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Babalu Aye ~ Saint Lazarous

babalu-aye1Babablu Aye, San Lazaro, Azojano is one of the most loved, respected, feared and venerated Orishas in the Cuban Santeria tradition.
Babalu Aye is the Orisha who reigns over all matter related to health, psychical and spiritual.
Babalu Aye is the protector of the sick, the weak, the hurt, the injured.
Babalu Aye is a miraculous and humble Orisha, the Orisha of healing and disease.
Babalu Aye appears as a sick man with sores and trembling arms and legs that is why it is syncretized with Saint Lazarus in the Cuban Santeria tradition.



Babalu Aye teaches compassion, love and responsibility.
Babalu Aye is worshipped and respected for all the miracles he performs, he is particularly known for his healing powers.
Babablu Aye is accompanied by two dogs and wears cloth made of burlap with purple adornments.
In the lukumi tradition, Babalu Aye was punished by Olofi (God) with sickness & afflictions. He lost his health, riches & prosperity for not having good character and for being disobedient. Babalu Aye’s trials on earth are a lesson of humility; perseverance, integrity and good character.
Babalu Aye is also protector of all animals, especially dogs. Dogs were his only companion (besides Elegua) when he was suffering his trials & tribulations.
Babablu Aye is loving but stern, no one wants to be on his bad side and meet his wrath. Bablu Aye is loved, respected and feared.

Babalu Aye’s colors are royal purple, yellow and brown. His sacred number is 17. Burlap is sacred to him and used in his offerings & items made for him.
December 17th is a day we honor Babalu Aye, many celebrations are done on December 16th waiting for midnight.
In the Santeria tradition, the ceremonial for worshiping Babalu Aye is called The Awan

In this ceremony, Babalu Aye is placed next to a basket lined with burlap material with offerings are placed around it. At nighttime, the lights go down, the only lighting used are the candles, everyone gathers around the basket and cleanse each one with the contents of the plates to remove negativity, for protection, health and prosperity. After cleansing, the items are cast into the main basket. 


This ceremony brings the Ashe of Babalu Aye to the lives of those present.

Babalu Aye represents health and the sickness, humility and pride, abundance and the scarcity, love and fear.


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Prayer to Babalu Aye

Jekua Babalu Aye Agronica!

Ashe, Babalu Aye, Ashe

Babalua Aye
Patron and assistant of the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden
Helper of the forgotten, forlorn, the disrespected ones
With this prayer I request your compassionate assistance
And with the aid of Olodumare,
May you always protect me during sickness

And also in good health
Babalu Aye, give me the strength to overcome obstacles
And to achieve my full potential during my sojourn on Earth
Babalu Aye, help all those who cannot help themselves
And remain always by my side

Ashe, Babalu Aye, Ashe


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What can you do with the Santeria Orishas without being initiated?

We all love the Orishas, their energy is out there, it is everywhere.
Santeria is a traditional folk religion, we follow the traditions and teachings of our ancestors and we do not make the rules, the Orishas do!
Most ceremonials in Santeria require initiation, however there are some things “aleyos” (non initiated followers) can do safely and efficiently.

  1. Altars: You can build an altar to pay homage to a particular Orisha, however, it must be understood that building an altar does not mean that you have that Orisha in the physical form or that you have been initiated into Santeria. That is another process all together, you can not self-initiate into Santeria.
  2. Offerings: It’s always a good idea to speak to a Santero or Babalao to discuss your plans if you want to make offerings to an Orisha.
    For example, let’s say that you want to give Oshun honey, five oranges, sweets and leave five pennies. That sounds great, but what if she doesn’t want that from you. How would you know? Oshun may only want you to bring her sunflowers or maybe Elegua is the Orisha who wants your offerings. This is where a consultation comes in. It’s wise to consult an initiated priest to find out if you can: first give the offering, and secondly what is required of you. Always consult before you do the offering, not after you start.
  3. Orisha’s Prayers: A deeper understanding of what and where the Orishas are will help if you would like to pray/talk/propitiate them.
    The Orisha’s energies are in nature. For example, if you want to talk to Oshun, you go to the river. If you want to talk to Yemaya, you go to the ocean. If you want to talk to Obatala, you go to the highest mountain you can find. If you want to talk to Ogun, you go to the forrest or the railroad … But once again, you should know who to approach and when, that is why consultations are so important.
  4. Promises to the Orishas: Since the beginning of times, people have been making promises to the Gods, if you ever make a promise to any Orisha, make sure you pay it.
  5. Summoning or invocation: It’s NOT wise to try to summon the energy of one Orisha if you are not initiated to that particular Orisha.
  6. The Orishas are raw living energy and without the help of an initiated Santero(a) it will become a big problem.
  7. Head Orisha: Everyone has a head Orisha, and it is not always the Orisha you may feel attracted to.
    The only way to find your ruling Orisha is by consulting Orula with the mediation of a Babalao, that is the way we do it in my house, some houses use the reading done by an Oba/Italero. Either way, it has to be done IN PESON and never over the phone or internet.
    There may be times when an Orisha will “stand up” to help you, but it does not mean it is your head Orisha.
  8. Animal Sacrifice: An uninitiated in the Santeria religion should never do any animal sacrifice offering to the Orishas.

