Tag Archives: warrior

Eshu and Shango September 2011

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May Eshu Protect You!

May Eshu Protect You!

We are now in the preparation stages of the ebo for Eshu and Shango for September 2011.  This is your chance to send in your requests for protection for yourself or friends and family.  Use the contact form or write to me at sister@soulmindbody.net

The ebo will happen tonight from 8pm Jerusalem time and the doors will be open until whenever.

If you would like a talisman made with ashes from this ceremony, please order one at Sheloya Mystical.  Also, Anna has made a special series of Eshu dolls for this festival.  You can order them later at the store as well.  May Eshu protect you and guide you to good luck and happiness!

Ogun, Ogoun

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  • Sacred numbers: 7,3,or 4
  • Colors: green, green and black, or red, black, and green, in some traditions lavender or light purple, sometimes very dark brown, sometimes steel “silver”, sometimes gunmetal
  • Domain: metals (especially iron), metalworking, tools, weapons, technology, generated electrical power, physical strength/force, killing with weapons, leadership
  • Symbols: knife, a gubasa sword, machete, spear, bow and arrow specifically with an iron (black or red) arrowhead, farming implements, and lately (since the invention of the personal computer) the power button, pincers, pliers, or clamps

Ogun is an Orisha who many view as having a somewhat dark sensibility.  Many apatakis depict him as being a target of rejection and taunting by other Orishas.  One story that often scares people is the one of his rape of his mother, Yemaya.  Some don’t understand why and how that could have happened, and why that story is told.

The message of such stories are a warning to man about attempting to manipulate the forces of nature overmuch.  We are the servants of Nature, but just as any other servant could, if they’re living in your house or have access to your things, they can do a lot of damage.  The stories of Ogun’s rape of Yemaya are a warning to mankind about using technology to destroy Nature.

Again, Vodun is not a representative faith.  Metals and related minerals are part of Ogun.  Man uses Ogun to rape the Earth (Eseasar or Zodji) and Seas and Life (Yemaya) when he misuses them.  This misuse is the crazed Ogun who is not thinking at all rationally.  Indeed a man is insane when he “poops on his own plate”.

One of the best pages I ever found on the subject of Ogun is a discussion on Destee.com.  Rather than repeat what’s already been written, I thought I’d post that link.  Here’s another excellent page on Ogun at MamiWata.com.

One should remember though, that Shango and Ogun are mortal enemies in a way.  Shango is in the good warrior who is a bit of a hotdogger and show-off.  Ogun is in the decisive assassin of few words: the ninja type.

Excuse the little joke, but it is like a thousands of years old pirates vs. ninjas situation.

The general may carry the sword and use it well, but nobody knows a sword like the man who made it.

Offerings to Ogun

Offerings to Ogun should generally be live animals killed during the ceremony.  If you are not comfortable with killing larger animals, you can kill snails and offer them to him.  If you are absolutely against killing any animal that you don’t intend to eat or aren’t defending yourself from, and you’re vegetarian, you can give him roasted yams or spicy beans as a food offering, along with some rum, palm wine, or other strong but tasty alcohol.  Do not ever leave empty bottles standing with the top on once you are Ogun aware.  If a bottle is empty, leave the top off, and if possible, lay it on its side.  If you’re not vegetarian, don’t fret because offerings (ebo) to Ogun don’t go to waste.  You either leave them out for whoever wants to take them, or you and your family/community eat them.

In fact, women who are not children of Ogun or Oya should probably not give blood offerings, at least not themselves.  If you have recently won an election or become the leader of a group or organization, and must give a blood offering, you may ask a man or a female child of Ogun or Oya to do the deed on your behalf.

You can also pay him in pain.  Have a sparring match with someone, and whoever loses the match acts as the sacrifice during the ceremony.  In a pinch or if you are a child of Ogun, you may give him your own blood without fighting first, if your tradition allows for this and has the proper ceremonies for it.  Blood shed in battle is the best though.

In blood offerings Ogun, rather than Eshu, is served first.  He is the only Orisha who can actually kill through unnatural causes.  Where the death face of any of the warriors can cause an incidental, situational, or natural death, Ogun is the only one who is permitted to power a knife or other metal weapon such as a bullet, in the physical realm, and direct it towards a target.  Some supposed suicides of murderers or other bad people may well have been executions carried out by Ogun.

So where one may go to Shango for courage and skill, to make sure that your targets are hit on the battlefield, you should call on Ogun.  Also, when you have to actually kill a sacrifice, being in Ogun awareness will allow you to do it as cleanly and humanely as possible.

