This post is my attempt to list the astrological planetary conterparts of some Yoruba orishas (divinities/gods/goddesses).
I’m not an astrologer or a person initiated in traditional Yoruba religion (Ifa)** or any religion that is based upon Ifa such as Lucumi, Candomble, and Santeria. However, for some time I’ve read about astrology and for some time I’ve also read about traditional Yoruba religion. And I have noticed significant similarities between the attributes ascribed to Yoruba orishas and the attributes that Western astrologers have ascribed to specific planets & signs that they are said to govern.
Since astrological planets and signs are based on Greek & Roman gods and goddesses, this list can also be considered to provide information about specific Yoruba orishas and their counterparts among Greek/Roman divinities. Because I’ve not formally studied traditional Yoruba religion or astrology, some of these assigned counterparts may be incorrect. I’m very interested in receiving input about this list, including additions and corrections.
This post isn’t meant to provide a comprehensive listing of Yoruba orishas, or an indepth look at the ways Yoruba orishas might represent specific astrological signs or houses. This list only includes the names of some of the major Yoruba orishas and only includes basic information about those orishas. Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba_mythology [Hereafter given as Wikipedia-Yoruba mythology] for more information about traditional Yoruba religion.
It’s important to note that I’ve not given any astrological conterpart for the Yoruba supreme deity Olódùmarè (oh-loh-doo-MAH-ray) [also known as Olòrún (oh-loh-ROON)]. Olódùmarè is considered the divine creator and source of all energy/power (ashe) and is believed to have given specific ashe to certain orishas.
Also note that I’ve listed more than one orisha for certain astrological planets. In some cases I’ve also added a question mark after the name/s of the astrology planet or planets and the Yoruba orisha because I’m less certain of their perceived similarity/similarities. And I’m aware that some of these comparisons aren’t exact fits. For instance, I’ve listed Obatala as being both Sun/Jupiter. However, one of the attributes for Obatala is humility, and humility doesn’t fit either the astrological sign Leo which is ruled by the Sun or the astrological sign Sagittarius which is ruled by Jupiter.
I’ve included my approximation of how I think these Yoruba (your-ROO-bah) words are pronounced (based on how I’ve heard those words pronounced in the United States among American friends who are practicioners of that religion. I realize that my approximations may be incorrect for how these words are supposed to be pronounced in the USA or in Nigeria, and I am open to corrections of these pronunciations.
I do not intend any disrespect to any religion or its practitioners.
Maferefun to all orishas!
“Maferefun” [mah-fay-Ray-foon]? means “praises to the spiritual energy of.”
* Orisha (oh REE-shas) is more correctly spelled “orisas”. However, these two spellings are pronounced the same.
**Ifa (ee-fah); The name of this traditional Yoruba/Benin religion is also given as “vodun”.
Click http://ileifa.org/ifa-an-african-spiritual-tradition/ for more information about this religion.
Also, click http://www.freehoroscopesastrology.com/planets-signs.aspx for information about the meanings that have been given to Western astrological planets.
A related online article is:
http://ileifa.org/west-africas-orisha-and-astrology Africa’s Orisha and Astrology [Hereafter given as article:Orisha and Astrology]. The Yoruba orishas and their astrological counterparts that I have listed below largely correspond with those found in that article.
ORISHAS AND THEIR ASTROLOGICAL PLANETARY COUNTERPARTS
(The names of the astrological planets given first because they are more familiar to people in the USA and other Western nations).
Sun – Obatala (oh-bah-tah-lah) and/or Oduduwa [oh-doo-doo-wah] (See the entry for Jupiter below)
Moon – Yemaja [yeah-mah-yah]
[Yemaja] is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a protector of children…
In Yorùbá mythology, Yemoja is a mother goddess; patron deity of women, especially pregnant women; and the Ogun river…
Her name is a contraction of Yoruba words: “Yeye emo eja” that mean “Mother whose children are like fish.” This represents the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity and her reign over all living things
Iemanja (Yemaja, Imanja, Yemayá, Jemanja, Yemalla, Yemana, Yemanja, Yemaya, Yemayah, Yemoja, Ymoja, Nanã, La Sirène, LaSiren, Mami Wata) – divine mother, divinity of the sea and loving mother of mankind, daughter of Obatala and wife of Aganju.
