African spirituality practices date back thousands of years, so in the following paragraphs, we hope but to offer an outline so to entice your appetite for further investigation.
In African spiritual practices, the ultimate spiritual being, Olofi, has various aspects, some people say, are broken down into Orishas. (1) In most African religions, the supreme god is a distant being no longer involved in day-to-day human life (2).
Vodoun > Lwas
Voodoo > Loas
Macumba > Orixa
The 7 African Powers
The Orisha we most commonly know today are what is commonly called “The 7 African Powers” (1)
I. PAPA LEGBA:
Also Eleggua, Elegua. The trickster, the opener of the way and the guardian of the crossroads, both physical and spiritual.
Also Obatalia. Obatala’s help is sought in ethical dilemmas and the problems of self-discipline.
Also Yemalia, Yemalla. Literally “mother of fishes”. She rules birth and the surface of the oceans, and works closely with Olokun, who rules the depths.
Also Ochum. The Goddess of love and abundance.
A revolution in constant progress, Oya brings sudden change.
Also Shango. Chango is a king, and his name is synonymous with justice.
Also Ogum. God of iron and machines, Ogoun is a smith, a soldier, and a politician.
When did the Bible come into practice?
As you can see on the reference page religions in Africa, there are many types of spiritual practices, religions, & spiritual beliefs. When people were taken from all over Africa to be sold to the Americas, most people did not speak the same language and they did not practice the same religion. Regardless, when they came over from the continent of Africa to be slaves, the slave masters did not allow the practice of any African spirituality practice. Anyone caught practicing any religion other than Catholicism was severely punished. A monotheistic faith such as Orisha was NOT acceptable in the new lands.
The slaves, still deeply attached to their African roots, pretended to be praying to the Christian God, while deep in their hearts they were praying to their African gods. The practice of any type of magic was deeply forbidden and was well hidden from the masters. They learned from people in the region about the roots, the trees, and the other natural resources. This is why we have strong South American influences and native American influences in Hoodoo.
Over 400 years have passed, but the tradition still remains today; it is so deeply rooted in the religion that it is almost impossible to even imagine Hoodoo and Voodoo without the representation of the Loas with Catholic Saints’ images.
Now that you know this information, it will be up to you to decide to work with the Orisha or with the Saints, or just to the universal source of all energy.