Five Considerations when Dating an Olosha or Santero(a)

Dating an Olosha is not always black and white

When I met my husband, I was not initiated in Santería. However, our passion for the religion became a common ground that helped us to further cement our relationship. But what happens when one of the partners in a relationship is an olosha and the other person is not a believer?

Dating is a natural process of discovery which in the case of people who do not share a same faith can become even more interesting and pose additional challenges and opportunities. Take for example the fact that not everyone has the verbal grace to explain a religious system where animal sacrifice is a fundamental need at one time or another. To that add the fact that there are no fixed Sunday services where your to invite your parents to share with your intended, and that at some time or another your date may need to dress in white and wear a bunch of beads around his or her neck making it impossible to stand inconspicuously in a crowd.

So what are the things that a non-Santería believer should consider when dating a santero(a)?

1. R E S P E C T. There is no sweeter word than respect when a couple is starting out, in the middle off or about to finish a relationship. If you do not share the same faith, do not try to proselytize, criticize or talk them out of it, it will eventually backfire on you.

2. T O L E R A N C E. This reinforces respect. Understand that there are events that will be closed to you and that your partner may have to devote a full day or more of backbreaking work when he or she is ‘lifted’ (invited) to initiations. Do not hound the person with cell phone calls or text messages if you do not hear from them. Religious events should not include a person with a mobile phone glue to their face.

3. C O U R T E S Y. If you are invited to attend a religious open ceremony make every possible effort to inform yourself about the protocol to observe, what sort of clothes area appropriate and what you need to bring if anything. If you go to a batá review the article on this blog on the rules of behavior so you make sure not to embarrass yourself or your partner.

4. S P I R I T U A L H Y G E N E. Santeros must strive to balance forces in their lives, mainly of heat and coolness. These forces can be manifested in many ways, but mainly we achieve balance through a regimented system of adimús, ebbós, kaworí eledás, ebbó misís and so on, all of these lead the olosha to remain tutu or fresh. If your life is disorganized, filled with turmoil and does not include any sort of spiritual regime, that state of unbalance will impact your partner’s efforts. Likewise, an olosha with a clean life should help to stabilize a willing partner.

5. S E X. Know that the body of an olosha is imbued with ashé, it flows through our veins and it is present in every bodily secretion. To take this ashé into your body in any way also brings you closer to his or her orisha. Know that this may in due time provide an incentive to the orisha to claim a stake in your life in one way or another.

Of course, there is much more to dating an olosha, this post is meant to be a thought starter and to highlight some fundamental aspects to ease communications. Still there is much more to be considered when opening up your life to an olosha, and those include that a practitioner of an African Traditional Religion has a different perception of the material and spiritual world, of the interaction between creator and creation, of the role of ancestors in daily spiritual practices, and of course, there are differences in culture and language depending what your background is.

Oní Yemayá Achagbá

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19 Responses to “Five Considerations when Dating an Olosha or Santero(a)”

  1. GINEA says:

    Bendicion to all the Iyalocha and Babalocha in this forum, when dating someone who is in the religion is command nothing different than, “average relationship.” Except spirituality is involve and that alone changes the dynamic of the interaction completely. Because active spirits are involve in the relationship including eggun.
    Second, if both individuals have ocha, and they are dating from seperate houses or ile. You need to take the time to check the reputation of the ile he/she is coming from. Because that play an intricate part of your relationship, including what is the current status between your potential partner and his/her god parent. The reason I said that because some god parents are too excessively involve, in their godchildren personal affairs.

  2. Omimelli says:

    Hello there big brother,

    Santo and many blessings to you. Very good points you raise, particularly when dating folks from other orisha houses. Politics, politeness and not meddling in the affairs of other ilés go a long way when dating. I am not sure why, but we suffer from the ‘in my house we do it better’ syndrome and that can get in the way of a good relationship.


  3. GINEA says:

    Hey there sister,

    What you are saying is completely true that “we do this better, in our house,” syndrome. It is easier to deal with that if you are a ahijado that have been with your godparent’s for a very long time. And posses a healthy relationship and understanding with everything they do for you in the religion. If you have that, they when dating someone from another ile is not going to be a problem.

    The other issue is what is the status of your potential partner relationship with his/her orisha’s? You do not want to catch something that does not belong to you.

  4. GINEA says:

    The problem I have seen arise in alot of relationship’s, is when one person is in the religion and the significant other posses no interest to be into it. That is too much of a burden to carry for the sake of having a partner in my opinion. The Ile, you belong to is an extended family that part of your life, and spiritual quadrants. Invovling yourself with someone who posses no interest to be part of that extended family is asking for trouble. These are the same type of individuals, when things get soar will threaten to demolish and/or throw your orisha away. As Iyalocha or Babalocha we owe a responsibility and loyalty to ourselves first and foremost. Anything that can not coexist with our lifetime committment to our Ori, Ori-Inu(inner-self), Orisha’s and eggun does not belong in our lives. Ashe.

    • Omimelli says:

      Good points.

      The other thing of equal importance is that relationships end up with children as a natural product of love.

      However, we must face the fact that it can create great differences when the time comes to raise a child. Which parent has the say so in the religion of the child, or do we leave the child to choose as an adult.

      Strong religious communities raise children ln their belief system before the age of 7.


