Divine Ordinances

  • Fred M. Frohock


It is easy to forget, within the comfortable landscape of social religions, that the metaphysical and the practical are fused in a way of life throughout many cultures, and this way of life is governed not by the social but by a transcendent reality, often configured as God. Look, for example, at a religion—a term indicating a distinct practice only, it seems, in recent Western history—that is not part of the mainstream in Western life. The religion (or way of life) is Santería, and a santero, Ernesto Pichardo, began transforming it in 1974 from an underground practice held in private homes to the church of the Lukumí Babalu Aye in Hialeah, Florida. Pichardo incorporated his church that year as a prelude to making it the first public institution in Osha (the African term for the religion). He was guided by intuitions or what he calls “supernatural indications” that this public manifestation of Osha was part of the family mission predicted before his birth by a Yoruba priest in Cuba. Pichardo wanted to provide a venue that could express the consciousness of Osha in a public manner.1


Public Reason Sacred Text Slave Trade Liberal Political Theory Animal Sacrifice 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    The material on Santería is drawn from the interviews with Pichardo, and from interviews with Lydia Cabrera and Terisita Pedraza, August 5, 1989, also in Miami; and a number of helpful articles and books on Regla de Osha: Migene Gonzalez-Whippler, Santería (New York: The Augustan Press, 1973)Google Scholar
  2. Joseph M. Murphy, Santería (New York: Beacon Press, 1988)Google Scholar
  3. George Brandon, Santería from Africa to the New World (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993)Google Scholar
  4. Marta Moreno Vega, The Altar of My Soul: The Living Traditions of Santería (New York: Ballantine Books, 2000)Google Scholar
  5. Mercedes Cros Sandoval, “Afro-Cuban Religion in Perspective,” in Enigmatic Powers: Syncretism with African and Indigenous Peoples, ed. Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo and Andres J. Perez y Mena (New York: Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies, 1995), pp. 81–9Google Scholar
  6. Juan J. Sosa, Sectas, Cultos y Sincretismos (Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1999)Google Scholar
  7. Baba Ifa Karade, The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1994)Google Scholar
  8. El Obatala, Creative Ritual (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1996)Google Scholar
  9. Conrad E. Mauge and Awo Fayomi, Odu Ifa: Book One, Sacred Scripture of Ifa and Odu Ifa: Book Two, Sacred Scriptures of Ifa (Mount Vernon, NY: House of Providence, 1994)Google Scholar
  10. Raul Canizares, Walking with the Night: The Afro-Cuban World of Santería (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1993)Google Scholar
  11. Lucumí’ni Lele, The Secrets of Afro-Cuban Divination: How to Cast the Diloggun, the Oracle of the Orishas (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 2000)Google Scholar
  12. Julio Garcia Cortez, The Osha: Secrets of the Yoruba-Santería-Lucumí Religion in the United States and the Americas (Brooklyn, NY: Athelia Henrietta, 2000).Google Scholar
  13. Roger Bastide’s imposing study of African (Yoruba) culture in Brazil, The African Religions of Brazil (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  14. 5.
    The Lukumí Church has issued two papers on these issues. One, “Syncretism,” suggests the distinction between theological and member syncretism. The other, “Rule or Diplomacy,” explores the religious mixture of Santería and Catholic religious expressions (by Ernesto Pichardo). See also the monograph by Ernesto Pichardo and Lourdes Nieto Pichardo, Oduduwa: Obatalá (Miami: St. Babalú Ayé, 1984)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Fred M. Frohock 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred M. Frohock

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations