Chango: Lord of Fire and Lightning

Orisha Changó is a royal ancestor of the Yoruba tribe and was the third Alafin (king) of the Oyo Kingdom. He was legitimately married to Oba but kept passionate affairs with Oya and Oshun. He is the god of war and the master of lightning, thunder, music and sacred drums called batá; which are played during important ceremonies.

Shango, also called Kabiosile, is the son of Yemaya and Aggayu Sola but was raised by Obbatala because Yemaya did not want him. When Obbatala and his wife Yemu adopted him, they offered him a red and white collar and a castle and they told him that he would be the master of the world.

When he came down to earth, he took his castle, his pylon and the divination tray. When he arrived, he lived with the Congo people but he had problems because of his character and he was exiled.

Chango fathered the Ibeji – the first twins. (Their mother is Oshún.) He also fathered Boromú and Borosia, who were born by Yegguá, the virgin girl he had raped.  When he was young he was very unruly but through a healthy dose of reality checks from Obatalá, Changó eventually matured and learned the fine arts of diplomacy, royal grace and charm.

He’s a fast talker, lies a lot and can be manipulative. He can also be a gambler and wasteful with money. As long as his children are obedient, he’s a good father, but punishes them if they don’t live up to his standards. When his ego gets out of control, he’s arrogant and domineering.

He is central to every initiation performed in Santería. Obatala, Oshun,  Yemaya and Shango make up the four pillars of Santeria. He is one of the most loved and celebrated orishas in Yoruba land because of his generosity and the protection he confers upon his followers.

Characteristics of Shango

Number: 6 and 12

Colors: red and white

Tools: single headed axe, thunder stones, double headed axe, sword.

Temperament: bombastic, outspoken, assertive and charming.

Day: Fridays and the 4th day of every month.

Syncretized Catholic Saint: Saint Barbara.

Sacred Place in Nature: the royal palm tree.

Feast Day of St. Barbara/Changó:  Dec 4th .

Favorite offerings: Cornmeal porridge with okra, plantain bananas, red apples or fruits, grilled corn, red wine, raw or cooked yam, barley, brandy.

Sacred Symbol: double bladed axe, lightning bolts, fire balls and Chango’s eleke.

The eleke is made with alternating red and white beads and decorated with elaborate alternating patterns and cowrie shells.

The Shango Altar

If you have the space and opportunity to make a specific Shango altar, then prepare it at the fire place because he likes fire. You should make fires for Shango on stones, glass, clay, or any kind of earthen material but avoid any metallic container.

Place your Shango items nearest to your Eshu items, and far from the Ogun items. If you have any Shango necklace, keep them stored in a red and white bowl or cloth in the Shango section whenever you are not wearing them. Also remember to place Shango tools, offerings and figurines on the altar.



Image Source:

Leave a Reply