Orishas/Lwas 101

Just a quick little explanation of what an Orisha is.

Orishas (also known as Loas, Lwas, Mysteries or The Invisible) are basically the Gods – or the ruling forces of nature, and all serve different areas of human needs. They embody the traits of those areas in nature that they rule over. It is important to note that there are, literally, hundreds of Orishas – and based upon the type of tradition (Yoruba, West African, Haitian, Louisiana, etc) one follows will determine what you call them. They are divided into roughly 20 or 21 nations, which include Rada, Petro, Nago and Congo. With that being said, there are several that are commonly called upon, offerings made to, etc., and they correspond with Catholic Saints. To further complicate matters, the Lwa also fall into families with surnames: Ezili, Ghede, Ogou, etc.

Family traits are often seen as follows:
Ezili hold sway over the feminine aspects of life
Ghede hold sway over death, but also fertility, which are led by the Barons
Ogou are the soldiers/warriors
Azaka are the farmers/agriculturists

Some of the more common Lwas are:

Damballa-Wedo: very powerful sky serpent in Haitian Voudou. Symbolizes peace and harmony, also known as Papa Damballa and is associated with Saint Patrick. Offerings for Papa Damballa are eggs on a mound of flour, corn syrup, chicken. His color is white. Older, wiser and full of wisdom.

Ayida Wedo: wife of Damballa. Is the rainbow in Haitian Voudou. Symbolizes trees, springs, pools, rivers. Colors are white and blue. She shares her husbands responsibilities in the Sky.

Agwe: Married to Erzulie and La Sirene. Patron to seas, rivers, fishermen, sea captains, pirates. Thursday is his day. He is the Lwa of direction, inspiration and guidance during times of loss.

Yemaya: Mother of life on Earth. She is the guardian of the Sea. Her sacred number is 7. Her colors are aqua blue, white, translucent colors. Her symbols are anchors, mermaids, fish, anything associated with the sea.

Baron Samedi: Haitian Voudou Lwa of the Dead. He is one of my personal favorite! When you watch TV or movies and you see the man with the skeleton face and top hat, usually smoking a cigar – this is who they are attempting to depict. He is loud, rude and full of debauchery – but he is never insulting or disrespectful. He is suave and an extreme expression of individuality, and always fun. His colors are red and purple. He loves Rum and hot peppers.


Maman Brigitte: The good Baron’s wife! The equivalent of the Irish pantheons Brigitte. She is the Voudou Lwa of comfort and protection during death – letting go. She loves black roosters.

Obatala: The Supreme God Olodumare – the closest that humankind can imagine… the hand of God. Sky father and the creator of human bodies. The Father of all Orishas! He is often offered snails, as a traditional offering.

Erzulie: Haitian Voudou Orisha of love – protector of women. She takes on many forms from prostitute to fierce warrior to red-eyed weeping crone. She manifests deep passion and seduction. She is the equivalent of a Triple Goddess and she has three husbands (Damballah, Agwe, Ogoun. She loves sweet things – so for her altar, sweet foods, bananas, perfumes, anything fried with sugar.

Ogun: Lwa of iron, war and labor. Almost always used first for war. Ogun clears roads with his machete. Number 7 is his number and his colors are green and black.

Shango: Ruler of lightning, thunder, fire, drums and dance. He is a warrior with exceptionally quick wits and an even quicker temper. He is virility embodied. Extremely hot-blooded, strong willed. His colors are red and white, his numbers are four and six. He is often represented by a double headed ax.

And the last I will mention this evening, my dearest Papa Legba. Also known as Elegbara, Elegua, Eleggua. He is the gatekeeper, the guardian of the cross roads and all doorways. He is the first Orisha approached when you wish to speak or work with any of the others – he holds the keys. Not uncommon – keys in sets of three are his symbol. His colors are red and black and his numbers are 3 and 21. He is a trickster – you had better know what you want, or he will take the long way around helping to get you where you want to be. Believe me… I am speaking from experience. The outcome was rough…but it’s essentially what I asked for. … I just didn’t realize it would come at the expense of other things. Lesson learned and since – he has been my favorite to work with. But then, the crossroads is where I choose to dwell and practice my brand of darker magic and voudou.


These are just a few of the more common Lwa. Again, there are hundreds. And this, in no way, is in order of importance, etc. I use them for nearly everything – and they are most gracious… when they choose to be. They do require a great deal of energy and admiration. But it is well worth it in the long run. If you want to learn more about this – let me know, I can gladly give you some websites or reading lists.

Please do not confuse Voudou (Voodoo) with Hoodoo – as they are two separate and very different things. I, personally, practice both – but it has taken me many years to get to where I am.

If you have any questions about what I practice, please do not hesitate to ask. Nothing is taboo with me or my family. (My husband is a demonologist and takes it to a whole new level.) We are open books. We, most assuredly, do not profess to know everything – we are seekers of knowledge.

In my life, I have studied Stregheria, Celtic paths, Dianic, Shamanism, Druids, and many others, but when I embraced my dark side – this is where I became most powerful.

I shy away from nothing –

I fear no karma…

I take full responsibility for what I do.

And I do the things that many other practitioners do not.

There is a time and place for it.

I have cursed –

I have hexed –

I have done what my clients wanted but were afraid to do on their own.

I am a spiritual guide and confidant. I have been on my own personal path for over 40 years – loving every minute of it. So, again, feel free to ask me anything at all.

If you require any of my services – or a special candle or gris gris made for you – please check out my new website at: http://www.inexplicablethings.com


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