To be honest, writing a list of all the Orishas is almost impossible. Every country has different lists, depending on the area of Nigeria where the slaves where taken, and on the culture they blended with. So, please understand that this is very basic list, as some writers speak of over 400 Orishas! This post will be separated into several parts, to be published on the next weeks, so stay tuned!
Oloddumare/Olofi – the supreme Creator of the Universe. Oloddumare has no gender or age, and does not come to Earth for possession, as he/she is too big and too powerful for a human being to contain him/her.
Colour: All. Offerings: All
Obatala – the Orisha that rules over the Earth. As Oloddumare, Obatala can be a female and a male deity at the same time. Obatala represents purity, justice, higher knowledge and conscience, and healing. His/her sons and daughters are natural judges, healers and counsellors. Obatala lives in the top of the mountains, as he/she prefers solitude and freedom.
Colour: White. Offerings: White food – milk, eggs, sugar, flour, rice.
Oddúa - the king of the Dead. Along with Oloddumare, he created the world, as there cannot be life without death. Since nothing can live around him, he doesn’t contact humans through possession.
Colour: Black. Offerings: All, but he prefers incorporeal offerings like the smoke of cigars, gunpowder and incense.
Orula - the supreme diviner and Orisha of prophecy and destiny. Orula is the guide of priests and priestesses, and the owner of the cowrie shell oracle.
Colours: green and yellow. Offerings: yam, coconut, basil, fine sweets. Everything must be prepared very carefully for him, as he requires extreme cleanliness. Orula works often with Shango and Eleggua.
Eleggua – owner of the Ashe, of the crossroads and of the paths of man. Eleggua is the trickster Orisha, and teaches humility and thankfulness by testing humans. He loves children, as they are always innocent and sincere, and despises hipocrisy and power abuse.
Colours: Black And Red. Offerings: rum, coconut, chocolate, spicy foods. Eleggua must be always served before any other Orisha.
Legba – The older avatar of Eleggua. Wears a straw hat and smokes a cigar. He can be found in fields and in Nature.
Exu – the dark avatar of Eleggua. Blocks the path of those who behave unfairly or abuse others.
Inle – the Orisha of medicine and healing. He protects doctors, healers, and fishermen, as he lives where the sea meets the jungle. A kind Orisha that works with Yemanya, Babalu Aye and Ochosi to help human communities grow, specially those who live off the land and the sea.
Colours: Blue and green. Offerings: fried fish and all vegetables.
Babalu Aye/Asojano – the Orisha of pain and epidemy, healer and protector of the poor and rejected. He is always accompanied by his two dogs, lives wherever homeless people live, and on abandoned places.
Colours: yellow and purple/brown. Offerings: wine, popcorn, corn meal.
Osain – the Orisha of herbal knowledge, lives in the forests and jungles. He was born of the earth itself, and despite his peaceful nature, he is a fierce protector of his sons and daughters, to whom he inspires knowledge about the medicines of Nature.
Colours: green and brown. Offerings: vegetables, grilled meat and any traditional country food.
Orishaoko – the peasant Orisha, protects the crops and those who live off the earth. He teaches the patience and perseverance that every farmer needs.
Colours: brown, green and yellow. Offerings: all edible roots like yams, beets, potatoes, carrots, etc. He also enjoys wine and honey.