife city-state; the usurpation of creation, by Oduduwa, gave rise to the ever-lasting conflict between him and his elder brother Obatala, still re-enacted in the modern era by the cult groups of the two clans during the Itapa New Year festival. On account of his creation of the world, Oduduwa became the ancestor of the first divine king of the Yoruba, while Obatala is believed to have created the first Yoruba people out of clay.
The meaning of the word "ife" in Yoruba is "expansion". Oduduwa had sons, a grandson, who went on to found their own kingdoms and empires, namely Ila Orangun, Ketu, Sabe and Oyo. Oranmiyan, Oduduwa's last born, was one of his father's principal ministers and overseer of the nascent Edo empire after Oduduwa granted the plea of the Edo people for his governance; when Oranmiyan decided to go back to Ile Ife, after a period of service in Benin, he left behind a child named Eweka that he had in the interim with an indigenous princess. The young boy went on to become the first legitimate ruler of the second Edo dynasty that has ruled what is now Benin from that day to this. Oranmiyan went on to found the Oyo Empire that stretched at its height from the western banks of the river Niger to the Eastern banks of the river Volta, it would serve as one of the most powerful of Africa's medieval states, prior to its collapse in the 19th century. The Oòni of Ife is a descendant of the godking Oduduwa, is counted first among the Yoruba kings.
He is traditionally considered the only one that speaks. In fact, the royal dynasty of Ife traces its origin back to the founding of the city more than ten thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ; the present ruler is Adeyeye Ogunwusi, styled His Imperial Majesty by his subjects. The Ooni ascended his throne in 2015. Following the formation of the Yoruba Orisha Congress in 1986, the Ooni acquired an international status the likes of which the holders of his title hadn't had since the city's colonisation by the British. Nationally he had always been prominent amongst the Federal Republic of Nigeria's company of royal Obas, being regarded as the chief priest and custodian of the holy city of all the Yorubas. In former times, the palace of the Ooni of Ife was a structure built of authentic enameled bricks, decorated with artistic porcelain tiles and all sorts of ornaments. At present, it is a more modern series of buildings; the current Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife, is a Nigerian accountant and the 51st Ooni of Ife.
He succeeded the late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who had died on July 28, 2015. Ife is well known as the city of 401 deities, it is said that every day of the year the traditional worshippers celebrate a festival of one of these deities. The festivals extend over more than one day and they involve both priestly activities in the palace and theatrical dramatisations in the rest of the kingdom; the King only appeared in public during the annual Olojo festival. Kings and Gods were depicted with large heads because the artists believed that the Ase was held in the head, the Ase being the inner power and energy of a person. Both historic figures of Ife and the offices associated with them are represented. One of the best documented among this is the early king Obalufon II, said to have invented bronze casting and is honored in the form of a naturalistic copper life-size mask; the city was a settlement of substantial size between the 12th and 14th centuries, with houses featuring potsherd pavements. Ilé-Ifè is known worldwide for its ancient and naturalistic bronze and terracotta sculptures, which reached their peak of artistic expression between 1200 and 1400 A.
D. In the period around 1300 C. E. the artists at Ife developed a refined and naturalistic sculptural tradition in terracotta and copper alloy - coppe
Tambor de Mina
Tambor de Mina is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced in Brazilian states of Maranhão, Piauí, Pará and the Amazônia. Tambor means drum in Portuguese, refers to the importance of the rhythmic element to worship. Mina derives from the name São Jorge da Mina, now known as Elmina Castle, refers to a designation given to African slaves, although the name did not refer to slaves who had passed through the fortress/port of São Jorge da Mina itself, but rather to "different ethnicities over time and place". For example,'Mina-Popo' was the designation for people from Little Popo Akan speakers who had migrated from west of the Volta River, "Mina-Nago" and "Mina-Congo" were other designations sometimes found in Brazil. Slavery in Maranhão was concentrated in the Itapecuru Valley, the Baixada Maranhense, São Luís, the capital of the Brazilian state of Maranhao. Cotton and sugar cane plantations contributed to the development of larger cities. Colonial houses were built with slave labor with their unique design influenced by the harmony and choreography of songs originating from ancient Africa.
