Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December 2016 / Gift Guide Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article


This article was written by Chris Lee on April 30, 2008
posted under Candomble

Candomblé, like Santeria, is a religion that has its origins in the Yoruba religion called Ifa. Similar to Vodou and Santeria, it developed when the slaves arrived in Brazil and where "converted" to the Catholic religion. They used the Catholic saints to hide their African Deities and connected their traditional ceremonies to some of the ceremonies of the church. In Brazil, the religion evolved and incorporated other practices, such as Allan Kardec’s Spiritism and native medicinal and spiritual knowledge.

Their Deities are known as Orixás, the portuguese word for the Yoruba Orisha. These Orixás are served, venerated and prayed for, along with the ancestors, to provide guidance, protection, prosperity, health and well being. Also, like Vodou and Santeria, it is an initiatory religion, requiring to be initiated by an Iyalorixá or Babalorixá (Priestess/Priest). There are different initiations and religious ceremonies to be completed before becoming an Iyalorixá/Babalorixá. It takes at least 7 years to complete training in the tradition, before functioning as clergy. Some commonly known Orixás are:

Exú/Elegbara: Trickster, Road Opener or Blocker and Messenger Orixá.
Ogum : Owner of Iron, Blacksmith and Warrior Orixá
Oxóssi: Owner of the Hunt and Warrior Orixá
Xangô: Owner of Thunder and Fire Orixá
Oxum: Owner of Rivers and Love Orixá
Iemanjá: Owner of the Sea and Mother Orixá
Oyá-Iansã: Owner of Winds and Lightning Orixá

Candomblé practitioners believe that the Orixás can communicate with the community of devotees through possession of the priest/priestess. The Orixás are thought to possess the initiate during a state of deep trance, usually induced by ritual music, in which the initiate adopts another voice and gestures and is dressed with a ritual costume in the colors associated with the possessing Orixá and also ritual implements that have a spiritual significance to that particular deity. The Orixás are also thought to communicate through cowrie shell divination, called jogo de búzios. This system of divination consists of casting the shells on a special tray and reading the patterns that fall. From these patterns, the priest tells the stories and legends associated with them and give advice to follow to the person receiving the reading, and might also suggest rituals to achieve success, healing, protection and also enlightenment under the patronage of one or more Orixá.

There are also different religious cults and magico-religious systems stemming from Candomblé, like Umbanda, Macumba and Quimbanda, among others. Some of these are sometimes considered dark, because of their use of magic for negative purposes, more specifically Macumba and Quimbanda. Candomblé is about healing, empowerment and connecting with the Spiritual Forces that guide the Universe. All in all, Candomblé is a religion that has thousands of followers worldwide and continues to grow and help people grow both materially and spiritually.

About the Author:

Chris Lee is an initiated priest of Oshun in the Orisha tradition of the Caribbean who continues to study every aspect of this ancient practice and its sister religions. He loves learning about alternative religions and philosophies and writing about them. He has studied the Wiccan religion in depth as well as folk magickal traditions and practices, including Herbalism, Spiritualims and Hoodoo. He is a Third Degree Reiki Master and has studied and read Tarot for 10 years.

The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
Four Mysterious Monsters of Which You've Never Heard
Four Powerful Ways to Live a Joyful Life Today
A Tarot Built for Magick: Modern Spellcaster's Tarot
Exercise: How to Feel Good
Investigating Haunted Bridges

Most recent posts:
This Samhain, Visit the Cemetery and Make a Gravestone Rubbing to Honor Your Ancestors
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Natalie Zaman, author of Magical Destinations of the Northeast. One of my favorite sections of...

The Biggest Challenge
Psychic Tarot by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie Howard In Psychic Tarot, Antenucci and Howard tell us that integrating the wisdom from a reading...

Author Michael Newton Has Passed
Today we sadly mark the passing of author Dr. Michael Newton, who authored several bestselling books, including Destiny of Souls, Journey of Souls,...

Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN