Palo Mayombe and African Yoruba Religion

The Beliefs:

The belief system of the Yoruba Religion is centered on the worship of one Creator god called Olorun or Olodumare. The Olorun is believed to the source of life, the principal deity. He is the mysterious one that cannot be assigned any gender.

3 other major deities are reverenced by all followers of the Yoruba religion: Eshu who is known as the messenger of Olorun and other Orisas. He is referred to as the deity that carries messages in the form of sacrifices to Olorun. The second is Ifa who is in charge of divination. He carries the desires and requests of man to Olorun. Another is Ogun; the god of thunder, war, and metalwork. He is the one to whom the followers swear oaths.

The followers also believe in other Orisas. Orisas are the mediums between man and the realm of the Spirit. They reflect some aspects of Olodumare and are said to have control over some forces of nature.

Other Orisas include: Orunmila who is seen as the Source of knowledge, Yemaya who represents Motherhood and is seen as the protector of women and children, Oya who is known as the third wife of Sango and the Guardian of the cemetery and in charge of the storms, Obatala who represents justice, light and purity and Osun who is known as the second wife of Sango and a representation of female sexual energy, beauty and fertility.


The Yoruba religion also holds a belief in the Irunmole. These are beings that have a higher status in the hierarchy. They also serve as intermediaries between the spirit world and the physical.


The followers of the Yoruba religion believe in Ashe. This is a very powerful supernatural force given to everything by Olohun. These would include deities, humans, animals, plants, rocks, trees, mountains, oceans and other aspects of nature. It would also include songs, chants, simple communications, and prayers. This force is so powerful that it is believed to be able to cause positive or negative effects in reality.

Persons who have received proper training and have sufficient experience are said to be able to wield this force into seeing desired results. They are called Alaase. 


These are believed to be negative spiritual forces, otherwise called demons by other modern religions. They are responsible for causing death, destruction, illnesses and other calamities. Followers are cautioned to be wary of these forces. In a situation where a person gets afflicted or struck by these forces, a priest has to be consulted to perform certain divination and ceremonial rites to access solutions to bring deliverance to the afflicted.

Though some Paleros may decide to learn some teachings from the Yoruba religion, it is still very different from Palo Mayombe in beliefs and traditions. Palo Mayombe is widely known to possess the most potent dark magic. Paleros relate with and are connected to the spirits of the dead. The followers of the Yoruba religion interface more with the Orisas, the deities and pay homage and reverence to them.