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'''Santería''', also known as '''Regla de Ochá''' or '''La Regla Lucumí''', is a syncretic religion+ of Caribbean+ origin which developed in the Spanish Empire+. Santería is influenced by and syncretized with Roman Catholicism+. Its liturgical language+, a dialect of Yoruba+, is also known as Lucumí+.

Santería is a system of beliefs that merges the Yoruba mythology+ brought to the New World+ by Yoruba slaves with Christianity and Indigenous American traditions. The slaves carried with them various religious customs, including a trance and divination system for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice, and sacred drumming and dance.

Upon its arrival in the Americas, this religious tradition evolved into what we now recognize as Santería.



In order to preserve their traditional beliefs, the Lucumí people+ syncretized their ''Orichás'' with Roman Catholic ''Saints''. Due to this history, among practitioners, the terms "saint" and "orichá" are commonly used interchangeably.

This historical "veil" characterization of the relationship between Catholic saints and Orichás is made all the more complicated by the fact that the vast majority of ''santeros'' in Cuba+, Puerto Rico+, and the Dominican Republic+, are also Roman Catholics, have been baptized+, and often require initiates to be baptized in Roman Catholicism as well.

In 1974, the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye became the first Santería church in the United States to become officially incorporated.

Santería does not use a central creed for its religious practices; though it is understood in terms of its rituals and ceremonies.'' (house of saints), also known as an ''ilé''. Most ''ilés'' are in the homes of the initiated Priests and Priestesses. ''Ilé'' shrines are built, by the priests and priestess, to the different orichás which creates a space for worship, called an ''igbodu'' (altar).

Each ''ilé'' is composed of those who occasionally seek guidance from the orishas, as well as those who are in the process of becoming priests.

The many '''' and '''' that bridged the 19th and 20th centuries are fondly remembered by contemporary priests as the origins and strongholds of Cuban Lucumí culture and religion.

To become a Santero+ or Santera (Priest or Priestess of Santería), the initiator must go through an intensive week-long initiation process'' (blessing of the head), in which coconut water and cotton are applied on the head to feed it.

The first ritual is known as the acquisition of the beaded necklaces (known as ''elekes''); according to De La Torre, "the colors and patterns of the beads on the elekes will be those of the orichá that serves as the iyawo's (bride) ruling head and guardian angel and so the first thing that must be done is to determine who the orichá is. The ''elekes'' necklace is bathed in a mixture of herbs, sacrificial blood, and other potent substances and given to the initiated. serves as the sacred banners for the ''Orichás'' and act as a sign of the ''Orichá's'' presence and protection; however, it must never be worn during a women's menstruation period, nor during sex, nor when bathing.

The second important ritual is known as '''', the creation of an image of the orichá Eleguá. The individual will go through a consultation with a Santero, where all the recipients' life, past, present, and future, will be reviewed. During the consultation, the Santero determines which path of Eleguá the recipient will receive. Then, based on his findings, he chooses materials that will be used to construct the image of the Eleguá, a sculpture that is used to keep evil spirits away from the initiator's home. This ritual is only prepared by men as the orichás take some of the Santero's "manly" spirit in the process.

The third ritual, known as "receiving the warriors", is a ritual where the initiated receives objects from their padrino that represents the warriors; Iron tools to represent Ogún; an iron bow and arrow to represent Ochosi; and an iron or silver chalice surmounted by a rooster to represent Osún. This ritual begins a formal and lifelong relationship that the initiate will have with these Orichás, as the orichás devote their energies to protecting and providing for the initiate on their path.

The last ritual of the initiation process is known as '''' (ascending the throne), and is the most important and the most secretive ritual in Santería, as it is the ceremony where the ''iyawo'' (bride of the oricha) becomes "born again" into the faith. This ritual is a culmination of the previous rituals, and cannot be made unless the others have been completed. Asiento is a process of purification and divination whereby the initiated becomes like a newborn baby and begins a new life of deeper growth within the faith.

