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Shango

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Shangó
Shangó

Shango (also known as Chango, Sango, or Xango) is the king of the orishas in the the Lukumi and Santeria pantheon of the Yoruban religion and its diaspora in the Americas. The ruler of thunder, fire, drumming, dancing and male virility, Shango is actually a deified king who was once the Fourth Alafin of the city-state of Oyó. He is one of the most worshipped orishas in the pantheon and his legends are numerous and speak to the human experience. He has four separate wives: Obba - his first wife who was faithful but unattractive so Shango withdrew his affections from her, Oshun his favorite lover, Oya his equal in strength and power, and Yewa the virgin daughter of Obatala whose purity was stolen by Shango. He is the the owner of the sacred drums, a powerful sorcerer who wields fire and lightning, and loves to seduce women, drink and dance. Shango has a special relationship with Babalu Aye as he was the only orisha to offer him assistance when he was sick and homeless. Shango is often considered the son of Yemaya and his fatherhood is either credited to Ogun or Aggayu. Shango was a very impulsive youth and was quick to anger, and legend has it that Obatala taught Shango the art of diplomacy and gifted him with the white bead that is now a part of his necklace. In nature, Shango is said to live at the top of the royal palm tree and his offerings are commonly placed at the foot of palm trees. Shango is petitioned for help with protection, overcoming enemies, sexual trysts, business success, and good fortune.

Shango is depicted as an attractive, muscular, black man wearing a crown and a kilt-like garment made of pointed strips of red cloth. He carries a double-headed axe called an "oshe" with which he hurls lightning and thunder against his enemies. His shrine consists of a carved, covered, wooden vessel containing his mysteries along with 18 loose cowries for diloggun divination, through which he speaks. There is only one road or avatar of Shango. His ritual numbers are 6 and 12. His beaded necklace is made with alternating red and white beads. His garments are traditionally red with gold trim. Animal sacrifice is used to propitiate Shango within the African Traditional Religions. Sacrifices to Shango include: rams, roosters, quails, turtles and guinea hens. Altar offerings for Shango include: bananas, apples, mangos, dry wine, cornmeal, and okra. He has no taboos.

In the syncretic practices of Cuban Santeria, in which African orishas are associated with Catholic Church saints, the representative of Shago is Saint Barbara and his feast day is the 4th of December. In Haitian Voudoun, Shango is part of the Ogou family of Lwa originating from the Nago tribe in Africa and is known as Ogou Shango. Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who are adherents of the Yoruban and Yoruban-Diasporic Religions and who petition the orishas on behalf of clients may work with Shango when there are pending issues involving love, passion, sex, money, gambling luck, protection, warding off evil, success, steady work, wisdom, mastery, breaking jinxes, reversing curses, or revenge against enemies.

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