In addition to the aforementioned readings, I’m also following a few “witchcraft/pagan/etc.” blogs. A few I’m reading are from people who have patrons from a variety of different pantheons, including Orishas from Santeria.
I think Santeria is really fascinating, and I like what I (think I) understand about the Orishas as manifestations of Olodumare (God). I like the mutual relationship that seems to exist between Orishas and human beings (they exist because they are worshipped, which technically could be argued for all gods, I suppose).
Anyway, in some of the blogs, there are people who are very definitely NOT the descendants of the Caribbean slaves brought over and quasi-converted by the Spanish (how Santeria developed). The dilemma I have is that, even though I am also not in any way related/descended/exposed in real life to this religion, if I decided to practice elements of Santeria or honor Orishas, would it be seen as valid? If, in fact, they are just various facets of one god or, as I see it, the underlying, mysterious life force (if you will), does it matter that in the past my family was not tied to them? Would honoring an Orisha be the same (in the general idea of honoring one facet of the big life power) as honoring a deity from a pantheon from the geographic area from whence my ancestors came? If I feel more ‘connected’ and ‘attracted’ to the idea of Orishas, if that’s what resonates with me, is it better to honor them and risk that I’m “doing it wrong,” so to speak, or do I need to stick with what should, traditionally, be “mine?”
Most importantly, should I even be worrying about whether my beliefs would be seen as valid? Valid to who? Valid to me, of course, but if it’s what I feel then it is valid, isn’t it? After all, no matter what I do, Haters Gonna Hate.
My biggest obstacle to faith has been (and continues to be) my need to be right and for others to recognize that I am right. However, I recognize this characteristic and am working on taking a deep breath, letting go, and accepting that I might not know (or even need to know) everything, that everyone makes mistakes, and that’s OK.