Inle: Orisha of Health and Healing
Inle, also known as Erinle, is an Orisha who dwells in the in-between space where the fresh river water meets the salty sea. He is the deity of health and medicine, the physician to other deities, the hunter of the land and sea, and is often regarded as the patron of homosexual and transgender people. According to Yoruba tradition, Inle was a mighty hunter who became an Orisha.
Inle is sometimes considered a male aspect of Yemaya Mayaleo. He is also syncretized with the Archangel Raphael, whose name means "God heals." Raphael is frequently shown with fish, wearing blue and pink, and is the patron of nurses, doctors, and other medical workers.
The Image of Inle
Inle is a strong, healthy-looking warrior and hunter, with flowing hair in seven braids and fine, feminine features that give him an androgynous appearance. He is always dressed elegantly, adorned in cowrie shells, coral, and beautiful feathers from the birds he hunts, and is often shown with snakes wound around him similar to a caduceus or staff of Aesculapius.
Inle is usually represented holding a staff, dagger, or a fishing hook. In nature, he is represented by fish. His colors are white, yellow, and blue, though some sources say indigo, turquoise, and coral. All of his animals are spotlessly white.
Praying to Inle
Inle is a caring deity who tends to those in need of him, and he is often prayed to by the physically ill. due to his androgynous nature, he is also prayed to by gay, lesbian, and transgender people, many of whom burn offerings of straw fish effigies to him on his feast day. Like other Orishas, Inle can be communicated with by throwing obi. To invoke him when throwing obi, say:
God of medicine, give me the salvation that you as a divine Medic can.
You who sacrifice yourself to save your children from sickness,
you who with your fish in your hand scared Death away from wherever you went.
You stayed and healed the sick in every town you visited,
thank you my father Inle.
If you wish to pray for physical, mental, or emotional healing for yourself or a loved one, create an altar to Inle and set it with a Healing Candle. Light it, and ask Inle for his assistance. Thank him with offerings of images or metal charms depicting fish, or even fish-shaped candy.
He also loves music, art, precious stones, and fine food and drink, like fried plantains. The leaves of the Alamo plant also called the sacred fig (ficus religiosa), are taboo to him.
In addition to healing, Inle is also associated with abundance. Because of his place where the shore, river, and ocean meet, his position as hunter and fisherman, and his elegant, well-dressed appearance, he represents the bounty of the land and sea.
Creating an Altar to Inle
In Africa, shrines to Inle contain smooth stones gathered from the Erinle River in Nigeria, a tributary of the Osun River. To create an altar for Inle, cover a space with cloth in his colors. Adorn it with round, smooth river pebbles and an image of Inle, like a 12" Orisha Inle statue or piece of artwork. If you like, set it with a candle and gold-colored bowl to contain offerings to him.
Inle lives in a space that is neither water nor land, and neither salty nor sweet. He has the knowledge of medical herbs, as well as offering all of the abundances of both the land and water. Inle balances earth and water, masculine and feminine, salt water and sweet water, hunting, and healing. As the doctor of the gods, he helps bring about all forms of healing. Ask for his aid when you need to bring about healing and balance to your emotional, mental, and physical self, or when you need help bringing healing to others.