Mercury – Elegba (e-LEH-bah) [also known as Ẹlégbara (e-leh-BAH-rah); Eṣu (e-shoo); Elegua (e-leh-guah)]
From http://www.ileorunmilaoshun.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=catego… [Hereafter given as article: Orisha Worship]
Esu the Divine Trickster
Esu is the Divine Spirit of Communication, the well-spoken orator who speaks all languages. Esu translates messages between humans and Orisha. Without Esu our prayers would not be understood in heaven and we would be unable to understand the language of Orisha or our ancestors (Egun). Esu is the guardian of the crossroads, as such he opens and closes all doors and ceremonies.
Venus – Oshun (Oh-shoon)
Oshun, or Ochun…in the Yoruba religion, is an Orisha who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy…
According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because Oshun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction…
Oshun is the force of harmony. Harmony which we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy.
From Wikipedia – Orisha
Oshun (Oshún, Ọṣun, Oxum, Ochun, Osun, Oschun) – divinity of rivers, love, feminine beauty, fertility, and art, also one of Shango’s lovers and beloved of Ogoun.
Mars – Shango (Sango) [shango]
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orisha [Hereafter given as Wikipedia-Orisha]
Shango (Shangó, Xango, Changó, Chango, Nago Shango) – warrior deity ; divinity of thunder, fire, sky father, represents male power and sexuality
From article: Orisha Worship
In Ifa, Divine Justice is symbolized by lightning, one of the primal fires of the Earth in existence since the beginning of time. Shango is the Orisha associated with the power of lightning and thunder, as well as the name of the Fourth Alafin (Chief) of Oyo. Oyo was a major Yoruba city and the name of a federation of city-states that existed during the 14th and 15th centuries in West Africa.
Mars – Ogun ; Shango
From article:Orisha and Astrology
Ogun the warrior god possessing assertive and aggressive characteristics rules the first house. It is Ogun who is the patron of soldiers, police Officers, surgeons, railroad workers, welders, body builders, or anyone employed to work with iron and steel.
[Note: Ogun might also be considered to be a counterpart of Jupiter. I think that Mars might also be represented by Oya. Information about Oya is given below in the entry for Pluto]
From http://www.tribeofthesun.com/chango.htm Shango – “Astrology: Leo, the planet Mars”
Note: Those referents are contrary to astrological information as the sign “Leo” is ruled by the Sun and the planet Mars rules the sign “Aries”.
Jupiter – Obatala (oh-bah-tah-lah)
From article: Orisha Worship
Obatala, is the chief of the White Cloth, the Orisha who in Yoruba cosmology, first descended from heaven to earth with the tools for making the earth livable for humans. Obatala is considered the father of all orisa and is said to make the inner and outer heads of all humans.
Obatala is associated with purity, ethics and humility. Obatala is the Orisa of the elderly as well as the Orisa of those with physical disabilities.
Jupiter – Ogun? [oh-goon]
Ogoun (Ogun, Ogúm, Ogou) – warrior deity; divinity of iron, war, labour, sacrifice, politics, and technology (e.g. railroads)
Jupiter- Oduduwa? [oh-doo-doo-wah]
Oduduwa is considered as the first of the contemporary dynasty of kings of Ife, a figure who sent his sons and daughters out with crowns to rule over all of the other Yoruba kingdoms, which is why all royal Yoruba lineages claim ambilineal descent from its line of kings and, through it, from Oduduwa…
Alternatively, the Benin believe that [Oduduwa] was a prince that was banished by his father, the “Ogiso” of Benin. His name, they claim, is derived from “Idoduwa”, meaning “fortune’s path”, symbolizing the painful exile from his ancestral home…
A certain number of divinities were to accomplish the task of helping earth develop its crust. On one of these visits Obatala, the Great Spirit… Having made palm wine from the palm trees he caused to grow after shaping the planet, he began to drink ; soon falling into a drunken stupor, he was unable to accomplish the task he was originally given. Olodumare then sent Oduduwa to save what was left of the mission.
When Oduduwa found the Obatala in a “tipsy” state, he simply took over and completed the tasks. The place which he leaped onto from the heavens and which he redeemed from the water to become land was named Ile-Ife and is now considered the sacred and spiritual heart of Yorubaland.
Jupiter/Neptune – Ochosi? [oh-cho-see]
Ochosi (Oxósse, Ocshosi, Osoosi, Oxossi) -hunter and the scout of the orishas, deity of the accused and those seeking justice or searching for something.
Ochosi is the patron of all wildlife and of hunters. His colors are blue and yellow and his numbers are three and seven. His symbol is a crossbow made of iron. In Santeria he is recognized as Saint Norbert. Ochosi is the son of Yemaya. He is the patron Saint of those who have problems with the law. Besides being a hunter and a warrior he is also a magician, a seer and a fisherman.* His children are men who are alert and full of initiative. They embrace change and are born entrepenuers. They are hospitable and love family, though sometimes their families suffer because of their nomadic tendencies.
