The Orisha - 7 African Powers
Saint: Our Lady of Mercy
Description: Obatala is the eldest of the Orishas, the owner of white cloth, the king of peace and logic. He encourages us to use diplomacy and reason when acting and is often the Orisha who mediates disputes between the other orishas. Obatalá is actually a androgynous Orisha where half of his avatars are male and the other half are female. It is therefore possible to have a female Obatalá like the road Obanlá in addition to male roads like Ayáguna. Obatalá’s shrine is placed higher than the other Orishas‘ shrines out of respect for his status as their elder. He is often depicted as an elderly black man with chalk white hair dressed in white robes.
Shangó (Changó, Sango)
Saint: Saint Barbara
Colors: Red and white
Description: Shangó (Changó) is the king of the religion of Ife and was once the fourth king (Alafin) of the city of Oyó in Yoruba land before he was deified and became an Orisha. He is the Orisha of lightning, thunder and fire, the owner of the sacred batá drums, the power of passion and virility. Changó is a ladies’ man and a charmer. Changó is the master of dance, a fierce warrior and a powerful sorcerer who spits fire. He is depicted as a handsome, young man wearing a crown and carrying a double headed axe.
Saint: Saint Peter
Colors: Green and black
Description: Ogún is a mighty warrior, the divine blacksmith who crafts tools and weapons and the hardest working Orisha of them all. Ogún is the father of technology, the cutting edge of the knife and the power of metal. Ogún is often perceived as a powerful muscular man wearing a skirt made of palm fiber and he carries a machete.
Saint: Our Lady of Charity of Cobre
Colors: Yellow and amber
Description: Oshún is the Orisha of sweetness, love and beauty. She is the embodiment of feminine grace, and is a flirtatious coquette. She is a generous and loving mother, but she can also quickly turn bitter if she is wronged. Once she is soured, she is unforgiving and unbending. Oshún can accomplish miracles untold. She is the youngest of the orishas and is depicted as a flirtatious, mixed-race woman dressed in yellow, gazing in a mirror.
Saint: Our Lady of Regla
Colors: Blue and clear
Description: Yemayá is the mother of all living things, the queen of heaven, earth and all waters. She resides in the ocean and her children are countless like the fishes in the sea. Yemaya is the mother of many of the other Orishas as well. In addition to being a loving mother she is a fierce protectress. She can fight with a machete or a scimitar and bathe in the blood of her enemies. Yemaya is often depicted as a voluptuous black woman with full breasts dressed in blue.
Oyá (Yansa, Yansan)
Saint: Our Lady of Candelmas or Saint Theresa
Colors: Brown, dark red or multi-colors
Description: Oyá is a fierce female warrior and the Orisha of change. She took the secret of slinging lightning from Changó. She fights with machetes and scares away Ikú (death) with her horsetail fly whisk. She is the owner of the cemetery gates, but does not live in the cemetery contrary to common belief. She resides in the marketplace. She is depicted as a lithe powerful warrior woman wearing a skirt of nine different colors.
Elegguá (Elewá, Elegbá)
Saint: Saint Anthony
Colors: Red and black
Number: 3 and 21
Description: Elegguá is the first and most important Orisha in Ife. He is the owner of the crossroads, the witness of fate and acts as the connecting agent in this world. Elegguá is often perceived as a trickster or impish child who tests our integrity.