How to know when an Orisha chooses you in Santeria.
This article offers insights into how and when you know an Orisha rules your head.
Priests in Santeria refer to themselves as a child of a particular Orisha.
For example, my godfather is a child of Oshun.
Priests find out when an Orisha chooses them during a special divination ceremony.
Conditions of the person’s birth may dictate which Orisha rules their head.
Otherwise, the Orisha that rules a person’s head is based on the sign that falls during divination.
People who need to be ordained as priests are the only ones who need a head reading.
We consider people not destined to be a priest children of Obatala.
It simply comes down to destiny and whether a particular Orisha rules your head.
In 2005, I found out what Orisha owned my head in a ritual often described as a head reading.
I was waiting upstairs at my godfather’s house before I went down to the basement.
I walked downstairs, sat on a small stool, and put the derecho on top of the shells.
My Godfather already explained that my birth conditions dictated I was a child of Odua.
But I underwent divination to confirm the Orisha of my head.
As a child of Odua, I was told to be made a priest of Obatala.
Obatala owns everyone’s head until it is determined otherwise.
Here I talk about finding which Orisha you are a child of.
How to find which Orisha you are a child of.
Devotees in Santeria often wonder which Orisha owns their head.
The question is like the idea in astrology of knowing your zodiac sign.
The simplest answer is that Obatala owns everyone’s head until told otherwise.
One way an Orisha could claim your head is through possession.
An Orisha could mount a priest and claim a devotee in front of the community.
But even then, different Orisha could fight over a devotee’s head.
The answer is not clear until confirmed through divination, and ordination is complete.
Is there an Orisha quiz I can take to find out what Orisha rules my head?
You can find different versions of an Orisha quiz online that claim to tell you your head Orisha.
Every single one of them I have seen is terribly inaccurate.
You cannot determine which Orisha rules your head using an online quiz.
But there are some questions about your birth conditions that can give you an educated guess.
Are you a twin? You may be a child of Shango or Yemoja, depending on which twin is oldest.
Were you born with some physical deformity? You are a child of Obatala, period.
Children of Shango can be born with the umbilical cord wrapped around their neck.
Children of Inle can be born with the umbilical cord wrapped around their arm.
Babies born dead and resuscitated are children of Odua.
Priests in Santeria will ask similar questions before finding their head Orisha.
How do you know if you are a child of Oshun?
Oshun is the Orisha that embodies femininity (sometimes spelled Ochun).
Many people identify with Oshun’s sweet and sultry characteristics.
You can see her color yellow and association with water in the Beyonce video Hold up.
But not all attractive women are children of Oshun.
This doesn’t mean you do not have a connection with Oshun or that you cannot pray to her.
Anyone can pray to an Orisha and ask for blessings or protection.
But like all other things, divination is the most common way to know when Oshun chooses you.
There is at least one birth condition that dictates a person’s head is owned by Oshun.
Some say a third child born after twins to be a child of Oshun.
Though some priests also say that children born after twins are children of Elegba.
How do you know if you are a child of Yemaya?
Yemoja is the Orisha that embodies motherhood (sometimes spelled Yemaya).
Some people think a wide body type means the person is a child of Yemoja.
I have even heard priests of Yemoja attribute excessive weight gain to Yemoja.
We associate Yemoja with abundance, much in the same way as people with excess fat.
More broadly, Yemoja owns the oceans of the world that provide sustenance and life.
But not all people with excessive body fat are children of Yemoja.
I certainly know priests of other Orisha that also have obesity.
And there are plenty of priests of Yemoja that are skinny.
A stronger case for a person being a child of Yemaya is if they are born with a twin.
It is said that a twin that this birthed last is a child of Yemoja, as they are the oldest.
The first twin comes out to taste the world, while the second twin remains in the womb.
How to find your Orisha mother and father?
When a person becomes a priest in Santeria, they find out their Orisha mother and father.
The Orisha that owns their head is one of their parents, and the other is determined during Itá.
Itá is a part of the ordination process in which the person receives advice from several Orisha.
The advice is essentially a road map and guide the priest will follow for the rest of their lives.
If the person is being ordained to a male Orisha, that is their Orisha father.
The priest conducting the Itá would then also determine the person’s Orisha mother.
These two parent Orishas play a special role in the new priest’s life.
For people who do not enter the priesthood, we never know the Orisha mother and father.
You may have a birth condition that determines which Orisha rules your head.
But even then, an accident could cause a physical deformity, and then Obatala rules your head.