Editor’s note: I’ve updated this post to include that second quote about Ochosi. Initially I thought that Saturn might be an astrological planetary counterpart of Ochosi but he is sounding more & more like Jupiter (Sagittarius/Pisces) to me. *See the sentence in asterisks and those sentences following it. For what it’s worth, my Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter are in Sagittarius. Also, Pisces is the ruler of my 7th house, and Neptune which rules Pisces is in my first house (in my natal chart). So I believe that I have a pretty good sense of those astrological planets/signs.
Saturn/Pluto – Babalú-Ayé
In the religious system of Orisha worship, Babalú-Ayé is the praise name of the spirit of the Earth and strongly associated with infectious disease, and healing. He is an Orisha, representing the deity Olorun on Earth. The name Babalú-Ayé translates as “Father, lord of the Earth” and points to the authority this orisha exercises on all things earthly, including the body, wealth, and physical possessions. In West Africa, he was strongly associated with epidemics of smallpox, but in the contemporary Americas, he is more commonly thought of as the patron of leprosy, influenza, and AIDS . Although strongly associated with illness and disease, Babalú-Ayé is also the deity that cures these ailments. Both feared and loved, Babalú-Ayé is sometimes referred to as the “Wrath of the supreme god” because he punishes people for their transgressions . People hold Babalú-Ayé in great respect and avoid calling his actual name, because they do not wish to invoke epidemics.
Some Americans may be more aware of this orisha than they know. The “Babalu” song that was sung by the fictitious character Cuban “Ricky Ricardo” of the “I Love Lucy” television show was a traditional song that was dedicted to the orisha Babalu Aye. Here’s a link to a YouTube sound file of that song with photographs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyf1Kfg6nEo&feature=related
I think that Uranas might be represented by Aganju and/or by Oya. Information about those two orishas is given below in the entry for Pluto.
Neptune – Olokun [oh-loh-koon]
Olokun is experienced in male and female personifications, depending on what region of West Africa He/She is worshipped. It is personified in several human characteristics; patience, endurance, sternness, observation, meditation, appreciation for history, future visions, and royalty personified. Its characteristics are found and displayed in the depths of the Ocean. Its name means Owner (Olo) of Oceans (Okun).
Olokun also signifies unfathomable wisdom. That is, the instinct that there is something worth knowing, perhaps more than can ever be learned, especially the spiritual sciences that most people spend a lifetime pondering. It also governs material wealth, psychic abilities, dreaming, meditation, mental health and water-based healing.
Neptune – Orunmila? [oh-ROON-me-lah]
In Yoruba mythology, Orunmila is the spirit of wisdom … and the divinity of destiny and prophecy… Orunmila is also referred to as Agbonniregun, the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom of Ifá.
Pluto – Aganjú [ah-gan-JOO]
From article: Orisha Worship
Aganju is the Orisa of the Uncultivated Earth, Lord of the Volcano, Lord of Caves, The Divine Ferryman.
Aganjú is most often referred to as the Volcano.He is also the Orisa of untamed lands,from desert to mountains, the brother/husband of Yemoja. Like Olokun, is fabulously wealthy. As Lord of Caves he owns all the mineral wealth of the earth. Aganju is also the navigator, knowing the safe passages and fjords across the river…
Aganju is a force of life that overcomes obstacles and does the impossible.
Aganyú is the symbol of all earth forces, particularly the core of the earth, the desert, and the volcano. He represents a brute and regenerative force that is responsible for all cataclysmic upheavals that change the face of earth. Volcanic lava is seen as his fiery breath and his power makes the earth gyrate upon its axis. Aganyú is depicted as the father of Shangó in some patakin, and a younger brother of Shangó in others.
Pluto – Oya
Oya or Yansan (Santa Theresa de Jesus, Our Lady of Candelaria, Saint Catherine ). Her full name is Oya-Yansan, which means “mother of nine.” In Brazil, in candomble she is generally saluted with the phrase “Èpa heyi!. while in Cuban-derived Yórùbá traditions, the faithful often salute her by saying “Hekua hey Yansa”. All cemeteries belong to her. Powerful, volitile, she is not to be played with! Oya is the orisha of storms and the ruler of the dead. Tornados and whirlwinds accompanied by lightening are her element. She is a warrior orisha who rides to do battle at the side of Shango. She is a complex orisha and the only one that has power over the dead. Her colors are mooron [sic], flowery patterns and nine different colors. Her number is 9. Her symbols are: masks, and a horsetail fly-whisk. Her feast day is February 2.