The Orishas of Yoruban-originating religions are part of a group of godlike beings created as parts of the supreme Creator. Every worshipper has a spiritual mother and father, though only one is dominant. When a priest or priestess is initiated, they are done so as a devotee of their dominant Orisha.
Connecting With Your Head Orisha
The concept of a "head Orisha" refers to the Orisha who is believed to be the individual's primary spiritual guardian or protector. This Orisha is said to "own" the person's head, meaning that they have a strong connection to that Orisha and that Orisha's energy and qualities.
When someone asks who their head Orisha is, they are typically seeking to learn more about their spiritual identity and understand the Orisha that is believed to be their guide and protector. This knowledge can help them better understand themselves and their spiritual path, as well as guide them in their spiritual practices, offerings, and rituals.
Discovering one's head Orisha usually involves consulting with a diviner or spiritual practitioner who can perform a reading or divination to identify the individual's primary Orisha. The divination process may involve various methods such as throwing shells, cards, or other objects and interpreting the results based on the diviner's knowledge and experience.
Oftentimes, you may feel in your heart or mind that an Orisha has chosen you. Again, you will need to consult with a spiritual practitioner to know for sure, but there are ways in which you can try to interpret the signs that an Orisha may have chosen you so you can respond to their call.
Once the head Orisha is identified, the individual may then engage in practices and rituals specific to that Orisha in order to strengthen their connection and deepen their understanding of their spiritual path.
How Many Orishas Are There?
The divine essence of the Orishas is something that transcends the limitations of human understanding. Although the number of Orishas may change depending on the religion, culture, and source, there is no denying the fact that they hold an important place in the spiritual world.
The Yoruba religion and its diasporic forms such as Santeria, Candomble, and Vodou acknowledge a pantheon of several dozen Orishas, with some sources even indicating over 400 different Orishas. However, it is important to note that the specific identities, qualities, and associations of each Orisha can vary based on different communities, regions, and lineages.
Regardless of the number or the specific identity, the Orishas are revered as powerful spiritual guides and protectors who help individuals navigate their path in life. As we connect with the Orishas, we are able to discover more about ourselves and our spiritual journey, and the possibilities for growth and transformation become limitless.
Forming a Spiritual Partnership With Your Orisha
Identifying the Orisha that you most closely identify with can serve several purposes. One reason you may want to find your head Orisha is for spiritual guidance. The Orishas are considered to be powerful spiritual guides and protectors, and by identifying your head Orisha, you can develop a deeper connection with this guiding spirit and seek their guidance and support in your spiritual journey.
Knowing which Orisha you identify with can also provide a sense of personal identity and help you better understand your own strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits. The Orisha you identify with can reflect qualities and characteristics that resonate with you and help you understand yourself better. This can be beneficial for personal growth and self-discovery.
In addition, identifying your head Orisha can help you connect with the cultural and community traditions associated with that Orisha. This can include participating in specific rituals, celebrations, and offerings that honor that Orisha. This can be a meaningful way to connect with your cultural heritage and build community connections.
Finally, the Orishas are also associated with various aspects of healing, growth, and transformation. By identifying your head Orisha, you can work with them to overcome obstacles, develop new skills, and manifest positive changes in your life. This can help you to become more empowered, fulfilled, and aligned with your spiritual path.
Overall, discovering your head Orisha can provide a sense of spiritual connection, personal identity, and community belonging, as well as offer guidance, healing, and growth.
Though there are hundreds of Orishas, you may find you identify with one of these:
Elegua is the road-opener, and messenger of the Creator If you are a child of Elegua, you may find yourself drawn to parties, good food and drink, good cigars, fun, sex, dancing, costumes, and shows. You may be very sensual, with a keen sense of humor, a taste for practical jokes, and a highly developed sense of right and wrong (and a strong desire for retribution). This passion for fun and sensuality has its downsides -- you may struggle with confinement, monogamy, routines, and boredom. Elegua's feast day is June 13.
Obatala is the Orisha of peace and calm, whose domain is the sky above, the clouds, and the tops of mountains. If you are a child of Obatala, you may find that you are enamored with ideas, analytical, cerebral, introverted, and monogamous. Others may seek you out for your wisdom. You may prefer things like mild foods, gentle music, and small groups. However, you may find physical things a challenge for you, dislike large groups of people, and may be prone to anxiety and frustration (especially if you do not get enough alone time to recover). Obatala's feast day is September 24.
Ogun is the Orisha of technology, civilization, and iron. If you are a child of Ogun, you may be quick to become offended, quick to act, physically strong, and have an affinity for metals and woodlands. On the flip side, you may have difficulty with the emotional side of things. It can be hard for you to remain clear-headed in matters of love, talking about your feelings may be a challenge for you, and you may often feel that others take advantage of you to ask for favors. Ogun's feast day is June 29.
Oshun is the Orisha of love, sensuality, sexuality, beauty, and fertility. You may be a child of Oshun if you care about your clothing and appearance, care about fashion, love to dance, enjoy flirtation, and love parties. On the other hand, you may be inclined to vanity, tend to react emotionally rather than logically, cannot stand confinement, and are easy to offend. Oshun's feast day is September 8.
Oya is a warrior Orisha. She is the goddess of lightning, hurricanes, and the winds, as well as the guardian of the cemetery gates. You may be a child of Oya if you love thunderstorms, have a "green thumb," are not bothered by the dead, enjoy dark colors, do not fear physical fights, and enjoy the company of strong people. You may have had a lover leave you in the past. This strength and warrior spirit has its downsides, as well -- you may be quick to anger, resent discipline, and grew up as a "problem child." Oya's feast day is February 2.
Shango is the Orisha of virility, thunder, and war. He is intense, as are his children. You may be one if you are very sexual, love music and dancing, react strongly to thunderstorms, love the color red, and are articulate and charming. You may also be clairvoyant. Unfortunately, you are also likely to be hot-tempered and find that you cause strong reactions in others -- after meeting you, they either love you or hate you. Shango's feast day is December 4.
Yemaya is the Mother of the Seven Seas. You may be one of her children if you are strongly parental, caring, empathetic, protective, slow to anger, and quick to forgive. You may also find yourself drawn to lakes and oceans. Physically, you may be inclined to a heavy figure. Otherwise, you may be a bit of a homebody. Though money is seldom a problem for you, your emotional needs come before material goods. You may find yourself performing a lot of emotional labor, as other people often come to you for support. Yemaya's feast day is September 7.
The Orishas govern all of the natural phenomena in the world, so there are many more than these seven. Though a reading is the only way to truly find out which Orishas have influence over you, this list can help give you a general idea of which you may identify the most strongly with.