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Finding Inspiration In The Way Of The Orishas

The roots of Orisha worship rest in Southwestern African indigenous rituals of the Yoruba-speaking tribes of Nigeria and Benin. The rituals were brought to the Americas (the Caribbean region, specifically Cuba) by enslaved people in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Orisha worshipers were largely introduced to the United States as a result of the 1959 Cuban revolution and its aftermath. A small Afro-Caribbean Black Nationalist movement in the 1960s included the incorporation of ethnocentric religious rituals in an effort to retrieve a uniquely Black culture in the United States

Many beliefs and practices are respectfully secreted from non-believers. However, certain beliefs and traditions are disclosed to the public – particularly in postmodern times when the religion and spirituality of Orisha worshipers are being once again blended, this time with New Age beliefs and practices. Olodumare is the one god, creator (The Most High). All other Orishas represent various manifestations of one god. Each Orisha possesses and expresses a certain quality or characteristic of Olodumare. It is Olodumare who contains the universe and all that is in it. The Orishas are forces of nature (parts of god) who mediate between Olodumar, humanity, and our Ancestors!


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