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Misconceptions: Santeria

Forums ► Vodou ► Misconceptions: Santeria
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Misconceptions: Santeria
By: / Novice
Post # 1

I've seen recently an interest being taken up in the religion of Santeria and see it mentioned various times as well as culturally appropriated within the Forums. So I thought I should make a post to clear up any misconceptions about the religion.

Many people believe that Santeria can be taken up immideatly simply because they have a "calling" to it, this is wrong. Santeria is an initiatory religion, meaning that do be able to know or do anything within the religion you MUST be initiated; there are no special "but" or "why". You are, however, allowed and even encouraged to pray to the Orishas but anything related to doing workings with them is considered cultural appropriation. The two divination systems used within the religion(Diloggun: The sacred shells; Ekuele: The chain of Orula) are reserved only for those that have passed initiation. Throughout the internet, you can most likely find every single secret and practice within Santeria; is this correct to do? NO

It is considered disrespectful to the Orishas and the religion itself to research "more than you should know"; if you are ever considering initiation, you should come "clean" to the Orishas. Many people that go and search extensively in the religion to later go for initiation can be barred by certain orishas as well as receive various taboo restrictions. The most an Aleyo(someone who is a beginner of a religion/has no initiation) can learn is who the orisha are, a bit about the religion and it's history, and certain other things; apart from that, everything is considered secret which is only revealed to those who are initiated.

Another thing I've seen around are things called "Santeria love spell" or "Curse of Oya"; this is all cultural appropriation and a disrespect to the deities they are related to. Although Magick is enterwined with Santeria, it does not form the basis of it; there are many or better said most initiates do not practice Magick. If you are not initiated, these deities will not work with you in Magick workings; meaning that whatever spell you've thought up is anything but a "Santeria spell".

Animal sacrifice is a necessity within Santeria, no matter how many people try to change it to vegan. Many people do not clearly understand what this sacrifice is or believe it to be some type of horrible cruelty. This is incorrect. It is part of the intiations done within the religion and without it, you will not have the presence of the Orishas. It is an ancient practice that has been upheld by the ancestors/elders of the religion and cannot be excluded. It is an act of communion with the spirits, the Orishas eat the blood and the community eats the meat; nothing is gone to waste.

There are, of course, many, many other misconceptions about the religion but hopefully this post will enlighten those that are interested. Any questions, feel free to drop them down below.

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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
By: / Novice
Post # 2
I'm happy you were Honest about the Animals
My girlfriend's whole family is Santira
And she practiced it Herself until she was 40
The sacrifices turned her off
A lot of people try to down play that aspect of it.
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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
By: / Novice
Post # 3

Yes, alot of people do downplay it without realizing it's significant role within the religion. The Orishas won't "present' themselves without it. There's a saying, "As we eat, they eat". Of course, there are other offerings such as diverse sweets, cakes, fruits, different rice, beans, etc. Animal sacrifice in Santeria is not something that is done within a daily basis or anything of the sort but rather it is done for larger ceremonies or initiations. Orishas at home are offered sweets, fruits, cakes, and diverse other cooked offerings.

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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
By: / Beginner
Post # 4
Great information. Thanks for writing this, it was greatly needed. I think people also don't realize that animal sacrifice, when it does happen regardless of tradition, is a sacred thing and not just killing a random animal.
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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
By: / Novice
Post # 5

Agreed completely, Nashoba. Hopefully this post will clear some misconceptions towards the religion.

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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
Post # 6

I may come off rude but I will be honest, "cultural appropriation" is a term popularized by "Dr. E". If you think about it all those religions are "cultural appropriations" because they take from other people's cultures to create a hybird. The orishas are masked by Catholic saints.

Many of the people who even consider religions like Vodou,Santeria,Umbanda,ect practice or work with spirits before hand. Whether it is praying,setting up altars of them, ect. Or have spiritual workings done and then they may get initiated.

It takes tons of money to get initiated and saving for most people has to be done before hand.

Initiations are for passing on titles, and belonging to said house. Also for knowing what goes into the initiations and other secret information. The license to know, and to perform ceremonies and rites.

This forum post should probably go under "Other paths" vs "Vodou". Might confuse the new people that read this post.

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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
Post # 7
Can you elaborate on the animal sacrifice? What sort of animals, how are they killed?
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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 8

Excellent post Chleo, we get a lot of people on here claiming to be of particular religions mainly Vodou/Voodoo and Santeria, and come in grossily appropriating the culture. I think this helps clears up a few misconceptions.

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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
By: / Novice
Post # 9

To Sim: A lot of people talk about Santeria at times with knowing little of the history behind the religion. The religious ancestors carried this religion through great sacrifice knowing that if they were caught practicing, they would be hanged or shot. This is the reason why the saints were hidden behind the catholic saints, it was in no way a transfer that the saints would be worshipped alongside the deities. It was a way to hide the true religion, when they prayed to the saints; they were actually praying to the Orisha.

Praying is completely acceptable but as I've said countless times before, the working with the Orisha is left to the initiates; not the Aleyo(non-initiate)! It is considered disrespectful to enter already "experienced" to the Orisha. Yes there are necessary things one must know, especially to not get scammed but there are things that should be left solely until after initiation. That is because the Iyabo(new initiate) is seen as a newborn of the Orishas, from that point he begins his/her path of study and learning, dedication and honor, working and experiencing.

To Komachi: Common animals used for sacrifice are those found on farms: hens, roosters, goats, pigs, etc. The carotid arteries are cut with a knife causing the animal to pass out before it dies; the meat is then usually cooked and served to the community while the blood is given to the deities.

To WeatherWax: Thank you! I thought it'd be best to make a post and hopefully clear misconceptions about the religion, as it has gained interest in the site.

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Re: Misconceptions: Santeria
Post # 10
Thank you for your post! I find Santeria most interesting and I have a great deal of respect for the people who practice it. Especially when it comes to sacrifices. I'm such a wimp when it comes to anything that requires death, ritualized or not. Funny that, as I follow the Egyptian pantheon, LOL!
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