Ilé Obatalá T’Alabalaché* is an Ilé Oricha (Oricha House Temple) and an organization dedicated to furthering and preserving our Lucumí (Santería) traditions and heritage. Obatalá T’Alabalaché literally means House of Obatalá Whose Word Always Comes to Pass. Obatalá (King of the White Cloth) is the head of the Orichas whom he guides through his wisdom and purity. Of all the Orichas, only two have the power of being Alabalaché: Obatalá and Orunmila, the Oricha of knowledge and wisdom.
Forged in resistance to the horrific conditions of slavery where the practice of our traditions could mean imprisonment, torture or death, La Regla Lucumí (Santería) took on the form of ilés or “houses”, secret cells which could function independently if other ilés were discovered by slave owners and the authorities. As many biological families were separated from each other by the practice of slavery, to many these ilés became a very real surrogate family. Thus these ‘godfamilies’ acted as huge extended families, with godparents, godsisters and brothers, godchildren, god-grandparents and great-granparents and so on. As members of a very real, if not biological, family, members of an ilé worked together and were always ready to provide aid to one another when necessary, just like any good family.
At Ilé Obatalá T’Alabalaché we follow this traditional organization in La Regla Lucumí (Santería) as a godfamily who form an Ilé or House where members become very much a part of our family. And, as a traditional Lucumí Ifá religious house, we are dedicated to helping all of humanity, providing aid to anyone who comes to us for help without fear of judgement or discrimination of any sort.
First and foremost we are a teaching ilé. We strive to give the opportunity to each of our members to become knowledgeable practitioners who can represent the Religion and our ilé well and who will uphold the highest ethical standards.
Ilé Obatalá T’Alabalaché is also a mutual aid organization with a ‘Consejo de Ancianos’ (Council of Elders) dedicated to the preservation and the advancement of the dynasty of our religious inheritance and in true service to humanity, to Olófin, to the Orichas and to our religious ancestry.
“The ladder of Ifá gives each their place according to their merits” – Oddun Ifá Baba Eyiogbe
Our Mission (in part):
- The preservation and teaching of our Lucumí (Santería) culture, traditions, Religion and way of life.
- To help all of humanity.
- To act as an information resource including
- OrishaNet, the first Orisha (Santería) website on the worldwide web.
- Communicating the beauty, depth and wisdom of our religion through written works such as Babalawo, Santería’s High Priests
- The creation of libraries both on site and online.
- Translating and publish core documents such as Iwé ni Iyewó ni Ifá Orunmila (Orunmila’s Book of Ifá Diagnosis) from the 1940s and 1950s and the earlier Tratado de Odduns de Ifá containing knowledge gleaned directly from first generation Cuban babalawo Eñó Akonkó and possibly Adechina, the babalawo who brought Ifá to Cuba.
- To promote understanding of our culture to the outside world.
- To defend our culture, religious beliefs and traditions.
- To liaison with other Diaspora religions in Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and elsewhere, Oricha worshippers in Africa, as well as other indigenous cultures in the Americas and throughout the world for mutual support.
- Research to deepen our knowledge of our traditions and practices.
- To perform our ceremonies for the well-being of our planet as well as the Lucumí (Santería) community.