Santeria is an
underground religion that
combines unique and contradictory beliefs.  It combines practices of various
schools of thought in theology, religion, and mythology.  Its origins stem
from West Africa, most of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and extends to other parts
of the world. 

Africans carried a
variety of spiritual customs, which include sacrificing animals, drumming,
singing and dancing to enter into trances for communicating with their
ancestors and the Santeria gods.  It has been passed down for several

The 7 Orishas in the
Cuban Santeria are:

Olodumare (God
Almighty) - this is the Supreme God, the one and only creator of heaven and
earth. He is father to all humanity. He is also believed to be somewhat
distant and therefore created the Orishas (semi-gods) to deal with
day-to-day human affairs. Santeria believes in one God, with semi-gods/Orishas
created by Olodumare, to help intervene in our lives.

Ellegua (corresponds to
Saint Anthony of Padua) - he is the owner of all crossroads and therefore
has a strong influence on our destiny.  He loves children and candy.  His
colors are red/black.

Obatala (corresponds to
La Virgen de Las Mercedes) - he is the father of all who are not initiated.
The one who owns everyone.   He symbolizes peace.  His color is white.

Yemaya (corresponds to
La Virgen de Regla) - she is the owner of the ocean. The goddess of wealth
and power.  She is the mother of all the other Orishas.  Her color is blue.

Chango (corresponds to
Santa Barbara) - he is the god of thunder, lightening, music, and commerce.
He has a powerful temper and a healthy appetite.   His color is red. 

Oya (corresponds to St.
Therese de Jesus) - all cemeteries belong to her as she has powerful and
volatile energy.  Her color is maroon.

Ochun (corresponds to
La Caridad del Cobre) - she is the goddess of love, attraction, and luxury.
All rivers and streams belong to her.  She is popular with matters of love.
Her color is yellow.

Ogun (corresponds to
San Pedro) - he is the god of metals.  His powerful weapons protect and
defend. His colors are green and black.

Just like one can make
parallels to the Catholic saints, one can also make astrological
associations with these gods. For example, Ochun can be classified as
Venus.  And Chango can be associated with Mars.  

The Santero is a
practioner of Santeria who has undergone special rituals.  These rituals
required time, money, and special living circumstances after the ceremony. 
For example, women shave their heads bald and must wear a veil.  They are
not allowed to look in a mirror for many months following the ritual.  They
must wear white for a specific duration of time.  Also, they must be home by

Santeros try
to give a psychic reading by speaking to the orishas.  Please note the
keyword is try.  They are not
psychics. Instead they try to find a parallel
for remedying all types of problems.   Sometimes these problems may be
medical treatment whereby the client might be prescribed some herbal teas,
cleansing baths, or a special diet from the traditional healing practice.  
Personally, I believe a doctor should be consulted in these manners. 
Psychics read energy; they do not prescribe.  This is why
Im very clear on
the keyword try.  The attempt is not one that involves professional

At the same
time, I do not believe a psychic can bring back a former lover.  I believe a
psychic can help you improve your relationships by telling you when you are
most likely to attract others, and what type of people you will attract, as
well as why a certain persons energy is good or challenging for you.  A
psychic can work more on a psychological level based on intuition.  What’s
the point of bringing back someone that you were involved with if you or
that person hasntt improved or made changes where the relationship
suffered?  Sound too practical?  Regardless of our beliefs or philosophies,
we must always acknowledge that each person possess free will, and specific
psychological, emotional, and spiritual makeups.  Each person in a
relationship must work so we can improve our connection with our mate.

Sometimes, a
Santero might advise the client use a magical herbal elixir for a "miracle
cure."   These can stem from cleansings, protection from the evil eye, etc.

From my experience, if
a person has a certain karmic lesson to master, the only thing that can
change for that person is himself.  Surely a "spiritual cleansing" may help
the individual gain clarity, in which case it would have served him well. 
However, using Santeria to solve your problems to return former lovers may
not manifest in the physical world unless or until change comes from within
or the time is served.

There are many in the
practice that do not understand this.  They believe the client needs to go
through a cleansing, become a Santero themselves, etc. There is a borderline
ethical issue especially since they are charged enormous amounts of dollars
to undergo special rituals. 

There is also legal
issues too, especially in the sacrifice of animals.  Florida is the most
popular state for Santeria because of the high population of Cubans.  There
have been many cases of animal cruelty reported where goats, cows, chickens,
and many other four-legged animals were used for sacrificial ceremonies. 

I believe Santeria can
be a good gateway practice to take on a different journey into new age,
spirituality, psychic phenomena, etc.  As that is what it did for me, and I
never looked back.  I had my intuition about it and treaded with caution. 
It didnt feel right. 

I have yet to hear
about an ethical or legal practice of Santeria existing today.  Most of it
is underground.  There is a reason for that.

Author's Bio: 

Jackie Williams has worked for as a manager overlooking the talent department for a prominent new age communications company. Later as the internet developed, she diversified her recruitment specialty to server global clients for a internet based spiritual network.
She attained her Master of Arts in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and her BA from Hunter College.