Santería or La Regla Ocha (Reign of the Orishas or deities) is the primeval and powerful Afro-Cuban religion now practiced worldwide.
As much a culture and a world-view as it is a religion, La Regla Ocha retains the rites, music and even much of the language as practiced when brought to the New World from Africa during the slave trade. This ancient body of shamanic wisdom was adapted to the modern urban world by these slaves, among them some of the greatest minds in history.
Hidden within the core of Santería is the ancient mystery known as Ifá, an immensely sophisticated system of knowledge and wisdom practiced by its high priests, the babalawos. According to Ifá, the entire universe is made up of knowledge in binary form brought together in groups of eight, much like modern computer programs. And all the knowledge and power of the universe can be found within the 256 living binary odduns. Afro-Cuban Ifá contains the accumulated knowledge of thousands of babalawos in both Africa and the New World, particularly Cuba.
In August 1995 OrishaNet became the first Orisha website on the internet, and we remain the premier source of information about the Orishas and the traditions and heritage of La Regla Ocha (Santeria) and La Regla de Ifa. OrishaNet was created by Frank Baba Eyiogbe, a Babalawo and author of “Babalawo, Santería’s High Priests” with over 21 years experience in Ifa as a Babalawo (High Priest) and over 26 years as an Oricha Priest (Santero).
Cuban Ifá From An Insider
Hidden within the mysterious Afro-Cuban religion of Santería, also known as Lucumí, there is a deep body of secrets and rituals called Ifá, divination practiced by priests whose title, babalawo, means “Father of the Secrets.” This book pulls away the veil of secrecy to reveal exactly what Ifá is and how it works, exploring its history, cosmology, Orichas, initiations, mythology, offerings, and sacrifices. Join Frank Baba Eyiogbe in this fascinating introduction that discusses the functions of the babalawo, the role of women, the future of Ifá, and much more.
“A wonderful and much needed addition to the literature on Afro-Cuban religion. Engagingly written, scholarly while remaining accessible . . . it presents an up-to-date exposition of both the history and contemporary philosophy of one of the world’s most complex systems of divination.”―Stephan Palmié, Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and author of The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion