The Orishas

The African Ladies - The Female Orishas

Unlike European gods and goddesses, the Africa Orishas are not completely anthropomorphized. They represent elemental energies and as such are, today, vital and dynamic images for personal work and creative drama. They are worshipped in the modern religions of Yoruba, Santeria, Voudoun, and Macumba. They are often depicted as flowing pieces of cloth swirling images of color.

Oshum by Mary B. KellyOshun-Erzulie Yalode (Oxum) Oshun painting by Mary B. Kelly. To see her work Shrine of the Black Virgins and Women with Wings click on this link

Oshun is the Orisha of freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams. Today in the she has been associated with St. Catherine, Our Lady of Caridad del Cobre, Mother of Charity. Her special day is Thursday. The number associated with her is5. Her name comes from the Oshun River in Nigeria. Her colors are yellow and green. Her birds are quail, vultures, parrots, and peacocks. She likes loves coral! She is totally captivated by all that glitters, especially gold. She loves bells, fans, mirrors, scallop shells, and likes to be offered honey, cinnamon, oranges, pumpkins, and French pastry.

To call upon Her, the proper greeting is, "Ori Ye Ye O". She is identified with the new crescent Moon and Venus. Her favorite places in the home are in the kitchen and bedrooms,

"Oh, my mother Oshun, Queen of rivers and streams. Oh, my mother Oshun, hear our prayers. Near the waterfall there is a small cave, near the waterfall there is a small golden bench; near the waterfall my mother Oshun often comes to rest."

She controls all feminine activity. Her symbol is a fan, comb or mirror. She loves yellow flowers. Magical offerings can be sent to her in small paper boats.

Yemaya-Olokun (Iemanja)

Yemaya is the Orisha of the oceans (all salt water). In modern times she is identified with Mary, Our Lady of Regla, and Mary, Star of the Sea.

Yemaya"I am the daughter of the deep blue sea, I am the daughter of the pounding waves, I am the daughter of the bright ocean foam. Oh, my mother Yemaya, queen of the great salt sea, Oh, my mother, Yemaya, descend and counsel me.

December 31st is her feast day. Her color is sky blue and white. Her metal is silver. She likes anything that shines. Her special day is on September the 7th. She loves watermelon, sugar cane syrup, she-goats, ducks, and hens.

Saturday is her day and her number is 7. Her colors are blue and white. She loves crystal, silver, shorebirds, cockroaches, conch shells, gourd rattles, cornmeal, molasses, and watermelon, To call out to her in greeting, : " Omio Yemaya" She is associated with the full moon and Neptune. her places in the homes are the bedrooms, children's rooms, and the bathroom.

Oya-Yansa Iansa (Oya)

"Here comes Oya with her luminous crown. Here comes Oya with the wind and the rain. She travels the forest, flying over hills. Here comes Oya, queen of the wind and rain."

OyaOya, is tornados, wind and lightening. She is often associated with Our Lady of Candeleria, St. Catherine, St. Teresa and Saint Barbara, She is warrior woman, an Amazon. She is armed and helmeted and fights injustice. Her color is red - Her children wear red beads - She is storm - tempest and rain. She loves to dance. She is the only Orisha who dares to confront the spirits of the dead. Her Feast Day is December 4th. She is also honored on February 2. She loves eggplant, hens, she-goats, sheep, locust, black horsehair, switches, copper. red wine, eggplant, plums, and grapes. Her colors are red, purple, brown, and burnt orange.

Her day is Wednesday and her number is 9. You can call to her by singing, "hekua Oya". She is associated with the dark moon and the planet Uranus. Her places in the home are in the library and study.

To see more on Oya - Click Here!

Yewa (Yegua)

YewaYewa is the Orisha of Death. She is a Virgin Orisha. Her priestesses are past their prime and always celibate. She is associated with Saint Claire. Her color is pink. When she dances at funeral rites she covers her face with two horse tails. She is queen of the underworld. She represents the spiritual side of the Goddess, the inward-looking, mystical aspects of being.

image - Eva Mitala - Paintings,

Obatala - Iya

IyaObatala is the supreme deity of the Yoruba pantheon, an androgynous creator. An ancient woman dressed in luminous white cloth with lustrous white hair. She who shapes the child in the womb, most benevolent, most wise, infinitely powerful. Judge, keeper of the peace, highest ethical standards, forgiving and vengeful, brilliant and retarded, perfect and deformed. She whips the arrogant and blesses them with humility. She rules the head. Iya (mother) Baba (father) She is both male and female.
Her day is Sunday and her number is 8. She is associated with clouds. her colors are white with silver or purple. She loves owls, doves, snails, and elephants, and likes to eat coconut, pears, and black-eyed peas.

To greet her, call out, "Maferefun Iya"! Her planet is Jupiter and her place in the home is in the living room. She can be seen as a "peace cloud".

Image -Kenneth Shofela Coker at