Babalu Aye - Asojuano (San Lazaro)
This Orisha It is known by different names: Samponá, Sakpatá, Azojuano, Azojano, Aso, Babalú Aye, Oluwo Popo, or simply Saint Lazarus. This is the Deity of infectious diseases, venereal diseases and other pests, as well as misery. Feared by some and adored by others, he is the deity we pray to to achieve and maintain our health.
Who is Babalu Aye?
The cult of this Orisha comes from the Dahomey (Benin) in Nigeria, where it is known as: Asojuano, being recognized as King of the Nupe land, in Tapa. It also has wide adoration among the members of the Arará land. The name of Babàlú Aíyé according to the translation of the Yoruba word means "father of the world."
In the land Aará this Deity is recognized as the son of: Kehsson and Nyohwe Ananou. In Yoruba land and for the practitioners of the Osha Lucumí rule, he is recognized as the son of Naná Burukú, brother of Oshumare and Iroko. It is also said that he was raised by Yemaya.
What does Azojuano symbolize?
He is a senior Orisha who is highly revered. It is attributed the power over contagious diseases such as: smallpox, leprosy, sexually transmitted, and all skin conditions.
Its energy in the same way, is related to travel to distant places, foreign lands, philosophical thoughts, laws, religion, high positions within religious institutions, prophecies, the power of miracles, the abstract mind. , adventurous experiences, trade and negotiations with other lands, navigation, life in the open air, physical movements and exercises, speed, gambling, wisdom, scholars and independence.
Its physical messengers include mosquitoes, flies and all disease-transmitting insects, as well as the wind.
What is Babalú Aye like?
Saint Lazarus or Babalu Aye is usually represented by an older man full of sores, with a stooped body motivated by the presence of multiple diseases in his body. However, in other vicissitudes of his history he becomes a great King, who enjoys all the benefits that his position entails and is in good health.
The sickness-health or misery-wealth ambiguity present in this Deity gives him the ability to understand perfectly what it feels like to have everything and to have nothing, causing the help given to his devotees to be much more effective thanks to his wisdom. It is also synonymous with an unshakable faith that does not break even in the worst moments, as well as, the redemption of human errors.
The number of San Lazaro
The number of Saint Lazarus (Babalu Aye) is 17, this is related to their syncretism.
Babalu Aye Day
Babalu Aye Day or its allegorical celebration is usually commemorated on December 17, because it coincides with the celebration of the Catholic saint Lazarus.
Tools of Saint Lazarus
Among his tools or instruments of power he carries:
- Two iron dogs.
- An Osún with a dog on top.
- Two crutches.
- A rattle.
- The já (bundle of corojo or coconut palm twigs with a sackcloth handle, adorned with snails and beads).
He is always accompanied by Eshu Afrá.
Babalu Aye receptacle or tureen
It is a casserole of mud covered with another inverted which may or may not be sealed. The upper part usually has one or more holes where guinea fowl feathers that have been slaughtered are inserted. It is covered with sackcloth.
The Asojuano costume
Their costumes can be used for the coronation or consecration ceremonies of Kariosha of their children; by the riders or saint horses of this Orisha; and by the initiates who receive their foundation during their consecration. The suit of Babalu Aye ,it is usually made with sackcloth and purple cloth, adorned with many cowrie snails.
Dance of San Lázaro (Azojano)
The dance of Babalú Aye when he gets up on one of his saint's horses during the trance, he initially reveals the characteristics of an elderly and sick man, with a crooked body and hands. It is difficult for him to walk, he tends to fall showing weakness in his body. He emits slightly unpleasant odors, foams at the mouth and his voice is usually faint. However, as the summoning chants change, it can be vigorously incorporated by shaking the Yes, in the air, using it to cleanse those present and sweep away all the bad.
Babalu Aye story
It happened that Shango, walking on the outskirts of the town of Osa Yeku, after going through a garbage dump, came across a very ill and ragged old man who could hardly speak. He told his assistant Aira to give him food and water, recognizing later that it was his brother Asojuano. He immediately told him to wait for him in that place that he would lead him to a town where his whole situation would improve.
