No false modesty: I am not afraid to say that I am considered as one of the best Santeria spellcasters.
I did my own researches and with the help of some feedbacks from my long-term clients, we found out that the few competitors who are also proposing premium quality spellcasting are charging their clients with prices as high as $1,500! I guarantee you that once you have tried my spell casting services, you will contact me over and over for various problems.
Our boveda at the Santeria Church of the Orishas where we work with our Ancestors through Espiritismo Cruzado. When working with your Ancestors within Espiritismo Cruzado, you focus on offering prayers, exercising your mediumship skills and communicating with them to tend to their needs, heed their guidance and offer them spiritual energy, that they may return it to you in the form of spiritual assistance, support, enlightenment, spiritual advancement and personal empowerment.
Each person has a Spiritual Court  – a group of spirits who surround him and work to assist him in life. Statues depicting Indian and Congo spirits, along with fans for Gypsy spirits grace this simple boveda along with a glass of water, crystal ball and a white candle. A common way of working with your Ancestors at the boveda is to begin by approaching the altar and lighting a white candle for them.
Many Espiritistas report receiving messages in the form of ideas that pop in your head, or imagery that comes to your mind. When you are done with your prayers and work, close with another praying of The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and the Glory Be. Coupling your work at the boveda with your work at the Traditional Lucumi Ancestral Shrine will give you a well-rounded practice for working with your ancestors, keeping your relationship with them strong, and maintaining their support and assistance at all times.
In order to understand the way you learn Santeria, you must understand the history of our faith and our culture – for the two are largely indivisible. With the advent of the internet and mass social media, communication has become easier than ever. Divination with diloggun is one of the best ways to learn where you are on your path to destiny. One of the first things you should do is to get a diloggun reading (or an Ifa reading if you are part of an Ifa house) from your godparent, or a diviner that they trust. Santeria Lucumi is traditionally learned through true apprenticeship, not in sit-down classes.
One of the common mistakes of newcomers to the religion is that they want to create a personal and friendly relationship with their godparent.
The first place most newcomers to Santeria begin their devotions is with their personal ancestors. All too often, Santeria is mistakenly confused with other African-derived magical or religious systems. Haitian Vodou is an African Diasporic Religion that came together from the traditional African religious practices of several tribes, some of whom were rivals forced to survive and depend on one another under the conditions of slavery. The religious proceedings and magical workings of these religious traditions may have similarities but they are certainly not the same thing. A typical hoodoo altar with several spells being worked for love, reconciliation and wisdom. For centuries, the African Traditional Religions (ATRs) have been the victim of racism and colonial stereotypes.
Racist depictions of Santeria and other ATR practices include depicting the religions as satanic. Santeria is often mistakenly depicted as an evil religion that worships demons, engages in blood-thirsty rituals and seeks to do evil on others.
Santeria is strongly associated to the spirits of Nature and I have reached a knowledge allowing me to control the spiritual forces of the Universe to empower the spells I cast. In comparison, and for the same quality – if not more -, my range of prices is 2 to 3 times less expensive than what you may find somewhere else. In a previous article we discussed how to work with Ancestors (Egun) through the Traditional Lucumi Ancestral Shrine (opa iku).
The dead include both Ancestors of blood and initiation, as well as spirit guides, guardian spirits and elevated masters. This includes working toward your own personal spiritual evolution and enlightenment as well as assisting other spirits with their evolution and enlightenment.
You can also pray for your spirits to support you in spiritual work you accomplish like cleansings, blessings, healings, laying on of hands, etc. The boveda is typically a table, shelf or top of a dresser that has been covered with a white sheet or cloth, upon which have been placed 7 stemmed glasses of water. Hopefully each of you who are interested in learning the religion of Santeria will find your own way to the right person. Santeria Lukumi came together on the island of Cuba as the aggregate worship of the various Yoruba-speaking people from different tribes, along with elements of Arara worship, Catholicism and Spiritism. That means learning side-by-side from your godparent, following what they say, and doing what they do. All of our ceremonies, our songs, our rituals, our offerings, our prayers and our traditions are encapsulated in odu (the signs of the diloggun divination system). This means that as a newcomer to the religion, you learn the most menial of tasks first: taking out the trash, plucking chickens, sweeping, washing dishes, mopping the floor, etc.
The contents of our ceremonies and some of the deeper rituals we perform are secrets that are not given to those who are uninitiated. Everyone has access to their ancestors, whether it is through the traditional Lucumi shrine that is placed on the ground, or through Espiritismo and the boveda.
These tribes included the Fon, Yoruba, Congo and even elements of the native Taino population that survived in Haiti. It is more of an amalgamation of religious and magical practices found in the southern United States. It is rooted in the African religious traditions of the Yoruba people (found in modern-day Nigeria).
Each container has a different orisha’s mysteries within it, and is covered with decorative cloths, crowns and beaded mazos. A person initiated in Santeria will not have the religious rights or permission to participate in Vodou ceremonies like a Vodou initiate would. This was an institutionalized way of dehumanizing the African people by labeling their religious practices as barbaric or demonic. It is common to portray these religions as nothing more than harmful spell casters focusing on zombifying people, using voodoo dolls to harm people, or engaging in cannibalism or pacts with the devil. It originates from the labeling of African people as black and the characterization of their religions as purely evil.
This is further racist, colonial depiction of the beautiful and complex African religious tradition of Santeria.
I have always wanted to push the limits of knowledge and you really have to see by yourself what I am capable of. The most powerful and most expensive spell I cast, which includes a 12 days and 12 nights ritual, will not cost you more than $650. Espiritistas often work to help spirits that are trapped, addicted, obsessed or dark in vibration to evolve, release their attachments to the physical world and move on to the next stage of their spiritual growth.

Some lineages use 9 glasses of water, but we utilize 7 in the Santeria Church of the Orishas. Typically Espiritistas will use Florida Water, Colonia 1800, Siete Machos or Colonia Pompeia. Before I go into my answer, however, I must preface everything I write here with one bit of information. For many generations it was protected and kept secret – as something solely for African people.
But sadly, many people bring with them an American, fast-paced culture of instant results and quick fixes. If you talk to a multitude of Santeros each godfamily will have minor variations on how things are done and you will simply confuse yourself and get frustrated. A Babalawo may be able to help you with life problems, but he will not be able to give you the required elements to proceed in the religion beyond the limited few that a Babalawo can give (Hand of Orunla, Ide of Orunla and Ifa warriors – he cannot crown you with an orisha like Chango, Eleggua, etc. As tempting as it might be, don’t go looking for answers on internet discussion boards and websites (yes I see the irony of that statement). There is a reason for why we do things, and often times, once you understand the reasons for our actions, the ritual actions are even easier to remember.
I find that this crosses certain lines and can actually cause friction between godchild and godparent.
It is normal to be told by your godparent that they cannot answer your question until you’ve been initiated as an Olorisha and been presented to the Igbodu (sacred room).
The best thing a new aleyo can do is to start by developing a relationship with their ancestors, guides and spirits as well as learning how to listen to their guidance.
Movies and television are notorious for lumping all African Diasporic Traditions into one boat, calling them all voodoo and then mocking them or creating sensationalism that is rooted in cultural misinformation. This includes some of the Lwa found in Haitian Vodou, a strong presence of the Catholic Saints, and elements of southern folk magic like gris-gris, wanga and mojo bags. A person initiated in Vodou would not have permission and rights to operate in a Santeria ceremony. This changing society’s perception of black people into animals or subhuman, in order to justify the slave trade and the brutal treatment of African people by invading muslim and christian missionaries. Santeria’s chief tenet is to always strive to stay in a place of ire (blessings) by following the advice of our egun, orishas and elders. If there’s someone you want returned to you or if you want to attract money, call upon Santeria to do your bidding.
Espiritismo is a separate spiritual and religious practice that has was incorporated into Santeria in the mid 1900’s. While traditional Lucumi ancestral work is pretty limited to working with Egun, Espiritismo Cruzado has a system in place to work with Ara Orun and other non-related spirits. One of those seven glasses is larger and taller than the rest and represents the person’s spiritual consciousness as well as the connection to his Spirit Guardian. Rub your hands together and pass them over their body to pick up any negativity or errant energy, then flick the energy at your boveda so that your spirits can cleanse you and take it away. The Santeria Church of the Orishas does NOT give out any referrals to priests outside of our local area (Los Angeles, CA) and we cannot refer you to anyone outside of our lineage.
