What is Orula's hand in Cuban Santería?

Published : 2018-05-04 16:49:15
Categories : Yoruba Religion

The hand of Orula is one of the most important initiatory rituals of the Cuban Santería and Regla de Ocha. It is a ritual characteristic of the Yoruba philosophy of cleaning up all kinds of bad energies. Through this ceremony, the initiate can know his destiny, know his Orisha Tutelary (Guardian Angel), and also receive a quintet of very strong spiritual protections.

Do not think that Ifá is like the rest of the religions in terms of the fishing of parishioners and converts, Ifá is not preached. The center of Ifá is the reincarnates of the original followers of Orunmila and their Odus and Omoluwos, who came from heaven. Not everyone can become a follower of Orunmila unless they are specifically chosen. Orunmila does not seek to convince someone to belong to Ifá. In fact, many people come to him when they have difficult problems, and it often seems that such problems seem insurmountable. If a person is lucky, he will have a means of knowing that he is destined to be a follower of Orunmila. Once a person is chosen as a follower, he must make an effort to follow him fervently, because the part-time follower is looking for many problems, which are not necessarily caused by Orunmila, because the service without enthusiasm will not put him in a position to grasp the problems of his followers effectively.
Starting from the fact that the mission in the life of a Babaláwo (Priest of Ifá, Babalao, Olowo, Olúo, fortuneteller par excellence within the Yoruba philosophy) is to interpret destiny for others, and among many other things, it must make it affordable to the conditions of the person consulted. Many times, you do not hear what you want to hear, you hear what we can repair, what we have to modify and prosper in the short/medium term.

The Awoifakan Ceremony is one of the most basic in the Yoruba world, it allows the person to know through a "caricature" the essential features of their destiny, and gives the guidelines to repair it gradually. The example of the caricature is not arbitrary, a humorous portrait of a person exaggerates certain details of the person, and others the obvious, our work is: knowing that caricature, color, energy and repair it.
In Cuba, in some families faithful to the traditions of the Yoruba Diaspora, they distinguish the hand of Orula given for men (Awofaka) and for women (Ikofa).

The ceremony is commonly called Mano de Orula since it symbolically receives a hand from Orula, the left. Since Orula is right-handed, this hand does not serve to guess, but only serves for personal health and well-being. One of the greatest benefits of the ceremony of receiving warriors and hand of Orula is that it is the first that has an Itá (conversation of the deities). An Itá is a part of the ceremony where Orula speaks and specifies her sign (path/destiny in life). This destiny should not be understood as fatalistic since Orula tells the interested party what to avoid and look for in his life, the things he must do and not do in order to live a better life.

Before receiving Orula's hand, divination must be done to know the type of Elegba that corresponds to each person. Orula's hand ceremony makes it possible to know his destiny, to know his Orisha Tutelary (Guardian Angel), and also to receive a quintet of very strong spiritual protections.

Elegba: Primal deity, represents the guardian of the energetic doors, is the messenger of the Gods, allows the opening of spiritual paths for the person, has managed to penetrate incredibly the creative work of God, its effects if not propitiated properly are usually unfavorable In Cuba they tend to syncretize it with San Antonio de Padua and with the child of Atocha.

Oggun: God of metals, God of work, God of War. It provides the energy/force necessary for subsistence. Represents the tireless worker.

Oshosi: God of hunting, god of justice, represents skill, intelligence, residing within the same vessel of Oggun, usually represent the necessary union between the human class to obtain spiritual strength.

Osun: Staff of the Warrior Orishas, represents the spiritual stability, loaded with esoteric symbolism, the staff of life. Represents perseverance and temperance against the adversities of life.

Orula: Deity of divination, owner of space/time, witness of creation. Protector of the person before the unexpected death or before time. The wise diviner. It represents the wisdom of old age, it is the maximum exponent of the precepts of Ifá.
Its main mission is to generate well in the greatest number of human beings through Ifá and its councils. It is believed that Orula was when each one of us chose his destiny in the earth before being born, for that reason he knows our present, past and future.

Apetebí de Orula is all that woman who comes to receive Orula's hand, when Orula became ill only they took care of it and cured him, for this reason, I designate them as the only ones authorized to attend him and place his attributes and offerings.

It is important to mention that none of these deities is to harm or profit profitably to whoever owns them, only through Ifá we will have a guide and we will know how to reach our goals.

The delivery ceremony of Orula's hand lasts three days.

First Day at the hands of Orula:


  • Offerings to the ancestors
  • Preparation of the Osan-yin omiero (a mixture of herbs prepared by the Babaláwos present) that enables the spiritual cleansing of the implements/tools of the orishas that are received.
  • Sacrifice to the Warrior Orishas (Elegba, Oggun, Oshosi, and Osun)
  • Sacrifice to Orunmila


Second Day at the hands of Orula (commonly known as middle day):

Regulatory rest day, only used to clean the deities and in some religious houses, it is used to feed the individual deity of the people (Orí) by means of a head praying.
There are neophytes who downplay this day because they do not perform any specific religious activity. However, it is a day of great influence because Orunmila was born to them the day before and is observing "for the first time" her children who must take into account aspects such as: during this day, not visiting hospitals or sick people, not attending the wakes, not to drink alcoholic beverages, not to have sexual relations, not to incite nor to participate in quarrels or fights, and to avoid in everything possible that which alters the character of negative form. It is a day of reflection and spiritual recollection.


Third Day of the ceremony to receive Orula's hand:


Divination Day, the day of Itá.


  • Offerings to the ancestors and the stars (ñangareo)
  • Basic divination for the warrior Orishas
  • Basic divination for Orunmila
  • Divination using the inquins (sacred seeds of Orunmila) for each person who receives the Awoifakan (The sign of the regent, witness signs, prophecy, works to be performed, is determined analogously to a query, but the process is usually much longer and special). The Tutelary Orisha of the person we know as the guardian angel is finally known.
  • At the end of each individual Itá, or during the same, we proceed to the basic astral cleaning in the Ifá board.


After the Day of Itá, the Babaláwos meet to formally deliver the orishas to the initiate in the Yoruba religion.

read more about what is ifa 

Share this content

Add a comment

 (with http://)