Seven colors candle (I): African powers or chakras?
In the esoteric world, the appearance of different elements that are renamed as dietary powers is recurrent. Although it is enough for many to listen to the powers or energies that these objects promote, the most popular being candles, incense and jewelry, the truth is that the reason for their colors and their use is rarely delved into. That is why in this article and the next we will deal with the issue of the history and evolution of the seven-color candle in its two most common uses or links, the seven African powers, orishas, versus the seven chakras of Hindu esotericism.
Part I. The seven African powers:
Any attempt to associate them with the chakras is modern and even superfluous, since it has nothing to do with their true and closest origin, which is the invocation of the divinities of the Yoruba pantheon, the orishas. These divinities would be Obbatalá, Shangó, Elegguá, Ogún, Oshún, Orula and Yemayá. Each one of them has an associated color and a special power that allows it to dominate a specific aspect of human life. Many people are unaware that the seven colors of the chakras are different from these.
The color white is associated with Obbatalá, since it symbolizes peace, tranquility of spirit, and harmony. The color red corresponds to Shango, the one who always defeats his enemies, a brave and fiery god. This color is also usually attributed to Elegguá, but in candles and esoteric objects it can be replaced by black or orange to distinguish both divinities, although their functions are similar in terms of eliminating obstacles. As for Oshún, divinity of love and wealth, yellow is assigned to her, in obvious relation to material fortune. Ogún was assigned the color green as a symbol of fertility and health, and also protection, fields in which this orisha dominates, although it is sometimes replaced by the color black so as not to be confused with Orula. And the colors green and yellow are attributed to Orula, as a deity of wisdom, who produces the same wealth and fertility, although sometimes she changes to violet so as not to be confused with Ogún, and because violet is a color associated with clairvoyance, ability that this divinity has. Finally, Yemayá is associated with the color blue, as a goddess of waters.
The order of colors in the candle, when intended to be lit for a ritual, is supposed to be determined by the seven days of the week. White for Monday, red for Tuesday, yellow for Wednesday, purple for Thursday, blue for Friday, green for Saturday and orange for Sunday. This is the most common but it is seen and proven that colors and days change depending on tradition, region, country or simply manufacturer. That is, in the end what is important for the practitioner or believer is that it contains these colors and can be linked to the orishas.
It is understood that each day the corresponding strip of candle must be burned, and, among the general prayers of the ritual, a specific prayer and offering intended for the corresponding orisha must be dedicated. But this is not always the case, since the use of seven-color candles has spread outside the borders of the Yoruba religious sphere, with the virtues attributed to each color being only partially preserved, no longer attributing them to any divinity. In short, the colors are considered to symbolize, following the Western and traditional use of candles in esotericism, peace (white), strength and passion (red), wealth (yellow), wisdom (purple), protection (blue), health and fertility (green), and prosperity (orange). Orange is usually the final or last color because of the idea of general benefit.
This color pattern is repeated in the ritual incenses (whether by sticks, cones or a figure that combines all the colors), and in the necklaces, although the latter have a strong link with Santeria and Yoruba culture, since Within their culture and religious customs, necklaces or ekeles are part of the initiation and coronation ceremonies of santeros, and require having been purified and consecrated appropriately by a babalawo priest. After this, and also as an isolated tradition, there are those who wear them only in ceremonies, and those who always carry them with them, as a kind of protective amulet capable of invoking the help of the orishas. For its part, incense in these ceremonies is a more sacred and purifying element than an invoking one, although the color or aroma of each stick can be taken into account when it is used as a complement to prayers to a specific orisha.
Among the seven orishas of the aforementioned pantheon, there are also some disputes, and some followers of the different branches of Osha-Ifá include among these seven powers Babalú Aye, the orisha of skin diseases and plagues, who sometimes It is often considered an intermediary between life and death. He is a "father of the earth" god, with an extremely protective character, which is why many seek to include him in the seven powers, even as a guest. Its presence is common when a prayer is being made for the sick, but also when answers or guidance are being sought from ancestors, spirits or the deceased, since Babalú Aye cared for the nine eggun (dead), children of Oyá, goddess of the storms and guardian of the gates of cemeteries.
Outside of the Yoruba tradition, and entering fully into Western esotericism, in some spiritualist rituals the eggun are invoked, and sometimes the seven incenses or the seven-colored candle invoke seven spirits (instead of nine, although this too It is customary in the Palo Monte Rule).
As in many other Yoruba rituals, to correctly perform the ritual with this seven-color candle, unless you are not a santero or polytheist, and it is a simple esoteric act of lighting candles associated with the colors, the usual thing is prepare an altar with a white tablecloth and a glass of water, and arrange the different objects and foods associated with each of the orishas around the candle, either all at once until the candle is completely consumed, or changing them day by day, if the ritual of burning a strip of color every day is followed. Obbatalá would be offered white things (except salt!), such as white rice, cocoa butter or milk. To Shangó, red wine, roasted corn, okra or meat, for the red of blood and fire. In Elegguá, sweet things, such as caramel, guava, smoked fish or honey. Oshún also likes sweet foods, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, chard, lettuce, orange and seafood, as well as corn, because he associates the color yellow with it. Orula is offered mainly black chickens, in relation to one of her pataki (stories, legends), pigeons and deer, but also boiled yams, shrimp, coconut or cooked rice. Yemayá, as goddess of the sea, is offered mainly fish and eels, but also beans without broth, grapes, apples and watercress. If you also want to honor Babalú Aye, you can add dried coconut, toasted corn, onions or goat meat.
The most frequently used objects associated with them are also usually those that were "hidden" during the imposition of Christianity, although there are those who think that it is just as effective to have representative figures of the orishas on the altar, which are becoming more popular every day. . However, the use of a stamp or image of the associated Christian saint is accepted naturally: Obbatalá with the Virgen de las Mercedes, Shangó with Santa Bárbara, Elegguá with the Santo Niño de Atocha, Oshún with the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Orula with Saint Francis of Assisi and Yemayá with the Virgin of the Rule. And in the case of including Babalú Aye, with San Lázaro, how could it be otherwise. If symbolic use is preferred, a white necklace or dress can be used for Obbatalá; for Shango, the sword and the scales; for Elegguá, a key, a horseshoe or a wooden doodle; for Oshún, five gold bracelets, jewelry, necklaces and perfumes; for Orula, they could be green and yellow necklaces; for Yemayá, anchors, boats, oars, and also starfish, shells or conch shells. And once again, if space is made for Babalú Aye, he can be present through his representation with clay pots, noisemakers or jute cloth brooms.
There is an infinite variety of recipe books where you can prepare oils and incense, and even cakes for each orisha, as well as clay figures and handmade jewelry to your liking. The practitioner or esotericist will develop, while visualizing his desires with the burning of the candle and its corresponding colors, different emotions and affections for each of the powers, and it is assumed that from the practice he will deduce which object and offering are more of his I like them or they work better with the intended objectives. In this way, although the seven-color candle would be considered a complete esoteric tool, punctual or colored lighting is also accepted.
Pietro Viktor Carracedo Ahumada - email@example.com
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-Torre, Miguel A. De La, Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004.