Shango transferred his troops to the town of Obakoso and taking that town went to pick up Babalu Aye, He led him to the entrance of a gorge, and told him to drink water and eat that leaving that place he would find a coat of tiger skin that he had to put on and continue on his way. Then, he would find a child who would give him water to continue and some herbs to cure his illnesses, that boy was Elegua.
Elegua told him to collect: Cundiamor, zazafrá, red mangrove and blood grass. Shango, who had previously departed, moved to Aará announcing to everyone in the land of the Anai, who at that time were very disorderly and confused by the death of their king, that their new king would arrive along the path of the gorge with a cloak of tiger, who would cure all their ills and organize a new government. That town called Aará, whose capital was Dahomey, was known to be plagued by many diseases.
Due to the great respect that Shango had in that place, the villagers upon hearing that rushed to the indicated place, waiting for the arrival of their new king. When Azojuano approached the entrance of the town, being very tired, he leaned against a tree, seeing in the distance a large number of people gathered around Shango, who upon noticing the arrival of his brother released a lightning bolt, which fell into the top of the tree. tree where he was without causing any harm to Azojuano, falling at his feet the rods with which his power tool known as Ja would be made from now on.
Moments before that lightning struck, Babalu Aye He looked at Shango and thought he was doing all this in vain because he did not know the healing power that was in him and what would happen next. When the lightning struck his body began to tremble and it was then that the healing entity that would help him fulfill everything prophesied by Shango was established.
Thanks to the herbs that Elegua Shango's intervention had already pointed out to him the healing power of Asojuano was known throughout the place, being carried by the people to the throne and crowned as King of the Dahomey land.
Shango, seeing his goal achieved, said goodbye to his brother who ate a ram that was his favorite meat, then, Babalu Aye told him: “My gratitude to you is incalculable, as long as the world is the world I will respect the ram because I give it to you ”. At that time, Shango was eating a goat, then he replied: "As long as the world is the world, I will respect the goat and I grant it to you, my brother" to iban eshu.
What are the children of San Lazaro (Azojuano) like?
The sons of Saint Lazarus are cheerful, lively, friendly, optimistic, risky, educated, love freedom, restless, idealistic, empathetic, equitable, flexible, transcendental, passionate, instinctive, honest and good fortune-tellers.
When they are badly aspected they are usually dramatic, extreme, indolent, irresponsible, conceited, gambling, talkative, reckless, of doubtful morality, risk-loving, short-tempered, selfish, arrogant, envious, detached, and careless.
How is Saint Lazarus consecrated or received in Santeria?
The ceremony to receive Babalu Aye is loaded with great complexity in any of the branches or cases in which it is delivered. If it turns out to be the tutelary Orisha or guardian angel of the initiate, he has two options for his consecration. It can be consecrated directly, that is, to settle San Lazaro by going to practitioners from the Aará branch, who have the knowledge of the appropriate ceremonial to perform such a ceremony.
Now, if the initiate is a practitioner of the Rule of Osha or Lucumí, he can settle Kariosha according to his customs, which involve crowning Saint Lazarus Yemaya with gold.
The iworos or aleyos in general can receive the foundation of Saint Lazarus by the Lucumí rule without the need for this to be their guardian angel. The only condition that exists to perform the ritual is to have previously received the foundation of Shango that is essential during the performance of the delivery ceremony.
If it's going to consecrate in Kariosha the son of Babalu Aye Its ceremonial lasts 7 days as is customary, considering that before that period a variety of previous ceremonies are performed, in order to prepare the conditions for the realization of its consecration.
In the case of the iworos or aleyos that Saint Lazarus receives as a foundation, their ceremonial lasts three days. The first day the consecration takes place, which is usually at night. The second day is taken as the middle or rest day. The third day the ita imale is performed where the Orisha's advice will be obtained.
In the rule Plow the receptacle or tureen of Babalu Aye It has a lid that is sealed with cement, painted in blue, red, white and purple colors, around the upper hole it is decorated with cowries. In Lucumí practices, its receptacle can be uncovered since its lid is removable.