Tambor of Mina worships vodums, orixás, entities who are called gentis or caboclos. Voduns, gods of the fon or jeje people, deified human ancestors; some young voduns called toquém or toquenos fulfill the function of guides, helpers of the other voduns. Tobóssis are infantile feminine deities, considered daughters of voduns; the voduns are grouped in 5 families: Davice. Each family occupies a specific part of the house and has its own songs and activities. There are 15 tobossis in Casa das Minas; the title of Tói means that the title of Nochê means that vodum is a female. Avievodum is the Supreme God, Legba is not considered a messenger, being identified as an evil spirit by the Casa das Minas, although he plays an important role in other temples. Tambor de Mina is a mixture of Dahomey Religion, Yoruba Religion, Fanti-Ashanti, Agrono or Cambinda, Indigenous American and European traditions, it is said that the encantados are entities of people who did not die, but disappeared mysteriously, becoming invisible or turning into animals or plants, living in a magical kingdom called Encantaria.
The encantados are present in diverse Amazon beliefs and they are organized in families in the Tambor de Mina: Lençol. They are invoked in religious ceremonies and the priest or priestess goes into trance; because of this cultural richness and syncretism present in the cult, these elements coexist in a harmonious way, being impossible to separate popular Catholicism, local folklore and the Encantaria, the Cure or Pajelança from the Tambor de Mina. It is said that the pantheon of encantados shared by the two religions "navigate in the two waters", being the Tambor de Mina classified as "sea water line" and the Cura/Pajelança as "fresh water line". In the temples of Tambor de Mina it is common to hold feasts and parties of the popular culture of Maranhão that are sometimes requested by spiritual entities that like them, such as the Feast of the Divine Holy Spirit, Bumba-meu-boi, Tambor de Crioula and others. Terecô is the denomination of one of the Afro-Brazilian religions of the city of Codó in Maranhão and Teresina in Piauí, derived from Tambor de Mina.
There are two main models of Tambor de Mina in Maranhão: jeje and Nagô. The former seems to be the oldest and settled around the Casa Grande das Minas Jeje, better known as Casa das Minas, the oldest temple, which must have been founded in São Luís in the 1840s; the other, contemporary and which continues to this day, has settled around the Casa de Nagô. Casa das Minas and Casa de Nagô are located in the same neighbourhood; the Casa das Minas is unique, it does not have houses that are affiliated to it, therefore no other follow its style. It was founded by an African woman named Maria Jesuina, who came to Brazil as a slave and, according to Pierre Verger, was the Queen Nã Agontimé, Wife of King Agonglô of Dahomey and mother of King Guezô; the most famous priestess of the temple was Mother Andressa Maria, considered the last princess of Fon direct lineage that headed the Casa das Minas. She was born in 1854 and died in 1954, at the age of 100. In this house, the songs are in language jeje and only are worshipped deities called voduns, but although it does not have affiliated houses, the cult model of the Tambor de Mina is i
Babalú-Ayé, is an Orisha associated with infectious disease and healing in the Yoruba religion, including the body and physical possessions. In West Africa, he was associated with epidemics of smallpox, influenza, HIV/AIDS. Although associated with illness and disease, Babalú-Ayé is the spirit that cures these ailments. Both feared and loved, Babalú-Ayé is sometimes referred to as the “Wrath of the supreme god” because he punishes people for their transgressions. People hold Babalú-Ayé in great respect and avoid calling his actual name, because they do not wish to invoke epidemics, his worship is associated with the Earth itself, his shrines are separated from travelled areas. His ritual tools include a ritual broom for purification, a covered terra-cotta vessel, abundant cowry shells. Considered hobbled by disease, he universally takes grains as offerings. Venerated by the Yoruba, O̩balúayé is called Shopona and said to have dominion over the Earth and smallpox, he demands respect and gratitude when he claims a victim, so people sometimes honor him with the praise name Alápa-dúpé, meaning “One who kills and is thanked for it”.