But over time, African people and European people began to have children of mixed ancestries and as such, the doors to Lucumi slowly (and reluctantly for many people) opened to non-African participants. The orisha Eleggua will tell you what your destiny is and where your path in the religion lies. You can also weed out an Olorisha’s personal superstitions and style from the actual practice of Santeria by doing this. I’ve found in my own life as a godchild and as a godparent that the best way to keep the relationship between godparent and godchild healthy is to keep a healthy professional distance between the two of you.
This is where having a godparent is important, as they can guide you and show you how to communicate with the ancestors and how to make proper offerings to them.
One of the best things you can do is take any information you gather back to your godparent for verification and explanation. Tack on to this cross-confusion between Voodoo and Hoodoo and you get a whole other layer of misunderstanding about what Santeria really is. While there is a veneer of Spanish Catholicism for the outsider, that element quickly drops away once a person has undergone initiation. Each of these religions is different from one another, and each uses different languages, prayers, songs and rituals from the others.
There is a strong ethic of helping others and working cooperatively to lift people out of poverty and sickness toward blessings, health, prosperity and longevity. The type of Espiritismo practiced in Santeria Lucumi is called Espiritismo Cruzado (Blended Spiritism) because it has been blended or hybridized with African elements from the Congo people.
The perfumes work not only as an offering of fragrance to your spirits, but the alcohol in them works to feed and nourish your dead spirits so that they can better manifest their energies around you.
It is also nice to burn some incense for your spirits, like Frankincense and Myrrh or Three Kings. For example if they offer you an image of a car, you can say “I perceive an image of a car. This has resulted in many people gobbling up information on websites and through books that are poorly-informed at best, or damagingly misleading at worst. I highly recommend that you take your time before you dedicate yourself to one priest or priestess as your godparent. There are masters in our religion with over 40 years of initiation and actual experience in an igbodu (sacred ocha room) that you could be asking who will have your answer and the history behind it! Your role as the trash guy is just as critical as the Oriate’s role in singing the songs of the ritual. Offer to help your godparent, reach out to them regularly so that you can know when events are taking place and see if you can attend them, but do not spend personal and casual time together like buddies. If you have not yet received any initiations, it is best to focus your learning on understanding the structure of the godfamily, getting to know people in your godfamily and learning general information about the religion.
Most newcomers will participate in spiritist masses (misas espirituales) as a way to develop their mediumship skills and build relationships with their guides, under the tutelage of their godparent as well. We hope this article will help clarify some confusions, and help set the record straight once and for all.
Evidence of this can be seen in the use of Catholic saint images to represent the Lwa (spirits) honored in Vodou.
The primary involvement of Catholic elements in Santeria are found in Espiritismo, a separate religious practice that has been deeply interwoven into Santeria as of the mid-1900’s. The only commonality between them is the use of animal sacrifice, and the employment of magical spell work as an integral part of their religious practice, but this is common with any religious practice from sub-saharan Africa. Hoodoo uses the magical techniques of the Congo people of Africa without any of the religion.
Every person has a Spirit Guardian that protects their spiritual well being and guards their back. The most physical offering you can do is to blow some cigar smoke on your boveda, but I personally do not do this.

It will also tell you if you need to be initiated or not (for those folks who come wanting to know if they can be initiated).
Stopping your godparent in the middle of a ceremony to ask why they are doing something is not usually a good idea.
Take pride in a job well done even if you’re just plucking chickens, for it is in humbling ourselves to serve that we learn what communal religion really is about.
This can actually cause there to be resentment, spreading of gossip and misunderstandings about expectations.
Learn the best ways to do all of the chores in the religion: trash, washing dishes, opening coconuts, plucking chickens, etc.
The Lwa (spirits) of Vodou are composed of the Rada Lwa (the vudu and orishas of the Fon and Yoruba people), the Petwo Lwa (the fiery spirits of the Congo, the Taino and modern-Haitian people) and the Gede Lwa (the spirits of the dead). Louisiana Vodoun’s primary liturgical language is English with a bit of French Creole. There is the use of magic for one’s defense, but in many ways this is no different than praying to God for defense against your enemies or petitioning saints to stop those who seek to harm you. It is also common to have images of saints, statues, candles, flowers or even doll representing a person’s spirits on it. Take as much time as you can, and feel free to repeat any prayers especially after they’ve given you some guidance. The intent is to educate the public on the right way to learn; it is then up to you to find the right godparent. At its core, Santeria Lucumi is NOT an individual practice, is not a personal path, and is something you inherit and pass on to others as elements of a culture that survived the tragedy of slavery in Cuba. It is best to wait until there is a break in the ceremony or until the ceremony is done and quietly pull your godparent aside and ask them why ritual actions were done. Also learn about the orishas: their likes and dislikes, what forces of nature they have dominion over, their colors, numbers, patakis (legends), etc.
