Finally, the concept of evil is relative: spirits dedicated to evil are imperfect, in a state of learning, which after overcoming their ignorance will end up merging with divinity and thus reach perfection (Solla Olivera 1992: 21-22)
Olorum: Supreme God. It has no cult, it is not represented and it is manifested through the orishas (Ramos 1935: 20)
– Oxala: It is the most important of the orishas, the first created by Olorum. It was syncretized with the Christ of the last days.
– Xango: Orisha of lightning and thunder, is very feared and respected. It is syncretized with Saint Jerome.
– Ogún: Orisha of iron and war (Verger 1982: 92). He is joined by Saint George.
– Iemanja: This orisha “is the queen of the sea, protector of the sailors, of the fishermen, she has many marine entities that help her, such as nymphs and mermaids” (Orphanake. 1985: 16).
– Exú: It is the orisha who controls the hidden and dangerous places, as well as the crossroads (Orphanake 1985: 18); joins the devil. She eats red or black chicken and goats are offered to her.
The cult has incorporated various elements of Christianity: for example, it is possible to observe the presence of crucifixes in temples, as well as the identification of various African deities with Catholic saints. Most likely, ritual dances in honor of Christian saints sought to avoid confrontation with the Church.
This syncretism can also be understood from the perspective of a dynamic and polytheistic religion, where Christian saints have been considered as the “orishas of the territory” where they were living (the bosses that ruled that area).
Therefore, elements of cultures of African, Amerindian and European origin come together in Umbanda. The different orishas were linked with the different Christian figures. As we have seen, as an example:
The temples are called houses or terreiros. In most cases these are small properties managed by their own owners, who are themselves the priests: the fathers or mothers of santo (pai or mae de santo) (Solla Olivera 1992: 33).
It should be noted that there is no developed institutionalization of religion: There are no formal hierarchies linking the various terreiros, nor a central authority. Each terreiro is managed by a “family” whose members are not necessarily related to each other. Usually, the head of the “family” is a woman, a “mother of saint”, seconded by a man, a “father of saint”.