This sample of an academic paper on Santeria Sample reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
Santeria The Yoruba people, who were brought over from Nigeria as slaves, came to the Caribbean in the 1500’s with their own religion, which was seen as unfit by the white slave owners. Most plantation owners in the Caribbean were members of the Roman Catholic Church, so they forced their slaves to disregard their native religions and become Catholic.
Soon, the slaves realized that they could still practice their West African religion as long as it was disguised as Catholicism, and Santeria was born.
Now it’s practiced in the United States, Cuba, the Caribbean, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain, Canada, Venezuela, and Panama. Based on Santeria, people are born under a guardian Orisha, or saint, that must be worshipped throughout life. Each Orisha is an aspect of one supreme god.
The seven main Orishas are known as the Seven African Powers. Eleggua is the gatekeeper between life and the afterlife in heaven and is the connection between the Orishas, humans, and god. He is very powerful because without him, there would be no communication between humanity and the saints.
The Catholic Saint that is associated with Eleggua is Saint Anthony, and the colors associated with him are red and black. Obatala is acknowledged as the parent of the Orishas and all of humanity, the creator of the world, and the enforcer of justice.
He is linked with qualities of intelligence, harmony, compassion, and purity, so his color is white. In Catholicism, he represents the saint Our Lady of Mercy. According to legend, Obatala would consume so much palm wine while forming the bodies of babies who were going to be born, that many of them were born deformed.
He was told by his spiritual guide, Olofi, that he wasn’t allowed to drink palm wine while performing his most important job. Now, any child who his born with a defect is considered to be a child of Obatala, so taunting them isn’t allowed. Yemaya is the spirit of maternity, mother of all wealth, rules over witches, and is comparable in Catholicism to the Virgin Regla. Her real name is Yey Omo Eja, or Mother of Fish, which comes from the idea that life begins in the sea, and that developing babies are like fish. Similar to the oceans and the rivers, she has mysterious depths, but at the same time she exhibits nurturing maternal qualities.
Her colors are blue and white, and she is sometimes referred to the spirit of mercy because of her loyalty to her children. Oya is the gatekeeper of the cemetery and the master of the cemetery and the dead. A powerful warrior, she personifies the forces of the Nigerian River, thunder, and lightning. In animal form, she becomes a water buffalo. A shape shifter herself, she gives her children the capability to change themselves. Her colors are maroon and white, and she often rides to battle alongside her fellow Orisha, Chango.
Chango is one of the most notorious Orishas and is symbolized as fire, thunder, and lightning. His is characterized as having passion, chauvinism, charm, great power, beauty, wisdom, and valor. With his sword and machete, he can construct or demolish anything he wishes. St. Barbara is the Catholic saint who is synonymous with Chango. His colors are white and red, and he is often worshipped on his days of the week, which are Friday and Saturday. Oggun represents effort and hard work. He works with no rest as an iron worker for his siblings Eleggua and Chango.
This older Orisha is known for his violent rage and his threat as a potential danger. Some of the many tools he is associated with are the knife, the machete, the anvil, the pick, the chisel, the hammer, the rake, the spade, and horseshoes, all of which are kept in a black cauldron. Instead of animal sacrifice, most of his followers offer cigars, rum, toy cars and airplanes, and weapons. The final one of the main Orishas is Ochun who is similar to Venus in Greek mythology. She is the Orisha associated with romance, flirtation, seduction, love and marriage, money and fertility.
Ochun is the goddess of sweet water, so many of her ceremonies are held near waterfalls or on river beds. Ochun enjoys dancing, but she also has a serious side. She is a great diviner and usually her children are exceptionally gifted with psychic talents, especially when using the sacred seashells, which are the mouths of the Orishas. When the slaves first arrived in Cuba, copper was the form of money they came in contact with, so Ochun is associated with Our Lady of the Caridad del Cobre. People who follow Santeria are known as Aborishas, and they organize themselves under the Casa de Santo.
There are priests and priestesses who are referred to as babalawos, and this position is open to both men and women. However, the high priest position is only reserved for males. High priests concentrate on divination to predict the future or understand omens in a person’s life. New initiatives to the religion are put under the care of a godfather or godmother who will teach them the secrets of Santeria. Candidates receive beads that are sacred to their Orisha, and many times, they must follow strict dress codes, shave their heads, practice celibacy, or eat particular foods.
Then they must be cleansed in order to be ready to receive the divine energy. This belief system is not a good versus evil philosophy, like God and the Devil. Everything is seen to have positive and negative aspects, and no action is always wrong or right. Actions can only be judged based on the circumstances under which they were committed. A lot of focus is put on striving to do good works. However, if a person commits a good act out of fear of punishment or possibility of a reward, it doesn’t count as good character. People should do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.
There are many misconceptions involving Santeria. One movie shows a couple that practices the religion, and they sacrifice humans and eat aborted fetuses. Actually, the only living creatures that are sacrificed are animals, commonly the blood of roosters, turtles, goats, and chickens. The animals are killed in the most humane ways possible, and usually the only part that is sacrificed is the blood. Any remains are cooked and eaten by the followers. Practitioners of Santeria also do not perform black magic, which is actually forbidden.
However, there is no moral code, like in Christianity, so certain spells are used by criminals for protection and good fortune. For example, Ochosi, the spirit of hunting and owner of traps, is often honored by criminals when they want to escape arrest and ward off the police. There are still ambiguities when it comes to Santeria because most of the existing knowledge comes from oral tradition. Recently some books on the subject have been published, but there are still secrets left untold to those who don’t follow the religion. Some celebrities who follow Santeria include Desi Arnaz, Jennifer Lopez, and the White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen.