Are the Orishas or Vodun the same as Angels?

Not really.  Some Spirits that some have called Angels may be Orishas, but they are not really the same thing.  In the west African Vodun Obatala is the king of the Orishas, and the Emissary of the Supreme God (Olorun).  They have many attendants.  In Jewish and Christian faith, these attendants are called Angels.

The Orishas embody various forces of Nature, while Angels are beings sent to do specific jobs as individuals.  Though they may have specific duties, they do not actually live in or as forces of Nature such as Earth or Fire.

For example, one called Gabriel may deliver messages from Olorun, but he is not the Voice of Olorun.  That is Orunmila.

In diaspora systems when people had to hide their African faith, they often used Angels and Saints to represent Orishas.  So confusion in this is understandable.  In fact, some Angels may be very happy to represent Orishas and dutifully carry prayers and thanks to protect the lives of slaves and others living under religiously oppressive regimes.  So as I said in the Hoodoo Orisha article, don’t be quick to change everything you do that is working for you just because your information is updated.  Just make a note of it.  If you find that something may be more effective without the Angel or Saint middleman, then fix that.  Otherwise, “if it ain’t broke…”

K. Sis. Nicole T.N. Lasher

Webmatron of

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