The demon-gods of Vodun, the religion of the Yoruba
The Vodun religion has numerous names: Voodoo, Santeria, Kongo, Macumba, Umbanda, Quimbanda, Candomble, Palo, etc.
Olorun:These religions have one supreme "god" Olorun, the source of "ashe", the spiritual energy that supposedly makes up the universe. This is similar to the oriental concept of Brahman "chi" or "qi". He is head over a large pantheon of "Orishas" or lower demon-gods. For the most part his is a passive role and not the center subject of the Santeria mythos and worship. There are numerous classes of Orishas, each of which has their own attributes, feast days, and myths. Santeros believe that they have direct contact with their Orishas and, on their behalf, the Orishas will appeal their case to Olorun. The demons constituting "Ashe" can be cast out by the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Orishas:Orishas are a combination lower and higher pantheon, who act as ambassadors to man from Olorun. Numerous demons pose as each of these Orishas. Communication with Orishas is given after human ritual, prayer, divination, song, trance possession and ritual sacrifice or "ebo'." In Santeria, as with Catholicism, some saints or Orishas are more venerated, while others have passed into obscurity. Most sects recognize at least the high seven Orishas:
Due to the oral nature of Santerias' heritage, the Pataki, or legends, of even these seven, have become muddled and confused. Where one sect will attribute certain powers to the demons of one Orisha class you will likely encounter another sect that grants those abilities to the demons of a different Orisha class. The demon-gods don't care; it is still just extortion of sacrifices by humans for favors. There are numerous demons that pose as each of these Orishas.
Initiation:All initiates must follow strict regimes of demon-devotion and demon-obedience behavior; they answer only to Olorun and the Orishas for their actions. Before a person can even be considered for initiation they must have an intricate knowledge of the rites and myths, not unlike Catholic confirmation. Initiation of a new Santero is very structured and well defined. Each stage has it's own rules and requirements for advancement. For example, the first year and seven days of initiation into the priesthood, the 'Iyawo' or 'bride' (initiate) of the Orisha must dress in white, can not wear make up, can not be touched or touch anyone, and can not look upon their image in a mirror. The secret nature of the initiation into Santeria is due mainly to avoid a Christian prayer response to stop it. To protect itself and it's members, many sects will not allow just anyone to join. A prospective initiate must first be sponsored by a practicing member who has already made a priest. However, being sponsored is no guarantee of acceptance, for that must come from the Orishas who also determine how high in the religious structure you are allowed to go. It is not uncommon for a person to be allowed to be initiated only to the first or second level.
Sacrifice or Ebo'In reality the term "ebo'" refers to human demon-devotion and demon-obedience behavior. Sacrifices in Santeria can and do include the offering of candles, fruit, candy, actions, inactions, and the sacrifice of animals. In some cases the Orisha may require the petitioner not to sacrifice the animal but to take it home and care for it. In these instances the animal is deemed an emissary of the Orisha and thus granted almost regal status in the home. When animal blood sacrifice is called for, if the ritual performed is not for cursing, the removal of illness or misfortune, the animal is also prepared and eaten after the ceremony. If the animal sacrifice is used to banish illness or bad luck then the animal must be respectfully buried for it has given it's life so that the petitioner may have a better one. But more demonic control comes with these sacrifices. One other instance where ritual blood sacrifice is required is the final stage of initiation into the priesthood. Santeros view the initiation into the priesthood as a "rebirth" from the Orisha and as in every birth there is blood. Each of these sacrifices or demon-devotion behaviors by humans gives human soul-power to the Orishas. Without it, the Orishas would be powerless.
Trance Possession or The Mounting of the Horse:Trance possession or "the mounting of the horse" plays a high priority role in Santeria. From the Christian perspective, this is permission for full demonic possession, where the demons can express themselves through the person. It also sets up the person to be controlled at any future time. In the mounting of the horse, a drumming party or bembe' is given for the Orishas and the Orishas are then invited down to enter the body of one of the priests dedicated to that Orisha. This is similar to Shamanism. Orishas rarely possess a neophyte or an aleyo, one who has not been initiated as a priest. In those rare instances where they do, it is usually to indicate this person should become a priest or priestess. This control can be broken by the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Obataláá (aka Obtala) is given the alias of the Virgin Mary as "Our Lady of Mercy," and the Resurrected Christ (el nombre de jesus cristo) in Santeríía. In the Ifáá Creation myth, Obatala came down from Heaven to the Earth with a sea-shell, guinea hen, sand and ikin. Obataláá poured the sand on the waters, and dropped the hen on the earth. The hen scratched the sand and created earth's first land mass. Obataláá specializes in ethics and symbolizes reason. The true Jesus Christ of Nazareth can easily drive this Orisha out. We have done so.
Olodumare (aka Inquices: Nsambi, Sambia, Sambi, Nzambi, Insambi, Sambia Mpungu, Mpungu Sambia, Asambia, Zumbáá, Zambi, Zambiampongo) is known as the "god of heavens" in the Yoruba and Kongo pantheons. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only true access to heaven.
Osúún (aka Ikoléé, Oshúún, Ochun, Inquices: Chola Wengue, Choya Wengue, Mama Chola, Shola, Chola Anguenge, Mpungu Mama Wáánga, Kissimbéé, Samba) is considered the Santeríía (Macumba) Orisha of Love and Sensuality as well as the patroness of the blood-stream and of rivers. As Ikoléé, she the messenger to Olodumare, the god of the heavens. She is depicted as an old woman whom is wise but sad at her loss of beauty. Alternately she may be shown as tall, light brown-skinned woman who has the sensuality of a prostitute. Osúún wears seven brass bracelets, and wears a mirror at her belt to admire herself. Her companions are a peacock and a cricket. Osúún is given the alias of the Virgin Mary as "Our Lady of Charity" and symbolizes human self-esteem. She carries river water in her pot. This is an Orisha of opposites, and powerful magick spells are worked in Santeríía (Macumba) through her. Osúún embodies the value of connectedness. The sacrifice to Osúún is a small chicken. Through Jesus Christ of Nazareth any Christian can break these lust spells.
Oya is the female Warrior Orisha of the Wind, to the Santeríía (Macumba). She is supposedly wedded to Shangóó and has nine children. She is often depicted kneeling and suckling a child. Tall and regal, Oya is invoked for power, action and life. Oya embodies the value of change. Jesus Christ of Nazareth confers power to us to drive out the demons posing as Oya.
Yemayah, (aka Yemalia, Yemalla, YemayBB, Yemonja, Baluandéé, Balaúúnde, Bamba di Ngola,Mboma, Mamáá Kalunga, Pungo Kasimba, Mamáá Umba, Mbúúmba Mamba, Nkita Kiamasa, Nkita Kuna Mamba, Muana Lango, Mameto-Caitumbáá, Dandalunda, Maie Danda, Pandáá) is the Santeríía (Macumba) Orisha of the Ocean, fish, and Motherhood. Yemayah embodies the value of nurturing. She is long-breasted, and wears an insignia of alternating crystal and blue beads. She has a strong, nurturing, and life-giving, but very destructive nature. In Santeríía (Macumba), she is considered to be the Great Witch, and the ultimate manifestation of feminine power. Yemayah is given the aliases of the Virgin Mary as "Our Lady of Regla" and "Our Lady of Lourdes". Yemalla, Palo version, symbolizes human compassion. The authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth can easily break this witchcraft. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is truly loving and life-giving by the example of his dying for us.
(aka Changóó, Inquices: Nsasi, Insasi, Nkita, Nkitáán Kitáán, Kanbaranguanje,Insancio, Mukiamamuilo, Zaze, Kibuco Kirbrico, Kiassubangango, Nzage, Kambaranguanje ) is the Santeríía (Macumba, and Kongo) Orisha of Courage, Truth and intelligence; as well as being the Lord of fire, thunder, lightening, rain and (male) fertility. Changóó is given the alias of the Catholic saints Barbara and Jerome. Shangóó is supposedly married to Oya and they have nine children. His mother is supposedly Yemayah. (Demons can't marry or have children.) Shangóó is thought of as being shrewd, smooth-talking, kingly, and a con-artist; he is stimulated by challenge and supposedly wins against all odds. Shangóó is depicted in a double-headed dance wand headdress, called the oshe Sangóó, and carries a double-headed axe which symbolizes his preparedness, and courage. He also carries the phallic mortar, or odo, in his right hand, and his totem animals are the black cat, quail and tortoise. He embodies the value of truth, and demands a young rooster as sacrifice. But the Holy Spirit of God gives real wisdom, information and guidance that is always for our good. He is given to those who receive Jesus Christ as their savior and master.
Babalu Ayi is given the alias St. Lazarus in Santeríía.
Oggun (aka Oguu) is given the aliases of St. Peter and the Archangel Michael in Santeríía. The demons of this class are often used against machinery and electronics. Christians can undo these demons' efforts with ease -- if we think of it.
These Orishas are truly classes of demons. Numerous demons fill each of the above roles, so they can pick up the sacrifice power and distribute favors to the numerous humans calling on them. The Orishas submit to the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and can be told to leave by any Christian.
To drive them off, it is first necessary for the Christian to use his conferred authority to bind & loose, to break the human empowerment and assignments given these demons through the demon-devotion and demon-obedience behavior. Then it is a three second operation to command them to leave.
May those who read this page be blessed in Jesus' holy name. Amen.