While many of the orishas are seen as being the most popular in Santeria, Changó is one that stands out as he is the one of powerful energy, drumming, dancing, thunder, and fire. He is the strong male leader who seeks to oversee the Earth and its inhabitants. At one point, Changó was a king on Earth, but he was not respected in that role. However, because he worked miracles after he died, he was granted leadership roles as an orisha. He sits at the top of a palm tree and wields a double ax.
You might recognize Changó as being the orisha who is surrounded by females, often drinking and dancing and having fun. Changó is the one who can conjure fire by creating it in his mortar. Once created, he can spit the fire. For many, Changó is the one who reminds people to live their life to the fullest, to find ways to enjoy all that the world has to offer. In addition, his leadership experience teaches others to lead with grace and diplomacy.
Though Changó once had a wife, he quickly cast her aside in favor of his bachelor ways. He even had affairs with Oshun and Oya and took the virginity of the daughter of Oduduwa because he saw it as a challenge. Changó was the father of many children, though some were the product of rape, according to stories. While this might paint Changó to be a horrible being, he was able to learn from his mistakes and he grew into a venerable leader who was able to become a protective father to his children.
How to honor Changó
While other orishas have different Caminos, or paths, that a follower can walk, Changó does not have any of these. He is an orisha who is singular and on his own, so when you follow him, you follow only him, in all of his powers and qualities.
The colors of Changó are red and white, and he carries weapons (double/single-headed ax), as well as thunderstones. Not surprisingly, Changó is an orisha who will accept nearly every offering, as he has a big appetite and loves hearty things. He is said to like mangos, rams, roosters, bananas, cornmeal porridge, and dry white wine.
You might also want to create an altar to him and sit by it to tap into the energy that Changó brings to the world. Think about how you wield power and how you might be perceived by those who follow you. Are there ways in which you could be more diplomatic? Are there people you have hurt along the way to your leadership?
Working with Changó
That said, Changó is also an inspiration for finding ways to tap into energy. You might want to get out a drum and try to figure out how to use it to increase the energy of a room or a ritual. It is also a good idea to move your body when you are working with Changó, showing him that you, too, can feel all there is to feel about the world and its wonder.
Though the story of Changó might be one that is filled with things that are looked down upon today, he is also a story of change. He is the example of how you can use your energy for good or for bad, and then you can take time to learn from your mistakes.
If you are a person who might have a similar story to Changó, he might be the orisha to call to, as he already knows what to do – and, like a father, will guide you through your life.
SYMBOLS, NUMBERS, COLORS, AND ATTRIBUTES
Colors: Red, white, gold
Consecrated day: Friday (or Thursday in the traditional Yoruba branch)
Feast Day: December 4th
Number: 6 and 12
Sacred Places: Royal palm tree
Areas of Influence: Life, justice, virility, magic, the element of fire, lightning and thunder, drumming
Temperament: bombastic, outspoken, assertive, charming
Saint: St. Barbara
Symbols: Sword, thunderstones, lightning bolts, double-headed ax
Offerings: Changó likes food and has a good appetite. He likes hot and spicy food, alcohol, chili peppers, tamales, cornbread, okra, and tobacco.