Orishas are deities or spirits in African traditional religions. They live within and around us. Like humans, they have distinct personalities with strengths and weaknesses of their own. Your head orisha is one of the most important personal deities according to the Ifa spiritual system and other diasporic traditions. Many other deities work with you, but your head orisha is your guardian spirit.
This spirit protects you from harm and guides you along your path. Your guardian orisha is also responsible for maintaining balance in your life and keeping things running smoothly. Some traditions believe that each person has one guardian spirit, while others believe we have two. In the case of one guardian spirit, this energy governs the head. Though, in traditions that believe in two, one spirit governs the head, and the other guards the feet.
If initiation is common in a tradition, practitioners typically believe that your head orisha changes until you become fully initiated. It is at this point that your head is stabilized and you begin receiving higher-level spiritual insight and wisdom.
Functions of the Head Orisha
Different cultures have different beliefs about the head orisha. Some believe that it is the personification of a natural force while others say that it is an ancestor or a different level spirit. Either way, your head orisha bears the responsibility of leading, guiding, and teaching you karmic lessons.
You actually share many personality traits with your guardian spirit. This is because you need certain energic patterns to accomplish your destiny. In which case, you are equipped with many aspects of your head orisha for this purpose. Once you discover who your head orisha is, you may be able to see how the spirit has manifested in your experience. You might notice both positive and negative aspects of your head orisha within your personality.
Sometimes your head orisha corresponds to the planetary ruler of your sun or moon sign, so you could already be familiar with how this energy works. Orishas and other deities correlate to many aspects of western astrology since it was derived from African spiritual science. Though the nomenclature used in the systems are different due to language discrepancies across the world.
For instance, you could be a child of Ogun who corresponds to the planet Mars, which governs the sign of Aries. You may be an Aries sun or moon sign or have other prominent planetary placements in the sign of Aries in your natal chart.
Ogun is the god of war and iron, and the patron of blacksmiths in the Yoruba and other diasporic traditions. Ogun cuts down obstacles and clear the way for people to follow their chosen paths. Ogun is mostly known for being a go-getter and initiator. As such, children of Ogun are often leaders in some capacity, they are good at getting things going, and tend to be very strong-willed.
This energy also embodies passion, heat, and anger at times. In this case, the children of Ogun are known to be aggressive and impatient in their shadow disposition. Both the light and shadow aspects of Ogun’s traits are necessary for getting things going and advancing society in a myriad of ways. As a child of Ogun, you may notice these characteristics within yourself. And, the same goes for children of other Orishas.
Discovering Your Head Orisha
To find out who your head orisha is, you need to consult with a priest or priestess of the Ifa religion or other African tradition. These systems use a complex divination process to determine which deity is governing your head at any given time.
Each system differs in how it determines your head orisha, but the process is much more complicated than reading a natal chart, tarot or oracle cards, bones, or using similar divining tools. Though, these devices are very useful for gaining spiritual knowledge for other purposes.
Head Orishas are very important deities in African traditional religions like Ifa. They guide and influence the power of other deities in our lives. When you know who your Head Orisha is, you know which spirit to turn to for help. You also understand your character and nature better. Additionally, you gain knowledge of what you should and should not do to effect positive change in your life. These elements ultimately help you live in balance and harmony.
Learn more about how to connect with African deities in this episode of the African Spirit Reintegrated + Reimagined: