The history of Shango has traveled over centuries and continents, from the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Benin in West Africa. Also known as Chango, Sango, or Xango, this African deity was elevated to an Orisha after his death. The fourth king of the Yoruba Oyo Empire, he is the god of thunder, drumming, dancing, fire, and male virility. Known for his love of partying, Shango has a ritual dance named after him. He is a master at the drums and the rumble of the thunder reminds us of his rhythmic sounds.
Referred to as the "King of Santeria," he is a commanding sorcerer who uses his power to cast spells. Shango is one of the four pillars of Santeria, along with Oshun, Yemaya, and Obatala. He is one of the most beloved and revered of all Orishas and he plays an integral part in all Santeria rituals. Having found a balance between dominance and fun, Shango teaches us to live a well-rounded life. Married at different times to the Orisha goddesses Oya, Oshun, and Obba, Shango is a passionate warrior who loves love.
The Image of Shango
Shango is always seen with a double-headed axe, representing justice and symbolizing thunder. He is typically depicted as being surrounded by fire, wearing red and white robes and a crown on his head. He is said to live in a shallow, covered wooden bowl, called a batea, which is placed on a pilon, or pedestal. Beads of red and white, known as elekes, are worn to represent his two favorite colors. Double-headed thunderstones, believed to contain powerful mystical energy, symbolize Shango and his control over thunder and lightning.
The children of Shango are high-energy people full of life. They are strong, bold, and sexual and love to be the center of attention. His children are protectors of their children and might be quick to anger. They tend to be risk-takers and therefore are attracted to dangerous jobs in the military, police force, and firefighting.
Praying to Shango
A lover of partying and music, there is an abundance of offerings for this Orisha. He is said to favor apples, bananas, rum, and red wine. Amala, a cornmeal porridge made with okra, is one of Shango’s favorite things to eat. Tools made from cedar can be placed on his altar when worshiping him. A bata drum is another ritualistic item that would be meaningful to Shango.
Animals associated with Shango are dogs, turtles, and roosters. His numbers are 6 and 12 and his sacred nature area is the royal palm tree. Shango is associated with Leo, the planet of mars as well as the Sacral Chakra. He is linked to the Catholic Saint Barbara. Said to have been a fiercely independent and brave saint, Barbara embodies many of the same attributes as Shango. They share the feast day of December 4th, which is one of the most important festival days in Cuba.
Call upon this dominant Orisha when you are in need of justice and protection. Light an Abundance/Shango candle for prosperity and protection, or a Chango Macho candle for good luck and recite the following prayer:
Oh Sovereign and Mysterious spirit Shango who directs the destiny of our lives, watch over me.
Humbly I pray that you light the way for me to obtain, through your secrets and great power as a warrior, fortune, and luck in my job, business, and gambling so that I can take care of my needs and gain a joyful soul and peace of mind.
I kneel before your image, I admire your power, strength, and knowledge, and I ask for your benevolence. In the name of God and the Holy Spirit, protect me from all evil influences and evil thoughts and intentions of my enemies.
There will be no need to retreat because you will be with me and you will help me in all of my needs. Shango, my guide and protector, grant me ________ (say here what you need help with).
In the name of the Father, Son, and The Holy Spirit. Amen.