Saint Lazarus of Ifa Who is Oluo Popo?
The Odun Ogbe Yono recounts the moment in which Babalú Ayé is made Ifa. From that moment on he was called «Oluwo Popo». That is why the foundation of San Lázaro that refers to this path of his life is delivered by the Awoses or Orumila. It can also be received by aleyos, iworos and babalawos in general.
Paths of Babalu Aye
Among the roads of Asojuano we can find these different avatars:
- Niyone Nanu: it is a feminine path. In Cuba it is known as Nanú, and is considered the mother of all Asojuanos. His necklace is matipo, black and jet, it represents the spirit of the ceiba tree because in Dahomey it is customary to feed this saint before Asojano eats. Nanu symbolizes the goddess of smallpox. His casserole is painted in half. Its ha is bent at the tip. She is Ajuero's daughter. She is also the mother of Eshu Agriyelu. It is syncretized as our Santa del Pilar. His favorite dish is the malvate and platanillo ochinchin.
- Bayanana: it is a feminine path. She is known in Cuba as Nana. She is a lady, a fortune teller, and a sorceress. She is the one who knows all the secrets and announces everything.
- Da Solli Ganwha: in Cuba it is said that he is the father of the Azojuanos, he lives leaning against the ceiba tree. Her necklace is matipó and jet black. He is given a cane, he is very quiet, he is identified as Saint Thomas Aquinas, he carries a two-edged iron ax.
- Kanepo: he is male, this is an envoy of the candle, he identifies with Saint Ilarion.
- Ajidenudo: he is male, he is a dwarf, he does evil, he is a goblin, he lives with Ozayin, he defends against witchcraft. He carries an Osain in his hands.
- Joto Sojura: It's masculine. It is the one that causes leg diseases. He is the ancestor of the gourds or güiras, he lives in two closed gourds.
- Dada Pompola: is a male Babalu Aye. He is a pastor. Protect the animals.
- Afrosan: It's masculine. It works with the air, it is syncretized with San Lorenzo. He puts handcuffs on him.
- Joto Roñu: It's masculine. It has two mouths.
- Suko: they also call him Yema Suko. Live in garbage.
- Efundo: It's masculine. He was the one who created the Asojuano necklaces. Her necklace is an Azo flag.
- Suzanne: It's masculine. It lives inside the cup of the wild cane. He is a friend of Oggún.
- Ogumo: It's masculine. He is a warrior, lives in the river, rides a horse, and wields a knife and machete.
- Kalinotoyi: It's masculine. The same lives in the sea as on land. It is compared to the manatee.
- Shakuana: it is syncretized with San Roque. This is said to be the true Babalú Aye.
- Jumewe: is feminine. She is a young lady. He lives in the lagoons with Toko, he has many riches. On his yarara he wears a gold chain. Her necklace is made of jet and pearls.
- Coughing: it is feminine. She is an old woman. It is said that as old as Nanú. She is the cook of the entire Asojuanos family.
- Kusue: It's masculine. He is the doorman of the cemetery. He is old, horrible and ghostly. It is syncretized with San Carlos.
- Tokuom: It's masculine. It is said that he is the one who takes away the spirit of his brother Agokun.
- Avinuden: It's masculine. This vodun represents the wind. He lives in the dark, he is syncretized with Saint Augustine.
- Yonko: It's masculine. He's lame, walks on one foot. It is fierce, it is syncretized with San Cipriano.
- Gause: It's masculine. He is the sentry, he never sleeps, neither day nor night, he uses a chain and a bell. It is syncretized with San Florencio.
- Yanu: It's masculine. It is represented by a parakeet. It is syncretized with San Ricardo.
- Amabo: It's masculine. It is the one that causes elephantiasis and chickenpox. It's the apothecary. It is syncretized with San Amarasto.
- Otobue: this is the one that weaves. He lives covered, he covers all his brothers with clothes. It is syncretized with San Juan Nepomuceno.
- Hountebe: It's masculine.
