Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


In Yoruba mythology, Shango is perhaps the most important Orisha; he is a Sky Father, god of thunder and the ancestor of the Yoruba. He was the fourth king of the Yoruba, and deified after his death; mythologically, he (along with 14 others) burst forth from the goddess Yemaja's body after her son, Orungan, attempted to rape her for the second time. He has three wives. His favorite (because of her excellent cooking) is Oschun, a river goddess. Another wife, Oba, another river goddess, offered Shango her ear to eat. He scorned her and she became the Oba river, which combines in dangerous rapids with the Oschun river. Lastly, Oya was Shango's third wife, and stole the secrets of his powerful magic. Shango is worshipped in Vodun as a god of thunder and weather (Umbanda), as the very powerful loa Nago Shango and as the equivalent of St. Barbara (Santeria, wherein he is called Chango).

In art, Shango is depicted with a double-axe on his three heads. He is associated with the holy animal, the ram, and the holy colors of red and white.