A guide to receiving what, with whom and what it means!

I have noticed that there is a general confusion regarding initiations, the reception of certain things, and what it means. So here is a general breakdown of what to expect and from whom. Just a reminder to let you know that in Lucumi, there are houses that work with Ifa and houses that do not. There is no “correct” way. There are different ways of working and each way is legitimate.



  1. WHAT ARE THEY: Elekes are the reception of the  sacred beaded necklaces of the four Pillars of the Regla de Ocha. Obatala, Chango, Yemaya and Oshun. Some houses also give the Elegua Eleke. This happens in a ceremony.
  2. WITH WHOM: You can only receive Elekes with an Olorisha. NOT a Babalawo. They do not give Elekes.
  3. WHY: Usually, it will be marked in a consultation and more than likely you will be already involved in an Ile where you have chosen godparents. There are cases where  some houses don’t give Elekes, only when you are making Ocha.
  4. WHAT IT MEANS: It means that you are under the protection of an Ile Ocha ( house of Ocha) and that you are connected in a spiritual and physical way  to the four pillars of the Orisha, ( and Elegua on occasion depending in the house).It is the first connection that you may have to the Orisha. Sometimes it is the first ceremony that individuals may go through. But not always. If one of your  Elekes break, don’t panic, it generally means that something has been absorbed and has hit the Eleke and not you. Get in contact with your godparent. You don’t go through the ceremony again and can ask your godparent to prepare you another one. If you buy one in the shop, it needs to be washed by a godparent. You cannot do it yourself.

A useful Video talking about Elekes, Bilingual Spanish/English


1.WHAT THEY ARE: The warriors consists of three Orishas. Elegua, Ogun and Oshosi, Osun is also usually included in the receiving of the warriors. For information on these Orishas please click the link below:

2.WITH WHOM: It is possible that you could receive your warriors from an Babalawo. It is also possible that you may receive your warriors from an Olorisha. It depends what house you are connected to.

3. WHY: Again, usually marked in a consultation, how and with whom would depend on many factors including who gave you your reading whether via Ifa or the Dilogun.

4. WHAT IT MEANS: It means that you have received Orisha and that you will have to learn how to look after them and learn how they can work for you. Your warriors will have been born from your godparents warriors whether In Ifa or Ocha. It does not mean that you have any authority to guide anyone else or that you are a Priest/ess of the religion.  Osun is the Orisha that looks out for your well being. If he falls, it is a sign that you need a reading with your godparent to find out what is going on.

 Other Orishas that you may receive before Ocha: Other Orishas maybe prescribed to be received before Ocha including the Ibeyis and Olokun. Sometimes an Orisha is given for health without the person  being crowned. I know several people that have received Obatala Lavado without having to make Ocha.

For More Information about the Orishas mentioned above please press the links below:

More information about the Orisha

Find out more


 AWOFAKAN/IKOFAFUN  ( hand of Orula). 

  1. WHAT IT IS:   It is a three day ceremony officiated by Babalawos where you receive a hand of Orula ( women don’t usually receive a whole hand in Lucumi). You also receive a main Odu Ifa which will be your sign for life and an Ita ( advise from Orula) which gives you advise on how to live your life, taboos and recommendations. Also it is traditional to find out who is the Orisha that owns your head.*
  2. WITH WHOM: With Babalawos. Olorishas do not officiate these ceremonies although they may assist in various capacities.
  3. WHY:  Again it normally happens recommended during a consultation. Sometimes it is received at the same time as the Warriors, but not always. Houses that work with Ifa, usually use Babalawos to mark the heads of godchildren.
  4. WHAT THIS MEANS: This means that you will have to learn how to attend to Orula. You will have Godfathers of Ifa, and you will have an Ita that will be your life guidance that you will have to follow and taboos that you will have to keep to. It does not mean that you are initiated, that you can lead others, or that you can work on others behalf. It does not mean that you are a Babalawo or an Iyanifa. If you have a path that recommends that you make Ocha eventually, you still have to work with Godparents within an Ile Ocha. A Babalawo cannot crown you. It will also mean normally that you will know which Orisha has claimed your head. That means different things to different people.