- Kujunu: It's masculine. He lives in caves and goes out at night with a lantern. It is syncretized with Saint Vincent.
- Laundo: It is a monster that was born without feet. He is from the Tohosu family. It is syncretized with Saint Bartholomew.
- Felu: It's masculine. This is the lamplighter. He is in charge of lighting the house of his brothers and their children. It is syncretized with San Felipe.
- Aberu shaban: It's masculine. This is the one that eats the intestines. He is the one who distributes the food of the Babalu Aye. It is syncretized with Saint John.
- Dap Rodo: It's masculine. This is the executioner. He is a warrior. It is syncretized with Saint Paul. He's the one who fires the Voducin.
- Shamafo: it is male, a horse-headed scepter is attached to it. It is syncretized with Saint Moses. In the secret he is given a little bird that is married.
- Dasano Molu: It's masculine. He lives in long-necked güira. It is syncretized with San Benigno. It is said to be a scorpion. Live on the roads. He wears a hat, he is from the Dasa land.
- Molu: It's masculine. It is syncretized with San Benito. He uses a bow and arrow that is lined with leopard skin because he is a hunter, he gets 9 snails.
- Ibako: this is Oluo Popo's witcher. He lives in the mountain buried at the foot of the araba.
Offerings and Adimuses for Babalu Aye
Some dishes that are prepared are: kuyomasa, this dish is also known in Cuba as cabalonga; Akutu (it is also a favorite dish of Elegua) the Arará prepare it with corn flour mixed with corojo oil; the goli, this cassava-based preparation is also known as casabe, and it can be offered in the same way to Nanu.
What Asojuano (San Lazaro) eats
The animals that are sacrificed to Babalu aye are: bearded goat, griffin and jabao rooster, pigeon, guinea pig and quail. When it is given goat or bohomenosi it is dressed in mariwo, white cloth and the jars of plum segments are adorned. It must be ridden by each of the participants doing 5 laps around the yarara. This is done as a reminder that Asojuano traveled from Shaki to Sabe riding on a goat given to him by Oshun.
How to attend the Orisha Azojuano?
In Santeria, San Lázaro can be served with meals that involve ministries and grains. He is offered very toasted, almost burnt bread and roasted corn on the cob. He likes: green water coconuts, garlic, red onion, dry wine, corojo oil; the fish and the hutía smoked in powder; the neck of beef; peanuts, sesame, millet, eggs; Fruits such as: figs, plums, mangoes, apples, bomb fruit, dates, tamarind, and cashew.
Herbs of Asojuano
Bitter broom, sage, platanillo de cuba, macaw, adracana, arseo plant, prodigious, myrrh, cotton, cundiamor, breaks saragüey, acacia, pumpkin, tamarind, cane brava, mangrove, jobo, ceiba, iroko, paradise, victor, white mallow , pomegranate, framboyan, bomb fruit, guava, mugwort, basil, scorpion, smelly herb, grilled sarsa, shirt break.
The herb known as "vicarious" is taboo for Babalu Aye, since according to Odun Ogunda meyi it represents leprosy.
On the other hand, the root of the indigo stick is a powerful Shakuana secret. In fact, it is called pox stick in its name.
History of Asojuano (San Lazaro)
Asojuano (San Lázaro) lived in the Yorubá Land but the people detested him for the pestilence of his sores and for fear of contagion he was exiled from that kingdom.
As he was on the way, he met his younger brother Shango, who greeted him and asked what was wrong with him. Babalu Aye told him what the people of his land had done to him and SHANGO told him: I just won a war and I have a place for you to reign. That place is the Tierra Aará, which is a small land, divided by a river from the Yorubá Land.
Asojuano accepted and they went there. When they arrived, Shango told the people: This man who is going to rule, love him very much! Shango, before leaving there, said to Azo: Those people who threw you out are going to need you. But, before you go, make yourself beg a lot.
Some time later, a great epidemic broke out in the Yorubá Land and many people were dying. Not knowing what to do, they were desperate. But in that, the Orisha of the Lightning passed and said to them: The only one who can save you is that leper man whom you cast out because of his bad heart, you must look for him.
