Understanding Santería: Origins, Practices, and its Role at Casa de los Santos

Santería, often termed “The Way of the Saints,” is a fascinating and deeply spiritual religion that blends African, Caribbean, and Catholic traditions. It originated in the late 16th to early 17th centuries among the Yoruba people of West Africa. During the transatlantic slave trade, many Yoruba were taken to the Caribbean, particularly to Cuba, where Santería began to take shape as slaves syncretized their traditional beliefs with Roman Catholicism, primarily as a response to forced religious conversion.

Origins of Santería

The roots of Santería lie in the religious practices of the Yoruba people, which centered around a pantheon of deities known as Orishas. Each Orisha represents various natural forces and human characteristics, and they are revered and worshipped through rituals and ceremonies. The synthesis of these beliefs with Catholic practices led to the Orishas being associated with Catholic saints, which allowed the slaves to worship openly without persecution from their Catholic masters.

Core Practices of Santería

Santería is known for its vibrant and intricate rituals, which include drumming, chanting, dancing, and sacrifices of food, flowers and animals. These offerings are considered a way to connect with the Orishas to seek their guidance, protection, and blessings. The religion also emphasizes divination, healing, and ceremonies like the “making of saints,” which is a form of initiation for devotees.

Divination is an essential aspect of Santería, typically performed with sacred palm nuts or cowrie shells. This practice guides individuals on their spiritual paths and decisions in daily life, reflecting the religion’s deeply personal and practical approach to spirituality and guidance.

Santería at Casa de los Santos

At Casa de los Santos, Santería is one of the spiritual practices nurtured and taught, with Don Rodolfo de Ochosi serving as a prominent Santero. The community integrates the profound teachings and rituals of Santería into its broader spiritual practices, which also include elements of Western Magic, Latin Mesoamerican wisdom, and Afro-Caribbean spirituality.

Don Rodolfo de Ochosi, with his deep roots in the traditions of Old Mexico’s shamanism and his extensive knowledge of esoteric and spiritual practices, brings a unique and authentic perspective to the practice of Santería. Under his guidance, participants are introduced to the rich tapestry of Santería’s rituals and its pantheon of Orishas, which are central to the spiritual workings at Casa de los Santos.

Why Santería?

For many practitioners, Santería offers a direct, transformative connection to the divine through its ceremonies and the active participation of the Orishas in their lives. It provides not only a spiritual refuge but also a practical framework for dealing with the challenges of everyday life. At Casa de los Santos, the teachings of Santería help individuals explore their spiritual path and achieve personal growth and healing.

In summary, Santería is a dynamic and living religion that continues to thrive and adapt, resonating with many across the globe. At Casa de los Santos, it represents a vital part of a holistic spiritual practice that is inclusive of various magical and spiritual traditions, all aimed at fostering a deeper connection to the sacred and the self. Through the leadership of Don Rodolfo de Ochosi, the community embraces and promotes the rich and transformative practices of Santería, making it accessible to those on their spiritual journey.

The individuals who follow the path of Santería at Casa de los Santos are students of Don Rodolfo, who acts as a Godfather to his disciples. Becoming a godchild to Don Rodolfo is a long process where a trust bond is crucial, and openness to his profound teachings is required—these teachings encompass both spiritual and personal growth. Without this bond of trust, it is not possible to become his personal student. Anyone truly committed to the path of Santería must respect the preparatory process, as Don Rodolfo practices in the traditional manner.

Additionally, those who join this spiritual religion must be willing to travel occasionally for the initiation process to Spain or Cuba, where Don Rodolfo is affiliated with an Ile, or Santería house, that is connected with Santeros and Santeras worldwide.

Interesting video's on Santeria