In some places in Africa, Odundun (Kalanchoe crenata) and Rinrin (pepper elder) are grown at his shrines.  It is said that these herbs are cooling to him.


Odundun (Kalanchoe crenata)

Peperomia pellucida.jpg
Peperomia pellucida” by Obsidian SoulOwn work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Other herbs that are said to be sacred to him are oak leaves, grape root, and purple basil.

Ogun Oil

Ogun’s sacred oil is curojo, or red palm oil.  For a change of pace, or if it is not available where you are, this recipe is one of the best I’ve ever seen for Ogun devotional oil.  It was contributed by Arden of Arden’s ArcanumVisit him on Facebook to like his page, thank him and give positive feedback.

Arden’s Ogun Oil

You will need:

  • 1/2 liter grapeseed or another natural but machine-worthy oil
  • Seven cloves for Eshu.
  • Small handful of Vetivert roots
  • 3 heaping tbps of dried coconut shreds
  • 3 heaping tbps of powdered annatto
  • 3 heaping tbps cumin
  • Seven chunks of dragons blood resin
  • One spoonful of red earth or ochre.

In a large jar, add the cloves first for Eshu.

Then lightly roast the cumin seeds.

Then add the cumin and the rest of the dry ingredients to the jar.

Put in a cold shadowy place for 4 months.

Ogun Incense

  • 6 coffee beans or a spoonful of coffee grounds
  • a spoonful of red earth
  • a half teaspoon of iron or other metal shavings or 7 gold or silver leaves, or add a small piece of metal and bury it when you bury the cremains
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sandalwood
  • 2 tablespoons aloeswood
  • a handful dragon’s blood chunks (crushed)
  • 7 tears of copal

Crush these as well as possible in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor.

Burn in an iron pot or pan, and when finished, give the cremains back to the Earth.

 Ogun Soup

Ogun is the master of efficiency, and loves soup.  He likes thick, hearty soups that have all the goodness of blood.  This is a good enough offering if you don’t have access to animal blood or snails.  Notice, this is a soup made mostly of things that grow inside the Earth or dark places near the Earth.

  • 250 grams ground beef or chicken
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 potato or plain root vegetable
  • 1 carrot
  • a handful of chopped mushrooms
  • field herbs such as wild hyssop, wild spinach, and dandelion leaves
  • a teaspoon of annatto
  • salt to the point it’s just as salty as blood

Fry the meat and onion until the meat is crumbly and slightly browned.  Then add the herbs and sautee for another minute or two, then add the water and root vegetables.

Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low.

When it is fully cooked, after about 2 hours of low heat, blend it in a blender, with a hand blender, or a food processor.

Serve it to him between warm and hot.

Shango, Chango

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Shango, Chango

Hot blooded heat incarnate
He is fire and lightning.
If you’re good he is a light
But if you’re bad he’s frightning.

Shango (also spelled Chango or Xango)is the Orisha of fire, lightning, dance, and martial arts.

He had three wives: Oya, the Orisha of home, hearth, and marriage; Oshun, the Orisha of beauty, prosperity, and dance; and Oya, the Orisha of wind, storms, thunder, and change.

There are many apatakis about his firey temper.  During his mortal life, he was said to have been a powerful mage who could call lightning from the sky.  Some say that the prophet Elijah was given similar powers because, unlike the distracted idol worshipping Jezebel or his equally distracted fellow Hebrews, he brought himself above politics and nitpicking about interpretations of laws, and was given the powers of Shango (to call down fire and lightning) and of Oya (to raise the dead) by the Supreme God.  As a result, he did not die, and was carried personally to heaven by Shango and Oya in the form of a chariot made of fire, carried on a whirlwind.

This is why the prophet Elijah has been raised to the status of an Orisha in his own right, by some who combine Christian beliefs with Vodun.

Offerings to Shango

Shango likes hot peppers and spicy foods.  Just about anything with some heat, he enjoys.  He also likes red apples, bananas, pumpkins, pomegranates, kola, and okra.  One of his favorite foods is cornmeal grits (also called mamaliga or polenta).

He would be very pleased if you take the time to make him some tamales or stuffed corn dumplings pan fried a little in palm oil.  He really likes palm oil (which may be why he chose to love but not reside with Oya, who hates palm oil very much).


I have always gotten the best results from Shango by burning Opium resin oil.  He likes spicy scents very much, and every time I have both burned Opium oil or incense, and worn some on my body, I have attracted a man who changed my life for the better.  Every.  Time.

To be specific, the scents that brought in the Shango energy were pepper and cinnamon.

The Louisiana recipe of Isis oil or powder is also extremely Shango friendly for women.  Men should use the traditional Shango recipe.