The Yorubas searched for Azojuano in the Arara land
They immediately went to Aará Land and asked Babalu Aye to save them, but Babalu Aye refused. Then, they all knelt down and began to pat the ground, begging Asojuano and telling him that they would not get up from there until he forgiven them and went with them to save them.
After many pleading and supplication, he decided to go and cured all the sick.
Babalú Aye in the Catholic Religion
The Orisha Azojuano in the Catholic religion it is syncretized with Saint Lazarus. The similarity that the Yoruba brought to Cuba found between these two characters is very interesting. Lazarus is a biblical character who lived in a city called Bethany, located on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It is said that he hosted Jesus in his house at least 3 times. Its fame is due to the passage written according to the Gospel of John 11: 41-44, where it is related how he was revived by Jesus. This is the reason why it became synonymous with resurrection. Finally, he was martyred on December 17, the date on which his life is commemorated and the Afro-Cubans also adapted to carry out his celebration in the name of Babalú Aye.
Another story that draws attention to the life of Lazarus is the one known through the story located in the Gospel of Luke 16: 19-31 from: "the rich man and the poor Lazaro or the rich man and the beggar Lazaro." This parable tells the story of two men and the final destiny of each of them. In the case of poor Lazarus, his destiny is to reach the glory of heaven; on the other hand, the rich man is condemned to hell.
It is curious that this parable is the only one that contains a proper name "of poor Lazarus." These are the characteristics in order to strengthen the syncretism of these spiritualities. Lázaro, like Asojuano, was a leper man, with a condition of extreme poverty, whose agonies and experiences allowed him to become patron saints of diseases and leprosy.
In addition to this, common elements continue to appear in the iconography of Lazarus such as: the representation of dogs licking his sores, crutches, his fervent faith, devotion and willingness to serve others, but above all else his healing energy and healer.
What is asked of Babalu Aye?
Due to the healing energy and because it is a spirituality related to all kinds of diseases, Saint Lazarus is usually asked for his intervention in cases where he suffers from:
- Diseases such as leprosy, and all skin conditions.
- In cases of viral diseases such as smallpox, measles, among others.
- In cases of suffering from sexually transmitted diseases.
- When suffering from gastric problems and ulcers.
- You are asked for the health of people with stroke and paralysis problems.
- Babalu Aye it also intervenes in cases in which it is necessary to perform amputations.
- In addition to his intervention at the health level, he is an Orisha who is asked when he goes through adverse situations in which everything in life has been lost and it is not possible to prosper or evolve.
- His energy is also appropriate when you want to make long trips, you want to evolve on an intellectual level or reach positions of relevance.
Prayer to Babalu Aye
I praise the father of the crust of the earth, we call him by his respectable names. We pray that the spirit of the disease avoid my home. Terrible disease do not touch my house, if you reach me the earth will be a ruin.
I praise the father of the crust of the earthBabalu Aye), avoiding the great spirit of the disease, so that the damage does not reach me, so that my body is not ruined, so that my land is not ruined.
May the dreadful disease not land on our heads or on those who are responsible for our land. The dry leaf is extraordinarily balanced on the surface of the water, the wolf is outside, the shepherd had better gather his flock, let the blessing of the spirit of the earth protect us.
The scorpion has a curved tail. The serpent that sticks its fangs rejects the impertinent. The thorny bush is formidable. A hunter knows how to use raffia to cover his body, likewise, the spirit of the disease will not cover our bodies and our flesh will not be damaged, pain and evil will not lodge within us, neither today nor tomorrow because the great spirit of Asojuano protects us. Ashé.
Babalu Aye's Pataki
In this pataki or story, Azojano (Babalu Aye) had a skin disease, was full of rashes, embarrassed he left the house and as the days passed these sores were getting worse. When entering the mountain, the zamuros wanted to bite his sores and the flies attacked him.
To get rid of them, Babalu Aye took the Ha that his brother Suko had prepared for him and with it he scared the
insects and auras.