*there are two ways of marking the head and finding out which Orisha claims the head. One is via Orula ( Ifa) and the other is via the Dilogun of Elegua. Each way is acceptable and it depends which house you belong to and how they work. Orunmila and Elegua are both witnesses to our destiny.

pymmes brook 2


  1. WHAT IT IS: This is when the Tutelary Orisha is seated within the head of a new initiate  in a Ceremony. Various Orisha are also received as well. The process takes over a week and there are many ceremonies that the new initiate will have to go through in addition to a strict regime to adhere to for a year and seven days.
  2. WITH WHOM: The ceremony is performed by a community of Olorishas and cannot be done by just one or two people. It cannot be performed by a Babalawo, although in houses that work with Babalawos, the godparents in Ifa are somehow involved.
  3. WHY:  This is a really important.  if you do not need Ocha, there is no reason to go through the ceremony. Usually individuals will have to make Ocha for health reasons, although there are a couple of signs in divination which will point to Ocha. There are 256 signs when going for a reading with an Olorisha or a Babalawo. It is rare that you will be told that you NEED to make Ocha. Please be aware of this.
  4. WHAT THIS MEANS: It means that you have made a life long commitment to Orisha. That you have Orisha in your head.  That you also will be responsible for various Orisha in your house also. That you will have an Ita and advise from several Orisha. That you will have many rules to follow and many taboos.  You will also  be told if you need to receive any other Orisha throughout your life time. That your life and Ego will be given over to the advise that you will have. It means that your Orisha will have been birthed by your godparent. That you will belong to a lineage. That you will have to learn an awful lot of protocol. That you will have a responsibility to learn for yourself and possibly for others also. Making Ocha does not give you responsibility automatically to lead other individuals. It is vital that if it is you path that you learn before you take other individuals on, if it is for you. It’s not always meant to be.  Some signs may come up which let you know that you cannot be godparent to anyone. In any case, your responsibility is first and foremost to yourself. Absorbing the information from your Ita and understanding what everything will mean in the long term.

For a description of some of the Orishas you may receive please see above under the Warriors.



  1. WHAT IT MEANS: going through an initiation in order to become a priest of Ifa.
  2. WITH WHOM: Only a Babalawo can initiate other Babalawos. In lucumi, entering the world of Ifa as a Priest is generally an all male domain and although there is a branch of Ifa in Cuba which initiates women, it is still taboo in general.
  3. WHY: There are certain signs which indicate that a devotee of Orisha would go to Ifa. It is not for everyone. There is power in Ocha. Ocha and Ifa are two separate but related practises. Babalawos sometimes are referred to as high priests of our religion. This is not true. Babalawos are high priests of IFA. Ocha have their own priests; Iyalorishas and Babalorishas who should be respected equally. Each role is different, and have different abilities and jurisdictions.
  4. WHAT THIS MEANS: It means that you have to go through a special initiation to become a Priest of Ifa. It means that you have to begin to  learn and work with  elder Babalawos regarding everything to do with Ifa. This takes a long time. You don’t go through the ceremony and automatically become a  Priest.

Classic Book about Ifa, by William Bascom

Classic Book by Wande Abimbola


There are other roles within Lucumi. Some of which need extensive training, for example Oriate/Oba and others which require initiation for example Omo Añá ( who are initiated and sworn to Añá) the Orisha that lives in the sacred drum.



  1. Rashied K. Sharrieff-Al-Bey

    Mo dupe; I’m thankful for your page and reading recommendations. I feel a concern that a people who have been so abused across centuries, our Diaspora, have so many who then abuse their godchildren with their authority and the power it confers. Can any Bàbàláwos, Iyànifás, Bàbàloşas or Iyàloşas be found who do not succumb to this?! My Ita calls me to make Oşa and to then become a Bàbàláwo. I hope I can find responsible teachers.

    1. I wish you all the best on your journey. May you find where you need to be!

  2. My boyfriend ripped my beads of my neck what will happen to me because of it? He laughed because I felt weird. It was a yellow, red and green?

    1. I am not sure I understand what you are asking. Are you crowned with Orisha? Have you received Elekes? Yellow, Red, Green? What I would say to you is that nothing will happen to you, if your boyfriend ripped beads off your neck. But it sounds kind of aggressive and It is not a nice thing to do and if he laughed about it afterwards, and didn’t consider your feelings about I would say, question your relationship. Whether these are normal beads or Elekes belonging to a path of Orisha, nothing will happen to you, but I am not the person you need to be asking. Godparents would be dealing with this scenario and preparing a new Eleke if that is the case. Sorry to say, but this question is confusing.

  3. conejoblancoahora

    I am need of consultation. I would be grateful as to what the witnesses can confirm.

    Respect and Gratitude.