Once the initiation is completed, depending on the individuals "house", there is a year-long waiting period, known as ''iyaboraje'', in which the newly appointed Priest and Priestess can not perform cleansings and other remedies.'' has been completed there will be an end of year ceremony, which will enable the Priest or Priestess to consult clients, perform cleansings, provide remedies and perform initiations. And according to Gonzalez: "they are also regarded as royalty in the religion, as they are considered representatives of the ''Orichás'' and are vested with the power to work with the forces of those ''Orichás'' in full."

With Santería rituals there are musical ceremonies and prayers which are referred to as ''bembé+'', '''', or ''tambor''. It is a celebration dedicated to an ''Orichá'', where the ''batá'' drums (set of three drums known as the ''iya'' (the largest drum), ''itoltele'', and ''okonkolo'') are played in the ''Orichá'''s honor.

Priests are commonly known as ''Santeros'' or ''Olorichas''. Once those priests have initiated other priests, they become known as ''babalorichás'', "fathers of ''orichá''" (for men), and as ''iyalorichás'', "mothers of ''orichá''" (for women). Priests can commonly be referred to as ''Santeros'' (male) and ''Santeras'' (female), and if they function as diviners (using cowrie-shell divination+ known as ''Dilogun'') of the ''Orichás'' they can be considered ''Italeros'', or if they go through training to become leaders of initiations, ''Obas'' or ''Oriates''.

Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican traditional healing practices are rooted in the spiritual influences of America+, West Africa+, and Europe+.
Having a strong spiritual component, these traditional healing practices also use the pathways of the herbalist+, psychologist+, ethicist+, and that of a respected spiritual medium interceding between God and human beings. Du Toit refers to Cuban traditional healing practices as ethnomedicine+ which taps on the biodynamic chemical properties of certain plants, from which some commercial drugs were derived, such as the cardiac medications, digitalis+, quinine+, and curare+ - chemicals causing neuromuscular paralysis.'' (the herbalist), '''' (the curer), '''' (the religious healer), and '''' (the botanist). Du Toit continues, "Cuba is one of the regions in which a great deal of ethnographic and ethnobotanical research has been conducted."

Du Toit When a person is sick, the healer thinks, interprets and reacts, considering the illness not just a physical dysfunction but also an interface with suffering and bad luck in life, believed to be brought on by the activity of bad spirits.

Prevalent in Caribbean cultures, '''' is a part of the Latin American traditional healing practice. Du Tout reveals that Santería has a "strong element of spiritism." However, in general, the ''Santeros'' of the ''Regla de Ochá ''primarily turn to religion as their practice to address personal challenges and identify means to improve a situation.''''' '''''Many people may go and see espirititas who don't see a ''Santero''. Also, espiritistas may work hand in hand with ''Santeros''.

While psychotherapy uses allopathic+ principles, spiritism uses homeopathic+ principles which aim to reduce the anxiety, or permit the patient to acknowledge pent-up emotions, unexpressed guilt, or repressed behavior through catharsis meant to release emotions the patient may not even be aware of.

The reputation of ''espiritistas'' was tinged with negativity, being accused of witchcraft because they deal with health through the unfamiliar paradigm of the spirit world, which was not understood by either the medical doctors or the Catholic priests. Consequently, ''espiritistas'' or traditional healers of Santería and other Latin American cultures working with healing through the spirit world are attacked as "works of the devil" from the pulpits of the Catholic Churches and labeled as "quackery" from the journals of the medical profession. This unique system of knowledge is appreciated as ethnopharmacology or ethnomedicine.

Aligning and harmonizing with the forces of nature, practitioners of the ''Regla de Ochá ''invoke on the guidance of ''Orichás''. There are three foremost ''orichás'' that are predominantly concerned with folk-healing, however, other ''orichás'' may be invoked to help a person with a specific problem. These main ''orichás'' are: '''Osaín''', the orichá of the herbs; '''Babalú-Ayé''', the orichá of contagious and epidemic diseases; and '''Inle''', the patron of physicians. Osaín is the patron of ''curanderos'' or traditional herbal healers, also called ''Osainistas''. The forest has everything that would maintain a robust health and keep a person away from malevolence, thus, Santería practitioners would agree that no spell will be able to work without the sanction of Osaín, the master herbalist commanding the healing secrets of plant life. Inle is the patron of physicians, known as a healer who favors scientific methods. Inle is ranked as one of the orichás that is approached for very specific health issues. Thus, Inle is also known as the protector of homosexuals+ and feminosexuals+.''''''

