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The orishas (orisas, orixas) are deities associated with Yoruba and Yoruba-influenced spiritual traditions throughout the African world. Devotees of Yoruba, Lukumi, Santería, and Candomblé all venerate these spiritual energies that are personified with anthropomorphic characteristics, stories, colors, and numbers that are used to inform people of what it means to live with good character or iwa pele. This entry situates these deities in Yoruba cosmology and offers information on some of the most popularly known orishas.

Yoruba Cosmology

The Yoruba conceive of the universe as two parts of a sacred calabash, representing both the invisible and visible components of reality. These two halves contribute to the wholeness of the cosmos. The top half is the realm of Spirit and is home to ...

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