Nana Buruku: Grandmother of All Orishas
Nana Buruku is an ancient Orisha in traditional African religion and mythology, revered as the mother of the universe and the grandmother of all Orishas. She is said to embody the spirit of the earth and the moon and is known for her extraordinary healing powers and wisdom. In many traditional African cultures, Nana Buruku is revered as a powerful ancestor spirit and a guardian of women, pregnancy, and female fertility.
The mythology surrounding Nana Buruku is closely intertwined with the mythology of other Orishas, such as Oshun, Babalú-Ayé, Iroko, Ochumare, and Ogun. In some traditions, Nana Buruku is revered as the mother of these Orishas, while in others she is considered their equal or their sister. Some myths portray Nana Buruku as a benevolent and nurturing mother, while others depict her as a fierce and protective guardian, who will not hesitate to defend her spiritual children against harm.
The Origins of Nana Buruku
Despite her importance in traditional African religion and mythology, little is known about the specific origins and history of Nana Buruku. Some scholars believe that she may be a syncretization of multiple African deities, merged together over time as various African cultures were brought into contact with one another through the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism.
Others speculate that Nana Buruku may be a survival of an even more ancient African goddess, worshipped by the earliest human societies on the continent. Regardless of her specific origins, Nana Buruku remains a powerful and revered figure in the spiritual traditions of many African diaspora communities around the world.
Nana Buruku: Protector of Women
Nana Buruku is a powerful and revered Orisha known for her role as a protector and guardian of women, pregnancy, and female fertility. She is often sought out by women for guidance and spiritual healing and is revered for her knowledge and strength. Though she has little patience for men and surrounds herself mainly with priestesses, her protectiveness and skepticism should not be mistaken for rudeness. These traits are simply a reflection of Nana Buruku's deep commitment to her role as a guardian and protector.
Nana Buruku is also the mother to several other Orishas, including Oshun, ruler of the rivers, Babalú-Ayé, Orisha of epidemics and disease, Iroko, the spirit of the cieba tree, and Ochumare, keeper of the rainbow. Each of these Orishas holds a specific role in traditional African spirituality and is revered as a powerful and influential force in the spiritual world. Nana Buruku is closely associated with each of these Orishas and is seen as having a special connection to them as their mother or grandmother.
In addition to her role as a mother and guardian, Nana Buruku is also associated with rain, mud, swamps, hospitals, and cemeteries. These associations may reflect Nana Buruku's role as a protector and healer, and may also be linked to her connection to the earth and the tides. In Santeria, a syncretic religion that combines elements of traditional African spirituality with Christianity, Nana Buruku is considered a manifestation of Yemaya, another powerful Orisha associated with the sea and fertility.
The Image of Nana Buruku
Nana Buruku is often depicted as a strong, large old dark-skinned woman, draped in robes of pink, purple, and black and wearing jewelry fashioned from the beads and shells of the waters she watches over. These attributes - her robes, jewelry, and spiritual broom - all hold specific meanings and significance in relation to Nana Buruku and her role as a guardian and protector of women, pregnancy, and female fertility.
Nana Buruku's Robes
Nana Buruku's robes are often seen as representing her wisdom and spiritual authority and are thought to be imbued with powerful protective energies. The colors of her robes - pink, purple, and black - are often associated with spiritual transformation, healing, and protection, and may be chosen for their symbolic significance in relation to Nana Buruku's role as a guardian and protector.
Nana Buruku's Jewelry
Nana Buruku's jewelry is also thought to hold symbolic meaning and significance. The beads and shells that adorn her are often associated with the waters she watches over, and may be seen as representing her connection to the earth and the tides. These beads and shells are often believed to be imbued with powerful protective energies and may be used as totems and talismans in the worship and veneration of Nana Buruku.
Nana Buruku's Spiritual Broom
Nana Buruku's spiritual broom is another important attribute and is often depicted as a hook-shaped broom that she uses to guide her spiritual children on the proper path. This broom is thought to represent Nana Buruku's wisdom and guidance and may be seen as a symbol of her role as a guardian and protector. In some traditions, the broom is also associated with the power of purification and cleansing and may be used in rituals related to spiritual transformation and renewal.
The Symbols Associated With Nana Buruku
The moon, leaves, Baobab tree, and angelfish are all significant symbols in the mythology and worship of Nana Buruku. Each of these symbols holds a specific meaning and significance in relation to Nana Buruku and her role as a guardian and protector of women, pregnancy, and female fertility.
The moon is often associated with Nana Buruku, due to her connection to the earth and the tides. In many traditional African cultures, the moon is seen as a powerful symbol of feminine energy and fertility and is often invoked in rituals related to childbirth, menstruation, and other aspects of women's health. Nana Buruku is said to embody the spirit of the moon and is revered as a guardian of all things feminine and maternal.
The Leaves of the Baobab Tree
Leaves, particularly those of the Baobab tree, are also closely associated with Nana Buruku. The Baobab tree is a species of tree native to many parts of Africa and is known for its massive trunk and long lifespan. In many traditional African cultures, the Baobab tree is seen as a symbol of strength, endurance, and fertility, and is often revered as a sacred tree. Nana Buruku is said to embody the spirit of the Baobab tree and is often depicted holding or wearing leaves from this tree as a symbol of her strength and wisdom.
The angelfish is another significant symbol in the mythology of Nana Buruku. This brightly colored fish is known for its peaceful and graceful nature and is often associated with spiritual transformation and healing. In traditional African religion, angelfish are seen as a symbol of Nana Buruku's healing powers and is often invoked in rituals related to health and well-being.
The Number Seven
The number seven is also significant in the worship of Nana Buruku, and is seen as representing spiritual perfection and completion. It may be associated with the seven major Orishas - also known as The Seven African Powers - or with the seven chakras of the human body. This number is seen as representing spiritual perfection and completion and is often invoked in rituals and ceremonies related to Nana Buruku.
Worshiping Nana Buruku
It is important to show proper respect to this wise Orisha. Her altar should be decorated with a pink or purple handkerchief. Arrange the complete set of Nana Buruku tools on the handkerchief. Her spirit resides in a clay vase, and those worshiping her should decorate the vase with pink, purple, and black paints. Light a 14 Day Plain Purple Candle before making your offerings to Nana Buruku.
Once the candle is lit, place some tobacco, coconut, coffee beans, and tomatoes on a clay plate. Pour some Bay Rum into a small glass and add it to your other offerings. Nana Buruku’s sacred number is seven, so try to incorporate that number into your gift to her - for example, place seven coffee beans on her altar.
Call upon this strong Orisha when you feel your chakras are out of balance or you need guidance on deeply spiritual matters. Her advice should never be sought out lightly, and her counsel should be respected and followed closely. Pay proper respect to Nana Buruku and she will offer you her sacred protection.