Updated on September 19, 2022, as elders, babalawos, priests, spiritual scientists, and historians have weighed in and corrected some misconceptions.
If you are a “non African” but you are having Orisha dreams, it can be a bit scary, especially if you have no knowledge of traditional African faith. You may think you’re being approached by demons, or be told this by someone ignorant who means well but has politicized religion.
First of all, you should understand that Vodun is not witchcraft, though some may unknowingly attempt to use it for that. Vodun is a belief system, and practitioners whether in Africa or the diaspora, worship the Almighty Unfathomable that Christians, and Muslims aspire to, but have forgotten how. Like Hindus or Buddhists, we “see” It in a different way than abrahamic faiths that came after Judaism, and therefore do not tie our “salvation” to any human or personified prophet, avatar, example, or demigod.
It may help you to understand that the Orishas are somewhat like Angels. They were, in fact, the original Angels from before Abraham (or the origin of his legend) was a twinkle in his great great great great (going back 10,000+ years) grandmother’s eye. Not to be confusing, Orishas are not all exactly Angels, but they, the planets, constellations, and other cosmic phenomena are where the idea of them came from. Whether you should view the experience as positive or negative depends on why you’re being approached. It could be that you are being taken under their special care, or that they have a message for you, or that you have done or are doing something that has wronged them or something they are in charge of, as assigned by Olodumare.
For the answer to this, you should trust your own soul. It may be helpful to you however, to speak to an experienced male or masculine leaning intersex Vodun practitioner who is a child of Elegua or another African gatekeeper deity, or priest on the matter though. The reason you would want to go to someone amab or born with masculine leaning physicality is because, whether some like it or not, men/masculine people have a better instinctive connection to Elegua, the gatekeeper. A woman or someone afab (assigned female at birth) *can* do this for you, but if you want the best, you have to go to the best. If the only one within your resources to get to is afab, then this is fine. Just don’t be surprised if they/he seeks amab assistance or refers you to someone amab or intersex and living as a man. It’s not a matter of quality, but alignment, as this is one of those cases that the biology shapes the psychology.
When you go to the priest or elder child of Elegua, they will most likely recognize you and which Orisha you have the most connection to right away. They should recommend an Ifa, Afa, or other traditional African divination to confirm this. Tell them about your dream, and they will interpret it for you, and if needed do readings to confirm that as well. You may be given tasks at that point, as most traditional methods will tell you both what is going on and what ebbo or offerings should be done to solidify a blessing or prevent misfortunes as much as possible.
It’s good news if the Orisha is calling you home to them. It does not matter at all if you are not Black. We are all descended from people from Africa, and even some European pre Christian faiths are not too far from the Motherland. If you have been called, you will be given instructions on how to be initiated to the Orisha. You will not have to convert away from your current faith. It just means that you have been given a gift to walk the path of a particular Angel, Saint, or Orisha. It is similar to the experience of some girls who are called to become nuns.
Most people don’t need to be initiated though. When someone is called to a purpose, that purpose is not always to become an adherent of African spirituality. Sometimes it is to right a wrong that your ancestors committed that you are currently suffering or benefiting from at someone else’s expense. It may mean that you have reached a point in your spiritual journey that you are ready to level up, and reparations may be the next step for you.
Fairly Common Orisha Dreams
If your Orisha called himself Obatala or Olorun, or called himself God, but has an actual humanoid look, and you felt nothing but absolutely loved in the dream, then spiritually, that entity is the same as Jesus Christ. You may have been touched by him specially so that you could de-politicize or de-Santa Claus other Christians or perhaps remind Pagans that Jesus himself is not their enemy. This actually happens a lot. Many are sorely traumatized by the wrong actions and craziness of Christians and Muslims, and reject Jesus and any lesser deity that reminds them of Jesus. Where Vodun practitioners honor all avatars of the Supreme God including Jesus, many others do not, and this is a shame. Man needs the idea of something that is greater than himself in order to improve himself.
Some martial artists get the call from Shango. Once they’ve reached a certain level, it happens that some have a dream of fighting with him. If one wins against Shango in the dream it means that they have gained a degree of self mastery that they should take the next step and actually become a warrior, not just a martial artist, in real life. Somehow, they should take a position or post that will require they be ready to physically defend something.
If you dream of being a storm sweeping away trees and whatever is in your path, this is Oya. Oya seldom actually shows her face, so the dream is usually that you are the storm or you are the only thing standing through a storm. Some strong women have this dream. If you are carrying a child or being followed by children in the dream, and they are not crying, then it means you should have children.
Oshun often reveals herself as a peacock, a woman in a flowing yellow dress, a young but stunning girl in a white dress with white shell beads in her hair, or a nude woman covered in honey. If you are a man who works with metals or technology, and you see the nude woman covered in honey, it means you are working too hard or you have lost sight of what is important in life, and are being called like Ogun out of the forest.
Volcano dreams and dreams of being in a hot, barren wasteland where a very dark man takes your hand and tells you to follow him are Aganju dreams. You need to travel and change your scenery, or you should not fear the unknown.
Other fairly common Orisha dreams are:
- Dreams of a Black Jesus – an obviously very African man with white wooly hair who doesn’t necessarily say he’s Jesus, but you recognize him as such because it is the same Spirit.
- Dreams of a Black or golden skinned Mary wearing a blue dress and a white or blue head scarf.
- Dreams of an extremely pale but very strong looking man whose skin shines and his eyes are even white, with white hair, a white beard, wearing a long white robe.
- Dreams of dancing with the sun and moon, and perhaps when you look down because your “feet” feel funny, you notice you have a fish tail or two fish tails instead of feet.
- Dreams of a Siamese twin mermaid with a male and a female torso and heads.
- Dreams of a red and black humanoid with a seahorse tail.
- Dreams of departed relatives having a formal dinner with a strange man in a black suit and a top hat with purple accents.
- Somewhat erotic dreams about a man or woman wearing red and black.
- Dreams of being spanked with a red and black belt or stick that happen at a time when you are doing something you know is wrong.
- Dreams of a woman in a long pink dress or robe crying that happen at a time you are thinking of being unfaithful.
The Orishas speak to everyone. They don’t have a particular religious denomination or race. They may appear to you as African looking people or as pale Europeans. If you look at the art about them, they are represented in many colors. So don’t freak out, just take the message.
There are many White people in Vodun. We just like to think of them as light skinned. 😉