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Not to be confused with Orissa.
This article is about a type of spirit. For other uses of Orisha, see Orisha (disambiguation).

Orisa or Orisha (spelled Orichá or Orixá in Latin America) are spirits that reflects one of the manifestations of God in the Yoruba religion. The Orishas have found its way throughout the New World via the Atlantic slave trade and is now expressed in practices as varied as Santería, Candomblé, Trinidad Orisha, and Oyotunji, among others.[1]



The Yoruba traditionally believe that daily life depends on proper alignment and knowledge of one's Ori. Ori literally means the head, but in spiritual matters it is taken to mean a portion of the soul that determines personal destiny and success. Ashe or Ase is the life-force that runs through all things, living and inanimate. Ashe is the power to make things happen. It is an affirmation which is used in greetings and prayers, as well as a concept of spiritual growth. Orisha devotees strive to obtain Ashe through "Iwa-Pele" or gentle and good character, and in turn they experience alignment with the Ori, what others might call inner peace and satisfaction with life. Ashe is divine energy that comes from Olodumare, the Creator and is manifested through Olorun, who rules the heavens and is associated with the sun. Without the sun, no life could exist, just as life cannot exist without some degree of ashe. Ashe is sometimes associated with Eshu, the messenger Orisha.[2] For practitioners, ashe represents a link to the eternal presence of God, the Orishas, and the ancestors.[3]

The concept is regularly referenced in Brazilian capoeira. "Ashe" in this context is used as a greeting or farewell, in songs and as a form of praise. Saying that someone 'has ashe' in capoeira is complimenting their energy, fighting spirit, and attitude.


See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Kevin Baxter (on De La Torre), Ozzie Guillen secure in his faith, Los Angeles Times, 2007
  2. ^ Robert D. Pelton (1989). The Trickster in West Africa: A Study of Mythic Irony and Sacred Delight. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06791-2. 
  3. ^ Cynthia Duncan, Ph.D., About santeria

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