  4. Jay613

    If you don’t mind sharing. What are some of signs that can point to Kariocha?

    1. There are no ” Signs” or anything that you can pinpoint, but there are Odu that fall when you go for divination which will indicate whether or not you need Kariocha. Divination is key.

  5. Christina

    If I have gone through Dilogun de Ellegua. I have received Elekes and to tend over my Ellegua and my silver bird (my head) and iron Orishas but no longer wish to be a part of the religion what is the respectful way to give the items to a local Santeria practicioner. Also they told me I am eyeunle (8) and Obattalla what does this mean?

    1. I am trying to ascertain what has happened. So you received the warriors via an Olorisha? You may have had a bajada where an Olorisha has determined your crowning Orisha via the Dialogue? Eyeunle is an Odu of the Dilogun. Obatala I assume has determined to be the Orisha that has claimed your head. However if it was a normal reading and not a bajada, it is possible that Obatala is defending you right now. It is hard to tell you exactly what the situation is without having been there, but if you have received warriors, then you have godparents. Your Orisha are born from your godmother/father’s Orisha, in which case if you really do not wish to practise anymore, the most respectful thing I believe to do is to take them back to your godparents who birthed your warriors. I would not just give them to just any random Santero. I hope this helps.

  6. ZoeMoe26

    I have the 7 African powers bracelet and tiger eye bracelet the witch I got it from had bless both of my items want do i do after i get my items blessed and should i make the witch perform the ceremony?

    1. This is not part of the Lucumi tradition, so I cannot comment. The concept of the Seven African Powers, is a Concept used in the tradition of Espiritismo. It is not something you receive in the Lucumi tradition and does not mean that you have been initiated into anything. Please go back to whoever gave you these items for relevant explanation.

  7. I have been studying Santeria for a few months and have been to many consultations. On the first consultation I received the orunla bracelet but there was no actual ceremony. When they consult the cowrie shells they ask elegua not another entity and they only use 4 shells not what I have heard that others are supposed to use. I have bought and have been given elegua and bought and been given oggun’s necklace… no ceremony other than a cleansing that I received to clear me of something an ex wife had put on me… I want to make sure I am dealing with reputable santos and santera’s… is there something I am missing or am I over thinking all of this? I want to go through with my asiento if I am blessed to do so and they said it will cost me $5000.00 and I will have to go to Mexico for it… somehow with everything that I have studied I feel like I am being misled and if not I just need to understand the process better… I don’t know who to trust but I figured I would post something here and maybe my guides will put me in touch with someone that can steer me in the right direction. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello, I am replying publicly since I believe that you are not dealing with genuine and legitimate People. This is all very confusing information. 1. The ORULA bracelet you receive when you go through a ceremony and receive ORULA. This ceremony takes three days and is conducted by a group of Babalawos. So who gave you the Orula Bracelet? And what type of Consultation did you go through? 2. Yes when Olorishas divine for anyone else except themselves, they will use the Cowrie shells of Elegua. Four shells is not a viable Dilogun reading and can not give you indepth information. 3. You cannot buy Elegua or Ogun. They are received in a ceremony. You are not overthinking. None of this sounds legimate and i would run a mile.DO not go through the asiento, if you did not receive Warriors in a legimate ceremony, then you did not receive your warriors and it is not legitimate so please take your time and look for other guides. Please let me know in a Private email, and let me know where you are. I will do my best to connect you to legimate practitioners.

  8. I have two (2) questions, that i will love to get answers for.
    1) I cant remember the dream quite clear however, all i saw was an individual cutting/marking my head, hand, and feet with a razor blade and blood was flowing from my body, does this mean initiation?
    2) If you dream that you were walking on a hilltop/ mountain and then suddenly you fall into a dark hole, and then you saw that you was holding on to a yellow Eleke which a dark skin man was holding on top of the mountain what does this means? should i make a yellow eleke for protection ect?
    Note: I am an Orisa devotee… i am not initiated, however, divination was given to me by a Babalawo, and i was told my taboos and which Orisa(s) i fell under which being Osayin/ Osain and Oshun.

