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…

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 clear…

Olokun Tinaja Decorated with Seashells

Below you will see a video of an Olokun tinaja (tall lidded urn) I recently finished. It is covered in seashells, including cowries which are cemented in place. Some might think that this is for “Olokun de Ifa” as the Olokun that babalawos give is covered in cement with some shells. This tinaja is for…

Santeria: African Spirits in America by Joseph M. Murphy

This was one of the first books I ever read on the religion, when I could only dream about visiting a botánica in NYC as beautifully written about in this book. I recommend this book and others by Joseph Murphy to anyone interested in the religion, from  personal to academic inquiry. Murphy started the book…

Dada Omolowo Ori Omo Lube o

Dada and Abayani Dada is the deity of riches, and protector of children and therefore related to the development and care of the human embryo and especially the human head alongside Obatala. The Lukumi believe Dada is Shango’s junior siblingl. Dada’s children are ordained to Shango. Dada is male and his consecrated materials are kept in…

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…

The Two Waters

Oshun and Yemaya are described as the “two waters” relating specifically to the odus “odi-she” (in dilogun divination: 7-5) and “oshe-di” (in dilogun divination: 5-7). These odus state that the person doesn’t have one mother, but two: Oshun and Yemaya, who govern, love, and protect the person in equal and interested manner. Therefore, when you see…

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…

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…