As you make your way in Santeria you’ll see just how best to function as a tribe, how to honor the ancestors, the orishas and your family through your actions and in how you conduct yourself in life. Veves, ornate cornmeal drawings laid out on the ground or on tables, are used to call the Lwa in Vodou, but not in Santeria. Haitian Vodou does have an initiated priesthood, but initiation is not a requirement for participation in the religion and the vast majority of vodouisants are non-initiates.
Participation in the religion is very limited to those who are not initiated and the great majority of participants are initiates.
Anyone can set up a boveda and begin working with their spirits regardless of initiatory status. Offering a prayer in response to their guidance is akin to offering them spiritual light in compensation for their help. There are many scoundrels and charlatans who have taken advantage of this generation of American-cultured people by offering sham initiations through the internet, or mail-order orishas, or a multitude of culturally appropriated products that steal the imagery, symbolism and religious elements of Santeria Lucumi outside of a cultural or traditional religious context. But the reading will give you a clear understanding of our working relationship with the orishas in our faith, and also expose you to our divination systems, and the technology of ebo. That way your godparent can focus on completing the ebo or ritual and not get sidetracked with questions. While you are performing chores, listen attentively to the conversations taking place around you. Start to build relationships with the orishas through offerings of addimus, fulfilling ebos with your godparent’s guidance, and learning their songs and dances.
Santeria does NOT use veves or ornate drawn symbols to call the orishas as are done in Vodou (bullseye-style paintings called osun are used in certain rituals but bear no resemblance to veves).
Then sit in silence and allow your mediumship skills to perceive whatever information your spirits give you.
Always verify things you read online by confirming them through your godparent, as there are variations from lineage to lineage within our religion.
Also, some godparents do not like to be questioned in front of their peers, and this method preserves the respect between godchild and godparent. You will absorb information about past rituals, information about odu, historical accounts of old Santeros and Santeras and how they used to do things, and THAT is how you start to learn in the religion.
Haitian Vodou’s primary liturgical language is Kreyol, the local dialect of Haitian French. A person’s work with their spirits is personal and does not require the intervention of a priest or priestess. Our religion is a practice of discipline and respect, not one where you select a godparent based on the lowest bidder. Are they taking time to give you guidance on how to make the most of the sign that comes out in the reading? They’ll use magical powders, herbal cleansing baths, candles or lamps for spell work.
In spite of the wave of cyber-fraud and poorly educated priests touting themselves as experts behind an internet-devised persona, there are still many lineages and houses that practice the proper way, training people in true apprenticeship, with the utmost of ethical integrity. Learn from one olorisha, and if you find they are not a good match, formally end the relationship with them before going to find another one.
Are they giving you positive and negative elements to the sign or are they simply giving a “doom and gloom reading?” Are they trying to find simple ebos to do to remedy your situation or are they immediately jumping to sacrificing the entire barnyard of animals? I used to do that, and while it did drive my godparent crazy, in the end I was glad for it. All of this magical work is done while praying Psalms, praying to Jesus and God the Father, and reading from the Bible. Are they pushing you into doing an initiation you don’t want to do, or are they simply prescribing the initiation and telling you that it would be in your best interest – then letting you decide in good time?
Those answers proved to be precious jewels of information that so few others actually had access to. Stand next to the butcher and watch how he or she opens the animals so that you can learn how to do it. While the vast majority of Hoodoo practitioners are Protestant Christians, there are some some Catholic practitioners who will petition Catholic saints. Offer to crack open coconuts and remove the meat from them, and you’ll learn a few tricks from older olorishas.
It’s important to note that they are petitioning the Saints themselves, not as a syncretized image for an African deity or spirit. Offer to clean up the area outside dedicated to feeding the dead, and set it up with its offerings of drinks and food.
Sit side-by-side in readings (if your godparent permits it) so that you can begin to understand the mechanics of a diloggun reading, and if you have questions ask your godparent after the reading is done to better understand how it works.
This is the meaning of true apprenticeship and it is how we learn to practice Santeria Lucumi.

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