Things Shango Does Not Like

Shango does not like women fighting each other.  If you are a female child of Shango or in Shango awareness because you want something from him or need to raise your fire element, you should make peace with the women around you.  This does not mean that you have to give in to their whims.  It just means you should avoid petty conflicts.

Shango also does not like women who don’t respect men or men who don’t respect women.  Respect isn’t the same thing as deference.  If you are a man, you should be behaving like a man, and lead the women in your life who 99% need to be lead.  Few women don’t need this, and if yours does, you need to do that and stop drinking the feminist koolade.

Shango does not like weakness in men.  You may not be a superathlete, but you should be taking care of yourself.  Your biology is connected to your psychology, so taking the time to work out makes you healthier mentally as well as physically.  If you’re disabled, you should be working on your emotional and intellectual dominance.

The Shango Altar

If you have a home altar for all Orishas, you should have at least one natural fire and/or lightning oriented item to be or contain your part of Shango.  It is difficult to explain in English.  One cannot actually contain an Orisha, but the idea is that the object will embody the Orisha in a way.

If you have boxes, bottles, containers, or soperas for all of the Orishas or all of the ones who are ascended ancestors, then you should have one for Shango as well.  If you do not usually use containers, then don’t start doing that with Shango, or for that matter any of the masculine or warrior type Orishas.

Your Shango items should be nearest to your Eshu items, and yet as far as is possible from the Ogun items.  If you’re limited in space, put the Shango things on the opposite side of Eshu to the Ogun things.  They are both part of the nature of balanced men, but they are also part of the conflict that men have between their brutal selves and their social selves.  So if your Eshu things are in the corner, your Shango things should be on the opposite wall or edge from your Ogun things.

If you have any Shango necklaces or jewelry, they should be stored in a red or red and white bowl or cloth in the Shango section whenever you are not wearing them.

Shango’s symbols are the double bladed axe, lightning bolts, fire balls, and related things.  There are figurines and somewhat officially designated Shango items, but one of the good things about Vodun is that we make use of what we have.

If you have the space and opportunity to make a specific Shango altar, he likes the fireplace or really anyplace where you would make a fire that is not made of iron.  Make fires for Shango on stones, clay, or any kind of earth, even Pyrex or heat save glass, but not in a metal container.  His weapons should be metal, but his fire should be in earth.

In my opinion, weapons placed on the altar for Shango should be real and be sharpened.  Some find it acceptable to use wooden or clay replicas for him, but I do not.  Perhaps this is because they just feel better to me and make me feel more connected to Shango.  Follow your own way, but if the wooden version isn’t doing it for you, try getting at least a real quality knife.

Shango Devotional Incense

This incense should be used outdoors.  Put it on the fire, and step back from the smoke or you will feel like you’ve been teargassed.

  • a spoonful of black pepper or coffee grounds for Eshu
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of red pepper
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls cinnamon
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of sandalwood powder
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of oudh/aloeswood powder
  • a spoonful of millet, yam, corn, or amaranth flour
  • a small handful of dragon’s blood resin chunks, powdered in a mortar and pestle
  • a small handful of myrrh or copal resin, powdered

Burn on charcoal or in a roll of paper in a stone, ceramic, or pyrex type vessel, and MOVE!

Shango Devotional Oil

If it needs to be said, do not wear this on your skin as it is.  You will need just a drop or two in a recipe for male attraction oil, but this is devotional oil for burning in an oil burner or consecrating or anointing Shango items.

  • 6 coffee beans or a vanilla bean cut into 3 parts, or 3 peppercorns for Eshu
  • 1 liter almond oil, or olive oil for lamps (the pure kind, not mixed with other oils)
  • 12 dried red hot peppers
  • 12 dried hot light or green peppers
  • two fingers grab of tobacco
  • the skin of a yam, sweet potato, or the hairs of an ear of corn
  • (optional) half a gram to a gram of deer musk or the oil and dried sweat from someone who has just participated in an extreme sport or combat  (it’s okay if there’s a bit of skin, hair, or blood in it)

Put the ingredients in a jar, and let stand in a cool, dry place for six months.

Oya, Yansa

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Oya, Yansa

Wind in her hair
Lightning in her eyes
Storms in her voice
And thunder in her thighs!

Sacred number: 9
Sacred colors:  Brown, orange, purple, arterial blood red, deep red, burgundy, maroon, rainbow plus black, brown, and white
Symbols and Embodiments: Storms, wind, whirlwinds, hurricanes, storm and/or disease vector symbols, chaos symbol (cross of two or four arrows) with whirlwind (tapering zigzag), more symbols below…

Oya is the Orisha of wind, storms, thunder, and change.  In some ways, she is very similar to the Hindu deity Kali except that she isn’t considered *the* goddess of death.  That position belongs to Iku.  She can however, be the “wind” that brings death.