People go to a ''consulta'' for many reasons, mainly for health related issues. Divination is a means that traditional healers utilize to inquire further on the details of a problem. Divination may articulate the origin/cause of the problem; in addition, it may include prescriptions for solutions/suggestions to certain difficulties. Hence, the ''Santeros'' offer cowrie-shell divination+ or other appropriate traditional practices. Rituals+, or the reading of patakí+s may be done to clarify a problem which sometimes the person consulting may not even be aware of. Passed orally from many generations, ''patakí'' are parables used by diviners to guide or give insights or moral lessons to a person who came for consultation. The ''patakí'' re An ''omiero'' is a sacred mixture that is made up for very specific Santería ceremonies and is believed to embody the ''orichá'' ruler of herbs, Osaín. Most clients who see ''Santeros'' would never be told to drink it.

Santería traditional healing is just one of the many traditional healing practices used in Caribbean and Latin American cultures. Being so attuned to the natural world, these traditional healers bring this sensitivity to assist in the holistic improvement of a patient. Owing to the unique form of transculturation+, traditional healing practices are practiced side by side with allopathic+ medicine through the progressive, universal Cuban healthcare+ system. Cuban healthcare integrates the biopsychosocial model which is geared towards preventive and community-oriented psychology, with the general health philosophy of the country.

Santería is mainly found in the Americas+ (notably the Caribbean+), including but not limited to Cuba+, Puerto Rico+, Dominican Republic+, Panama+, Colombia+, Venezuela+, Mexico+, and the United States+.

In 2001, there were an estimated 22,000 practitioners in the US alone, but the number may be higher as some practitioners may be reluctant to disclose their religion on a government census or to an academic researcher. Of those living in the United States, some are fully committed priests and priestesses, others are godchildren or members of a particular house-tradition, and many are non-committal clients seeking help with their everyday problems.

A similar religion of Yoruba origin called Candomblé Queto+ is practiced in Brazil+, Argentina+, and Uruguay+. This is referred to as "parallel religiosity".

In 1993, the issue of animal sacrifice+ in Santería was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States+ in the case of ''Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah+.'' The court ruled that animal cruelty laws targeted specifically at Santería were unconstitutional.

In 2009, legal and religious issues that related to animal sacrifice+, animal rights+, and freedom of religion+ were taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit+ in the case of ''Jose Merced, President Templo Yoruba Omo Orisha Texas, Inc., v. City of Euless.'' The court ruled that the Merced case of the freedom of exercise of religion+ was meritorious and prevailing and that Merced was entitled under the Texas Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (TRFRA) to an injunction preventing the city of Euless, Texas+, from enforcing its ordinances restricting his religious practices relating to the use of animals, (see Tex. Civ. Prac. and Rem. Code § 110.005(a)(2)) without the court having to reach his claims under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The city of Euless, even after losing a drawn-out lawsuit that tested the boundaries of religious liberty in Texas, was still searching for new ways to shut down Merced's spiritual practices.

* Candomblé Queto+
* Ifá+






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* , A database of the rhythms and chants found in recordings
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Afro-American Religions:
Orisa-Ifá:

Santería+ Santería, also known as Regla de Ochá or La Regla Lucumí, is a syncretic religion of Caribbean origin which developed in the Spanish Empire.
Santeria (song)+ "Santeria" is a song by American rock band Sublime on their 1996 album Sublime. The song was released as a single on January 7, 1997. Despite the fact the song was released after the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell, Santeria along with "What I Got" are often considered the band's signature songs.
 Santeria (disambiguation)+ Santeria may refer to:
A Little Happiness+ A Little Happiness is the second studio album and the first album to be released from American pop/rock singer-songwriter Aimee Allen, released on July 21, 2009 by Side Tracked Records.