In one recounted story, Shopona was old and lame. He attended a celebration at the palace of the father of the orishas; when Shopona tried to dance, he fell. All the other orishas laughed at him, he in turn tried to infect them with smallpox. Obatala stopped him and drove him into the bush, where he has lived as an outcast since. Venerated by the Fon, the spirit is most called Sakpata, he has strong associations with smallpox and other infections. His worship is diverse in Fon communities, where many distinct manifestations of the spirit are venerated; because the dead are buried in the Earth, the manifestation called Avimadye is considered the chief of the ancestors. Venerated by the Ewe, there is a similar figure with the praise name Anyigbato, associated with sickness and displaced peoples, he is believed to wander the land at night. In Santería, Babalú-Ayé is among the most popular orishas. Syncretized with Saint Lazarus, regarded as miraculous, Babalú-Ayé is publicly honored with a pilgrimage on December 17, when tens of thousands of devotees gather at the Church and Leprosorium of Saint Lazarus in El Rincón, in the outskirts of Santiago de las Vegas, Havana.
Arará communities in Cuba and its diaspora honor the spirit as Asojano. Both traditions use sack cloth in rituals to evoke his humility; the spirit appears in Palo as Pata en Llaga. In Candomblé, Obaluaiê's face is thought to be so scarred by disease and so terrifying that he appears covered with a raffia masquerade that covers his whole body, he manifests in Umbanda and Macumba. Through divination, he speaks to his devotees through the Ifá signs Ojuani Meyi and Irete Meyi, though as a sickness, he can manifest in any divination sign. In cowrie-shell divination, he is strongly associated with the sign called Metanlá. There are several, sometimes contradictory, accounts of Babalú-Ayé's genealogical relationships to other orisha. Babalú-Ayé is considered the son of Yemoja and the brother of Shango. However, some religious lineages maintain that he is the son of Nana Buluku, while others assert that he is her husband; some lineages of Candomblé relate myths that justify Babalú-Ayé being the child of both Yemoja and Nana Burukú.
In these myths, Nana Burukú is Babalú-Ayé's true mother who abandons him to die of exposure on the beach where he is badly scarred by crabs. Yemoja discovers him there, takes him under her protection, nurses him back to health, educates him in many secrets; because of his knowledge of the forest and the healing power of plants, Babalú-Ayé is associated with Osain, the orisha of herbs. Oba Ecun describes the two orisha as two aspects of a single being, while William Bascom noted that some connect the two through their mutual close relationship with the spirits of the forest called ijimere; the narratives and rituals that carry important cultural information about Babalú-Ayé include various recurring and interrelated themes. Earth: Babalú-Ayé’s worship is linked to the Earth itself, his name identifies him with the Earth itself. Illness and Suffering: Long referred to as the “god of smallpox,” Babalú-Ayé links back to disease in the body and the changes it brings; because Babalú-Ayé both punishes people with illness and rewards them with health, his stories and ceremonies deal with the body as a central locus of experience for both human limitations and divine power.
His mythical lameness evokes the idea of living in a constant state of limitation and physical pain, while people appeal to him to protect them from disease. The Permeable Nature of Things: In the Americas, Babalú-Ayé vessels always have various holes in their lids, allowing offerings to enter but symbolizing the difficulty in containing illness completely; these holes are explicitly compared to sores that pock the orisha’s skin. This permeability appears in the sack cloth and raffia fringe called mariwó used to dress the orisha. Secrecy and Revelation: The contrast between silence and speech and light, secrecy and revelation permeate the worship of Babalú-Ayé. According to the tradition, certain things must remain secret to sustain their ritual power or their healthy function. In turn inappropriate revelation leads to illness and other n