Because she works closely with the death aspect of Eshu/Elegua and the disease aspect of Babalu Aye, there are many apatakis that relate them.

Oya is the third wife or second concubine of Shango, the Orisha of fire, lightning, dance, and martial arts.  It is said that after the big rivalry between Oba (Shango’s first wife) and Oshun (Shango’s second wife) blew up into an all out war, Shango banished them both, determined that his next companion, if at all, would be a balanced and supportive woman.

It is interesting to note that in most apatakis about Oya and Shango, they never actually lived together.  Oya liked her peace in the forest, and Shango was a busy man, and already traumatized by rivalry between women.  So for whatever reason, both liked their space, but loved each other.  Despite their not living together, they stayed connected to each other and visited often until both of them died and ascended to the ancestors.

There are many lessons in this.  One may well be that when people are young, there are two main things that are most important in their romantic lives: familial duty and sexual attraction.  So Shango married a dutiful wife first, and a visually stunning wife second.

When we get older though, our priorities change.  Once we’ve raised our kids and  gotten ourselves established, we look to the next horizon, which is pleasure.  Then once we’ve experienced that and realized that not all that glitters is gold, and settled that conflict in ourselves, what we need most is companionship and comradeship in a partner.

So a woman who wants to be her husband’s all should figure out how to balance the Oba, Oshun, and Oya in herself.  Very few of us can, so we may want to learn to be okay, if we marry or are dating a very powerful and intense man with a high Shango energy (or fire element) with “outsourcing” some aspect of these roles.  We need to, like Oya, trust our man’s tastes, and let him have his space.

Back to aspects of Oya though, she is the epitome of female strength.  Contrary to what many may say, she does not represent feminism, but feminine power.  She is an extremely powerful entity, but this is partly because she has had the support, love, and companionship of extremely powerful men or masculine energies.

She guards the graveyard with Eshu, ensuring that graverobbers and disrespecters of the ancestors are punished.  She hunts them down mercilessly.

When humans get too arrogant and settled into their lives, she gets the nod from Eshu and/or Babalu Aye to sweep through with storms, earthquakes, and plagues.  If you can imagine Babalu Aye surfing across the skies on the flowing, violet veil of Oya…scary, but essential so that we don’t become overpopulated or overly stupid.

There are seemingly conflicting views on the appearance of Oya.  Some say she is incredibly beautiful, and wears a veil or mask so that men aren’t distracted by it.  Some say she is so horribly scary and hideous that she wears a veil or mask because otherwise, people would die from seeing her.  I personally think it may be a bit of both.  Perhaps she wears a veil or mask because how she looks depends on who is looking, and she would rather be in control of what reaction she gets from whom.

Oya’s Sisters

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around the sisters of Oya called Afefe and Ayayo.  Afefe is the wind and also unconsciously projected will or magic, and Ayayo is direction or consciously directed sorcery.

In Santeria, and this may be something new by the way, some people are popping up with Ayayo elekes and other items specific to her.  At best, this is ineffective, but at worst, this separation or distinction could lead to a lot of tragedy and hardship for those who take her out of context.  Remember that sometimes Eshu will allow bad things to happen…allow us to undo ourselves to cull the stupid or teach us valuable lessons.

Oya’s sisters are barely mentioned by Africans and those in other groups in the diaspora because even though we are taught they exist, we are also taught that they are inhumane and not to be approached directly.  They are only approached through Oya.

Initiates to most cults of Oya, as well as those children of Oya under secretive, directly passed down knowledge are instructed to keep the sisters out of the eyes of others.  It will bring them grave misfortune.  If you were entrusted with any of their items or led to construct any, they are for your eyes or the eyes of the person you made them for only.  They are not to be displayed to the world.

So hopefully any items you see representing or supposedly embodying the two sisters are just hype to look scary and Gothic…but if Eshu has allowed one to actually activate then there is “hell” around it.

If something has changed, and we are now allowed to separate the inhumane sisters from the humane sister, and move them to the front, I haven’t gotten the memo.  So please be careful out there, and don’t get caught in a “white people trap“.

Oya’s Symbols

Oya has a few symbols associated with her.  Among them are the lightning bolt with crossed arrows, the vector or hurricane symbol, nine violet feathers carried by a spiraling wind, nine veils each of a different color, a necklace or skirt with nine colors, and a spiral wind chime made of nine ornamental spearheads.