  5. baba-elery says:

    datin a person in the religion is hard, I know this from past experience.
    I am a full pledge santerio and have obatala crowned for many years, I had an ex of mine crowned and his sister, the arguements between me and him got bad and the orishas told us if we did not STOP they would brake us up. well it did happen and we have been away from each other for a long time, we have as they say” bad blood” between us cause he did things to me when wed were together he thoughtt he was higher than the saints ( orishas ) but he and I saw different.
    I do not want to discourage people from this, but it is a powerful thing and we must understand how the orishas work and how they control us and the world?
    my love for the religion will never change but remember god is the first one we must give thanks too.
    I love and respect my crown and the other orishas
    so there
    be healthy and love the orishas as you love yourself.

  6. yari says:

    im dating sum one who is just tryna start in santeris i have no clue as to wat is its beliefs but im scared to loose him over a belief. What should i do!

    • Omimelli says:

      Hello Yari,

      The first thing you should consider is that spiritual paths are a personal quest, thus the benefits may not be apparent or logical to you, but they have to make sense to that person.

      There is no need to be scared of Santería we are not about doing harm and hurting people as the Hollywood perception of Santería would like to make us look. Santería should be about self-development, about improving one’s character and about strenghtening links with ancestos and the orisha.

      My humble advise is to keep an open mind, to allow your intended to explore his own spiritual path without being judged or analyzed. In the end it is his path to walk as I am sure you have one of preference.

      Where ther is love and trust there is no room for fear. Fear is the mind killer.

      I hope this helps.


  7. Ochun Alade Koide says:

    Great job with the article, Omimelli!

  8. joly says:

    I have been dating a man that is into santeria and i respect his belief i ask question not much cuz he cannot answer to many unless u r part of the religion. but I love him he love me is a good man and one day we plan on getting married. I feel santeria has made him a better person

    • Omimelli says:

      Hello Joly

      I am glad that you have visited our blog and have taken the time to post a note. There is a lot you can learn even without being part of Santeria. Do ask questions if you have them, it is important to understand our partner and his or her beliefs because this way we can provide support when needed. Do consider that at a certain point in time, if he gets initiated you will be placed at a spiritual point of uneveness in the relationship. Marriages that pray together…or share a religion tend to have better chances of staying together. Just a thought for you to consider.


  9. Clara says:

    I was dating a Santero. We had a very close bond, but last month he ended it because of conflicts with his practice that he could not explain to me (for some reason). I was always very respectful of his faith because it was familiar to me from my upbringing. I’m wondering what role a man’s faith plays in making serious decisions about when he should be with a woman or not. He is a very honest man, and from what he told me he had been advised that it was not the right time for a relationship, and he should stop seeing me.

    I also wonder if his faith has played a part in me not being able to move on. He carries a strong energy, and I can’t seem to just let it go and leave him alone to focus on his path. I feel like I was asked to let go without any real explanation, but also left with his energy to deal with all by myself.

  10. Omimelli says:

    Hello Clara

    The toughest situation a Santero(a) has to face is to place the advise of the orisha ahead of the desires of the mind and heart. I have been in the situation to follow a command I was not particularly happy with, however, obedience to the Orisha paid off in the end.

    When a person pledges his or her life to the orisha the contract is absolute, meaning either we allow the orisha to guide our life or we do not. This implies taking advise at heart. I can’t go to Yemayá and ask for her opinion and then ignore her. If I do that, my head orisha not only will be upset with me, I would be going against my own best interest and furthermore, I will run the risk of not obtaining help in the future if I do not accept the path she would set for me at present.

    Complicated? Only if an olosha lets her/his heart rule over the results of a reading, which is normally how we determine what to do in difficult situations.

    I don’t think his faith has a role in your not wanting to let you. You are not letting go because you are holding out to hope and because you want a rational explanation of why he let go. This is only human, I see nothing wrong with it. However, know that he may not be able to offer you an explanation. He may have gone to his head orisha and found out that the match was not seen favorably. Perhaps it was not easy for him to follow instructions but he realizes he needs to play by the rules.

    Perhaps you should see this as a blessing. What worse than hitching up your horse to the wrong waggon and traveling a long way just to realize that you made a huge mistake.

    Let go,move on and blessings will come to you.


    • Clara says:

      Thanks for your response, Omimelli. This helps me understand the full picture. I certainly don’t want to complicate another person’s spiritual journey. I was definitely holding on to hope because that’s how I live. But I can and will let go. I know the blessings will come.
      Thanks again.

  11. Noc says:


    I have been with a Santero for quite some tim now. He is a good person from which I continuously learn from. I am very much in love with him. As a non religious person, I have and still suffer a great deal about all of this… It hurts me to see such a good person not being in controle of his own life (no offense here). I also have recurrent nightmares about animal sacrifices that prevent me from sleeping, I just can’t imagine this person murdering innocent creatures for religious purposes. We have had arguments about this and. I certainly do not want to make his life difficult. I do not want anyone of you to feel judged by my post, as I have been raised in a familly where religion was not a positive thing, it was a way to not think on your own… And I never thought possible this could still be happening in 2014. I am suffering a lot and I need to guidance.

    Thank you

  12. Damian says:

    I was dating a santero…. I allowed him and the religion in my heart…but then he put his hands on me a few times…. I still love him and want to merry him…but I’m not sure he changed… I love everything about him just not the abusive part :-(

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