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use of catholic icons

 
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casbonano



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:06 am    Post subject: use of catholic icons Reply with quote

Hello all:

having asked for a santero or babalawo so that i might begin my journey into santeria (by consultation first, then collares, ellegua, guerreros, asiento, etc...) i have been told that my use of catholic saint icons is not santeria, but espiritismo. I have explained that, as an example, since i have no ellegua or bata of chango or collares, i use what i have: icon of santa barabar or nińo de.atocha as representations of Chango and Ellegua. To these on their days or in times of need i give offerings of cigars, rum, or food, and ask that though i am not initiated that my offerings be accepted and that i be guided to initiation and learn the proper ways and be given the propers items. But it is always to the orisha, not the saint.

I have been told on several ocassions that this is not santeria. I am there for confussed.

Thanks for reading,

Carlos[/quote]
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anthony



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 4
Location: Iowa

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject: dearest caso bonano Reply with quote

You were informed correctly Catholic Saints are not Orisha. However if you are praying to Orishas they will receive your offerings and prayers. You might chose to Africanize your altars. Instead of a Catholic Saint representing Elegua perhaps you might choose to use a coconut that you clean of excess hair and wash and rub with palm oil. You can place him in a clay dish, sprinkle him with water 3 times, blow rum 3 times, cigar smoke on him 3 times and offer candies. As I understand it this was the first kind of Elegua ever made. Also you might consider using a Chango Macho statue in stead of Saint Barbara. You can order them or find them in botanicas. Also you will find other Africanized versions of different Orisha Statues in the botanicas also. The rule of thumb is even so you are not initiated you may pray and offer to any Orisha as long as you give Elegua something first and definately tell him to open the door, advise him of what you are doing as he is the divine messenger who will make sure the other Orishas receive your prayers and offerings. Also you might consider going to the places of nature the particular Orisha owns and make your prayers and offerings there.
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casbonano



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for your reply.and especially for your suggestions. As a matter of fact, in the past I have used a coconut to represent Elegua, offering candies or palm oil or rum and cigars. For Chango, as I have said before, I used Santa Barbara because that os the image which speaks most to me.

I suppose my question at this point is two-fold:

1) why Now the image of a catholic saint can not be used as a disguised representation of an orisha

2) when this practice ceased to be acceptable. It was my understanding that as the yoruba were brought here to my lands as slaves ( I am Taino and Cherokee) that they did the very thing that i am doing: using catholic saints as disguises for the Orishas.

I understane that this was a meassure taken out of necessity, but in a way, so am I.

Again, I am asking so that I may learn and I am thankful that you are taking the time to teach me.

Carlos
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anthony



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 4
Location: Iowa

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly in the island of Puerto Rico where Espiritismo is prevailant those concepts you have are very common. I've seen Cubans do the same thing.
I guess it all depends on you and what you believe. It also depends on your godparents and what they will teach you. Those who told you Catholic Icons was Espiritismo should have been questioned extensively as why. Ultimately the learning process is like attending a university you go in with knowledge, beleifs, and those are challenged. Perhaps by teachings, personal experiences, observations, and finally you reach your own conclusion. You maintain your own opinions or views after that. By you living in the mystical Island of Puerto Rico searching for such learning and experiences should not be difficult for you to find. If you doing those things with St. Barbara as Chango and they are working for you, you should definately keep doing it! Very Happy
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casbonano



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for the reply,

Unfortunately, i am not presently living on the island, though i am able to go back from time to time , but not as often as i would like. This I suppose is another reason for my use of such imagery: Santa Barabara reminds me of Puerto Rico, my grandmothers house with all its catholic imagery, and the hurricans and storms that frequent borinquen every year. It gives me an emotional link and charge.

Well, i do appreciltiate the input. Feel like I made a friend.

Blessings to you and yours,

Carlos
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Frank Baba Eyiogbe



Joined: 05 Dec 2006
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the Catholic saints are not the Orishas, they are not espiritismo either. They are simply the means by which the Orishas were hidden for generations and are still used as a coded representation.
It's OK to have saints to represent the Orisha, but the statues themselves should not receive offerings as again they are not the Orishas.
But you can set up an area for Shangó with a piece of nice red cloth which can include a statue of Santa Barbara if you wish. You can put simple offerings like apples or bananas there too. You can also go to a palm tree and give offerings there.
You can give offerings to Elegguá at a crossroads near your house as a coconut is referred to as a 'spiritual Elegguá' and in most cases is probably even more spiritist than a saint statue.
The choice on whether or not you include saint statues or pictures is a personal one, they just should not be considered the actual Orisha.

But to move forward in our traditions you will need to make contact with a good Babalawo or Santero, and if you wish to focus on Palo (which is a completely separate religion which does not include Elegguá and Shangó, etc.), then you need to contact a good Palero.


Iború, Iboya, Ibocheche,

Baba Eyiogbe
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casbonano



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for sharing all if this with me.

And yes, I have come into contact with someone who is a Palero and whos madrina is Santera, so I hope this will ease my way and make things clearer for me.

Blessings

Carlos
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OluwoOgbeAte



Joined: 16 Feb 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't say it's "not" Santeria. Yes it is...a great many santeros use catholic imagery to communicate or decorate their altars. That's a defining characteristics of Afro-Cuban Santeria.

now...whether or not one wants to use it or recognize Cathollic images as suitable representations of the Orishas is up to one's thinking.

I personally do not call the Orishas by their Catholic names nor use Catholic statues in representation of them (with the exception of one, I will explain...) I happen to believe that the Catholic imagery is an artificial mask for the Orisha...that served its historical purpose (to protect the slaves from the slavemasters during slavery), but that has nothing to do with the established forms of consecration of sacred items. You never seen someone put a Catholic image to "comer"...or receive a Santo in the form of a porcelain statue! Laughing

That being said, it is permissible to have your Otanes (your actual consecrated items) and decorate them or add to them as you wish, including Catholic imagery in recognition of established habits due to the history of Afro-Cuban Santeria. People add offerings, toys, candy, cloths, etc...they try to create an Altar...but really...the Orishas...the fundamento is what is important.

I have only ONE catholic imagery. When I moved into my first house, I found two catholic statues in the garden....a Virgin Mary (which I left in a prominent place in the garden, mostly to appease my Catholic grandmother...it made no difference to me) and a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. Now...I received the house before I even had Guerreros....

Fast forward 2 years...I am now what? An Awo! When I returned from Cuba, I felt that it was no mere coincidence that me, a person who was destined to be an Awo, had a Catholic statue of the syncretic form of Orunmila! I thought it was a sign that I should treat that statue with more respect and that Orunmila had given me a sign...indeed, that my life followed a specific path toward the point where I had the funds to buy a home and I elected to buy this home before finding the statue hidden in brush in the garden. Coincidence...or fate?

So I grabbed the statue, cleaned it, and brought it inside and placed it in the altar near my Orunmila items (Opon Ifa, Iroke, Irukere, etc.) I dangled an Orunmila Eleke and my Okpeles on him. Feels right.

So yeah...there's nothing wrong with Catholic imagery...if the imagery spiritually speaks to you. In my case, it mostly doesnt'...I address the Orishas as the Orishas...not as St. Francis of Assisi or Santa Barbara (Shango).
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Ochun Kofa De
Site Admin


Joined: 31 Jan 2007
Posts: 619
Location: East Harlem, NYC

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iboru, Iboya, Ibochiche Oluwos:

It is everyone's religious right to venerate spirit as they see fit. If you were raised in this tradition, with Catholic Imagery, so be it. If you no longer recognize the church, so be it.

I dont criticize that.

OKD

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