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Tarot of the Orishas

 The *'Tarot of the Orishas' is what I like to call a 'spiritually-enhanced' tarot deck; this is because the Major Arcana of the deck include Orishas cards. Orishas are known as
the emissaries of God. The Orishas origin are as ancient as time primordial--stemming from the Yoruba culture of Mother
The following Orisha are represented in the Major Arcana of the 'Tarot of the Orishas.' Please note that the following are my
brief descriptions of the Orisha depicted in this deck, based on my knowledge of the Orisha at this time. 

Eleggua--He is the Orisha who 'opens and/or closes all doors and is always honored first. Eleggua owns the crossroads and
therefore is over making decisions. He has many different 'paths' and is syncrenized in Catholicism with St. Anthony, St. Jude,
St. Nino de Atocha, the Infant of Prague, or the Lonely Spirit, depending on the particular 'path' of Eleggua. Eleggua is one of
the 'Warrior' Orisha with Oggun and Ochosi. His colors are red and black, or black and white. 

Eshu--Eshu is another aspect of Eleggua in which Olofi/God endowed Eleggua with a 'dark' side so He could fight against evil.
Eshu is known as the playful trickster and to 'tempt' Eshu, is to tempt fate itself. 

Obatala--He is known as the 'King of the White Cloth', the incarnation of God on Earth who carries out the divine will. Obatala
rules over peace, intellect, and calmness. He resides in the mountains. In Catholicism, Obatala is syncrenized with Jesus of
Nazareth, Our Lady of Mercy, St. Joseph, and the Sacred Heart, depending on the particular path of Obatala. His color is the
purest white. 

Chango--Chango is the Orisha who owns the thunder, fire and lightening. He is the King of justice, a proud warrior/protector
and is syncrenized with St. Barbara, or St. Michael the Archangel. Chango loves to dance and have a good time as he is over
the drum and dance--He is also quite popular among the female Orisha--namely Oya and Ochun. His colors are red and white.

Yemanja--She is the good, nurturing Mother of All--Star of the Sea--Queen of the Oceans. Yemanja is syncrenized with the
Blessed Virgin Mary under the titles: Our Lady of Regla, and Our Lady of Lourdes (the Lady in blue and white). Yemanja's
colors are white and blue. 

Ochun--She is the sister-orisha of Yemanja. Ochun owns the rivers, lakes and streams; as a loving sister, She always travels to
meet Yemanja who refuses Her younger sister nothing. Ochun rules over love, beauty, marriage, and money (gold)--the many
things that make life worth living! Her special color (which She alone has) is yellow. Our Lady de Caridad de Cuba is the title
by which Ochun is known in syncrenization. 

Ochumare--The Orisha of the Rainbow. Yemanja wears Ochumare as a crown in one of Her seven aspects. 

Oya--Oya is the Orisha of the Winds and Lightening--She brings changes of all kinds, thus one of her domains is the transition
into the cemetery and is involved in reincarnation. I fondly call Oya the 'Warrior Princess' of the female Orishas because She
fights in battles with Chango and on her own also. Oya is syncrenized with St. Theresita (the Little Flower) or Our Lady of
Candlemas. Her favorite color is deep wine, and she loves flowery prints. 

Oba--She is the acknowledged wife of Chango who was forsaken for (depending on legend) Oya or Ochun. Oba lives in the
cemetery and was given ownership over the sciences. She also is representative of an excellent housekeeper--a real
'home-loving' Orisha. Oba's color is pink. 

Oggun--He is one of the 'warrior' Orisha. Oggun lives in the forest, and is a blacksmith. The domain of Oggun is work and
tools of labor made of iron. Oggun is always working and maintains ownership of the heart, as it is the muscle/organ which
never rests. He is a fierce warrior who clears the paths after Eleggua has opened the doors. Oggun has a huge, unrequited love
for Ochun--for it is Ochun who brought him out of the forest when he had exiled himself from humans. His colors are green and
black and he is syncrenized with St. Peter or St. George.(Ochosi is also a 'warrior' who always works with Oggun as Warriors.
His domain is deepest forest--thus remaining unseen. Ochosi moves quickly and can go from place to place in an instant. He
fights with a bow, and is concerned with legal matters.) NOTE--Ochosi is not represented with a card in the Tarot of the
Orishas. This is probably because he always comes up with Oggun--but remains unseen. 

Babaluaye--He is the close friend of Eleggua and rules over sicknesses and infirmities. Babaluaye is also the Orisha who heals
the sick and looks after the poor and marginalized. In Catholicism, Babaluaye is syncrenized with St. Lazarus and St. Roch and
his special color is royal purple. 
The four suits of Minor Arcana in the Tarot of the Orishas correspond to the Four Elements--Earth, Fire, Air and Water--as
La Regla Lucumi--the Religion of the Orishas is known as an 'earth' religion. 

Suits of Traditional Tarot

     Pentacles or Coins 
     Rods, Staves, or Wands 

Suits of Tarot of the Orishas


The Earth suit deals with the material world, money and possessions. The Fire suit deals with communications, matters of
competition and worldly success. The Air suit deals with mental issues--it's a very emotional suit and traditionally shows pain in
relationships. The Water suit are the 'love' cards of the minor arcana--this suit is always a welcome sight in tarot spreads! 

*Tarot of the Orishas*1994 by Zolrak. Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. P.O. Box 64383, St. Paul MN 55164
All rights reserved

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