Technically Orisa are Egun who have been elevated. We use the catch phrase Orisa but most don't understand that Orisha are many things...not one... But in Yoruba and or the diaspora, the same word is used to describe multiple phenomena. Orisha are people who once lived. They are selected heads because they stood out from the masses when they were human. When they crossed over they were able to perform miracles and became elevated to Orisha. The term Irunmole is what better describes what we call Orisha...especially as it relates to nature. Irunmole are primordials or immortals... These are beings...energies that existed before the earth and universe were formed. When we see the manifestation of Nature, we are witnessing the immortals. Nature has a specific form and function to fulfill to maintain this world. The Orisha are people who were once human. Many times when a person is in possession, they are bringing down a spirit..a person who once lived. That's why you might see a person possess Shango who is from Detroit speak with a Spanish accent in possession even though Shango was a king in Oyo West Africa..who only spoke ancient Yoruba. He has likely brought down ancestor who was a spanish speaking Shango priest.
So when you call an Orisha to you... And set up an altar, that altar becomes a portal between worlds... And you really have no control over what's coming through...or what to do if it starts wreaking havoc cuz you thought you called Ogun but you got Hitler instead..... Or yo Cuzn nems ex con dead boyfriend. There are safeguards that are put in place and specific invocations used to protect initiates from that. There is also a specific formula that is literally placed in the head of a person when they receive and Orisha or Irunmole. They come into existence through specific portals....Odus.. Those portals are marked by the binary frequency they are born in. It is that frequency that is used to plant that Orisha in someone's head or rather awaken that frequency in their head. It can be likened to a phone number in simple terms. You dial the wrong number..you get the wrong thing.. These are why they are mysteries... The universe is mathematical. The odus are mathematical. The whole tradition is rooted in those mathematical odus. When you call Esu there is a specific mathematical frequency that is used... Well technically Esu is all mathematical frequencies.. But you get the idea. While the Orisha names and certain procedures change.. Those portals are still opened with certain keys.
Another aspect of Orisha is what they are inside of you. Going back to the immortals, the wind...Oya...is inside of you as Oxygen.. The breath.. lightening...the electrical system and the mineral copper. Ogun is iron in the blood. These are part of your human nature in nature. And then there is your level of consciousness... Your psychology... .And how that nature shows up in your disposition and character. So if you say you want to work with Orisha, start with the highest character traits of that Orisha and begin to emulate that. That is what being an Orisha devotee is more about. Cultivating character. Be chill and peaceful like Obatala, disciplined like Ogun, harmonious like Osun, adaptable like Oya, or focused like Ochosi. It's not about the right to set up an altar...or worship an Orisha. It's about walking the walk.
This is a meditation and reflection journal on Ifa and African Spiritual Traditions. This is not intended to reflect popular or conventional beliefs so much as it is intended to explore the sacred wisdom of Africa beyond religious dogma. Like all traditions, there is a religious component practiced by the lay person, and then there is the esoteric tradition practiced by seekers of spiritual truth. The difference is in the approach. My approach is through understanding the laws of nature itself we can understand Ifa... and vice versa. Through understanding these laws, we gain insight into our very nature and can use these sacred tools and wisdom for our evolution and advancement as souls on the planet. They ultimately allow us to live in harmony on the planet and in alignment with our divine destinies and with nature itself.