Introduction to Lucumi Beads and the Foundation of orisha Beadwork

t in a series of videos that explore and explain the types of beads used in Lucumi worship to make elekes, ides, mazos, and so on. I hope to grow this series to include how to make these items for the orishas according to traditional techniques. 

Gala elekes and ides for Obatala and Elegua

Obatala and Elegua ides and gala elekes I made these for a friend who is crowing their first two santos. The “gala” elekes are multi stranded ones used to identify who is the guardian angel of the iyawo as it is bigger and fancier than the other elekes worn. I like to make these multi-stranded….

Iruke for Obatala Oshagriñan

I recently made an iruke (horsetail fly whisk) for Obatala Oshagriñan, the elder warrior Obatala. Oshagriñan is a strategist and alchemist and grants predictive vision to his children. Like Ayaguna, Oshagriñan takes a color other than funfun or the white color palette. Oshagriñan takes red or slightly orange coral (iyun), but not too much. Along with Czech glass white and…

Narigones for Orisha Oko

A narigon is a nose ring that is used for oxen. We put them to orisha Oko. The narigon is also symbolic of not being burdened or shackled, that you have freedom. Here you see a brass narigon that I have decorated for Orisha Oko. The original narigon has a cloth wrapper sewn around it…

Sizing Beads

So, seed beads, as mentioned in a previous post, come in various sizes. They are written in “4/0 or 5/0” and are called “three o’s” (etc.); the smaller the first number, THE BIGGER THE BEAD. It used to mean that if you laid down a row of beads, end to end, the first number would…

Oshun Fans

I really love making Oshun fans. I buy these fertility fans and then paint them gold. I use a different shade of gold to highlight the lips, eyes, and some yeza or facial marks. I weave the beads to the body in different colours depending on the road. I then give her necklaces and earrings….

Some Ifa Things

Here are some slightly different things for Orunmila/Ifa that I have made: Ide Ifa (idefa) that use blue cylindrical beads called “segi” or shegi. Segi beads are a sign of royalty and regeneration and these cornflower blue beads are said to be deposited in the earth by the rainbow python, Oshumare. They are said to…

It’s “ide” not “ilde”

I’m sorry to be a pain in the neck, and in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter, but the word used for bracelet in Lukumi is IDE (eeeh-day) not ILDE. No “L” necessary.

The differences between a Babalawo and a Santero

This isn’t going to be the in-depth treatise about the philosophical and liturgical differences between babalawo and olorisha (in Lukumi). I don’t have the energy for that post while I am on the road. But this is just to give newbies a cheat-sheet as the terms can get confusing. First off, a babalawo is a…

Matipó: A Bead Color You Should Know

I mentioned this bead in a previous post, it describes a colour somewhere between red and brown. A reddish brown, but definitely a brown (not wine or anything so red). Matipó pictured below is used in elekes for Asojano, Aganju, some Oguns, Oba, and Oya.   You will see that there is definitely some red in…