Awonifa

Study the Teachings of Ifa

Ochun is a Yoruba African goddess brought to the Caribbean, Brazil and the southern US by slaves. Since African religions were forbidden, the slaves merged their deities with Christian saints creating what is called “Santeria” or “saint worship.” Ochun, the mother goddess of all was merged with the Virgin Mary. But in the blend, both deities changed. 

The Virgin of Charity of Cobre or in Spanish La Caridad del Cobre, is the Christian patroness of Cuba. A figure no more than about a foot high, Legend has it that the statue was discovered in 1608 in the Bay of Nipe near Santiago, floating on the sea after a terrible storm off the town now called Cobre, by three men in a small boat. As the storm abated, they saw a small figure, no bigger than a doll standing on a piece of wood holding a child on her right arm and a cross in her left hand. She was completely dry and dressed in a beautiful yellow mantel over a white satin gown.

Today, she remains in Cobre and represents the tremendous depth of Cuban religious faith. She has been referred to in the literature, as the essence of “Cubanness” and Cubans translate the Spanish word “Caridad” not literally as “charity” but as “Love.” They do not refer to her as “The Virgin” but either as “La Caridad” or “Ochun.”