Yoruba tradition explains that each person has a personal Orisha who guides and protects them throughout their life. It's possible that you already have an Orisha that you identify with, but how do you know when an Orisha has chosen you? We'll explore some of the signs that an Orisha may have chosen you as their devotee, and then help you figure out what that means and how you can respond to their call.
Signs of Orisha's Call
Dreams and Visions
Dreams and visions are considered one of the most common signs that an Orisha has chosen you. Many people who have been chosen by an Orisha report having vivid, powerful dreams or visions of the deity.
These dreams may be accompanied by a sense of peace or a feeling of being called to serve the Orisha. They may be in the form of vivid images, or in some cases, the Orisha may appear to the person in the dream and speak to them directly. Some people report that the Orisha may appear in the dream multiple times, which is considered a sign that they are trying to communicate something important to you.
Dreams and visions are considered powerful forms of communication between Orishas and their faithful. They are believed to provide guidance, insight, and wisdom to those who are chosen by the Orisha. They can also be a sign that the Orisha is calling the person to serve them in some way, whether it be through becoming a priest or priestess, or by participating in rituals and ceremonies in honor of the Orisha.
Another potential sign that an Orisha has chosen you is the presence of synchronicities in your life. Synchronicities are meaningful coincidences that seem to be connected in a significant way, and they are often seen as messages from them. The Orisha may use synchronicities to guide and communicate with their devotees.
One example of a synchronicity that may indicate an Orisha has chosen you is seeing the same animal or symbol repeatedly. For example, if you keep seeing a particular bird or animal it may be a sign that the Orisha associated with that animal has chosen you.
For example, if you keep seeing dogs or roosters, it may mean that Elegua or Ogun is trying to connect with you as these are animals associated with these Orishas. Or if you keep seeing a certain symbol or number it may be a sign that the Orisha associated with that symbol has chosen you. Seeing the number three everywhere could be an indication of being chosen by Yemaya.
Physical sensations, such as shivers or goosebumps, are often considered to be signs that an Orisha has chosen you. These sensations are believed to be a direct response to the presence of the deity and can be seen as a sign of the Orisha's favor or recognition.
Some people who are chosen by an Orisha report experiencing physical sensations such as shivers, goosebumps, or a tingling feeling in their body when they are near the deity's shrine or altar. These sensations are often accompanied by a sense of awe or reverence and can be seen as a sign that the Orisha is present and actively communicating with them.
Additionally, some people might feel warmth or a sense of heat in their body, which is associated with the Orisha's energy and presence. Some might even feel a sense of weightlessness as if they are being lifted off the ground.
If you feel a strong emotional connection to an Orisha, or if you feel a sense of longing when you think about them, this may be a sign that they have chosen you as their devotee. This emotional connection can manifest in many different ways, such as feeling a sense of peace or calm when you think about the Orisha, or feeling a sense of excitement or joy when you hear their name.
This emotional connection can also manifest as a sense of familiarity or belonging when you think about the Orisha. You may feel as if you have known them for a long time, even if you have never met them before. This sense of familiarity can be a sign that this Orisha has chosen you as their devotee and that they are trying to establish a personal relationship with you.
How to Respond to the Call of an Orisha
Learn About the Orisha
If you suspect that an Orisha has chosen you, the first step is to learn as much as you can about that deity. Understanding an Orisha's history, mythology, and characteristics is essential to developing a deeper connection and relationship with them.
One way to learn about the Orisha is by reading books about the deity's history, mythology, and symbolism. This can provide valuable insight into their personality, characteristics, and the role that they play in the spiritual tradition.
Another way to learn about the Orisha is by talking to other devotees of that deity. They can provide valuable perspectives on their own experiences and insights, as well as share their knowledge and understanding of the Orisha.
Additionally, studying the rituals and practices associated with the Orisha is a great way to learn about the deity's significance and role in the spiritual tradition. This might include learning about their specific offerings, ceremonies, and rituals, as well as the customs and protocols that are associated with the Orisha.
Consult With an Elder or Babalawo
Consulting with a knowledgeable elder, godparent, grandparent, or a babalawo (priest of Ifa) is an important step in understanding and interpreting the signs and experiences that may indicate that an Orisha has chosen you. They have a deep understanding of the traditions, customs, and symbolism associated with the Orisha, and can provide you with their valuable guidance and insight.
When consulting with them, it's important to be open and honest about what you have been experiencing so they will be able to help you to understand their meanings and provide guidance on how to best honor and serve the Orisha that has chosen you.
Additionally, an elder or a babalawo can help you figure out if what you are experiencing is truly from an Orisha or not. They will be able to help you to understand the differences between genuine spiritual experiences and those that may be the result of other factors such as stress, anxiety, or a physical ailment.
Remember that it is disrespectful to approach the Orishas without proper guidance and initiation. That means consulting with a knowledgeable elder or a babalawo is not only important for understanding your signs and experiences, but also for the respect of your spiritual practice.
Form a Personal Relationship With Your Orisha
Once you have a deeper understanding of your Orisha, you can begin to form a personal relationship with the deity. Building a personal relationship with your Orisha is an important step in honoring and serving the deity, as well as in receiving guidance and blessings.
One way to establish a personal relationship with your Orisha is by building an altar in your home. This can be a dedicated space where you can make offerings, such as food, drink, or other items that are significant to the Orisha. You can also include symbols or images of the Orisha on your altar as well as Orisha candles. Creating an altar is a way to create a sacred space where you can connect with the Orisha, and it serves as a reminder of the Orisha's presence in your life.
Participating in rituals is another way to connect more deeply with your Orisha. Rituals can include ceremonies, dances, or other practices that are associated with the Orisha. Participating in rituals can help to deepen your connection to the Orisha, and can also be a way to honor and serve them.
Listen to Your Intuition
As you continue to build your relationship with your Orisha, it's important to pay attention to your intuition and listen to the guidance that the deity provides. Developing a strong intuition is key to understanding the messages and guidance that the Orisha provides. This can help you to make important decisions, navigate challenges, and find direction in your life.
One way to pay attention to your intuition is to practice mindfulness. This can include setting aside time each day to reflect on your thoughts and feelings, and to focus on the present moment. This can help to quiet your mind and allow you to listen to your inner voice.
Another way to pay attention to your intuition is to pay attention to your dreams. Many people who are chosen by an Orisha report having vivid dreams or visions of the deity. These dreams can provide guidance and insight into the messages that the Orisha is trying to convey.
You may also experience a sense of peace or a sense of direction in your life. This can be a sign that your Orisha is guiding you and helping you to navigate your life's journey. It's important to trust your intuition and to act on the guidance that you receive.
Ultimately, knowing when an Orisha has chosen you requires a combination of paying attention to signs, studying the Orisha, and listening to your intuition. If you suspect that an Orisha has chosen you, take the time to learn more about the deity, establish a personal relationship, and listen to the guidance they provide. Remember that the Orishas are not only spiritual entities, but also entities that are deeply connected to the natural world, and to the rhythm of life.