Oya’s Colors

Oya’s colors vary from place to place, but the main one is purple or dark burghundy or maroon.  She is also symbolized by the nine colors, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, black, white, and brown.  Depending on her function at a given time, she may wear purple and orange to work a storm, dark red to motivate a group of warriors or sportsmen to work as a team, all colors to make a tornado, etc.

Offerings to Oya

Traditions vary, but for our ile Baalat Teva in Israel, Oya loves eggplants, beets, red wines, and purple grapes.  She also enjoys popcorn and sesame seeds, especially caramel corn or sesame candy.  She likes black beans, rice, and chickpeas too.  She loves chocolate.

She does not eat any four legged animals, but enjoys chicken, especially black feathered or black skinned silkies.  She also doesn’t like palm kernel oil, so be careful with any ingredients you’re cooking with.  Most margerine has it, so just use butter, pure cocoa butter, or chicken fat, but not beef, lard, or lamb fat.  Check the ingredients of any chocolate you offer her as well.  To be safe, I just use cocoa powder to make any chocolate candies I wish to offer her from scratch, or do divination to see which specific chocolates she will accept.


Oya’s “incense” offerings shouldn’t actually be burnt but steamed like potpourri, or sprayed, splashed, or fed to a plant with large leaves.  She doesn’t much like smoke.  She likes grass clippings, green herbs, red and white flowers, and other nice smelling things.  Pine needles are good for her too.

Make sure that any oils you’re using for her don’t contain any palm oil whatsoever.  Also, don’t burn them straight.  Use water, and if it runs low, add a little more water until the candle underneath burns out.  If using essential oils, she likes scents that smell like rain, storms, or their aftermath.  China Rain essential oil blend is a good choice, as is sweetgrass and cyprus.


Zubrowka, which is a special sort of vodka infused with a special kind of grass in the Ukraine.  If you can’t find any, steep some sweet grass or green beans in some vodka for nine days in a dark place.

Click here for inspiring links, photos, and more related to Oya on Facebook!

Oya Oil

Smoke is taboo for some traditions of Oya, so for observances, her devotional oil should be diffused on water, not straight on the burner.

You will need:

  • a stick of cinnamon for Eshu
  • 1/2 liter of olive oil (for a war Goddess type energy) or sunflower oil if you want it with a gentler energy
  • 9 raw chocolate beans, cracked or crushed, or 9 spoons cocoa powder or nibs
  • 9 spoons sesame seeds
  • a handful of dry corn for popcorn
  • 9 blades of sweetgrass, bison grass or hay, or a heaping tablespoon of a couple of different “grassy” herbs such as lawn grass clippings, parsley
  • a handful of litchen
  • a handful of dried cyclamen flowers and leaves, whatever you can get hold of
  • a handful of dried blue lotus flowers or stamens


Put the cinnamon stick, and then the other dry ingredients into a jar or bottle.  Pour the oil over all.  Take the open jar or bottle outside and let it get some wind.  Then close it and put it in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months.  Take it out and shake it every week on whichever day is sacred to Oya in your tradition (usually Friday in the diaspora), or every 9 days from the time you make it.  Once a month or so, it should also get some air.

Bear in mind that Oya items tend to fly, so for the sake of your floors and other areas of your room that you may want to keep clean, store them above the ground, but in a low place because they can jump off of shelves.

Oya Potpourri

You will need:

  • a broken up stick of cinnamon or a vanilla bean cut into a multiple of 3 pieces for Eshu
  • a handful of cut up sweetgrass, grass clippings, or bison grass
  • a handful of dried cyclamen flowers and cut up leaves
  • a good tablespoon dried blue lotus
  • 9 cucaracha or purple heart plant flowers and/or leaves
  • a handful of bits of litchen

You can go by the seasons, or add other seasonal grasses that smell nice and fresh.  Just put these with some water in the pot of a potpourri burner or cauldron over a flame.

China Rain

In the diaspora, Oya is said to adore China Rain.  This fresh, rain-like scent just happened to express her energy well, and became a part of many observances and magickal fomulas.  You can buy the original from Terranova, pick one of the many versions made by African scentologists in shops and stands in major cities, or make your own.

Eggplant Schnitzel

One of the food offerings we like to give Oya around here is eggplant shnitzel.  You slice some eggplant, and leach the bitterness out of it by sprinkling some salt on it and leaving it to “bleed” for about half an hour.  Then rinse it off, and pat it dry, and cook as you would any other type of schnitzel.  Coat it in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, matzah meal, or cornmeal, and fry it in oil.  Just make sure it’s not palm oil.