    1. Thanks for sharing your dreams. To the first question, initiations in a lot of different African Tradition Religions including Palo, includes making cuts. So it could be any tradition not necessarily Lucumi. But It may be a calling and would say to investigate different paths and also make sure you continue to honour and communicate with your own ancestors. That way, you will have more guidance from those that know us best. Remember in our traditions, the dreams we have are messages from our ancestors so it may not be directly to do with any spiritual path as such but a reminder from your ancestors to investigate. 2. The second dream, I wouldn’t make your own Eleke for protection, but do you have your Boveda or Ancestral Altar set up? that would be my first port of call. Regarding what the Babalawo told you. Unless it was a life reading, ( Ita on the basis of receiving Orula) that reading is probably no longer relevant depending on how long ago you had the reading. Taboos don’t last a life time from your average reading, only if you have a life reading on reception of an Orisha. Osain and Oshun may have come up at that present moment, and maybe if Osain has come up, a study of Herbs and their properties may be good for you.Otherwise, I would suggest on the basis of your dreams to go and get another reading if you feel that the Path of the Orisha is for you. Usually we have regular readings on this path. Good luck on your journey. Please let me know how you get on.

  9. Twa NaNaBuluku

    I have a question about the concept of ita and does that bond you to it for life. For example if you received the ita that states that you cannot go back to old relationships are you bonded for life.

    1. Your Ita is the guidance from Orisha that you will receive from either the orisha you receive on making Ocha, or Pinadu; when you receive an Orisha and the Orisha speaks, and also when you receive your hand of Ifa. These are for life. They don’t change and the recommendations are for life, including taboos. There is always the concept of free will. If you choose to break a taboo or go against your Ita, it is up to you fundamentally, but then if things don’t go well, then the responsability is yours NOT the Orisha. I hope that makes sense.

  10. Onesimus

    Can you point me in the right direction for guidance in the Wilmington Delaware area? Thank you

    1. Hello. I am based in the UK (London) and unless I have personally met people, I don’t make recommendations. I am sorry, you will have to reach out in the USA. If anyone, reads this and has had good experience with anyone in that area, please respond.

  11. Osun Nifemi

    I received my beads I am a daughter of Oshun I’m new too this been studying on and off but since I recieved my beads I been studying more. I just want to learn more about my beads

    1. They are a connection between you and your godparent who gave them to you. It is a kind of “Baptism” for want of a better word and you may receive them as one of the first ceremonies that you may go through. You may have received the four pillars ( Yemaya Obatala Shango and Oshun) and some Iles give Elegua also. It is a personal altar and reminder that you are walking this path and gives you a certain amount of protection when you wear them. It visually indicates to others that you are walking the Lucumi Path. If one of them breaks, they may have absorbed something and they Eleke got hit instead of you. You take the beads to your godparent and they will restring them, wash and feed them. You don’t have to go through the whole ceremony again. This only happens once in your life, although you may receive separate Elekes associated with the Orisha you may receive in the future.

  12. I have a few questions, if you would be so kind.

    1. Can someone have more then one crowned orisa?
    2. How rare is it to see someone with Ochamare pop in consultation?
    3. I’m a bit of a researcher and found some ties between some north African cultures and the Orisa do you happen to know of any lores specifically speaking of anything along trade or wars with the tribes of the north?
    4. how frequently should one adorn elekes? and are any of them to be worn outside of the standard ones (Guerros/head)

    Sorry but I recently started a walk and lost my god parent right after I could use any help I can get. Thank you oma Oshun

    1. 1. This is difficult to answer in full without referring to secret initiation ceremonies and it is complex, but the simple answer is that you have one crowning Orisha in Lucumi and a corresponding mother or father.
      2. Oshumare is not common in Lucumi. Please refer to this article: http://eleda.org/blog/2010/12/27/diplo-santeria-and-pseudo-orishas/
      3. I am not a historian and so my knowledge is not great, but I do know that there have been trade, conquests and exchanges in Africa throughout History. There are also references to the North In Odu.
      4. It is absolutely up to the individual. It is not one size fits all. If you have received other Elekes ( ie received after Kariocha OR after receiving an Adimu Orisha), you also can wear them if and when you please.

      1. thank you, I’m hoping I’m not dealing with what was listed in that article as it didn’t read that way but ones intuitive conceptions sometimes can be flawed if that is that case would you suggest I have another consultation or 2 and make sure presented was accurate.

      2. Unless the reading was in Ita ( ie received on reception of Orisha, Ifa, and so on) then the reading has a life span and is not a long term reading. The relevance will pass and the energy will change. I would have another reading in the future, maybe with someone else. If you want to write to me privately and let me know where you are based. If I know and trust someone in that area, I will be able to refer. Or if you are on Facebook, there is a very good and legitimate group and a directory of genuine Olorishas and where there are based. I can point you in that direction.

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