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The Orishas (Gods of Santeria)- The 7 African Powers - Siete potencias:
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santeria: Ogun ------------------------------------- Saint George

This page is dedicated to Ogun: Ogun- Español

(Saint Peter and Saint George) - He is the god of metals. He is a smith, and with his powerful weapons will protect and defend you to the death! A very strong-willed Orisha, he is also much loved (as are all of them) His colors are green and black.

In Haitian Vodou and Yoruba mythology, Ogun (or Ogoun, Ogun, Ogou) is a loa and orisha, who presides over fire, iron, hunting, politics and war. He is usually displayed with his attributes: machete or sabre, rum and tobacco. He is one of the husbands of Erzulie and is a husband of Osun and Oya in Yoruba mythology.

Ogun is the traditional warrior and seen as a powerful deity of metal work, similar to Ares and Hephaestus in Greek mythology and Visvakarma in Hindu mythology, he is represented with Saint George in Brazil. As such Ogun is mighty, powerful, triumphal, yet also exhibits the rage and destructiveness of the warrior whose strength and violence can turn against the community he serves. Perhaps linked to this theme is the new face he has taken on in Haiti which is not quite related to his African roots, that of a powerful political leader.

He gives strength through prophecy and magic. It is Ogun who is said to have planted the idea, led and given power to the slaves for the Haitian Revolution of 1804. He is called now to help people obtain a government more responsive to their needs.

In the Candomble traditions, Ogun is identified mainly with Saint George. This is easy to understand, since St. George in pictures is usually seen as a knight in armor, carrying a lance, subduing a dragon. We imagine that seeing a Catholic Saint all in metal, one of the attributes of Ogun would make one identify this Orisha with Saint George. Since he is carrying a metal lance in his hand and obviously overcoming his enemy, this also reinforces the reasoning behind identifying Ogun with St. George. As we have mentioned on previous sites, no Catholic Saint is equal to the Orisha. These were just conveniences that early practicioners of Orisha worship in the New World developed to hide their true beliefs and to keep persecution from falling on them.
video: Dance for Ogun

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Wise were they indeed, the ancestors, to invent a system that basically allowed the continuance of Orisha worship in the New World. We wonder now at the outcry of purists who demand the exclusion of any Catholic image or practice from Orisha worship, as if it were a contamination. For us, that is disrespecting the wisdom of the ancestors, who for 500 years preserved Orisha worship in this hemisphere. It is true that no Catholic image is necessary for the correct worship of the Orishas. But if someone wishes to have a statue of Santa Barbara or La Caridad del Cobre in their homes, we do not feel that they should be critized or insulted for doing so.

This oriental image of a god of war serves to remind us of Ogun's status as the God of War in the Yoruba pantheon. Ogun is brute force, the power to defeat enemies. He is of exteme importance in the religion for many reasons. He is the God of sacrifice, being the owner of steel and the blade that is used in making sacrifice to the Orishas. For that reason, it is said that Ogun always eats first before any other Orisha, since the blood from any sacrifice always touches the sacrificial knife first before falling on the Orisha to whom the sacrifice is destined. Ogun fights our battles for us with our enemies. It would be nice if there were no wars in the world, and no enemies to deal with, but Reality dictates otherwise.

Due to human nature, there will always be strife and differences. Even if the wars we have are not fought on a physical level, psychic and spiritual wars are always going on. And, of course, there is the eternal battle of good against evil. Toi let evil flourish in the name of peace is often a grave mistake. Ogun is our defense against our enemies. We repeat, defense, since one should not work with the Orishas to aggressively attack others. We count on Ogun to defend us from the unjust persecutions of our enemies. He is there to fight for those who are in the right in the eyes of Olofi and may Justice be done.

Ogun has a great afinity with dogs just as Ochossi, since in some caminos of Ogun, he lives in the forest. There are 59 different caminos or encarnations of Ogun. Each have different items that are added to the normal complement of tools for Ogun.

video: fiesta for Ogun

One camino of Ogun even has an iron image doll that is prepared in a certain way with Orunla to make this camino or encarnation of Ogun complete. When someone makes Ogun, or Ogun is crowned on their head as their Orisha, many ceremonies and preparations are necessary. A special ceremony has to take place in the woods before the actual making of this Orisha can take place. Due to the additional ceremonies and preparations necessary to correctly perform the consecration of Ocha on a child of Ogun, making this Orisha is rather expensive in comparison with other Orishas. Because Ogun is such a powerful Orisha, likewise, the ceremonies must be performed correctly, so that everything will go well for the new Iyawo and also those making the Saint on him or her.

video: fiesta to the Orisha Ogun
St. Peter is the Catholic Saint associated with Ogun in the Lucumi tradition. We are not very sure why except for the fact that Saint Peter holds the keys to the kingdom and certain "caminos" of Ogun have a large key that is placed in the cauldron. Regardless, we follow the tradition of our elders and associate Ogun with the image of St. Peter. As we have stated many times, it is not necessary to have any Catholic images for the proper and correct worship of the Orishas, since in reality they are not part of any "fundamento" of the Orishas. Since Santeria and Candomble and Vodoun have all existed side by side with the Catholic religion, we see no harm in identifying Orishas with Catholic Saints. It certainly did help matters in centuries past and avoided a great deal of persecution. Too bad the British did not honor the Catholic Saints, or things might have been very different here in America with regard to perserved traditions of african origen. The Protestants in this country were more harsh and absolutely allowed no "devil-worship" of any kind among the unfortunate slaves that were brought to this country.

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Olodumare Elegua Obatala Yemaya Chango Oya Ochun Ogun osain