The cornerstone of the Yoruba religion is the veneration of and respect to the ancestors. When using the expression "Iku lobi osha," (the Dead gave birth to the saints) the egun are remembered every time a new member is reborn to a life dedicated to the devotion of the Yoruba pantheon. In West Africa, there is a bird call Sankofa. It's representation has similar meaning to how we venerate the ancestors. This bird is associated with two expressions: "I'm not ashamed to return for what I have forgotten" and "the one, who does not know where he came from, does not know where he is going". The Sankofa reminds us to remember our past, understand and venerate it, and share this knowledge with future generations.

As Yoruba Priests and Priestesses, it is of fundamental importance to recognize that our feet rest over the shoulders of our spiritual and biological ancestors; therefore, we revel our ancestors and give them thanks for their sacrifices and devotion, without whom La Regla de Ocha would not exist. Therefore, we dedicate a small space to honor the memory of the priests and priestess that are the root of our religion.

In examining the structure that protected and preserved the development of our Yoruba Religion, we will being to summarize some of the principal branches that originated in Cuba and list some of the initiates who defended our religious system known as La Regla de Ocha .

The establishment of the cabildos in Cuba is a profound and fascinating historical process of great impact and significance to our Yoruba religion.
Without discussing details of the formation of the cabildo, the significance of the cabildos was essential in creating a structure and foundation, where the believers of the Yoruba religion could congregate: the "iles" or "houses of the Saints" were born.

The iles that were already founded in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought their customs, rules and procedures through the efforts of priests that were rooted in firm religious foundations. Among the primary or fundamental cabildos, we can include those from the city of Regla: our Lady of Regla/Yemaya, founded by Josefa Herrera (Eshubi Pepa) and Susana Cantero (Omi Toque); The Santa Barbara Cabildo/Shango Tedun; The Palenque twins, Perfecto and Gumersindo Cabrera; and the cabildo of Papa Silvestre.


Ceiba de Vieques, P.R. 300-year-old. Iroko is the ancestors' favorite tree.

In the city of Matanzas were the very memorable cabildos of Fermina Gomez Torriente; the cabildo Iyesa of the Garcia Family; and the cabildo of Santa Teresa de Cardenas and the Villamil Family. In the province of Matanzas were the Arara cabildos (from which their members were descendants of the slaves from the Fon, Mahi; Adja, Evhe, and other groups that came from Reynaldo Dahomey and what today is Togo.) These in some cases formed connections with Lukumí traditions in Matanzas.

In Guanabacoa, the history and prominence of the cabildos is largely due to the efforts of Pilar Fresnesda. Elsewhere, in the interior of Cuba, three Lucumi societies and one Congo society played an important role and continues to function up to the present time, in the city of Palmira, Cienfuegos.
We have emphasized the role of the cabildos as principal institutions for the birth of Afro Cuban religions. The Cabildos were the basis for the emergence of the founding houses of Ifá and Ocha, from which were born the various corresponding "ramas" or branches of Ocha.

When we speak of an ile, or Ocha house, we are referring more than just to a physical structure. The ile is composed literally "stone family" (familia de piedra) or ritual family, in other words initiates born from the Orishas of the babaloricha, iyaloricha or Awo initiator.

When we speak about ramas, we are talking about branches of genealogic linage. As per our tradition, the Rama or branch is established by two means of sacred reproduction (from which the Orisha is birthed) with whom you are related spiritually.

Our kinship is recognized when one recites the Moyuba prayer; this is a recognition of our elders and spiritual relationships. In the list of names mentioned below, the ancestors are mentioned who are now "at the feet of Olofi".

Here is a compilation of some of the most prominent Oloshas, Iyaloshas and Awos in our religion:

Aurora Lamar, Obá Tolá. Su ángel de la guarda era Aganjú y es una de las fundadoras de la rama La Pimienta.
Ferminita Gómez, Ocha Bí. Santera Oní Yemayá nacida en Matanzas, Cuba. Fue ahijada de la gran Ma Monserrate González. Responsable por la continuación del culto a Olokun en Cuba.
Ño Remigio Herrera, Adeshina. Uno de los primeros babalawos en llegar a Cuba. Le heredó a su hija Josefa Herrera, Eshubí el Cabildo de Regla/Yemayá.
Nicolás Valentín Angarica, Obá Tolá. Fue el único aprendiz del famoso Obadimelli.
Bernardo Herrera
Tata Gaitán, Ogundá Fun. Legendario Babalawo, Tata Nkisi y miembro de la sociedad Abakuá. Su ángel de la guarda era Ochosi y ha sido el único babalawo en recibir el título de Obá en Cuba.
Miguel Febles
Pilar Fresneda
Susana Cantero
Tiburcia Sotolongo

Ña Margarita Armenteros, Ainá Yobo. Fundadora de otra importante rama en La Habana.

Ma. Monserrate González, Oba Tero. Nacida en Nigeria y traida a Cuba, Oní Changó. Es una de la fundadoras Lukumí en Matanzas y madrina de Fermina Gómez.

Octavio Samá, Obadimelli. Legendario por haber sido coronado dos veces, fue el primer oriaté Cubano.

Timotea "Latuán" Albear, Ápoto. Oní Yemayá. Fundadora de la rama La Pimienta.

Calixta Morales, Odédeí. Omo Ochosi. Se cree que fue la primera olorisha en haber sido iniciada a Ochosi en Cuba.

Pancho Mora, Ifá Morote. Primer babalawo en haber residido en EE.UU.

Mercedes Noble, Oban Yoko. Es la primera iyalocha en haber hecho una iniciación en la ciudad de Nueva York.

Asunta Serrano, Osáunko. Descendiente de Aurora Lamar es una de las primeras puertorriqueñas en ser iniciadas en la década de los 1950.

We invite you to list your spiritual lineage of Santeras/os from your Ilé and share them with us and with the world.

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