When he arrived at the different towns he was expelled from them, since the inhabitants repudiated him and accused him of spreading diseases in that land, one day he arrived in a town where the King was ShangoThey also wanted to expel him from there, but when the king saw him, he asked to be brought into his presence, Shango, seeing Babalu Aye, said: This is a missionary, who comes to take care of patients with chicken pox, measles, all diseases eruptions and infectious diseases.
San Lázaro became very famous in that land, that caused the jealousy of Shango who asked him to leave Oyo. This he did, but since he already had the foundation in a pot, due to lack of strength he could not carry it, he began to drag it with his forehead until he reached the Palace of Afafa in Dahomey (Arara Land) and established his kingdom.
I sing to Babalú aye
Akuón: bariba okedema.
Chorus: mole yansa a moleya.
Akuón: emi bake bake bake
Chorus: mole yansa a moleya.
Akuón: babba agadagodo omi oriso agadagodo omi oriso laye babba babalu aye omi oriso laye babba.
Chorus: agadagodo omi oriso agadagodo omi oriso laye. Babalu Aye omi oriso laye babba.
Akuón: babba ae babba soroso babba ae babba soroso babalu aye iya afomole babba sire sire.
Chorus: babba ae babba soroso babba ae babba soroso babalu aye iya afomole babba sire sire.
Akuón: sirere sirere moba.
Chorus: babba sire sire.
Akuón: sirere sirere moba.
Chorus: babba siresire.
Akuón: towue towuea aunfiña towue evenfiña towuea evenfiña towue.
Chorus: towue towuea aunfiña towue.
Akuón: evenfiña towuea evenfiña towue.
Chorus: towue towuea aunfiña towue.
Akuón: aso kara kara suñawuea, suñawuea suñawuea.
Chorus: aso kara kara suñawuea.
Akuón: suñawuea afrimaye suñawuea.
Chorus: aso kara kara suñawuea.
Akuón: aso arara, aso karanumi aso kara numi aso kara numi.
Chorus: aso karara, aso kara numi.
Akuón: aso karanumi aso karanumi.
Chorus: aso karara aso kara numi.
Akuón: majedan jedan maikueton, maijedan jedan maikueton, love ano masokuto maiboda, majedan jedan mai kueton love ano masokuto maieea.
Chorus: majedan jedan maikueton, maijedan jedan maikueton, love ano masokuto maiboda, majedan jedan mai kueton love ano masokuto maieea.
Akuón: odaje eodanje.
Chorus: odanje eodanje.
Akuón: eodanje eodanje.
Chorus: odanje eodanje.
Akuón: ee soyina yinan ball imade mesetole.
Chorus: inayinan ball.
Akuón: to mesetole.
Chorus: ina yinan ball.
Works with Babalu Aye
This is a fundamental work with this Orisha to pray for health. To do it, the first thing you do is place a basket or basket with a large sackcloth in the center.
It proceeds to place around the basket ministries or assorted grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, meats, fish, bread, herbs, two chicken eggs, and other ingredients.
Awan de San Lázaro (Asojuano) for Health
All those present in hierarchical order will be cleaned with all the ingredients offered and they will be deposited in the basket. While they carry out this action one after another, the officiant is ringing a bell or cowbell and performs the following song: Awan Awan Awan nowaya awan ero Gasese.
After everyone has been cleaned, the animals that will be offered are slaughtered. It can be from a big cock to a goat. The chant for this part of the ceremonial is: awan kodoko masofo, awan asodoko masofo, awan yantan masofo. The translation of that song is: "May illnesses not surprise me."
Finally, the awan is seasoned. It is made the Ajujan, which is about pouring the dry wine. It is recommended not to throw it directly so as not to scare it, or hurt it. It should be blown into the hand and from the hand let it drip until it falls on Babalu Aye. Men perform this action with the right hand and women with the left hand. Then the awan is closed and he gets up taking it to the indicated destination.
Saint Lazarus says: "Even if life is hard, unfair and illness strikes you, I will always be by your side to lift you up."
Asojuano says: «Illness is the most difficult test on earth. It shows you who is really by your side and proves your true faith ».