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+  Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum
| |-+  Spirituality (Moderators: Tyehimba, leslie)
| | |-+  Sacrifice - Ebo
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Author Topic: Sacrifice - Ebo  (Read 9576 times)
Service Member
Posts: 2063

« on: February 16, 2006, 11:19:58 AM »


Gratitude connects us to the Orishas, connects us to life: To express gratitude is to consciously appreciate and celebrate the blessings of this beautiful world created for us. To express gratitude for the gift of all the richness life brings is to fully celebrate life.

Ebo, or sacrifice, is the way we in Santeria celebrate and embrace this idea: it’s how we serve and show our gratitude to God, our ancestors and the Orishas.

Ebo takes many forms: some “sacrifices” are as colorful and wonderful as full parties thrown in honor of the Orishas (a bembe or tambour) featuring scrumptious delicacies prepared and shared especially in honor of the Orisha, sacred ritual drumming, singing and dancing—in fact, the Orishas will often “come down” and “mount” one or more of their children physically through the awesome power of trance possession so They can dance, laugh, advise, eat with and bless their children—fully accepting and enjoying their sacrifice in the process.

Other Eboses (the plural of ebo) are simpler, made weekly or when requested by an Orisha through divination, and with the tastes and sacred attributes of the Orisha receiving in mind. A few pieces of fresh fruit, a special beverage (good old rum, most often, or simply cool water), a good cigar, some honey in a dish: these are a few of the many offerings which may be given to an Orisha.

But the Orishas are not, to the chagrin of some, vegetarian. The infrequent sacrifice of eje (ritually offered animal blood—most commonly that of a rooster or hen) is a concept that can be speculated upon, argued about, and politicized forever, but it is a concept, and an act, that the Western mind has to experience to even begin to understand.

Most commonly, those new to Santeria quickly find that their apprehension turns to respect and reverence when they participate in the ritual. Only highly initiated Santeras, Santeros, Oriates and Babalawos may shed blood. The animals are very well treated—they are considered sacred to the Orishas, and cruelty would be an affront. Great pains are taken therefore that the act itself is quick and as painless as possible. And when one considers that one’s fried chicken dinner didn’t grow on a fried chicken tree…

The ritual offering of blood is a tradition that stretches back to the beginning of religion itself (the concept of Kosher, for instance, is a form of blood sacrifice that still takes place), and feeding eje to the Orishas is an important part of our living tradition today.



We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Service Member
Posts: 2063

« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2006, 11:23:54 AM »

Ebó - Animal Sacrifice

Animal Sacrifice is just a small part of the much larger definition of ebó (sacrifice or offering) in the religion. There are many categories of ebó. There are offerings such as addimú which can include candles, fruits, candy, or any number of items or actions that may be appreciated by the deities or orishas in the religion. In divination, the orishas may ask for a favorite fruit or dish, or they may call for the person to heed advice given. At times they may ask that a person give up drinking or other practices that are unwise for that individual. They may request a person to wear certain jewelry, receive initiations or any number of other things. Or they may request an animal, usually a chicken or a dove, so the orisha will come to that person's aid. As a rule, animal sacrifice is called for only in major situations such as sickness or serious misfortune. Animals are also offered when a new priest is consecrated in service of her or his orisha during the birthing process of initiation. In every birth there is blood.

In our modern society we have become separated from the concept of death. Even our dead are embalmed and made up to appear living. When we purchase meat to eat or leather to wear it is pre-processed to remove the shopper from the fact that a life was taken in order that another may live. Meat wrapped in plastic with a little paper towel to soak up any blood that might remind the buyer of the fact of the animal's death. The buyer is also kept unaware of the circumstances surrounding the poor animals life and, of course, its death. When animals are killed in the slaughterhouse there is little respect or regard for that animal, the only matter of importance being that the animals are killed cheaply and in great quantity to supply an ever growing market. In other words, these animals too are sacrificed, though the only deity revered here is greed. We should also take into account that the poultry industry alone kills more animals in one day than the religion has sacrificed worldwide in the last several hundred years!

On the other hand, when an animal is sacrificed in La Regla Lucumí it is first and foremost done with respect. respect for the orisha being offered this life and respect for the little bird whose life is taken in order that we may live better. The animal must be well cared for because it is the property of the orisha. In fact, sometimes the orisha will state that the animal must not die but live with the person, and the orisha expects that animal to be well cared for and pampered as theirs.

At the beginning of the sacrifice, when the animal is brought forward, there is a song and action that we perform in acknowledgement that one day our lives will be taken suddenly in much the same way as the animals. In this way, our religion differs little from the beliefs of the Native Americans. Here there is a respect for all life, and a respect for the death that must come to all, including ourselves.

Afterwards, if the animal wasn't used to cleanse a person of illness or misfortune, it is eaten by all the participants. If, on the other hand, it was used for a cleansing, the animal is taken to the place requested by the orisha to complete the offering. These animals cannot be eaten as we would be eating the sickness or misfortune that was removed from that person.

Whether the ebó is a simple apple or a little chicken, it should always be offered with both hands and an open heart.


We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Junior Member
Posts: 118

Orisa Priest in Training

« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2006, 09:43:13 PM »

This are both pretty darn good articles. Lots of respect for their authors.

When we have the determination to restrain our lower desires, the door is opened for us to fulfill our highest aspirations.
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