Book Title: Teachings of the Santería Gods: The Spirit of the Odu
Author: Ocha' Ni Lele
Publisher: Inner Traditions
Reviewer: Vonnie Faroqui
Ocha'ni Lele's Teachings of the Santeria Gods is an essential addition to the spiritual library of anyone who is pursuing a study of or with interests in the practices of orisha worship and Santeria. With this work the author begins what will be a life-long pursuit to preserve and pass on the living and sacred stories or patakis of the Santeria and Lukemi. The volume includes more than 100 stories and histories about the odu and the orishas; breathing life into what was becoming a disappearing oral tradition.
With great skill and care Ocha'ni Lele, begins by giving an insightful introduction to the dilloggun, the sacred system of divination practiced by the Santeria. He goes on to share the patakis, whose themes are as relevant today as they were in the past, more so in the modern age of technology as people move farther away from authentic spiritual communion. For each odu or pattern in the diloggun, the author has written a chapter explaining the major theme or teaching of the odu and shares several illustrative patakis. In this way the knowledge revealed is more easily understood, remembered and applied. Ocha'ni Lele's writing is both timeless and inspiring. The formatting of the book makes for easy reading. The presentation of each story's thread is deeply satisfying as well, providing food for a growing understanding in the wisdom teachings and the diloggun.
I found more insight and information regarding the practices and teachings of the Santeria through this one book than I have found in all the previous years of searching, and I am deeply gratified to the author for his work. I especially enjoyed the stories of Okana, whose journey through the tales serves as a powerful lesson for many practitioners and energy workers of both the right and left paths. `Obatala Eats Heads' and the patakis for odu Osa are among my favorites.
Himself a Priest of the religion and child of Oya, Ocha'ni Lele opens the door of understanding and leads the reader in to the mysteries, delivering the telling of the tales with a love and enjoyment that shines through. A skilled writer with personal experience and passion for the work, Ocha'ni Lele's treatment of the stories is not simply academic, but flows from the heart and in so doing reveals more than scholarly acumen.
Those who have a deeper interest and motivation to discover the stories and the truths held within will be especially gratified as Ocha'ni Lele imbues new life and vigor into the telling of these traditional patakis. This inspired work has become a treasured volume in my personal collection.