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Santeria origin came about because slaves from Africa were being mocked by their masters who were Spanish in a seemingly excessive way, and that’s because they wanted the slaves to worship Catholic saints instead of their native religion.

And because their masters don’t want to see them worship their African gods, so they pretended they were practicing Christianity by praying to the saints, while still remaining faithful to their animistic beliefs.


A process of synchronization began in Cuba and it’s between the Catholics and Yorubans that eventually created a new religious system called Regla de Osha or Santeria. This synchronization spread to Latin America, the United States and even in Europe.

The fundamental pillars of santeria origin include believing in animistic things. It’s a monotheistic religion while maintaining a polytheistic practice. They only recognize one god; they believe that this one god is the creator of everything that exists.

Lfa and Osha

Santeria origin has a hierarchy of priests. Lfa and Osha are considered separate branches. The highest priests of Santeria or Regla de Osha- Ifa are the babalowos, priests of Ifa.


Under these priests are the santeros and santeras called babaloshas and iyaloshas respectively, and they have consecrated godchildren. The babalorishas (santeros) and iyalorishas (santeras) have no godchildren. The iyawos are in the first year of consecration, and the aleyos are believers but haven’t been consecrated yet.

All santeria origin has gone through purification rituals and other specific rites of initiation followed by the receiving of the Orisha warriors as well as the saint’s coronation that corresponds to their guardian angel.

Modern Day Santeria

At the end of the 19th century, Santeria eventually have devotees from the Spanish population of the Caribbean particularly in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.  Today the beliefs and customs of santeria origin are being applied in New York and Miami, and it is as widely practiced in the Caribbean islands.

The Havana River was believed to have a spirit of Oshun, and they also believe that the crashing waves of the Caribbean Sea declare the power of another spirit known as Yemaya. And if the white clouds are calm, they believe that peace was rained upon the children of Obatala.

Spirit of Orisha

If there are lightning bolts in every thunderstorm, they believe that it beckons Shango’s energy. They also rely on the guidance of Papa Elegua and they believe that the spirit of Orisha is in everything.

Santeria origin is alive in Cuba, and you can see the people’s devotion because it can be found on various places such as private homes, buses, restaurants, and it’s also being given as musical performances. It’s also being performed as rituals in homes, by rivers, and in the forests in Havana.

Santeria Origin: Tools

The tools that are being used by worshippers along with their Orishas is for focusing their individual powers or energy. Ritual music is always being played during ceremonies. One great example of a tool being used during rituals is drums. Drums are believed to be the music of the African gods. Before any Santeria ritual starts, the worshippers dance to the beat of the sacred drums, and while worshippers do this, they take their message to the Orishas.

The drums are being played with joy whenever the Orishas grant a request and this is also a sign of their gratitude. The drums are also being played whenever there are funerals and it’s being offered to the spirits of the dead. Sometimes it’s also used by some people who are seriously ill.

Drum Rituals

Regardless of the occasions, the drums are honored before and after being played. The believers were made to Osain which was the Orisha who owns the drums. If the drums are happy and well – fed, it was believed to sound better.

Santeria devotees interact with one another every day. Those who are non – initiates usually lack the background knowledge that would allow them to recognize a worshipper or practitioner on the street. Most devotees wear something that identify with their orisha and it usually comes in the form of necklaces and bracelets.

Santo Devotees

Other devotees who are seeking further engagement with their Orisha usually elect themselves as a “santo” or a saint through an initiation process. They’re usually the easiest to notice since they wear all – white clothing to identify their spiritual devotion to the faith and santeria origin.

Santeria is a complex spiritual tradition and even if one studies for a long time and has had conversations with devotees, there’s still a lot to learn. In Cuba, santeria origin exists in many cultural forms. For instance, Babalawo is the name given to spiritual leaders, who through a process of ‘cowrie shell divination,’ can tell an individual or devotee who their Orisha is.

Many of the people are fearful of religions such as Vodun including Santeria because many non – initiates equate these religions with practices of Witchcraft. However, we have to make it clear that Santeria is not Witchcraft. It’s definitely not about the study of spells nor is it about using spells to harm anyone else.

Anyone who thinks that the Santeria is something that can be used to harm another person, keep a lover, or win the lottery hasn’t understood the fundamentals of Santeria and is definitely misguided.

Divination System

The Santeria uses systems of divination as their guides. They also look to their ancestors for help and advice.

The Orishas rap trio is not particularly religious in their songs. The name of the band reflects certain spirituality present that’s also within the Cuban culture and santeria origin.

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