Babalu Aye-Orisha of Health & Sickness

Feb 24 2016 0 Comments

Catholic Image of Saint LAzarus

View Items for this Deity: Toasted Corn   Saint Lazarus Candle  

One Orisha who is loved, respected & feared all in one sentence is Babalu Aye, also known as San Lazaro or Saint Lazarus.

The name Babalu Aye means “Father of the World” as he holds influence over many aspects of humanity in this earthly realm.

Babalu Aye is commonly associated with the Catholic Saint, Saint Lazarus for many reasons. The stories behind each of these deities or spiritual beings are very similar. Both were men who were shunned for their illness & poverty while only having dogs for company.

In the catholic tradition, in death Lazarus was granted entry into heaven and no longer suffered as he did on earth.

As told in the Yoruba/Lukumi traditions, Babalu Aye eventually was given back his health & prosperity for following the instructions as given by Orunla, the great diviner. (Faith & trust will always result in Ire, but you must truly believe it!)

Babalu Aye is an orisha who deals with all matter relating to health, especially virulent issues and all illnesses of the skin. Whether it be spiritual, physical or mental health matters, he is venerated and asked to intercede on behalf of the person. He is prayed to when severe health matters have come up, also when there seems to be great difficulties ahead health wise.  

 Example of a shrine honoring Saint Lazarus




Babaluaye as he is portrayed in the Lukumi Pantheon.




Babalu Aye was punished by Olofi with all sorts of sickness & afflictions. He lost his riches & prosperity for not having good character. Babalu Aye, for not balancing his life & behaviors, lost everything!

In that same way, his trials on earth should be a lesson to us: Balance & good character are integral keys to leading successful lives.

It is through self-discipline, humility & hard work that we appreciate ourselves & everything around us.

He is also known as a protector of all animals, but especially dogs. Dogs were his only companion (besides Elegua) when he was suffering his trials & tribulations for living a disobedient life. It is for this reason, many who have to receive this orisha or if he is very close to that person, may need to have a dog with them! They must ALWAYS respect dogs & animals of all kinds, lest they incur the wrath of this loving but stern orisha.


His colors are royal purple, yellow and brown. His ritual or sacred number is 17. December 17th is a day commonly associated as his feast day, many set up shrines & altars to him to offer their thanks for his many blessings.

Burlap is sacred to him and is used in his offerings & items made for him, as well as Mariwo or Palm Fronds. At one point he was so poor & his body so ravaged by illness, he could only clothe himself in Palm Fronds as that was the only thing available to him.


Toasted Corn of all types

Toasted Corn Kernels, Popped corn (plain nothing on it)

Beans, Grains & Legumes of all kinds

Bread, Dry White Wine & Cigars





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