One of the most fundamental and frequently needed spiritual services that the Santeria Church of the Orishas offers is spiritual cleansing. Spiritual cleansing helps clear away any negativity, energetic disturbances, osogbos or dark spirits that a person may have picked up in their daily lives. Often, spiritual cleansing is prescribed in a diloggún reading as ebó, in a misa espiritual (spiritual mass) or as part of regular spiritual hygiene.
In Santeria (Lucumí/Lukumi), spiritual cleansing takes several forms including egg cleansing, spiritual baths, sarayeye (a ceremonial cleansing with bundles of herbs or by passing a feathered animal over the person’s body), and many other techniques.
Cleansing of the body and spirit with eggs is an ancient practice found in many cultures. Within Santeria (Lucumi/Lukumi) eggs are commonly used to cleanse a person’s eyes to help take away eye troubles, improve clarity of sight and to remove the evil eye from a person. Eggs are passed over the pertinent body part, then cracked in front of an orisha’s shrine so that orisha can take the evil away from that person. Occasionally, eggs are passed over the entire body with prayers, and then cracked inside a glass and read for signs indicating the nature of the malady. Other techniques for egg cleansing break the egg in the street so that Eshu can disperse the energy and take it away. It is also interesting to note that eggs are present in any ebó até (Ebó de Estera/Ebbó of the mat) done after an itá (life reading). There is a strong connection between hen eggs and the odu Irosun (4) in the diloggún divination system.
Spiritual baths are a simple and easy way to cleanse your entire body, to calm the emotions, clear away chaotic energy and help develop the psychic abilities. Spiritual baths are often made using water, perfumes, herbs or flowers and occasionally river water or holy water. The inclusion of holy water is indicative of the syncretic practices of Catholicism found in some aspects of Santeria. Typically spiritual baths are prescribed for a person through prophetic declaration in a misa espiritual (spiritual mass), but they can be prescribed through divination or even used as a person is inspired to take them. At the Santeria Church of the Orishas, we can help you as part of our services by either giving you a bath recipe, or preparing baths for you by the gallon for you to take home and use.
Sarayeye is a ritual function within Santeria (Lucumí/Lukumi) marked in ebó or performed when blood sacrifice is being offered to the orishas or egun. Sarayeye involves the passing of certain items over a person’s body or through a building, along with ritual songs and prayers. The item can be a bundle of fresh herbs or a live feathered animal (like a pigeon or a rooster). The herbs (or the animal) pick up the negative energies and osogbo that person has leaving them spiritually clean. If a bundle of herbs is used, it is typically broken in half and placed before an orisha’s shrine so that the orisha will take the negativity away from the person. If an animal is used, sometimes the animal is released to the environment (typically this is done with pigeons or doves) scattering the osogbo into the wild. Occasionally the animal is sacrificed to one of the orishas in which case the orisha takes the osogbo off of the person and accepts the sacrifice of the animal as a scapegoat for the person who was being threatened by the negative forces in the world. If an animal is used for sarayeye, its meat is not consumed afterward. Eating the animal would result in consuming the negativity that was cleansed off of that person or space.