Most rituals and consecrations to the Orishas in Santeria require initiation, however, to pay homage or talk to the Orishas, just look around you, their energy is out there, it is everywhere.


Yaya Maria

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Who are the Santeria Orishas?

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Prayer to The Orishas

May Elegua open the doors of opportunities and remove obstacles from your path orishas
May Ogun to give you courage to overcome your problems and defeat your enemies
May Oshosi bring Justice and Balance to your life

May Orula bestow his Wisdom upon you
May Obatala bring Peace, Tranquility and Harmony to your life
May Babalu Aye heal your body and soul
May Olokun grant stability to your being
May Yemaya renovate and refresh your life with the powers of her waters
May Chango give you the strength to fight and win your battles

May Oshun fulfill your dreams of love and riches
May Oya bring with her Winds of change and prosperity to your realm

Yaya Maria

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The Important Role and Legacy of Women in Santeria

Women were the shapers of the Santeria traditions we practice today.

Now days Santeria, The Ocha Rule, is practiced all over the world, Santeria originated in Cuba, every single Santeria Priest anywhere on the world has a link of origin to a Santeria house in Cuba and most of those houses have a woman at its root, it is very important to learn to respect our religion, its roots and the women who made it possible.

Up until the mid 1930’s, women wielded tremendous power as heads of almost all of the most influential Santeria houses and almost all of Santeria’s family trees have a woman as the root.

Women in fact held most of the power in the religion, ruling as heads of houses and as Oriatés until well into the 20th century.

It was relatively recently that men have come to take over the roles that were exclusively held by women. Since the 1800s most houses of Santo were formed and ruled by women.

Women were the real movers and shakers and they were the main force who shaped Santeria and its initiations into what it is today. Almost all the branches of the religion were founded by women.

Today I want to honor tribute and my respects to all the women who created the legacy of the Santeria religion, the famous and the not so famous, they are important part of our history and I feel empowered and honored every time I name them in my prayers.

Today I Mojugba (I give praise) to the effort, hard work and contributions of all the important Santeras (Santeria High Priestess) who left their legacy to the new generations and I hope the new generations of Santeros do not forget their roots and learn to respect the role of women and the roots of the Santeria tarditions

Aurora Lamar (Obá Tolá) – Founder of Branch La Pimienta
Timotea “Latuán” Albear – Founder of the Branch La Pimienta.
Ña Belén Gonzales (Apoto) – Root of the pimienta, culo verde, and trapito branches
Rosalía Gramosa (Efuché Warikondó) – Founder of La Rama de los Millonarios- The Reformer of the Religion
Susana Cantero (Omí Toké) Founder of the Rama Coral
Ña Margarita Armenteros (Aina) Founder of the house San Jose 80
Ña Caridad Argudín founded the Cabildo Africano Lucumí
Josefa Herrera ruled The Cabildo de Yemayá in Regla
Susana Cantero ruled another Cabildo de Yemayá.
Fermenita Gómez (Ocha Bí), founded the Cabildo de Ferminita Gómez, one of the great centers of Olokun worship.
Ma Monserrate Gonzales (Obá Tero) a core foundation of the religion in Matanzas

And so many more…..

The founders and leaders of most of the Santeria houses were women who ruled entirely or shared that rule with their Babalawo husbands.

Women traditionally led all the major ceremonies and performed all the rites involved in the initiation of new Santeros that are now the province of the Oriaté and the role of Oriaté was first held by women.

Notorious woman oriatés wereTeresita Ariosa Eni Ochún and Guillermina Castel.

Timotea Albear (Ayayí La Tuán) was the Oriaté used by almost all of the houses up until the time of her death. She, in fact, was the one who trained the first male Oriaté Octavio Samar Rodriguez (Obadimeyi).

It was only after the death of Timotea Albear in 1935 that Obadimeyi began to gain power as an Oriaté, but before long all the Oriatés were male.

But now we are beginning to see more women training to become Oriatés. Perhaps before long Santeria will be ruled over by women once more.

Yaya Maria