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'''Santería''', also known as '''La Religión''', '''Regla de Ocha''', '''La Regla Lucumí''' or '''Lukumi''', is a syncretic religion+ of West Africa+n and Caribbean+ origin influenced by and syncretized with Roman Catholicism+. Its liturgical language+, a dialect of Yorùbá+, is also known as Lucumí+.

Santería is a system of beliefs that merges the Yorùbá religion+ (which was brought to the New World+ by West Africans+) with Roman Catholicism, and may include Amerindian traditions. These Africans carried with them various religious customs, including a trance for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice and sacred drumming and dance. According to various ''patakís'' regarding the origin of the Yorùbá, the beliefs were passed down from generation to generation by their ancestors who were, at the time, a nomad+ic people (perhaps referring to the Beja+, Bedouin+, or Tuareg+, all of which are of Hamitic+ or Semitic+ stock and speak or originally once spoke Hamito-Semitic languages+). The nomadic proto-Yorùbá retained their traditional religious beliefs but lost their native language, either due to isolation or intermixing with surrounding languages, in an effort to build and expand their kingdoms and empires. In another ''patakí'', it is stated that the original ancestors of the Yorùbá were from an area much further away from contemporary Yorùbáland+, being originally from the ''Northeast'', perhaps signifying Egypt+, Ethiopia+, Arabia+ or even Assyria+. One ''patakí'' states that the ancestors of the Yorùbá differentiated themselves from Bantu peoples when they reached West Africa by way of the present-day Sudan+. It has also been noted that there are numerous similarities between the Yorùbá religion and the ancient Mesopotamian religion+, Egyptian religion+, Berber religion+, Arabian religion+, Semitic religion+, Indo-Iranian religion+, Greek religion+, and Roman religion+, due to their shared Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European roots. Some scholars have suggested that the ruling Yoruba dynasties+ are descendants of the aristocracy+ of ancient Assyria+.

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



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

This historical "veil" characterization of the relationship between Catholic saints and orichas 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.'' 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 full-fledged 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. This must be done by a ''Babaaláwo+'' (Father Who Knows the Secrets), in a divination ritual known as ''bajar Orula'' (bringing down Orula)." 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 the "receiving of the warrior", is a ritual where the initiated receives objects from their babaaláwo that represents the warriors; Iron tools to represent Ogún, Lord of Iron; an iron bow and arrow to represent Ochosi, the Divine Hunter; and an iron or silver chalice surmounted by a rooster to represent Osún, the messenger of Obatalá and Olofi, and who also works alongside Orula. 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 ''olorichas'' or owner of'' Orichá''. 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 ''Diloggun'') of the ''Orichás'' they can be considered ''Italeros'', or if they go through training to become leaders of initiations, ''Obas'' or ''Oriates''.

Considered to be highest in rank are priests of ''Ifá+'' (, ), which in Santería is an all-male group. ''Ifá'' Priests receive ''Orúnmila+'', who is the ''Oricha'' of Prophecy, Wisdom and Knowledge. Once this happens they are known by the title ''Babaaláwo+ (''Father Who Knows the Secrets)

In recent years, a particular practice of the traditional Yorùbá ''If''á priests (from Nigeria+) has come to the diaspora of initiating women to be ''Iyanifá'' or "Mother of Destiny", but Lucumí practitioners do not typically accept this practice due to their interpretation of the ''Odu Ifa Irete Untelu'' which states women cannot be in the presence of Olofi and so cannot be initiated as divining priestesses. This is a major difference between traditional ''Lucumí Ifá'' practitioners, and some traditional Yorùbá practitioners from Oshogbo and, since the 1980s, ''Ilé-Ifẹ̀''. Instead, a woman in Lucumí is initiated as ''Apetebi Ifá'', ''a'' "bride of Ifá", and is considered senior in Ifá to all but a fully initiated'' ''Babaaláwo''. ''There was little evidence of Iyanifá existing in West Africa until very recently, so the existence of the'' ''Iyanifá'' ''is likely to be of modern origin in Yorùbáland, and it is probably due to this reason that it does not appear in the Latin variant. The foremost Western academic authority on'' Ifá'', William Bascom+, traveled throughout Yorùbáland studying the ''Ifá'' cult in a series of visits in 1937–38, 1950–51, 1960 and 1965, and never encountered a single Iyanifá''' '''nor was he told of their existence by any of his informants.''' '''However, Maupoil, in his 1943 doctoral thesis, does mention he encountered a woman Ifá diviner in Dahomey+.''''''

Cuban traditional healing practices are rooted in the spiritual and ethnic religious influences of West Africa+, East Africa+, and North Africa+. Having a strong spiritual component, Cuban 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 spirits.

Prevalent in the African 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 Ocha'' and the other Cuban traditional healing practice, the ''Babaláwos'' of the ''Regla de Ifá ''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'' and ''Babaaláwos''.

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 Ocha'' ''/ Ifá ''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 lord of the herbs, and Babaluye-Aye, the ruler 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 orichas that is approached for very specific health issues. Thus, Inle is also known as the protector of homosexuals.''''''

People go to a ''consulta'' because of some physical ailment or personal problem affecting their health. 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 Lucumí diviners to guide or give insights or moral lessons to a people who come 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 ''oricha'' ruler of herbs, Osaín. Most clients who see ''Santeros'' would never be told to drink it.

The Santería of the ''Regla de Ocha'' and the ''Babaalawos'' of the ''Regla de Ifá'' are just two of the many traditional healing practices used in the Afro-Caribbean 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 Cuban transculturation+, traditional healing practices are practized 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

The traditional Yorùbá religion and its Santería counterpart are mainly found in Africa+ (notably West Africa+, East Africa+, and North Africa+) and the Americas+ (notably the Caribbean+), including Cuba+, Puerto Rico+, Dominican Republic+, Colombia+, Venezuela+, and the United States+, mainly as a result of Cuban+ and Puerto Rican+ migration.

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 Yorùbá origin called Candomblé+ is practiced in Brazil+. This is now being referred to as "parallel religiosity" because some believers worship the African variant that has no belief of a devil+, yet they are baptized Roman Catholic and belong to Roman Catholic churches.

In 1993, the issue of animal sacrifice+ 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 Yoruba 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.

There have been a few highly publicized cases where injuries allegedly occurred during Lukumi rituals. One such case reported by ''The New York Times+'' took place on January 18, 1998, in Sayville, New York+, in which 17-year-old Charity Miranda was suffocated with a plastic bag at her home by her mother Vivian, 39, and sister Serena, 20, after attempting an exorcism+ to free her of demons. Police found the women chanting and praying over the prostrate body. Not long before, the women had embraced Lukumi. However, Lukumi doctrine does not postulate the existence of demons, nor does its liturgy contain exorcism rituals. The mother, Vivian Miranda, was found not guilty due to insanity and is currently confined in a New York State psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane.


* Religion in Cuba+
* Religion in Puerto Rico+
* Religion in the Dominican Republic+
* Lucumi people+
* Lucumi language+
* Yoruba religion+
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Afro-American Religions:
Orisa-Ifá:

Santería+ Santería, also known as La Religión, Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumí or Lukumi, is a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by and syncretized with Roman Catholicism.
Santeria (song)+ "Santeria" is a song by Sublime on the album Sublime. The song includes the bassline and guitar riff from Sublime's earlier song "Lincoln Highway Dub" off the album Robbin' the Hood.
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.
 Santeria (disambiguation)+ Santeria may refer to: